I carry a lot of keys too — I know where the jewellery is and I am trusted by the Mistress. I was one of the first to hear that Mistress Abigail was pregnant, I was there this summer when the baby was born — a little baby girl. I was there at her Christening and at her funeral, poor little thing. That was hard on the Mistress. I see the Priests that come here and I hear them say the Mass — poor things they are too!
Some of them are so young; and they are so brave — especially when everyone knows what dreadful things will happen to them if they are caught by the priest hunters. There are so many treacherous people around these days, spies that would betray us — but they will never hear anything from me!
That is all from Susan right now but over the next few weeks I will try to introduce you to a few more of the people around the Hall. PS — Historical note: Tudor history from the …Against a backdrop of wartime tension and hardships, Abigail unravels a puzzle that … books. You are commenting using your WordPress.
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Notify me of new comments via email. Create a free website or blog at WordPress. Tudor history from the heart of England tis done, tis past: I like to know everything that happens here. Pinterest Twitter Facebook Reddit. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public. I make sure that my mistress has her clothes laid out to wear and that she has water to wash with.
Mistress Packington says her prayers every morning before breakfast and I go with her to the little chapel in the house. The Master and Mistress like to keep to the old religion and so do I.
After breakfast, I go about my duties. I make it my business to know what is going around the house and the mistress likes me to tell her what is going on. All of the servants have to look up to me and as I am responsible for helping the Mistress with her clothes and personal things I get to talk to her quite a lot — especially when the master is away on business.
My clothes are quite nice too — I have a proper pair of shoes, an underskirt and a nice dress. I carry a lot of keys too — I know where the jewellery is and I am trusted by the Mistress. I was one of the first to hear that Mistress Abigail was pregnant, I was there this summer when the baby was born — a little baby girl. I was there at her Christening and at her funeral, poor little thing.
That was hard on the Mistress. I see the Priests that come here and I hear them say the Mass — poor things they are too! Some of them are so young; and they are so brave — especially when everyone knows what dreadful things will happen to them if they are caught by the priest hunters. There are so many treacherous people around these days, spies that would betray us — but they will never hear anything from me! That is all from Susan right now but over the next few weeks I will try to introduce you to a few more of the people around the Hall.
PS — Historical note: Across the UK there are said to be around a hundred old houses which still have a Priest hole. Several of these hides can be seen by visitors to the Hall today. You can see the entrance to the staircase hide in this post well sort of , you have to come to the Hall to really see where it is! In an earlier post I used this picture very top of this post of a bedroom at Harvington Hall. Entered through a secret passage in one of the bedrooms, the rooftop hide is by far the biggest hide at the Hall.
As soon as you enter the attic space you are confronted by a jumble of beams — it is quite easy to become disorientated as to your whereabouts in relation to the Hall below. Of course, this confusion served the purpose of the hide builder perfectly.
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The rooftop hide in common with several other such hides at Harvington is assumed to be the work of Nicholas Owen, the master builder of such places. At the end of the building one comes to a wall, at about chest height there is an entrance to a large space beyond.
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At one time this entrance had hinges and a bolt, any searcher coming across this may well have assumed that they had reached the end of the building. One story about this hide is that the Hall was visited a few years back by people who had been held as prisoners of war at Colditz castle.
There is a famous story that they built a glider in the attic of the castle, planning to use this in an escape attempt click here for more about this story. Apparently, these visitors were shocked to learn of the similarities between their hide and the one at Harvington.
Many of the techniques developed to disguise the entrance to the Colditz hide had been thought up over years earlier by whoever built the hide at Harvington. I made this in Photoshop as a representation of how this may have looked. This post takes a look at the main staircase at Harvington Hall. Like a lot of things at Harvington it has a bit of a story to tell — some of which can be told in this post, and some of it not! The original staircase dates from about This would have provided important visitors with a suitably grand entrance.
Harvington Hall was built by Humphrey Packington around After he died the Hall passed to his daughter Mary Yate. The Hall was not regularly lived in for over years and a great many of the fixtures and fittings at Harvington were taken out. If you want to see the original Harvington Hall staircase you have to travel to Coughton to see it. The staircase that we see today is an exact copy built between and The original staircase was built around and was a substantial improvement to the Hall. However, there is a theory that this development may have served another more secret purpose.
Of the seven hiding places at Harvington, four are to be found close to the staircase. These are the most ingenious hides and the ones thought to be the work of Nicholas Owen — the famous hide builder. In a house such as Harvington which was being used to hide Catholic Priests an attempt was made to employ servants often Catholic themselves who could be trusted to keep quiet about what was going on in the house. Despite this, there was always the possibility of the authorities being tipped off.
Hide building and the location of such hides would have been a secret known only to a few people. In order to make a secret hide it would have been necessary to cut through plaster, bricks, and wooden beams. As with any building project this would have involved a lot of mess and noise. It is thought likely that the staircase construction also served to hide the activity of the hide builder. The entrance to one of the most ingenious hides left anywhere is hidden somewhere on this staircase. There is also a story that it was once possible to spy on people in the great hall from this hide.
The entrance to this hide can clearly be seen in one the pictures on this page — exactly where is it? All of these have been incorporated into the restoration, along with information panels describing life at Harvington in the 18 th Century. The Malt House - before restoration. Ruth Bourne on Flickr, Click image. The Malt House was first built in Tudor times and was originally used as a stable or barn. This was a process which turned the locally grown barley into beer. In the 18th century this job was done at Harvington by a man called Randall Bagnall who would see that the following steps were completed.
Once threshed, the barley was taken by cart to the Malt House where it was steeped soaked on the ground floor for at least two days. After this the grains were spread out on the first floor where they were left to germinate. The germinated barley was moved up another floor where it was left to dry for four days, during this time it was regularly turned.
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Once dried, the barley was fed down a chute onto the curing floor — above the kiln. Here it was spread out on perforated tiles, a process which gave the grains a lovely aroma and flavour. In the last part of the process the kilned grains were put into sacks and taken to the Hall. In the Brewhouse, hops and yeast were added to make beer. In the past, beer was an important drink for ordinary English people.
Small beer, which is produced from a second and third use of the barley was drunk by everyone from labourers in the fields to their children. This was because water was often unsafe to drink, unlike the beer which contained enough alcohol to kill harmful bacteria. As you may know, Tudor Stuff blog is a bit biased when it comes to Harvington Hall.
Harvington Hall: Susan’s story
However, in our opinion the Malt House restoration is another reason that a visit to the Hall is essential for anyone interested in the history of the Tudor period. Create a free website or blog at WordPress. Tudor history from the heart of England tis done, tis past: