Thornbridge Hall (Derbyshire)
Member Name: micksheff
Thornbridge Hall (Derbyshire)
Advantages: Lots of history, lovely grounds
Disadvantages: Not open to the general public
During its ownership by Sheffield City Council it was used for educational purposes and I spent a weekend here when I was thirteen years old. A trip to Thornbridge Hall was something that was offered to every Schoolchild in Sheffield and those that took up the offer still speak of it fondly today.
In 1997 Sheffield City Council, strapped for cash, sold this magnificent house and once again it went back into private ownership, denying future generations of Sheffield schoolchildren a unique opportunity to visit here.
In a recent strange twist of fate I found myself staying here again, last year over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. The current owner happens to own the company that my best friend works for and over the Easter Weekend she decided to allow a selected group of employees (and their spouses) the opportunity to stay here and camp within the grounds of this vast country estate.
Strictly speaking my recent stay here was under false pretences but I don't think that anyone realised that we were not actually a couple. We had our own tent and an invitation and that was all that was needed.
The history of Thornbridge Hall begins in the late 12th century when it was the seat of the Longsdon family. It remained in this same family's hands until 1790 when it was sold to a man called John Morewood for a price of £10,000. John Morewood had made his money in the textile trade selling linen out of his outlets in Manchester to St Petersburg in Russia. The Morewood family enlarged the existing house considerably.
In 1859 it was enlarged further with the addition of a new front in the Jacobean style and in 1896 the then owner, extended the house even further as well as landscaping the gardens and installing fountains that were acquired from the Duke of Devonshire at nearby Chatsworth House. He also built several lodges and cottages on the estate and even built his own private railway station.
In 2002 the present owners Emma Harrison and her husband, Jim bought Thornbridge Hall. It is now used as a private family home and also as an exclusive venue for events. It is not open to the public.
In 2005 one of the buildings on the estate that was the former Stonemason's Workshop was converted into a small independent brewery. They have been producing a small range of quality cask and bottled beers here since February 2005.
Thornbridge Hall stands in 100 acres of magnificent parkland in the heart of the Peak District National Park. Although Thornbridge Hall is now sadly out of bounds for the general public it does play host to several select functionsthroughout the year, including charity events.
Twelve acres of formal gardens within the main grounds are frequently used for exclusive photo shoots and have featured in many magazines. Whilst the magnificent marble kitchen has been used by the country's top chef's on their TV cookery programmes.
Thornbridge Hall is a truly fascinating place to visit, although we were not allowed inside the house. On the Saturday evening the hosts put on a huge barbecue and a firework display.
It is sad that this magnificent stately home is not open to the public but I think that that we should be grateful that at least it has been preserved. Over the last hundred years there are several similar country houses that have been demolished including the once magnificent Clumber Hall in Clumber Park, of which only a tiny fragment now remains. These grand Houses were demolished because their upkeep was simply too expensive for the families that lived there. Whilst high taxation, divorces within the inheriting families, individual conflicts and general incompetence all also played a large part in the break up of these other great estates.
In many ways Thornbridge Hall benefited from the demise of these other nearby estates. When Clumber Hall was demolished in 1936 many items including statues and sculptures that now stand in the gardens, came to Thornbridge Hall. Other items came from Derwent Hall.
The grounds of Thornbridge Hall consist of vast areas of open woodland interspersed with landscaped gardens and ornamental lakes. The nearby River Wye was actually diverted to create these lakes. The woods are mainly of Beech, Oak and Sycamore with a few Elm, but many of the latter died during the 1970's when Dutch Elm Disease was prevalent in these parts. Today these largely undisturbed woods provide a haven for many rare Animals, Birds and Plants.
Thornbridge Hall is located between the villages of Ashford in the Water, a couple of miles to the north of the popular town of Bakewell, and the village of Great Longstone. The main entrance to the Hall is off the A6020.
Summary: A lovely counrty house in Derbyshire