Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Owner Wants to See Hall Open to Public; Lord Hastings Recalls Holiday Memories

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Owner Wants to See Hall Open to Public; Lord Hastings Recalls Holiday Memories

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor

THE owner of Seaton Delaval Hall spoke for the first time yesterday of his desire to see the 18th Century mansion preserved for the people of the North East and visitors to the region.

Lord Delaval Hastings is selling the Northumberland hall following the death in April last year of his father, who was 95, and in December of his mother, aged 88.

He has given the National Trust first option on the hall and 500 surrounding acres .

The trust will put up pounds 6.9m - if another pounds 6.3m can be raised by Christmas.

"I really, really hope that the trust can succeed in this. I am sure that if there is a will, it can be done," said Lord Hastings.

His parents occupied the west wing of the hall, but Lord Hastings lives on his organic farm at Holt in Norfolk with his wife and three children, aged 12 to 17.

The farm, whose Back to the Garden outlet has been hailed the best farm shop in Norfolk, is near the 17th Century Melton Constable Hall, which was the seat of the Astley family, who inter-married with the Delavals.

But although his roots are in Norfolk, Lord Hastings has strong ties with Seaton Delaval Hall.

He was born in Newcastle on April 25, 1960. The family lived in London and then Norfolk, and he remembers the journeys to Seaton Delaval Hall for the school holidays.

"I can recall the enormously long journey from London in a Commer van, and the freezing conditions in the hall, where paraffin heaters were used," he said. "The coal mines were still operational then in the area and it was a very different landscape to that which I was used to in London.

"But there was a great sense of space and freedom in the hall and the gardens, and the local people were very friendly."

Lord Hastings was married in 1987 at the Church of Our Lady, adjacent to the hall, where he held the reception. …

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