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, 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.
The National Trust, who own the church here at Staunton, are having new lead put on the tower and the north aisle. Their access is across our main forecourt and I was shown the document covering procedures and precautions for bringing in scaffolding etcetera. ‘That’s a lot of paper,’ I commented. ‘That’s nothing,’ the Trust man replied, ‘You should see the whole schedule.’
In this fine old church the twice monthly congregation kneel to worship the risen Christ. Up above, the contractors kneel to the Gods of ‘elf, safety and bureaucracy. When I meet the foreman, he is usually waiting for an architect, or an archaeologist, a structural engineer or someone to check on the wellbeing of the bats in the tower. The blokes who get their hands dirty must surely be in the minority.
On the other side of the church three men will shortly be erecting tower scaffolding to get onto the roof and check the gutters blocked by leaves. A sensible precaution, but from time immemorial a task performed by two men and a ladder in a fraction of the time. ‘Elf and safety says that ladders are dangerous, and ‘elf and safety trumps just about everything. Surely it is the careless use of ladders which causes accidents? We are creating an adult version of the culture which bans running in the playground, or playing conkers.