Historic banquets revived at Hall

Historic banquets are back on the menu by popular demand at the National Trust’s Seaton Delaval Hall for the first time in over 30 years.

The banquet promises to be a fun night of authentic Georgian entertainment with music, games and a four course meal.

Still fondly remembered by hundreds of visitors, medieval banquets were frequently held at Seaton Delaval Hall from the 1960’s to the early 1980’s. The entertainment was put on by a company called Historic Productions and the crowds were entertained by local man Bill Midgley and his group of operatic singers. The singers doubled up as serving ‘wenches’ who kept glasses of mead and wine continuously topped up. On the menu was Northumberland broth for starters followed by spare ribs eaten with daggers and syllabub for sweet.Jean Dunbar, currently a volunteer for the National Trust at Seaton Delaval Hall, took part in many medieval banquets, she told us:

“I took 70 nurses to Seaton Delaval Hall every year for 10 years, and one year I chose a Baron and Baroness for the night, it was the honour of the Baron to say ‘Let the party begin’. There was clog dancing and lots of Geordie songs and everybody thoroughly enjoyed themselves in such a wonderful setting. We now have the opportunity of reliving this thanks to the National Trust bringing the banquets back to Seaton Delaval Hall.’

Since acquiring the Hall back in 2009, National Trust have been keen to revive these popular events and will host their first ever Georgian banquet this September.

Alison Forbes, events co-ordinator at Seaton Delaval Hall said:

“When we acquired Seaton Delaval Hall we asked people what they wanted to happen and hundreds of people from the local community said they would love us to re-instate the banquets. We decided to go along the Georgian theme as we’re keen to bring to life this era at the Hall, immersing people in the Delaval way of life.”

Whilst the medieval banquets were held in the Old Kitchen in the West Wing of the Hall, the Georgian Banquet will be held in the main Hall where the Delaval family themselves would have hosted parties for their guests.

Alison continued:

“The banquets will be a fitting tribute to the fun-loving Delaval family, the original owners of Seaton Delaval Hall. The Delavals’ were famous for their lavish parties and love of entertaining, which earned them the nickname, ‘the gay Delavals’”.

The National Trust’s Georgian Banquet will take place at Seaton Delaval Hall on Saturday 29 September from 7pm to 11pm. On the menu is Mulled wine, Green Pea Soup served with rustic bread, Venison Casserole served with Vegetables and for desert apple pie, syllabub and damson tart all washed down with a post dinner glass of Port. Whilst fancy dress is optional Alison said a ‘nod’ to the theme would help everyone get into the spirit of the occasion.

Tickets are £50 and a discount of £10 per person is available for groups of 10 or more. Booking is essential and the Trust is advising people to book early to avoid disappointment.

Alison told us:

“We’ve already sold more than half of the tickets and are expecting a full house for this event. It’s been created in response to local demand and we hope people will enjoy the chance to be part of this historic experience.”