Stuffynwood Hall 1907-1979

The Markhams vacated Stuffynwood Hall for their new residence in Westminster, London around 1907, Arthur's wife preferring to raise the family in high society circles. However, mining-subsidence damage to the Hall from nearby Shirebrook Colliery, general lawlessness & drunkeness in the rapidly growing Shirebrook mining community and cholera outbreaks resulting in the highest infant mortality in the country, were no doubt other reasons why Markham would put over 150 miles between himself and the people he represented in Parliament. Arthur Markham challenged the lease he held from Elizabeth Paget who now lived in Brighton, the legal exchanges running until her death in 1913. On her death, Stuffynwood passed into the hands of the William Hollins Company Ltd with whom her late husband had been director and major shareholder. It was not until 1926 that the William Hollins Company sold the Hall but how the house was used up until then is not clear, although local accounts suggest that it was used by the military during WWI. I cannot find any evidence substantiating this, although I have unearthed a Sherwood Foresters button, identified as a bronze officer's button, regular battalion, infantry, 'King's Crown' post 1902.

The above news item is from the Mansfield & North Notts Advertiser 26th March 1926. The Stuffynwood Estate drawing is a copy of the original, drawn to show the individual lots for auction to be held at the Mansfiled Town Hall. Bruce Marlow Wright bought the Hall, H.E.F. Reddish of Shirebrook bought the 52 acre park land and south lodge for £1400 also the farmhouse, farm buildings, two cottages, 110 acres of farmland and two more cottages fronting onto Wood Lane for a total of £3,900. A further gamekeepers cottage and pasture land was bought by A.J. Copestake of Mansfield.

In 1926 Wiliam Hollins Company Limited sold the Stuffynwood Estate by auction in separate lots. The Hall with its mansion house & 10 acres of gardens was sold to local Mansfield Woodhouse motor proprietor, Bruce Marlow Wright of 23 Welbeck Road for £1,220. Looking at a property inflation chart from 1926, the value of £1,220 equates to £408,000 in 2006, which shows that the property was sold well below market value although 1926 was a very depressed time for the economy and probably why the William Hollins Company needed the cash. Subsidence issues may have also played a part in keeping bidders away.

The next sale was in 1955 by B.M. Wright to joint owners, Richard Albert Scales and Andrew Elias Myers, both of Glapwell. The house was sold for £3,500. Again, using the same property inflation index, this was 10% below market value even after using the initial depressed starting figure of £1,220. This would indicate further deterioration of the property, which, infact, has been locally substantiated. During WWII, B.M. Wright alledgedly stripped the lead off of the rooves of the extended parts of the Hall and sold it, subsequently, some of the buildings became delapidated.

In 1972 the Hall was sold to local chemist owner, Henry Peter Thompson of 19 Leeming Lane South for £10,000, again using the same property inflation index and the original base figure of £1,220, this was 35% under the original market value after inflation, reflecting the fact that part demolition of the Hall had occurred.

In 1977 the Hall was sold to Cast Developments Ltd for £19,000, Mr Thompson nearly doubling his money in less than 5 years. This sounds like Cast had made an offer far above market value but infact the property inflation index shows that they paid close to market value due to a surge in values during that 5 year period.

Cast Developments were quarrying the Nottinghamshire side of the river Meden, although that operation was close to exhausted. Their application submission to Bolsover DC was for the extraction of dolomitic limestone Derbyshire side of the Meden, through Littlewood Farm and 128 acres of the Stuffynwood Estate. Long story short, 13 years later, Bolsover DC gave their thumbs down citing many concerns but mainly environmental issues.

This PR news cutting from October 9th, 1979 claims that new owners, Cast Velopments Ltd, had considered using the Hall as a "leisure centre" but after consideration of the damage caused by vandals had decided that to dismantle the Hall and sell on the salvaged materials was the best way forward. No mention of their limestone extraction plans though.

In 1992, after refusal of their mineral extraction applications, cast Developments Ltd auctioned off the Stuffynwood site.