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Southwest Lincolnshire Country Houses
by Michael Ford, Country House Editor
Various SW Lincolnshire HousesDay 7 - On leaving Belton we decided to spend the afternoon touring the immediate countryside in the hope of spotting some of the private country houses which, according to the map, were close to the road. These are the ones we managed to see taken in order round the circular tour firstly going north from Belton on the main road to Lincoln.
CAYTHORPE HALL - Built in the classical style between 1824 and 1827 for Colonel Packe. The park wall is all that remains of the earlier house, the seat of the Hussey family.
LEADENHAM HALL - Built between 1790 and 1796 for William Reeve.
WELLINGORE HALL - Built around 1750.
HARMSTON HALL - Built in 1709-10 for Sir Charles Thorold. It is now a hospital.
DUSTAN PILLAR - This pillar was built by Sir Fransis Dashwood of 'Hell-Fire Club' fame, in 1751 as an inland lighthouse to show the way to travellers crossing the moor. The light head was later replaced by a statue of George III but this has now been removed and the pillar has been reduced in height by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.
BRANSTON HALL - Built between 1884 and 1886 for a Mr Leslie-Melville. The house is now an hotel and restaurant set in 88 acres of wooded parkland and is ideally placed for a visit to the City of Lincoln.
NOCTON HALL - Rebuilt in 1841 for the 1st Earl of Ripon. It had previously been the home of the Ellys family but was burned down in 1834.
BLANKNEY HALL - Destroyed by fire in 1945 and now only the ruins remain. It was the seat of the Chaplin family, who bought the property in 1719.
THORPE TILNEY HALL - A mid-Georgian house which was used as a setting for a BBC television production of Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' (not the latest version but the one before).
SOUTH KYME TOWER - Part of a larger house built for Sir Gilbert de Umfraville in the mid 14th century. What remains is one tower, 77ft high and standing in the middle of a field. The main part of the house was dismantled between 1720 and 1725. The church of St. Mary an All Saints nearby has part of an original Augustinian priory, founded here before 1169, built into its structure.
HECKINGTON - A village with a large church, St. Andrew, and one of the best in the county. It has a spire, which reaches to 185ft high. Here also is Britain's last eight sail windmill which was built in 1830 and looks in fine shape.
BILLINGBOROUGH HALL - A gabled house built by William Toller between 1611 and 1620 with stone from Sempringham Priory nearby. Sempringham was the place where St. Gilbert, the son of the Lord of the Manor, established the Gilbertine monastic order about 1135.
FOLKINGHAM - A large village with an attractive square, dominated by the Greyhound Inn, a tall three storey building from the 17th century. It offers hotel accommodation and would make a great place to stay in the area as well as a good stopping place for a drink and a meal.
FOLKINGHAM CASTLE - From medieval times, was built by Henry de Beaumont but little remains. A House of Correction was built on the site in 1825. This property is in the care of the Lanmark Trust who maintain it for holiday lets.
FOLKINGHAM MANOR HOUSE - This manor house has an architecturally interesting look and was built for Lord Clinton in the mid 17th century. It was constructed of stone taken from the castle.
CULVERTHORPE HALL - Built in 1679 for Sir John Newton. The house has an unusual look with a high pitched roof over a classical front. The 'Culverthorpe Walks' pass through part of its park but only a distant view can be had. Culverthorpe was also used as a setting for the BBC television adaptation of 'Middlemarch'.
We returned to Ropsley for our last evening in Lincolnshire.
NEXT STOP: Ayscoughfee Hall