- Posted on 01st November 2010 by Nicola Holden
Just recently I have had a desperate urge to escape the bricks and mortar that is London, and venture forth into the countryside. The seasons’ changing seems to be passing me by in this city, and I needed to get out. So, whilst my partner was hurtling around a dirt track in a rally car on Saturday, I was exploring the Leicestershire countryside, and soaking up a beautiful autumn day full of wonderful autumn colours!
My goal was Kirby Hall, now managed by English Heritage. Kirby Hall was built in the 17th Century and bought by Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth I in the hope that the queen would pay a visit. Sadly, she never did visit, and Hatton died deeply in debt.
Although much of this vast mansion is now semi-ruined and roof-less, it is still clear that the design style of this great Elizabethan country house was based on the classical French architectural of the period, full of exceptional, richly carved decoration.
The Great Hall and state rooms, including the Billiard Room, remain intact, and have been refitted and redecorated to authentic 17th and 18th century specifications. It was wonderful to stand in these rooms and imagine the grandeur with which they would have been furnished originally.
Later, towards the end of the 17th century, Sir Christopher Hatton, the fourth, added the ornate gardens – described as ‘ye finest garden in England’ in the late 17th century. They are now partly restored and laid out in an elaborate ‘cutwork’ design complete with statues, urns and peacocks!
Kirby Hall may no longer be what it once was, but its beauty remains with us to this day.
“Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”
Gucci family motto