Open weekends, free entry - check opening times here

The Bartens of Norton Lees

What’s in a name? The BARTEN family of Norton Lees, 1589-1668. Bishops’ House, as it is known today, has been variously described as an ‘old Mansion near Norton Lees’ [1818] and ‘Old Hall at Norton Lees [1823] in published engravings after a sketch by Edward Blore. By 1862 it had become celebrated locally as ‘an […]

The Combined Rose

At the end of what history now calls the Wars of the Roses, the victorious king Henry VII, on his marriage, adopted the Tudor Rose, combining the Red Rose of the House of Lancaster with the White Rose of the House of York. The Yorkists used the emblem of the white rose from early in […]

The Veiled Windows

  Unknown to most visitors, there is a cellar, which lies under the main entrance to Bishops’ House. On the north and west walls of the cellar are two stone windows, now blocked up and below ground level. The window to the north even has a few small remaining fragments of glass in the frame. […]

The Capped Well

  There is a well in the cellar of Bishops House. It’s now blocked up and we can use a pump if the water level gets too high. But why was it put there in the first place? There may be two answers. Firstly, there are many natural springs in the area and this may […]

The Hound of the Talbots

Above the fireplace in the furnished bedroom to the right of the main staircase on the first floor is some plasterwork which shows the common emblem of the Talbot family, the Talbot dogs. It is possible that this plasterwork was bought by William Blythe when Sheffield Castle was being demolished after 1643. If this is […]

The lowest window

If you look along the north wall of the building [the wall facing into the park] you may see a small square window, about 40 cm [15 in.] across, now blocked up. But why is it so low down? Its lowest point is only 70 cm [28 in.] above the ground. Inside is where we […]

The Oak Panels

In March 2014 I found an 1846 record of Bishops’ House in the Derbyshire Record office in Matlock. It describes ‘an old, ancient, half-timbered house, in which are several rare oak carvings’. I assume that this refers to Bishops’ House. Today we have no way of knowing how many oak carvings there were but we […]

X Marks the spot

They are very difficult to find and are best seen with the aid of a high intensity LED torch but here and there on the main timber beams around the house can be seen an X bordered by two parallel lines. These are carpenter’s levelling marks. When the main beams had been sawed and shaped, […]

The Norton Builder

If you stand at the top of the ramp leading into the Park, on Norton Lees Lane and look at Bishops House you will see that the western part of the building leans to the right [the east]. When first built around 1500, Bishops House was a three bay timber framed building, constructed from vertical […]

Go Wilde in the country

The Blythe family are famous for their association with Bishops’ House but I’d like to write about some of the other people who lived in the house over the last five hundred years. On the inside of the door at the bottom of the east staircase, if you look closely, you can see the initials […]

 © 2020 Friends of Bishops’ House. All Rights Reserved.

Friends of Bishops’ House is a UK registered charity, number 1150722, and company ltd by guarantee number 08307595
Privacy Policy / Terms of Use