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The remains of Nocton Hall after the fire
|Construction started||1834 (second house)|
|Client||Robert Hobart (second house)|
Nocton Hall is a historic Grade II listed building in the village of Nocton, in Lincolnshire, England. Originally constructed for the Ellys family, it burnt down in 1834 and was rebuilt in 1841 for the first Earl of Ripon, who lived at the steward's house in Nocton while the house was being built. The US Army's 7th General Hospital was based at Nocton Hall during the Second World War and it subsequently became an RAF Hospital.
There is a famous chestnut tree outside which is so old it needs wooden supports. It was planted by the fifth of King Henry VIII's wives, Katherine Howard on a visit to Nocton on 13 October 1541. They stayed with Thomas Wymbishe at a manor house where Nocton Priory stood later, both of which have no visible remains. This manor came into the ownership of the Towneley family of Lancashire from 1553 to 1661. Upon his death, it was inherited by Thomas’ sister Francis, the wife of Sir Richard Towneley. It then followed the inheritance of the main Towneley Estate, until its sale by Richard Towneley (who was born there) to pay fines relating to the family’s royalist support in the English Civil War.
In 1940 with the outbreak of the Second World War it was originally taken over by the Army and was the home of 21st Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) RAMC until it was deployed in North Africa in June 1942. Sometime after this it was taken over by the Air Ministry, remaining an RAF hospital until its closure in 1983.
In the mid 1980s Torrie Richardson bought Nocton Hall, the surrounding wood, woodland, grassland and cottages. Selling the cottages on for redevelopment allowed him to develop Nocton Hall as a Residential Home. Nocton Hall Residential home ran a summer fête for the village on their lawn and employed many local people. Torrie's son, Gary, took control of the business in the early 1990s. The home ran into difficulty and closed in the mid 1990s, and was sold by the receivers to new owners, Leda Properties of Oxford. Leda also bought the RAF Hospital site from the Ministry of Defence.
While vacant there were many break-ins; fireplaces and the stair bannisters were stolen. It burnt down for a second time in the early hours of 24 October 2004, the fire reducing it to a shell. The investigation into the fire established that multiple fires had been set, but to date no one has been charged with arson. Due to the extensive structural damage it will now likely need to be rebuilt, if the site is not redeveloped for another purpose. An adjacent geriatric nursing care two story building has also been severely damaged by vandals since it was left vacant.
In October 2009 Nocton Hall was listed in The Victorian Society top 10 endangered buildings list in England and Wales. During the subsequent BBC Look North investigation it came to light that Leda Properties intended to put forward new development plans in 'the near future' for both the adjacent former RAF Hospital, Nocton Hall and associated gardens. As the Hall is Grade II listed and retains its major structural integrity the Society believes there is still a viable future for the building. Enthusiasts are currently campaigning at a local and national level to ensure immediate steps are taken to stabilise the structure and prevent further damage from the elements.
RAF Nocton Hall
RAF Nocton Hall was a 740-bed hospital under RAF control from the 1940s until 1984. It was used by civilians and forces personnel until 1984, when it was leased to the USAF as a United States Air Force wartime contingency hospital. During the Gulf War, over 1,300 US medical staff were sent to the Hall and many were billeted at RAF Scampton. Fortunately only 35 casualties had to be treated. In its later days 13 American personnel remained to keep the hospital serviceable. RAF Nocton Hall was handed back to the Her Majesty's Government by the USAF on 30 September 1995.
The only accessible parts (October 2013) of the hospital are the former Married Quarters sites - which still carry the original RAF street names. They are of former RAF Hospitals overseas; Changi Close, Habbanya Rise (RAF Habbaniya misspelt), Rostrup Road, Steamer Point Road, Fayid Lane, Hinidi Lane (RAF Hinaidi misspelt), Khormaksar Drive, Wegberg Road & Akrotiri Square.
The rest of the hospital site is fenced off and inaccessible with only glimpses of the derelict Hall visible through the trees. There is no 'memorial' to the former RAF Hospital despite the large numbers of personnel and patients involved there.
- "Arson probe into fire at RAF hall". BBC News. 25 October 2004. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- Urban Lincs Nocton Hall Forgotten Treasures gallery
- Nocton Hall fire
- BBC News: Fire hits grounds of stately home, 18 September 2005
- BBC News: Stately home 'needs protection', 4 October 2005
- Leda Properties, who own the Nocton Hall site
- The Cottage Nursing Home (requires Flash) is nearby.
- Details from listed building database (192338) . Images of England. English Heritage.
- Nocton Hall Site, The Hall on Google Earth