A dress with a tale...

Three women looking at historic dress

Join us this spring to discover a piece of Berrington's history uncovered...

From a young age Ann would have been sculpted to be an ideal wife, in hope of a secure marriage to a man of social standing. Her education would have been simply to read and write, perhaps speak another language but mostly skills required to manage a household; flower arranging, herbal recipes and caring for linens.

At the age of seventeen, Ann would have had her ‘come-out’ at Court. Being presented to the King and Queen was the first step into adulthood and for this she wore a beautiful silk dress in which we are able to share with the public for the first time.

Born of a modest family, Ann’s education and upbringing saw her grow into a fine young lady. With this she stole the heart of Thomas Harley, a wealthy London Banker and Political Advisor. The couple married and went on to have eight children (five of which survived). Thomas’s fondness of Ann was apparent as he unusually transferred inherited estate into her name, meaning financial security for Ann should anything happen to him.

From this, the story of Berrington Hall begins. In 1775, the couple purchased the estate and shortly after designs for a stylish Neoclassical mansion began, an oasis for retirement in the countryside.

Sadly, we have no existing portraits of Ann, which is why we are so excited to display her court dress this spring, a rare piece of Berrington history to share with the public.

Join us from May onwards to discover this iconic piece from Berrington’s past and learn the story of Ann’s climb to power as an ‘ordinary woman’.