• Brief History of Hodsock

A History of Hodsock

Portrait of Justice George Mellish
Portrait of Margaret Mellish (nee Cunard), daughter of Sir Samuel Cunard)
7 of the 36 chimneys at Hodsock Priory
Portrait of Major Charles Tennant of St Anne's Monor Sutton Bonington, uncle to Sir Charles Buchanan

People have lived at Hodsock for over 2000 years, with evidence from The Bronze Age, Roman and Saxon farmers being discovered in the grounds.

In 1086, Hodsock is listed in The Doomsday Book with Ulsi as the owner, pre the Norman Conquest. After this Torald de Lisorlis owned the estate and it passed to the Cressy family through marriage from about the mid 12th Century.

The family owned Hodsock for over 200 years and nine generations and they entertained three kings here: Henry II, John and Edward I.

At the beginning of the 15th Century the estate passed to the Clifton family, through the marriage of Sir John Clifton to Catherine Cressy. They built the Tudor Gatehouse, possibly when they expected a visit from Henry VIII, who visited Hodsock in 1541.

The Clifton’s held the estate for about 350 years and 14 generations until 1765, when it was sold for the first and only time to the Mellish family, who owned the neighbouring estate at Blyth.

The family lived in Blyth Hall until 1806 when Colonel Henry Francis Mellish sold Blyth Hall to Joshua Walker and land to the Foljambes at Osberton to pay off his massive gambling debts. He owned horses that won the St Leger in 1804 and 1805.

In 1829 and 1874 the house was rebuilt twice and became known as Hodsock Priory. Two women were responsible for the rebuilding – Anne Chambers (1829) who inherited the estate after her brother, Henry Francis Mellish, lost his money and Mrs. Margaret Mellish (1874), the widow of William Leigh Mellish who inherited Hodsock from Mrs. Chambers. The house remains in this style today.

So how did Henry Francis Mellish lose all his money?

“Colonel Henry Francis Mellish is Hodsock’s most notorious ancestor. His full length portrait hangs on the stairs in the Priory.

He gambled the equivalent of tens of millions of pounds in the early 1800s and had to sell his inheritance to pay his gambling debts.

In the set of the Prince Regent, he owned racehorses and won the St Leger at Doncaster 2 years running. However, his alleged final bet was whether a pat of butter would stick to the ceiling of the Blyth Hall dining room when he flicked it up with his knife.

He was so drunk when he fired it that it failed to reach the ceiling. He then had to organise a sale of the house, land and contents to pay off his debts and go to live a quiet life down the road with his sensible sister, here at Hodsock.”George Buchanan - Hodsock Priory

William Leigh Mellish’s sister Frances Katharine married the diplomat, Sir Andrew Buchanan (1807-1882).

The main residence of the Buchanan family was Craigend Castle in Stirlingshire, Scotland.

In 1935, the last Mellish sister died and Hodsock passed to Sir Andrew’s granddaughter, Mrs. Mary Constance Mayhew (1901-1982) and thence to its current owner, Sir Andrew Buchanan, 5th Baronet.

He moved to Hodsock Priory in 1966 with his wife, Belinda.

In 1991, Sir Andrew was appointed Lord Lieutenant for Nottinghamshire, meaning he was the Queen’s personal representative for the County.

In the 2011 New Year’s Honours List, Sir Andrew was awarded the Knight Commander of the Victorian Order (KCVO). He attended Buckingham Palace and was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen.

In January 2006, George and Katharine Buchanan took over the management of Hodsock Priory from Sir Andrew and Lady Buchanan. They live in the house with their four children.

The Pavilion was added in 2007 in a sympathetic style as a purpose-built function room for weddings, meetings and events.

The whole family continues to play an active role with voluntary and charity work in the local community and Nottinghamshire.