About this image
This view almost certainly shows the beginnings of restoration work at Padley Hall in 1933. This involved an archaeological excavation and the horse and cart may well be engaged in moving earth as part of this. A solitary hen is showing an interest in what is going on.
Padley Hall was variously a seat of the Padley, Eyre and - by the 16th century - the Fitzherbert families. Originally quite a substantial mansion, by the 18th century it was completely ruinous and today just foundations and the 14th century gatehouse remain, the latter used as a barn for many years prior to 1933 when it was restored by Hadfield and Cawkwell of Sheffield to incorporate a Roman Catholic chapel dedicated to the Padley Martyrs.
The Martyrs were three Catholic priests, discovered at Padley when the Earl of Shrewsbury sent an agent to arrest the owner, Sir Thomas Fitzherbert on 12 July 1588 for his 'persistant recusancy' (being a practising Catholic) and suspected treason. The priests, two of whom were found hiding in a chimney breast, were Nicholas Garlick, Robert Ludlam and Richard Simpson, who were taken to Derby, summarily tried, convicted and then hung, drawn and quartered less than a fortnight later. Harbouring a priest was a treasonable offence and Fitzherbert himself ended up confined in the Tower of London where he died in 1591.
A pilgrimage takes place each year in July when a special service is held in the Chapel in memory of the Martyrs. The remains of the Hall are a Scheduled Ancient Monument, while the Chapel was listed Grade I in 1951.