Speke Hall

Speke Hall

Infobox Historic building

name=Speke Hall
wattle and daub

Speke Hall is a wood-framed, Tudor house in Speke, Liverpool, England. It is one of the finest Tudor-era manor houses survivng. Previous owners were the Norrises, [ [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-spekehall/w-spekehall-history/w-spekehall-history-norrises.htm Norris history] ] the Beauclerks [ [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-spekehall/w-spekehall-history/w-spekehall-history-beauclerks.htm Beauclerks history] ] and the Watts. [ [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-spekehall/w-spekehall-history/w-spekehall-history-watts.htm Watts history] ]


Construction of the current building began in 1530, [ [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-spekehall/w-spekehall-history.htm History] ] though earlier buildings had been on the site, parts of which are incorporated into the current structure. The house belongs to the National Trust and is open to the public. The house was owned by the Norris family for many generations until the female heiress married into the Beauclerk family.

Since the end of the 15th century the building has been gradually renovated and extended. The wood-frame style is typical of the period with the oak frame resting on a base of red sandstone. The main beams of the house are stiffened with smaller timbers and filled with wattle and daub.

The Great Hall was the first part of the house to be built in 1530. The Great Parlour (or Oak Parlour) wing was added in 1531, around this time the North Bay was also added to the house. Between 1540 and 1570 the south wing was altered and extended, the west wing was added between 1546–47 with additional rooms. The last significant change to the building was in 1598, when the north range was added by Edward Norris. Since this time there have only been minor changes to the Hall and gardens.

The house features a thunderbox toilet, a priest hole and a special observation hole built into a chimney in a bedroom to allow the occupant to see the approach to the house to warn the priest that people were coming. There is also an eavesdrop (a small open hole under the eaves of the house) which allowed a servant to listen in on the conversations of people awaiting admission at the original front door.

In 1612 a porch was added to the Great Parlour. A laundry and dairy were founded in 1860; the laundry was altered in the 1950s.

The gardens date from the 1850s. In the main building there are two Yew trees called Adam and Eve which are estimated to be between 500 and 1000 years old. [ [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-spekehall/w-spekehall-gardensandestate.htm Gardens] ]


The Home Farm building has been renovated and now houses the shop, restaurant and reception. The laundry has been converted into the education room and the dairy now has new interpretation. Walks in the grounds give panoramic views over the Mersey Basin towards North Wales.


External links

* [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-spekehall/ Speke Hall information at the National Trust]

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