Blakesley Hall (Northamptonshire)
The Hall was once a possession of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem.
It was owned by the Hibbit family for over forty years between 1823 and 1867. The owner William Hibbit (c1770–1840) inherited the titles Lord Of The Manor and 'Patron Of The Living'. During this period the Hibbit's were responsible for many alterations to both the Hall and the grounds. These included construction of a Hospital Wing and extensive landscaping of the gardens. The stable block was a focal meeting point for the Blakesley Hunt during their residence.
The family connections with Blakesley extended to the local church St Mary The Virgin, where they were celebrated patrons (a plaque is on display near the altar). The beautiful sandstone font, donated by one of William's sons, the Reverend Arthur Hibbit BA (Cambridge) (1818–1893), the vicar of St. Mary's, is still in use for baptisms.
Ownership of the Hall for the years between 1867 and 1875 was shrouded in mystery and intrigue with contestation of wills and estate claims abounding.
The hall was owned by Charles William Bartholomew, a civil engineer, from 1876 to 1919. In 1903, Bartholemew constructed a 15-inch (380 mm)-gauge ridable miniature railway. The narrow-gauge line ran the three quarters of a mile from Blakesley station on the closed Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway to the Hall. It carried coal, farm supplies and the occasional passenger and when the Hall became a military hospital during the first world war, the line was used to rehabilitate patients. The track was lifted in 1940.
More recently, local architectural designers, the Roger Coy Partnership based in Eydon, have been granted planning permission to undertake work on their proposed recreation of the hall. The current owner discovered a stream by landscape gardeners, James Pulham and Son (a firm which specialised in the production of simulated rock, known as Pulham Rock, for garden features in the 19th century) while clearing the grounds in readiness for the redevelopment. The stream, which had become overgrown, included cascades and other water features.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1961). The Buildings of England – Northamptonshire. Revised by Cherry, Bridget. London and New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-300-09632-3.
- YouTube video of visit to the site of the Hall
- Blackolvesley at the Saltburn Miniature Railway normally at Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Archived April 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Roger Cot Partnership, accessed 23 December 2015
- The Pulham Legacy - about James Pulham and Son Archived October 18, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.