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A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
King's Newton Hall, 1859 & 1860
April 1859

Llewellyn Jewitt's sketch (above) was believed to be the only drawing ever done of the original King's Newton Hall.[1] Unfortunately, in mid April 1859, just two weeks after Jewitt's visit, the "Derby Mercury" reported that a fire had destroyed the building, "one of the oldest and most interesting halls in Derbyshire"[2].The newspaper said the Hall had been occupied for the last five or six years of its life by Robert Green, Esq. and his family. They were not in residence at the time as they were visiting Hastings, but had left two servants, a cook and a coachman, in charge of their home. About two in the morning the cook awoke, realised there was a fire in the room below where she was sleeping, and alerted the coachman. She then escaped by rushing through the flames on the stairs, wrapped in a blanket. She was lucky not to be severely burned. The coachman, having found some clothes, went to Melbourne for the engines and fire brigade.

Strong westerly winds were fanning the flames which engulfed the entire west end of the building. Volunteers from the village, armed with buckets and other utensils, threw water onto the flames. They were described as "heroic" as men were standing on the walls flinging the water onto the conflagration. When the Melbourne firemen arrived there was no hope of saving the main building and they needed to control the fire from spreading to nearby properties by preventing the fire from reaching the surrounding trees. About an hour and a quarter after the coachman had set out to seek help the Derby fire brigade also arrived on the scene but it was too late to save the building and the roof caved in[2]. Just over a week later the inhabitants of both King's Newton and Melbourne presented Mr. Green with a public address, expressing their deepest sympathy[3].

Towards the end of the same year a paper about the Hall and some of its occupants, written by the Melbourne historian John Joseph Briggs, was published in "The Reliquary". Selected passages have been extracted below:

Memorials of King's Newton Village, and its old Hall
by John Joseph Briggs, M.R.S.L. Author of the "History of Melbourne", "The Trent", &c.[1]

"King's Newton also possessed a hall long the abode of the noble family of Hardinge. Situated on a knowl, overlooking the broad vale of Trent - and commanding delightful views - surrounded by luxuriant limes, yews, and elms, with its smooth lawns and delightful old-fashioned terraces - its gray walls and quaint gables draped with masses of ivy, or peering though luxuriant foliage - it stood an interesting monument of the past - one of the pleasantest of the old halls of England. It was built about the year 1400, by the family of Hardinge, which inhabited it for some centuries, until it was eventually sold to George Lewis Coke, Esq., of Melbourne, and became successively the property of the noble families of Lamb, (Melbourne,) and Palmerston. The Hardinges from earliest period seem to have been a family of distinction, leaving the impress of their actions upon the different times in which they lived. Having resided at King's Newton for some centuries, they removed to Canbury, near Kingston-on-Thames." ...

"Space forbids us giving biographical notices of these remarkable men, any single sketch being amply sufficient to occupy a volume, but those who wish to obtain some further particulars about the family of Hardinge may find them in "The History of Melbourne," published by the author of this paper. We shall now briefly allude to the history of the old hall. For perhaps the last century and a half after it was abandoned by the Hardinges, it was occupied by many individuals of high respectability, but never by any of the family of Coke, who purchased it. It remained however much in the same state as when they left, until the 17th of April, 1859, when a fire broke out at dead of night and left it a complete wreck. The fire commenced in the dining room, ascended to the room over it, where King Charles left his inscription, then to the roof, and in two hours, notwithstanding the utmost exertions of the "Victoria Cross" men of the village, was destroyed one of the most interesting old halls of Derbyshire. It is now a picturesque ruin.

Interiorly the old hall was as pleasing and as picturesque as was its exterior, and its grounds all that could be desired by the lover of the beautiful. Tall limes and elms, and other trees, grew luxuriously around the building, and overshadowed the glorious walks by which it was surrounded, and dotted the adjacent meadows, where the cattle grazed, and the sheep found pasture. On the lawn, shrubs of every variety grew up in all their native beauty, and bloomed in rich profusion, while the gay parterres with which they were intermingled, added by their floods of brilliant flowers, to the beauty of the place, and rendered it a scene of perfect joy. Though the hall is now in ruins, the grounds we have alluded to, still retain their beauty; the flowers yet spring up around it; the roses still bloom, and the ivy clings, as of old, to its wall; and these seem to combine with the tall trees, in forming a string of love around the place, and in retaining within this bond, the fondly cherished memory of a place in which they have had their being. Long may those beauties and those memories remain, unchanged and unchanging."

May 1860, Jewitt's sketch of the ruins

King's Newton Hall was not to be rebuilt until just over fifty years after the fire[4].

Woodcuts of "King's Newton Hall" by Llewellynn Jewitt, F.S.A, published in "The Reliquary" Vol.1, ed. Llewellynn Jewitt (1860-61) John Russell Smith, 36 Soho Square, London and Bemrose & Sons, Irongate, Derby.
Ocr-ed text also from the same volume of "The Reliquary".
In the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Memorials of King's Newton Village, and its old Hall" by John Joseph Briggs, M.R.S.L. , a paper published in Vol 1 of "The Reliquary", ed. Llewellynn Jewitt (1860-61) published by John Russell Smith, 36 Soho Square, London and Bemrose & Sons, Irongate, Derby.

[2] "The Derby Mercury", 20 April 1859. Destruction of King's Newton Hall, by fire.

[3] "The Derby Mercury",4 May 1859. Presentation of an address to Robert Green, Esq.

[4] "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire" of 1912 records that the building had been restored and was then the home of Cecil Walter Paget, esq.

Also see, elsewhere on this web site:
Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1891 (under Melbourne)

Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811 includes a short piece about Melbourne that also mentions King's Newton.
The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire

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