A brief history of Seaton Delaval Hall...
The history of Seaton Delaval Hall and some of its notable residents spans a thousand years. The house occupies the site of a Norman settlement, and its original Norman chapel remains in use today. From the Wealthy Admiral George Delaval to a tragic fire, there's much to read about this place.
The Delavals were loyal supporters of William the Conqueror and were gifted land in Northumbria in the 1080s as a reward for their help at the Battle of Hastings.
Origins of Seaton Delaval Hall
Wealthy Admiral George Delaval bought the estate from his bankrupt cousin in the 1700s. Admiral George commissioned Sir John Vanbrugh, the most famous architect of the time, to design the current building in the 1720s. Both Vanbrugh and the Admiral would die before the building was complete.
18th Century Delavals - drama and theatre
Captain Francis Blake Delaval, Admiral George's nephew, inherited Seaton Delaval Hall. It was his family that formed the reputation of the 'Gay Delavals' mainly because of their large parties. They were renowned for their practical jokes, gambling and scandalous behaviour!
Salt, coal and glass
The Delavals were also industrious and exploited the estate's natural resources. They were involved in salt production, coal mining and glass production.
In 1764, brothers John and Thomas Hussey Delaval made improvements to the local harbour and created a sluice (the area is now called Seaton Sluice) to form a dock where ships could be loaded.
19th Century tragedies
In 1822, the Hall was greatly damaged by fire. After forty years without a roof, John Dobson, the architect of much of Victorian Newcastle, was hired to shore up the building.
In 1862 one of England's worst ever mining disasters happened only a mile from Seaton Delaval Hall at Hartley Colliery. Two hundred men and boys died when the mine shaft caved in, trapping those below.
20th Century Twists
During World War II the Hall's East Wing was requisitioned as a prisoner of war camp.
The late Lord and Lady Hastings returned to the Hall in the 1950s, after over one hundred years of family absence.
After the death of his parents, the current Lord Hastings asked the National Trust if they were interested in acquiring the Hall. After fourteen months of fundraising, the National Trust received the keys to Seaton Delaval Hall in December 2009.