Welcome to Staunton Harold Hall
The Staunton Harold Estate is a traditional country estate of some 2000 acres centered 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 its eighty three rooms it easily accommodates three generations of our family. The West Wing, facing towards the Ferrers Centre has been converted to high quality managed offices with conference facilities. This is Lion Court, created by son-in-law Tony Cantrill. On the East front we have a series of grand State Rooms, which are used for weddings up to a dozen times each year
In 1974 we began converting the disused Georgian stable block into craft workshops and studios and it is now the largest such complex in England with seventeen different enterprises working in a wide range of disciplines. This is known as the Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts.
In another part of the estate we have the Sawmill, which serves the four hundred acres of woodland which we manage. From here we sell firewood through the Ten Mile Timber Company, and planked timber, beams and other bespoke material cut from estate oak and other woods.
The sawmill also provided most of the timber to build the Deerpark Lodge, a holiday cottage in the woods above the Hall. Managing and renting out accommodation and business premises is what we do, and the lodge, which sleeps six, is an exciting addition to our portfolio.
The hamlet of Staunton Harold is also home to Staunton Harold Nurseries, and to the fine seventeenth century family church, now owned by the National Trust. It is also a great walking centre with seven routes radiating from the core, plentiful parking and two good tearooms.
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.