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.
‘Parkinson’s Laws’ – does anybody remember them? One was, ’Work expands according to the amount of time available for its completion’. Well, I’ll add another: ‘The bigger the company, the harder it is to contact them’.
Take the Forestry Commission, now called Forest England, I think. Almost three months ago we set off down the road of gaining a felling licence for some trees. All on-line, of course; no human contact involved. We thought we were about there, but last week a request arrived for more information, a questionnaire five pages long. Can we speed this up by arranging a meeting on site? No chance, the writer is based in Surrey We reckon to fell the trees in winter, so maybe next year now.
And then there’s Severn Trent Water; some of my tussles with them have lasted for years. Recently we have received increasingly threatening letters about a leaking water main near our sawmill. The supply is shared with a neighbour, who proposed we engage a specialist leak finding firm for about £800.00. I said hang on a minute, my staff tell me it dries up when there’s no rain. So I tried ringing the ‘Customer Care’ number in Darlington, where the most recent letter came from. After fifteen minutes of being told how important my call was to the, I was answered by a real person. And what’s more, the actual person whose name was on the letter. He agreed to send their ‘leaks team’ again, with my staff in attendance. And guess what; there is no leak! I feel as though I’ve won battle, but it should’t be so; the local firms we deal with never give us these problems.