Old Hall Hotel

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Old Hall Hotel
Benkid77 Old Hall Hotel, Buxton 080809.JPG
The hall was rebuilt in 1670
General information
Town or city Buxton, Derbyshire
Country England
Coordinates 53°15′30″N 1°54′55″W / 53.2582°N 1.9153°W / 53.2582; -1.9153Coordinates: 53°15′30″N 1°54′55″W / 53.2582°N 1.9153°W / 53.2582; -1.9153
Construction started 1573
Completed 1670

The Old Hall Hotel is a hotel in Buxton, Derbyshire, England, and is one of the oldest buildings in the town.[1] The current building dates from the Restoration period, built around and incorporating an earlier fortified tower.

According to the Derbyshire Archeological Journal (1994): "In the national context, the survival of a building which accommodated both Mary Queen of Scots and much of the Elizabethan nobility is of considerable note. Its importance in architectural terms is further enhanced as it is believed to be the earliest known British building of cross-axial form."[2]

History of the building[edit]

Since at least the Middle Ages, a hall has stood on this site by the warm spring for which Buxton water is known. The oldest part of the current building was once part of a four-storey fortified tower, built in 1573 by Bess of Hardwick and her fourth husband, George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury.[2]

The tower was used at times between 1576 and 1578[3] to house Mary Queen of Scots, whilst she was in the custody of the Earl on the orders of Queen Elizabeth I. Her last visit to Buxton was in the summer of 1584.[4] It is claimed[2][4][5] that it was Mary who inscribed the following couplet to Buxton on a window pane:

Buxton, whose warm waters have made thy name famous, perchance I shall visit thee no more – Farewell.

The inscription can still be seen in the window of room 26.[6]

The Hall was rebuilt by one of Bess of Hardwick's descendants, the first Duke of Devonshire, in 1670.[2]

Use as a hotel[edit]

By 1727, the Old Hall had become a hotel, the only one in Buxton, where the writer Daniel Defoe stayed on his tour of Great Britain. Of the Hall he wrote: "The Duke of Devonshire ... has built a large handsome house at the bath, where there is convenient lodging, and very good provisions, and an ordinary well served for one shilling per head; but it is but one."[7]

By the time that the nearby Georgian Crescent was built (1780–86), Buxton had become an established spa town; and the Old Hall had become a fashionable hotel for the Georgian aristocracy taking the waters.[2] In 1791 one James Cumming (father of the noted chemist James Cumming) leased what was then called Buxton Hall Hotel from the fifth Duke in 1791. He was considered socially more than a mere hotelier, and the hotel's clientele included bishops and visiting aristocracy.[8] The Old Hall has served as a hotel ever since.


  1. ^ Things to do in Buxton (Historical Notes)
  2. ^ a b c d e A Brief History of the Old Hall Hotel, 4-page leaflet published by the Old Hall Hotel and available from reception.
  3. ^ Commemorative Blue plaque, reproduced in A brief History of the Old Hall Hotel.
  4. ^ a b Mary Stuart Society
  5. ^ "History of the hotel". Old Hall Hotel. Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  6. ^ "Private and corporate ghost hunts at the Old Hall Hotel, Buxton, Derbyshire". eerieevenings.com. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Defoe, Daniel (1724–27). "Letter 8, Part 2: The Peak District". A Tour Thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain, Divided into Circuits or Journies. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Brock, William (2005). "Coming and Going: The Fitful Career of James Cumming". In Archer, Mary; Haley, Christopher. The 1702 Chair of Chemistry at Cambridge: Transformation and Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 138. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 

External links[edit]