Hanbury Hall – National Trust

Hanbury Hall and Gardens is a country manor house based near Droitwich Spa, the house was built in the early 1700s, with 20 acres of gardens and a further 400 acres of parkland to explore. The Hanbury Estate was located within the boundaries of the Royal Forest of Feckenham, sadly its royal status was lost in 1629.

In 1701 the build of the house started with designs and plans by William Rudhall, or so the National Trust believes. The house was built for a wealthy Chancery Barrister, Thomas Vernon who was a distant relative of the Vernons at Haddon Hall and Sudbury Hall.

The house was built during the reign of Queen Anne, finally being completed in 1710, however, Vernon only lived at Hanbury Hall for 11 years before his death in 1721. The estate then fell to Bowater Vernon, the son of Thomas’ cousin, the estate then passed through several generations of the family, through prosperity and financial difficulty, the National Trust then took it over in 1953.

Hanbury Hall is a red brick house with white stone dressings, it has 11 front bay windows and three-bay project wings. When it was built it was a type of gentry house that displayed nobility, with architectural features that are relatively old fashioned, suggesting it was created by a master mason rather than a London Architect.

Inside Hanbury Hall, there is a magnificent painted staircase completed by Sir James Thornhill, it was said to be the only reason why Hanbury Hall was saved from being knocked down. One of the guides told us that there were houses being demolished across the country and somebody spotted the religious mural on the walls and ceilings, they decided to save Hanbury Hall.

The Baroque decorative painting with a panelled hall with a monochrome trompe l’oeil ceiling was the lasting legacy of Thomas Vernon (1654–1721) which was commissioned for Sir James Thornhill to create. They depict the story of Achilles and, having been recently restored, are Hanbury’s crowning glory.

Originally a stage-set for spectacular summer parties, Hanbury Hall offers a glimpse into life at the turn of the 18th century. The formal gardens were designed by George London, have been faithfully re-created, with an orangery, bowling green, orchards and walled garden. Surrounding the house is eight hectares of early 18th-century gardens and 162 hectares of parkland, there are intricately laid-out gardens that show spring in a beautiful light.

Thomas Vernon was keen to have an up to date and fashionable garden in the early 18th century, he employed the garden designer of the day, George London, who created a garden which included all the elements associated with the formal style of gardening; a Parterre, Fruit Garden, Wilderness, Grove and Bowling Green. The garden remained this way until the 1770s, where it changed from the very formal to the natural landscape style.

In the mid-1990s with help from generous donations and a European Union grant, the garden was carefully restored using the original plan from James Dougharty’s garden survey between 1731-1733. Today the gardens are wonderful, the flowers are just blooming and you can see it’s grandure from the inside of the house. With birds chirping and the spring sunshine beginning to peep through the clouds, spring is the perfect time to explore the outdoors.

The visit to Hanbury Hall was wonderful, although there wasn’t much to see inside the house, the grounds surrounding the house really showcased the amazing gardens and really brought the hall to life.

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