Welcome to Staunton Harold Hall
The Staunton Harold Estate is a traditional country estate of some 2000 acres, centred on the great Georgian mansion, Staunton Harold Hall. Family run, and ‘hands on’ in its management style, the estate has embraced modern uses for its diverse assets.
The Hall itself became a family home again in 2003, after fifty years of institutional use. With some eighty three rooms, the main building easily accommodates three generations of our family. Son-in-law, Tony Cantrill, has taken over the West Wing, now converted into high quality managed offices and conference facilities, known as LION COURT.
The suite of fine ‘State Rooms’ on the east and north front lend themselves to large functions, and here we host weddings and other events up to twelve times a year.
Our family’s involvement with Staunton Harold began in 1955, when we purchased the three farms at the core of the estate. These included the large Georgian stable block, which stood abandoned and ruinous. We put it in good repair, and in 1974 began its conversion to craft workshops and studios. Now known as the FERRERS CENTRE FOR ARTS AND CRAFTS this is a true ‘making’ centre with some eighteen businesses covering a range of disciplines. Most of our land is let to local farmers, but the four hundred acres of woodland we manage ourselves with a forestry team based at our estate sawmill. From here we sell firewood through the TEN MILE TIMBER COMPANY, and sawn material, mainly oak and larch, through Staunton Hardwoods, cut to customers’ requirements.
Our family business centres around maintaining and renting out property and a recent addition to this, built from our own timber, is DEERPARK LODGE. This is a holiday cottage, sleeping six, set among trees on a hill above the Hall. The hamlet of Staunton Harold includes a garden centre, in separate ownership, and a fine 17th century church, now in the care of the National Trust. We have become something of a walking and cycling centre, with adequate car parks and restaurants and seven routes radiating from the settlement.
We were on Loughborough station last week when the through train to London roared past. It always strikes me as ill-mannered, like a drunken lout barging through a bus queue. Those Edwardian glass canopies over our heads speak on a gentler time.
The week before Jacqueline and I had been the guilty parties, zigzagging across Europe on our way home from Budapest. Vienna, Frankfurt, Cologne, Brussels, London St Pancras; we hauled our cases across six major stations in four days. We could have tarried longer, but there was an important meeting back home.
This was the initial meeting with the consultant from HS2, the high speed rail link which slices through half a mile of our land. If this was new territory for us it was not for him, he has been paving the way for our high speed trains for the last fifteen years The line will run parallel to the A42 motorway, trapping about fifty acres of our woodland and farmland in between. Our two farmsteads will not see or hear it, being in a deep cutting, but at the northern end it will run on an embankment twenty feet hight; those cottages nearby will feel the draught.
How do I feel about it? Mildly in favour I suppose, The small saving of time is quoted, disparagingly, but my hope is that Victorian network can go back to serving the local towns. Properly co-ordinated it can take pressure off the roads. Then there next train approaching Loughborough station will be for me.