Last week saw the release of the latest Buildings at Risk register from the architectural charity, Save Britain’s Heritage. Entitled All We Need Is Love, the report reminded me of a house I recently researched that was once one of these neglected homes, but has since been lovingly restored to its former glory.
Today, Seagate Hall is a beautifully restored Georgian home now on the market, but during the 1990s it too was recorded on the Lincolnshire Buildings at Risk register, as it had fallen into such disrepair that it was, in fact, dangerous to even walk inside.
The house was built during the 1780s for the newly appointed vicar of Long Sutton, Reverend Thomas Leigh-Bennett. Rev. Leigh-Bennett was from a long established and noble family, who include Sir Walter Raleigh, Anne Boleyn and even ‘Princess’ Pocahontas amongst their ancestors. However, it was the presence of four generations of the Leigh-Bennett family at Seagate Hall that had the greatest impact on the villagers of Long Sutton.
Rev. Thomas Leigh-Bennett was vicar at Long Sutton from 1784 until 1797 when his son, another Thomas, took his place and was vicar for over 45 years, until 1843. During these years the house became known as ‘the vicarage’ and was surrounded by grounds covering over 15 acres. The Leigh-Bennett family continued at the vicarage when Thomas’ son, Edward became vicar in 1843 and then his son George became vicar in 1887. The presence of the Leigh-Bennett’s as vicars of Long Sutton came to an end in 1906 when George passed away, ending over 120 years of the family at Seagate Hall.
Seagate Hall continued to be the home of consecutive vicars who continued to play a vital role in village life. However, sadly, after so many years as the vicarage, the 1980s saw the house in desperate need of restoration. Fortunately, Mr. and Mrs. von Draczek took on the challenge. Although the house required a lot of work, including a new roof, new floors, re-wiring and re-plumbing, almost three years later, the vicarage had received the complete love and commitment it needed. It had once again become a grand Georgian house, while also featuring all the conveniences of a 21st century family home.
Seagate Hall, now Grade II listed, has continued to be loved and cared for, conserving the heritage of the Georgian vicarage that had played such a vital role in the village of Long Sutton for the last 220 years.