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.
Shortly after I was first married, my wife and i invited her old school friend Marcia to stay for a weekend, with her husband and small son. The lad was at the crawling stage, and his toys were spread all over the floor. When he’d gone to bed we began tidying up, but the husband stopped us – it was important for the child’s development that he found his toys in the same place next morning. Why did we put up with this all weekend? Because this guy was training to be an educational psychologist.
That was more than fifty years ago and it seems to me that for half a century we have been suffering the consequences of all this nerdy influence. Disruptive classrooms, the best held back for the sake of the least able, syllabuses which propel students through the system without the basic literacy and numeracy. Now I read in the paper that a survey has shown Britain to be the only country in the developed world where grandparents have been found to match or outperform their grandchildren in basic skills. What an indictment of our educational establishment.
We lost touch with Marcia and her family in later years, but I heard that her husband had a nervous breakdown and then retrained as a forester. Perhaps a pity for our society that he and his kind didn’t choose to study trees from the outset.