Hambleton Hall

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Hambleton Hall
Hambleton Hall
Restaurant information
Rating 1 Michelin star (Michelin Guide 2008)[1]
City Oakham, Rutland
Country England

Hambleton Hall is a hotel and restaurant located in the village of Hambleton close to Oakham, Rutland, England. As of 2011, the restaurant holds one star in the Michelin Guide.[1]

The Hall was built in 1881 as a hunting box by Walter Marshall who left it to his sister, Eva Astley Paston Cooper. She was a socialite who gathered a salon including Noël Coward, Malcolm Sargent and Charles Scott-Moncrieff.

The hall has overlooked Rutland Water since the reservoir's construction in the 1970s.

The building was converted into a country house hotel in 1979 by Tim and Stefa Hart.

Walter Marshall[edit]

The Warwickshire Hunt in whom Walter was a participant, 1896
Notice about Walter Marshall
Advertisement for George Marshall and sons shipping firm

Walter Gore Marshall was born in 1845 in London. His father was George Marshall who owned the large London shipping firm of George Marshall and Sons. A typical advertisement which frequently appeared in the newspapers is shown. He had five sisters and one brother.

Walter was educated at Winchester College with his brother George[2] and obtained his degree from Oxford.[3] He eventually became a partner in his father’s shipping firm with his brother George. In 1877 his father died and left a great deal of money a large part of which was inherited by Walter. Shortly after this he travelled to the USA and wrote a book about his travels called “Through America"[4] which is still frequently quoted by historians as an accurate description of the country at that time. A link to the book is provided.

In 1881 Walter built Hambleton Hall but he remained unmarried. He participated in hunting with the Warwickshire, Cottesmore, Quorn, Belvoir or Fernie hounds. His friend Walter Robert Verney wrote the book called “Annals of the Warwickshire Hunt” in which he mentions Walter several times.[5] Walter was also known to be very gregarious and attended many social events around the local area. He took a particular interest in the local church St Andrews and is credited with making major improvements to the building and purchasing the stained glass windows.[6]

Later in his life Walter became one of the Directors of the Cannon Brewery Company[7] and owned a large number of shares in this firm.

In 1899 while on a social visit to friends at Upton House, Banbury he contracted the flu. This unexpectedly was followed by pneumonia and shortly afterward he died.[8] A large funeral was held at St Andrews in Hambleton and he was buried in the churchyard there. In his will he left Hambleton Hall and a large number of his shares to his youngest sister Evangeline Astley Cooper.

The Astley Coopers[edit]

House party at Hambleton Hall. Mrs Astley Cooper in in the centre and Noel Coward is on the bottom right of the photo.

Evangeline (Eva) Julia Marshall, Walter’s sister who inherited the house, was born in Croydon Surrey in 1854. In 1877 she married Clement Astley Cooper who was the son of Sir Astley Cooper, 2nd Baronet. He was a retired Captain in the military[9] The couple lived at a large house called “The Lockers” in Hemel, Hamstead which was close to Clement’s ancestoral home. In 1899 when Eva’s brother Walter Marshall died and left her Hambleton Hall the couple moved from Hemel and came to live at Hambleton.

Eva Astley Cooper liked to entertain and she invited many young celebrities to the Hall including Noel Coward, Malcolm Sargent and Charles Scott Moncrieff. A photo of one of her house parties is shown. Noel Coward enjoyed his many visits to Hambleton Hall and wrote about them in his autobiography. His feelings about the house are described as follows.

“It was a pleasant experience staying in a well-run country house. The trappings of life there were new to me: a fire in my bedroom every night, dinner clothes laid out neatly on the bed, brass cans of hot water and deep baths encased in shiny brown wood. People came over and lunched or dined occasionally. A flurry of wheels on the drive announced them and the murmer of different voices echoed up from the hall as I grandly descended the polished oak staircase very careful not to slip in my new patent shoes.

During the winter visits I used to go to meets in the dog cart driving myself and following the hunt for as long as the pony consented to gallop… Small memories are most insistent and I like to catch again for a moment, the feel of the sharp spring air as we drove home at night after a concert, the smell of a wood fire in the library where we discussed over hot soup and sandwiches the triumphs of the evening. All the warm comfortable ingredients of country house life were there, the very unfamiliarity of the atmosphere enhancing its charm for me. This I reflected was my rightful sphere and I would go upstairs to bed undress and brush my teeth, still, until sleep closed down upon me, accurate in my performance of a country gentleman.”[10]

In 1906 Mrs Astley Cooper’s daughter Monica was married. There was a very lavish wedding held a Hambleton Hall which was described in detail in a newspaper. The link to this newspaper article is given in this reference below.[11] Eva died in 1944 and the Hall was put on the market.

After the War[edit]

After the War the Hall was inhibited in turn by Lord Trent, Dr. Brockbank and Major and Mrs. Hoare. It is currently owned by Tim and Stefa Hart.

The gardens at Hambledon Hall


  1. ^ a b "Full list of Michelin stars in Britain and Ireland". Telegraph.co.uk. 24 January 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  2. ^ Winchester College, 1836-1906 : a register, p. 154. Online reference https://archive.org/stream/winchestercolleg00wincuoft#page/154/mode/2up
  3. ^ Winchester College, 1836-1906 : a register, p. 162. Online reference https://archive.org/stream/winchestercolleg00wincuoft#page/162/mode/2up
  4. ^ Marshall, Walter Gore 1882 “Through America”. Online reference https://archive.org/stream/throughamericao01marsgoog#page/n8/mode/2up
  5. ^ “Annals of the Warwickshire Hunt”. Online reference https://archive.org/stream/annalsofwarwicks02mord#page/108/mode/2up/search/marshall
  6. ^ History of St Andrews Church. Online reference http://hambleton.oakhamteam.org.uk/history
  7. ^ Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 25 July 1896, p. 6.
  8. ^ Grantham Journal - Saturday 27 May 1899, p. 2.
  9. ^ “Winchester Commoners. 1836-1890”. Online reference http://books.google.com.au/books?id=l7owAAAAYAAJ&q=evangeline+julia+marshall&dq=evangeline+julia+marshall&hl=en&sa=X&ei=manpU9WRDom58gXYnIHgBQ&ved=0CDoQ6AEwBQ
  10. ^ Noël Coward, 2012 “Present Indicative: The First Autobiography of Noël Coward”, pp. 51, 100, 101. Online reference
  11. ^ “Fashionable Wedding at Hambleton”, The Grantham Journal 28 July 1906 . Online reference https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wedding_at_Hambleton_Hall_1906.jpg

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°39′27″N 0°40′06″W / 52.6575°N 0.6682°W / 52.6575; -0.6682