Next month marks the tenth anniversary of our buying Staunton Harold Hall. We bid for it by ‘telephone auction’ over a period of many weeks. Our understanding was that our main rival was a man from Yorkshire who had been much in evidence, and had prepared plans to divide the house into fourteen flats. This is what had happened to other big houses nearby and we hated the thought of Staunton ending up the same way.
Some years later we had a visit from the agent who handled the sale; he told us that in fact the underbidder was a Russian millionaire who intended to keep it as one house. Would we have kept bidding if we’d known this? Hard to say now- probably so. We already owned the Ferrers Centre and the land round about so it was a case of fitting the last piece of the jigsaw.
In any event the house works well for us. It provides a comfortable home for three generations of our family while affording more public access than in its hospice days. Through the winter months church services are held in our chapel, the parish meetings take place in the Great Hall, and we conduct house tours for groups on request. Outside, the Parish Picnic is held on the Library Lawn and most of the grounds are permanently open to the public without affecting our private space on the south side.
The state rooms are used for weddings about ten times per year, and also for charity functions. Here are the details of a MacMillan event on 20th March 2013, for which tickets are still available as I write on 01332 864421:
Come and meet
STAUNTON HAROLD HALL
Staunton Harold, Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire LE65 1RT
Wednesday 20th March 2013 at 1.30pm
£10.00 including tea and biscuits
We are MacMillan Cancer Support