Throwley Old Hall is a large, ruined Medieval Manor House and is one of the most imposing and architecturally important ruins in the Peak District National Park. It is Staffordshire’s only surviving example of a large medieval manor house. The building stands on what was once an extensive Medieval landscape and site of a deserted medieval village. This once majestic Hall stands over looking the magnificent Manifold valley.
It is located next to the current Throwley Hall and Farm which is located a few miles past the village of Calton. I visited on a beautiful Sunday September afternoon, the skies were bright blue and views stretched across the valley for miles.
Throwley was first recorded as a residence in 1203, the 4th year of King John’s reign, when Oliver de Meverell settled here. In 1344, the 17th year of Edward III, deeds given at Tideswell name Thomas de Meverell ‘Lord of Throwley’.
In 1503 Sir Samson Meverell, Lord Mayor of Tideswell, and Constable of England (having served in 11 battles over 2 years in the French wars) built the Hall, now standing as ruins, from local limestone and non-local sandstone, amid a deer park bounded by a 10-foot high drystone wall. The lowered walls remain to this day as field boundaries.
Mentioned in ‘Baronial Halls of England’, by Samuel Carter Hall, as ‘Home of the Meverells, a very ancient house of decent gentlemen of goodly living, equalling the best sort of gentlemen in the Shire’.
Samson’s son, Robert, married Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir Thomas Fleming, who was at the time Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, and the couple lived at Throwley. The elaborate tomb in their memory is the one in Ilam Church.
Their daughter Elizabeth, the last of the Meverells, married 1st Earl of Ardglass, whose great-great grandfather was Thomas Cromwell responsible for the dissolution of the monasteries during King Henry VIII’s reign. Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector was also a descendant of this family.
There is a local legend that the road opposite is haunted by a coach and horses which appear in thunderstorms re-enacting a tragedy where a coach and horses met their death many years before. Another story concerning Throwley Hall is that of the ghost of a blond haired child that has been seen among the ruins asking for help, and when non is forthcoming he proceeds to start crying.
I loved walking round the rooms imagining the comings and goings of daily life throughout the medieval period, what noises, smells, sights and sounds and what people got up to within these walls. What it would have been like at Christmas or during times of celebration. The morning routines, the evening rituals. The songs, the tears, the meals, the fears, the joys and passions. Standing in the doorways wondering how many feet had trodden these stones. It’s an ever told saying but if only these walls (and floors) could talk.
Standing outside the doorway above I noticed something underneath the turf – once uncovered the dirt it was a piece of black earthenware, perhaps a vase or a pot. I have read the Hall could have been lived in right up until 1877 so the piece could be from around then (still old if it is!) or from even earlier – perhaps the 16th or 17th centuries.
Throwley is an absolutely fascinating place that you are most likely to have completely to yourself when you visit. It is without doubt one of my favourite spots and somewhere I will return to time and time again.
Date of visit – 1st September 2019