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 we moved in to Staunton Hall in 2003 we were appoached by Nottingham University for permission to bring a coach load of their architecture students for a ‘field day’ in the grounds. They had been doing this when the hall was a hospice. Naturally I said yes, and went out to meet them when they arrived. A lecturer gave them their brief; to design a chapel or a theatre somewhere in the grounds. I gave them some history of the area, after which they split into informal groups and moved off. I commented to one of the lecturers that I was surprised none of the students had any questions, to which he replied, “Don’t be surprised; hardly any of these kids will ever practice architecture. It’s just ‘bums on seats.” They asked to come again the following year but I turned them down.
This month ‘A’ level exam results are out again, an event which assumes greater importance with each year that passes. The students I’ve spoken to are satisfied with their grades, and all are headed for university. Their parents are urging them on, and I a lone voice advising caution. Successive governments have chucked money into the pot and now every outfit has jumped on the bandwagon and become a university. Do they all give good value? I doubt it. Will there be jobs at the end of it commensurate with the years of study? For some, yes; for a great many, no.
Speaking of the thousands of pounds accrued in fees one father said to me that his daughter would probably never have to pay it, as though this made it go away. it doesn’t – I pay it through my taxes. Like so many grand schemes, this funding falls prey to the law of unintended consequences. And for many ‘bums on seats’ will translate into ‘bum jobs.’