Metham Hall in East Yorkshire has medieval origins and a colourful history.
York-based agents Blenkin & Co are offering the classic Georgian Metham Hall at a guide price of ‘excess £800,000’.
From early medieval times, Metham Hall was the seat of the Metham family, who were substantial landowners in these parts. In the 16th century, the staunchly Catholic Sir Thomas Metham was knighted during the reign of Queen Mary and imprisoned under Elizabeth I, dying at York Castle in 1573. In the 1600s, his descendant, another Sir Thomas, fought on the Royalist side in the English Civil War and was killed at the battle of Marston Moor; during the same campaign, his son, Jordan, lost his life at one of three sieges by the Parliamentarians of Pontefract Castle, or Pomfret Castle, as it was then known.
By the 18th century, however, the family had fallen on hard times and, in the late 1700s, the last of the line, Sir George Metham, who reputedly led ‘a reckless roystering life’, sold his heavily indebted estate, dying in poverty at nearby North Cave in 1793.
A century later, Metham Hall was the seat of the Rev Edward Whitmore Simpson, a major local landowner, who was also lord of the manor. This was the present Georgian house, which, according to its Grade II listing, was built in the early 19th century, although some records suggest that Sir George was the original builder. In any event, the new house stood on or near the site of the old Metham mansion, overlooking the huge trunk of an ancient oak tree mentioned in Domesday and still standing today, although the park where it was planted was sold off years ago, with the exception of four acres directly surrounding the hall.
John Sweetman, who farms next door, remembers growing up in Metham in the 1940s and seeing the gradual decline of the hall as a succession of residents—some tenants, some owners —came and went. The house was in a parlous state when the current owners, Lisa and Mark Horsley, bought the property three years ago and embarked on an ambitious restoration programme. They replaced the roof, fully insulated the building, replaced the traditional sashes with like-for-like but double-glazed windows, installed new central heating, levelled floors, installed a new kitchen, three bathrooms and a downstairs shower, restored the gardens, built modern stables and re-gravelled the drive.
Having transferred to the area for work reasons, Mr Horsley is now on the move again and the Horsleys’ elegant, 4,300sq ft Georgian house, boasting entrance and secondary staircase halls, a 24ft drawing room, three further reception rooms, a hand-crafted kitchen/breakfast room, four bedrooms and four bath/shower rooms, is back on the market.
Located within about an hour’s drive of five major cities—Hull, York, Leeds, Doncaster and Sheffield—and a little over two hours from Kings Cross by train from Howden station, Metham Hall enjoys a pleasantly rural setting, although, on winter nights, there is magic in the sight of big ships moving down the Ouse, into the Humber estuary and out to sea.