• Abigail and William Sherard

HERITAGE

Early historical records indicate that at the time of the Norman Survey, Stapleford was held under the King by Henry de Ferrers, who fought at the battle of Hastings in 1066, and who was afterwards appointed the Domesday Commissioner. After passing through a succession of owners, according to record, in the 14th Century Stapleford formed part of the great estates of John O'Gaunt, and in 1336 the manor was settled as part of the dowry of Blanche, his wife.

 

In 1402 the house was acquired from the Earl of Lancaster by Robert Sherard, a descendant of William the Conqueror, and for the next 484 years Stapleford remained in the possession of his family.

 

The Sherard family in latter years were to become the Earls of Harborough, and it was Thomas who is said to be the builder of the Old Wing as we know it today.

 

The Old Wing was restored in 1633 by William Sherard, but his wife Abigail was said to have had a greater part in the restoration of this section and perhaps her name should be carved in the stone and not his!

 

A change of ownership came in 1894 when the house was purchased by Lord Gretton, a wealthy brewer of the firm Bass, Ratcliffe and Gretton.

 

Lord Gretton is said to have wanted to establish his place in society and bought Stapleford not so much for its land but its connection with hunting and Melton Mowbray. Stapleford would assist in introducing him to the fashionable hunting circles.

 

The house was large, but not large enough for Lord Gretton's ambitions, and so he radically changed it, adding on a series of reception rooms and further bedrooms.

 

The house finally represented the magnificence of English architecture through the ages and allowed the entertaining of house guests on a grand scale as was common in the Edwardian era. Today Stapleford is regarded by many as one of the finest and most beautiful examples of an English stately home.

 

Lord Gretton's death in 1899 meant that the Long Gallery (south side of the house where there are now nine bedrooms) had not been fitted out and, as his son did not share his social ambitions, it never was. When his grandson the third Lord Gretton, succeeded in 1982, he was faced with a house designed for entertaining on an Edwardian scale but without the brewing fortune to support it. He decided to sell the house but kept the estate.

 

The American restaurant entrepreneur Bob Payton bought the house and, in April 1988, after more than a year’s work and large investment, Stapleford Park was opened as a Country House Hotel, realising John Gretton’s idea of Stapleford as a place for entertaining on a grand scale. On 13th July 1994, Bob Payton tragically died in a car accident. It would be his wish that the hotel continues as before and, to this end, Stapleford Park has grown from strength to strength.

 

To this day Stapleford Park is owned by a private individual who fell in love with the dream first created by Payton and the desire of Lord Gretton for the house to be a very special place for entertainment.

 

Over time Stapleford Park has been renovated to maintain its elegant and relaxed style whilst retaining its original charm which lures its guests back again.