Alfreton Hall

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Alfreton Hall
General information
Type Hall
Location Alfreton, Derbyshire
Construction started 1724
Completed 1725
Demolished 1968 (partially demolished)
Design and construction
Other designers Benjamin Wilson

Alfreton Hall is a country house in Alfreton, Derbyshire. It was at the heart of local social and industrial history in the county. The history of the estate goes back to Norman times, but by the 17th century it was owned by the Morewood family, who were linked to local industry, mainly in coal mining.

History[edit]

Alfreton Hall c.1800

The original hall was on the site of Hall Farm to the east of the present building[1] and was the seat of the Lord of the Manor. A new hall was built on the estate around 1724–25 by Rowland Morewood, with an additional wing added in 1855 by William Palmer-Morewood (architect Benjamin Wilson). This made the hall a very substantial property.

An interesting description of the Hall and grounds was given in a book of 1812:[2] "The present mansion house does considerable credit to the taste and liberality of its erector, Rowland Morewood, Esq., who, about 80 years ago, caused the old building, which was falling into decay, to be pulled down, and built, at a little distance to the west, the present stone house. It commands a pleasing prospect from the north and west fronts. The adjoining grounds, according to their extent, are well laid out and the rooms within are furnished with a considerable collection of paintings, some of them by the best masters. Beneath the house is a piece of woodland, the upper part of which is intersected by two avenues; one of them which branches off to the other on the right is terminated by a Temple of Diana, and a bust, and the other of them by an obelisk, above and below by a piece of water, the boundaries of which, not being seen from the farthest point of view, the imagination is left to form to itself the idea of unlimited expansion and transform a little fish pond into an extensive lake. Below are several rural moss huts and a grotto built of different mineral productions of all that diversity of form and colour exhibited by the mineral substances of the Peak. It is of an octagonal figure and painted within are several representations of scenes in Walton's "Angler"."

In May 1963 Derbyshire County Council acquired the building and some 90 acres of adjoining parkland for £28,500. In February 1964 the Alfreton Urban District Council bought the hall and 4 acres (16,000 m2) of land from the County Council for £5,000, largely to provide public access to a swimming pool.[3]

Most of the house was demolished in 1968, having been substantially weakened by mining subsidence. However, the 1855 extension, which has Grade II listed building status, was converted into an arts and adult education centre and the land became part of an attractive public park, providing facilities for swimming and other sports.

The property was sold to Genesis Social Enterprise in 2006 by the County Council.[citation needed]

In 2006 Alfreton Hall was fully restored to its former grandeur and now provides conferencing and banqueting facilities which can be used for concerts, conferences and weddings. It also hosts the I-ACE development programmes and other events. Alfreton Hall now incorporates a French-style restaurant.

A strange case[edit]

In 1887, a Christmas party was held at Alftreton Hall where the host, Charles Palmer-Morewood, invited his four brothers. After the meal they all retired to the library where the host was set upon by the four brothers, one of whom had a revolver. They tried to force him to sign over outstanding inheritances, and it was claimed that they had drawn lots to decide who would kill him should he not agree. However, he did not yield, and although he was not shot he was found naked and bleeding by his servants. He lodged charges against his brothers, who all skipped bail and went abroad taking with them a sister who had recently left her husband for Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, the young Earl of Shrewsbury. The sister, Ellen Miller-Mundy, née Palmer-Morewood, was married to Captain Mundy of Shipley Hall who issued proceedings for divorce.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnson, Reginald, 1968, p.187 A History of Alfreton
  2. ^ Bateman, C., 1812. A Descriptive and Historical Account of Alfreton
  3. ^ Johnson, Reginald, 1968, p187-9 A History of Alfreton.
  4. ^ Strange British Crime, 29 January 1888, New York Times, accessed 30 May 2008

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°5′52″N 1°23′31″W / 53.09778°N 1.39194°W / 53.09778; -1.39194