Annesley Hall, Annesley, 1900

Image ID: 19908

Annesley Hall, Annesley, 1900

Courtesy of Nottinghamshire Archives

Annesley Hall

The hall is thought to date to the Medieval period, though there are no medieval remains visible now. The central part of the hall dates to the 17th century, and was altered and enlarged in the 19th century. Annesley Hall is an ancient manor house set in a seventeenth century landscape park of around 250ha. The hall is grade II listed, as are other parts of the park, such as the terrace to the south-west of the hall, and the gate-house. Nearby are the ruins of the grade I listed old Annesley Church. The hall has associations with the poet Lord Byron through being the home of the sweet-heart of his youth, Mary Ann Chaworth. There used to be, preserved under glass, a signed transcription of the poem 'Hills of Annesley' written by Byron after the marriage of Mary Chaworth in 1805. His relationship with her also inspired his poem 'The Dream'. Mary Chaworth was the heiress of the Annesley estate, and with her marriage to John Musters it passed down their joined line, the Chaworth-Musters, (until 1974 when Robert P. Chaworth-Musters purchased and moved to Felley Priory. Since that time though, the hall has stood empty, its future not yet decided). The Chaworth family had owned the estate since the reign of Henry VI when George Chaworth, third son of Sir Thomas Chaworth, Knight of Wiverton, married Alice de Annesley in circa 1442. The first lord of the Annesley manor to take their name from the estate was Ralph Britto de Annesley, who died sometime between 1156 (when he founded Felley Priory) and 1161. Mary Ann Chaworth was romantically involved with the young poet Byron in 1803. But it wasn't to be, though Byron later wrote 'Had I married Miss Chaworth perhaps the whole tenor of my life would have been different.' Instead, Mary Chaworth was married in All Saints church to John Musters in 1805, and she walked from the Hall which was only a few yards from the Church, to her wedding. As it happened, Mary Chaworth was the Grand Niece of the Lord Chaworth who had been spitted on a sword by 'Wicked Jack' Byron, the poet's great uncle. The Byron family's solicitor, a Mr Hanson, had suggested to a younger Byron the poet that as Miss Chaworth was only a year or two older then he had better marry her. 'What Mr. Hanson', replied the well-read boy, 'the Capulets and Montegues intermarry'? The first reference to a church at Annesley was in 1156, when the 'tithes of Annesley Church' were given to Felly Priory. The early 12th century church would have been a simple rectangular stone building, but it was altered in the 13th century to replace the apse. A new south aisle was built in the second half of the 14th century and a square tower was added to the west end of the church at about the same time. By the 1930's the church was in disuse and 'almost ruined beyond repair'. One of the conditions of the sale to Ashfield District Council was that the church walls should be lowered to a safe height, the roof having long since gone, and the upper portion of the tower was to be removed. According to 'White's Directory of Nottinghamshire 1853': 'Annesley Hall, the seat of Captain Phillip Hammond, is a large ancient mansion, surrounded by a fine park, well stocked with deer, and extensive woods. The church, dedicated to All Saints, stands on a gentle eminence near the Hall, and has a tower with five bells. The living is a perpetual curacy, certified at

Date: 01/09/1900

Organisation Reference: DD/1915/1/101


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