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Lost Houses – Hasland House


Hasland is one of the many outliers of the Manor of Chesterfield, and was long held by the ancient family of Linacre, under whom it was, in the 15th century, tenanted by a cadet branch of the Leakes of Sutton Scarsdale. Thomas Leake of Hasland, for instance, was Bess of Hardwick’s maternal grandfather.HASLAND-HO-c

After the death in a duel in 1597 of another Thomas Leake, the succession to the estate was thrown into disarray and it was eventually acquired by Col. Roger Molyneux of the Teversal (Notts.) family, later a prominent Parliamentary officer but, ironically, he disposed of it shortly before the Civil war to a Royalist Capt. John Lowe of Owlgreaves (now Algrave) Hall, second son of Anthony Lowe of Alderwasley – if only he’d known!.

The estate and house – the still extant old Manor House is written up in The Derbyshire Country House 3rd edition (Ashbourne 2001) Vol. II. pp. 277-8 – continued amongst their descendants until in 1727 the heiress brought it to her husband (and kinsman) Henry Lowe of Park Hall, Denby, whereupon it was sold to the upwardly mobile Lucas family.

It seems to have been at this juncture that Hasland House was built in a small park immediately NNW of the village centre, presumably because the old hall was considered inadequate for more up-to-date requirements and was thereupon let as a farm.

Thomas Lucas alias Oliver was the son of Bernard (originally from Grindleford) and started out as a Chesterfield butcher being fined for operating without being a burgess in 1689. Nevertheless, thanks to him and his sons, the family swiftly became unconscionably rich.

It is not clear who actually built the house. In 1727 Thomas was getting on and had a house elsewhere and it was more likely his second son, Bernard, who built a fine new brick house. It was five bays wide on both main facades, of three storeys with a hipped roof behind a low parapet, the gauged brick lintels having triple stone keyblocks. There were plain pilasters at the angles and the entrance – surely aping the style of Francis Smith of Warwick – set in a stone surround crowned with a segmental pediment. The fact that the roof was irregular, ending with a hip to the west but not to the east, might suggest that a fairly substantial earlier house with gables might have been rebuilt, rather than the house being entirely new.

Inside there were three excellent panelled rooms and a timber staircase of very fine joinery with three balusters per tread and carved tread ends. From its style and appearance, the house must have been built within a year or two of Lucas acquiring the estate and it was later described as “a commodious and pleasant mansion”. It could even have been built to a design by the great Francis Smith, who was then building Wingerworth Hall not very far away for the much grander Hunlokes, but no building records appear to have survived.HASLANMD-VILLAGE-HALL

Bernard Lucas (1708-1771) was Mayor of Chesterfield in 1741 and was succeeded by his son – another – Bernard, who died unmarried in 1810, and then by the latter’s younger brother Thomas (1731-1818). Thomas’s son, yet another Bernard, greatly increased his fortune by marrying Esther, sister and heiress of Anthony Lax (later Maynard) of Chesterfield, an opulent attorney with a Yorkshire estate and decided to build a new house again, not so far away. This is the present Hasland Hall, for many years now a school, and Hasland House was let and later sold to Josiah Claughton, a Chesterfield druggist and wholesale chemist with 35 acres.

The Claughtons were thereafter in residence for almost the whole of the 19th century for, although Josiah died in 1836, his widow Elizabeth only died in1853 and four unmarried daughters – Jane, Catherine, Ellen and Fanny – lived there until the death of Catherine, the last survivor, in 1895. Nobody, in all this time seems to have sought to alter or rebuild the old house, which appears nevertheless to have had much charm. The only exception seems to have been that during the Claughton regime, the three over four glazing bar sashes were replaced by plate glass ones with Victorian margin glazing bars, which did nothing for the appearance of the house.

The house was briefly let to Capt. Herbert Murray having been inherited by Catherine Claughton’s nephew Revd. Maurice Beedham, and then by his son, John, who was based in Canada and sold their house and modest acres in 1904. The purchaser was Chesterfield grandee Bernard Lucas, a descendant of the original Lucas owner in the 18th century, who paid £7,650. His tenant was another member of a notable local family, Eric Drayton Swanwick, second son of Russell Swanwick and grandson of Frederick Swanwick of Whittington Hall, the man who surveyed the North Midland Railway for George Stevenson (later of Tapton Hall) in 1838-1840. Frederick also designed many of the buildings, the stations not done by Francis Thompson, and bridges on the NMR. E. D. Swanwick, however, later moved to the family seat, Whittington Hall, and Hasland House entered its last phase.HASLAND-MANOR-HO-REDBRIK

The house and only 15 acres of grounds were acquired in 1912 by the philanthropic Chesterfield Alderman George Albert Eastwood, who had been Mayor of Chesterfield over three successive years from 1905 to 1907/8. He was exceedingly wealthy and was the manufacturer of railway wagons.  He gave the house and grounds for a public park, opened 2nd July 1913 in memory of his father, George Eastwood (1826-1910). The following year, former owner’s son Bernard Chaytor Lucas built a new community hall adjacent to the house, in front of which was positioned a rather fine fountain from the grounds of Ringwood Hall, given courtesy of Charles Markham who had lived at both Ringwood and Hasland Halls.

The community hall was six bays long, the windows separated by buttresses, and boasted a broken pediment towards to park, a tall round headed window penetrating through its base. Beneath was a Tuscan peristyle and the roof was crowned by a simple quadrangular domed lantern. The building was also connected to the house by a link lit by an oeuil-de-boeuf, indicating that a use was then envisaged for the old building. The architect was probably Percy Houfton (1873-1926), a talented exponent locally of the Arts-and-Crafts style.

Unfortunately a role does not seem to have been found for the house itself, and not long after the Great War it was announced to the Trustees of the park that the roof had been repaired but that it would need replacing in a few years. After the traumas of the Great Depression, however, when that moment arrived, there was no appetite amongst the trustees to disburse so much expenditure, and the house was, instead, quietly cleared away in 1935 at a cost of £100; a considerable loss architecturally.

The present house on the site, a commendably restrained design, was built in 1936 for the Park-keeper by Borough Architect C. Bond.


  1. Re Hasland Hall. The Lucas Olivers left Froggatt village for Chesterfield in 1639 to join a relative who was already living on Chesterfield.. I have a copy of the 1639 record of the sale of the Robert Lucas Oliver property in Froggatt village to Bernard Wells Junior of Stoke Hall. William Froggottt of Froggott who was buried at Baslow in 1591 was my great grandfather x 10 and the Great Grandfather of Robert Lucas Oliver. Although it is said that Robert’s mother Ann Lucas Oliver nee Froggatt was the widow of Bernard Lucas of Grindleford I have so far not come across any evidence for that. There is however a document at Matlock Record Office that mentions her owning and selling property in Grindleford. There were Lucas Olivers in Calver at that time.

  2. My great Grandmother, Anne Maria Goodwin, was a companion of Catherine Claughton in the 1800’s and lived at Hasland House. She married the resident horticulturist, William A Miller after the death of Catherine. Anne Maria’s mother, Martha Denham, was a school friend of Catherine Claughton. Catherine left instructions in her will for Anne Maria to dwell for a period after Catherine’s death and use carriage and household goods.


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