Thursday 10 December 2009

Advent 10: Staunton Harold

The Staunton Harold Estate is in N-W Leicestershire. The Shirley family built the 18th century house on the right, which includes earlier buildings, while the church is very special as it was built in 1653 during the Commonwealth.

Over the door of the church can be read: “In the year 1653 when all things sacred were throughout the nation either demolished or profaned, Sir Robert Shirley, Baronet founded this church; whose singular praise it is to have done the best things in the worst times and hoped them in the most calamitous. The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance.” For this, Sir Robert was sent to, and died in, the Tower of London.

The Shirley family parcelled up and sold the estate in 1954. The house was saved from demolition by Group Captain Lord Cheshire V.C to become one of his homes for the incurably sick, then became a Sue Ryder home, and is now a private residence. The stables are now the very popular Ferrers Centre for Arts & Crafts.