The Long Gallery

Lit originally by five great gable windows, this was the crowning glory of Sir Henry's new house. The fashion was set at Hardwick Hall and nearby Wollaton, noble houses built by Robert Smythson around 1590. Henry's gallery, at a mere sixty feet long was neither as impressive as in those noble edifices, nor could he afford to built it of stone. When his banker re-possessed the house, and let it out to farming tenants, the leaky three front gables were removed, and it became a grain store, yet still served as a good party venue. Now it sits under an award-winning Swithland slate roof and wonderful array of 400 year-old oak timbers.


The Old Kitchen

Another innovation for a house of this age was to have an inside kitchen. The fireplace, at nine foot six inches wide, is big enough to cook an ox whole, and when stoked up for such work, would have melted the skin off your knees half way across the room. The fireplace was reduced over the years and was finally bricked up around a "Yorkist "range, a contraption so feeble that it took 48 hours to cook the Christmas goose. Nevertheless, it seems that the inside kitchen has caught on as an idea. A witch's hexafoil guards the path from the door to the fireplace, a path now warmed by underfloor heating, which involved lifting every floor-brick, replacing four tons of clay with foamed glass, and putting back every brick in precisely the same position on a sand bed with hot-water pipes wiggling through.


The Great Chamber

The scene of a poignant family reunion when the house was hired from the bankers by its ex-owner's children for a wedding in 1641. In the best tradition of Kilroy, they left their marks on the walls. The son of the marriage became a relatively humble exciseman, but with all the other male heirs in the wider family failing, his direct decendants inherited the title of Earl of Huntingdon, which they have to this day. Sir Henry himself was descended from the Duke of Clarence, him who drowned in a butt of Malmsey shortly before his brother King Richard mislaid his horse at Bosworth.


These are just three of more than twenty rooms, each with a story to tell.