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Behind the Scenes - Burton Constable Hall

The 14 Landing

By the late sixteenth century the ceiling of the Great Hall had been lowered to allow for the creation of attic rooms. The layout of these rooms was subsequently altered and by the 19th century a central corridor had been added with seven rooms down either side. These would have been the sleeping quarters for servant staff, though the first room is substantially larger than the others and was probably used as a sitting room, work area and for storage. Due to the long working days and laborious tasks endured by Victorian servants it is unlikely that the occupants of these rooms enjoyed more than a few hours of sleep.

The Waterloo Room

The room takes its name from the wallpaper commemorating the various military victories of the Duke of Wellington, the most famous of which was the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

From the eighteenth century this room has been an office from where the Steward or Agent managed the estate. The many metal chests once safeguarded papers relating to the Burton Constable Estate in Holderness that are now deposited in the public archive office in Beverley.

Billiard Room

This room was formally the Servants’ Hall, where staff would eat their meals and await summons by means of a bell system in the corridor outside. The labelling of these bells provides a valuable insight into the names of various rooms during the nineteenth century, the most amusing of which is the 'Haunted Chamber'. The marble fireplace surround dates from c.1700, although the grate with fireside boilers is nineteenth century. Hot water was piped to provide heating for the servants’ rooms in the attics. It was converted into a Billiard Room in the early 1970s when the Victorian billiard table was installed and is still used by the family today.


The high water table in Holderness means that the cellars are modest in size and only just below ground level. The large beer barrels date to the nineteenth century when servants were entitled to an allowance of weak beer to drink, a much safer alternative to the polluted water on offer.The original Elizabethan wine cellar is still used to store wine and port by the family.

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Did you know?
Afternoon tea was created by the Duchess of Bedford in the late 18th century. She invited friends to join her for an afternoon meal of small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, sweets and, of course, tea. The practice was so popular that it was quickly adopted by other social hostesses 
Over 80 different species of birds have been spotted at Burton Constable, from the smallest British bird, the Goldcrest, to large birds of prey such as Buzzards and Barn Owls

The Burton Constable Whale is featured in Herman Melville's famous novel Moby Dick. 

Today the Burton Constable Whale is nicknamed 'Constable Moby'