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History

A short history of Stoke Rochford Hall

Principally prepared by the late Terence R Leach Vice Chairman of the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology

Stoke Rochford has been the location for a series of noble houses. There was a Roman Villa here and in the 14th century the Nevilles had a house here. This was followed by a 15th century house belonging to the Rochfords and a 16th century one owned by the Coneys. Around the year 1665 Sir Edmund Turnor built the first Turnor house here.

Sir Edmund Turnor’s house was taken down in 1774. In 1794 the Turnors built once more at Stoke: this time the house was smaller. The building was demolished in the 1840’s, when the present house was built.

In the 1840’s Christopher Turnor (1809-1886) decided to rebuild and asked architect William Burn for sketch plans for Stoke Rochford Hall.

In addition to designing Turnor’s house, Burn laid out Stoke Rochford village in Tudor style between 1840 and 1845, the result being the present group of picturesque stone cottages near the church.

Christopher Turnor made Stoke Rochford his main residence, but his son Edmund Turner (1838-1903) favoured their Panton house in north Lincolnshire. Stoke Rochford was for a time occupied by tenants. Edmund Turnor’s nephew and heir, Christopher Turnor (1873-1940) lived mainly at Stoke and was the last of his family to live in the house.

During the war the house was taken over by the war department, and for 18 months it housed the headquarters of the Second Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. Here, on the Library floor, the plans were laid which led to the ill-fated Arnhem ‘drop’ of 1944.

After the war, the house became a training college for teachers, the Kesteven County Council taking over in 1948. The college closed at the end of September 1978, and the National Union of Teachers opened its National Education and Conference Centre on 1st October 1978.

Still owned by the NUT, Stoke Rochford Hall today is a magnificent hotel and conference centre, open for all to enjoy.

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