Welcome to Branston Hall, a beautiful elegant building, which has an abundance of history. With a building of this age we are learning all the time of the sights the building has seen and of the stories which have emerged, so here’s a little of what we have learnt so far…
In 1735 the original old hall was built for Lord Vere Bertie, son of the first Duke of Ancaster. In the early 19th Century the building passed into the hands of the Hon. Alexander Samuel Leslie-Melville, youngest son of the 7th Earl of Leven. As time went on Hon. Leslie-Melville had a vision of a grander residence. Enlisting the help of architect J MacVicar Anderson, they put together his visualization. Construction of the new hall commenced in 1884 and was completed in 1885. The old hall, still being in a good state of repair was made home to the servants and the staff of the Leslie-Melville family, with rumours of the two buildings being linked together by a series of ingenious underground passages.
On New Year’s Day 1903, during the annual Goose Supper for the local tradesmen, fire broke out at the old hall. Despite a team of firemen fighting the fire for many hours the old hall could not be saved. However the firemen were still rewarded with the remnants of the goose supper that had so hastily been abandoned.
The Leslie-Melville family was well known and respected in the village, and in 1908 the entire village gathered for a feast and a party to celebrate the Hon. Mr & Mrs Leslie-Melville’s Golden wedding anniversary. The local school even closed for two days! The Family offered money and clothes to local residents and piped gas to the local church for warmth during the colder months.
Sadly in 1918 only six months before what would have been the Diamond Wedding celebrations of Hon. Mr and Mrs Leslie-Melville, Alexander Samuel Leslie-Melville died. The departure of the Leslie-Melville family from the hall in 1924 indeed left a void in Branston’s public society, as they lost figures of glamour, respect and patronage.
Branston Hall, like so many similar houses throughout Britain received its call up papers for World War II with the spacious rooms providing hospital wards and accommodation for medical staff. After the war the local council took over the hospital service, and by 1980 the building had fallen into disuse and was sadly neglected. The building was then in an ill state of repair and having had most of its original estate sold off was offered for auction.
In 1982 a private company bought Branston Hall and its remaining 88 acres of wooded parkland and lakes. They restored it to its original grandeur, and still today the hall, its fixtures and fittings reflect the splendor that Hon. Leslie-Melville had originally intended.