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Things to do in Rufford Old Hall's house

Children dressed up as knights at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire
Children play fighting as knights at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Explore both floors and see weapons and suits of armour, the Philip Ashcroft collection of 1930s Lancashire life, a 500-year-old screen, botanical watercolours from the 1800s and much more.

Carved screen in the Great Hall

The only one of its kind known to have survived intact, Rufford Old Hall's screen has stood in the Great Hall since it was built in 1530–40.

As it is freestanding, the screen has been officially called 'moveable', however this would be very difficult to do. It bears two angels carrying shields carved with the family arms of the medieval heiresses who set up the fortunes of the Hesketh family.

Arms and armour

Likely inspired by the craze for chivalry in the early 1800s, the Hesketh family collected weapons and suits of armour from various European countries to form the collection you can see in the Great Hall today.

They range from the 16th and 17th century. Can you imagine what it would be like to fight wearing these?

* Please note that photographs in the house are permitted only in the Great Hall.

Inside the Drawing Room at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire, which has exposed beams on the ceiling and is richly furnished with decorative wooden furniture and gold-framed portraits on the walls.
The Drawing Room at Rufford Old Hall | © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Philip Ashcroft collection

In 1936, local man Philip Ashcroft had the idea of creating a village museum to preserve some of the fast-disappearing relics of south-west Lancashire folk life.

Rufford Old Hall became home to that museum and now contains a great deal of old agricultural equipment displayed in the stable, as well as furniture, ceramics, books, toys and more around the house.

Step back in time to a not-too-distant past and discover the story of rural Lancashire's people.

A stained glass panel showing the Hesketh coat of arms at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire
A stained glass panel showing the Hesketh coat of arms at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire | © National Trust Images/John Hammond

Stained glass in the Drawing Room

The Drawing Room was given the full Tudor Gothic treatment when it was decorated in the 1820s, including quatrefoils for stained glass above the large window at one end.

Most of them depict 17th-century German or Swiss coats of arms, biblical scenes, saints and martyrs, probably collected by Sir Thomas Dalrymple Hesketh on his European travels. When the morning sun hits them, they create a dazzling display of colours across the floor.

Ellen Stevens watercolours

Dating from the late 1800s, this collection of Ellen Stevens' botanical watercolours is housed in the Dressing Room.

Most of the paintings have been hung in seasonal groups, from early spring to late autumn. The view of a tree in Epping Forest is a particularly striking image, demonstrating her talent as a landscape artist.

Two visitors are walking past a bright green lawn which has decorative bushes planted on it, towards the house at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire, on a bright sunny day.

Discover more at Rufford Old Hall

Find out when Rufford Old Hall is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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