A once grand eighteenth-century house that stood proudly in Sudbrooke was demolished in the 1920s with its land and dwellings sold to various purchasers. The gardens of this grand home were famous and highly regarded across Britain and even Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with traces of them still remaining to this day.
The now lost Sudbrooke Holme was one of the largest and most impressive country houses near Lincoln. Standing near a lake in 200 acres of parkland, the house was 5 miles north-east of Lincoln and was built by Richard Ellison (1721-1792) in 1780.
The Ellisons were from the Isle of Axholme and Richard Ellison was a banker who bought a 999-year lease on the Fossdyke Navigation in 1740 from Lincoln Corporation, bringing a large income to his family. The canal had been neglected for many years, so with the help of improvements made by Richard, barges were soon able to carry goods to and from Lincoln.
Sudbrooke Holme was famous for its library of bookcases made to the designs of the acclaimed eighteenth-century architect, Robert Adam. The house had twenty-eight main bedrooms which were decorated in the Adam style with beautiful ceilings. Large amounts of money were spent in furnishing the interior with numerous art treasures.
Holme is the site of a lost settlement contained within the village of Sudbrooke between Main Drive to the east and Holme Drive to the west. Holme was documented as a village in 1334 but no trace remains today. Much of Holme and Sudbrooke was monastic property and was acquired by the Grantham Family.
In 1618, Robert Grantham of Dunholme died leaving his Sudbrooke Holme estate to his nephew George Howe. George sold the estate to Christopher Beresford in 1629. At this time there was a house of some size on the property and the Beresford family lived there until it was sold to Elizabeth Buckworth in 1736 and then onto Richard Ellison in 1759. It was Richard who built the last house on the site to bear the name ‘Sudbrooke Holme’ – the same house that would eventually be demolished in the 1920s.
Richard died in 1792 and his son, Richard Ellison (1754-1827) inherited the Sudbrooke estate and did lots of work to the property. Richard was High Sherriff in 1793 and a member of parliament for Lincoln from 1796 to 1812. Having no children by his wife, his brother Henry inherited the estate but did not live there, and so leased the estate with one occupant called Sir Richard Sutton, one of the wealthiest commoners in England who became Master of the Burton Hunt in 1824.
In 1820 Henry’s son, also named Richard Ellison (1788-1859) moved into Sudbrooke Holme. Richard was educated at Eton and was an officer who served in the Peninsular War. He served as High Sheriff for Lincolnshire in 1848 but showed no further interest in public office and instead built-up arts and artefacts in Sudbrooke Holme. In 1837 Richard founded a school in Scothern and in 1850 the curate of Sudbrooke recorded that Scothern was a village ‘supported by the bounty of Richard Ellison of Sudbrooke’.
Richard died in 1859 leaving money to various charities immediately, with several similar legacies to be paid annually. He also left money to the Rev Charles Pratt Terrott, Vicar of Wispington from 1838 to 1886 for the rebuilding of Sudbrooke church.
Richard’s wife Elizabeth died in 1873 and was buried with her husband in the chancel of Scothern church. With no heir, the Sudbrooke Holme estate was then inherited by Richards’s two sisters, Mrs. Waldo-Sibthorp and Mrs Martin, and later passed to Mr Coningsby Charles Sibthorp in 1877.
Coningsby Charles Sibthorp was said to have done a great deal of work during his time, especially in the large gardens. New lodges, cottages, gates and other works were undertaken until the grounds became known as one of the most elaborate settings for a country house in the county. Eventually in 1919 the Sudbrooke Holme Estate was offered for sale at auction. After numerous vicissitudes, including the alleged ownership of Earnest Terah Hooley the swindler, the house was demolished in the 1920s with much of the park and gardens having now been developed for housing.
On the main road, the surviving eighteenth century gate piers and a pair of nineteenth century brick and half-timber lodges now mark the entrance to Sudbrooke Park. It appears as if The Parklands development plan for the site is to rebuild the country home sensitively from historic photos and original data, but instead of being a single dwelling, it will be a series of retirement apartments. What aspects will stay true to the original as well as to what extent a restoration will occur to the garden, time will tell.
Information sourced via:
www.west-lindsey.gov.uk – ‘A Neighbourhood Plan for Sudbrooke 2018-2036’
Lost Lincolnshire Country Houses: Volume 1 by T. Leach and R. Pacey
The Lincolnite – ‘Developers submit outline plan for 136 village homes near Lincoln’
Lincolnshire Heritage Explorer
‘An Ellison Family History’ via democratic.lincoln.gov.uk
Cover Photo: T R Leach Collection, undated postcard 2 via, slha.org.uk