Espley Hall

I mentioned in a recent Espley One Name study update that I was hoping to buy an aerial view of Espley Hall from eBay.  Well here it is.

Espley Hall is located near Morpeth in Northumberland.  According to the text in the top right of the image the photograph was taken on 19 August 1918.  I have no idea why the photograph would have been taken and I have no information from the eBay seller.

The building now seems to be used as a hotel, meeting and wedding venue.  I can’t find a website so it looks like we will have to make a trip there before too long and see if we can find any information about the history of the place.

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18 comments

  1. The Hall closed as a Wedding vnue some 15 years ago and is now a provate residence.

    My parents live in part of the East wing of the Hall and I was brought up there.

    Originally the Bainbridge family (of Bainbridge’s department store) owned the Hall and the Estate.

  2. Hi Mike, my parents also live at Espley in the old Driver and head gardeners cottage. I have historical photo’s of the Bambridges and the orginal layout of the hall as drawn by someone who worked there back in the day. It was bought by the Swan family sometime in the early 70′s who split it up and built on the surrounding land. It was then owned by the friends of the Kenworthys who then ran it as a function suite. The my a Mr Bell who ran a tile wholesaler and now it is owned by a nice couple and I cant remember there name. Pre 1970 I am clueless but sure my folks have some written history will find out for you.

    Martin Tallantyre

    1. I used to stay there in the 70′s when the hall was undivided. I went to school with the sons of David Swan. His son Raymond was in my class. I stayed there a few times, it was a fantastic place to play for 12 year old boys. I recall a lovely conservatory on the left of the hall (looking from the front) which was accessed from the living room. The best room for me however was the billiard room, from the entrance hall you walked round the back of the main staircase and down a corridor to the left, lovely big room with two bay windows and a full size billiard table. There was a garage round the back where Mr Swan had 4 jaguars, 3 of which were E Types.

      I was lead to believe the Swan family had a similar place in Scotland that they retired to. He was a builder from Blyth, but don’t know anymore than that.

      I cannot remember the last time I was there but it would have been around 1978 (ish)

      1. Thanks for looking Andrew and for your very interesting recollections of Espley Hall – they help to build the picture of the hall in more recent times.

      2. My name is Patrick Bainbridge. I am the great great great grandson of Emerson Muchamp Bainbridge. Founder of Bainbridges department store. My father spent much of his childhood in Espley Hall. I have never been there. There is a book called the bainbridges of Newcastle by John Airey. Not many copies so might be hard to get but I have 3 copies in the family. Very interesting and many mentions of Espley Hall

      3. Thanks for looking and commenting Patrick. Lots of really interesting stuff about Espley Hall coming through lately.

      4. I am the son of the said Geoffrey Swann, my grandfather does have a place in Scotland, they still own alot of the land around the area, but have a house in the isle of man now. They still have those jags my favorite being the British racing green e-type. Margaret and Dennis swann.

  3. I was born at Espley in 1939 and know some history, but the best person to contact is my sister Patricia Fraser who has many photographs and some books about Espley and the Bainbridge family. You can contact her at Pat Fraser [Patricia.Fraser@btinternet.com]. I hope this helps.
    I note you already have a comment from my so Patrick.

      1. Hi Mike, I don’t look at this web page all that often but was blow away by Geoffrey’s sons comments dated 8 jan 2013. If he reads this comment I would love to get in touch with Raymond his Uncle. We were friends at Newlands School in Gosforth. The E Types he had in the late 70′s were White, Yellow and Black. I am a big classic car fan and to a young boy this was a big deal.
        I am happy to pass on my e-mail address if needed

  4. We have lived in the west wing for the last 20 years. The billiard room is now a living room. A great place to bring up a family, children have lots of fun in the house and garden, very safe. Interesting photo from 1918, wow, how things have changed…

    1. Thanks for looking and commenting Joe. I can imagine it is something quite special living in a property like Espley Hall and as you say a great place to bring up a family. I’m glad it is still used a private residence.

  5. Hi Mike,

    I am French, but nevertheless I am interested in your article about Espley Hall.
    In “A history of Northumberland”, in three parts, Part 2, Volume 2, by John Hodgson, 1832, you can read :
    “Espley had no military tenants in it in 1240 ; but was then all holden by Wm de Espely, by the soccage service of one pound of pepper, excepting 20 acres which were holden by Cecilia de Espeley by the payment of one pound of cumin. Two years after, it seems to have belonged to the Herons of Hadston ; though in 1374, Thomas de Espley died seized of lands in it holden as of the castle of Mitford. In 1409, the inquisition after the death of sir John de Mitford returns him as dying in possession of the manor of Espley, which continued to be a possession of his descendant Robert Mitford in 1663 ; but, in 1774, it belonged to Henry Whitehead, esq. a captain in the first regiment of dragoon guards, who, at that time resided at the mansion house at Low Espley, and of whom the whole estate was purchased by the late Alex. Adams, esq. at the death of whose natural son, both it and Eshet became escheats, and were sold by the crown, Espley to Messrs Thompson, its present proprietors, and Eshet to Mr Adams, and their produce given to the relations of Alex Adams, in Longhoughton. ”
    The Captain Henry Whitehead (1734 – 1810) was a relative (brother-in-law or father-in-law, I am not yet sure) of the father (John Thompson) of my 3 x great-grandfather Henry Whitehead Thompson (1806 – 1881), who migrated to Bordeaux about 1835 and became a wine merchant.
    Henry Whitehead lived at Espley between 1767 and 1783. His father Joshua Whitehead had passed the manor on to him in 1767, and he sold it to Alexander Adams (a rich merchant who made his fortune in India) for 4600 £.
    That is my little contribution to the history of Espley.
    I hope that my English is not too bad !

    Regards

    Jean-Daniel Beau

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