One of the pleasures of life is our National Trust Membership – we bought life membership when my Grandad died and left us some money, so every time we visit we remember him. In Cheshire on Thursday 15 May we went to what is probably my favourite, Little Moreton Hall – National Trust website. They had very welcoming people when we arrived, “if you push the wheelchair round to the right the cobbles are slightly flatter”, and a very nice cafe. Julie and I did downstairs, I climbed to the Long Gallery, and we had a wander round the garden and the moat.
The Great Hall dates from the time of William Moreton I in the early years of the sixteenth century. The east range was extended south shortly afterwards and the north-west wing and porch were added in about 1546. William Moreton II started on the south range just before his death in 1563. His son John had the Chapel painted with texts – ah ha, dear reader, you have now worked out why I’m blogging … there is a chapel here, and it has a weekly service (what a friendly notice).
So we have a chapel dating to 1508, with the chancel a few years later. It would have been used regularly until after the Civil War. The family were Royalists, and therefore suffered financially. Presumably the chapel was used until the family moved out in the early eighteenth century. The place was let to tenant farmers, restored at the end of the nineteenth century by Elizabeth Moreton. She was a nun – a Sister of the Community of St John the Baptist at Clewer in Berkshire. Having no children to hand the house on to, she gave it to her second cousin Charles Thomas Abraham. He later became Suffragan Bishop of Derby. When he handed it on to the National Trust in 1937, James Lees-Milne described him as “a delightful old man with white hair, a soft mouth and slanting lids over eyes that radiated benignity and kindness … a diffident, unassuming and distinguished cleric of the old school.” The east window commemorates him.