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A Visit to Tabley House
30 June, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm£16
Knutsford is luckier than many English towns as it boasts two historic houses with Gaskell connections: Tatton Park, the seat of the Egerton family, and Tabley House, which belonged to the Leicester family until 1975. Both houses feature in Gaskell’s final novel Wives and Daughters.
Although Cumnor Park is considered to be loosely based on Tatton, Molly’s first impression of the house with the ‘double semicircle flight of steps which led to the door of the mansion’ is a feature of the south front of Tabley House, rather than Tatton. Similarly, when Molly is at Hamley Hall and she sees ‘the silver shimmer of a mere’ from her bedroom window we think of the moated old hall at Tabley rather than Peover Hall, the other contender for Hamley Hall in Wives and Daughters.
During the nineteenth century, under the care of George Warren, 2nd Baron de Tabley (1811–87), the old hall’s structural condition was maintained, and it continued to be furnished with old furniture. Elizabeth notes this in her letter to William and Mary Howitt in May 1838. Sadly, Tabley Old Hall is now on Heritage England’s at-risk register.
However, this summer you can recapture the atmosphere of Wives and Daughters and Elizabeth’s visits to Tabley while living with her aunt in Knutsford, by joining us for a guided tour.
Cast your mind back to the scene when the young Elizabeth and her friends “rambled, lounged and meditated: …half musing with a posy of musk roses from the old-fashioned trim garden behind the house, some in old crazy boats that would do nothing but float on the glassy water’.
We can follow in her footsteps, first exploring the hall and its grounds and later enjoying a delicious lunch and relaxing with friends.
Do join us, we would love to see you! Booking information to follow.
Picture: Peter I. Vardy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons