SPEKE HALL - LIVERPOOL
Speke Hall was easy to find and after quite a few weeks back in the more built up part of the country I am getting more confident when having to find my way through built up areas with heavy traffic, but the gates at Speke Hall were so narrow I had to fold Thebus mirror in again in order to get through with just a few inches on either side. I am glad I had to go through so many gated cattle grids in the Shetlands which has given me and accurate feeling of Thebus width, which is just about the maximum allowed in the EU. Anyway we made it in a parked up. The day was still cloudy, but boded well for the afternoon so I elected to view the house first
Over the years I have seen many timbered houses of the large country yeoman manor house type, or those which have been improved to such an extent as their owners amassed wealth that it is difficult to see how they must have started life. Speke Hall is a complete and original Tudor half timbered house, built on a square plan surrounding a large internal courtyard. The diamond paned windows, panelled walls and rich plasterwork of the ceiling give a real feeling of life in a grand Tudor house. Started in 1530 it was originally moated and there is a stone bridge to the main entrance. All in all very atmospheric and well worth visiting if you like old buildings.
It had been pretty well left to its own devises and not improved after its initial building was completed in 1598, then one of the Arts and Crafts movement, interested in early buildings took it on and began to restore it, I would guess quite sympathetically. In 1878, a single lady, the last of the Watt family, who in 1795 had purchased the house from the descendants of the original builders, came into her inheritance on her twenty-first birthday, returned and lived there until her death in 1921 when she left the house in trust for twenty one years after which it passed to the National Trust.