Visit to Markenfield Hall 21st May 2019
22 May 2019 - 17:47 BY The Arts Society Wensleydale
On a perfect sunny day our group of 38 arrived at Markenfield Hall, near Ripon, a grade 1 listed house, the most complete surviving example of an early 14th century English country house. Built in 1310, it is completely moated and approached through a gatehouse. A Turnpike Act of 1777 moved the mediaeval main road from next to the house to over a mile away leaving Markenfield, for many centuries, largely forgotten.
We were immediately given a warm welcome by the Hall’s administrator, Sarah Robson, and divided into two groups for the guided tour. As we progressed around the house, our guide took us through the fascinating history of Markenfield, starting with its mention in the Doomsday book and continuing with the owners and notable events throughout the centuries. Until 1569 it was the home of the Markenfield family and since 1761 has been the home of the Grantley family who are gradually restoring it. We learned that in 2008, Markenfield was the first recipient of the Sotheby’s/Historic Houses Association Restoration Award which recognises the finest restoration of a historic house in Britain in a way which respects and is in sympathy with the age and quality of the building.
To end our visit, we were treated to a lovely tea party with delicious cakes, all set out on individual group tables in the Undercroft.
This wonderful house, with features such as a mediaeval stone vaulted ceiling, its lovely gardens, moat and views of the farm buildings and 600-acre estate has an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity which, coupled with exceptional hospitality, gave us a most memorable and enjoyable visit.
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