Harvington Hall

Our Mission & Vision

Our Mission

Harvington Hall is a fine example of an Elizabethan manor, a Grade I Listed Building sitting on an island that is a Scheduled Monument, but that only touches the surface. We can provide something for everybody in what is the most fascinating of places.

Our mission therefore is to provide an experience like no other. Whether you come as a part of our Catholic community, our local community or as part of our tourist community, we will provide learning, understanding and enjoyment to a wider and more diverse audience than ever before.

We are a place of pilgrimage

Harvington Hall is owned by the Archdiocese of Birmingham because of the importance of Harvington to Catholics. The house was owned by the Pakington family, known recusants during times of persecution against Catholics. The house has seven priest hides, the most of any in the country. They include ingenious hides created by St Nicholas Owen, the famous hide builder. The house is known to have housed many priests. The faith is kept alive here.

Many priests and lay people were martyred for being Catholic and Owen and St John Wall were directly linked to the Hall. It is part of our worship today to pray for and ask the intercession of saints and so Harvington has been for many years the place where we can come on pilgrimage to commemorate the saints. This culminates each year with a special Mass to commemorate the Martyrs of England and Wales.

Our mission will continue this, providing an opportunity for people to understand the motivations of recusant Catholics and providing a place for Catholics, and those who aspire to be Catholic, to enrich their faith.            

We are an integral part of our community

We are only now beginning to understand the historical importance of the Harvington estate in this area. As it reduced in size and as the Hall became a centre of recusancy so it became insular looking. We have an opportunity to investigate the part this place and its people played in the local community, what we can learn from the site and its surroundings and how that links to the future.

We are already seeing a change: our gardens are now open and are being adopted by the local community. That might be enjoying our catering offer; our fresh air, wildlife and opportunity to put the world to one side; it might be as part of their leisure time as a venue amongst many; or as part of their routine, such as a coffee and chat before the school run.

As we become part of our area so we benefit: we have had an influx of new volunteers enthused by a venue on their doorstep they did not know.

We will develop this further. We are committed to increasing the opportunities to experience the Hall, be it through our planned young volunteers, revitalising our offer to schools with an emphasis on curriculum and safeguarding, attending a wider variety of events or enjoying the Hall as a venue for formal recreation and organised private functions.

As we understand our history more so we will have opportunities for further local involvement that spreads out from the Hall into the local parishes and across Worcestershire.

Our mission is to show the importance of the Hall in the local setting, what that means for our understanding of the local area and how we can use that knowledge to put ourselves at the heart of the community, with residents, local parishes, schools and universities. We will help to ensure people have greater wellbeing, we will help boost the local economy and we will help our area to be an even better place to work, live and visit.

We are an important part of history that needs to be told

The story of Harvington is important for its part in the history of the local area, the Archdiocese of Birmingham, but also national history.

As the people of our country is more diverse than ever, so we come to realise that history has more than one story to tell. Catholic recusant history from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is little known and little understood. Harvington is a place where that history can be told. A different perspective on Tudor and Stuart life can be revealed and an appreciation of their sacrifice can grow.

We have the opportunity to review our events, tours, educational programme and interpretation to add to the knowledge of English history in a way that those who are not Catholic, not Christian, or have no faith can appreciate. 

The story that we tell is directly linked to children’s education in both the national curriculum and in catechetical formation and we have an opportunity to reach many people through a hands on understanding of history.

Our mission will keep the story of this Hall alive and to tell it in such a way that more people can know about this misrepresented part of English history. Our story can be used as a means of improving schoolchildren’s understanding of our history and it be used to bring to a wider audience the plight of others in peril giving our visitors the opportunity to reflect on how their own actions can help others.

We are a visitor attraction

As well as providing a better understanding of the past and a place of pilgrimage, we are also a fantastic day out, providing facilities that can be enjoyed by all the family with excellent events, guided tours and catering in beautifully kept surroundings on a moated island with friendly ducks in the wonderful Worcestershire countryside.

We are a destination that is famed for its history, the preservation of many original features, the most priest hides anywhere in the country, for the many and varied activities that take place throughout the year and the friendly welcome we provide.

We are discovering more about the Hall, including just how important our wall paintings are. From this will emerge opportunities to learn about and virtually experience late Medieval and Tudor wall painting in a way that protects their fabric.

Our mission will ensure that we have a Hall that people will want to visit, will fall in love with and will want to be involved with as we develop opportunities to improve the visitor experience whilst protecting the integrity of the Hall’s fabric. We will develop the opportunities for volunteers; we will provide events that are enjoyable, entertaining, relevant and educational and we will aim to widen our catchment of visitors.

We are custodians of a nationally important heritage asset

The Hall is already acknowledged to be of national importance as a Scheduled Monument and a Grade I Listed Building. The Hall has been loved over the centuries and has received a new lease of life with ownership by the Archdiocese of Birmingham that has saved in and investigated the deep Catholic history of the site. We have the opportunity to take that further.

We are committed to understanding more about the history of the building in its setting. What we uncover will have implications for just how important Harvington is in the history of the area, Worcestershire, the Midlands and the country as a whole.

We are investing in a Conservation Management Plan. This will bring forward much understanding, many projects and an opportunity to involve more people in telling the story of this wonderful place.

Our mission will ensure that we understand, manage, preserve, conserve and interpret the building and grounds well, that we restore many features, that we keep it in good repair and develop the visitor experience whilst protecting the integrity of the Hall’s fabric which will result in many more people being involved in heritage, important traditional skills will be promoted and our nationally important heritage will be in better condition.

Our Vision

When people talk about Tudor, Elizabethan and Jacobean times, they will instinctively think of Harvington Hall. When people talk of priest hides, they picture those at Harvington Hall. In all we do, we are true to the history of the Hall, Catholic history and the context of English history.

We want to ensure that the Hall is in a fit state to enable visitors to come, but it will be in managed numbers to ensure that the fabric of the Hall is not compromised. We want to hand it on to the next generation in a better condition that we inherited it. We will complete our Conservation Management Plan and will explore the opportunities that arise to develop a strategy for building maintenance, improvement, full use and interpretation that will benefit the Hall and our mission.

The grounds will play an increasingly important role in the life of the Hall as the range and number of events is increased to provide for our visitors, but it will part of our delivery of a more sustainable location.

Our sustainability will include making the Hall a more energy-efficient building, seek opportunities to move towards sustainable energy, improve the moat’s water quality and provide an environment that creates a diverse habitat for a greater variety of flora and fauna.

We will develop our links in the community, we will become an active part of our area and provide benefits to help the local economy, recreation and wider well-being.

Our participation with schools, parishes and universities will develop a greater appreciation of the history of the Hall, will develop projects on site and the wider context of the Hall and will continue to ensure that we flourish as a place of pilgrimage.

We will do all of this in a financially sensible way. We have scare resources, but we are committed to careful use, developing income streams and securing grant funding to deliver the improvements that we aspire to.

We will ensure that Our Vision is clearly articulated in a coordinated and deliverable strategy in a financially responsible way.

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