My Tudor House is Falling Down!

Exterior LMHNicola here and today I'm sharing a visit I did recently to an amazing country house. Just to the side of a busy main road in Cheshire, surrounded by houses and traffic, lies a throwback to another time. It’s called Little Moreton Hall and whilst it’s not a stately home it certainly isn’t that small either. Built 500 years ago, it’s a time traveller from the Tudor era to the present. It was built to impress; a half-timbered house with decorative timber, plasterwork, painting and glazing that is totally dazzling.

I hadn’t been to Little Moreton Hall since I was a child and it’s a tribute to what an amazing place it is that I remember it so well. It was wonderful to revisit it. My first thought when I saw it, though, was to wonder how on earth it had managed to stand for so long. It looks like a house that is crumpling under its own weight. It bends, sags and buckles and the floors and walls are nowhere near straight. It is extraordinary.

Little Moreton Hall belonged to the Moreton family for hundreds of years before being given to the National Trust in 1938. The Little Moreton Hall hall Moretons were not aristocracy but powerful local gentry who built and improved the house almost continuously from the early 1500s until the English Civil War stopped them in their tracks. The Hall was very much a Tudor status symbol, boasting expensive glass windows and ornate plasterwork and it was sign to the local gentry of just who was at the top of the pecking order! The 16th century Moreton family was rich, hospitable and generous, but their fortunes took a fall when they supported the King in the Civil War and were heavily penalised for it. They never did any further work on the house.

What I particularly loved about Little Moreton Hall was the way in which there were so many fascinating little touches of history about the place and they way in which the team working there brought these out through displays and information. (Who knew, for example, that black and white Tudor houses were often originally silver and cream because oak weathers to a silver colour? The black colour usually comes from tar that was painted on later).  Although most of the rooms are empty, the are full of detail. The house has 30 000 leaded panes of glass, known as quarries. Over the centuries many of the original ones have fallen out as the wood of the house moved and settled, opening up the lead of the window panes. Until the 1570s, glass was so rare and was such a luxury that if you moved house you would probably take your windows with you! Also very rare are Little Moreton Hall’s chimney stacks because chimneys didn’t become commonplace until the end of the 16th century. Again Moreton seems to have been state of the art; in its day it must have looked as modern as eco-houses do now!

Richard dale I really loved the way in which the master craftsman who oversaw the building of the hall advertised his work on it, and 500 years later it’s still there to see: “Richarde Dale Carpender Made Thies Window.” Other stunning details were in the parlour, where in 1976 they discovered that the panelling hid earlier painted wall and some of the earliest type of wallpaper! This is amazingly well-preserved and colourful.

Three floors up was the long gallery, which felt as though it was perched rather precariously on Long gallerythe top of the house! The Long Gallery was built for exercise and games and in 1976 the curators found some 16th and 17th century tennis balls behind the panelling! It was the long gallery that, along with the heavy slate roof, was responsible for the structural problems that make the hall look as though it is falling down. Most timber-framed houses were built one floor at a time, with the ceiling of one forming the floor of the other. However, the long gallery is much narrower than the floor below it; this was a decision that was made for appearances because a narrow room looks longer and more dramatic. It also meant that the room had no direct support. Four times the Moretons attempted to shore up the house, including inserting iron tie rods and later a steel frame. So tumbledown is the whole floor that when you go into the chamber off the long gallery, it appears that the fireplace is askew. This is an optical illusion I couldn’t get my head around. It’s the floor that actually slopes pretty steeply here.

HumoursOutside, the knot garden was the perfect, pretty complement to a gorgeous Tudor house, and who doesn’t love a moat? We were treated to a wealth of information on Tudor plants, both in terms of their practical and medicinal uses and the folklore associated with them. I did the quiz to ascertain what Tudor “humour” or temperament I possessed: Phlegmatic is “cold and wet,” someone who is quiet, friendly, sympathetic and prone to worrying. Melancholics were introverted, thoughtful and creative. Sanguine types were lively, sociable and easily bored and those who were Choleric were analytical, logical and determined. There were recipes to help you Lemonade balance your humour, so if you were the cold wet type you were advised to eat hot, dry food such as spiced lamb. The cholerics were recommended a vegetarian salad to cool them down! Whilst this was all good advice, I preferred the lemonade and gin and lime cake from the café!

What sort of Tudor Temperament do you possess? Are you the sociable, adventurous Sanguine person, or the competitive, practical Choleric type? Are you a Melancholic deep thinker or a loyal Phlegmatic? They each have their strengths!

 

 

95 thoughts on “My Tudor House is Falling Down!”

  1. I couldn’t decide if I was more Phlegmatic or Melancholic. I’m somewhere in there. What a great post! I learn so much reading this blog.

    Reply
  2. I couldn’t decide if I was more Phlegmatic or Melancholic. I’m somewhere in there. What a great post! I learn so much reading this blog.

    Reply
  3. I couldn’t decide if I was more Phlegmatic or Melancholic. I’m somewhere in there. What a great post! I learn so much reading this blog.

    Reply
  4. I couldn’t decide if I was more Phlegmatic or Melancholic. I’m somewhere in there. What a great post! I learn so much reading this blog.

    Reply
  5. I couldn’t decide if I was more Phlegmatic or Melancholic. I’m somewhere in there. What a great post! I learn so much reading this blog.

    Reply
  6. Great post, Nicola.
    The house is beautiful. I would love to see it in the silver and cream coloration, but that would certainly be less dramatic. Imagine cleaning all those windows!
    Have they been able to finally shore it up, or is it still in danger of falling down?
    I don’t seem to fit in any one temperament group. The only one that does not apply is sanguine. And I must say, the names of the “humours” are kind of off-putting.
    I love this blog. As Mary T wrote, there is so much to learn from it.

    Reply
  7. Great post, Nicola.
    The house is beautiful. I would love to see it in the silver and cream coloration, but that would certainly be less dramatic. Imagine cleaning all those windows!
    Have they been able to finally shore it up, or is it still in danger of falling down?
    I don’t seem to fit in any one temperament group. The only one that does not apply is sanguine. And I must say, the names of the “humours” are kind of off-putting.
    I love this blog. As Mary T wrote, there is so much to learn from it.

    Reply
  8. Great post, Nicola.
    The house is beautiful. I would love to see it in the silver and cream coloration, but that would certainly be less dramatic. Imagine cleaning all those windows!
    Have they been able to finally shore it up, or is it still in danger of falling down?
    I don’t seem to fit in any one temperament group. The only one that does not apply is sanguine. And I must say, the names of the “humours” are kind of off-putting.
    I love this blog. As Mary T wrote, there is so much to learn from it.

    Reply
  9. Great post, Nicola.
    The house is beautiful. I would love to see it in the silver and cream coloration, but that would certainly be less dramatic. Imagine cleaning all those windows!
    Have they been able to finally shore it up, or is it still in danger of falling down?
    I don’t seem to fit in any one temperament group. The only one that does not apply is sanguine. And I must say, the names of the “humours” are kind of off-putting.
    I love this blog. As Mary T wrote, there is so much to learn from it.

    Reply
  10. Great post, Nicola.
    The house is beautiful. I would love to see it in the silver and cream coloration, but that would certainly be less dramatic. Imagine cleaning all those windows!
    Have they been able to finally shore it up, or is it still in danger of falling down?
    I don’t seem to fit in any one temperament group. The only one that does not apply is sanguine. And I must say, the names of the “humours” are kind of off-putting.
    I love this blog. As Mary T wrote, there is so much to learn from it.

    Reply
  11. What a wonderful post, Nicola. Little Moreton Hall sounds like a lovely place to visit.
    As to humours, I think I’m a blend of phlegmatic and choleric. I’ll take my spiced lamb with a side of salad, please.

    Reply
  12. What a wonderful post, Nicola. Little Moreton Hall sounds like a lovely place to visit.
    As to humours, I think I’m a blend of phlegmatic and choleric. I’ll take my spiced lamb with a side of salad, please.

    Reply
  13. What a wonderful post, Nicola. Little Moreton Hall sounds like a lovely place to visit.
    As to humours, I think I’m a blend of phlegmatic and choleric. I’ll take my spiced lamb with a side of salad, please.

    Reply
  14. What a wonderful post, Nicola. Little Moreton Hall sounds like a lovely place to visit.
    As to humours, I think I’m a blend of phlegmatic and choleric. I’ll take my spiced lamb with a side of salad, please.

    Reply
  15. What a wonderful post, Nicola. Little Moreton Hall sounds like a lovely place to visit.
    As to humours, I think I’m a blend of phlegmatic and choleric. I’ll take my spiced lamb with a side of salad, please.

    Reply
  16. I had to look up what a knot garden is. “A formal garden in an intricate design.” So, why is it called knot, then? How is this different from just a formal garden? Do you have a picture of this fascinating house’s garden?

    Reply
  17. I had to look up what a knot garden is. “A formal garden in an intricate design.” So, why is it called knot, then? How is this different from just a formal garden? Do you have a picture of this fascinating house’s garden?

    Reply
  18. I had to look up what a knot garden is. “A formal garden in an intricate design.” So, why is it called knot, then? How is this different from just a formal garden? Do you have a picture of this fascinating house’s garden?

    Reply
  19. I had to look up what a knot garden is. “A formal garden in an intricate design.” So, why is it called knot, then? How is this different from just a formal garden? Do you have a picture of this fascinating house’s garden?

    Reply
  20. I had to look up what a knot garden is. “A formal garden in an intricate design.” So, why is it called knot, then? How is this different from just a formal garden? Do you have a picture of this fascinating house’s garden?

    Reply
  21. I don’t know what humour i am – but it’s probably extreme. in the 1940s, when i was in college weh took a test in order to understand the testing process. i elected to take the personality test; I came out neither introvert nor extrovert, but I did this by alternativiely testing in the 90th percentie for one trait or the other. in other words i am extremely introvert AND extremely extrovert and they cancel each other out!
    A fascinating house. Thank you for taking me there.

    Reply
  22. I don’t know what humour i am – but it’s probably extreme. in the 1940s, when i was in college weh took a test in order to understand the testing process. i elected to take the personality test; I came out neither introvert nor extrovert, but I did this by alternativiely testing in the 90th percentie for one trait or the other. in other words i am extremely introvert AND extremely extrovert and they cancel each other out!
    A fascinating house. Thank you for taking me there.

    Reply
  23. I don’t know what humour i am – but it’s probably extreme. in the 1940s, when i was in college weh took a test in order to understand the testing process. i elected to take the personality test; I came out neither introvert nor extrovert, but I did this by alternativiely testing in the 90th percentie for one trait or the other. in other words i am extremely introvert AND extremely extrovert and they cancel each other out!
    A fascinating house. Thank you for taking me there.

    Reply
  24. I don’t know what humour i am – but it’s probably extreme. in the 1940s, when i was in college weh took a test in order to understand the testing process. i elected to take the personality test; I came out neither introvert nor extrovert, but I did this by alternativiely testing in the 90th percentie for one trait or the other. in other words i am extremely introvert AND extremely extrovert and they cancel each other out!
    A fascinating house. Thank you for taking me there.

    Reply
  25. I don’t know what humour i am – but it’s probably extreme. in the 1940s, when i was in college weh took a test in order to understand the testing process. i elected to take the personality test; I came out neither introvert nor extrovert, but I did this by alternativiely testing in the 90th percentie for one trait or the other. in other words i am extremely introvert AND extremely extrovert and they cancel each other out!
    A fascinating house. Thank you for taking me there.

    Reply
  26. I think like most of us, I’m a combination of different humors. I love the look of a Tudor house, but I don’t think I’d like to live in one. It seems like it would be dark inside with the small windows. That’s what I’ve noticed in the faux Tudor-style bungalows that were built in my area in the early part of the 20th century.

    Reply
  27. I think like most of us, I’m a combination of different humors. I love the look of a Tudor house, but I don’t think I’d like to live in one. It seems like it would be dark inside with the small windows. That’s what I’ve noticed in the faux Tudor-style bungalows that were built in my area in the early part of the 20th century.

    Reply
  28. I think like most of us, I’m a combination of different humors. I love the look of a Tudor house, but I don’t think I’d like to live in one. It seems like it would be dark inside with the small windows. That’s what I’ve noticed in the faux Tudor-style bungalows that were built in my area in the early part of the 20th century.

    Reply
  29. I think like most of us, I’m a combination of different humors. I love the look of a Tudor house, but I don’t think I’d like to live in one. It seems like it would be dark inside with the small windows. That’s what I’ve noticed in the faux Tudor-style bungalows that were built in my area in the early part of the 20th century.

    Reply
  30. I think like most of us, I’m a combination of different humors. I love the look of a Tudor house, but I don’t think I’d like to live in one. It seems like it would be dark inside with the small windows. That’s what I’ve noticed in the faux Tudor-style bungalows that were built in my area in the early part of the 20th century.

    Reply
  31. Amazing looking house and I loved that long hall. That gives a perspective of size. Houses that shift are a little unnerving in that one never knows when they will say – “I’m done” and collapse. I lived in a house that was settling and we would roll marbles down the floor to see which would get to the other end first.
    As for Tudor humour – I think I fit Phlegmatic best with a touch of the others added in.
    Love the story of this unique spot – thank you for sharing it and the photos.

    Reply
  32. Amazing looking house and I loved that long hall. That gives a perspective of size. Houses that shift are a little unnerving in that one never knows when they will say – “I’m done” and collapse. I lived in a house that was settling and we would roll marbles down the floor to see which would get to the other end first.
    As for Tudor humour – I think I fit Phlegmatic best with a touch of the others added in.
    Love the story of this unique spot – thank you for sharing it and the photos.

    Reply
  33. Amazing looking house and I loved that long hall. That gives a perspective of size. Houses that shift are a little unnerving in that one never knows when they will say – “I’m done” and collapse. I lived in a house that was settling and we would roll marbles down the floor to see which would get to the other end first.
    As for Tudor humour – I think I fit Phlegmatic best with a touch of the others added in.
    Love the story of this unique spot – thank you for sharing it and the photos.

    Reply
  34. Amazing looking house and I loved that long hall. That gives a perspective of size. Houses that shift are a little unnerving in that one never knows when they will say – “I’m done” and collapse. I lived in a house that was settling and we would roll marbles down the floor to see which would get to the other end first.
    As for Tudor humour – I think I fit Phlegmatic best with a touch of the others added in.
    Love the story of this unique spot – thank you for sharing it and the photos.

    Reply
  35. Amazing looking house and I loved that long hall. That gives a perspective of size. Houses that shift are a little unnerving in that one never knows when they will say – “I’m done” and collapse. I lived in a house that was settling and we would roll marbles down the floor to see which would get to the other end first.
    As for Tudor humour – I think I fit Phlegmatic best with a touch of the others added in.
    Love the story of this unique spot – thank you for sharing it and the photos.

    Reply
  36. Great post, Nicola. I love these Tudor black and white houses though I once make the mistake of visiting Gawsworth Hall, also in Cheshire, on a Bank Holiday Monday. It was so crowded you could barely see anything! My favourite one is Rufford Old Hall, it isn’t as big or splendid as Moreton, but there is a family connection and my grandfather used to play there as a child.
    Not sure what humour I am as I seem to have bits of them all. Thank goodness I don’t live in Tudor times, I think my mixed up disposition would have probably created a problem for any doctor trying to treat me 🙂

    Reply
  37. Great post, Nicola. I love these Tudor black and white houses though I once make the mistake of visiting Gawsworth Hall, also in Cheshire, on a Bank Holiday Monday. It was so crowded you could barely see anything! My favourite one is Rufford Old Hall, it isn’t as big or splendid as Moreton, but there is a family connection and my grandfather used to play there as a child.
    Not sure what humour I am as I seem to have bits of them all. Thank goodness I don’t live in Tudor times, I think my mixed up disposition would have probably created a problem for any doctor trying to treat me 🙂

    Reply
  38. Great post, Nicola. I love these Tudor black and white houses though I once make the mistake of visiting Gawsworth Hall, also in Cheshire, on a Bank Holiday Monday. It was so crowded you could barely see anything! My favourite one is Rufford Old Hall, it isn’t as big or splendid as Moreton, but there is a family connection and my grandfather used to play there as a child.
    Not sure what humour I am as I seem to have bits of them all. Thank goodness I don’t live in Tudor times, I think my mixed up disposition would have probably created a problem for any doctor trying to treat me 🙂

    Reply
  39. Great post, Nicola. I love these Tudor black and white houses though I once make the mistake of visiting Gawsworth Hall, also in Cheshire, on a Bank Holiday Monday. It was so crowded you could barely see anything! My favourite one is Rufford Old Hall, it isn’t as big or splendid as Moreton, but there is a family connection and my grandfather used to play there as a child.
    Not sure what humour I am as I seem to have bits of them all. Thank goodness I don’t live in Tudor times, I think my mixed up disposition would have probably created a problem for any doctor trying to treat me 🙂

    Reply
  40. Great post, Nicola. I love these Tudor black and white houses though I once make the mistake of visiting Gawsworth Hall, also in Cheshire, on a Bank Holiday Monday. It was so crowded you could barely see anything! My favourite one is Rufford Old Hall, it isn’t as big or splendid as Moreton, but there is a family connection and my grandfather used to play there as a child.
    Not sure what humour I am as I seem to have bits of them all. Thank goodness I don’t live in Tudor times, I think my mixed up disposition would have probably created a problem for any doctor trying to treat me 🙂

    Reply
  41. I’d love to be able to visit this house. It’s fascinating. I echo the comment above, I learn so much here. Brilliant post Nicola.

    Reply
  42. I’d love to be able to visit this house. It’s fascinating. I echo the comment above, I learn so much here. Brilliant post Nicola.

    Reply
  43. I’d love to be able to visit this house. It’s fascinating. I echo the comment above, I learn so much here. Brilliant post Nicola.

    Reply
  44. I’d love to be able to visit this house. It’s fascinating. I echo the comment above, I learn so much here. Brilliant post Nicola.

    Reply
  45. I’d love to be able to visit this house. It’s fascinating. I echo the comment above, I learn so much here. Brilliant post Nicola.

    Reply
  46. Thank you, Alison. It is gorgeous, isn’t it. Yes, they have managed to stabilise the house now but I think it’s a constant process of conservation.
    The names of the humours aren’t very attractive, are they!

    Reply
  47. Thank you, Alison. It is gorgeous, isn’t it. Yes, they have managed to stabilise the house now but I think it’s a constant process of conservation.
    The names of the humours aren’t very attractive, are they!

    Reply
  48. Thank you, Alison. It is gorgeous, isn’t it. Yes, they have managed to stabilise the house now but I think it’s a constant process of conservation.
    The names of the humours aren’t very attractive, are they!

    Reply
  49. Thank you, Alison. It is gorgeous, isn’t it. Yes, they have managed to stabilise the house now but I think it’s a constant process of conservation.
    The names of the humours aren’t very attractive, are they!

    Reply
  50. Thank you, Alison. It is gorgeous, isn’t it. Yes, they have managed to stabilise the house now but I think it’s a constant process of conservation.
    The names of the humours aren’t very attractive, are they!

    Reply
  51. Thanks for posting that, Alison. I do have some photos of the garden but for some reason type pad wouldn’t let me post them up! I think a knot garden was a very specific Tudor style. I must read up on it.

    Reply
  52. Thanks for posting that, Alison. I do have some photos of the garden but for some reason type pad wouldn’t let me post them up! I think a knot garden was a very specific Tudor style. I must read up on it.

    Reply
  53. Thanks for posting that, Alison. I do have some photos of the garden but for some reason type pad wouldn’t let me post them up! I think a knot garden was a very specific Tudor style. I must read up on it.

    Reply
  54. Thanks for posting that, Alison. I do have some photos of the garden but for some reason type pad wouldn’t let me post them up! I think a knot garden was a very specific Tudor style. I must read up on it.

    Reply
  55. Thanks for posting that, Alison. I do have some photos of the garden but for some reason type pad wouldn’t let me post them up! I think a knot garden was a very specific Tudor style. I must read up on it.

    Reply
  56. That’s very strange, Sue! Perhaps you have some strong extrovert and strong introvert qualities that can’t be easily parcelled into one personality trait!

    Reply
  57. That’s very strange, Sue! Perhaps you have some strong extrovert and strong introvert qualities that can’t be easily parcelled into one personality trait!

    Reply
  58. That’s very strange, Sue! Perhaps you have some strong extrovert and strong introvert qualities that can’t be easily parcelled into one personality trait!

    Reply
  59. That’s very strange, Sue! Perhaps you have some strong extrovert and strong introvert qualities that can’t be easily parcelled into one personality trait!

    Reply
  60. That’s very strange, Sue! Perhaps you have some strong extrovert and strong introvert qualities that can’t be easily parcelled into one personality trait!

    Reply
  61. Yes, a lot of the old houses are very dark because glass was so expensive and windows draughty. They are lovely to look at but not so comfortable to live in!

    Reply
  62. Yes, a lot of the old houses are very dark because glass was so expensive and windows draughty. They are lovely to look at but not so comfortable to live in!

    Reply
  63. Yes, a lot of the old houses are very dark because glass was so expensive and windows draughty. They are lovely to look at but not so comfortable to live in!

    Reply
  64. Yes, a lot of the old houses are very dark because glass was so expensive and windows draughty. They are lovely to look at but not so comfortable to live in!

    Reply
  65. Yes, a lot of the old houses are very dark because glass was so expensive and windows draughty. They are lovely to look at but not so comfortable to live in!

    Reply
  66. Hi Gail! I loved Gawsworth too but I wouldn’t think it could cope with too many crowds! How fantastic to have a family connection to Rufford.

    Reply
  67. Hi Gail! I loved Gawsworth too but I wouldn’t think it could cope with too many crowds! How fantastic to have a family connection to Rufford.

    Reply
  68. Hi Gail! I loved Gawsworth too but I wouldn’t think it could cope with too many crowds! How fantastic to have a family connection to Rufford.

    Reply
  69. Hi Gail! I loved Gawsworth too but I wouldn’t think it could cope with too many crowds! How fantastic to have a family connection to Rufford.

    Reply
  70. Hi Gail! I loved Gawsworth too but I wouldn’t think it could cope with too many crowds! How fantastic to have a family connection to Rufford.

    Reply

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