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Derelict mansion will be golf course centrepiece

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

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A DERELICT country mansion built nearly 250 years ago will become the clubhouse at JCB’s new £30 million golf resort.

Last week, the digger giant announced it would build a top-quality course behind its Rocester World Headquarters.

The move will creat 100 permanent jobs, not counting jobs created during construction.

JCB bosses also want the course to become part of the European Tour.

As part of the project, several old buildings on JCB’s 240-acre site will be renovated to serve the course.

One of those will be historic Woodseat Hall, which was built as a home for the High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1767 and will become the course’s clubhouse.

Rocester historian Roy Burnett said: “It’s fantastic news that the hall is to be given a new lease of life nearly 250 years after it was built.

“It has been a dominant and much-loved feature of the local landscape for generations and I’m delighted its future has been secured with this scheme.”

The hall was constructed by Thomas Bainbrigge and passed on to his eldest son, Thomas Jnr, when he died in 1788.

Thomas Jnr passed the asset to his daughter, Elizabeth, but her paternal uncle, Joseph Bainbridge, contested the will and a 40-year legal battle ensued.

During the dispute, the 5,700-acre estate was run by trustees until 1860 and Elizabeth never gained control.

It was bought at auction in 1861 for £6,000 by famous Stoke-on-Trent potters the Minton family after the Bainbridge’s legal bills spiralled out of control.

The estate was sold by the Mintons in 1941, having been in the hands of trustees since 1922.

During World War II, the hall was used to store rations, with tins of powdered milk and eggs stacked from floor to ceiling.

It eventually fell into ruin and, after a brief spell as a garden centre, was bought by JCB in 1986.

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