Allowing the Tudor Great Hall to breathe again

Compass Bay window in Tudor Great Hall showing panels to be replaced

The Tudor Great Hall is a magnificent timber construction, yet it is clear the original wattle and daub panels were no match for the longevity of the 500 year old timber.

By removing the concrete and brick panels that were no doubt lovingly installed throughout its lifetime, and replacing them with natural materials sympathetic to the building, the Tudor Great Hall will be able to relax once more. It will be able to breathe and move in unison, and who knows…we’d love to think it will survive another 500 years!

What’s involved?

This building work is part of a larger project which includes restoration of the leaded windows in the house that has already begun and will continue as long as there is funding.

Concrete panels which will be replaced with traditional materials in the Compass Bay window inside the Tudor Great Hall
Interior view of Compass Bay Windows showing white panels to be replaced

The panels in the Great Hall will be removed and replaced with traditional methods and materials. To do this the 500 year old building will be fenced across the front elevation and items from the collection will be moved or covered to protect from dust. This part of the project will last 4 weeks.

We wanted to tell you about some of our favourite objects in the collection and how we plan to look after them during this phase of the project.

Wedding Chairs

“I love the look and feel of the wood. The carving is especially beautiful, even the arms.” Joan Hamilton, House Volunteer

Ornately carved wooden wedding chairs in the Great Hall at Rufford Old Halll
Volunteer Joan Hamilton stood next to wooden carved chairs in Great Hall

The Wedding Chairs will be moved to the Sitting Room upstairs to protect them during the work.

Parish Chest

“The Parish Chest is fascinating. I wonder who held the 3 keys and who were the people whose initials are carved on it. Whatever it held must have been of been very valuable, but it’s now empty with no trace of what secrets were kept inside.” Carol Wright, House Volunteer

Wooden Parish Chest in the Great Hall at Rufford Old Hall
Volunteer Carol Wright in the Great Hall with the wooden parish chest

Unlike the Wedding Chairs the Parish Chest is very heavy and requires 6 people to move it so will remain in the Great Hall but will be relocated to a temporary home near the Moveable Screen and will be covered during the work.

On a positive note

This is a great opportunity for the Great Hall to reveal things about its self and its original construction. It’s likely that the last work was carried out during the 1960’s. But how was it built? We may discover more about the original construction so we will keep you updated and will share any interesting details that are uncovered.

What does the conservation work mean for our visitors?

This important work will help to ensure that this wonderful place is preserved for all to enjoy. Why not visit Rufford Old Hall for an insight into the traditional building work and conservation techniques that are used in this project.

There will be regular talks during the day.

This restoration work including scaffolding, lime plastering, and redecoration will cost approximately £22,000. A set of 4 small panels from the Compass Bay will cost approximately £1000 to replace. You can support future building work at Rufford Old Hall by paying admission or memberships fees at this site, drinking tea and eating cake, or buying a plant from the shop. All profit from your purchases at Rufford stay at Rufford, to care for the building and collection, looking after this beautiful site for future generations.