The Historic Houses Foundation is a major beneficiary of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, first announced by the UK Government and Historic England in October 2020 with a second round in October 2021. The funding provides invaluable support for restoration work on some of England’s most important and vulnerable historic buildings.
Norman Hudson OBE, Chairman of the Historic Houses Foundation commented “We are delighted to have been selected as a Delivery Partner for this important round of Government funding. As a small nimble charity, we know that the money will kick-start restoration projects postponed by the pandemic. This money arrives just as we have launched our first major fundraising campaign which will expand our abilities to help threatened historic buildings, keeping them at the centre of their communities and creating specialist jobs.”
In the second round, 13 nationally important properties across England were selected as most in need of support.
Browsholme Hall, Lancashire
Browsholme Hall is Lancashire’s oldest surviving family house. It has been home to fourteen generations of the Parker family, Bowbearers of the Forest of Bowland, since it was built around 1507. The oak panelled Tudor house was extended in the Regency, has an important collection of portraits and perhaps Britain’s finest antiquarian collection. Now it will be possible to repair the slate roof, the leadwork & chimneys to ensure the survival of these historic interiors.
Owner, Robert Parker said, “We are delighted that, thanks to the Historic Houses Foundation, we are able to go ahead immediately with urgent repairs to the main roof and chimneys. Without this funding it would not have been possible to carry out such major work and further delay in not doing so would increasingly put at risk the building, the oak panelled interiors and the historic collection.”
Everingham Hall Chapel, Yorkshire
The Chapel of St Mary the Virgin and St Everilda at Everingham Hall in Yorkshire was built by William, Lord Herries in the 1830s as an extravagant expression of the Catholic faith. For years, the building has been deteriorating and suffering badly from water damage. The vast lead roof dated largely from the 1830s and was removed, re-cast and replaced under the first round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund in 2021. This second round funding cover repairs to the damaged interior of the chapel.
Owner, Philip Guest said: “For 20 years we have been trying to save this unique and precious Grade 1 Romanesque chapel. We will now be able to repair the damaged plasterwork and restore the glorious coffered and gilded ceiling to its former glory so that it can be enjoyed by the local Catholic community.”
Haddon Hall, Derbyshire
Haddon Hall was described by Simon Jenkins as “the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages.” Lord and Lady Edward Manners are the first family to live there for over three hundred years. Now urgent repairs are needed to the Long Gallery designed by the Elizabethan master mason, Robert Smythson. The room is both nationally and internationally renowned for its beauty and architectural significance, with many visitors coming to Haddon to see it specifically.
Owner, Lord Edward Manners said, “This funding will enable us to restore the Long Gallery’s central bay, which is heavily subsiding to a critical degree, with the immediate risk of irrevocable damage. If it collapsed, not only would it impact heavily on the financial security of the many directly and indirectly employed by the hall, it would represent an enormous loss on a national level. Lady Edward and I are particularly pleased that this highly skilled work can be undertaken by local craftsmen and talented professionals, to help us safeguard the future of Haddon for generations to come.”
Haddon Hall also received funds in the first round of Heritage Stimulus Funding.
Hedingham Castle, Essex
Hedingham Castle is perhaps the best preserved medieval castle keep in England, built in 1140 by Aubrey de Vere whose father had arrived with William the Conqueror. Matilda, King Stephen's queen died here in 1152. Today it is home to Jason and Demetra Lindsay, whose family connection to the castle goes back eight centuries. The grant will allow essential masonry repairs to the castle keep and to the flintwork Tudor bridge that leads to it.
Owner, Demetra Lindsay said, "When our business stopped due to the pandemic, it had a real impact on the ongoing restoration of our historic complex of buildings. We are so grateful for the Historic Houses Foundation’s grant to help us with repairs to both the Norman castle and the Tudor bridge that crosses its moat. It means that our team of specialist workmen will be able to continue to protect these buildings for future visitors."
Hedingham Castle also received funds in the first round of Heritage Stimulus Funding.
Holkham Hall, Norfolk
Holkham Hall is one of the great treasure houses of Britain and home to the Earl and Countess of Leicester. An ambitious programme is under way to restore the 6 acre walled garden originally laid out by architect, Samuel Wyatt during the 1700s. The funds will help restore the South West Sunken Pit House, a model of Victorian technology where Holkham’s gardeners were once able to grow exotic fruits, like pineapples, for the table.
Stephen Twyford, Buildings Manager at Holkham Estate said, " Grants such as this are imperative to facilitating necessary custodian work on important buildings and structures. Our walled garden is loved by thousands of visitors each year, and it is exciting that they will be able to watch heritage conservation in action over the coming months and benefit from the restored sunken pit houses once repaired. We are incredibly grateful of the funding and look forward to watching the work unfold.”
Holkham Hall Walled Garden also received funds in the first round of Heritage Stimulus Funding.
Jane Austen's House, Hampshire
Jane Austen’s House was the home in Chawton provided for one of the world’s best loved authors by her brother. Here she revised, wrote and had published all six of her novels. Today, visitors step back in time to 1816, see the rooms where she created her timeless characters and discover objects that belonged to her.
Lizzie Dunford, Director said, “It is truly excellent news that Jane Austen’s House has been awarded this grant. We can now restore the roof which sheltered Austen as she created some of the great masterpieces of English Literature, and protect her treasured belongings and inspirational home for future generations.”
Levens Hall, Cumbria
Levens Hall is an Elizabethan house surrounded by the world's oldest topiary garden designed by Guillaume Beaumont in 1694. It houses important collections of art and Jacobean furniture, as well as England’s oldest patchwork, and is home to Richard Bagot and his family.
Owner Richard Bagot said, ““The grant is enabling Levens to retain an important part of our listed curtilage. The Kitchen Wing links the house to the South Wing, a section of the building that was built during the reign of James II as servant’s quarters. Once this integral part of the house is repaired it will be used as part of the catering operation for group tours as well as educational courses.”
Levens Hall also received funds in the first round of Heritage Stimulus Funding.
Longleat House, Wiltshire
Longleat House is a stunning example of high Elizabethan architecture and a treasure house of art and antiques. The funding will enable the completion of essential repairs to the East Terrace, a raised terrace overlooking Half Mile Pond. It has a Bath stone balustrade that mirrors the roofline of Longleat House. The East Terrace and the flagstone paving are among the additions made to Longleat in the early nineteenth century by the architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville. The paving consists of almost 900 flagstones, likely part of earlier garden structures re-used by Wyatville.
Historically, it was used frequently by the Thynne family, particularly for parties and events. Since Longleat House opened to the public in 1949, it has become a popular spot for visitors to take in views of Longleat’s gardens and parkland.
Jon Timney, Director of Estate, Property and Maintenance at Longleat said “We are very grateful to have been awarded a Heritage Stimulus Fund grant through the Historic Houses Foundation. The East Terrace has been closed to visitors for several years due to safety concerns. Water penetration beneath the terrace has also affected the rooms behind, which are decorated with delicate marquetry panelling. The restoration project will see the front of the terrace rebuilt to stabilise the structure, while repairing original drainage structures to ensure water drains away from the terrace and Longleat House. This vital project will restore these key features of Longleat’s built heritage, improve visitor access, and provide employment for specialist craftspeople.”
Moggerhanger Park, Bedfordshire
Moggerhanger Park is recognised as the most complete surviving example of the work of Sir John Soane, designer of the Bank of England, set in stylish grounds and woodlands sculpted by Humphry Repton. It is run today as an events and weddings venue and the parkland is open to the public daily.
Ken Ebbage, Clerk to the Trustees said “Over the last 20 years, water ingress has damaged the rendering on the outside of the house, causing it to become detached. Not only is this a safety issue for people near the building, but it is also unsightly and limits our ability to use the building for events such as weddings. The grant will enable us to repair and protect the rendering from future damage.”
Muncaster Castle, Cumbria
Muncaster Castle is a haunted medieval castle with views over the Lakeland Fells, where 14th century towers lead to sumptuous 19th century state rooms. Home to Iona and Peter Frost Pennington whose family have lived there since 1208, the house is filled with family portraits, historic textiles and works of art. It was also home Tom Skelton, the last Fool in Britain.
Owner, Peter Frost Pennington said “We are delighted to receive this Historic Houses Foundation funding to repair the elegant Drawing Room at Muncaster Castle, with its exquisite barrel-vaulted plasterwork ceiling and portraits by artists including Reynolds, Gainsborough and Philip de Laszlo. It welcomes both day visitors and events such as dinners, theatre, music and especially weddings. It is core to the economic activities at Muncaster, particularly providing employment and, once repaired, visitor access will flourish anew”
Muncaster Castle also received funds in the first round of Heritage Stimulus Funding.
Raby Castle, County Durham
Raby is one of the most impressive intact castles in the North of England. Built in the 14th century by the powerful Nevill family, it was home to Cecily Nevill, mother of two kings of England, as well as the centre of the Rising of the North and later a Parliamentary stronghold during the Civil War. This grant allows the replacement of cracked and patched sections of the lead work and reroofing of the central Keep Tower, one of the nine towers of the castle, keeping the historic interiors safe from water damage. The two 19th century historic clock dials and the castle sundial will benefit from full conservation and restoration by historic clock specialists so that they can continue to display the time as they have for 150 years.
Owner, Harry Vane, 12th Lord Barnard said “We are delighted to have been awarded funding by the Historic Houses Foundation to carry out important repair and conservation work on Raby Castle’s historic Keep Tower. This grant supports the vital programme of ongoing repair and maintenance required to ensure that this outstanding Grade I listed building can be enjoyed by future generations”.
Scampston Hall, Yorkshire
Scampston Hall is the finest Regency house in Yorkshire set in a park by Capability Brown and home to Mr & Mrs Christopher Legard. Repairs are needed to the 18th century garden walls that enclose the contemporary garden designed by Piet Oudolf in 1999, described as "one of the great gardens of the 21st century".
Owner, Chris Legard said “We are delighted to be given help by the Historic Houses Foundation with the repair of the Georgian brick walls that enclose our award-winning Walled Garden. Piet Oudolf’s design for the garden has not only been immensely popular with visitors but has been an important influence on contemporary garden design. The historic walls create a micro-climate and provide protection for tender plants, so their repair by a specialist conservation team will ensure visitors can continue to enjoy the garden in the future.”
Woodchester Mansion, Gloucestershire
Woodchester Mansion is a vast Victorian gothic mansion left unfinished in 1873 at death of the owner, William Leigh. Floors and ceilings are missing, walls are unplastered and windows unglazed but the stone carvings are of exceptional quality. The house is the masterpiece of a young local architect, Benjamin Bucknall, and is today home to Europe most continuously studied colony of greater and lesser horseshoe bats as well as being an important centre for heritage craft training.
John Goom, Trustee of the Woodchester Mansion Trust said “We were overjoyed to hear that we had been successful in the second round of grants from HHF. These grants have allowed us to make much greater progress towards a sustainable future for the Mansion than we could have hoped for. The works have also provided continuing employment for specialist masons and Cotswold roof slaters in very difficult times. When these latest works are complete our visitors won’t need umbrellas when they walk along the top floor corridor.”
Woodchester Mansion also received funds in the first round of Heritage Stimulus Funding