Pictures (and a few words on the pictures) taken on the recent Fab Four organised visit to Hatfield House:
Sorry if some of the remarks are a bit flippant but I’m only the photographer. If someone else would like to put fingers to keyboard and write some more intelligent text to supplement these photographs I would be more than happy.
[Note: no photography was allowed in the House itself]
My call has been answered! I am indebted to Thelma Benfield for supplying the following, more factual, report on the visit. Thank you, Thelma.
(Events Group outing on 18.04.13)
Hatfield Palace was built in 1485 by the then Bishop of Ely and lies to the west of the present Hatfield House – a Jacobean mansion built by the 1st Earl of Salisbury between 1607-11. Only one side of the palace remains, but this includes the Great Hall where Queen Elizabeth 1 held her first Council. She had spent most of her childhood at the Palace – today it is used for weddings, parties and social functions.
The Salisbury Family still live in Hatfield House – or part of it, at least. It is quite large, with beautiful views over the grounds, especially from the upstairs windows.
Jacobean craftmanship is apparent everywhere; the carving on the Grand Staircase and the stained glass window in the Private Chapel being extreme examples. A lot of the decoration (ceilings, wall hangings etc.) was redesigned for the visit of Queen Victoria around 1846. The Kitchen gave an insight into life “below stairs” but some of the dinner menus on display could make a stomach churn. Some had 12 courses, 6 of which were meats of various kinds!
All in all, this House is well worth a visit, in my view. Not only can you visit the House but there are also the gardens, the park, the park farm and the stable yard, home to a number of individual shops. The 12th century church in the grounds is the last resting place of a number of Prime Ministers.
There is a restaurant serving coffee/cakes and a cold and hot meal counter. Needless to say, this last was well patronised by our party.