Rufford Old Hall

I called at Rufford Old Hall last month. If ever there was stereotypical English country house, this is it. A nice bit of medieval black and white timbering, next to some impressive stonework, and excessive oak panelling within. It claims to have had Will Shakespeare as a house guest (which makes a change from Oliver Cromwell) and has a nice selection of ghosts including the standard grey lady, and, more unusually, Elizabeth I and a chap who floats above the canal. Great. What strikes me as more unusual is that it is still standing at all. As landed families’ wealth grew in the eighteenth-century, most demolished the old pile and rebuilt in a more fashionable style, such as classical or palladian. The Heskeths of Rufford decided to build a New Hall from scratch on a new site, saving the more interesting erection for posterity. Too often, we Christians behave like eighteenth-century gentry, knocking down the old and rebuilding in a more acceptable style. We despise our heritage and the wisdom of the elders, thinking ourselves far wiser than any who have gone before. Although we are always in danger of becoming prisoners to the past and slaves of tradition, we should have regard for the vast ocean of former generation that once trod our path. We must not be like the scribes of Matthew 15, who attempt to impose the 'traditions of the elders' on Christ's disciples, but we should have due regard for yesteryear's sagacity. 

That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. Exodus 4:5

Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16