This is the shell of a splendid mansion that can be seen when travelling on the M1 between Hardwick Hall and Bolsover Castle.
The house was built in the C18th by the 4th Earl of Scarsdale who wanted a house that was grander than Hardwick Hall and more elaborate and splendid that Chatsworth House. It was a tall order. It so depleted the funds of the Scarsdale family that the house passed through a series of hands until it was bought by the Arkwright family in 1823. The final owner died in 1915 without a male heir. The Hall was auctioned off with the rest of the estate. It was bought by a group of local business men who asset stripped the house and removed the roof. Parts of it were shipped to the States and the newspaper magnate Randolph Hearst bought some of the panelling. There are three room interiors displayed at the Museum of Art in Philadelphia.
There were plans to demolish the Hall in 1946 but it was bought by Sir Osbert Sitwell from nearby Renishaw Hall who believed the remains of the house should be preserved. It is now in the care of English Heritage.
The Hall isn’t the easiest of places to find and is not well signed. It is set down a grassy track off the road through Sutton Scarsdale village. Surrounded by trees and grass, it has splendid views across the valley to Bolsover Castle.
There are a few information boards around the site with pictures of what the house looked like in its heyday. Splendid just doesn’t begin to describe it.
Now all that is left is a roofless shell. The outside was resplendent with fluted wall pillars with Corinthian carved capitals and ornate doorways. Now there are gaps where the doors and windows were. Many of the internal walls are missing leaving bare stone or brickwork. Visitors are free to wander round the inside and dream about what it might have looked like.
It is quite difficult to put a rating on this. In many ways there isn’t a lot left of a once splendid house. It gets few visitors but is worth finding if you are in the area. There is access to the house during day light hours and it is free. There are no facilities here.
There is car parking beside the house. There is a gravel path around the outside of the house. There is level entry into the house and the inside is covered with a gravelled surface. There may be issues after very heavy or prolonged rain.