Nunthorpe History Group
Also on this page :
The History of Nunthorpe Hall
A HISTORIC building has had quite a varied past, which included links with an order of (allegedly) dissolute nuns.
Nunthorpe Hall, a grade two listed property on the southern fringe of Middlesbrough, has been closed for two years. It was last used as a nursing home by Cleveland County Council and plans for its conversion into a hotel recently fell through due to road access problems.
In November, 1993 it went up for auction along with Yarm's 100-year-old fire station, also owned by the county council. The bidding reached £360,000 for the hall but it stuck there because the reserve price had been raised from £350,000 to £375,000.
But going back to the nuns' connection, it is known that in the reign of Henry II (1154-1189) the tenant of Thorpe granted two pieces of land and a mill in the area to some Cistercian nuns who had previously settled at Hutton Lowcross, near Guisborough. It is thought that the nuns' settlement was in the grounds of the present Nunthorpe Hall. A fragment of wall in the grounds of the hall might be the remains of the twelfth century priory.
It is said (by some) the dissolute behaviour of the nuns led to their transfer to Baysdale, one of the remotest villages in the North York Moors. But they retained their Thorpe lands and it was in that period the place became known as Nunthorpe.
The first Nunthorpe Hall, built in the 1620s, was formally the manor house of the Constable family. It was substantially rebuilt and enlarged in the 1800s and again during the Victorian period for Joseph Pease.
Historical notes state that in 1623, Marmaduke Constable was sued by the rector of Great Ayton for failing to pay his tithes. He was also accused of pulling down the Nunthorpe Chapel and forcing villagers into attending services in his own residence, Nunthorpe Hall. But witnesses at the hearing testified that he pulled down only part of the chapel and repaired it, leaving it in a better state than before.
At about the same time Jane Philips, a maid at the hall, was found guilty of stealing butter, a linen sheet, a child’s shirt and another shirt from her employer. The poor wretch was sentenced to be whipped at Thirsk and to be taken to Stokesley to sit in the stocks. However, the court mercifully agreed if she made public admission of her guilt at Stokesley market she would be released without further punishment.
In 1717 it was recorded that part of the hall was leased out by a William Peirson, of Stokesley, to a farmer and his family who had nowhere else to live.
It remained in the hands of the Peirson family until 1779 when it was sold to Lord of the Manor Thomas Simpson.
It was Thomas Simpson who managed to rebuild the hall in 1801. He also built the adjacent Gothic-style chapel in 1824 complete with single bell on the site of what is believed to be the site of a fourteenth century chantry chapel.
The opening of the Middlesbrough-Guisborough Railway in 1853 brought the Industrial Revolution to Nunthorpe three years after the arrival of Isaac Wilson at Nunthorpe Hall. He was related to the Pease family and had come to Middlesbrough in 1841 to manage a pottery in Commercial Street. He later joined Edward Gilkes to form Tees Engine Works which, in 1865, merged into larger concern known as Hopkins, Gilkes & Co.
Mr Wilson built the first school in Nunthorpe and was largely responsible for its maintenance. In 1854 he became Mayor of Middlesbrough and MP for the town following the death in 1878 of Henry Bolckow. He died in 1899 and Nunthorpe Hall was occupied by Joseph Albert Pease, MP.
Although he and his family remained in residence for only a short period they left their mark by carving the family crest in the porches above the main and south entrances where they can still be seen today.
The hall passed through various hands until 1939 and at one time stood empty. After the Second World War it was used as a maternity home followed by its conversion to a residential home for the elderly and remained in that use until it closed in December 1992.
At present, it remains in splendid isolation surrounded by 6.4 acres of landscaped grounds with a view across the garden to Roseberry Topping.
One of the many features of the mid-to-late Victorian interior is the large stair hall with generously proportioned open-walled staircase and balustraded gallery.
The first floor contains 13 double bedrooms, six single bedrooms and three bathrooms. On the second floor there are 14 rooms, used for former servants.
Courtesy of The Northern Echo
By Denis McCloughlin published circa 1990.
Note : Further detailed information on Nunthorpe Hall on the Nunthorpe History webpage.