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.
The pine tree by the churchyard wall has leaned as long as I can remember. Opening the shutters after a stormy night we always checked to see that it was still there. Its nearest neighbour was a Wellingtonia, planted as a memorial tree when the hall was a hospice thirty years ago. If the pine tree fell, it would crush two of its neighbours, and maybe damage the church wall as well.
In late January the gap between the two trees appeared to have reduced, and we called in Eden Tree Care, our local tree surgeons. They agreed the tree had become dangerous and fixed a date at the end of the month to take it down. But a week later the gap had closed further, and we advanced the falling to 16th February. Starting from the top, by three o’clock, the tree was down.
It was a big tree, eighty six feet tall and three feet in diameter at the base. Counting the annual rings, it was planted some hundred and thirty years ago, during the time of the tenth earl, the one who spent all the money. And, like the Tower of Pisa, it leaned from an early stage, as witnesses by the core being so far off centre.
Jacqueline mourns the loss of any tree; I am more sanguine. It is not, as she suggests, because we use the timber in our sawmill, but because I recognise the cycle of tree life, and know that I have planted many more trees in the last sixty years than will ever come down in my lifetime.