I recently read Henry Thorold’s Lincolnshire Houses (Michael Russell 1999), an extensive compendium of domestic buildings in a huge, empty, varied county, ranging from great palaces like Grimsthorpe and Harlaxton to tiny rectories and houses hidden in the Wolds, quite a few of which were built, bought or inherited by Henry Thorold’s relatives over the past four centuries.
It reminded me of when I first got to know Lincolnshire in the late 1960s, working on the buses in Skegness during university vacations, and travelling the county on a quarter-fare staff bus pass.
In those days there was, of course, no easy way to find information about historic buildings in the county, except the local library, the 1964 first edition Pevsner for Lincolnshire, and the periodical Lincolnshire Life.
A few brief paragraphs in Lincolnshire Life alerted me to Cadeby Hall, up in the Wolds near Ludborough, on the way to Grimsby.
Even the later 1979 Pevsner gives the place short shrift – “an early C18 stone front of seven bays and 2½ storeys…inside, a good staircase…at the time of writing derelict…”
The inimitable Henry Thorold calls it “the Sleeping Beauty house par excellence”.
When I first saw it in 1968 it was already derelict, with a ‘Danger Keep Out’ notice on the front door. At the rear a service wing which I then thought to be Victorian but now know to have been eighteenth century had been demolished. I didn’t attempt to enter.
The Hall is easily visible from a public footpath but it’s not a place you’d come across on your way anywhere.
I found it again driving round north Lincolnshire in 1982, by which time it had been tidied up and was apparently in use as a shooting lodge.
Now, by the magic of Google, I discover that it has been splendidly refurbished with, on the site of the demolished rear wing, a tactful, decorous neo-Georgian extension: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4163107.
I’ve no idea who lives there: they’re lucky, and we’re lucky that they’ve saved a hidden gem.
Cadeby Hall is a private house.