Kirkby Hall

Kirkby Hall a 17th Century house in Kirkby Mallory in Leicestershire

kirkby hall at kirkby mallory
Kirkby Hall at Kirkby Mallory.

Kirkby Hall was built during the 17th Century.

1593 Sir John Noel died, leaving the Kirkby Mallory estate to his eldest son William Noel who would later become High Sheriff of Leicester in 1604.

On the death of William Noel, he left the estate to his son Verney Noel due to his eldest son dying before the passing of William. Verney was married to the second daughter of Wolston Dixy.

Verney's only son William Noel married Margaret Lovelace, Baroness Wentworth. They would have several children.

1666 Kirkby Hall is mentioned in the Hearth Tax returns, this is the earliest mention of the Hall.

1688 Williams eldest son Thomas Noel died; because he did not have any descendants, the estates would be left to the second eldest son John Noel.

1696 The Rent Roll describes Sir John Noel's estate as 'The Manor of Kirkby Mallory , The mansion house with spacious fine gardens and orchard and belonging to it a very fine wood . A large park very well wooded and stored with deer', the value of the estate was £3,000. Also within the roll, the Kirkby Hall estate is mentioned with 32 of the tenants names along with the amount of rent, which is a total of £565 -10s. A rental payment of £22 from Wind Mill and Water Mill is also listed.

Sir Edward Noel married Judith Lamb, he became the 9th Baron Wentworth.

November 1745 Sir Edward's son Thomas Noel was born, he would have three daughters, Judith, Elizabeth and Sophia (b.1758).

1761 Judith Noel, Lady Wentworth tragically died.

1771 Kirkby Hall was rebuilt and was enclosed with 780 acres of land.

8th November 1774 Sir Edward died, leaving his estate to his son Thomas who also became the 2nd Viscount Wentworth. Edward was buried in the All Saints Church yard at Kirkby Mallory alongside his wife Judith.

atherstone hunt meet at kirkby hall during november 1904
Atherstone Hunt meet at Kirkby Hall during November 1904.

9th January 1777 Sir Edward's daughter Judith was married to Sir Ralph Milbanke by her uncle the rector Rowney Noel at the All Saints Church at Kirkby Mallory. They would have a daughter, named Annabella in 1792.

1788 Lord Thomas Noel, 2nd Viscount Wentworth was now aged 42, he married Mary Dowager Countess Ligonier, widow of the 1st Earl Ligonier.

Lord Thomas and Mary did not have any children together, but Thomas would produce two illegitimate children. He became the father to a daughter, Anna and a son, Thomas.

2nd January 1815 Annabella Milbanke married George Byron (6th Lord Byron), after meeting the famous poet at a house party while living in London three years previously. A Lebanon cedar tree in the grounds of Kirkby Hall is reputed to be where Lord Byron wrote some of his most famous work.

1815 Lord Thomas Noel, 2nd Viscount Wentworth died, leaving most of the Kirkby Mallory estate to his sister Lady Judith Milbanke. The estate would include the Manors of Kirkby, Peckleton, Desford, Elmsthorpe and Stapleton. There were terms attached to the inheritance: Lady Judith and Sir Ralf had to change their surname from Milbanke to Noel. They both moved from Seaham Hall in County Durham into Kirkby Mallory Hall.

10th December 1815 Lady Annabella Byron gave birth to a daughter, named Augusta Ada Byron, later known as Ada Lovelace. The marriage between George and Annabella had broken down due to him having love affairs with men as well as women.

16th January 1816 Annabella moved from the rented house at Piccadilly Terrace in London to Kirkby Hall with her one month old daughter Ada, to stay with her parents.

1886 map of kirkby hall
1886 map of Kirkby Hall and the grounds.

23rd April 1816 Lord George Byron signed a deed of separation from Lady Annabella Byron, shortly after he would sail from Dover to the Continent and Ada Byron would never see her father. Lord Byron would later die of a fever aged 36, on 19th April 1824 at Missolonghi in Greece. His body was embalmed and brought back to England. George was buried at Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.

28th January 1822 Lady Judith Noel died after suffering from poor health and Kirkby Hall would stand empty. Lady Byron and Ada would live in various houses in the south of England, visiting Kirkby Hall with the purpose of administrating the estate.

1833 Baroness Sophia de Clifford bought Kirkby Hall and moved in with her Husband, four children and 14 servants.

1874 Baroness Sophia de Clifford died; the locals of Kirkby Mallory honoured the Baroness with a plaque inside All Saints Church. The family would carry on living at the Hall until the late 1880s.

1834 Ada Byron had spent some of her younger years visiting Kirkby Hall, she received her education under the supervision of William Frend, William King, Mary Somerville and later Augustus De Morgan. Ada became a mathematician, and worked closely with colleague Charles Babbage on the design of an Analytical Engine, the forerunner of the computer. Ada now 19 years of age, married Lord King, 1st Earl of Lovelace. Together they would have three children.

27th November 1852 Ada, Countess of Lovelace died of uterine cancer at the age of 36. At her request she would be reunited with her father by being buried with him at Hucknell in Nottinghamshire. Her mother Lady Annabella Byron would have a memorial erected in honour to her memory at the All Saints Church yard at Kirkby Mallory.

16th May 1860 Lady Annabella Byron died of breast cancer, the day before her 68th birthday. She was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery at Kensal Green in London.

November 1904 The Atherstone Hunt Meet was held at Kirkby Hall, estate workers and local farmworkers attended the event.

looking along the driveway to kirkby hall
Looking along the driveway to Kirkby Hall.

16th March 1921 The village cottages, house and farm, garden and allotments were all owned by the Kirkby Hall Estate, the village was now put up for sale. The tenant farmer and villagers were given the opportunity to purchase their own homes, the Manor would also be split up and sold off. The auctioneers Messrs Mabbett & Edge held the auction at the Manchester Club, 39 Humberstone Gate, Leicester. Herbert Clarkson Hartley purchased Kirkby Hall prior to the sale of the estate.

1941 Herbert Clarkson Hartley died at Otley, West Yorkshire. Kirkby Hall had not been lived in for a while, and was sold off by his executors, The Midland Bank.

During the second world war, Kirkby Hall was used at billets and the grounds were used as a Standby Landing Ground (SLG), a small grass airfield used as a satellite field for RAF Desford No.7 Elementary Flying School.

1947 The RAF were disbanded from Kirkby Hall leaving the building in a state of disarray, the Hall would become disused for a number of years and decay would set in.

1952 Kirkby Hall was demolished, leaving the stable block and the coach house standing.

1953 The estate was sold off at auction, Mr Moult became the new owner and used the land as a pony trotting circuit.

1955 The Kirkby Hall estate was purchased by Clive Wormleighton who had a building company in nearby Earl Shilton. A considerable amount of landscaping work was done, and tarmac laid down. Mallory Park Racing Circuit had been created for £60,000, the stable block and coach house became the circuit offices, workshops, hotel, pub and a restaurant. The likes of John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Jim Clark, and other famous racers would compete on the circuit.

the north lodge from inside the grounds of kirkby hall c.1900 the south lodge along stapleton lane 1950s
A view of the The North Lodge gatehouse from inside the grounds of Kirkby Hall c.1900. (left/top)
The South Lodge gatehouse (gardeners cottage) along Stapleton Lane, known locally at Dark Lane due to the once overhanging trees c.1950's, the stables can be seen in the distance. (right/bottom)

The Building

an old antique print of kirkby hall
An old antique print of Kirkby Hall.

Kirkby Hall was within approximately 160 acers of land. The building consisted of an inner hall, a ballroom that was 34ft x 14ft, and a library that was also 34ft x 14ft. The Library had a secret doorway to the lobby and private staircase. There was also a billiard room along with a smoking room which was once fashionable.

At the rear of the building were the domestic offices, servants hall and a kitchen that was 21ft x 18ft, plate room and a still room. There were also two larders, china cupboard, two house maid cupboards and a boot hole.

The cellars under the building were used to hold wine, beer and minerals.

A private telephone line was installed in the main building that was connected to the stable block.

On the first floor, there were nine bedrooms (20ft x 20ft) fitted with a dressing room and a further six bedrooms (17ft x 9ft) that were also fitted with a dressing room.The second floor was occupied by the servants, which had five bedrooms for the maids, five bedrooms for the male servants and there were a further five attic box rooms.

A separate building on the estate was used for ice storage, it was common practice to have these facilities away from the main building, which could be as far away as up to a mile.

The Stable buildings were built during the early 18th Century. They are a two storey building that are built with red bricks with a part rendered ground floor. These buildings still survive and have a Grade II status.

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