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Donington Hall

Hob Uid: 315346
Location :
Leicestershire
North West Leicestershire
Castle Donington
Grid Ref : SK4205926909
Summary : A country house with attached private chapel and service wings which was constructed between 1790 and 1793 by William Wilkins for Francis Rawdon Hastings, second Earl of Moira and first Marquess of Hastings, on the site of an earlier house which had been demolished and rebuilt soon after 1600. The main house is of courtyard plan, with the chapel projecting to the east, and the service and stable wings projecting to the north. Embellishments are in Perpendicular-Tudor style. Construction is of ashlar, with some plaster details and hipped slate roofs. Two watercolour drawings, by Humphy Repton in 1790, show the original designs for improvements to the house proposed by William Wilkins. Not all the proposed improvements were made. Repton was also involved in the landscaping of the park. During the First World War Donington Hall was used as a prisoner of war camp for officers, with the officers housed within the hall and their servants were based in wooden huts. It was a maximum security camp guarded by two six foot high barbed perimeter fences, the inner one of which was electified, wire entanglements, an outer guard house, watch tower and searchlights. In 1915 one prisoner, Gunther Pluschow, a German Pilot, succeeded in escaping from both the camp and from Britain. During the interwar years the hall was a hotel for the nearby race track. It was requisitioned in the Second World War by the army for use as a military vehicle depot, one of the largest in the country. The military finally left in 1956 and the hall was converted into a reception centre, under the auspices of the Ockenden Venture, for Hungarian refugees fleeing from the crushing of the attempted revolution against the Soviets. In 1982 the house was acquired as the head office of British Midland Airways (BMI).
More information : [SK 4205 2688]Donington Hall [TI] Chap. [TU] (1)

Donington Park Hall. 'In 1793, the ancient mansion... [See AO/59/288/1] was taken down; and near the site thereof, the present elegant one hath been erected...'

The will of Thomas Gray dated Jan 10 1564-5, describes him as
'of Castall Donyngton Parke...' (p.775)

A letter from Sir George Hastings is dated 'Donington Park,Dec. 23, 1595' (p.776)

Baron Hastings '... in November 1643, succeeded to the family
honours. During the life of his father, he had made Donington Park his residence'. (2)

Donington Castle [SK 42 NW 20, Monument HOB UID 315372] was finally demolished in 1595 'by Sir George Hastings, fourth Earl of Huntingdon, who used the materials for his new house in Donington Park'. (3)

The enclosure of a 'coningry' and 'dovehouses' mentioned
1399-1400. (4)

The present house which retains the name Donington Hall, was built 1792-4, and occupies the site of the earlier building. No trace
of this earlier house survives. (b)

No evidence of the pre-1792 house was seen in the area of Donington Hall. The latter, a brick and stuccoed-brick, pseudo-Gothic house is now partly converted into flats and is also used temporarily to accommodate refugee children by the Ockenden Venture. Part of the building is becoming derelict. An inscription on the porch is dated 1793. (5)

Donington Hall built 1790-1800, Architect, William Wilkins the Elder for Lord Moira. Two storeys, ashlar (a white stone found on the estate). Tudor - Gothic style 5-1-5 sash windows all with flat heads and Tudor dripmould and divided by semi-octagonal pilasters which rise above the parapet as small octagonal turrets with crenellated tops. Taller turrets at corners. Unusual central feature consisting of a giant Gothic single arched porte cochere with ornaments in early 16th centiury style, two storeys high with enriched spandrels, arches in sides and vault beneath. Above the archway, as an attic, is a range of fine two-light pointed windows, (with two in each side) and above this is anelaborate openwork Gothic battlemented parapet. Four octagonal corner towers rise above the parapet. The chapel is externally of late 13-14th century styleand has the complete original Gothic taste fittings and is an interesting and complete example of a private chapel of its time which has not been altered in any way. (6-7)

Additional reference (8)

The house is an outstanding example of a late 18th century gothic style building, on the site of the original house which had been demolished in 1600 and rebuilt soon after. The house rebuilt soon after 1600 was smaller than the current house and had a large kitchen garden to the north and a bowling green and series of formal ponds to the south. Two watercolour drawings, by Humphy Repton in 1790, show the original designs for improvements to the house proposed by William Wilkins. Not all the proposed improvements were made. Repton was also involved in the landscaping of the park.

During the First World War Donington Hall was used as a prisoner of war camp for officers, with the officers housed within the hall and their servants were based in wooden huts. It was a maximum security camp guarded by two six foot high barbed perimeter fences, the inner one of which was electified, wire entanglements, an outer guard house, watch tower and searchlights. In 1915 one prisoner, Gunther Pluschow, a German Pilot, succeeded in escaping from both the camp and from Britain. During tghe interwar years the hall was a hotel for the nearby race track. It was requisitioned in the Second World War for use by the army as a military vehicle depot, one of the largest in the country. The military finally left in 1956. During the late 1950s the hall had been converted into a reception centre, under the auspices of the Ockenden Venture, for Hungarian refugees fleeing from the Revolution. In 1982 the house was acquired as the head office of British Midland Airways (BMI) (10-13)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1924
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Nichols J. 1804. History and Antiquities of Leicestershire.
Page(s) : 775-778
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3, PART 2
Source Number : 10
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : [Accessed 04-AUG-2009]
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Source Number : 11
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : [Accessed 04-AUG-2009]
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Source Number : 12
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : [Accessed 04-AUG-2009]
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Source Number : 13
Source : Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society
Source details : Hazel Fryer, Anthony Squires. 1996. The Gothic Taste: Humphry Repton and the Development of Donington Park
Page(s) : 91-104
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 70, 1996
Source Number : 3
Source : Highways and Byways Leicestershire
Source details :
Page(s) : 115
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Source Number : 4
Source : Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 54
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Vol(s) : 14, 1925-26
Source Number : 4a
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Duchy of Lancaster, Ministry Accts. 728-11987 Castel Donyngton.
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 WW 02-JAN-1960
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Source Number : 5b
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Oral: Major J.C. Shields, Owner: Donington Park Farm
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Source Number : 7
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE(HHR)Castle Donington Rural District, March 1960.
Page(s) : 03-May
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Source Number : 8
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : North West Leicestershire 07-Dec-1962
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 1286
Source Number : 9
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : [Accessed 04-AUG-2009]
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Pre-1600
Monument End Date : 1600
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : House
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Built 1790-3
Monument End Date : 1793
Monument Start Date : 1790
Monument Type : Country House, Private Chapel, Service Wing
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Inter war years
Monument End Date : 1939
Monument Start Date : 1919
Monument Type : Hotel
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : First World War
Display Date : First World War
Monument End Date : 1918
Monument Start Date : 1914
Monument Type : Prisoner Of War Camp
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : From 1956
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1956
Monument Type : Refugee Housing
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Second World War
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Vehicle Depot
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : From 1982
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1982
Monument Type : Office
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 39764
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 358106
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SK 42 NW 14
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 520796
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 42 NW 14
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1960-01-02
End Date : 1960-01-02
Associated Activities : Primary, INVESTIGATION BY RCHME/EH ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-11-14
End Date : 1995-11-14