Tissington is one of the prettiest and most unspoilt villages in the country and a sense of something rather special fills the minds of visitors, who enter Tissington off the main Ashbourne to Buxton road. First you pass through large rusticated lodge gates and then along an avenue of 200 year old lime trees.
Surprisingly the village is reached before the hall, with its pretty limestone cottages and well-tended gardens behind wide grass verges and backed by mature trees. Most of Tissington has been rebuilt, between 1830 and 1860, in traditional local style.
In the heart of the village close by the green is the pond where the ducks swim in timeless fashion and you might just see the Well Dressing boards floating in the water if you visit in May. Tissington is known as the mother place of well dressing and people come from all over the world to witness the annual well dressing ceremony. This takes place on Ascension Day, when five attractive wells are dressed together with a children’s well.
St Mary’s Church rises steeply above the main road through the village with a sparkling stream flowing close to the entrance to the churchyard. Built early in the 12th century, but heavily restored 700 years later, it has a massive Norman tower, with four foot thick walls and a well preserved Norman doorway. Inside there is a baroque style 17th century memorial to the FitzHerbert family, a finely carved communion rail and an early Norman font, which bears crude symbolic carvings.
Further up the main road on the opposite side is Tissington Hall, a fine Jacobean Manor House, standing in a slightly elevated position above the road behind a walled garden. The wall is broken only by a handsome 17th century gateway with wrought iron gates by the famous Derbyshire blacksmith, Robert Bakewell. The house was built in 1609 by Francis FitzHerbert, but has been much extended by his descendants. It replaced an earlier hall, which stood on the opposite side of the road within the confines of an ancient Derbyshire Hill fort.
The hall is occupied by Sir Richard FitzHerbert, the 9th Baronet, and Lady Caroline FitzHerbert and their children. In 1997, Sir Richard converted the old coach house into a most attractive and popular tea room and is currently considering the viability of setting up a small office suite in the roof void. Lady FitzHerbert founded a pre-school kindergarten in the old school in 1995.
The FitzHerbert's have owned the estate for over 500 years, but have managed to retain the village's quiet dignity and charm, while at the same time ensuring modern day needs have been met in full. But well before the FitzHerbert family came to Tissington there is evidence of occupation from excavations in the area. Bronze Age, Anglo Saxon and Celtic remains have all been discovered.
For those people who have not been on one of the popular escorted tours of the hall, their most lasting impression probably is the impressively long facade of Tissington Hall and its outbuildings. It fits into the surroundings perfectly, creating a feeling of importance and grandeur, but without imposing itself too much on the exquisite village scene.
Major changes were made to the house in 1900, designed by the Edwardian architect Arnold Mitchell, when a library, with books piled up to almost reach the ceiling, and billiard room were added. A plumbing system was also installed, the water having previously been heated by the fire in a large copper and then carried to the bedrooms.
During the general restoration work, the custom of the day of using plasterwork for wall decoration was used and it was discovered that twenty rooms had original Jacobean panelling. The restored oak panelling is now one of the most attractive features that visitors to the hall admire, with the ornately carved staircase particularly catching the eye.
The Entrance Hall is the largest and most impressive room in the building, its magnificent oak paneling with intersecting arches topped with a deep dado with Gothick arch motifs in plaster. An elaborate Gothick chimneypiece with a mantelpiece in Hoptonwood stone adds further to the status of the room. The handsome Dining Room also follows the same style.
As with most old houses, the furniture has been lovingly acquired over many years. The very attractive gardens laid out by William Barron and Sons in 1913, open out into terraces and provide attractive views in all directions.
SPECIAL WELL DRESSING FEATURE
6. Tissington Hall
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FOR TISSINGTON HALL OPENING DETAILS
The hall will be open to the public as follows.
TISSINGTON WELL DRESSINGS
For information visit the special feature page.
The Old Coach House (Tel. 01335 350501) Award winning tea rooms in the beautifully renovated Coach House to Tissington Hall. Open daily during the summer months, for the remainder of the year open from Thursday to Sunday. Closed over the Christmas period. Available for functions and private parties at agreed times throughout the year.
Located within the grounds of Tissington Hall, the apartment that sleeps two people is available for letting. It is on the first floor wing of the house. Accessed by an external flight of stairs.
Off the hall is the main bedroom with a double bed. The kitchen is well fitted with all the essential equipment required for a holiday. There is a separate lounge dining room. The bathroom consists of a bath, hand basin and toilet. Use of gardens as advised by owners.
All the images on this page have been kindly supplied by Sir Richard FitzHerbert Bt.
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