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A Summer in Review

The summer of 2019 has been a busy and highly productive time for South Ormsby Estate. We’ve seen events, activities and restoration work that have taken us further down the road towards the dynamic, sustainable, rural enterprise we’re striving to create.


The estate’s handsome iron fences have been carefully repaired and re-painted, including the Lion Gates – a scrolled section surmounted by a golden lion. The South Drive also acquired a golden hue when it was resurfaced with golden gravel to match its description in the estate’s historical records.


Restoration and maintenance are constant priorities for the estate. Our tenants saw safety checks carried out on their oil tanks, chimneys and fires, and new detectors and alarms fitted. In more dramatic fashion, a huge cherry-picker was drafted in so that the stable-yard clock could be removed for repair. Not to be outdone, Craig Cuppleditch, our Estate Steward, was obliged to don bee-keeper’s overalls and remove a swarm of bees from the roof of the hall.

In April, after much painstaking work, the estate’s Victorian rectory opened as The Old Rectory Guest House. Once home to the Reverend Francis Massingberd, the rectory now offers light and airy accommodation in tasteful, period surroundings. The highest standards of hospitality are assured by hosts Tanya and Roy, who boast a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector.


In July, the beautiful Walled Garden was the perfect venue for a performance of The Secret Garden by Chapterhouse. In glorious weather, visitors to the estate were thoroughly enchanted by music, song and woodland puppet creatures, with Party Delights and their delicious ice-cream on hand.


The South Ormsby Estate Graduate Training Scheme got underway, seeking out talented young people from the local community to further the estate’s vision of invigorating the region. Our first two trainees, Finn Bracey and Annabelle Jaspal, got to grips with a variety of roles and are already making a positive contribution to our work.

Both The Old Rectory and the estate generally have formed a perfect venue for photography courses, which seem set to be a regular commercial attraction. Damian Furlong will be offering evening and morning shoots on 29th and 31st August, while Daria Pipczynska will be shooting with glamorously attired models at the rectory on 1st September.


Last week saw the third annual Beef & Bike Night, a festive and well attended event which showcased the estate and gave petrolheads the chance to rub shoulders with current and future stars of British Superbikes. Our mighty off-set smoker, The Squire, was on hand to prepare our Lincoln Red beef. Other successful social occasions include the annual Morgan Day and a charity barbecue at the local pub which raised £2,600 for charity.


Work continued on the new biomass boiler this week. A trench was dug, archaeologists checked the ground and ducting was laid to connect the house to the boiler. When complete, it will be a welcome leap-forward in efficiency and sustainability.

Our existing boiler lacks efficiency when it comes to heating a grand, 18th-century house throughout the winter. From November 2018 to March 2019, it guzzled 14,331 litres of fuel oil and we still had to burn wood in some of the fireplaces to keep off the chill. Even taking aside fuel costs, maintaining fireplaces daily and occasionally getting chimneys swept can be time-consuming. While we’ll be keeping the internal wood fires for their comfort and charm, heating the hall with the biomass boiler will be far more efficient.


The estate’s work is never done. As we write, the first load of the winter barley crop is heading out of the grain store and the newest member of the team, Tristan Jorgensen, is gearing up to produce the estate’s very own brand of high-quality gin.