Exploring Gawthorpe Hall in Mod Dolly Fashion Dress
Happy new year to you, lovely reader! Here we are once again, facing another new year with the best of intentions and, for some, plans of change. Although I’ve yet to set firm resolutions for 2017, at the start of last year, I encapsulated my vision for the year with one word: action. Boy, 2016 didn’t disappoint. So much so, I felt it changed me and my approach to life. Starting the year as I mean to go on, on New Year’s Day I visited the impressive Gawthorpe Hall in my favourite Mod Dolly Fashion dress.
In the shadow of Pendle Hill, sits the impressive Gawthorpe Hall, an Elizabethan gem in the crown of East Lancashire. Visiting the hall always makes me feel as though I’ve travelled back in time and woven myself into the setting of an unwritten Philippa Gregory novel. When the manor’s foundation stone was laid in 1600, Elizabeth I had reigned as Queen of England for 42 years, leaving rambunctious stories and sordid tales in her path.
It’s the reports of Charlotte Brontë’s visits to Gawthorpe Hall, in the 1800s, that spark my literary imagination. It is said that Sir James Phillip Kay, noted philanthropist and resident of Gawthorpe, was so intrigued by the radical ideas in Brontë’s novel, Shirley, that he invited her to visit. On her visit in 1850, Brontë is said to have been captivated by the charm of Gawthorpe Hall which ensured her return in 1855.
It’s not hard to imagine the writer taking a stroll through the impressive gardens overlooking the River Calder, her small petite frame bound by a heavy cloak, ringlet curls framing her face. I wonder if Charlotte found the grounds as inspiring as I do. It’s something I’ll never know, but I’d like to think she did. It’s all too easy to wrap history up into a romanticized bubble, especially when visiting on a quiet, frost-tipped new year’s day.
This is only the third time I’ve visited the hall. John and I saw in the new year in Burnley, with his family. Full of Chinese take away and with a glass of pink Champagne in hand, we waited as the final seconds of 2016 ticked away (with an extra second thrown in this year!), cheered as Big Ben signalled the new year and settled in to watch Jools Holland’s Hootenanny. Waking up on New Year’s Day felt like a fresh start and with Gawthorpe Hall on our doorstep we decided fresh air in a scenic location was the perfect way to start 2017.
In November, I mentioned that I’d visited the Mod Dolly Fashion shop, in Wigan, and made an investment purchase. Well, here it is; my modern day equivalent of the little black dress. As you know, gingham is my favourite pattern to wear. Combined with the scalloped hem, it’s the first dress I reach for whenever I want to feel good about myself. In store at £65, this is a piece I’m expecting to have in my wardrobe for years.