“In Consequence of the Demolition of Haggerston Castle…”

by Arthur on Friday, December 18, 2009

in 19th-Century,Architecture

I. In Consequence of the Demolition of Haggerston Castle, Beal, Northumberland:  Illustrated Catalogue of the Most Expensive and Best Period Style Fixtures and Fittings, Metal, Materials and Fabric; Also Garden Ornaments, Balustrading, Paving, Sculptured Stone Figures, Fine Wrought Iron Gates, Etc. Etc.  II. Haggerston Castle, Beal, Northumberland: Catalogue of Four Days Sale.  III.  llustrated Particulars of Sale with Plans and Conditions of Sale of the Valuable Freehold Sporting, Manorial, Residential Estate, known as Haggerston Castle, covering in all about 1750 Acres, Etc. Etc.  [45871]

llustrated Particulars of Sale with Plans and Conditions of Sale of the Valuable Freehold Sporting, Manorial, Residential Estate, known as Haggerston Castle

Illustrated Particulars of Sale with Plans and Conditions of Sale of the Valuable Freehold Sporting, Manorial, Residential Estate, known as Haggerston Castle

On Saturday, the 3rd of May, 1930, C. D. Leyland attempted to sell his late father C. N. Leyland’s estate at auction, entrusting the sale to Ward Price & Co. The firm issued a small folio catalog describing the property in detail, including Haggerston Castle, a 150-room Italianate mansion replete with Georgian and Adams fireplaces and other desirable amenities.

The sale, unfortunately, was not a success.

Buyers may have been deterred by local legends that the house was cursed by witches and possibly haunted, a theory that several somewhat ghostly images from the catalog do little to discredit. Or perhaps the contemporaneous collapse of global financial markets had something to do with it.

The 1750-acre  property was not without attractions, which Ward Price & Co. meticulously documented in their prospectus, including a lake, parsonage, post office, and “practically the whole of the Village of Fenwick.”

The Barns

When he failed to find a buyer, Leyand made the decision to demolish the castle, liquidate its desirable architectural fittings and appliances, and parcel out the surrounding lands for development. Six months later Ward Price & Co. issued two additional catalogs — less lavishly illustrated and smaller in size than the first — describing in brief over 3,500 individual lots, including everything from the gardener’s stock of chrysanthemum plants and the kitchen linens to a massive oaken staircase and marble portals.

They document the contents of the Leyland estate in minutia, providing a window into the household economy of the lapsed Edwardian aristocracy, down to the particulars of its toilet.

The catalogs also contain a wealth of information about architectural details of Haggerston Castle, including an inventory of fireplaces, doors, portals, chandeliers, plumbing and other fixtures.

This second sale was successful.  After the dust had settled and buyers carted away their purchases, the land itself was sold in lots. Today, the site is largely tenanted by Haggerston Castle Holiday Park, a popular discount-rate summer residence & campsite.

Haggerston Castle Holiday Park

Haggerston Castle Holiday Park

Leyland and his predecessors would surely be horrified…

Evidence of the witches’ curse come true?

FAB Item I.D. # 45871.  Please contact us for price & availability.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Arthur Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 4:02 PM

I wish I could help. I’m afraid we do not have an electronic copy, only the scans you see here. Please contact me at arthur [at] fabernett [dot] com to discuss the possibility of an electronic copy off comments. Thank you.

2 Duncan Elson Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 11:23 AM

I have been asked to copy another copy of the Ward Price catalogue do you have a complete electronic copy and if so would you be willing to sell us a copy to save time and money? Also do you have any knowledge of an electronic version of the Chillingham Estate Auction Catalogue dated July 29th 1913 we have a hard copy and are looking for an electronic copy.

3 Arthur Monday, May 10, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Dear Dr. Shaw,

Thank you for supplying the relevant biographical notes for Christopher John Leyland. I had known about the Leyland Cypress but not of his pursuits as a zoologist or the range of his business dealings. Your commentary adds an additional depth of detail to our post and I appreciate it. Is Norman Shaw a relation of yours?

Warmly,
Arthur Fournier

4 Christopher Shaw Friday, May 7, 2010 at 4:13 AM

Dear recto or verso,

Christopher John Leyland was not only an ambitious builder but a businessman and technophile. He was an associate of Charles Parsons, the developer of the turbine, and was an active partner in the project that culminated in building the Turbinia, for a time the fastest vessel in the world.

He was also a heavy investor in Tanganyika Concessions, which hoped to exploit the mineral riches of the Congo by building a railway to the west coast of Africa. This was to be built later as the Benguela line, though CJ’s active involvement with the company had ceased by then.

He was a zoologist, with a collection of exotic species (bison, rhea, ostrich) gracing the parkland of Haggerston. He was also an enthusiastic planter of trees and nurtured the now notorious Leyland Cypress, which was an accidental cross between two hitherto separate species.

He was an ambitious builder: the first Haggerston was designed by Norman Shaw, but the castle to which the sale catalogue refers was a rebuilt after a fire. The architect this time was James Bow Dunn, designer of the Scotsman building, Edinburgh.

You’ll not be surprised to hear that CJL has become something of a research interest of mine.

Best wishes,

Dr Christopher Shaw

5 Arthur Monday, April 19, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Glad you found this post! The item is still available — http://www.fabernett.com/cgi-bin/fab455/45871.html. Let us know if you have any questions. You can e-mail me at arthur (at) fabernett.com.

6 Trisha Dickins Monday, April 5, 2010 at 4:30 PM

As a Haggerston predecessor, I am horrified! But very happy to have found some great photos of the castle – too bad I didn’t manage to get this lovely document, it seems to have been sold? If anyone can assist in what happened to it, or if I can still get a copy/original perhaps you can let me know. Thank you!

7 Lauren Monday, January 11, 2010 at 4:59 PM

I love the historical narrative you recover through these objects! melancholy and mirthful at the same time.

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