A substantial late Georgian house with Jacobean origins which has been lovingly restored over the last five years and which offers excellent family accommodation primarily over three floors. Lea Hurst is approached via a private gated driveway through parkland included within the sale of the freehold, leading to a gravelled area with turning circle laid to lawn with original sundial centrepiece.
Ground floor: A large entrance lobby leads into the main hallway which gives access to all the principal reception rooms including:
Drawing room: With high ceilings, a large bay window with a door opening onto the garden which overlooks parkland and a fireplace with open Franklin multi-fuel stove.
Music room/library: With working fireplace.
Sitting room: A dual aspect room with working fireplace, door to the Butler’s pantry with original fitted glass fronted cupboards and Belfast sink.
A wide arch opens from the sitting room into the:
Dining room: With a working fireplace and another large, attractive bay window with door to the garden.
The inner hall leads to:
Kitchen/breakfast room: Fitted with low level units incorporating a three oven electric AIMS AGA with two oven electric module, a window seat overlooking the garden and door to the boot room. A further door leads to the hallway giving access to a large utility room, the pantry and a back door to the garden.
A further inner hall has two cloakrooms off and leads to the:
Billiard room: A large and very light room with double height ceiling, an impressive original stone Jacobean fireplace and door to the boiler room. There is a galleried area over the billiard room with space for a home cinema.
Steps from the inner hall lead down to the cellars.
First floor: An original stone staircase leads to the first floor with a large landing giving access to:
Master suite: Comprising a lovely big bedroom with deep bay window, dressing room and large bathroom with double basin, w.c, bath and separate shower.
Also on this floor is:
Double bedroom: Currently in use as a study.
Family bathroom: With wash band basin, shower and w.c.
Single bedroom: With wash hand basin.
Two smaller rooms: Currently used as studies.
A short oak staircase from the landing leads up to a:
Double bedroom: Originally Florence’s bedroom.
Bathroom: With basin, w.c and bath.
Further double bedroom: Originally Florence’s study with a pair of doors leading onto a balcony with stunning views over parkland.
Second floor: An oak staircase leads to the second floor with:
Guest suite: comprising double bedroom with en suite bathroom with doors to a balcony and fine views to the south and adjacent dressing room/further double bedroom.
Two further bedrooms: Both of which are double bedrooms with en suite bathrooms.
Double bedroom: Currently used as a fitness room.
Third floor: There are three currently unconverted attic rooms which were the original nursery during Florence Nightingale’s time and offer great potential.
Entrance lobby; entrance hall; inner halls; drawing room; dining room; sitting room; music room/library; billiard room/space for home cinema; kitchen/breakfast room; utility; pantry; boot room; two cloakrooms; boiler room and store; master bedroom suite comprising bedroom, bathroom and dressing room; four en suite bedrooms; further bedroom/dressing room; fitness room/bedroom; single bedroom; family bathroom; large study/bedroom; two smaller studies; three attic rooms; cellars; passenger lift to all floors.
Terraced gardens with lawns, ancient yew tree and other fine specimen trees; ornamental pond; orchard with cherry, medlar, mulberry, walnut and apple trees; beech stand with fine Waterloo beeches; large original walled kitchen garden with fruit trees and old stone outbuildings supplied with mains water and electricity; adjoining wooded area; garden store; log store; gardener’s w.c.
A right of way exists over the driveway for the benefit of Lamp Cottage and the Coach House for which they make a maintenance contribution according to user. The pasture land is subject to an agricultural tenancy.
The Nightingale family had a long association with Lea Hurst with Thomas Nightingale of Lea (1666-1735) renting a previous house on the site. His second son Peter made his fortune in lead smelting and later branched out into cotton spinning and eventually, in 1771, purchased the house together with 1,381 acres. After Peter’s death in 1803 the house and estate eventually passed to his nephew William Edward Shore who took the surname of Nightingale in 1815. William set about enlarging Lea Hurst as his Derbyshire seat, completing it in 1825, by which time he had also purchased Embley Park in Hampshire. The family lived in both properties but it was to Lea Hurst that Florence chose to return to after the Crimean War in 1856, travelling incognito to her beloved Lea Hurst from Whatstandwell station. (As Florence later wrote, “it breaks my heart to leave Lea Hurst”).
In 1854, the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, struggling to finish ‘North and South’ for her impatient publisher Charles Dickens, spent some weeks at Lea Hurst. From the window of Florence’s study she was entranced by the view. “First a garden with stone terraces and flights of steps and old stone columns with globes at the top of them....then a sloping meadow, losing itself in a steep wooded descent to the Derwent.”
W. E. Nightingale died in 1874 leaving two daughters, the younger of whom was Florence who died unmarried in 1910. The estate was remaindered to W E Shore’s sister and her husband Samuel Smith and their son William Shore Smith inherited both Lea Hurst and Embley Park, once again taking the name of Nightingale. His son and heir, Louis Hilary Shore Nightingale (1866-1940) left two sisters and co-heiresses whose trustees sold the house with 395 acres in July 1946; it was bought by Lt. Col. E S Halford in order to found a Florence Nightingale Memorial nursing home and then subsequently sold to William Bowmer who established it to run The Royal Surgical Aid Society in 1951, running it as a home until 2004. Our clients have since undertaken a complete and sympathetic restoration of the property.