By Viv Wilson in Life at The Hall, Growing Up In a Stately Home | 6 days ago
AN ENGLISHMAN'S HOME IS HIS MANSION!
My parents took vacant possession of Hoar Cross Hall in 1970 and the whole process of moving house was done over the summer months. We lived about 20 miles away in an old vicarage with a large garden and lots of outbuildings. This house was about 200 years old and they say Bonnie Prince Charlie marched past it on his way to battle back in the day, for all you history buffs out there! Actually I love history and I think my interest was fuelled by living in these historic houses as a child. My dad used to be a racing driver in the 1950s and before that he did motorcycle racing, often at nearby Donnington Park. During the 1960s he ran his own team, Shardlow Motor Racing, travelling all over Europe to race at all the famous circuits, so the outbuildings were always full of bits of racing cars and their engines! All this stuff had to be moved and my dad did most of it by travelling back and forth each day with vans and trailers full of the contents of our house and outbuildings – an enormous undertaking!
He knew some students and used to pick them up en route to help and they also stayed on to help tame the gardens which were very overgrown, the grass standing about 2 feet high. As I’m sure you can imagine, after nearly 20 years of neglect, the gardens were a sorry sight having once been very grand. Apparently, when the house was built, there were 20 gardeners and the head gardner was pushed around in his wheelchair inspecting all the borders and paths; if he saw a weed it was quickly removed! I couldn’t imagine the grounds ever looking as good as they used to but we certainly had a good try and started attacking the hedges and grass as soon as we moved in. If anyone saw the Chester Zoo mini-series in 2014 about an ordinary family moving into a huge old house to start a zoo then that is exactly what it was like for us. When I saw that programme it brought back so many memories of those early months at t...
By Viv Wilson in Life at The Hall, Growing Up In a Stately Home | 26th April 2021
MY DAD BOUGHT A MANSION!
It was the summer of 1970, Mungo Jerry was at the top of the hit parade and we were about to move house. But not to any old house – to a 70 roomed mansion in 20 acres of grounds! For years my dad had collected antiques, ever since he was a young boy of 12, and it was his dream to own a large house where he could put them on show to the general public. In the 1970s he owned the largest private collection of arms and armour in the country and his dream was about to be realised; but little did we know what a nightmare would unfold before us.
Hoar Cross Hall was the home of the Meynell Ingram family who originated from Leicestershire. Hugo Meynell of Quorndon was the High Sheriff of Staffordshire and Member of Parliament for Lichfield and the family owned considerable property in Staffordshire, Shropshire and Derbyshire. He bought the Hoar Cross estate in 1793 and built a hunting lodge there known as Old Hall and founded the Meynell Hunt. It seemed the family lived here for many years until Hugo’s grandson, also Hugo, got married in 1863 and decided to build the present Hall for him and his wife, Emily Charlotte. The house took nine years to build and was eventually finished in 1871. Hugo and Emily had already moved in, but their new life together was soon to be cut short by a tragic accident. Fourteen months earlier at Birch Wood on their estate Hugo had a horse riding accident and had been bed-ridden ever since – he died in May of that year. They had no children and Emily built The Church of the Holy Angels in the grounds of the hall in memory of her husband. This is the church that I got married in almost a hundred years later. On Hugo’s death Emily inherited many large estates and they say she was a double millionairess – which in those days was a huge amount of money! And so we moved to this house with all its history and tragedies in the summer of 1970.
My family consisted of my mum, Gwynyth and dad, William (or Bill as...
By Viv Wilson in Life at The Hall, Growing Up In a Stately Home | 18th April 2021
TEMPLE NEWSAM AND THE MEYNELLS: Following on from last week's blog about Emily Meynell Ingram's family background, this week I am delving into the family background of Emily's husband Hugo which explains how Emily came to own the Temple Newsam estate after his death.
In 1782, Hugo's grandfather, Hugo Meynell of Quorndon, the 'father of fox hunting', married the Hon. Elizabeth Ingram Shepheard. She was the daughter of Charles Ingram, 9th Viscount Irwin and Lord Ingram. The family seat was Temple Newsam in Yorkshire and this was how the Meynell family became associated with this great house. Through this marriage of Hugo and Elizabeth, the Meynell family also inherited the Ingram estates in Lincolnshire, acquired by Sir Arthur Ingram in the first half of the 17th century. In 1793 Hugo bought the Hoar Cross estate and built a hunting lodge which was known as Old Hall.
Hugo and Elizabeth had six children, the eldest being Hugo Charles who inherited the Temple Newsam estate from his aunt; however, he had to assume the surname of Ingram in compliance with the terms of the will of the last Lord Irwin. So this was how the Meynell Ingram name came about, something which was quite common with the aristocracy in those days. Hugo Charles went on to marry Georgiana Pigou in 1819; their eldest son was Hugo Francis Meynell Ingram, the last of the descendants of Sir Arthur Ingram to inherit Temple Newsam.
Temple Newsam had been built by Thomas, Lord Darcy, early in the 16th century. He, coincidentally, had married a Meynell, and a descendant married Elizabeth Meynell, so there are a lot of associations with the Meynells early on. Here the unfortunate Earl of Darnley was born. Married to Mary, Queen of Scots, he was murdered two years later, supposedly by Mary's next husband, the Earl of Bothwell. The house was rebuilt between 1622 and 1637 in Jacobean style by Sir Arthur Ingram and later the grounds were landscaped by 'Capability' Brown, the...