Aislaby Hall is a magnificent home in Pickering that's wonderful both inside and out. Penny Churchill takes a look.
It’s no secret that Yorkshire people are intensely proud of the county they call ‘God’s own country’ and buyers with strong Yorkshire connections are sure to be first in line whenever a special country house finds its way onto the open market. However, the recent surge in demand for good houses with land in private and picturesque locations suggests that, this year at least, Yorkshire-based buyers may find it harder to call the shots within their native county.
Currently on the market with the Harrogate office of Knight Frank at a guide price of £2.75 million, Grade II*-listed Aislaby Hall stands in 28 acres of historic gardens, grounds and paddocks at the eastern end of the pretty stone village of Aislaby, between the busy market towns of Pickering and Helmsley and three miles from the ancient seaport of Whitby.
One of North Yorkshire’s outstanding Georgian houses, built in 1742 by the Hayes family, one of whom was vicar of Middleton, Aislaby Hall stands on a hillside overlooking the Esk Valley, with spectacular views to the north over the North York Moors and Dalby Forest.
According to its listing, the hall was extended in 1896 by a wing incorporating the remains of an earlier house. In 1906, the wing was further extended and a porch added on the garden side. The gazebo and garden walls attached to the main house are also listed Grade II*.
Although for sale for only the fourth time in its history, Aislaby Hall was frequently leased to members of the gentry. In the 1890s, an observer described it as ‘a curious and interesting old house, the residence of Col Bicknell’.
In January 1857, the Hull Packet and East Riding Times set the scene of the hall in its pomp with an advertisement for the forthcoming auction sale of ‘the Mansion House called Aislaby Hall, with the pleasure grounds and about 14 acres of Old Grass Land, with the Manor or Lordship of Aislaby, with the Moor and extensive stone quarries thereon, the property of Robert Noble Esq, situated at Aislaby, three miles from the populous and fashionable watering-place of Whitby, and one mile from the Sleights Station of the Whitby and Pickering branch of the North eastern Railway’.
The house, said to be ‘built of freestone and slated’, contained ‘dining and drawing rooms, breakfast room or library, kitchen and scullery on the first floor, five best bedrooms on the second and Servant Attics above.
Also a large room adjoining (formerly used as a chapel) over which an additional suite of bedrooms has been lately erected, together with a Billiard room’.
During their 20-year tenure, the present custodians of Aislaby Hall have carried out an extensive program of sympathetic restoration and renovation that has seen the house largely restored to its glory days, although ‘much enhanced’, the agents say.
The 7,240sq ft hall has well-proportioned accommodation, including linked drawing and dining rooms, a reception room, smoking room and 30ft banqueting hall on the ground floor, with eight bedrooms and three bathrooms on the first floor.
In addition to the principal house and its immediate grounds, there is an adjoining three-bedroom cottage and stable block across a rear courtyard.
The Georgian stables, part of which have been converted to extra bedrooms, offer development potential, subject to the necessary planning and listed-building consents.
Although currently a private family home, Aislaby Hall could be adapted to a number of commercial uses, such as a country-house hotel or wedding venue, selling agent Daniel Rigg suggests.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.
Penny Churchill says that long histories and tranquil settings make Yorkshire’s country houses irresistible