Estate History

A Brief History

The historic home of Prestwold Hall has been the seat of the Packe family for over 360 years since it was acquired by Sir Christopher Packe (1595 – 1682) in 1649, shortly after the death of Charles I. He was nominated by Cromwell to be one of the sixty who were to create a new senate. This was the apex of his rise to fame and fortune. The Restoration came however, and it was remembered that Christopher, ‘lord Packe,’ late lord mayor of London, had been one of the aldermen who proclaimed in May, 1649, the abolition of monarchy. Regicides had been among his intimate friends. In the August of 1660 Packe was disqualified from holding any public office and retired to Prestwold where he lived to the age of 87. 

In the 1760s Charles James Packe (1726 – 1816), rebuilt the Hall and soon after created the park around it. Standing on the northern part of the East Lawn runs a line of cedars, already in 1780 said to be of notable size. 

Five years after Charles William Packe (1792 – 1867) inherited the historic home of Prestwold in 1837, the house was largely remodelled by the defining Scottish architect William Burn. One of his earliest English commissions, it is one of the finest examples of a William Burn house in the neoclassical style. 

In the 1930s the Hon. Lady Penelope and Lady Ursula Packe, daughters of Sir Edward Hussey Packe (1878-1946), were surrounded by many of the brilliant artists of the era such as Cecil Beaton and Glyn Philpot RA. There is a particularly arresting photograph of Ursula by Madame Yevonde and many Cecil Beaton photographs in the family albums.

In 1938 Simon Jasper Packe-Drury-Lowe was born, renowned for being rather unusual individual, he took control of the estate when his father, part of the Bright Young Things, died at a young age. An incredibly forward thinker Simon was one of the first people in the country to acquire a license to open his house for weddings and events. 

The interior of the house is noted for its exceptional marbled plaster work in the Italian style, remarkable for both the scale and the quality of the work. Within the house there is a notable collection of twentieth century portraiture and of eighteenth century English and European furniture. 

Prestwold Hall remains to this day the home of the Packe-Drury-Lowe family.

By George Packe-Drury-Lowe

Library History

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