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If you like pre-Christmas celebrations with fun, music and all the razzmatazz, or if you prefer something more peaceful, Little Moreton Hall has the answer, Tudor-style.
For the first time, the timber-framed mansion near Congleton will be open five-days-a-week during most of December for a Yuletide Festival.
At weekends, jesters, musicians, singers and a storyteller will bring life and humour to the hall, which will be ‘dressed for Christmas’ with seasonal decorations and a Tudor feast laid out on its massive ‘board’ table.
During weekdays, visitors will see some Tudor-style cooking, be able to sample some items of Tudor food, and explore in detail the way Yuletide was celebrated in the sixteenth century.
Rebecca Alexander, Little Moreton Hall’s Visitor Operations Manager, said: “Our weekend celebrations on the run-up to Christmas have always been a big draw, but until two years ago Saturdays and Sundays were our only open days in December. Last year, we experimented by opening on Fridays too, so that people who wanted to see the hall’s decorations and the Tudor feast in a quieter atmosphere could do just that. Visitors really enjoyed the experience and spent a lot of time chatting to our staff and volunteers."
"It was so successful that this year we decided to extend those ‘quieter’ days to Wednesdays and Thursdays as well. We think we are now catering for everyone. Some may like to try the weekday and the weekend experience. We can certainly assure everyone of a warm welcome, at least as far as hospitality is concerned. Temperatures are a different matter. Whichever day you choose to come; wrap up in some warm clothes!”
Little Moreton Hall is currently closed. It will open for Yuletide from 29 November to 17 December (Wed-Sun). Opening hours are 11am-4pm.
For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/littlemoretonhall or call 01260 272018.
Visitors are being invited to help plant 2,400 bulbs in a border next to Quarry Bank’s historic glasshouse.
Acting Head Gardener Ann Gaughan (pictured above) said it would be a great opportunity for the public to put their green fingers to good use on November 30.
“The vinery border really came into its own this summer and this planting will make sure it gets a good start in spring,” she said. “It will be lovely for people to plant the bulbs and then come back to see them bloom in April and May.”
The border runs parallel to the glasshouse, which reopened in Quarry Bank’s upper garden in February after more than a year of restoration. Herbaceous plants grew in it over the summer, but the public will be planting types of tulips including white triumphator and maja.
On the volunteering days visitors will be provided with a trowel and kneeling mat and will be able to plant as many or as few bulbs as they would like.
“It can be quite a therapeutic job in the garden,” said Ann. “It’s also satisfying because you can imagine what a good show you are going to get in spring.”
In recent years the gardens at Quarry Bank have been transformed thanks to generous donors and funders including the Heritage Lottery Fund.
They’re now looking better than ever and Ann said the glasshouse would offset the spring planting beautifully. “It looks stunning when the sun hits the glasshouse with the border in full bloom,” she said.
To help with the planting visit between 10.30am and noon or 2pm to 3.30pm on November 30.
Meetings are held at the Salvation Army Hall, Roe Street, Macclesfield beginning at 7.30pm. Non members are very welcome. Admission £2.
Tuesday 23rd Jan
Vintage tools and other unusual items with John Hambleton.
An entertainment in the form of a talk and a quiz about articles from the past.
Tuesday 27th Feb
What to do with 323 post cards a talk by Julie Bagnall.
The background to the story of the cards that were in an Edwardian album left by two sisters.
Bella married a Macclesfield man and had close connections with his family after her marriage.
Tuesday 27th Mar
The impact of Macclesfield’s Mayors in the Great War: Joseph Whitmore, Edwin Crew and Joseph Frost a talk by Peter Ramsden.
Tuesday 24th Apr
Tiptoe though the Tombstones a talk by Rina Tillinger.
Uncovering poignant & quirky gravestone inscriptions and epitaphs many of which are local. £70+expenses from Chester
Tuesday 22nd May
Family History Top Tips a talk by Jean Ingram.
Tuesday 26th Jun
Reminiscences of Parkside Hospital a talk with many illustrations by Dennis Whyte.
Tuesday 24th Jul
A visit to King’s School with a chance to see the school and their archives.
Tuesday 28th Aug
The Munificent Sir John Leigh - the 'rags to riches' story of how his father (also John Leigh) developed into a leading cotton waste merchant a talk by Leslie Turner.
Leslie talks about the closure and exhumation of 20,000 bodies from one of Manchester's top cemeteries, the horrors of the First World War, a story of landscape gardener Thomas H Mawson, the boll weevil and something about some of England's grand estates.
Tuesday 25th Sep
AGM & Talk about the FHSC website by Alan Bennett the webmaster.
Tuesday 23rd Oct
From copper to velvet; Havannah Cheshire's deserted village a talk by Ian Doughty. Havannah was one of the first industrial villages to be built. For over 200 years the village’s powered mills were used in the manufacture of copper sheet and brass wire, the spinning of silk, the production of Havannah cigars and of velvet. In the early 20th Century Havannah became a deserted village.
Tuesday 27th Nov
Monarchy and Dunham, the grey area - an illustrated talk by Peter Braun covering the history of Dunham Hall, the families, royal claims, intrigue, executions, power, passion and scandal.