Our History

With roots set firmly in the 13th century, Beamish Hall Manor started life as a wedding gift to celebrate the union between two Norman families; Isabella de la Leigh & Guiscard de Charron, who in the mid 13th century were gifted with the land as a thank you for helping William the Conqueror successfully invade England. Built originally as a fortified farmhouse, the estate controlled all the nearby small villages, towns and hamlets, dispensing justice as the proverbial ‘Lords of the Manor.’

Five generations of the Charron & Monboucher families occupied Beamish Manor, as it was then called, with the direct line of the family dying out in 1400, at which point the estate passed through the hands of many northern aristocratic families. These included the Percy Family, the Earl of Northumberland, whose primary seat, Alnwick Castle is well within travelling distance of Beamish Hall and ideally placed for a day trip.

It is during the Percy’s time when Beamish Estate in its entirety was forfeited to the crown as a consequence of his part in the failed Rising of the North, 1569, and the hall then passed to the Wray family.

The Wray family greatly extended the hall according to the architectural fashions of the time in the early 17th century, and the
 hall changed hands again in 1693 to the then Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Timothy Davison, a wealthy merchant looking to obtain & create a family estate.

Additional building work took place in the early 18th century and the Davison family married into the Eden family who further down the line married in to the Shafto family, each family adding on various entertaining spaces to the hall, to create the hall we have today which offers architectural glimpses into the Edwardian, Victorian, Georgian and Elizabethan eras.

Post World War Two, and with the introduction of death duty, Beamish Hall was taken from the Shafto family in lieu of non-payment of death duties, as many large estates were at this time, and the remaining family members moved to Bavington Hall in Northumberland.

It is at this point where, after 700 years of history as a private home, the hall began a new and varied chapter as the headquarters of Durham Coal Board and used for school retreats & educational purposes before being obtained by a very new Beamish Museum.

After the museum moved to a new site (next door!), the hall passed into the hands
of one hotelier before being purchased and transformed by the Craggs family who
 own and run the hotel as it stands today, returned to the ownership of one family.

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