A jewel of the Wolds

Words by:
Sarah Winstanley
Featured in:
June 2011

If you have ever wanted to live in a stunning Grade II listed hall on a classic rural estate at the gateway to the Lincolnshire Wolds, now is your chance.
For The Dalby Hall Estate, three miles north of Spilsby, has been put on the market by its current owner with a guide price of £12 million. For that princely sum, potential buyers have a chance to own a listed hall, a farmhouse, seven cottages including a lodge, just over 1,000 acres of organic Lincolnshire farmland and even a private airstrip and spring fed water supply.

“This really is a stunning estate and a jewel in the Lincolnshire Wolds,” said Ken Pritchard, partner at Brown & Co’s office in Brigg. “The current owner has kept everything in immaculate condition, even the estate roads, tracks and farm buildings are well looked-after.

“The chance to buy an estate like this in Lincolnshire is very rare indeed. It has already attracted a lot of interest from a wide range of potential buyers as we expected.”

Sadly the vendor – a farmer who has owned the estate for twelve years – has chosen to remain anonymous, but the sale does give us ordinary folk the chance to peak inside the hall and imagine what it would be like to live there.

The Grade II listed hall is approached through a gated entrance by the Lodge and a sweeping driveway through parkland. It is hidden from view until passing the nineteenth century church of St Lawrence and Bishop Edward King on the right of the drive.

The hall was rebuilt in 1856 by James Fowler of Maughan & Fowler of Louth following a fire which destroyed the previous hall in 1841. Later additions to the interior and rear of the building are said to be the work of Victorian church architect, Temple Moore, and the two bows to the front elevation were added in 1898.

But the site has a deeper past – seventeenth century monuments in the church are dedicated to the Llanden family and suggest that there was an earlier house on the site. Whilst south of the Fordington farmhouse (one of two farms on the estate), there are mounds or earthworks which Pevsner in his ‘The Buildings of England’ describes as two prominent mounds which could be barrows or more likely medieval mill-mounds.

The present day house is set in around 6.5 acres of lawned gardens with mature cedar and beech trees, and traditional parkland and a lake lie beyond.

Mr Pritchard added: “The hall has been exceptionally well maintained and it would make a superb family home. It’s large, but not so vast that it would cost a fortune to keep.”

The hall is packed with period features which have been carefully maintained over the years such as the decorative fanlight in the porch, the original servants’ bells in the hallway, sash windows in most rooms, ornate parquet flooring, panelled walls and marble surround and Victorian tiled fireplaces. Meanwhile, the kitchen and adjoining rooms have been restored to match the age and style of older parts of the hall by using traditional paints, antique ironmongery, bespoke plaster covings, skirting boards and antique glass.

The oil fired Aga keeps the breakfast room warm and cosy and the traditional walk-in larder and pantry both feature fitted shelving and the original meat hooks. There is even a large wine cellar.

The upstairs accommodation offers eight bedrooms, a bathroom and shower room and several en-suites. In particular, the south-facing master bedroom has views of the lake, an adjoining dressing room and en-suite bathroom with a raised bath forming a centrepiece.

Apart from the hall, one of the main draws of the estate is the 1050 acres of land which is farmed as a mix of arable and stock and is registered as organic under the Organic Farmers and Growers Certification Scheme.

Organic crops include wheat, barley, oats, beans, grass and lucerne and the grassland is grazed by the estate’s pedigree Rumford herd of organic Lincoln Red cattle and Hebridian sheep.

Mr Pritchard said: “The land has been farmed in hand by the present owner for the last twelve years and it is unusual for somebody to farm such a large acreage organically. He has enjoyed producing organic beef and lamb for his own consumption at the hall.”

The estate is divided naturally into two farms, Dalby Hall to the south and Fordington to the north, and the land is served by three farmyards at Dalby, Minster and Fordington. There are a range of modern and traditional buildings at each farm and at Minster yard, there is a foundry let to a brass craftsman.

There is also great potential for country sports on the estate and in recent years, shooting rights over the Fordington farm have been let to the Dexford Shoot.

As well as the hall and the farmland, there is a lodge, three pairs of semi-detached cottages and Fordington Farmhouse.

Mr Pritchard said: “The owner has numerous interests worldwide and now wants to pursue other avenues which is providing an opportunity for someone to come in and put their touch on the place.

“Although the current owner has done a lot of work to the estate, there are still opportunities for further development subject to planning consents.”

Whoever decides to purchase The Dalby Hall Estate, one thing is sure…they will own one of the jewels of the Lincolnshire Wolds!

• For further information call Brown & Co, Brigg on 01652 654833.

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