Delve into our history...

The Central Hall of Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland

The story of Seaton Delaval Hall is as dramatic as any theatrical production ever staged. A story of ruin and survival, its history spans a thousand years. Discover the story of Seaton Delaval Hall and the families and key individuals who helped shape its journey…

Norman origins

The Delavals were loyal supporters of William the Conqueror and they 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

At dusk on 3 January 1822, sailors off the Whitley Bay coast noticed that the sunset seemed unusually brilliant. Seaton Delaval Hall was on fire, causing great damage. 
 
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 14 months of fundraising, the National Trust received the keys to Seaton Delaval Hall in December 2009.