Category Archive: Family

  1. de Mowbray’s Musicke: Bringing Tudor History To Life

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    Visiting Haddon may feel like stepping back in time whenever you come, but the historical atmosphere of the Hall will be enhanced this bank holiday by unique performances from de Mowbray’s Musicke.

    The group pride themselves on the historical accuracy of the music, instruments and costumes presented in their performances, aiming to authentically represent musicians who would have played in a rural Tudor (or Medieval) court.

    We caught up with the group before their recitals on Monday 28th May to find out more about the inspiration behind their style, what we can expect and what they’re looking forward to the most about performing at Haddon Hall:


    Haddon Hall: Who are de Mowbray’s Musicke? 

    de Mowbray’s Musicke: We are a costumed band who play music, sing songs and showcase dances from the Tudor period, as well as from the earlier 15th century when required. We play a wide range of instruments from the period, which have been faithfully made according to records of the time. We’ve been playing together since 2011, although there have been some changes in personnel in that time.


    HH: What do you think are the main differences between the historical instruments you use and more modern ones? 

    dMM: The main differences between our instruments and modern ones are in the tuning of the instruments and their reliability. Modern instruments are more complex – for example, having keys to get chromatic notes – and often play across a wider range of notes. Our crumhorns, for instance, only play across 9 notes.

    Because there was no electric amplification at the time, instruments needed to be loud! Across the Tudor period we see shawms becoming confined to outdoor music, along with bagpipes and crumhorns remaining in fashion, but going out of favour by 1600. We also saw the ‘broken consort’ of instruments becoming the favoured means of playing indoor music rather than the family of instruments of the same type, but in different pitches – eg recorders, shawms.

    Instruments were made of the materials available at the time, and this mostly meant wood, leather, gut and metal. There was no plastic!


    HH: What was the significance of music in Tudor times? 

    dMM: Music was a very important element of Tudor life at court and in other fine houses. It was also a feature of life outside the manor’s walls.

    Young men and women at court were taught to play music, sing and dance – at this period we were known as ’the dancing English’! Without music, there could be no dancing or singing. Travelling musicians worked at court, often also teaching dances.

    We tend to think that music forms a backdrop to modern life, but it would also have been a regular feature of 16th-century life, marking such daily occurrences as the evening curfew.


    HH: How do you make the music you play as authentic as possible? 

    dMM: We work hard to ensure that the instruments we play are representative of the period we represent. We play instruments which have been faithfully made according to records – pictures, books, carvings – of the time. Many of our instruments are made in England.

    The way we play them is also close to the sound that would have been heard at the time, in the harmonies and combinations of instruments. Our costumes and singing similarly reflect the accuracy of our instruments, music and dances.


    HH: You also perform and teach period dances. What can your audience expect from these demonstrations?

    dMM: We showcase dances which were danced at English manors and halls in the 16th century. The dances may also have been danced away from these centres, but our records are from the higher echelons of society.

    We work hard to be historically well-informed in our dances, using techniques of the period – but not of later times. There are 3 main types of dance: the stately pavans and almains, combined with the energetic couple dances such as galliards; the French branles; and the newly arriving English country dances. We can show all 3 types. We will be showing a galliard and a pavan in our show at Haddon Hall.

    One of our specialities is providing the music and teaching at an event for a group of people, such as you might get at a folk dance. We can also provide all the entertainment for Revels and Banquets.


    HH: What about performing at Haddon Hall are you particularly looking forward to? 

    dMM: We like playing at venues which would have had music, song and dance in the 16th century. We also like playing in houses which are more than empty shells. Haddon Hall is a fine house with many important features of the period we represent. We’re very excited about playing in such a prestigious venue. It is especially significant since we are based in the Midlands and the North.

    We enjoy talking to people about what we do, our instruments – how they are made and how they work – and other features of life in 16th century England. We expect to do this at Haddon Hall since we will be on show from 11am to 3.30pm, outside the times of our concerts at noon and 2pm.


    Performances from de Mowbray’s Musicke will take place at 12pm and 2pm on Monday 28th May and are included in your ticket price, alongside free archery and guided tours of the Hall throughout the day.

    Book advance tickets online, or buy on the gate if you prefer. View our full 2018 music schedule here.


    Photos courtesy of de Mowbray’s Musicke.

  2. Haddon Highlights 2017

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    With our Christmas celebrations over, we bid farewell to another year and welcome 2018, but we couldn’t quite say goodbye without looking back on the many highlights of 2017.

    From our Wedding Fair in April to the festive season, which brought our favourite carols to life, join us in remembering some of our most special events of the year.

    Wedding Fair

    A day that dreams were made of. Our wedding fair took place on April 2nd 2017, with our Elizabethan Long Gallery and Tudor Parlour set up as they would be for a big day.

    Singers and performers serenaded guests as they explored stalls from our favourite wedding merchants, showcasing exquisite floral arrangements, beautiful cakes and bespoke dresses.

    Wedding Brochure

    Jane Eyre

    Between April and June, guests were invited to step inside the world of Jane Eyre in our exclusive promenade performances.

    Audience members followed the cast around Haddon (Thornfield Hall) as they performed a wonderful script by local writer, Gillian Shimwell.

    “A magical experience. An innovative way to tell the story, with wonderful acting, an atmospheric and beautiful house and moving from room to room with the actors as the story unfolds.”

    Read our blog about why Haddon makes the perfect Thornfield Hall.


    Artisan Markets

    Our Artisan Markets were more popular than ever this year, with the Winter event being the biggest yet.

    Local traders and craftspeople lined the Halls in July and November, selling a vast variety of artisan goods, from food to jewellery, clothing to decorations.



    This year’s Halloween event was a little different. Visitors will sought out marks made to warn off evil spirits in the 900 year old Hall, led by one of our experienced guides.

    Evening tours focused on the apotropaic marks to be found around the Hall, said to have powers to avert evil influences or bad luck, also known as ‘Witches’ marks, with frightening family fun in the day time.


    We certainly had a busy festive season this year, with our Winter Artisan Market, Candlelight Tours and decorations themed around the best Christmas carols around.

    We were thrilled to hear that we were able to contribute so much joy to visitors’ festive celebrations, and hope that each and every one of you had a lovely Christmas.

    We’d like to wish everyone a very happy New Year and would love to hear about your favourite moments from 2017.

    We look forward to welcoming you back to Haddon Hall in 2018.

  3. Coming Up On The Haddon Estate

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     Your ultimate guide to things to do on the Haddon Estate this summer.

    We’ve already had a taste of summer in the Peak District and are really looking forward to what else the season brings. From musical recitals to games in the garden, estate adventures to mechanical sculptures, you can be sure that our upcoming events schedule will cater for a vast range of interests.

    Please note that Haddon Hall will be closed to the public on the 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th August this year. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.


    Shadows and Whispers – An Exhibition by Artist, Nik Ramage

    Between 1st August and 30th September, ingenious sculptures will be scattered across the halls of Haddon in this unique exhibition from artist Nik Ramage. Visitors will get the opportunity to interact with the mechanical creations, which were inspired by the shadows and whispers of Haddon Hall’s rich history.

    You can find out more about the exhibition in this interview with Nik, and share your experience by using #ShadowsAndWhispers and #HaddonHall on social media.


    Family Fete

    This two day festival will provide fun for all the family, with a whole host of exciting activities taking place in the hall and gardens. Over the August bank holiday weekend, children and adults alike can enjoy music, face-painting, archery, crafts, storytelling and much more at our family fete, with free entry for children with a paying adult.

    Register your interest on Facebook here.


     Music Performances

    We adore hearing the sound of music floating through the halls of Haddon, and are thrilled to be hosting a series of musical recitals throughout the summer.

    “It’s such a pleasure to hear music being performed around Haddon’s grounds. We hope these occasional performances with some of the region’s best musicians will bring much enjoyment to visitors this year and set Haddon on the map for music.” – Lady Edward

    Performances are included in the general admission price and will take place outside in the courtyards and gardens of Haddon if the weather is fine, or from within the incredible setting of the Long Gallery if rain is forecast. Recitals coming up during the summer include:

    • Richard Haslam (Classical Guitar) – Sunday 6th and 13th August
    • Laura-Rose Gee (Harpist) – Sunday 27th and Monday 28th August
    • Bell Ringers in the Chapel – Saturday 9th September


    However you like to spend your time, we are confident that you’ll find something for everyone at Haddon Hall this summer. We look forward to welcoming you over the next few months.

    Explore our full list of special events here, or book your tickets online.