The lost great houses
STUFFYNWOOD Hall, wonderfully named and a striking Victorian Gothic country house in Pleasley Vale, not far from Mansfield, was built in 1857 by Charles Paget, MP for Nottingham.
He built it for his son, Joseph, soon to be married to the Dean of Derby's daughter, Helen Abney of Measham Hall. The main residence for the Nottinghamshire Pagets was at Ruddington Grange, a 400 acre estate that Charles built in 1828.
Stuffynwood Hall was influenced by the Palace of Westminster. Courtesy of Grant Pearcy
The imposing Rampton Manor was pulled down just after the Second World War
Burton Joyce Hall, latterly owned by Notts County Council and the British Legion was demolished in the early 1960s and the site redeveloped
Wiseton Hall was once owned by the Spencer family
Calverton Hall around 1900. Courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Council and www.picturethepast.org.uk
Sherwood Lodge, sold by the Seely family to the National Coal Board for offices
Lamcote House, Radcliffe-on-Trent. Courtesy of Nottinghamshire Local Studies Library
Stuffynwood Hall historian Grant Pearcy said: "Charles' architectural taste had been influenced by the newly designed and refurbished Westminster Palace, having been elected to Parliament in 1856.
"Westminster had been rebuilt in what is known as Victorian Gothic, a revival of grand medieval architecture recreated by AW Pugin.
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"One of the sources of magnesium limestone used in the rebuilding of Westminster was from 'Parliament Quarry' in Mansfield and it is likely that Charles Paget used the same stone. Joseph Paget was influenced by Italian architecture, his extensions to the main house later were built in Italianate Style, distinguished by lofty towers, a characteristic of the affluent mansion houses built during the Italian Renaissance period."
At one time the head gardener at Stuffynwood was Henry Hurt, grandfather of Oscar-nominated actor John Hurt, himself born at nearby Shirebrook.
The hall, by then owned by a property development company, was earmarked for redevelopment in the 1970s. But that didn't take place. It was pulled down in 1977.
Mr Pearcy said: "The most interesting family that lived there were the Markhams whose engineering father.
Charles Markham, was the Bill Gates of his day making a vast fortune pioneering the railways and iron and steel industries.
"His initial fortune was the design of a highly efficient coke burner for steam trains saving the Midland Railway a vast fortune.
"The family were the founders of the Stanton & Stavely Iron and Steel company.
"Sir Arthur Markham MP, Baronet, lived at Stuffynwood Hall for 11 years from 1897 to 1908 where his children were born. The children's stories are very fascinating.
"Joyous married the future President of Poland but died young in child birth while Mansfield Markham became a silent movie maker in the 1920s, but lost his inheritance to reckless investments and gambling.
"He was involved in a scandal in high society London circles in 1927 that resulted in Queen Mary paying him off to protect her son, the Duke of Gloucester."
Two hugely impressive properties west of Nottingham came down in the 1960s, Bramcote Hall and Bramcote Hills.
The hall was built by banker Charles Ichabod Wright in 1837. It was a stunning gabled building with a large glass conservatory, and was enlarged by a later occupant, another banker, Frederick Chatfield Smith. Its 100 acres grounds were noted for their fine trees, oak, elm, chestnut and Scots pine.
In his book Lost Houses of Nottinghamshire (Notts County Council) author Philip Jones details the property's fate.
"In the early 1920s, the hall was bought by Trent College and converted into a preparatory school.
"In 1965 Nottingham University acquired it, and its grounds, with the intention of developing the site into a postgraduate centre, but this never materialised.
"After a disastrous fire, the house fell into disrepair and was eventually demolished."
Some remnants of the garden still survive.
Bramcote Hills, a large square house of brick construction was noted for its gardens, and in particular the rhododendron display, thought to be the finest in the county.
One occupant, in the late 19th century, was Colonel Harry Holden, Notts' Chief Constable.
In 1950 the estate was sold and divided into flats but in due course the whole thing fell into disrepair and was pulled down.
The walled garden, though in a poor state, was the subject of a significant repair by Broxtowe Borough Council and the Groundwork Trust, as a haven for plants and wildlife. It was reopened in 2000.
Bulwell Wood Hall, between Watnall and Hucknall Torkard formed part of the Byron estate granted to Sir John Byron on the dissolution of Newstead Priory.
The original property, a dower house, dated from around 1584, but was rebuilt in 1630, again by one of the Byrons.
"The second house was a long, narrow stone mansion noted for its mullioned windows," said author Philip Jones.
It was also noted for its wide oak spiral; staircase.
Unoccupied for many years, it suffered a disastrous fire in 1937, was never repaired, and was demolished in 1953.
Not far away was the impressive three-storey gabled Whatton Manor, built overlooking the River Whipling.
It used bricks made in the Isle of Axholme and at one time was occupied by one of the cigarette-making Player family. It came down in 1964.
At the junction of Church Street and Pinfold Lane, Stapleford, stood Stapleford Manor until it was demolished in 1970.
The original timber building there dated back to the 1200s and once formed part of the Newstead Abbey estate. It was rebuilt in 1689, in brick with stone dressings.
By the end of its day it was a listed property but met its fate because no-one wanted to buy it.
An incredibly impressive landmark country house, Rampton Manor with its high tower, gables and, ivy-clad rear walls and tall chimneys was a mansion rebuilt in the 1850s. An earlier property had been built on the site around 1540.
In later years the manor passed through the hands of various owners. It was pulled down just after the Second World War.
The Tudor gatehouse, however, still remains, I am told.
The original Burton Joyce Hall on Main Street had been the home of the Padley family – commemorated in nearby Padley Lane – and was built in 1500.
In its later form it was a three-bay red-brick house with, at the front, a porch supported by Tuscan columns.
A tennis court later replaced the shrubbery, but the property was noted for its gardens.
The entrance gates that made its frontage distinctive came from Elton Manor.
Later owners included Basford Council, Notts County Council and the British Legion. It came down in the early 1960s, and the land then redeveloped.
Chilwell Manor stood on a triangular plot of land between High Road and Bye-Pass Road and was noted for the mullioned windows on its side.
The property dated back to 1679.
Despite a strong protest from the Thoroton Society, it was pulled down in 1965 to make way for modern housing.
One of the most impressive North Notts landmark country houses was the stunning Wiseton Hall, five miles north of Retford. Ivy clad and extremely extensive it was once owned by the aristocratic Spencer family, ancestors of Princess Diana.
Before that it was home to the wealthy, influential Acklom family. It was a quiet, remote country retreat dating back to the late 1760s.
Prime Ministers Lord Melbourne, and Lord Palmerston visited when Lord Althorpe, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, owned the place and used it to escape from the cares of London political life.
There was also a fully-stocked game park, and gardens, an unusual feature of which was their magnificient fern-leaved beech.
Inside the property, the dining room with its four massive pillars was enormous, giving it a hall-like appearance
The drawing room was equally impressive. Occupants tended to use this to eat, unless they were hosting larger, formal dinners a room as that in which the family take their principal meals; indeed, they are two of the best rooms that were to be seen in the county.
Dominating it was a vast, glittering chandelier of Venetian glass.
There was also a billiard room and well-stocked library.
The house was knocked down in 1952 by its new owner Joseph Laycock who had just inherited from his father, Sir Robert Laycock.
Joseph felt the place was just too big and built a smaller property on the site.
The fine Georgian Calverton Hall stood in its extensive grounds off Main Street, and was at one time a vicarage. It was knocked down to make way for the Miners' Welfare, itself demolished in 1990.
Cockglobe House, Edwinstowe stood on a rise overlooking Sherwood Forest and had various influential owners, including Earl Manvers and later Cecil Foljambe who went on to become Baron Hawkesbury and Earl of Liverpool.
Interested in local history and archaeology, he went on to found the Thoroton Society. He also extended the house.
Author Philip Jones wrote: "After the Second World War it was divided into flats for families awaiting council accomodation."
But lack of use – it was unoccupied by 1956 – sealed its fate and it came down. The site was used for waste from Thoresby Colliery
The Grove, Burton Joyce, a solid early 19th century property with impressive windows is no longer there. The name Grove Close is its memorial.
In 1968 it was bought by Notts County Council who knocked it down to make way for a new primary school.
With its separate stable block surmounted by a clock, the Guide House, on Mansfield Road at the foot of Arch Hill, Arnold had originally been built as an inn at the end of the 18th century, though timbers in it were later dated back to 1710.
It came down in 1978 to make way for a new housing estate.
Another, and more impressive landmark was Sherwood Lodge, built north of Redhill at the enclosure of Arnold land in 1791.
At one time it was occupied by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Seely, MP for Nottingham from 1869-74.
Seely ordered a major project of extending the brick mansion.
The work didn't, apparently, alter the character of the Georgian property despite doubling its size. One of the rooms he added was a library with an organ, allowing it to serve as a private, family chapel.
The Seely family sold the house in 1947 to the Coal Board – the coal industry had just been nationalised – for offices. In 1973 Notts County Council bought it, and its 96 acres of land, and demolished the house to make way for their new county police HQ, at the same time retaining 53 acres of the land and opening them to the public as a country park. Two lodges from the original estate survive.
Kirkby Manor House, a lovely, quaint old building of very aged bricks, with a gabled roof and walls overgrown with ivy was opposite St Wilfred's Church, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, having been built in 1622 and extended just under 100 years later.
Again, it was one of those properties noted for its mullioned windows, but it was knocked down in 1964 to be replaced by an estate of bungalows.
Locals called it 'Sugar Plum Hall'. Lamcote House, Radcliffe-on-Trent, was built by wealthy Nottingham confectioner John Topott at the beginning of the 19th century.
Internal features ranged from a 40ft-long main hall, 36ft-long drawing room panelled with zebrawood and rosewood, and dining and breakfast rooms decked out in Spanish mahogany, a fashionable wood for 19th century property owners with the cash to pay for it.
It was later occupied by the Birkin family, renowned Nottingham lace-makers but eventually – as was the fate of so many substantial properties like this, split into flats.
This landmark house, with its towering chimneys and, on one wing, a decorative roof fascia, met its end in 1980.
The fate of another large Notts house, divided into flats, befell North Muskham Grange, at the north end of the village of North Muskham.
Probably originally of the Tudor period, it was enlarged during Georgian times and was quite a sight in its wooded gardens. It's most distinguished owner was William Rastall, a magistrate and historian.
Having been turned into flats, it was compulsorily purchased and knocked down to accommodate the widening of the A1, despite attempts of the Thoroton Society to save it.
Generally regarded as one of the picturesque of Notts stately homes, Ossington Hall, in the small attractive village of Ossington, near Newark, stood in grounds noted for their trees.
It once belonged to Charlotte, Viscountess Ossington, widow of the late Speaker of the House of Commons.
The village, incidentally, preceded the Domesday book. There was a major legal row in the middle ages between the monks of Lenton Abbey and the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem.
The house was built around 1580, but part of it destroyed during the Civil War. It was, at the time, occupied by the Cartwright family, and, in the mid 18th century sold to wealthy Leeds merchant William Denison.
He was worth a fortune. One of his extremely bright ideas was cashing in on an earthquake in Lisbon which had made inhabitants homeless.
Denison had a couple of ships to hand loaded with building cargo and ordered them despatched to the Portuguese city. He sold the entire contents at highly inflated prices.
The hall was later rebuilt and ornamental gardens laid out. Its grounds also contained a wildfowl lake.
Empty for ten years, it was knocked down in 1963.
Sherwood Hall, Mansfield, on the edge of Sherwood Forest, a wealthy Manchester cotton merchant. Curiously, he didn't want to live in the house, screened off by fir trees.
A lover of the turf, he laid out a private racecourse in its lands and turned the house over to his trainers and stable staff.
Later it became a private school before demolition in 1965 to make way for a residential estate.
Originally a 16th century 'L'-shaped timber house near St Anne's Church, Sutton Bonington, Sutton Bonington Manor was partly rebuilt, of brick in the 18th century.
After the Second World War the property was converted into four cottages, but in time they were declared unfit for habitation. The old house came down in 1965 to be replaced by modern housing.
During the First World War Thorney Hall, in Thorney, near Newark was used as a hospital for wounded servicemen from the Western Front. It was a huge property made up of 45 rooms, originally dating back to 1480.
It eventually deteriorated into such a state that it 'crumbled to the ground' and would have been too costly to rebuild. In 1964, the bulldozers arrived.