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Sale of Quorn Hall Estate - 1919

Loughborough Herald - 20th November 1919

The valuable and historic Quorn Hall estate, which was withdrawn from public auction at the beginning of last month, has been acquired privately by Mr William Collington, builder and contractor of Sileby. The Hall was formerly the home of the Farnham family, parts of it dating from 1450.

In 1670* it was sold to Hugo Meynell, the father of fox-hunting, who established the famous Quorn Hunt, and many successive noted master have resided under its roof. It contains a splendid Jacobean high oak mantel in the lounge hall, and an oak staircase and plastered ceiling of Stuart period. The sale carries with it the Lordship of the Manor of Barrow-on-Soar. The estates in parishes of Quorn and Barrow comprises 170 acres of park coppice, meadow and water, together with lodges, cottages, and estate and farm buildings. There is a magnificent chestnut avenue of 300 yards leading to the front of the mansion.

We understand it is Mr Collington's intention to divide part of the land into small holdings, and seeing a considerable frontage abuts on the main road, the development of Quorn, which for some years past is tending to become more residential and industrial, should receive a great stimulus.

The records of the old Manor of Barrow have been handed by the late owner, Mr E H Warner, to the Vicar and Churchwardens of that parish.

*Actual date of sale was 1754

History of the Mansion

In his "Here and There" column in the "Leicester Daily Post" on Saturday "X" referred to the sale of the Hall, and to the connection of the mansion with the Quorn Hunt and the Farnham family. It was the famous Hugo Meynell, he says, who founded the Quorn pack. He bought Quorn Hall from the Earl of Ferrers in 1752, when he was 18 years of age only. The Earl, by the way, was then under sentence of death for the murder of his steward. It is said that Mr Meynell was attracted to the district from the fact that it included Charnwood Forest, then much more open than it subsequently became, after the "enclosure". Anyway, the place became thenceforward one of the most popular hunting centres in the country. The Hall was kept almost uncomfortably full of guests during the season, most distinguished numbers of the nobility and even Royalty taking up temporary residence there. Houses in the district were also much in demand, even small dwellings commanding high rents. Those were the palmy days of Quorn.

A sporting squire.
Mr Meynell seems to have been a rare good "sport". He was very fond of music, and was no mean performer on the violin. He was also very fond of theatricals, and established the Quorn Hunt Ball, which, in his day, was held in the old Town Hall, Leicester. Hugo Meynell included amongst his other sporting tastes a liking for cock fighting, and one of his first engagements, when he settled down at Quorn, was to arrange matches for five years to fight his cocks against the cocks of a Nottingham gentleman.

Although the history of Quorn as a fox-hunting centre dates back little further than 150 years, it is quite likely that the village owes its origin to the park in Quorndon previous to the year 1273. That park ranged over land between Buddon Wood and the hamlet of Woodthorpe. The Lords of the Manor of Barrow (of which Quorn was then a part) were the Earls of Chester. They had a hunting "box" within this park, and from time to time visited it during the season.

From the 13th century.
Quorn's association with the Farnham family goes back to about the same period. Nichols says that a Robert de Farnham came over to England with William the Conqueror, but that statement is now regarded as legendary, and it is thought that the family, instead of being Norman in origin, got its name either from Farnham in Suffolk or Farnham in Essex. At what date the family settled down in Quorn is not known for certain, but the Leicester Assize Roll in 1284 shows that a Robert de Farnham held certain land in the neighbourhood.

The earliest accounts of the Farnhams show that there were two distinct branches, with two distinct residences, the Over Hall and the Nether Hall. Neither of these places remains today, the Over Hall was ransacked by the Parliamentarians in 1645, its owner having allied himself with Charles. It was pulled down in 1747. It is described by Nichols as a good old mansion, with a pair of large gates at the entrance, and a porch at the door as large as a room, with benches or seats round the inside of the porch. It stood on a site at the back of where the present hall now stands. The Nether Hall was on the other side of the main road, near to the Quorn to Barrow footpath.

Served the Shire.
Quorn Halls have been more or less associated with the Farnham family from the middle ages to the present time, and Farnhams have served the county in many ways. They have furnished a goodly number of High Sheriffs, and twice have its representatives been sent to serve Leicester in Parliament. Thomas Farnham was MP for the Borough of Leicester in 1553 (going to East Greenwich in 1557), Robert Farnham was Recorder of Leicester in 1553, and was sent to Westminster to represent the burgesses in the Parliaments of 1554 and 1556. The Farnhams, during their long local history, have married into most of the leading families of the shire, the Beaumonts of Coleorton, the Halfords of Wistow, the Denbigh family, the Cradock-Hartopps, etc.

   
 Submitted on: 2015-01-02
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 1870
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page

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