The Mansion House at Stockeld Park
The Enchanted Forest, skating, maze, Nordic Ski trail and various events, at Stockeld Park, are open to the public from Half Term in October each year.
The house itself is still very much a family home and lived in by the Grant family. The house is open for tours by appointment only.
Stockeld Park is one of Yorkshire's hidden treasures. It is a privately owned 2,000 acre Estate on the edge of the Vale of York, close to Wetherby, Harrogate and Leeds.
At the centre of the Estate, is a Grade I listed historic house, which is home to the Grant family, and is open for tours to historic groups and societies (by appointment).
The house was designed by James Paine in 1758 and was completed in 1763. Other notable projects by Paine include Nostell Priory, Kedleston Hall and the stable block at Chatsworth.
Planned in the style of a classic Palladian Villa, the house was commissioned by Sir William Middleton, a member of an old established Roman Catholic family who had held the Estate since 1318. Sir William commissioned Stockeld to celebrate his appointment as High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, but died of an inveterate gout before the building was complete.
The Estate was inherited by Sir William Middleton's nephew, also called William, and it was during these years that Stockeld became the centre of scandal, when William's wife had an adulterous affair with the Estate groom, resulting in history's first ever high profile divorce case, the intimate details of which are chronicled in Professor Laurence Stone's book, “Broken Lives”.
A broken William then abandoned the Estate to live in Ilkley and the house stood empty for over 20 years until William's death when it was then passed down the line of Middletons.
In the 1870's, the Estate was purchased from the Middleton family by Robert John Foster, who was a wealthy industrialist from Queensbury and the owner of the Black Dyke Mills, famous for its award winning Black Dyke brass band.
Robert John Foster made a number of improvements to the house, the most major being the addition of a new east wing and and the reversal of the aspect of the house, which was accomplished by adding a new portico to the north side and changing the direction of the approach.
Robert John Foster was one of three brothers. All of whom enjoyed great wealth from the success of their prosperous mill. They lived Rockefeller lifestyles, being fortunate enough to go on The Grand Tour and they all shared a passion for gambling.
Both Robert John Foster and his son Gerald married well. Robert John married Lady Evelyn Bateman daughter of the 2nd Baron Bateman and Gerald married Olivia Ogilvy, daughter of Scottish baronet, Sir Angus Ogilvy.
Following Robert John's death the Estate was passed to his son Gerald, who lived there with Olivia for many years, except during the Second World War, when they moved out of the house so that it could be used as a maternity hospital. It has been estimated that over 500 babies were born there.
Today, Stockeld is lived in by the great grandchild of Robert John Foster, Peter Grant, his wife Susie and their five children. The house remains a much loved family home.
Stockeld Park is a member of theHistoric Houses Association.
Stockeld Park | Palladian Villa | James Paine | Wetherby | Yorkshire