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.
Call for the Experts
Uncle Fred was a gruff Yorkshireman, with a healthy dislike for ’experts’. He used to say ‘X is an unknown factor, and ‘spurt’ is a drip under pressure’. A skilled welder, he worked mainly in the shipyards, during and after the Second World War.
My own career doesn’t go back quite so far, and has been largely concerned with the renovation and care of old buildings. After the war, Britain suffered a collective aberration – old was bad – new was good. Looking back, I spent much of my time rescuing old buildings from demolition.
In the early sixties a third party began to interpose itself between the man who ordered the work and the man who laid the bricks. Local councils employed an officer to ensure that work complied with new national standards. Altering the roof of an old house, we were told we needed the expertise of a ‘structural engineer’. Our own expertise and common sense was no longer good enough.
And so it has gone on, until today the man with the trowel or the power drill automatically stops and calls for a specialist when a decision has to be made. I thought about this recently when stonemasons working nearby said they must wait for the architects’ instruction because their new stonework, set plumb, was a few millimetres out of line with the old stonework above it.
This all makes for delays and adds cost. I’ve heard it called the ‘precautionary principle’. Call it what you like, I’m with Fred on this; most problems could be solved by the man on the spot.