About this image
Sudbury Hall was built by George Vernon in the second half of the 17th century. It is a redbrick building, now owned by the National Trust who first opened it to the public in 1972. One of the many features restored by the trust is the small dome, crowned with a golden ball on the roof of the hall, which acts as a beacon for travellers.
It contains many fine rooms, the most interesting being, the Long Gallery and the Main Hall with its beautiful staircase, (featured in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice). Sudbury Hall is predominately Jacobean, yet the carved stone, wood and plasterwork are in the elaborately decorated 'classical' style, reminiscent of Wren's City churches.
Vernon favoured the stone mullion-and transom windows, but it is unusual to see circular and oval sections forming part of this arrangement. Internally, the extreme ornateness is somewhat overwhelming, especially the Caroline ceilings, which take on the appearance of 'Baroque'.
Already very decorative, they were enhanced with ceiling paintings by Laguerre in the 1690s to make them even more elaborate. Possibly the most impressive ceiling of any house in England, however, can be found in the Long Gallery. Running the entire length of the house, the plasterwork detail ranges from heads of Emperors, to shells, palm fronds and seedpods, all created around a central rosette.
This work is considered by many to be the most magnificent feature of the house, closely followed by the lavishly decorated staircase balustrade, designed by Edward Pearce. Whilst the gardens were undergoing frequent changes, the house remained largely unaltered for many years.
However, in the mid-18th century, the first Lord Vernon decided that the wooden balustrade on the roof should be replaced in stone, at parapet level, to 'quieten' the effect of the hipped roof and the cupola, thereby allowing the large panelled chimney-stacks to be better appreciated.In 1839, the family moved to Italy, letting the house to tenants. Among these was Queen Adelaide, Consort to William IV, who leased Sudbury for three years during her widowhood, and The Queens Room was appropriately named after her.
The modest instructions she left for her funeral arrangements are displayed at Sudbury. The house once again see-sawed between family possession and various tenancies until, in 1922, the late Lord and Lady Vernon finally returned to Sudbury. With the help of Lady Vernon in the first instance, and later by a generous financial contribution from the Historic Buildings Council, a major restoration and refurbishment programme was carried out to give Sudbury Hall some of its former grandeur.
The Hall is now run by the National Trust. As well as the splendour of the Hall, the visitor can also enjoy the gardens, terraces and lake. Another notable feature in the grounds, is the castellated Gothic Deercote, built in 1751 and the most elaborate example in the country.
Next to the house is the Museum of Childhood and a reconstructed Victorian schoolroom and nursery with old toys and games. During school holidays or by prior arrangement the National Trust runs regular activities for children such as treasure hunts, craft days and wildlife days.
This image is one of a collection by the famous local antiquarian, Thomas Bateman, of Middleton by Youlgreave. (1821-1861). Bateman organized his collection by inserting them into a 4 volume copy of Lysons Magna Britannia, Derbyshire, creating a fascinating and unique illustrated record of the county.
The purchase of the collection for Derbyshire Libraries was made possible by the generous bequest of Miss Frances Webb of Whaley Bridge, well known local historian, who died in December 2006.