The West Lodge at Hardwick is one of two similar lodge buildings to the fore of Hardwick Old Hall [see SMR 269 for the East Lodge]. While the Old Hall itself was built at the end of the 16th century, the lodges date from the early part of the 17th century, sometime after William Senior's map of 1609 as this does not show them. Both are constructed of local sandstone and were originally plastered and painted white, their ashlar quoins, plinth course, balustrade and window and door surrounds providing a visual contrast. This can be seen in a 17th century view of the Old Hall. The West Lodge has three floors and was probably intended to provide accommodation for Hall staff or visitors of lesser importance. It has a ground-floor corridor, a central staircase and six rooms, all lit by one or two windows and heated by a fireplace. Both lodges continued to be used after the Old Hall had been abandoned, the ground floor rooms of the West Lodge being changed into kitchens. By the later 19th century the lodges may have been downgraded in status to estate cottages. In the 1950s the Old Hall and its grounds were taken into English Heritage guardianship, and some emergency repairs were made to the West Lodge. A new programme of refurbishment was initiated in the 1990s, starting with the survey of the building to provide floor plans and elevation drawings. It was fully refurbished in 1997-8, the building now acting as the site reception for visitors, as a place for holding meetings and as a regional office for English Heritage staff. (1)
A programme of renovation work was carried out by contractors on the West Lodge and an outbuilding in the spring and early summer of 1997. This included the replacement of a floor in the West Lodge. A watching brief following the removal of quarry tiles recorded the base of a fireplace in the east wall, as well as two possible pad stones, perhaps used to support timbers in an earlier partition wall. Excavation of a small hole for a night safe also revealed details of the construction of the room's west wall. This consists of a timber frame with a horizontal wall plate resting on shallow stone footings. The lowest portion of the latter rested on a compressed layer of mortar which contained a few pieces of Midland yellow ware, of probable early 17th century date, indicating that the Lodge was built after the main construction of the Old Hall. A service trench excavated on the north side of the Lodge revealed a small portion of walling of unknown provenance running parallel to the Lodge's north wall. (2)
The West and East Lodges within the grounds of the Old Hall do not appear in the accounts of 1589-95 but they are shown on a survey map of 1628. In order to attempt to date their construction more precisely, thirteen samples from the staircase timbers of the West Lodge at Hardwick Old Hall were analysed by tree-ring dating. The results suggested that all the dated samples represent timber cut in a single phase of felling in 1625. This is consistent with dates produced by timbers from the East Lodge [see SMR 269] and confirms the likelihood that both lodges were part of a single building operation in the early 17th century. This was well after the work on the Old Hall ceased (1590) and that on the New Hall was completed (1597) and was therefore also not connected with Bess of Hardwick who died in 1607. (3)
Unpublished document: Sheppard, R. 2000. The West Lodge, Hardwick Old Hall, Derbyshire. A Building Survey..
Unpublished document: Gilbert, D & Sheppard, R (TPAT). 1997. Hardwick Old Hall, Derbyshire: Archaeological Recording, May-July 1997.
Unpublished document: Howard, R E, Laxton, R R & Litton, C D. 2002. Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers from the Staircase of the West Lodge, Hardwick Old Hall… Chesterfield. English Heritage Report 57/2002.
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Centred SK 46146 63697 (15m by 8m)
AULT HUCKNALL, BOLSOVER, DERBYSHIRE
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Record last edited
Sep 12 2022 8:04PM
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