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Another ‘Jolly’ in The Peaks: Saints, Saxon Princes and Ilam Hall Estate.

January 16, 2017
Ilam (Manifold)

 Ilam Hall, (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Another ‘Jolly.’

Pop the kettle on, make a brew, and put your feet up for a few minutes and relax.

Comfy? Here we go:

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

 

ILam Hall (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Ilam Hall (c) Jane Risdon 2016

The latter part of 2016 was really hectic for me with several writing projects to be completed, and my recent Uni courses taking up my time –Archaeology and Forensic Science – so getting away for a few ‘jollies,’ was really welcome.

Grounds of Ilam Hall (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Grounds of Ilam Hall (c) Jane Risdon 2016

2017 is going to be a busy year with another

Forensic course – my 5th – and the publication, possibly in May of Only One Woman which I’ve co-written with author Christina Jones. 

I hope you enjoyed my first ‘jolly,’ to Dovedale in this series. Thanks to all those who took time to read it and leave me comments. It is great to know you are out there and enjoying my ‘jollies’ with me.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

 As promised here is my next post.

Let me know what you think.

After our wet and rather energetic morning in Dovedale we went on to visit the lovely Ilam Hall and Park just a short drive down the road from Dovedale. If it had been dry we could have walked.

llam Park is a 158-acre country estate situated in Ilam on both banks of the River Manifold, five miles north-west of Ashbourne. The property is managed as part of The National Trust’s South Park Estate.

Ashbourne is situated in Derbyshire and so is Ilam’s postal address, but the Park and Ilam are in Staffordshire –  the county boundary being the River Dove.

River Dove (c) Jane Risdon 2016

River Dove (c) Jane Risdon 2016

River Dove (c) Jane Risdon 2016

River Dove (c) Jane Risdon 2016

 I know it’s confusing, but we do things like that in Britain, just to keep you on your toes.

The property consists of Ilam Hall and remnants of its gardens, an ancient semi-natural woodland, Hinkley Wood, designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), noted for its small-leaved and large-leaved Limes and their hybrids.

The estate was owned for over 250 years by the Port family from the 16th century until it was sold to David Pike Watts in 1809.

On his death in 1816 the old hall was inherited by his daughter who had married Jesse Russell.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

Jesse Watts-Russell, High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1819, and Conservative MP for the ‘rotten borough’ of Gatton, commissioned James Trubshaw to build a new Hall to designs by John Shaw; the Hall, now a Grade 11 listed building, was built between 1821 and 1826.

By the early 1930s it had been sold for demolition.

The demolition was well advanced when Sir Robert McDougal bought it for The National Trust on the understanding that the remaining parts: the entrance porch and hall, the Great Hall, and the service wing, should be used as an International Youth Hostel. 

Today Ilam Hall is leased to the Youth Hostels Association England and Wales (YHA).

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

Therefore our visit was confined to the park and grounds only.

The rain didn’t stop and so our first visit was to the Manifold Tea Rooms for a welcome snack and hot drink. 

Manifold Tea Rooms (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Manifold Tea Rooms (c) Jane Risdon 2016

By the time we had finished our refreshments the rain had stopped and the sun had come out so we ventured outside and took a wander through the grounds.

The grass was rather wet and slippery but it didn’t matter, we were enjoying ourselves too much.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

We took a wander down to the river via some very steep steps from the lawns above, and we walked along the path – Paradise Walk – running alongside the river bank leading eventually alongside fields with sheep grazing. 

Following the river upstream a little way on our right, in the woods, lies a grotto where the playwright William Congreave is said to have written his first play, ‘The Old Bachelor’ in 1689.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

The path emerges from the trees moving away from the river bank. This is still ‘Paradise Walk’, created as a place where the hall guests could take their exercise.

Paradise Walk (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Paradise Walk (c) Jane Risdon 2016

The path takes you past ‘The Battlestone’, a Saxon cross unearthed during the building of the new Ilam village and thought to commemorate a battle with the Danes.

The trees were still reluctant to indulge in Autumnal changes we noticed, few had their gold and russet leaves yet, but the sun which had come out was a lot warmer than you’d expect so late in the year. Apart from the sounds of the sheep grazing, our feet hitting the ground, and just the distant tinkle of the river, there was total silence. Wonderful.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

I stopped to take photos of the sheep and the fungi growing along the path. Trees towered over the path and on the other side of the huge field the sides of a cliff were covered in forestation – Hinkley Wood. A picture perfect place to be and to commune with nature.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

We came to a natural place to turn around and head back to the huge lawns and the Italian themed grounds near the house, as we wanted to see the Church before it got too dark.

We climbed the steep steps again and turned to our right to take a wander over St. Bertam’s bridge so we could watch the river a while.

Bertram's Bridge (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Bertram’s Bridge (c) Jane Risdon 2016

The church was a delight and we found ourselves running inside as another downpour, much more intense than earlier, began as we began to look around the churchyard.

Ilam has been a place of pilgrimage since the days of St Bertram, a Saxon saint and hermit who lived there. Today there are more ‘pilgrims’ (in the form of tourists) than ever.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

Saxon Stone (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Saxon Battle stone (c) Jane Risdon 2016

The saint was a Saxon Prince of Mercia who travelled to Ireland to marry an Irish Princess. On their way back to Mercia she had a child and they rested in the forest at Ilam while Bertram went off to seek food.

When he returned he discovered that wolves had killed both his wife and child. Broken-hearted, he lived as a hermit around Ilam for the rest of his life.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

The saint’s tomb lies in the church, a trim little building sitting apart from the rest of the village. The church was originally within the village, but the village was moved by Jesse Watts Russell to improve the view from the hall he built-in the 1820s.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

The Font (c) Jane Risdon 2016

The Font (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Some small parts of Saxon architecture may still be traced on the south wall where there is a walled-up old Saxon doorway. There are the stumps of two Saxon crosses in the churchyard.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

Inside the church there is a magnificent Saxon font, which is worth a visit for itself.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

When the rain eased off a little we left the church and made our way back to the car-park and headed for home.

Tired from all the exertions and fresh air I didn’t finish dinner and was in bed before nine o’clock.

I cannot remember the last time I did that unless I was unwell.

Next morning bright and early we set off for our next ‘jolly.’

Pop back soon and discover more about my week away in Derbyshire and Cumbria. I am writing it up now.

I really hope you enjoyed this, let me know.

All photos (c) Jane Risdon 2016 All Rights Reserved.

To visit Ilam:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ilam-park-dovedale-and-the-white-peak

Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 2AZ

Tel:  +44 (0)1335 350503

 

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30 Comments
  1. I love the old world architecture
    Simply beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so pleased you do. We have so much here but I never cease to be amazed and delighted. I hope to add more of my jollies soon. Thanks for dropping in, great to have you here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like a great place to hang out after sunset – so much isolation – so much silence – so much the better that cameras don’t work in the dark.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jane, such beautiful pictures and narration. We felt like we were on tour with you. We are so pleased you stopped by our site allowing us to find yours. It is going to be fun seeing and reading about England and other places you visit through your eyes and keys.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I an thrilled you enjoyed tripping around my blog and that you found the various ‘jollied’ I manage to fit in when not writing. Thanks so much for popping in and keep them peeled…more to come. But I have a book about to come out so I am busy with publishing stuff (the editor etc) and so I shall be covering my writing too. Say hello when yo do drop back. I am about to begin writing up a visit to a huge country house with so many fascinating items inside…and a fab estate around it. Soon…:)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh no, rotten old wolves! That was a lovely day out from the comfort of my sofa – thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for taking me along on your latest jolly, it’s about time I revisited some of my old haunts LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    • LOL you know them! Wow. Hope I have done them justice. More to follow when get time to type them up and find the photos. I am working on Kedleston Hall at the moment – do you know it? Pop back in about a week, it should be ready by then. 🙂 xx

      Like

  6. Tina Jaray permalink

    What is so wonderful about your “jollies” is that I can enjoy all this travelling and seeing things without having to move from my comfy armchair.
    I learn, I enjoy, I appreciate.
    Many thanks Jane.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tina I am so happy you are enjoying my jollies. Armchair travel has to be the next best thing to being there. Thanks so much for keeping faith here. More to come soon…some grand houses and gorgeous countryside. I am busy writing them up and searching for the photos (always way to many) and so keep an eye out for them. I think you’ll enjoy them too 🙂

      Like

  7. Jenny Walker permalink

    Jane, I do love your jollies, they take me on a lovely journey, into another world away from the everyday humdrum. Jenny

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jen how lovely to see you here, thanks so much. I am happy you enjoy my jollies, I do too and so I like to share them and I need to keep a record of what and where etc, so this is a great place to do it. I am about to write up some other trips made around the same time so do drop back. Love to you all ❤ xxx

      Like

  8. jfredlee permalink

    Thank you, Jane. You know, I really enjoy these adventures you take us on. Fun reads, I learn a little bit, and I get a good feeling for the personality of the English countryside. I thoroughly enjoy your posts, and thanks very much for taking the time and effort to share them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My pleasure Jeff, I want to keep a record of them too so I am being selfish as well. So happy you enjoy them. We do have some amazing countryside and houses and places of interest and I like sharing them with you 🙂

      Like

  9. You are such a busy person, Jane! I don’t blame you one bit for needing a bit of ‘time off.’ So glad you enjoyed yourself, and you really did have weather luck! Thanks for sharing the beautiful ‘photos.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you like them Margot. I promise I am working hard too. But I love having the little trips and it would be mean not to share them. Thanks so much. I have a lot more to write up with some amazing history and artifacts to share. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Very enjoyable Jane.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  11. And no rain – wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you enjoyed this Marina, thanks for dropping in. Do pop back when I get to grips with two of the most amazing houses I have ever visited and a visit to the Lake District. Writing it now. 🙂

      Like

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