Walcot Hall

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Walcot Hall from the Hereward Way

Walcot Hall is a Grade I listed Carolean country house in the hamlet of Southorpe. It lies 2 km (1 mile) south of the village of Barnack, Cambridgeshire, UK. The house is now within the boundary of the Peterborough unitary authority of the ceremonial county of Cambridgeshire but it was part of the Soke of Peterborough, an historic area that was traditionally associated with Northamptonshire.

Walcot Hall entrance

It is constructed of limestone ashlar in 2 storeys with attic with a rectangular floor plan of 9 by 5 bays and a Collyweston stone roof.[1] It stands in some 120 acres of wooded parkland as part of a 1400 acre agricultural estate.

History[edit]

George Whetstone (1544? – 1587) was an English dramatist and author. He was the third son of Robert Whetstone (d. 1557), a member of a wealthy family that owned the manor of Walcot at Barnack, near Stamford, Lincolnshire. George appears to have had a small inheritance which he soon spent,

The original hall on the site was owned by the Browne family whose members included Robert Browne MP. In 1662 the Brownes sold it to Bernard Walcot, who in turn sold it to Sir Hugh Cholmondeley c.1674. Sir Hugh built the present house in 1678 in place of the previous building. The architect is uncertain but the house shows the influence of John Webb.[2]

It was owned by the Gainsborough family between 1700 and 1720 and then the Nevile family until 1891. It was then sold to the Dearden family who owned it until 1963 when it was purchased by the Dennises.[3] Members of both the Nevile and Dearden families served as High Sheriff of Northamptonshire.

During the Second World War the hall housed the remote operations room for RAF Wittering[4] and was then occupied by the 67th Fighter Wing of the United States Eighth Air Force. Their operations room planned and directed many of the Flying Fortress daylight raids on Germany.

The estate is now a commercial agricultural landholding. The hall is occupied by Darby and Catherine Dennis who sued for compensation over Harrier noise from RAF Wittering.[5][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Walcot House, Southorpe". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "The 12 best family houses in England" Country Life
  3. ^ "Walcot Hall". Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Royal Air Force Wittering the first ninety years
  5. ^ "£1m payout over country house idyll ruined by the scream of Harrier jets" by Jeevan Vasagar; The Guardian, 17 April 2003
  6. ^ "MOD sued for £9 million over Harrier noise". Retrieved 26 April 2013. 

Coordinates: 52°32′50″N 0°29′32″W / 52.5472°N 0.4922°W / 52.5472; -0.4922