Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nunnington Hall, UK

Nunnington Hall sits quietly by the River Rye. The house was substantially rebuilt by the Graham family in the 1600s after the ravages of the Civil War. They died out and left it abandoned in 1839. Then the Rutson family bought the house but it didn't become a home until the 1920s when Margaret Fife (nee Rutson) inherited the property. She decided to rebuild the hall with her husband Colonel Ronald D'Arcy Fife. He had served in South Africa and India as well as World War I, where his arm was broken and ear drums shattered by an exploding shell in 1917. In 1920 they restored it quickly, both preserving the 17th century feel and adding modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and electricity. They soon began the life of country gentry: hosting visitors, riding horses daily, hunting in the winter. The colonel died in 1946 and Margaret died in 1952. She left the property to the National Trust who maintain it today.

Nunnington Hall

The current entrance hall was likely the 16th-century great hall. It is now the ticket office and shows off many of Colonel Fife's trophies from his big game hunts.

The gun collection

Some big game pelts

Many antelopes

The room next door is set up as the dining room. The actual dining room is now used for the tea shop. This room was a smoking room for Colonel Fife, where he would read and hang out with his dogs.

Dining room table

A lovely server

Just off the dining room is a small room added in the 1680s by Lord Preston. It was used as a receiving room for close friends or distinguished guests. Fife used it as an office. The ceiling has two canvas panels with the Graham and the Howard coats-of-arms.

Lord Preston's Room

The Graham Coat-of-Arms

Next is the Oak Hall which was the 17th-century entrance to the home. It was used by the Fifes as an area to entertain large hunting parties.

The Oak Hall

Cosy fireplace

From here, the grand staircase leads up into the bedrooms. A sign offers children the chance to dust the railing as they go up. L could not resist!

Cleaning the stairs

Upstairs, directly above the Oak Hall, is the Drawing Room which has two 17th-century Belgian tapestries and a fantastic view of the south lawn.

Drawing Room tapestry

South lawn

Pear orchard to the left

Apple orchard and gardens to the right

Colonel Fife's Bedroom is just around the corner. It still has the Chinese-inspired wall paper hung in the 1920s.

Getting ready for a night on the town

Next door is Mrs. Fife's Bedroom which has a much more feminine feel. A small dressing room (directly above Lord Preston's office) is joined to the room and has some family portraits.

Mrs. Fife's Bedroom

The vanity

Mrs. Fife's Dressing Room

The Oak Bedroom and the Panelled Bedroom were used by guests. The lady of the house would often ask the height of her guests, which seems strange but the bed in the Oak Bedroom only fits people under five feet nine inches!

The Oak Bedroom

The Panelled Bedroom

Both rooms are rumored to be haunted. The Oak Bedroom has a door leading into a storage room and many guests have reported seeing a figure moving through the door. One guest, Major Peter Forbes, reported that he awoke one night and saw the door handle being turned. When he mentioned it at breakfast no one said anything. The Panelled Bedroom also has had a ghost going through at night according to visitors.

The upstairs also has a reading room. I noticed the books on the table were about ghosts, so I suppose the National Trust is proud of their "residents."

Reading room

The upstairs also has a bathroom with a rather nice bath inside!

Putting the bath in bathroom

A small devotional room is near by the bath.

Prayer room

Up one last flight of stairs is the Nursery and the Maids' Bedroom. J and L liked this area for the vintage toys and the vintage dress up!

Beautiful stairs

Maids' Bedroom

Dressed up for a night out!

In the attics an extensive collection of miniature rooms are on display as well as temporary art exhibits. Sadly, photography was not allowed here, otherwise I would show you the miniature Victorian library with a ladder that pops out of a bench! Many other amazing miniatures are on display as well. They were so distracting that we forgot to return the dress up items! We went down the back stairs and almost walked out of the building before the mistake was noticed. My wife ran the items back upstairs while I took the children out to the gardens for more adventures (which will be in tomorrow's post!).

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