Following a successful Elemis Launch, BAZAAR Spa are excited to announce that we have been awarded the Best Country House Spa in Cheshire 2023 from Lux Awards.
The Hospitality Awards 2023, presented by LUXlife, is a prestigious awards program now in its eighth year that recognizes and honours the best of the best in the hospitality industry across the globe. These awards celebrate the achievements and creativity of hospitality businesses and professionals who have demonstrated outstanding performance, innovation, and customer satisfaction in their respective fields.
This award goes to show how hard the BAZAAR team have been working to ensure the facilities, service & products are at it’s best for our guests. Beating off stiff competition from the plethora of spa’s in the area, it was a real feather in the cap for Spa Manager, Grace Marshall and her team. “We’re absolutely thrilled. Bazaar is a fabulous facility, set in a wonderful part of the world. It’s always a pleasure to be recognized and this award echoes the great feedback that we receive daily from our guest”
Want to experience BAZAAR for yourself? Click here to find out how.
This spring ‘The Runaway Bride’ was published by Lancashire based author Felicity York. It provides a romantic twist of the historical account involving the kidnap of Shrigley Hall resident, Ellen Turner, by local rogue Edward Wakefield. We caught up with her this autumn to discuss inspiration, visiting the properties, Benedict Cumberbatch, and more…
How did you discover the story of Ellen Turner & Edward Wakefield & what inspired you to write the book?
Thank you so much for inviting me to contribute to your blog!
The initial idea to tell the story of Ellen, Edward, and Thomas Legh came from my lovely publisher, Harper North, and I was commissioned to write the book which is the first in a series of three books called Stately scandals.
After those initial discussions I set off to research the story and was utterly drawn to Ellen’s story. It’s so incredible, and more so for the fact that it is a true story. Kidnappings and dashes to Gretna are so often part of Regency romances readers will be very familiar with the trope, but in this case, it actually happened. It was fascinating to look at the story of what it was really like to be whisked off to Gretna and be married. I think what sets it apart is Mr Turners response. I won’t go into detail and spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, save to say, it wasn’t the usual response…
Did you visit Shrigley Hall & Lyme Park in the lead up to writing the book? What additional research took place into the building & area?
I did. I came to Shrigley Hall a couple of times and walked around the grounds, looked at the surrounding area, and generally tried to soak up the feeling. I also had a look around the interior and had an amazing Sunday lunch in the restaurant! Walking about the house, sitting in what is now the lounge, and knowing that this is where Ellen and her family sat was quite something. Shrigley was a gorgeous house, and now a fabulous hotel that retains much of the original. I can see why Ellen’s family were so proud of it.
I also went to Lyme Park a couple of times and walked around the house and the gardens. It’s such an atmospheric place and with the links to Pride and Prejudice so recognisable. Inside the house is beautifully preserved and I could imagine Ellen and Thomas in the Library so clearly.
I spent a lot of time just sitting, looking, and imagining. I daresay I’ll be back!
Lyme Park; Home of Thomas Legh
Many people have said that the whole story would make a fabulous period drama. Do you agree with this & if so, if you had access to any actor/actress, who would you cast in the leading roles?
Oh, my word, yes! I think it would be sensational as a period drama. Full of excitement, danger, and romance (yes, I know I’m biased!) it would be perfect.
I have had thoughts about who might play the key characters. I’m probably showing my age here, but I’m a huge fan of the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice and can definitely see Kiera Knightly and Matthew MacFadyen as Ellen and Thomas. Perhaps Benedict Cumberbatch as Edward…? He does a good villain. One character I found really intriguing in the story was Frances Wakefield. I think Helena Bonham Carter would do her justice. Oh, and Brenda Blethyn as Mrs Turner and Philip Glennister as Mr Turner would be amazing. I’m sure younger readers will have a whole different list. It would be really interesting to cast it in the way they did with Bridgerton.
Tell us a bit more about the ‘Stately Scandals’ series? Was there any reason why ‘The Runaway Bride’ was the first published? What’s next?
The Stately Scandals series will focus on dramatisations of real stories that focus on people / families from the north of England written by northern authors. I’m originally from Yorkshire, but currently live in Lancashire. The next in the series planned for early next year is called The Quiet Wife and will focus on a scandal at Speke Hall in Merseyside. The final book will be The Secret Sister and will focus on the Devonshire’s of Chatsworth. There wasn’t any real reason behind the order in which the books would be written, but I was particularly drawn to Ellen’s story so I was really glad to do that one first.
Following your research into the character of Edward Wakefield, did it surprise you to learn that he seemed to turn his life around, becoming an upstanding member of society and imperial visionary?
It really did. I spent a lot of time looking into Edward as he is such a fascinating character. He seemed to have absolute confidence in himself no matter what he did. Most would assume that he would be subdued after the affair with Ellen but no, he picked himself up and launched himself even higher. He was remarkably resilient and seemed to have absolute belief in what he was doing.
Did you have a favourite character in the book? If so, why?
Ooh that’s hard. I loved Ellen. I thought she was incredibly resourceful, and brave, but I adored her father, William Turner. The Turners came from Blackburn which is about fifteen minutes from where I live. There was some true northern grit in William’s response to what happened. Again, I won’t go into too many details, but I had a lot of fun writing him. Also, I can’t leave out Thomas Legh because he was really interesting. He’d had such a fascinating life and I spent ages reading about his travels as a young man because I managed to get hold of a copy of the book that he wrote. So, to come back to your question, I can’t name a favourite – I love them all!
How much did you have to move away from the truth when writing the book?
It’s a balancing act when dramatizing real events, but I tried to stay as true to the original story as I could in terms of what happened to Ellen, but I changed the timelines in some places for dramatic effect. I had a copy of the court transcript from the trial and used that quite extensively in the court scenes but added to it a little to fit the story. The romance between Ellen and Thomas came entirely from my imagination as did her relationship with her friends and the Viscount.
The episode received huge attention from the national press at the time. Why do you think this was?
I think it’s because an abduction was always a source of wildly exciting gossip back then. Any whiff of scandal attaching to a young lady would be enough to send the hacks racing to get their stories in the press, but a wholesale abduction would have sent them into a frenzy. Also, it went on for quite a while, so they kept on and on coming back to it.
There are definite parallels between the attitude of Mrs Turner and Mrs Bennet in Pride & Prejudice regarding their daughters, ‘choice’ of future groom, and standing in society. Did it surprise you that Mr Turner fought so hard for the marriage to be annulled, where many parents at that time would have taken the opposite course of action to avoid potential scandal?
There were definite parallels between the two. Mrs Turner would have been desperate for Ellen to make a good match as would most mothers of the time and I think she would have got along famously with Mrs Bennett. The most important thing for her would be Ellen’s reputation and by extension, their reputation. Being from trade they were already at a disadvantage socially, so reputation and standing was everything. I think the thought of the loss of that would have overwhelmed her.
I rather got the feeling that Mr Turner wasn’t as invested in the whole notion of social standing in the way that his wife was. Perhaps being from the north of England and being a businessman, he had a different outlook to people considered ‘old money’ for whom reputation was everything. As I read about him, I could see why he might feel he needed to fight rather than give in. I also got the feeling that Ellen was rather like her father and could see that if she wanted a better life than being stuck with Edward, she’d have to fight for it. And fight she did!
A pleasure to host the cream of young amateur golf talent at the Northern Boys Golf Championship on 6th July.
Some great golf on display and very positive course feedback from players and officials. Congratulations to Yorkshire who dominated the team event, whilst Jake Wallis from Garforth Golf Club, cruised to the individual title. Two rounds of two under par 69 was enough to win by two shots. Just one bogey in 36 holes on a tricky breezy day. Well done Jake!
The last top class multi round tournament staged here was the Lancashire & Cheshire PGA Championship, over 20 years ago. That event was won by Warrington pro Phil Archer, who went on to forge a very successful career on the European Tour and now, the Senior Tour.
It will be interesting to see if Jake follows in the same footsteps!
A big thank you to all our visitors, but also to our Shrigley golf members who provided enthusiastic on course support, Andy and his team in the Lodge, and Ben and our greenkeepers. It was a very early start, a long day, but a great advert for Shrigley Hall golf
“My name is Ben Evans and I am the Head Greenkeeper here at Shrigley Hall Hotel. What started out as a simple summer job for me working on the gardens, soon turned into a permanent position when a member of the course maintenance team left. Since then, I haven’t looked back!
A few years ago, I headed out to the US to gain experience and qualifications – the highlight being a role with the greens team at TPC Scottsdale during the Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour. To be involved in an event that regularly attracts over half a million fans during tournament week was something else.
A typical day for me here at Shrigley kicks off at 5.45am – nice and early! Starting off, I always check over the first green to make sure all is in order before I plan and start the jobs for the day. Then, it’s on to helping with whatever task may need doing. The course is always prepared and maintained following a daily, weekly and monthly cycle, but occasionally things crop up that throw a spanner in the works, for example, bad weather or issues with machinery. After lunch, at this time of year due, to reducing daylight hours, it’s usually a case of working through admin and planning. One of the greatest things about this job and Shrigley Hall in general, is that no two shifts are ever the same. There is always something different that needs attending to and it always varies from day to day.
The best of my job is definitely being able to work outdoors on the grounds, seeing the fruits of our labour as the seasons pass. The views from the estate, the sunrises and sunsets, the wildlife, the herd of deer…it’s a really special place. Undoubtedly, the worst part has to be the good old English weather, especially during a harsh winter, where up here at Shrigley, it can be particularly brutal! When the course is covered in snow, most of my time is spent either sat on a snow plough making sure the hotel is accessible, or on a gritter, to ensure it is safe!
If I had to pick one thing to choose from my achievements during my time here, I would have to say seeing the improvements myself and the team have made across all aspects of the course. The facility really has come on a huge amount over the past few years, feedback from both our supportive members and visiting parties is proof of this, and something of which we are obviously very proud. In addition, the development of an enthusiastic, hard-working team, who take real pride in all aspects of their work, is particularly pleasing for me. There is no doubt that pre-pandemic, participation levels in golf within the UK were on the slide. However, due to lockdown and people’s realisation as to how important fresh air, exercise and spending time with friends is, it has been great to see the sport enjoy a mini boom following re-opening. Golf has certainly benefitted.
Changes to greenkeeping in the future? Over the past 10 years, there has been a significant reduction in the chemicals available to control pests and disease, meaning an increase in these problems. This has, and will, make it very difficult to maintain turf quality especially throughout the winter months. A reduction in these pesticides, coupled with the need to maintain courses in a more environmentally aware way, will mean a less “manicured” golf course will become a more common sight. Areas that are out of play will be less intensively managed. However, on the plus side, this will increase the range of flora and fauna.
Clearing and regenerating the water hazards on the golf course is a key part of Ben’s winter programme
Plans for the winter months? It’s a time to take stock and plan for the following season. The playing characteristics of a golf course are hugely influenced by the hard work that took place during the previous winter, so as always, a lot is planned. Along with regular aeration of playing surfaces, irrigation to tees, lots of tree maintenance, plus clearing out, tidying up and improving the quality of our water hazards, will improve the aesthetics, but also, the biodiversity of these areas.
I have a great team with me. Hard working, enthusiastic and this includes my right-hand man Freddie. He’s a Boston Terrier, loves helping out on the grounds, watching and meeting the golfers and seems to be a great hit with everyone, the team here at the Hotel, our members and visitors”
My name is Paige Kay and I am new to the wedding team here at Shrigley Hall Hotel. After 6 years within the hospitality industry and after my time at university, I was desperate to get more hands on and jumped at the chance to join the team at Shrigley and become one of their new wedding coordinators.
From my first year of being here at Shrigley, I have loved getting to know new couples and going on the journey with them from the day they book, to the day of their wedding, watching their visions come to life. Being part of such an important day in two people’s lives is pretty amazing! I have specifically loved admiring how each couple implements their own unique touch to their day. We’ve had a variety of different wedding themes, venue dressing and even entertainment here at the hotel meaning no wedding is the same!
Shrigley Hall is the perfect location to host such a special day for many reasons with one being its beautiful location. The picturesque grounds that surround Shrigley lend themselves to breath-taking photographs. From the front of the hotel, to the lake on the golf course & the beautiful sunsets that descend over Shrigley, and that’s only on the outside! The ornate domed roof over the grand staircase located in the heart of the hotel is perfect for group shots, creating such a beautiful backdrop that you can admire for years to come.
Of course Shrigley wouldn’t be Shrigley without the amazing team that work effortlessly front of house and behind the scenes to make sure every last detail meets the expectations of our couples and their guests and is something that I am truly proud to be a part of.
Some top tips for wedding planning I would say is booking a venue that has accommodation meaning your guests can stay the night prior and on the wedding night giving them a room to get ready in and freshen up during the day taking away any extra stress. Another important tip, is having an idea of your numbers when enquiring at a venue to make sure they can accommodate you with the most suitable function space. Here at Shrigley we have 3 amazing function spaces that can hold a variety of different numbers of guests, so knowing rough numbers is ideal! Lastly, I think the most important thing to remember is that there is no definition of a ‘perfect’ wedding. A wedding can be small, large, heavily decorated or very simply decorated. At the end of the day, the most significant thing is the happiness between the couple.
If you want to hear more about our amazing venue, please come and visit us!