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.
I have had a minor involvement with film makers going back more than fifty years. When ‘Women in Love’ was being shot at nearby Elvaston Castle they needed some linked sausages for a market scene, and our butchery business supplied them. A few years later, when the same company was filming another D H Lawrence story, ‘The Virgin and the Gypsy’, they wanted a sheep’s carcass for the flood scene. Again, we supplied the goods, they paid for them and I had the small satisfaction of murmuring ‘That’s my sheep’ when the sodden animal appeared on the screen.
From then on things went downhill. A guy making a film about pigs kept in woodland was put in touch with me by the Forestry Commission. We set out with a bucket of pig nuts and he clicked away so long that the nuts were exhausted and the pigs were chewing at my trousers. I never heard from him again. An Indian film company had me scouring the estate to find somewhere to stage a crash scene. Nothing came of it. A TV company approached us to set up a challenge for contestants in ‘The Biggest Loser’ at our sawmill; abandoned after quite a lot of work on ‘elf and safety’ grounds.
So when we were approached for a film about the notorious murder of his steward by the fourth earl I initially said yes, and then thought better of it. There is no evidence of where he shot the man since the whole house was rebuilt by his brother. And when last week another TV company wrote to ask about filming a successor to ‘Country House Rescue’ with us we declined by return of post. We’ve been messed around too often, and we don’t need rescuing.
Having said all that, Mrs B tells me, should we be approached for a major production featuring, say, D’Arcy clambering out of our lake, we just might give it consideration.