A Medieval mansion existed at Oxnead long before the current house was built. The Estate was acquired by the Paston family in 1420 at which time it consisted of many 1000’s of acres stretching from Skyton to Buxton.
The current buildings are all that remains of the mansion built by Sir Clement Paston around 1580 on the site of a smaller manor house.
This elaborate house was built on a traditional H plan, consisted of 79 rooms (probably over 4 stories) and was set on an east/west axis with wings on either side. The contents of the rooms are recorded in detail in a number of inventories from the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Hall was further enlarged in the 1630’s by Sir William Paston with the help of his friend, Sir Nicholas Stone and in 1670 a banqueting Hall was added in order to entertain Charles II and his Queen on their visit to Oxnead.
Detailed drawings of the Hall were made by John Adey Repton (son of Humphrey Repton) who lived at Oxnead in the early 1800s. The remains of the house and archeological findings suggest that these are a very accurate recording of the Hall at its finest.
Today, all that remains of the 1580’s house is the east service wing, the cellars, the north wing and the barns:
The east service wing would have contained offices, kitchens and possibly a laundry and dairy.
The North Wing of the Hall was originally the carriage room with hay loft and staff accommodation above. The external elevation of this building is a good example of Elizabethan facadism, designed to look like a grand residential building rather than a simple utility building.
The long barn which adjoins the North Wing (currently containing the garage) is also believed to originate from the 1580’s.
The original cellars still exist under the footprint of the house and a large vaulted room lies under the east lawn, which may have been a cold room/larder or a treasure store.
The rooms of the remaining buildings are all of relatively modest scale reflecting their utilitarian origins. The modern building to the south was built by the previous owner in the 1990’s broadly on the site of the banqueting hall built in 1670 for the visit of Charles II. Below the original banqueting room was a grotto or ‘friskitting room’.
The agricultural barns now used as a weddings and events space date from the 1880’s and were in use as piggeries until the 1980’s. The estate was developed into an events venue in 2016.
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