The Keys of Adlington Hall, by The Caretakers
It is said that the average home owner has 9 keys (3 of which they have no idea what they are for)
Adlington Hall is definitely not your average home! Being over 800 years old and with more than 40 rooms spread over 3 levels there have been hundreds and hundreds of keys during that time. These ranged from chunky hand forged medieval keys for locking heavy doors and front gates of fortifications to tiny intricate handmade keys for cabinets and bureaus. House keepers would carry huge rings of keys and were probably the only people who knew which key went where.
As the Hall was passed from generation to generation, parts were removed, parts were built on, doors and furniture were replaced and locks were changed. The Hall as it stands today has over 270 key holes, some dating back hundreds of years. One thing that probably never changed was that all old and unidentified keys were kept – in a box – just in case…
Fast forward to 2018 and our first winter as caretakers at Adlington Hall. The first of our winter projects was to sort out this above mentioned box. As we opened the very heavy box we knew it wasn’t going to be a very quick job.
We sorted them into piles of old and new keys and concentrated on the old ones. We spent a couple of days armed with bunches of keys, walking from room to room trying to match up keys to locks. We had quite a few matches but were still left with plenty. As they are lovely looking keys we were reluctant to just put them back in the box so we set about making display frames for them. Using old frames, and pieces of flooring from the Hall (and a couple of charity shop bargains) we made the 4 arrangements that are now framed and displayed in the Tea room at Adlington Hall.
Adlington Hall Caretakers – June 2021