Saturday 8 September 2018

Nunnington Hall

I do like a bit of skulduggery and intrigue at my National Trust properties. If you read the Wikipedia entry for Nunnington Hall you'll find a mysterious little factoid; "Another feature of the garden are the resident peacocks. On June 10th 2007, Bluey, the head of the peacock family, died in suspicious circumstances." 

My imagination ran riot with this piece of information. Was he done in by another peacock? Poisoned by a crazed fan of a rival tourist attraction? Or did he end his own life, consumed with low self esteem because he hadn't been given a very imaginative name?

Nunnington Hall

But it wasn't suicidal peacocks I was looking for today. This trip to Yorkshire was an emergency; my last five missions (to BrockhamptonFyne CourtColeridge CottageThe Firs, and Dyffryn Gardens) were all very lovely, but none of the scones was top class. I was getting worried. I needed a five star scone.

In fact, Nunnington Hall itself turned out to be a nice little place and definitely one of those NT houses that you could live in. Here's some history:
  • In Tudor times, the Nunnington estate was owned by the Parr family - Catherine Parr found great fortune by marrying and outliving Henry VIII, while her brother William was sentenced to death for his part in putting Lady Jane Grey on the throne for nine days (he survived, although Nunnington was taken away from him)
  • The Norcliffe family built the oldest parts of the house we see today in the early 17th century
The Stone Hall at Nunnington
The Stone Hall, built in the 17th century.
Maybe not one for wildlife lovers.
  • Sir Thomas Norcliffe, a devout Puritan, gave the hall up to house Parliamentary troops during the Civil War, after which it fell into disrepair
  • Ranald Graham moved in next - he and then his great nephew Richard remodelled the house
  • Richard also ended up being sentenced to death, this time for being a staunch supporter of James II - he too survived, by naming all of his co-conspirators
  • Nunnington became a derelict farmhouse until bought by the Rutsons
  • Margaret Fife (who was born a Rutson) inherited in 1920 - she and her husband employed Walter Brierley (who also designed nearby Goddards) to turn Nunnington Hall into a family home, and that's what we see today
The Nunnington scone
But let's move on to the scone. It started well. The tea room is in the house and it's table service, which is quite rare - Goddards, Lyme, and Rufford Hall are the only others I can think of that come and take your order. There's also a really lovely tea garden but it was tipping it down with rain so I stayed indoors.

The scone arrived speedily and looked stunning.

Nunnington Hall Scones

Reader, it was stunning. It was light as a feather and fresh as a daisy. I cannot tell you how relieved I was to finally be back on the five star track.

I was so excited by the scone that I forgot all about Bluey the peacock and his untimely demise. Luckily, I was reminded by one of his peacock crew, presumably called Greeny or something, who was pecking about on his own looking for clues.

Nunnington Peacock

Nunnington Hall: 4 out of 5
Scone: 5 out of 5
Peacocks: My success in solving the mystery of Bluey's murder: 0 out of 5

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