Judges at Kirklevington Hall – A Potted History
History plays quite a part in this gracious country house hotel and its extensive grounds.
Built on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors in 1881 for the former engineering family, the Richardsons of Hartlepool, Kirklevington Hall was their home throughout the 1914-1918 war during which most of the family was lost.
Following the death of the only surviving member in 1940, the estate passed into the hands of a Hartlepool entrepreneur prior to being requisitioned by the Army towards the end of the last World War.
The Army built a massive bunker within the grounds, which became a vital, secret command centre for the North East. With two feet thick reinforced concrete walls, it has now been converted to a modern residence for members of the Downs family – Judges current owners.
During the 1970s Kirklevington Hall became home to the countrys Judges when they were on circuit to Middlesbrough courts hence the current name.
In 1989 the circuit Judges no longer required the Hall and it was acquired by the Downs family. They were no strangers to developing high quality country house hotels as they had already created Crathorne Hall Hotel, prior to selling it as a successful operation to the Virgin group.
Extensive utility development and a total refurbishment programme were undertaken and in 1994, Judges at Kirklevington Hall was launched. The Family and its small team, many of whom worked alongside them at Crathorne, subsequently set about restoring the 22 acre grounds to their former glory.
The beautiful gardens now comprise graceful lawns that sweep down from the Halls sunny terraces to a tiny river, which meanders across the estate via waterfalls and under ornate bridges. There are extensive rhododendron beds, formal features, herbaceous borders and a herb garden which provides the Kitchen with fresh produce. There is also a Victorian walled garden graced by old fruit trees and current developments incorporate a sizeable vegetable garden and greenhouse.
Natural woodlands complete with a network of unobtrusive pathways provide guests with a chance to stroll, jog or simply sit quietly on a shady wayside seat and watch the many birds, squirrels and rabbits at play or even the occasional deer or pheasant who wander into the grounds to sample the lush vegetation.