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Tissington Hall

Whilst a number of sources state that Tissington Hall is an Elizabethan property, Simon Jenkins[1] gives the date it was built as 1609 which makes it a Jacobean building. In 1643, during the English Civil War, Tissington Hall was garrisoned for the King (Charles I) by Colonel FitzHerbert but when he became aware of an unsuccessful action outside Ashbourne and the dispersal of the Royalists in February the following year it was evacuated[2].

The Lysons brothers, writing in 1817, tell us that this fine old stone building was then the seat of Sir Henry FitzHerbert, Bart., who had succeeded his elder brother Sir Anthony FitzHerbert in 1799[3]. By 1872 it had passed down to Sir William FitzHerbert; Francis Redfern commented at that time that it appeared not to have "undergone many extensive alterations, some windows only having been converted from their antique stone mullioned character"[4].

The stone outer wall has a handsome central gateway with an ornate pediment consisting of a balustrade topped with a row of three decorative ball finials. From here a wide path leads across the enclosed garden to the front door, over which is the FitzHerbert coat of arms. A wider gateway is to the left, but is not in the photo. In the above early twentieth century picture the arms above the porch and front entrance seem to be unadorned stone but today they are painted, enhancing the front facade of the house which Pevsner described as plain when he visited in the early1950s[6]. The roof is hidden by a stone parapet, above which are numerous chimneys.

The arms of "FITZ-HERBERT (Tissington, Bart).
gules, three lions rampant, or."[5]

The entrance hall is the largest room on the ground floor, going from the front to the back of the house, reminiscent of the earlier Hardwick Hall[6]. The formal rooms of the house, such as the dining room, are on the first floor[1]. An Edwardian library wing, by Arnold Mitchell, was added to the rear of the Hall.

In the mid-nineteenth century one visitor wrote: "its gardens pleasant, and park graced by well-grown trees, amidst which conspicuously stands forth a long and fine avenue of magnificent limes, forming in one direction an especially pleasant approach to the hall and village. Facing the front of the hall, on the opposite side of the village street, and situated on somewhat higher ground, stands the well-preserved ancient church ... its churchyard shadowy from an avenue of yews, and detached sycamores of large growth"[7].

One of the family, Miss Fanny FitzHerbert, the sister of Sir Henry FitzHerbert, gave a good deal of financial support to the village. In 1837 she paid for a new school for boys, built on the site of the old school on the road between Matlock and Dovedale[8]. In 1853 she paid for oak pews and a new north aisle (see previous page). She was generous to the church, including paying for stained glass windows, and had also set up a seat around a tree on the green where the villagers could rest in the evening. Although she lived in London, she celebrated her 80th birthday at Tissington Hall on the 20th June 1872, and several triumphal arches were erected in the village as another member of the family was getting married. Miss FitzHerbert died a few days later, on the 25th June. The vicar, the Rev Jeremiah Barnes, paid tribute to her but the two events so close together must have been difficult for the family[9].

Tissington is a really attractive village and it seems not to have changed since this was written in the mid-nineteenth century:

Sheffield Independent, 12 September 1846.
Recent Rambles. Delightful Days in the Dales of Derbyshire.

"We next rode on to Tissington. Supposing I may possibly have a reader or two who have neither seen the pretty village of Tissington, nor read Rhodes's or any other description, I will just take leave to say that it is the cleanest, greenest, quietest, and most rural village I have ever entered. Here are the celebrated wells, which are themselves worth going miles to drink at, and which are annually dressed and adorned by the villagers. The streets - if the green walks between the houses may be called so - consist of beautiful avenues, with sloping sides of closely shaven grass. What are gutters in other villages, are here gliding streams of water as clear as crystal. The old church is the very picture of rural neatness, and as for the churchyard, it is almost enough to almost envy the dead which lie there! Sir Henry Fitzherbert is the proprietor of Tissington Hall, a building of ancient and beautiful appearance. Tissington is no less deserving attention that there is no public house allowed in it".

Tissington is mentioned in the following on-site transcripts:

Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811, Parishes T-Z, which has more about the village.

Kelly's 1891 Directory, Tissington
The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868
The Fitzherbert family are only mentioned briefly on Derbyshire (1) | Derbyshire (2) | Derbyshire (3) |
The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire - Charters, Documents & Deeds, mentions Tissington and the FitzHerbert family as well as the surnames Alsop and Beresford.

[Tissington Hall] Published by R. And R. Bull, Ashbourne. Unnumbered and Unused. The card was for Inland Use Only, with the postage rate: Inland Halfpenny Stamp.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Jenkins, Simon (2003) "England's Thousand Best Houses", Allen Lane, Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London, WC28 0R:, England, ISBN 0-713-99596-3. He awarded the Hall two stars (out of a maximum of five).

[2] "Derby Mercury", 6 November 1872. Memorials of Tissington and Its Well Dressings, by Fr Redfern, author of History of Uttoxeter etc. Miscellaneous Events, Customs and Particulars. One of a series of articles written for the newspaper by Francis Redfern.

[3] Lysons, Rev Daniel and Samuel Lysons Esq. (1817) "Topographical and Historical Account of Derbyshire" London: Printed for T. Cadell, Strand; and G. and A. Greenland, Poultry. Anthony Fitzherbert was 18 years of age.

[4] "Derby Mercury", 6 Nov 1872. Memorials of Tissington and Its Well Dressings, by Fr Redfern, author of History of Uttoxeter etc.

[5] "The Reliquary, Quarterly Journal and Review Vol. 5". (1864-5) Ed. Llewellynn Jewitt, F.S.A. Published London: Bemrose & Lothian, 21 Paternoster Row ; and John Russell Smith, 36 Soho Square Derby : Bemrose & Sons, Irongate. Extracted from "A Derbyshire Armory" by John Sleigh Esq.

[6] Pevsner, Nikolaus (1953), "The Buildings of England, Derbyshire", Penguin Books.

[7] "The Reliquary, Quarterly Journal and Review Vol. 3". (1862-3) Ed. Llewellynn Jewitt, F.S.A. Published London: John Russell Smith, 36 Soho Square Derby : Bemrose & Sons, Irongate. Extracted from "Well Dressing at Tissington" by Anna Mary Howitt Watts.

[8] "ibid.", 12 July 1837.

[9] Reports in various papers including the "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal" of 27 June 1862, the "Leicester Chronicle" of 5 July 1862 and "Derby Mercury", 2 July 1862. She had apparently ignored medical advice about travelling to Tissington from her home in Mount-street, Grosvenor-square.

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