2019 marked the birth of Mercatum, the brand we have developed to represent and connect our renowned artisan markets. Quality, passion and craftsmanship lie at the heart of Mercatum, creating a treasure trove of delights from the finest makers in the region. This year, we introduced our first Spring market, giving you three opportunities every season to experience a true delight for the senses.
If you would like to register your interest in having a stall for our markets in 2020, email firstname.lastname@example.org with more information about your business and produce. The dates for this year’s Mercatum events are as follows:
27th, 28th & 29th March
26th, 27th & 28th June
12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 20th, 21st & 22nd November
Spring also brought the opening of our intriguing, permanent exhibition centred on the 9th Duke of Rutland, who lovingly restored Haddon Hall after 200 years of dereliction. The Hall had become known as the ‘Sleeping Beauty’, before the 9th Duke and his wife awakened the building with a monumental restoration project. It is thanks to this restoration project that we can enjoy the spellbinding hall we see today.
“If the 9th Duke hadn’t devoted most of his life to the restoration of Haddon Hall, after being mothballed for 200 years, it would now be a ruin. He was a remarkable man: soldier of the Great War, architect, photographer, archaeologist, archivist, historian but his major life’s work was Haddon. This exhibition gives a glimpse into the workings behind this mammoth and complex project; with previously unseen material including his own immaculate and detailed personal records.” – Lord Edward Manners
Haddon’s connection to oak extends back centuries and its influence can be seen throughout the hall today. Our autumnal exhibition, Oak Matters, unveiled a number of medieval sculptures from Lord and Lady Edward’s private collection, paying homage to Haddon’s oak trees. Jeannine Cook, the artist behind the exhibition, said the following of the exhibition: “Haddon Hall itself is intimately linked to these trees. Not only is its surrounding Estate graced by ancient and wonderfully individualistic oaks, but the very sinews of the Hall itself are oak timbers. Its panelling, its floor boards and its furniture speak of trees that were ancient enough to afford lumber of great size and quality to be used in construction. As an artist, I see in every aspect of Haddon Hall its inseparable connections with oaks past and present.”
As well as our usual evening tours, in 2019 we hosted the Little School of Sorcery throughout the chambers of Haddon Hall, as well as encouraging families to bring their own pumpkins to line our historic halls. Magical creatures great and small were invited to enroll, with a ‘curriculum’ dedicated to educating young witches and wizards in the arts of wand decorating, broom design, medieval potions, spells, scroll writing and much more.
For those with magic in their heart,
Or secret talents in dark arts,
Don’t be disheartened, have no fear –
The Little School of Sorcery is here.
Shape, create and craft your tools,
Which fly and spark or warn off ghouls.
Play ghastly games and learn new tricks;
Fly up and away on your broomsticks.
Embrace the magic the season brings,
And earn your lawful Sorcerer’s wings.
Join us creatures great and small,
For Halloween at Haddon Hall.
Christmas, of course, brought its usual splendour to Haddon Hall, this time in the form of a festive wonderland of creativity and craft. Artisan workshops and demonstrations in mixology, floristry, make-up, wreath-making and more ignited the imagination of our visitors, all while daily music recitals serenaded them. In the Long Gallery, nutcrackers guarded our community Christmas card to the Queen, which measured 42-metres and featured on ITV News during the period. With our annual Candlelight Tours enchanting visitors throughout December, the festive season was, once again, a truly wonderful experience, inspiring guests to make Christmas their own.
A huge thank you to everyone who made 2019 such a fantastic year, and here’s to another incredible season in 2020.