(SK 1368 3513) The Hall (NAT) (1) Somersal Hall perhaps dates from 1564 as recorded on two tablets in the entrance. (See AO/LP/63/87). It is possible that the core is earlier. The south-west block of brick dates from 1712 and there were additions made in 1899. (2) In an area where brick or stone construction is dominant, the Hall may be considered outstanding. See G.P. of 1966. (3)
Somersal Hall is a most felicitous picture of Elizabethan half-timbering. The entrance side in particular has four gables grouped so that a broad low one on the left is matched by two small ones on the right, higher by one overhanging half-storey. The fourth gable in the middle is of intermediate height and width. The timbering is chiefly narrow uprights but there are more decorative motifs in the gables. In the entrance are two inscription tablets of 1564. The builder was John Fitzherbert. (4)
Small country house. Early 16th century, 1564, partly encased in brick in 1712, restored in 1899. Timber framing with lath and plaster infill, red brick, plain tile roof with brick ridge and gable stacks. Two storeys with attics. Irregular plan. (5)
Somersal Herbert Hall is one of the hidden gems of Derbyshire, unique for its size in the county, being timber-framed in a very decorative way, more reminiscent of rural Staffordshire. Built, according to Pilkington, of re-used timbers from the Montgomerys' demolished seat at Cubley, its entrance front faces almost north and is ornate and asymmetrical; the south (garden) front was skinned in brick early in the 18th century and more or less follows the contours of the other. Analysis of the building suggests that the central great hall block had its origins around 1502 with a predecessor of the present west wing attached. Then, probably in 1564, a range of private apartments was built abutting the east wall of the hall. In about 1660 the roof over the hall chamber was raised and the present gable over the entrance built. The disposition of the upper rooms strongly suggest that the house had been turned round by c. 1712 with the entrance front thenceforward to the north. Internally, the original fireplaces survive, but with later surrounds, tax being assessed on nine hearths in 1664. There is a priests' hole in the house, reflecting the persistent recusancy of the FitzHerberts. There is no real trace of elaborate gardens or of a formal park. The FitzHerberts were settled in Somersal by 1260 and their first manor house was presumably on the same site as the present Hall. (7)
Bibliographic reference: Craven, M & Stanley, M. 2001. The Derbyshire Country House: 2.
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Centred SK 1367 3513 (28m by 13m) (Centre)
SOMERSAL HERBERT, DERBYSHIRE DALES, DERBYSHIRE
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Record last edited
Jul 27 2011 3:11PM
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