Having shown you the woods at Rufford Old Hall last time, I thought I'd quickly show you the Hall and gardens today.
The oldest part of the house, which is the black and white timber-framed Great Hall, dates from around 1530. The 'lantern' on the roof dates from the 1800s.
The brick north east wing was built in 1662.
Just above the entrance door is the Hesketh family crest, a double-headed eagle. They owned the Hall until 1936 when it was given to the National Trust.
The Great Hall is the only part where you can take photos but that's ok as it's my favourite part anyway.
I just love the patterns and carving in all the timber work. I also find it fascinating to see the old pegs which hold the building together.
The star of the show is this screen, which is believed to be the only one of its kind to have survived intact. It dates from c1530-40 and, if you look closely, the panel at top right is upside down: this is thought to be deliberate as part of the belief that only God is perfect.
The most exciting part is that it's believed Shakespeare may have performed in the Great Hall as part of a company of players, or at least to have visited. Aged 17, he was working as a teacher nearby and is mentioned in the will of his employer who asked Lord Hesketh to 'be ffrendlye unto...willm Shakeshafte nowe dwellynge with me' (Shakeshafte is the Lancashire version of Shakespeare).
Back outside, we came through this gate and into the gardens at the back of the house.
There are some lovely details on the house. All of the flower patterns contain stained glass.
I liked the topiary squirrel too!
I really love the older, smaller properties and Rufford is well worth a visit if you're in the area, especially with the Woollen Woods exhibition too.
Are you having an exciting weekend? We're having a quiet one, though we may go out for a walk tomorrow if the dry weather that's promised arrives. Have a good one wherever you are. x