The Grange, Northington
A trespass to seek calm.
Walking north of the abandoned medieval village of Abbotstone a walker is kept to the roads, with the Grange estate deemed “private”.
The Grange is owned by the Baring family, though kept in the guardianship of English Heritage, as the government paid for it’s restoration in exchange for access, saving it from being “dynamited” in 1975. Despite this the land is still held as private, with the public kept away aside from those shooting or attending the opera.
Gates may be open, but the invisible walls are supported by the council.
Walking down this gravel road you would stroll past fields used for clay and pheasant shooting, beehives and towards the Grange itself.
A young estate manager met me some way along the road, turning me back politely but firmly. He directed me to the entrance to the north of the site (some 2 miles of detour), on the basis that the road is private, and there would be gates in the way. Wished him well and turned back, to return another day.
The Grange, a concrete mansion. Saved by the nation, but still owned by the Baring family and locked away.
The estate is built on colonial money:
Sir Francis Baring, seems to have made his first money out of dealing in slaves when he was
only 16. It evidently gave him an excellent start in life for this ‘prince of merchants’ earned nearly £7,000,000 over 30 years… and left property worth £1,000,000.
From being saved by the government, plans for the land now focus on exclusive accommodation and experiences for a select few: