History of Condover Hall Activity Centre
Condover Hall is steeped in history with earliest records describing the Saxon village of Condover as a rural manor, forming part of the estate of Roger De Montfort, Earl of Shrewsbury. It returned to the crown when his son, the 3rd earl, rose against Henry I and was deprived of his honours in 1102.
Civil feuds gave Condover a chequered career in which it repeatedly returned to the crown, but in 1226 Henry III left the estate to his half-sister Joan who married Llewellyn Lorwerth. Subsequently it was confiscated and given back by the Crown,until 1238 when it was granted to Henry De Hastings.
John De Hastings parted with it in 1284 to Edward I’s Chancellor, Bishop Burnell. In the 15th century it passed, through lack of male descent, to the Lovells, the last of whom was ‘Lovell the Dog’ of the Lancashire rhyme.
16th Century & Onwards Ownership
Through the 16th century the house was again passed in and out of crown ownership until 1586 when Elizabeth I granted Condover Estate to Thomas Owen.
The mansion house, as seen today, was built for Thomas Owen, purportedly by Walter Hancock, a distinguished Shropshire mason from Much Wenlock. The current house was not completed until 1598, the year of his death and possibly finally completed by his son, Sir Roger Owen.
The Hall remained in the hands of the Owen family for many years. In 1804 Nicholas Smyth Owen died. The estate and the Hall were left to Edward Pemberton, who was N S Owen’s cousin, who took the name Owen. He died in 1863 and Condover went to his cousin, Thomas Cholmondley. Unfortunately Thomas died in 1864 whilst on honeymoon. The estate then passed to his brother Reginald Cholmondley, in whose possession the estate remained until his death in 1896 when the estate was sold to Mr E B Fielden. The Fielden's had cotton mills in Todmorden, Lancashire and Mr Fielden was Tory MP for the central division of Manchester, for many years.
19th Century Rennovations
Mr Fielden sold the estate to Mr Cohen in September 1927 who lived nearby at Pitchford Hall whilst the extensive renovations were carried out to Condover Hall. In 1939 Mrs Florence Cohen sold the estate to Major Abbey from Sedgewick Park in Sussex. Major Abbey died in active service in March 1943 having never lived in the Hall.
During the war years the Hall was occupied by the ATS and was also used by South Africa House, London who took over the gardens, the produce from which was sent to South Africa House each week.
In 1947 the Hall was acquired by the National Institute for the Blind (now the Royal National Institute for the Blind) and opened the first school in great Britain for blind children with handicaps. The property was then bought by the previous owners who, after an extensive refurbishment programme, ran it as a school for the last 4 years.
Famous Visitors To Condover Hall
Over the centuries many famous people have visited and enjoyed Condover Hall. These include Clive of India who rented the house during the early 1700s and the American writer Mark Twain (1835 – 1910) who visited the house in 1873 and 1879. Two new teaching blocks were opened by the Duke of Westminster and the late Princess of Wales respectively.
After a multi-million pound development investment, Condover Hall was re-opened in May 2011, providing thousands of children and adults with unrivalled activity-based experiences that they are eager to repeat again.
You can find out more about Condover Hall by tweeting us your questions! @CondoverHall