LANDMARK: Owners Raby Estates are currently pondering what to do with the 17th century Gainford Hall
LANDMARK: Owners Raby Estates are currently pondering what to do with the 17th century Gainford Hall

RESIDENTS in Gainford took advantage of a rare chance to look around one of the village’s historic homes.

Raby Estates invited those interested to an open day at the 17th century Jacobean manor house, Gainford Hall, which sits on the edge of the village.

Gainford Hall is currently empty and staff at Raby Estates were keen to gauge the views of residents as to what the hall could be used for in future.

Gainford and Langton parish councillor Linda Britten said: “As part of the parish council’s neighbourhood plan we wanted to look at some of the historic buildings in the village that we want to preserve and Gainford Hall is just such an enigmatic building.

“For a lot of people in the village they’ve only ever seen it from the outside, so it was wonderful when Raby Estates said they would open it.”

The hall, which is Grade I listed, was built in about 1600 for Revd John Craddock, who was vicar of Gainford from 1594 until his death in 1627.

The building, which has ornate plasterwork friezes to the main hall, does require a lot of renovation and modernisation.

The four storey stone building was never fully completed and is said to be a “double pile, plan form layout” which in laymen’s terms means it’s two rooms deep, something that was cutting edge in design back in 17th century England. However, possibly due to the east wing staircase never being constructed, the provision of five or more half-turn staircases at opposite ends of the building does make navigating from room to room and floor to floor a little confusing.

Instead of central passageways the property leads from one room to another in a warren-like fashion and made for some interesting conversations as villagers meandered their way through the variety of different rooms, a little lost.

Katrina Appleyard, operations manager at Raby Estates, said: “It will be great if we could find a use for the building, but it’s going to take a lot of money to bring it up to scratch and we’re really only at the start of a very long journey with it.”