Discover the hidden past of Eden Hall and the secrets that lie within its beautiful architecture.
Eden Hall, originally known as Middleton House, was built by a firm of London contractors for Robert Middleton, Esq. Completed in 1875, it was estimated that the total cost of the enterprise was in the region of £30,000.
As a young man, Robert Middleton was a student under the Rev. Henry Leonard Adams, Minister of the Newark Congregational Church on Lombard Street, from 1834 to 1850. The house was named Middleton House and Chapel, even though Robert Middleton had separated from the Newark Baptists in around 1872. The local newspaper described the building as ‘novel on an extensive scale’ and ‘an object of great interest to the entire district’.
The chapel occupied almost the whole of the central portion of the building and could be entered from the courtyard at the rear of the house. A large pulpit was just inside the entrance, and opposite this was a self-acting organ with gilt pipes, which played up to 30 sacred tunes. There were also two galleries on the ground floor, which could accommodate over 200 people. These were used primarily for baptisms, as there was an iron tank sunk into the floor, which could be reached by a set of iron steps.
Steeped in tradition
The furniture throughout Eden Hall was of superior quality. Some of the inlaid tables were even originally sourced from suites of the late Emperor Napoleon III, who died in Kent in 1873. One of the rooms contained collections of china, which originated in Dresden, Serves and Worcester. At the south end of the house was a large conservatory, which attracted considerable attention. It was 30 foot high and 40 foot square, with a beautiful fountain in the centre and selection of tropical plants.
Across the charming courtyard once sat the stables, coach houses, outhouses and a lofty clock tower. The clock had four dials, each 5 foot in diameter, which could be illuminated at night. The hour was struck by a bell weighing 100 cwt, and Westminster chimes rang out every quarter hour on smaller bells. Within the clock tower was also a carillon, which played a different tune for each day of the week, with the tune repeated every three hours.
World War II
During World War II, on the evening of December 8th 1942, the beautiful conservatory at the south west end of Middleton House was sadly destroyed. An accidental release of a bomb load from a Lancaster bomber was the cause, as it started an operational mission. Several casualties were reported among the R.A.F personnel, as well as damaged windows in East Stoke Church. Why not take a virtual tour of how our property now looks.