Hackthorn Hall

Hackthorn Hall was originally a picturesque Elizabethan building that stood about a hundred yards east of the church. It was in 1793 that a beginning was made with the demolition of the Old Hall.

There are no records to explain why this attractive house was demolished. We may conjecture that its timbers may have become riddled by dry rot or death- watch beetle. Perhaps its owner may have wanted to copy the example of Norton Place near Spital where a fine Georgian mansion had been built in 1750 at a period when Adam’s influence on design was at its peak.  Luckily, one of the owners’ brothers, Edmund Cracroft, made an attractive sketch in water colour showing the Old Hall as it stood early in 1793, with two wings projecting southwards towards the lake, which was crossed by a 3-arched bridge or dam carrying the carriage drive.

Though the grounds to the north appear well-timbered, the banks of the lake and the precincts of the Church are clear of trees, shrubs or garden beds.  Extensive stables and farm buildings stood to the East of the Hall. These all  appear to have been built prior to 1615, along with the Hall itself. In that year, on his death, Robert Grantham of Dunholme passed his Hackthorn Estate to his nephew John Cracroft. Most of these buildings are still standing. The the remnants of the Hall itself have since been incorporated in the present gardener’s house.

The new Hackthorn Hall was sited just west of the Church. It was designed by the well-known Georgian architect, James Lewis (1751-1820). Originally a square block of four floors, 60ft square, it was enlarged early in the nineteenth century by considerable additions to the East. The gardens and lawns were laid out leading down to the lake and along the south side of the church yard.

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