The ruinous shell of Sutton Scarsdale Hall is seen by many as they travel along the Derbyshire stretch of the M1 motorway.
Sutton Scarsdale Hall was remodeled from an earlier outbuilding in 1724 by Francis Smith of Warwick for Nicholas, fourth Earl of Scarsdale and was one of the finest country houses in Derbyshire at that time.
The interior was once very rich with superb plasterwork by Atari and Vassali some of which can still be seen, monumental carved marble fireplaces and a very superior carved mahogany staircase. The whole was set in formal gardens and a fine landscaped park, now parlty given over to agriculture. Much was known of the craftsmen who worked on the hall, thanks to a leaden plaque once attached to the fabric, but now lost.
Following the death of the fourth Earl of Scarsdale, Godfrey Clarke of Somersall Hall in Derbyshire purchased the estate in 1740. Ownership was subsequently transferred by marriage to the Marquis of Ormonde. In 1824 following the Marquises death, Richard Arkwright, son of the Cromford Mill Arkwrights, became the new owner and the estate remained in the family until 1920.
Sutton Scarsdale Hall then fell into a sad state of disrepair. After years of neglect, a consortium of Chesterfield businessmen purchased the property but due to its poor general state, it was decided to dismantle the building and sell off the contents including the lead roof. The hall deteriorated even more until in 1946 Sir Osbert Sitwell of Renishaw Hall purchased the surviving shell with the intention of preserving the remains as a ruin.
Some of the interior fixtures now reside in the United States at the Philadelphia Museum. Sutton Scarsdale Hall is now in the care of English Heritage and is freely accessible to visitors. It is a Listed Grade 1 building.
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