The National Trust owns Little Moreton Hall, one of England’s most iconic timber-framed structures, which is located four miles south of Congleton. The Grade I-listed hall, which dates from the late fourteenth century, is an excellent example of a half-timbered house.This delectably overwhelming symphony of timber framing rises like a fairy-tale manor, with a tiny moat protecting it. The home is designed around an inner courtyard that is accessed via a projecting gatehouse.

Sir Richard de Moreton erected the great hall on the far side of the courtyard circa 1450. Service wings are on the left, and a chapel and solar, or private rooms for the lord and his family, are on the right.The Moretons erected enormous bay windows to the great hall in 1559, and a long gallery over the gatehouse a few decades later. Within the house, there are no corridors; each room goes directly into the next, and the floors are linked by tiny spiral staircases. Visitors can see the beautiful plasterwork and wall paintings, particularly those in the long gallery, because there are no interior furniture.

Outside the house is a knot garden, and the chapel is a gem, with a galleried prayer room facing the little nave. The Long Gallery, which was built over the gatehouse in the 1580s, is by far the most remarkable space.This house has a lovely set of mullioned windows that let light into an interior with magnificent ornamental woodwork.

The Little Moreton Hall estate spanned 1,360 acres (550 hectares) at its peak in the mid-16th century, and included a cornmill, orchards, gardens, and an iron bloomery with water-powered hammers. The gardens were abandoned until they were re-created in the twentieth century.

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