It seems unthinkable that a building listed on the English Heritage Register should ever face the possibility of being bulldozed, but this is the situation that a 19th-century stately home in Northamptonshire faces after plans for a historic property restoration were rejected.
Grade II listed Overstone Hall was planned to be fully restored after a combination of vandalism, arson and decay had left the building close to derelict, but in early 2023, owner Barry Howard Homes stated it was unviable to restore and therefore submitted a demolition application.
Its construction commenced in 1860 at the request of Lady Overstone, wife of Samuel Jones-Loyd, First(and only) Baron of Overston, but she died in 1864 before it was completed. According to legend, he hated every single one of its 119 rooms.
Following his death and the settling of the estate, the building passed to his daughter Harriet, and when she did it was eventually converted into a girls’ boarding school, which remained its primary function until 1979, when it was bought by the New Testament Church of God.
This Pentecostal church used the building as a base of operations, but unfortunately, it became infamous in the area for being the victim of an arson attack that burned down half of the estate.
Half of it continued to be used as retirement flats as late as 2014, but eventually, the derelict condition became too dangerous for continued use.
Barry Howard Homes bought Overstone Hall with the plan to convert it into 16 apartments and 60 homes on the grounds but these plans stalled after complaints about the latter homes and the effect it could have on preserving and restoring its historic character.
After a second fire in 2023, Barry Howard Homes admitted defeat, and it remains to be seen whether another company will try to save it or if a piece of British history will be bulldozed.