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Pictures of Staunton Harold Hall

a Stately Home in the town of Staunton Harold, in the county of Leicestershire

About Staunton Harold Hall

This is said to be one of the most delightful country houses in Leicestershire, it was the former home of the Ferrers family who had owned it from the time of William the Conqueror until the 20th century when it became a Cheshire Home for the disabled. This is now closed.

Staunton was mentioned in the Doomsday Book when it was held by Henry de Ferrers. The first house here was built here in 1324, it passed by the marriage of Margaret de Staunton to Ralph Shirley in 1423 into the hands of the Shirley family, but the Ferrers title was called out of abeyance by Charles II to signify his gratitude for the family's loyalty during the Civil War.

The Hall remained largely unaltered until the time of Sir Robert Shirley, Ist Earl of Ferrers, when he mostly rebuilt and extended it in the 17th century. He also built the church in 1653, this adjoins the Hall. It was the 5th Earl, Washington Shirley, who is responsible for the present Palladian style Hall to which was later added the impressive Georgian front. This is startling in its sheer beauty, the brick is mellow, dressed with soft stone, the centre is pedimented and surmounted by figures of Minerva, Ceres and Apollo.

Interestingly, the Ist Earl had 27 children, he was a patron of Robert Bakewell who made for him the magnificent wrought iron screen at the chancel entrance to the church. This is one of the few churches to be built between the Civil War and the Restoration, it is arguably one of the most perfect church buildings in the country, and architecturally one of the most unspoilt. It is now the property of the National Trust. Above the doorway can still be seen the words of its founder Robert Shirley who built it as an act of defiance against the Commonwealth during a period when new churches in England were rare. The reading is as follows:-

"In the year 1653 when all things sacred throughout ye nation either demolished or profaned Sir Robert Shirley, Baronet, founded this church; Whose singular praise it is to have done the best things in the worst times, and hoped them the most callamitous"

The church was never intended as a showpiece, it was built in the Perpendicular style of two centuries earlier, all its original fittings remain in place.

Sir Robert Shirley died in The Tower of London at the age of 28, he had been imprisoned there several times for plotting against the Commonwealth. He was brought back from London and buried in the church he had built.

Both the Hall and Church are set in the most glorious countryside, to the rear of the Hall there is the Ferrers Craft Centre from which you can purchase quality pottery and other crafts. There is also a flourishing Garden Centre set in the old walled gardens of the Hall. This sells a mixture of garden sundries together with an excellent range of unusual tropical plants which are kept in the Hall's impressive Victorian greenhouse.

The National Trust opens the church on several afternoons throughout the summer.

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