In the corner of England where we visited in April, there are several important historical properties. One is the Lincoln Cathedral; another is the Lincoln Castle. Once you get beyond the city, there are historic places that are privately owned, but open to the public at certain times. On this trip, we made time to visit Doddington Hall, which was built in 1595 and never sold. It is still a “regular” family home. They opened for the season on Easter and we visited on the following Wednesday afternoon for a couple of hours.
Doddington Hall is five miles west of Lincoln in the village of Doddington. The village was listed in the Doomsday Book, the survey book written in 1086 for King William the Conqueror. It’s been around a while. We parked across the road and walked up the lane to the gabled Gate House, where we purchased our tickets and received the recorded tour handheld device. We started our tour at the Hall’s entrance and toured the main house’s three floors on the right side of the main entrance. The Birch family lives on the left side.
The Hall is full of family history and treasures collected over the ages and we were allowed to wander at our own pace. It’s a stunning Elizabethan home, originally built for Thomas Tailor, the registrar to the Bishop of Lincoln. We climbed the massive staircase, that ascends three floors, peeking into the family rooms. On the third floor is a large extended room, the Long Gallery is 96” long and the place where the children have played on rainy days for hundreds of years and the women have walked and gossiped when the weather kept them from the gardens. Imagine the ladies of Georgian period strolling arm and arm, like in Jane Austen novel.
It was a beautiful spring day for our visit, so we headed out to the gardens ourselves. The West Garden is walled and typical of the Elizabethan period. Passing through the walled gardens, where the gardeners toiled and through a flood of daffodils, we came upon the sod maze. Our kind of maze.
Afterwards, we had lunch at their Farm Shop and Restaurant. Simple excellent hot lunches are presented using regional produce and vegetables from their own Kitchen Garden. They have done an excellent job of developing the estate and presenting it to the community and visitors. While we were there, we saw locals shopping at the store and also buying plants to take home with them. It was a delightful way to spend a few hours away from antiquing.
Take a look at their twitter account @DoddingtonHall or do a virtual visit on their website at http://www.doddingtonhall.com. It may be part of the Hidden England program, but if we can find them, the world won’t be far behind.