Tissington Hall is a beautiful long, low and building in the centre of the estate village. The earliest part of the house is 16thC and was extended in the 19thC. This has been on our ‘to visit’ list for many years as it is only open for a short time during school holidays. All visits are by guided tour. It is a popular wedding venue.
Entry to the village is through a grand archway past the lodge and down an elegant avenue of lime trees. The stone houses are scattered round the duck pond and there is parking off the road outside the hall.
This is surrounded by a wall with gateway with ornamental wrought iron work. In front of the house are lawns with herbaceous borders.
We arrived just in time for the 12.30 tour. There were eight of us, a nice number. The guide was informative and amusing with an emphasis on the family history and the portraits.
The tour begins in what was the great hall which still has its original panelling. Above is a yellow and white plaster work frieze. The flat ceiling is painted white and has decorative gold cords making a diamond pattern across it. There was a fire burning in the large stone fireplace.
A beautifully carved wooden staircase leads up to the east and west drawing room on the first floor. The east drawing room is panelled. There is a sad story of a 16 year old daughter whose dress caught fire but was trapped in the room when she couldn’t get the door open. This was such a devastating blow to the family that the room was shut up for 30 years. A doorway leads into the west drawing room with its white plaster and large, later bay window overlooking the terraced gardens at the back of the house. Doorways lead through to the newer 19thC extension. That leading the the billiard room (not open) is painted to look like marble.
A wooden staircase takes you back to the ground floor to the dining room in the original kitchens. This still has a huge alcove where the kitchen fire would have been. The room still smells of smoke as the panelling was put directly onto smoke grimed walls.
The library is a large room lined with shelves of books and another large alcove with a fire. Beyond are the private quarters still lived in by the family.
The tour ends by taking you out into the gardens with a small ornamental pond. The terraced gardens rise in three levels above this reached by stone steps. The first level has been replanted as a rose garden. The other two are grassed over. Paths take you into the arboretum and past the large marque used for wedding receptions. The hall is licensed for weddings but after problems of damage during the evening reception, these are now held in the marque.
This was an interesting visit. We enjoyed the tour although you don’t see many rooms. There are no tilets at the hall, you have to use those in the tea room. There is a shop in the stable block but this was shut the day we visited.
Tissington village is also worth exploring with its Norman church, six wells, old fashioned sweetshop, Candle maker, butcher and Old Coach House Tea rooms. These can get busy with coach parties. Although the village was busy few people seem to go into the hall. Possibly the £9 admission puts them off. (It is free to members of Historic Houses Association.)