Part Three of the Shugborough Hall series focuses on the Farm built in 1805 by Samuel Wyatt. Built to be a model farm using the latest agricultural advances, members of the landed gentry would visit Shugborough in order to see these advances in practice and to learn how to properly run their own farm.
The Shugborough Estate farm consists of a large farmhouse, a mill, dairy and a farmyard of animals. The farm also houses an additional teashop and a traditional sweet shop.
When you visit the Shugborough Farm, the first building you will enter is the Farm House. Pictured above, the farm house is a rather grand building for it’s type and age, built as such to enable people of status and wealth to be shown around.
Entering the Farmhouse, using the side entrance, the first room you come to is the Snug.
The Snug is where the farm bailiff would have done his paperwork, sat at the desk in the corner. Moving on and across the Entrance Hall, the next room you will see is the Parlour.
The Parlour would have been a space for the farmer and his wife to entertain guests. The furniture on display, rather than being original to the house is on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, though is in keeping with the style of furniture that would have been in the room in 1805.
Next, you will exit the same Parlour door and walk back into the Entrance Hall.
The Entrance Hall
Walking through the Entrance Hall you get a sense of the grandeur of the building, given that it is a farmhouse.
The staircase is designed to make the house look larger than it actually is when on the first floor landing, it has a spiral effect to give the illusion that there are more than two floors. There is only one room open to the public; the Servant’s Bedroom.
The Servant’s Bedroom
The servant’s bedroom, like the bedroom in the Servant’s Quarters, is a very plain room. It would have housed the farmer’s domestic servant, hired farm help would have lived elsewhere.
After viewing the Servant’s Bedroom, you walk back down the staircase, through the Entrance Hall and into the Kitchen.
The Kitchen would have been used by the Farmer’s wife and their servant to cook meals, farm workers would also use the room to eat their meals. The range cooker features an spit for roasting, oven for baking, a hob area and an open fire. Though not original to the house, the range is an accurate reproduction of Thomas Robinson’s range cooker, built by the museum technicians with a little help from craftsmen at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum.
Walking through the kitchen you come to the Back Kitchen, used mostly for baking.
The Back Kitchen
The Back Kitchen houses a brick bread oven still in use today. The oven would bake up to thirty loaves at a time, used to feed the farm labourers. In a morning the oven would be lit, as it heated up the bricks containing lime would turn white, a brick containing no lime called the “tell-tale brick” would not change colour. As the colour difference between the lime bricks and the tell-tale brick became more noticeable, the oven was sufficiently heated to bake the bread. As the oven cooled down after the bread loaves had been removed, other cakes and pastries would have been baked.
Whilst in the Back Kitchen, the female servant cooked some griddle cakes (a little like American pancakes), we were able to try a little with either sugar or lemon curd. After trying griddle cakes, you leave the Farmhouse by a back door, you can then either visit the Mill or the Farmyard.
The Dairy, housed in a building connected to the Farmhouse, was used to produce butter and cheese used on the estate and sold at local markets. Cheese and butter are still made in the dairy today, the butter being used by the farmhouse servant when making griddle cakes. Visitors are able to assist in the making of cheese by cutting the curd and placing it in moulds.
Though the farm produces a number of goods on a daily basis, these cannot be sold to the public for health and safety reasons, which is a little disappointing really. The bakery at Blists Hill Museum in Ironbridge is able to sell their bread. I really ought to go back to Blists Hill as it would make a fine topic for a blog post, it has also been far too long since I last visited.
The mill is powered by a still working water mill that is larger than a double-decker bus. In 1805 the mill would have been used to process animal feed and flour for baking. Wholemeal flour would have been used to make bread for the workers, whereas the Anson family would have eaten white bread, which was fashionable for the wealthy; a stark contrast to the present day. Making white flour required extra milling which had the knock on effect of removing most of the bread’s goodness.
The mill is split over several floors, after viewing each, you exit the building and enter the farm courtyard.
The farmyard courtyard is home to the granary teashop and sweet shop. Here are a selection of photographs of the courtyard.
At the opposite end of the courtyard, there is a gate leading to the animals.
Visitors are able to feed the animals at the Shugborough Farm, food can be purchased at the farm entrance at the side of the Farmhouse. Here are a few of the animals living on the farm.
Having now discussed the Mansion, Servant’s Quarters and Farm, part four in the Shugborough Hall series will focus on the grounds and gardens that make up the Shugborough Estate.
- http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shugborough-estate/ – National Trust Webpage
- http://www.shugborough.org.uk – Official Shugborough Website