Linda Jane Holmes
A Royal Celebration at Ringwood Hall | Baroness Bolsover
Updated: Apr 18, 2022
Amidst the famous Derbyshire landmarks of Chatsworth House, Hardwick Hall and Bolsover Castle stands Ringwood Hall, an elegant Hotel and Spa complex.
Built in the early 1800’s by George Hodkinson Barrow when he married his beloved wife, widow Mrs Lowe, the couple made Ringwood Hall a fine family home boasting an impressive Victorian conservatory and gardens.
Baroness Bolsover, whose son was the 6th Duke of Portland, recalls visiting the ‘utterly charming’ Hall in the late 1880’s.
(Baroness Bolsover sits next to her son at the front of the carriage)
“I distinctly remember enjoying a delightful Afternoon Tea out on the terrace overlooking the gardens. Our hosts were impeccable.”
The Baroness Returns for a Golden Event
It was therefore with great delight that the Baroness recently returned to Ringwood Hall after almost 130 years, for a special Afternoon Tea to celebrate the Golden Wedding Anniversary of local poet and writer Lorraine Bytheway and husband Lee.
On this occasion, however, not only would the Baroness enjoy an Afternoon Tea, but she would also demonstrate her Victorian Afternoon Tea Etiquette skills to the unsuspecting guests.
“One simply cannot be seen slurping one’s tea in the great Portland Room”
The Baroness’s appearance at the Golden Wedding Anniversary celebration caused such a sensation that the next day Her Ladyship received the following letter
Dear Lady Bolsover
Thank you for partaking, on Sunday for Afternoon Tea,
Your arrival took them quite by surprise, causing quite a controversy!
Bolsover Castle to Ringwood Hall! Well, they really weren’t’ quite sure…
If it was ostentatious enough? they feared you may run for the door!
But you were very gracious, and the guests were well impressed!
As you checked Lord Bytheway’s fingernails and sniffed at the way his wife dressed!
In awe, they all copied you and the way you drank your tea…
Not one little finger was raised in the air! as far as I could see…
Lord James seemed most amused, as to “was it scone or scon”
By the time you had gently explained…his scon was most messily gone!
The Lords and Ladies were honoured, as your etiquette skills were shared,
Thank goodness there was no ‘bun fight’! and not one tiny ‘slurp’ was heard!
Amidst these sumptuous surroundings the room was filled with your essence…
The special celebration was enjoyed by all because of your Ladyship’s presence!
With kind regards
Who is Lady X?
She certainly wasn’t on the guest list. However, there have been several sightings reported by locals and those working at the hall over the years, of a Victorian dressed lady roaming the house and gardens.
Could this possibly be former owner of the house, Mrs Hodkinson Barrow, keeping a watchful eye?
Whoever she is, Lady X is wholeheartedly grateful to the Victorian Baroness for returning and making sure this was an unforgettable Special Celebration in this truly splendid Victorian building.
Afternoon Tea Etiquette Talk
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