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The Ashbys acquired an estate in Quenby in the 13th century. By 1563 they had acquired the whole Manor, and soon afterwards moved to enclose and depopulate it. The Hall was rebuilt around 1620 by George Ashby (died 1653), who had inherited it in 1618, the building work had finished by 1627.
George Ashby was succeeded by his son, also George, who married the heiress of Eusby Shuckburgh of Naseby (Northamptonshire). Their son and heir was referred to by John Evelyn as 'Honest George Ashby the Planter' because of the large number of trees he planted at Quenby. He died in 1728, and in the mid-18th century Quenby was purchased by his greatnephew Shuckburgh Ashby (died 1792), who restored what had become a badly neglected house, built a raised terrace or platform around it, and made improvements about the Estate including building many of the farmhouses. In the 1700s, when park enclosures were introduced to control grazing, milk production increased dramatically ? and it was then that the housekeeper Elizabeth Scarborough started making and selling a distinctive unpressed cheese at local markets. Shuckburgh Ashby brought Quenby back to life as a working estate. At the same time, he restored the dairy into what is now recognised as one of England's earliest purpose-built Stilton dairies. Around the same time, Elizabeth Scarborough's daughter married and began selling Quenby Hall cheese at her husband's inn on the Great North Road in Stilton ? a popular thoroughfare for travellers. This is how the distinctive blue cheese came to be known as Stilton.
Quenby remained in the family until 1904 when the Estate was sold to Rosamund (died 1941), the widow of Edward Seymour-Greaves, who later married Lord Henry Grosvenor. During her time Quenby was restored, having been 'Georgianised' by Shuckburgh Ashby in the mid 18th century, and much of the Jacobean interior was reinstated including the Ballroom above the Grand Hall. The Estate was sold in 1924 to Sir Harold Nutting, who lived there until his death in 1972, at which time the current owners bought it.
It remains a perfect and unspoiled jewel of a High Jacobean country house ? the finest in Leicestershire and one of only a handful of such houses remaining in the UK. Many of the rooms are the same as they were when the architect conceived them with beautiful proportions, intricate plaster ceilings, finely worked panelling and fireplaces.
It is considered a prodigy house, a term that has been applied to notable English Tudor and Elizabethan houses, usually built with a view to housing Elizabeth I and her entourage as they travelled around her realm. Of those remaining, many are situated in the English Midlands and were the work of architect-mason Robert Smythson, or show his influence. The house at Quenby has been compared to equally important houses including Hardwick and Doddington. Pevsner describes Quenby as 'The most important early seventeenth century house in the county' and it is widely considered as one of the best examples in the country.
The Estate is formed by a ring fenced block of land, running from Hungarton in the north west down to Cold Newton in the southeast. The property extends to 1135.5 acres and comprises a mixture of arable and pasture land with parkland surrounding the Hall, interspersed with small blocks of amenity woodland and recently planted poplar coppices.
The land is mostly Grade 3 recorded in the Soil Survey of England Wales, the soils on the property are shown as the northern half of the estate being of the Beccles 3 Association with the southern half lying within the Denchworth Association. The Beccles 3 soils are Chalky till, fine loamy over clayey soils, and are capable of growing winter cereal crops and grass. The Denchworth series is Jurassic clay, more particularly slowly permeable clayey soils over fine loamy soils, similar to the Beccles 3 and suitable for winter cereals and grass.
The Estate is accessed via a series of public roads round it and a network of internal farm tracks. The fields are bounded either by roads, mature hedgerows and trees or adjoining agricultural land. Internally the property is divided by a network of hawthorn hedges and small wooded copses.
The Estate lies in the heart of one of England's most loved sporting counties. The Quorn Hunt has long been considered one of the best of its kind and for many years Quenby has hosted meets and encouraged the Hunt with active wildlife and conservation at the forefront of its management practices. In addition to the Estate, the surrounding countryside offers almost limitless riding opportunities.
Historically there has been a shoot over the Quenby Estate for many years. Its stunning countryside, with rolling parkland and farmland interspersed with woodland of varying ages and mature hedges provide the fundamental assets of a classic traditional shoot. In recent years the shoot has been let out on an annual basis, although this can be determined on a 3 month notice period. Currently there are up to 20 formal days per season, with bags ranging from below 50 to towards 250 head per day. A variety of game including pheasants, partridge, duck and woodcock are shot over 13 drives, however there is undoubtedly the potential to increase the scale of the shooting operation.
There are two large, landscaped lakes in the parkland to the north of Quenby Hall, suitable for fly fishing or coarse fishing. They are currently let on an annual basis to an angling club.
Quenby Hall is constructed of red brick dispersed with dark blue brick on the west front with stone dressings, plinths and bands between the floors. The ground floor sits on an ironstone basement, some four feet off the ground. The building has a parapet with a flat bitumen roof with brick and stone chimney stacks and a small part of the roof in the south-east corner is lead covered. Internally the Hall retains a wealth of character with intricate plaster ceilings, ornate oak panelling and large stone fireplaces. The central section of the Hall houses the Grand Hall and Ballroom, both containing examples of original 17th century panelling.
The bedroom chambers and rooms in the southern wing are richly decorated and themed. In particular, the library on the ground floor has rich plaster ceiling, panelling and a fine fireplace. The Brown parlour has wonderful 17th century panelling. This section of the house is accessed via the Grand oak staircase. All bedroom chambers in the north and southern wings have en-suite bathrooms.
The centrally positioned front door opens into an Entrance Hall with a carved wooden screen, decorated with columns and rusticated arches. The Hall has a flagstone floor with marble inslips and stone mullion internal door frames. The superb Staircase Hall has a flagstone floor, doors to the Library, Brown Parlour and WC. A grand oak staircase leads to the 1st and 2nd floors.
The dual aspect Brown Parlour is a splendid room with the finest example of ornate carved panelling from floor to ceiling, 17th century panelling and 20th century plastered ceiling. The room incorporates a bay window, wooden floor and twin arched recess with stone carved figurines.
The triple aspect Library has a bay window, a notable plaster ceiling, wooden floor, oak panelling and built-in book casing. The focal point is a gothic stone fireplace designed by E.W. Pugin, the son of the great A.W. Pugin, depicting a hunting scene.
The dual aspect Dining Room also has fine oak panelling, a glazed built-in cabinet and drinks cupboard, a flagstone floor and impressive stone carved fireplace with ionic columns. A door from the Dining Room leads into the secondary staircase hall with doors to the Morning Room and Rear Hall.
The Morning Room has a bay window with stained-glass, a carved marble fireplace, ornate plaster cornicing, wooden pilasters details on wall, built-in bookcases and cupboard.
The Rear Hall has a stone with marble knobs floor, old stone basin and doors to the kitchen, cellar and WC.
The split level Kitchen/Breakfast Room has an island unit including sink. There are built-in appliances including an AGA set within chimney recess, high ceilings, doors to built-in cupboards, Pantry with shelving and steps down to a Freezer Room with sink unit, separate WC and store room. The Laundry Room has built-in cupboards, a sink unit and plumbing for a washer/dryer.
The main staircase rises to the 1st floor galleried landing.
The superbly well proportioned, central Ballroom has an ornate plaster ceiling which Mrs Greaves obtained permission from Lord Sackville to copy from the ballroom at Knole. Oak panelling which was removed from several upper rooms of the house has been assembled here. The focus is the substantial fireplace, the heraldic shield which forms the centre piece marshals the arm of Ashby with families to which they were allied by marriage.
Bedroom (1) has a painted pomegranate frieze, a bay window, stone fireplace and original stucco/frieze. The En-suite Bathroom (Chinese decor) has a freestanding enamel bath, wicker chair WC, basin and painted wooden panelling.
Bedroom (2) has a wooden floor, oak panelling with pilasters, panelling, ornate plaster frieze, bay window and stone fireplace. There is a walk-in Dressing Room and En-suite Bathroom with wood panelling, WC, basin and free standing enamel bath.
From the Ballroom a door leads through to a corridor and on to further bedroom accommodation, the back stairs and a Study (Lady Nutting's Bedroom) which incorporates a bay window, a built-in bookcase, wooden panelling, painted ceiling and stone fireplace.
MASTER BEDROOM SUITE
The triple aspect Bedroom (3) has a bay window, wood panelling, a stone fireplace, walk-in wardrobe and two en-suite bathrooms. Bathroom 1 includes a WC, a basin set in vanity unit, tiled floor, wall tiling to dado height and built-in shelving. Bathroom 2 includes a bidet, basin in marble vanity unit, freestanding bath, shower unit, stone fireplace, and built-in cupboard. The Dressing Room has wood panelling, built-in cupboards with glazed door and wardrobes.
MAIN GUEST SUITE
Bedroom (4) has a carved distinctive marble fireplace. The En-suite Bathroom has a freestanding bath, bidet, WC, basin in vanity unit, a tile floor and wood panelling.
There is excellent additional accommodation on the 2nd floor, much of which benefits from ample sized rooms and high ceilings.
BEDROOM 5 SUITE
The triple aspect Bedroom (5) has wood panelling, pretty arched recess, fireplace with carved wood surround, exposed beam and walk-in wardrobe. The En-suite Bathroom comprises a WC, bidet, panelled bath, shower, basin, and built-in cupboard. There is an adjacent Dressing Room/ Occasional Bedroom.
BEDROOM 6 SUITE
Comprises a dual aspect Bedroom (6) with a bay window and open fireplace. The En-suite Bathroom has a WC, bidet, panelled bath, shower, basin and built-in cupboard.
The Long Gallery- gives access to further bedroom accommodation and has an arched recess area with seating and steps up to the bell/clock tower and roof.
Bedroom 9 suite with Bedroom and Bathroom with bidet, WC, basin and bath. Linen Room with built-in shelving.
Bedroom 10 has an arched recess with raised study area and built-in cupboard.
Trunk Room with hanging and storage space
Bedroom 11 Suite includes a Bedroom and Ensuite Bathroom with basin, bath and WC.
Steps lead down on to a galleried landing with display cabinets and doors to:
The dual aspect Bedroom 7 incorporates a bay window, a stone fireplace and exposed beams. The En-suite Bathroom includes a WC, basin set within unit, and freestanding bath.
The triple aspect Bedroom 8 features an arched recess, fireplace and exposed beams. The Ensuite Bathroom includes WC, basin, bath, a walk-in wardrobe and wood panelling.
A series of Grade II* listed outbuildings form a three sided courtyard, with the Hall being the fourth side. They are a collection of ironstone and tile traditional buildings around a central cobbled yard.
The eastern side of the courtyard comprises: a Chapel (non-consecrated) with a painted brick floor and panelling to dado height. There is a Pump Room and stores, stairs leading upto the Green Flat with WC and store room on the half landing:
The Green Flat comprising a sitting room with built-in units, bathroom with bath, WC and basin and a bedroom. The flat has painted wooden tongue and groove panelling throughout and its heating is run from the main system in the Hall.
Boiler Room with two 'Hoval' oil fired boilers with very large individual outputs. Used for the central heating system for the Hall and installed in 1974, oil tank in adjoining room, used to supply the boilers.
The Estate Office/Maisonette has a sitting room with small fireplace, under stairs cupboard, kitchen with a number of fitted units, sink and cooker, door off kitchen to small bathroom. There are 2 bedrooms on the first floor.
On the northern side of the courtyard is: the large Old Dairy Room which is a fantastic room for entertaining. It has a pitched roof with exposed beams. An internal partition wall separates a commercial kitchen, ideal for catering. At the other end is a door to a Bar Room with external door, fitted bar, brick floor and raised fireplace.
The western side of the courtyard comprises an archway for vehicular access, WCs, an open fronted cart-shed used as garages and storage, a log shed and refuse store.
ADDITIONAL HOUSES AND COTTAGES
Ashby Farmhouse - Grade II Listed detached 3 bed red brick farmhouse located to the southeastern edge of the village.
Entrance Lodge - Situated on the front drive, this detached 3 bed period cottage built in 1925 is constructed of red brick under a part tile roof and has accommodation over two floors.
Inders Cottage - 3 bed semi-detached cottage built in 1934 is constructed of red brick under a slate roof with garden located to the north of Quenby Hall.
Cherry Tree Cottage - 3 bed semi-detached cottage built in 1934 is constructed of red brick under a slate roof with garden located to the north of Quenby Hall.
Dutch Cottage - A 2 bed detached cottage built in 1939 is constructed of brick under a tile roof with garden located adjacent to the stable yard.
Garden Cottage - A very pretty 2 bed detached Grade II listed period cottage constructed of stone and brick under slate roof, with large garden immediately adjacent to the walled garden.
Stable Flat - 1 bed flat located within the double storey stable block
Grooms Flat - 2 bed flat located within the double storey stable block
Stable Bedsit - 1 room bedsit located within the double storey stable block
The land in lot 1 extends to 938.26 acres. A large proportion of it is farmed in-hand, with 248 acres of arable land currently farmed under a cropping licence. The pasture (472 acres) is in hand and grazed by the Estate's Longhorn beef herd. Ashby House Farm Land extends to approximately 48 acres and has a Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy in place.
To the north of the house there is a yard comprising 3 traditional stable blocks and a number of buildings previously used for cheese making, including bulk tanks, converted containers and brick stores. Beyond is a general purpose Dutch barn.
There is an off-lying cattle barn and field shelter near The Entrance Lodge on the edge of the park.
There are a number of woodland parcels across Lot 1, all of which are in hand and total approximately 79.69 acres including the recent poplar plantation. These are mostly mixed deciduous and broadleaved stands, adding to the amenity of the Estate.
LOT 1B ~ 7.17 ACRES
Situated in an elevated position Quenby Lodge is a 4 bedroom Grade II listed, detached house built in 1775, constructed of red brick under a slate roof. The house benefits from far reaching rural views and is surrounded by gardens and 3 small stable units. There are also additional traditional outbuildings including stables, a concrete portal frame agricultural building and a field.
LOT 3 ~ 68.02 ACRES
This ring fenced block of arable and grassland benefits from road frontage and is currently split into 4/5 field parcels. The acreage amounts to approximately 68.02 acres including 12.08 acres of arable and 55.80 acres of pastures. 12 acres of arable land are farmed under the cropping licence (same licence as lot 1). In-hand pasture extends to 55.7 acres and woodland to 0.12 acres.
AN IMPORTANT ARCHITECTURAL AND HISTORICAL ESTATE
The Quenby Hall Estate lies in the heart of Leicestershire's most beautiful rolling countryside. The centre of the City of Leicester lies 8 miles to the west of Quenby Hall and provides a full range of facilities, shops and a mainline train link. The attractive market towns of Oakham and Uppingham lie 11 and 15 miles to the east and south-east respectively. The A47 runs east west close to the south of the property and the A46 runs to the north of Leicester, both trunk roads giving good access routes (especially M1 and M69) to the rest of the country.
The nearest train station is Syston (6 miles) offering a direct East Midlands service to Leicester from 7 minutes. Leicester train station (8 miles) offers a direct East Midlands service to London St Pancras from 70 minutes. Market Harborough (14 miles) offers a direct East Midlands service to London St Pancras from 61 minutes and Kettering (27 miles) offers a direct service from 62 minutes.
International Airports - East Midlands (28 miles), Birmingham (53 miles), Luton (78 miles), Stansted (91 miles) and Heathrow (107 miles).
The public schools of Oakham (11 miles), Uppingham (15 miles), Oundle (35 miles) and Rugby (36 miles) are all within easy reach. There are also good prep schools in the area including Maidwell (22 miles) and Witham (27 miles). There is also the highly regarded Radcliffe School (10 miles) nearby.
The majority of the Estate is to the south east of the village of Hungarton. The village is rural and picturesque with a church and pub. Quenby Hall itself stands at the centre of its Estate and is accessed via a tree-lined drive which runs through the parkland surrounding the Hall. There is an enclosed courtyard immediately to the north of the Hall, beyond which are the walled gardens, stable complex, cottages and some farm buildings. Surrounding the house and gardens is the parkland, undulating farmland and woodland.
* Currencies are changed from British Pound (GBP) to either Euro (EUR) or US Dollar (USD). Rates updated daily at approximately 01:00 hours.
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