Sulgrave Manor Interior Tour
The manor house is accessible by guided tour only. The tour begins in the Screens Passage, which leads into the Great Hall, a large room with fine chamfered oak beams and a floor of blue Hornton stone. Restoration of the roof led to the finding of an Elizabethan baby’s shoe and a sixpence dated 1568, both of which are on display in a small exhibition area upstairs.
Also found in the roof was a knife that probably belonged to Lawrence Washington, builder of Sulgrave Manor. The Great Hall features a very large fireplace with an original oak fireplace seat. The windows show 8 modern stained glass reproductions of Washington family crests. Four of the originals are in the Corning Glass Museum in the US, and four at Fawsley parish church a few miles away. Above the fireplace is a famous portrait of George Washington by American artist Gilbert Stuart.

From the Great Hall we go to the Oak Parlour, a lovely chamber panelled in dark, polished wood. This part of the house comes from the 18th century addition built by John Hodges. The chamber dates to around 1700, and has beautiful elm flooring. In the corner stands a ‘dummy’, a standing cutout likeness of a small boy, dressed in costume typical of about 1690.

One of the highlights of the interior is the kitchen. This room is especially interesting as the entire furnishings were purchased as a whole, when the 18th century kitchen of a manor at Weston Corbett, Hampshire, was purchased in its entirety. The very large fireplace is served with an Elizabethan mechanical spit, which turned roasts by means of a system of gears powered by weights of different sizes.

There are three first floor bedrooms on display.  The White Bedroom has a four poster bed, and is furnished with period Queen Anne fittings. Among the items of interest is a child’s walker.

The Chintz Bedroom features a Hepplewhite style chair dating to 1790, which was once owned by George Washington.

The most impressive upstairs room is the Great Chamber, which features a beautifully polished oak floor. The centrepiece of the room is a superbly carved Elizabethan four poster bed obtained from Battle Abbey. One object on display is a small embroidered Stuart toilet mirror. The embroidery designs on this mirror were used as patterns for the new bed hangings. The bed hangings are the result of the Elizabethan Embroidery Project, an 8 year undertaking by volunteers from across Britain and the US to create a hand-stitched Elizabethan style green velvet hanging with valence.

Beyond the Great Chamber is the Deed Room, where a variety of documents and memorabilia associated with the house and the Washington family. Among the items on display is George Washington’s velvet coat, liquor chest, handle from his coffin, and a lock of his hair.