Hodsock Priory
Hodsock Priory is stately home in Nottinghamshire, 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Worksop, England and 1-mile (1.6 km) south of Blyth. Despite its name, it is not and never has been a priory. Hodsock is renowned for its snowdrops in early spring.

Hodsock has been occupied since at least the Bronze Age and evidence of occupation from the Bronze Age, the Romans and Saxons is still found in the gardens. Hodsock was mentioned in the Domesday Book: In ODESACH. hb.Vlsy .ii . car tre ad gld - 'In Hodsock Wulfsi had 2 carucates of land taxable'. (A carucate was 120 acres (0.49 km 2) of land.) The Cressey family, who owned Hodsock from the mid-12th century for more than 200 years, were powerful enough to entertain kings of England at their home - Henry II, John and Edward I. In the early 13th century they founded a leper hospital in nearby Blyth, part of which can still be seen. The Clifton family took over the estate at the beginning of the 15th century and owned it through 14 generations to 1765. However, it was never their main home, even though they entertained Henry VIII there in 1541, and they spent little on the upkeep. The family fought with the Royalists in the English Civil War in the 1640s and was heavily fined. Following this, the house became little more than a farmhouse. In 1765, Hodsock was sold for the only time in its history. It was bought by the Mellish family, owners of the neighbouring estate at Blyth, who combined the two estates to give a total landholding of 20,000 acres (81 km 2). William Mellish (d.1971) and his son, Charles, were leading Nottinghamshire figures. Charles was a keen historian but died in 1796 before completing his history of the County. His eldest son, Joseph, had been disinherited due to his extravagance and Hodsock passed to another son, Colonel Henry Francis Mellish, a lover of racing whose horses won the St Ledger in 1805 and 1805. Because of gambling debts, Henry lost the Blyth estate. During the 19th century, the house was twice rebuilt and was renamed Hodsock Priory. The first rebuilding was by Anne Chambers, sister of Henry, who inherited Hodscok after he had lost his money. She appointed architect Ambrose Poynter to design a south wing in the Gothic Revival style. On the death of Anne Chambers, Hodsock was inherited by William Leigh Mellish. In 1873, his widow employed architect George Devey to alter and enlarge the house, at a cost of £10,044. Dewey's speciality was designing country houses in such a way that they appeared to have existed for centuries. The gardens at Hodsock were developed in the first half of the 20th century under the guidance of head gardener, Arthur Ford. Ford regularly wrote articles for gardening magazines, and was reputedly head-hunted by Kew Gardens. During the Second World War, the flower gardens were turned over to vegetables grown by the Women's Land Army, who were accommodated in the house. After 1945, the house remained the property of the Mellish family, though land, furniture, books and paintings were sold off. In 1966, the estate passed to Sir Andrew Buchanan, 5th Baronet, who moved to the property with his wife and family. In 1991, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. The papers of the Mellish family and the Clifton family are held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham. The House is now owned by George and Katherine Buchanan and their 3 children. The venue holds weddings at the weekend (View a list of the caterers @ www.hodsockpriory.com

The estate
Hodsock Priory and gardens is at the centre of the 800-acre (3.2 km 2) Hodsock Estate, owned by the Buchanan family since 1765. The farm itself is 700 acres (2.8 km 2) and grows carrots, wheat, barley and sugar beet. There is 100 acres (0.40 km 2) of managed woodland. A 20 million gallon irrigation reservoir, constructed in 1997, covers 7.5 acres (30,000 m 2). Carefully designed to blend with the landscape, the reservoir attracts wild waterfowl, including oyster catchers, great crested grebes and shelducks. Elsewhere on the estate, bird life includes little owls, kingfishers, kestrels, green woodpeckers hobbies, robins, wrens and long-tailed tits. Hedgehogs, foxes, moles, voles, shrews, water voles, rabbits and hares are common.

The house itself is not open to the public, but the gardens and woods are open to visitors every February during the snowdrop season. Hodsock Priory is an approved location for the holding of weddings.

Building Activity

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