Kelmarsh Hall is a Grade I listed country house built in 1732 surrounded by Grade II* listed gardens set in the heart of a traditional agricultural estate. They are now in the care of an independent charitable trust, The Kelmarsh Trust, charged with maintaining it in perpetuity for the benefit of the nation.
In 2004, Kelmarsh Events Limited was set up as a commercial arm of the business to support the Charitable Trust in its aim to protect and provide public access to the hall.
The Kelmarsh Trust main aims and undertakings are to:
• Conserve and manage the built and natural environment
• Promote education about the hall, the estate and its natural history
• Provide public access
Built for the Hanbury family in the 1730s by virtuoso architect, James Gibbs and builder, Francis Smith of Warwick, Kelmarsh Hall was praised by historian Nikolaus Pevsner as, “a perfect, extremely reticent design, done in an impeccable taste.”
One other arbiter of fashion to leave her mark on the Hall was society decorator Nancy Lancaster. Drawn by the house’s fine bone structure, her taste for combining comfort with formality set the trend for the Twentieth Century’s Country House look. Her spirit still pervades the house today in the delicate terracotta colouring of the Great Hall, the exuberant Chinese wallpaper and seasonal flower arrangements.
The Great Hall is the centrepiece of the house and is the first room to be entered through the front door. With its Italian pink walls and fine 18th century ceiling plasterwork this room has welcomed many guests during its history. Beyond the Great Hall is the Saloon resplendent with chandeliers, polished oak floorboards and far reaching vistas.
Left of the Great Hall is the Chinese Room with 300 year old hand-painted wallpaper. To the right is the formal Dining Room displaying many female portraits. Left of the Saloon is the Library complete with secret door opening into the Hall from which the ornate cantilever staircase ascends.
Right of the Saloon is Nancy Lancaster’s Yellow Drawing Room. The final room to be seen is the Ballroom, a Victorian extension, with views over the West Terrace and the lake beyond.
The Estate contains numerous areas of high conservation value. All of the estate woodlands along with the park and wilderness lake are designated local wildlife sites and support many local Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Species.
During ongoing bird surveys the woodlands were found to support many species noted as in decline, and as a result, significant habitat improvement works funded by the Forestry Commission are being undertaken to help prevent further decline.
The river Ise corridor is a particularly diverse habitat and a phase 1 habitat survey, as well as this, students from Moulton College have recently recorded signs of otter and water vole.