Hotel History

In 1803 the White Horse Inn in what was the Market Place was pulled down and a new coaching inn, the Rutland Arms was built in roughly the same place overlooking the newly formed Rutland Square.  The Duke of Rutland asked James Hudson and his wife, Ann, to oversee the building of the new inn ready for opening in 1804.  James also farmed the 1,000 acre Haddon Hall farm on behalf of the Duke.


In 1805 James Hudson unexpectedly died at the inn and his grave can be seen by the south door of Bakewell church.  He left Ann and three children.  Within six months Ann had married her late husband’s best friend, William Greaves, a Bakewell plumber and glazier.  She quickly knocked him into shape and together they ran the Rutland Arms and the general post office until 1831.  The coaching inn accommodated the passengers and changed the horses for coaches travelling between Bakewell and London, Manchester, Sheffield, Buxton and Matlock.  William Greaves died in 1831 leaving Ann Greaves to run the inn successfully until she retired in 1857.  After 54 years in charge she was aged 80.


Mrs Ann Greaves played hostess to many well-known people during her period at the Rutland Arms including:-


Jane Austen whilst rewriting “Pride and Prejudice” which was published in 1813;


Lord Byron on a visit from his home at Newstead Abbey in Sherwood Forest;


Sir Humphry Davy, scientist and President of the Royal Society, whilst fishing the rivers Wye, Lathkil, Dove and Derwent and doing research for his book, “Salmonia: or Days of Fly Fishing”;


JMW Turner whilst drawing his “Derbyshire Sketchbooks”;


Charles Dickens whilst writing his short story “The Warilows of Welland” which features the hustle and bustle of a coach arriving at the Rutland Arms in the opening paragraphs;


and to The Dukes of Rutland and Devonshire whilst attending numerous official dinners and other functions at the hotel.


The current owners the hotel have named several of the renovated rooms and suites after the abovementioned notorieties including Mrs Greaves herself.


At some time between 1851 and 1857, the year that Mrs Greaves retired, she asked one of her waitresses, Ann Wheeldon, to help her to make a Bakewell Pudding.  Mrs Greaves was suddenly called away leaving the waitress to carry on.  Ann Wheeldon mistakenly left some of the ingredients out of the pudding but the guests thoroughly enjoyed the amended dish.  Mrs Greaves jotted down the highly successful recipe and locked it away.  The birth of the Bakewell Pudding as we know it today had taken place right here in the kitchens of the Rutland Arms.  Several bakeries in the town make an excellent version of the pudding and they have helped to put Bakewell on the map.


Mrs Greaves had a son, William, who took over the licence of the Rutland Arms when she retired and carried on successfully running the hotel until his death in 1894.  The Hudson/Greaves family had been involved in the management of the Rutland Arms Hotel for most of the nineteenth century. William Greaves Junior was related by marriage to Sir Joseph Paxton, the Duke of Devonshire’s head gardener and the creator of the Crystal Palace, and also to George Stephenson, the railway pioneer.


The Bakewell Pudding originated through a mistake by the cook at The Rutland Arms. A Strawberry Tart was ordered for the guest and instead of stirring the egg mixture into the pastry, the cook poured it over the strawberry jam. The pudding was so well received by the guest that the recipe became recognised as the Bakewell Pudding, although it’s exact ingredients are still kept a closely guarded secret.
Mr William Greaves whose family was associated with the hotel during most of the nineteenth century, was a very notable figure in Derbyshire. Mr Greaves had a monopoly of the posting from Bakewell and according to Slaters Directory of 1862, Greaves was running coaches daily to Rowsley, Buxton, Sheffield and Whaley Bridge. The Manchester to London coaches would alight for refreshments at The Rutland.
Mr Greaves married a sister-in-law of Sir Joseph Paxton, head gardener and man of affairs of The Sixth Duke of Devonshire, who is best known for being the designer of The Crystal Palace.


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