Huntingdon Hall is the ancestral home of the Loxley family, one of the First Families of East Mercia, and the seat of the Loxley Estate. Built in YE 165 as a hunting lodge for Empress Ivette II, it was gifted by Queen Mary-Anne to the Loxley family in YE 238, along with the Marcdom of Huntingdon, as reward for the Loxleys’ long term loyalty to the Fitzwalter family in general and especially to Margaret Adelaide Loxley for her assistance to Queen Mary-Anne during the Sacking of the Vatican. There had been a Loxley in residence in the Hall from YE 238 until the death of Eleanor Loxley and the disappearance of her daughter Robyn Loxley in YE 876, during the Promised Land Campaign. The Hall is currently occupied by Eleanor’s step-daughter Philippa Murdoch, Sheriff of Nottingham. The farmlands belonging to the Loxley Estate were signed over to King John II by Philippa.
The original hunting lodge still stands and forms the centrepiece of the current building. It’s constructed from stone, and its gothic structure towers over the landscape. Inside, a vaulted ceiling is supported by huge stone pillars and the arched windows still contain some of their original stained glass.
The lodge was first extended in YE 251 by William Arnott, widower of Adelaide Loxley and father to Abigail Loxley, the second Margrave of Huntingdon. He added an East and a West wing as well as extensive gardens. The renovations took over five years and it was on their completion in YE 257 that the Hall gained its current title, having previously been referred to simply as Loxley Lodge.
The Hall then remained largely unchanged until YE 533, when it suffered extensive damage during the Acorn Uprising. After Queen Eleanor Loxley’s coronation later that year, plans were drawn up to demolish the old Hall and create an entirely new structure, more befitting her new royal status. However, in the aftermath of the war, concerns about cost led to these designs being scrapped and it was decided to renovate the existing building instead.
The oldest section of the Hall had suffered only minor smoke and cosmetic damage. The East wing of the building was still structurally sound, although the roof had been destroyed by fire. The West wing, on the other hand, which had taken the majority of the damage, could not be salvaged and was demolished, leaving the Hall with a somewhat lopsided appearance for the following 150 years.
In YE 691, Cameron Loxley, 6th Margrave of Huntingdon began a new program of building work which created the current West wing and enlarged the kitchens. This was completed in YE 700 and marks the last structural alteration to the building.
Links to the Community
Huntingdon Hall has always had close links to the surrounding community. The Margraves of the Marcdom resided there and, as leaders, were responsible for the residents of the Marcdom of Huntingdon. From the moment of its construction they were a major employer in the area. Following Eleanor Loxley’s coronation in YE 533, extra land was acquired and worked as farmland. Initially this was done to assist recovery in the aftermath of the war, but by the early 7th century YE Huntingdon had become a major supplier of grain and produce for the Nottingham area.
During the Second Hycath War, the East Wing was transformed into an emergency field hospital, headed up by Roger Bernard Loxley, 8th Margrave of Huntingdon, who was a surgeon. After the war, he was awarded the East Mercia Octad in recognition of his service.
Huntingdon did not escape the effects of The Change in the early 9th century YE, with much of their yields down 80%. During the Great Torrent in YE 781 many crops were entirely lost due to large parts of the lands being submerged. The waters eventually receded, but the flooded lands remained unworkable for several years. Following these events, the Loxley family members became pioneers in cultivating crops with and in seawater. In YE 798, in the midst of the Long Famine, Margaret Eleanor Loxley, the 9th Margrave, ordered that the boundary fences be fortified to protect the crops they were still able to grow.
Huntingdon Hall is the oldest continually occupied building in East Mercia.
The Hall is said to be haunted by several ghosts, including a young boy in 5th-century YE dress who has been seen in the West wing and is thought to be the child of a servant, killed during the Acorn Uprising.