Sunday, May 5, 2013

Aston Hall: My New Favourite Historical House

When David and I were down in Birmingham last weekend, we made a trip to Aston Hall (which is located in the area called Aston about 20 minutes from the center of Birmingham.  As an aside, Aston was also the birthplace of HP sauce back in the day...).  This magnificent building is built in Jacobean architectural style, which basically means it was built during the reign of King James the VI of Scotland and King James I of England (i.e. early 1600s).  I think I have found my FAVOURITE architectural style--seriously, I want to go and visit every other Jacobean style building in the UK!!

Aston Hall was built primarily as a deer hunting estate and private lodging for a super rich noble, Sir Thomas Holte.  This is definitely the most impressive historical mansion I have seen.  There are a large number of rooms open for viewing.  I think I was most in awe of how much of the architectural detail is original to the time the hall was built, like the beautiful staircase:


If you love historical ceiling plasterwork, this is the place for you!  All of these ceilings are originals!  Such amazing condition and the details are overwhelming:




Despite visiting the Hall on a Sunday, there was hardly anyone there (which is a shame, really).  But it did allow us to get some great shots of the house (they allow photography inside).

One of the most awe-inspiring rooms is the Great Hall.  What you can't see from the photo below are the intricate details in the wood panelling, the impressive hand carved original marble fireplace, the original floors and another amazing plasterwork ceiling.

I wore my 1937 'Birthday Dress Suit' (McCall 9156) and my matching 1930s hat.  I definitely felt like I had walked onto the set of Downton Abbey!


This is the beautiful window at the opposite end of the Great Hall:


The history of the house is fascinating--it saw battle (the Great Siege of Christmas Eve) and even had cannon fire that destroyed a part of the staircase.  This was from the battle between the King and Parliament with Sir Thomas Holte pledging loyalty to the King.

Sir Thomas Holte had 15 children but he died after most of his children and didn't have an heir.  The house passed onto another relative and then was sold off to an antiquarian--which is probably why it has been preserved so well.  While many of the rooms remain in Jacobean style, there are several rooms, like the library, that are in a later style:



During the Victorian era, Aston Hall became the first historical country house to pass into municipal ownership.  It was converted into a museum in true Victorian style, complete with giant stuffed lions, giraffes and other oddities throughout the house.  The grounds saw tightrope walkers (without nets!), magicians, musicians, you name it!  Queen Victoria herself came and opened the museum to the public.  The museum also threw special events for the holidays:


Aston Hall is now a community museum managed by the Birmingham Museums Trust.  I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the Birmingham area--it's just a short taxi ride from the main part of town.  It's so beautiful and well maintained.  A real hidden gem!


I now have a new obsession...I want to check out all the other Jacobean style mansions/houses in the UK.  Here's a few links to some I've found so far:

Blickling Estate (Norwich)
Bramshill House (Hampshire)
Hatfield House (Hertfordshire)
Knole House (near Sevenoakes in Kent)
Plas Teg (Wales)

And check out this neat article by Britain magazine with some photos of Jacobean houses in the UK.

Have you been to Aston Hall?  What's your favourite historical house?

32 comments:

  1. Aston Hall is amazing. If you can come there when they've got one of their living history specials on - Aston by Candlelight at Christmas is amazing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can only imagine how wonderful that would be!!! I just love Aston Hall!!

      Delete
    2. I just saw a video of Christmas by Candlelight at Aston Hall. We just might have to go one year.

      Delete
  2. GORGEOUS!! I wish we had such grande estates here in the States.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ooh it looks amazing - great pics!

    Www.mancunianvintage.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. The house is nice, but your outfit is fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lovely building and gorgeous outfit Debi! Have you seen Jacobean style stitching and tapestry? It's just as intricate and intriguing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh! I will have to investigate Jacobean stitching and tapestry...I love the architectural style so much...I bet I would love the stitching as well!!

      Delete
  6. Wow Aston hall is amazing, so is your outfit!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is such a beautiful place!! And I must say you are looking fantastic, too!! You look wonderful in that palette!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Recently I went through British history (from XVs to early XXs) but my sources mentioned only vaguely Jacobean style. It would amazing to visit all historical places to feel the spirit of old times! Thanks for sharing photos and links, and the story of Aston Hall!

    You look like a movie start in your gorgeous outfit!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm so envious of all the historical sites like this in the UK. Absolutely beautiful! I love those ornate ceiling tiles and the wood work. Your blog posts are always such a treat to read: a history lesson AND a pretty lady in awesome handmade clothes! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's beautiful! Historical homes in the US are rarely so well maintained as museums, although I live near Gilette Castle, which is amazing. I just finished watching the original Great Gatsby and of course the Newport mansions featured in the movie are beautiful. It is a great privilege that I've gotten to visit them many times, but honestly they can be a little dull inside. The cliff walk where you view the exteriors of all of them is much better.
    Also, that first photo of you is wonderful! You really were born in the wrong era, back then you could've been a fabulous model or movie star.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would LOVE to visit New England sometime soon...It's so picturesque! I can't wait to see the scenery in the Great Gatsby!

      Delete
  11. I love your suit, the fit is perfect. And that hat is to die for! The colours go perfectly with the interiors of the mansion :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. We have a lot of cottages etc thats open to the public as museums but this kind of houses are rare. Have to go to GB more often

    ReplyDelete
  13. You look like you've arrived for a glamorous weekend house party! Gorgeous woman! :) We didn't go to an stately homes as such, since we were a little early int eh season, but I a was blown way by Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, which is a ruin, The sense of history was so strong, we got lost in the past. It was awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love ruined castles too! Such amazing history...I will have to check out Bodiam Castle!

      Delete
  14. You look like you are in a film at Aston Hall. My favourite house is Trerice in Cornwall. It is a Tudor house and feels very homely. I can imagine sitting doing my embroidery in the sitting room.
    Bev

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been wanting to really check out Cornwall.. I bet the historic houses are amazing down there!

      Delete
  15. You look like the elegant Lady of the Manor, Debi! :) What an amazing home! The ceilings are stunning.

    ReplyDelete
  16. That building is spectacular! And you look amazing too. :) It's wonderful to see buildings like that open to the public to lots of people can enjoy them.
    -Emily

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On a side note, your birthday dress suit has got me thinking. My birthday is coming up the end of May. I'm feeling the need to make something special for myself. :)
      -Emily

      Delete
    2. You should DEFINITELY make yourself something special!! It's one of my favourite things about birthdays...making that special outfit!

      Delete
  17. This house looks amazing! I'm so sad that I wasn't into historical things as much when I was in Birmingham a few years ago. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  18. That looks incredible! I've never been to any of those houses, sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I simply love your look, it's so perfect (oh, and the ceiling plasterwork is amazing, too :-).

    ReplyDelete
  20. Inspiring outfit and exquisite pictures - you look like a movie star - as usual! Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow, what a beautiful home! I love that so many original details have been preserved. What a fun photo shoot!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Completely stunning!! Your photo shoot is positively delightful :) Cannot wait to see your adventures to other estates!

    ReplyDelete

I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...