Packed full of tradition and character, Holdsworth House Hotel is a hidden gem with many secrets waiting to be discovered. From beamed ceilings and oak panelled halls to ancient tapestries and beautiful stone mullion windows, it offers visitors something special and somewhere unique.
CROSS OF MALTA
The cross on the hotel's gable denotes that, at some distant time, the estate was in the hands of the ancient Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. Such properties contributed to the welfare of the Crusaders and houses bearing this ornament were said to be under the cross.
Holdsworth House was first opened as a hotel in 1963 by the late Freddie and Rita Pearson. A great deal of fine oak furniture was purchased by Freddie in the 1960s. Freddie thought he had be ‘robbed’ if he paid more than £5 for one of the fine carved chairs, which are still used in the restaurant.
At the top of the Hall stairs three wig cupboards are set into the wall, which probably date from the early 18th century. Their purpose is self-explanatory.
The Witches’ Cupboard doors in the Mullioned Room were bought from Maurice Godstone of Bakewell, a well-known antique dealer who supplied most of the oak furniture in the hotel. Rita Pearson found one half in his storeroom and the other half being used by a builder as a board for mixing cement. It dates from the 18th century and the symbols are Masonic.
The delightful four-gabled Gazebo in the corner of the hotel's sunken garden was probably built a little after 1633. There are several suggestions as to its original use: either as a summerhouse, a gatekeeper’s lodge or a small private chapel.
There is a legend that a tunnel ran from the main house to the Gazebo, used during times of religious persecution. There may well have been a ’priest hole’ behind one of the fireplaces in the main house at one time.
Former resident of the early 1800s, Miss Elizabeth Wadsworth, planted two weeping ash trees in the front garden in 1821. Later, in the 1980s, the Pearsons planted two further ash trees, imported from Italy because of their rarity.
To commemorate the hotel’s 35th anniversary in 1997, the period Sunken Parterre gardens at the front to the house were restored. The design was taken from John Parkinson’s book A Garden of Pleasant Flowers published in 1629. The planting includes many contemporary flowers and shrubs.
The sundial overlooking the Parterre garden was added at the same time and a local junior school put together a time capsule, which was buried beneath the sundial's base.