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.
My mind is changed; from being ambivalent as to the case for the HS2 railway I have come to believe that it should be abandoned. Not that my opinion carries any weight, though it is due to pass through more than a mile of our land.
It is hard for a layman to have an informed view on such issues; they include so many factors we are not privy to. We know that when asked, the BBC Question Time audience were all against it and, that being so, if the northern towns felt it was a good idea why have they not voiced their opinion loud and clear? Instead we are hearing that they would prefer an East – West link railway.
It is bound to be difficult to thread a major route through our crowded island and many people’s homes and lives will be affected. The estimated cost is high enough; it seems likely that the actual cost will be very much higher, not least because of all the consultants who have been wandering over our land for the last year or two. It is driven by committee; we no longer have a Stephenson or Brunel to drive the project forward.
Because of its proximity to a motorway junction our land would be needed for construction purposes, and more than a hundred acres is coloured pink on the maps we receive, as being blighted temporarily or permanently. And this is a fluid situation. At a recent meeting we learnt that the planners have been asked to look for cost saving measures, so things could change.
Finally Liz Truss, the minister concerned, has said she will be looking hard at current infrastructure projects. This is one she could scrap and earn herself a ‘shedload’ of Brownie points.