From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present
Sutton Scarsdale Hall & Church
53° 12′ 55.18″N 1° 20′ 22.79″W

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Sutton Scarsdale Hall is located in the village of Sutton Scarsdale, close to Chesterfield in Derbyshire. It is a ruined Grade 1 Georgian stately home, once belonging to Richard Arkwright Jnr.

The first hall on the estate was owned by the Saxon Thegn, Wulfric Spott, who died in 1010 and left the estate to Burton Abbey, which he had refounded in 1002. By 1086, the hall was owned by Roger de Poitou as listed in the Domesday Book. King Henry III gave the estate to Peter de Hareston in 1225, his descendents sold it to John Leke of Gotham in 1401.

John Lekes grandson, also called John, was Knighted by King Henry VIII. His son, Francis Leke was awarded a baronetcy by King James I in 1611, then awarded the title Baron Deincourt, of Sutton in the County of Derby, in 1628. He was then elevated to the Earl of Scarsdale in 1645 by King Charles I. Francis was loyal to the King and fought for him in the Civil War. He had strengthened his home and refused to surrender. He fought hard to defend it, when Colonel Thomas Gell came with 500 men and three canons to take the hall. The house was stormed and he and his men were taken prisoner in 1643. The hall was plundered by the Parliamentarian garrison at Bolsover.

The present hall is thought to be the fourth or fifth house on the site. Nicholas Leke, 4th Earl of Scarsdale, commissioned the re-building of the hall in 1724, based on a design by architect Francis Smith, to develop a Georgian mansion with gardens. Internally the house featured oak panels and stucco plasterwork, the fire places were carved out of marble and Blue John and the grand staircase was carved from mahogany,

Richard Arkwright Junior, whose father was Sir Richard Arkwright the inventor of the Spinning Jenny, bought Sutton Scarsdale Hall in 1824. He amassed a huge fortune from his cotton mills and later, from property and banking. He was known as the richest commoner in England by the time he died in 1843.

William Arkwright inherited the hall from his cousin, Francis Arkwright, in 1915. As it had been neglected for many years he had to sell it in 1919. As no single family could be found to buy it, it was auctioned along with the rest of the estate. A consortium of local businessmen bought the house and systematically stripped the assets including the roof. Parts of the building were shipped to the USA. William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper baron bought oak panelling for use at Hearst Castle. The panelling sat in storage in New York for many years, until Pall Mall Films acquired them for use in set designs, for many of their 1950's productions. Another set of panels are now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In 1946, the estate was bought by Sir Osbert Sitwell of Renishaw Hall, who kept the remaining shell as a ruin. Scarsdale Hall is now in the care of English Heritage, and is freely accessible to visitors.