Grantham House is one of the oldest substantial houses in Grantham. It was originally known as Hall Place, after the eponymous family of wealthy wool merchants who lived there from the end of the fifteenth century until the beginning of the seventeenth century. Henry VII’s daughter Princess Margaret lodged at Hall Place in 1503 on her way up the Great North Road to Scotland, following her marriage by proxy to James IV, as did Cardinal Wolsey on his last journey north. After Arthur Hall (1539–1605), MP for Grantham in 1571, died in penury, it subsequently belonged to the Skipwiths and then the Seckers. It was then acquired by Sir Richard Cust (1680–1734), 2nd Bt of Pinchbeck, in the year of his death, becoming the dower-house of his widow, née Anne Brownlow, until she succeeded to National Trust, Belton House, on the death of her brother, Viscount Tyrconnel, in 1754. In 1884, Emma Hutchinson (1857–1936), Mrs Sedgwick, became a tenant, and in 1921 it was bought by her brother, James Hutchinson, Earl Brownlow’s agent, who bequeathed it to her three years later. She left it to her daughters, Miss Winifred and Miss Marion Sedgwick, who gave it and its contents to the National Trust between 1944 and 1950, along with 20 acres, thus preserving an important green space in the centre of the town, known as 'Sedgwick Meadows'. The house was subsequently tenanted by Margaret Thatcher’s election agent, Major-General Sir Brian Wyldbore-Smith (1913–2005) and Molly Cayzer (1917–2001), Lady Wyldbore-Smith. Amongst the few pictures are three large still lifes of flowers and fruit that were probably once overdoors at Belton House and, something of a rarity, 'A Kitchen Scene' by Pieter Aertsen, dated 1563, recently re-revealed after a breakthrough restoration by the Hamilton Kerr Institute.
National Trust, Grantham House
Castlegate, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG31 6SS England
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