Little Moreton Hall
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Introduction

Dating back to the original building of c1504-8, this room now showcases the improvements of the mid 1500s. The wooden panelling and ceiling are dated to this period and light pours into the room from the bay window of 1559. Decorative motifs in this room reveal aspects of the Moreton family status and beliefs. The overmantel celebrates the royal family and stained glass displays the family shield and name.

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Table

This oak table with its round top on an octagonal base was designed to stand in one of the bay windows and fits perfectly in the space. It is described in the 1599 inventory as ‘the great rounde table in the parlour’ (a former name for the Withdrawing Room) and valued at 10 shillings (50p). It is simply decorated and may have been based on a Spanish design.

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Mystery mark

This geometric pattern in a small circle is carved on a beam just below the ceiling. We do not know what the carving represents or symbolises, or when it was produced.

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Overmantel

Originally the plaster was brightly painted. Traces of paint remain on the central panel and some gilding remains on the Lion. Here Elizabeth I’s royal arms are supported by the Lion of England and the Griffin of Wales. During the Civil War Little Moreton was used as temporary accommodation by Parliamentarian soldiers. During this time the overmantel may have been concealed to prevent its destruction by the soldiers.

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Fireplace

Although the overmantel is Elizabethan, the fire surround shown here is 18th-century. Until recently the fireplace was blocked up with bricks and concrete. During 2008 conservators opened up the fireplace to return it to its 18th-century dimensions. This project was funded with the money raised through visitors making Gift Aid donations on admission tickets. Money raised from Gift Aid and raffle ticket sales is put towards conservation work.

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Stained glass – coat of arms

Greyhounds and wolves’ heads are common decorative features of Little Moreton Hall. They are found carved in the courtyard and fine examples are apparent in this window. Here the greyhound wears a studded collar. It is pictured beneath the Moreton coat of arms which features a wolf’s head. As you go around the building you may be able to spot wolves’ heads and greyhounds in other locations.

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Stained glass – rebus

The symbols in this section of glass combine to create a word puzzle known as a ‘rebus’. The upper picture is a wolf with its mouth open, beneath it is a barrel. An old English word for the jaws of a wild animal was ‘maw’, and another word for barrel is a ‘tun’. Together these symbols form a pun on the family name ‘Moreton’. One small section is missing.

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Ceiling

The coffered-oak ceiling gives an impression of the magnitude of the ceiling that once covered the Great Hall. Large beams run from north to south and from east to west. These heavy beams create a cross pattern on the ceiling. Smaller beams are positioned in the squares between the large beams. The direction of the small beams alternates in each adjoining square.

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