Picture Gallery> Derbyshire Pictures Index> This page
The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Derbyshire
A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
Haddon Hall (6), The Eagle Tower

George Washington Wilson's 1880s photograph of the tower and gateway on the north eastern side of Haddon Hall shows the various levels of the ground surrounding Haddon Hall, which is built into the hillside. The tower itself rises for three storeys above the gate, whilst the mediaeval mansion's northern side is lower down the hill. This was the main access to the hall until the early sixteenth century. Peter Davies, writing in 1811, says: the "the most ancient part, is the tower over the gateway, on the East side of the upper quadrangle, and was the grand entrance at the time of the Peverels ; this part was probably built about the reign of Edward the Third"[1].

The top of the crenellated Eagle Tower, also known as St. John's or Peveril's Tower, is reached by a spiral stone staircase of 70 steps from the second courtyard. It has a Watch Tower or Turret in its north west corner, the top of which is accessed by external steps, possibly indicating this feature was more decorative than functional.

William Adam and his two companions visited here in the mid-nineteenth century on a warm summer evening at haymaking time "when the vale was animated by numerous groups of busy rustics, tossing the fragrant hay to the wind. ...Flocks of sheep and groups of cattle were luxuriating in the rich pastures, stretching right and left, as far as they eye could reach ; the vale beautifully wooded, and watered by the tortuous but lovely Wye, bounded on one side by the limestone hills, which, rising gently and extending far to the west and north, seemed to fill an almost boundless horizon. The bold ridge on which Haddon stood, covered with thick woods, formed its eastern boundary ; and to the north might be seen Longstone Edge, the Great Finn, and the lofty eminences near Buxton ; to the south appeared the beautiful wooded knolls of Stanton and South Darley". They climbed the tower's steps and emerged into the daylight through a small door onto the leaded roof. They enjoyed the "splendid prospect" and also ascended the steps on the side of the turret to gain an even a better view from the topmost point. Yet Haddon itself was then silent and forlorn[2], though not neglected.

By Jewitt's time the tower's steps were so worn that some of them were covered with wooden ones[3].

The Eagle Tower, and Upper Courtyard and massive gateway
The Eagle Tower, and Upper Courtyard and massive gateway.
Wood engraving from Hall's "Day's in Derbyshire".
No date, but before 1863[4].

Underneath the Eagle Tower, in the basement, are a number of rooms. An arched warder's room has wall seven feet thick, another was a kitchen or bakehouse and underneath the long gallery were washing rooms[4].

eagle tower
Upper Court Gateway, Haddon, about 1926.
Pen and ink drawing by Tudor[5].

Samuel Rayner, who wrote and illustrated the first stand alone guide of Haddon in 1836, noted the traces of a Norman castle but added that "the building, in its present form, is not the least calculated for defence or protection against a besieging force, according to the military tactics of any period". Nevertheless, "its embattled parapets and crested turrets, proudly towering above the branching woods in which it is embosomed, cause it, when viewed from the valley below, to assume the appearance of a formidable fortress"[6].

Yet it was probably the lack of fortification that saved Haddon from the worst excesses and destruction of the Civil War and why it has survived to the present day. The 7th Earl of Rutland was on the Parliamentary side and spent most of his time here which undoubtedly helped, too[7].

Eagle Tower
The Eagle Tower, Haddon Hall 2017

Eagle Tower from the Terrace
The Eagle Tower from the Terrace 2019.
The large window on the left is the eastern facing window of the Long Gallery, overlooking
the Winter Garden Terrace and Dorothy Vernon Walk.

1. "Haddon Hall".The Eagle Tower, Haddon Hall, an unmounted albumen photograph by G.W.W. (George Washington Wilson), No.3374. 1880s.
2. "Haddon Hall - The Eagle Tower. Wood engraving by G. Bailey from a drawing by J. Gresley. Published in Hall's guide[3].
3. Pen and ink sketch of "Upper Court Gateway" by T. L. Tudor from "High Peak to Sherwood", "The hills and dales of old Mercia", published London by Robert Scott (1926).
All the above in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews collection.
4 and 5. "Haddon Hall, Eagle Tower" Two photographs provided for use on this website by and © Susan Tomlinson.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Davies, David Peter (1811) "History of Derbyshire" pub. S. Mason, Belper. There is more about Haddon Hall in the on site transcripts of Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811, (see Bakewell).

[2] Adam, W. (6th edtn., 1857) "The Gem of the Peak" John and Charley Mozley, Derby and 6, Paternoster Row, London; Bemrose and Sons (and others). Mr. Adam wrote this originally in 1838, and the same text was included in all his books. However, he made minor alterations to text not included, which updated other details, so the 1857 version is included here.

[3] "Haddon Hall: an Illustrated Guide ...", (1871) by Llewellynn Jewitt, F.S.A., and S. C. Hall, F.S.A.

[4] Hall, Spencer Timothy (1863) "Days in Derbyshire ..." With sixty illustrations by J. Gresley (artist), Dalziel Brothers (illustrators). Simpkin, Marshall and Co, Stationers' Hall Court, London, and printed by Richard Keene, All Saints, Derby.

[5] Tudor, Thomas Linthwaite (1926) "The High Peak to Sherwood, The hills and dales of old Mercia", , published London by Robert Scott. With drawings by Fred Adcock and others.

[6] Rayner, S[amuel] (1836) "The History and Antiquities of Haddon Hall ... With an Account of the Hall in its Present State.", published by Moseley, Derby.

[7] Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways and Byways in Derbyshire", MacMillan & Co., London.

Also see, elsewhere on this web site:
The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868 (under Bakewell). MI of Sir George Vernon family and mentions the tomb of his daughter who is also commemorated in the church.
Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1891
Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811 includes a short piece about Haddon, under Bakewell
The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire

Derbyshire Pictures Index
Next page
Previous page
Also see
Our Genealogy
Images of
Matlock & Matlock Bath

Old Derbyshire Maps:
Chatsworth and Vicinity, 1864