After attending the Chapel Choir Christmas Concert in Haddon Hall’s St. Nicholas Chapel, Year 6 embarked on their own adventure to discover more about the evolution of Haddon Hall and in particular, the many traditions and customs of Christmas in times gone by.

After a welcome packed lunch in front of roaring fires in the Earl’s room, it was off to the Billiard Room where our guide, Olwen, brought the history and characters of Haddon to life and one by one, transformed the children into them!  Toby was first, to assume the role of Sir Richard Vernon, accompanied by his able steward, Andrew.  Next was the kitchen boy (Edward), who was most relieved to be allowed to retain his clothes, when he heard that kitchen boys would have worn very little other than an apron!  Then Dorothy Vernon, then George Manners, a regular host to Prince Arthur, and many more, skipping forward through the ages, followed by a whole coterie of servants, wearing tabards with the emblems of the Vernon and Manners families.  Hats – made of English wool to support the wool trade – were de rigueur!

The decorations around the Hall were entrancing and it is safe to say that all the children were captivated.  They learned about all types of customs from ‘Stir up Sunday’ to the the origins of mince pies and the fact that one must never refuse one, if offered!

The bitterly cold day, and dark rainy skies outside added greatly to the atmosphere and added to the appeal of the roaring fires and the cosiness of the firelight.

Our sincere thanks to Lord and Lady Edward Manners to being such generous hosts.

Click on any of the images to enlarge.