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Home Linked to Historic Hall Goes on the Market

A PROPERTY that has a past closely entwined with that of the region’s newest luxury hotel is on the market for the first time, having been passed down through three generations.

  • 11 December 2014
  • Author: James
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Home Linked to Historic Hall Goes on the Market
A PROPERTY that has a past closely entwined with that of the region’s newest luxury hotel is on the market for the first time, having been passed down through three generations.

Cote Ghyll, in Hurworth, near Darlington, is built on land that once belonged to the estate of neighbouring Rockliffe Hall, now the region’s first five star hotel.

Homeowners David and Rosemary Gent are the third generation of the same family to live in the spacious four-bedroom bungalow, which was built by Mrs Gent’s grandfather Albert Hart in the 1950s.

He bought about seven acres – which included a gamekeeper’s cottage, some woodland and a grass paddock – of the old Rockliffe Park estate when it was broken up and auctioned off in 1948. He later built Cote Ghyll for himself and his wife to live in.

The house stands in a quiet lane that was once the tradesmens’ entrance to Rockliffe Park, off Hurworth Road.

Rockliffe Park, formerly known as Pilmore Hall, was built by the Quaker Arthur Backhouse in the 19th century. It was later sold to Lord Southampton, who renamed it Rockliffe Park. In the Second World War the hall was used as a command headquarters for the military, before the estate was divided into lots after the war and sold.

The auction of the 660-acre estate took place nearby at what was then called the Croft Spa Hotel, on September 8, 1948. Mrs Gent still has the original auction catalogue and map outlining the lots on offer.

The catalogue shows Lots 5 and 6 ­– bought by Mrs Gent’s grandfather – and describes a vegetable plot and poultry runs on land let by Lord Southampton to local residents. It also describes how the Keeper’s Cottage, now called Birch House, was let for a sum of “£7 per annum”.

The Hall itself was sold to the Brothers Hospitallers of St John of God, a Roman Catholic order of monks, which converted it into a hospital for disabled people. The Brothers sold the hall and remaining grounds to Middlesbrough Football Club in 1988. It is now a luxurious five-star hotel, spa and golf course.

Initially, Mr Hart lived in the Keeper’s Cottage, but as his wife grew increasingly infirm, he built single-storey Cote Ghyll and sold off the cottage and its surrounding land.

Mr Gent said: “Everyone in Croft and Hurworth knew Albert. He had a white beard, a bowler hat and he always wore a flower from the garden. He even had his own seat in the Croft Spa Hotel.”

Mr Hart bought the land and property as a home for his retirement after having spent a lifetime farming. He had even emigrated to Queensland, Australia, with his wife and five children to farm sugar beet, but returned after three years because they found the heat unbearable.

 

His last farm was Cote Ghyll in Osmotherley, near Northallerton, which is now a popular caravan and camping park. He named his bungalow after the farm.

After his death in 1967, his daughter carried on in the Hurworth house. In 1990, David and Rosemary extended the bungalow to make it a spacious family home for their two children, with four bedrooms, and a self-contained annexe.

Mrs Gent is a keen gardener and still has a large vegetable and fruit plot on the same site of the old land let by Lord Southampton to locals as allotments.

She said: “Everything grows beautifully there and I’m sure it’s because it has been nurtured by people growing vegetables on it for at least 70 years.

“It is just off the main road through Hurworth yet it’s so peaceful and tranquil. It’s a real gardener’s paradise.”

The property, which is on the market with Carver Residential (part of the Carver Group) for £650,000, has a large 1.3 acre garden, woodland, orchard and vegetable plot, as well as a double and a single garage.

Carver Group director, Gordon Carver, said: “There is a fascinating amount of history tied up in this lovely property, and it’s very rare to come across a home that has never been on the market before – let alone such a gem as this.”

To find out more, contact sales@nickcarver.co.uk or call 01325 357807. Alternatively, call in at Carver’s Duke Street office, in Darlington.

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