Three Things You May Not Know About Rushton Hall

Rushton hall is without a doubt a property with an intriguing past. Each wall, corridor and corner of our grounds has a secret to share and a story to tell; it’s all part of what makes us the most desirable boutique hotel Northamptonshire has to offer. Keep reading and you’ll become privy to some more of our secrets…

A Literary Inspiration

In 1850, Miss Clara Thornhill paid a grand sum of £165,000 for Rushton Hall; great value for money by today’s standards. A year later she married William Capel Clarke and in 1853 they both took the surname Clarke-Thornhill. It is at this point in time that Charles Dickens became a great friend of Clara’s. Over the years he visited Rushton Hall many times and in 1850 it is believed he conceived the idea of Haversham Hall whilst at Rushton. Haversham went on to feature in his novel ‘Great Expectations’.

Designer Unknown

Regrettably, the designer of Rushton Hall is not known. Historians have managed to establish a connection with a Mr. John Thorpe, who worked on behalf of Thomas Tresham on the buildings at Lyvveden New Build and the Market House in Rothwell. Sir Thomas Tresham enlarged the house towards the end of the 15th Century and in 1595 added two gables in which he had his coat of arms inscribed. Whilst evidence points towards a partnership, we may never have a definitive answer.

A fateful final dinner

Rushton Hall is the last place that Glenn Miller ever performed. If you were not aware, he was an American big-band performer in the swing era. He held the title of best-selling recording artist from 1939 to 1943 with tracks including ‘In the Mood’ and ‘Moonlight Serenade’. On 13th December 1944 he played at a dinner dance here at the Hall; the following day his band packed and boarded a plane ready for their flight to Paris the following day.

Their itinerary was to fly to Paris on 15th December and play for the allied troops the following day, the aim of which was to boost morale and to help prepare them for their advance through France. Despite being advised not to fly Glenn was insistent that he must get to Paris to support the troops and so the plane journey went ahead as scheduled. An hour and a half later it was reported that contact had been lost with the plane over the English Channel. The plane and its passengers were never found – what happened to them remains a mystery.

There is more to discover about our luxurious Kettering hotel; you can find out more about our old owners and further secrets in our other blog, here.

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