Haddon Hall dates back to the 11th Century when the manor was held by William the Conqueror's illegitimate son, William Peverel. William's son (another William) forfeited the estate when he supported King Steven during the tumultuous conflicts of the 12th Century. When Henry II took the throne, he seized William's lands and granted them to William (yet another William!) Avenel.
In 1179, Haddon Hall passed to William's son-in-law, Richard Vernon. The estate remained with the Vernon family until 1547, when Dorothy Vernon eloped with Sir John Manners whom she married against her father's will. The estate eventually passed to their children, and it has remained in the Manners family ever since.
Of the original Norman manor house, very little survives. Successive generations improved and expanded upon the building. Most of the surviving structure dates from the medieval and Tudor periods.
Today's Haddon Hall is remarkably well-preserved. It has evolved peacefully through the ages, avoiding conflict and destruction. Even the English civil war passed it by, with the Manners family using their influence to keep Peaks neutral during this conflict.
The hall is fairly unassuming as the visitor first approaches. Crossing the bridge spanning the river Wye, the view is understated. Only once one has entered through the gatehouse and into the courtyard does the hall begin to suggest that it has something special to offer. Particularly worthy of note are the medieval kitchens, the pre-reformation frescoes of the chapel, the Elizabethan long gallery and the magnificent terraced gardens.