Our History

Woodhall is grounded in its heritage: its buildings, its landscape, its traditions and its communities. In many ways, it is a miracle that Woodhall has survived the centuries largely intact. Our job is to continue preserving our heritage through the current period of rapid, seismic, change.

The estate has evolved over time and, as is so often the case, it has been influenced by catastrophes in history. The original Tudor mansion at Woodhall was sadly destroyed by a fire in 1771. In 1775 work started to replace it with the existing mansion (“Main House”) in a new position in the park. It was designed by Thomas Leverton and completed in 1782. There are several magnificent rooms in the Main House, including the Print Room which is a gallery of paper art fixed onto the walls in formations to tell stories. They are rare and unique, and Woodhall is considered to have the finest example of its type in the country. The estate works closely with Heath Mount School to preserve the Print Room, and the Main House as a whole. Learn more about our Building Preservation work across the estate.

The parkland as we know it was also created in 1775 but has been changed and enlarged throughout history. At about the same time, The Stables and Walled Gardens were built. The Walled Gardens are about 5.5 acres in total and originally comprised formal and kitchen gardens. Sir Joseph Paxton started his working life there. To the east of the Stables there are glades of ancient hornbeam and oak trees, many which are well over 500 years old. The lodges and gatehouses on the estate and the ha-ha surrounding the house were added to the park in 1838, with a herd of deer also introduced. Over the 20th century the park responded to the war effort by becoming a working farm. Over more recent decades the estate continues to farm livestock in the park, whilst also working tirelessly to preserve and restore its heritage.

A very detailed history of the Main House appeared in Country Life in February 2018, researched and written by the expert John Martin Robinson.

Photograph above: Paul Highnam/©Country Life Picture Library

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