Nevill Holt

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Nevill Holt Hall
The hall, church and stable block

Nevill Holt is a hamlet and civil parish in the Harborough district of Leicestershire, England. It is situated about 6 miles (10 km) northeast of Market Harborough, 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Corby and lies close to the borders with Northamptonshire and Rutland. It is on the north side of the Welland valley. According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 28. At the 2011 census the population remained less than 100 and was included in the civil parish of Horninghold.

Nevill Holt Hall[edit]

Nevill Holt Hall is a Grade I listed building, dating back to before 1300.[1] It is on a hilltop. There have been many alterations and additions in the 14th,15th,17th,18th,19th and 20th (and now 21st) centuries.[2] The Cunard shipping family owned the estate from 1876 to 1912 and Nancy Cunard (1896–1965), writer, publisher and society hostess, was born here.[3][4][5]

In 1919 the hall became a preparatory school, initially linked with Uppingham School.[6] Run by the Phillips family from 1928, the school was an IAPS boarding school.[7][8] In 1998 the school closed due to falling rolls shortly after a child sexual abuse scandal. One teacher was arrested, charged and convicted of sexual offences against boys aged 7-13. Another teacher committed suicide shortly after police arrived with an arrest warrant. The school closed later in 1998 after these events.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

In 2000, the Hall was bought and restored by Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross who had visited the prep school which a friend of his at Uppingham School had attended.[17] Ross has built a theatre to seat 350 within the 17th century stable courtyard which had formerly housed a science laboratory, games/common room, carpentry workshop, indoor swimming pool, boxing ring and classrooms.[18] In the summer, Nevill Holt hosts the Nevill Holt Opera festival.[19]

The Church[edit]

The church forms a group of buildings with the Hall. Dedicated to St Mary it dates largely from the 13th century but has had many perpendicular features added. The south porch was added in 1635. It was restored in 1865 to designs by architects Goddard & Son and again in 1878.[20]


Two attempts were made to quarry the south side of the hill for iron ore in the 19th century. Between 1861 and 1868 small amounts of iron ore were probably taken away by horse and cart. Another attempt was made between 1871 and 1874. In 1873 a self-acting incline was constructed to take the ore to the London and North Western Railway's Market Harborough to Peterborough line. The quarry and traces of the incline remain. Further up the hill limestone was quarried from 1942.[21]


  1. ^ from the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest
  2. ^ Pevsner p 330
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  17. ^ Set the right tone - Times Online
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  19. ^ About Nevill Holt Opera
  20. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Williamson, Elizabeth (1984 with corrections of 1992). Leicestershire and Rutland (2nd with revisions of 1992 ed.). London: Pevsner. p. 329. ISBN 0-14-071018-3.  Check date values in: |year= (help)
  21. ^ Tonks, Eric (1992). The Ironstone Quarries of the East Midlands Part 9 Leicestershire. Cheltenham: Runpast Publishing. p. 224-229. ISBN 1-870754-08-5.