Old Hall Hotel’s window into town’s unique history

Revealing the Past: Lady Bowman officially unveils the stained glass window wriiten by Mary Queen of Scots at the Old Hall Hotel, Buxton.
Revealing the Past: Lady Bowman officially unveils the stained glass window wriiten by Mary Queen of Scots at the Old Hall Hotel, Buxton.
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AFTER 450 years, a piece of Buxton’s history has been recreated and put back into its original home.

Reproductions of rare examples of the Elizabethan equivalent of modern-day text messages – some said to be written by Mary Queen of Scots – have been reproduced for a new feature at The Old Hall Hotel.

Writings, sketches and symbols scratched on to a window at the hotel between 1573 and 1584, when Mary visited Buxton to take the waters, have been reproduced thanks to a written copy of the originals kept in the Portland Papers at Longleat, Wiltshire.

Sixteen of the 39 examples of window writing are said to have been written by Mary herself, including messages about her son James.

Others are attributed to the Earl of Leicester, Sir Thomas Gerard, Frances Countess of Sussex and Lettice Countess of Essex.

Penelope, Viscountess Cobham, Chairman of Visit England, unveiled ‘Inscriptions on Glass’ during a visit to Buxton Festival.

Lady Cobham said: “It’s wonderful that, 450 years after they were originally written, these intriguing engraved messages are once again on show at what is said to be England’s oldest residential hotel, emphasising the numerous links between the Peak District and one of history’s most fascinating figures.

“I’m sure they’ll be an engaging talking point for future visitors to the town and the area.”

Other speakers at the official unveiling ceremony were Baroness Kay Andrews, Chair of English Heritage, and Councillor Caitlin Bisknell, Leader of High Peak Borough Council.

The project was instigated by Patrick Chapman, proprietor of the Grosvenor House B&B in Buxton, and was supported by the Bingham Trust and High Peak Borough Council.

Patrick has also charted the history of the window writings – skilfully interpreted by engraver Charmain Mocatta of Ledbury, Wiltshire - in a new publication, Things Written in the Glasse Windowes at Buxton, now available from The Old Hall Hotel.