Seaton Delaval
Ivanhoe Forge in Seaton Delaval
A sizable village on the very southeastern fringe of Northumberland, Seaton Delaval is home to the eponymous Seaton Delaval Hall, built 1727, a superb baroque creation by Sir John Vanbrugh for Admiral George Delaval. The village itself has a long history as a mining centre, and more recently, as a centre of industry.

The village name may need some explaining. Seaton simply means 'sea town'. Though it is not on the coast it is near enough to make the name a reasonable description. The Delaval part refers to the Delaval family, who came from Laval in the Maine region of France. The Delaval family held the manor for centuries and are still manor landowners in the area.

Tucked away behind Seaton Delaval Hall is the ancient church of Our Lady. It was built in 1102 by Hubert de Laval to serve as a family chapel and has only been a parish church since 1891. A blocked window in the nave suggests that there was a Saxon church on the site, and the upper section of the font supports this theory.

Perhaps to counterbalance these early remains, the nave has a lovely Georgian ceiling. Other historic features include a 13th-century effigy of a knight and lady and funeral hatchments of the Delaval family.

As for the Hall itself, it is one of Vanbrugh's smallest country houses, yet exudes his familiar exuberant Baroque style. The Delaval family were noted for the extravagant lifestyle and also for their love of practical jokes. Where else can you find a stately home with furniture nailed to the ceiling? After years of neglect, the Hall is now being restored to its former glory by the National Trust.