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.
‘May you live in interesting times’, a Chinese saying for a Chinese virus. A strange time indeed. Staunton has been almost as quiet as when I first walked through the grounds exactly seventy years ago.
We have not closed the car park or foothpaths, and in the last few days I’ve seen a small but increasing number of walkers, runners and cyclists using the track on the far side of the lake. The Nurseries are closed, as is the Ferrers Centre, except for the Staunton Deli, which stocks a wide range of provender and has been a lifeline for people living locally.
We have furloughed half of the estate staff, leaving Mrs B in charge of washing, cleaning, cooking and gardening. One of our foresters is at home looking after the baby because his partner works at the local surgery. That leaves plenty of work for the others, now that the drier weather allows us to get to the big trees felled by the first gale. We are also delivering logs, and cutting up more to dry for next winter.
Up at the farm by Deerpark Holiday Lodge we have two cows still to calve and three quarters of the ewes still to lamb. One of our guys is living at the Lodge to be on hand through the night. Meanwhile I keep working via email and phone from my office at the end of the kitchen table.
It is my belief that for most people this lockdown must be eased within the next two week. The quality of life is being sacrificed for quantity, and us old’uns should be left to take our chances. An effete society has been dealt a sharp shock, and there will be an upside to it if we are not constrained for too long.