It is uncommon for an English country house to have never been bought or sold in 400 years, but Holker Hall has passed down through three families by inheritance since 1610. The estate is surrounded by exceptionally beautiful countryside with gardens that merge into parkland. The home is quintessentially English… pretty, comfortable, unpretentious, and full of family pictures, books, faded chintz, interesting objects and heirlooms, art, canopied beds, dressing tables, and flowers.
Susan Crewe, a former House & Garden editor who grew up at Holker Hall, tells the publication, “Over the centuries, Holker’s various owners have altered, enlarged, demolished, refaced and reconfigured the house to such an extent that it is virtually impossible to give a coherent narrative of the building.”
A house of this size is in a constant process of restoration and renewal, said Susan. “Indeed when the Warner fabric of the covers and curtains in the brown hall needed to be replaced, it was found that the original blocks had been destroyed on account of woodworm. Most of us would have settled for something similar, but Grania had the blocks recut and the original fabric recreated… And so it is throughout the house, respect for tradition coupled with adaptation and invention.”
Today, Holker is the home of Lucy Cavendish, Susan’s niece, and her husband Tor McLaren…
“The garden at dusk, picnics on the shore, delicious feasts in the dining room, fires in the bedrooms, walks in gentle rain, the smell of polish, the sound of laughter and of dogs’ paws on slate – these are the impressions that linger in the minds of the many guests who have stayed in the house over the years,” said Susan.
For a delightful tour of the Holker gardens, you will enjoy the video below…
Text and images, unless otherwise noted, are from House & Garden, 2015. For additional information, please visit the Holker Hall website. The house and grounds are open to the public at advertised times.