Nostell Priory

As part of our AGM on 1 July, the patron of the Society, Lord St Oswald, gave a short talk on one
of his great passions – Nostell Priory.
He told us it had been his family’s home for several centuries and talked about what had been
done to restore the house to it’s former glory. James Payne, Robert Adam and Thomas
Chippendale all had a hand in this and Nostell continues to be one of the greatest houses in the
north. Lord St Oswald told us there had been tragedies as well as successes but these stops and
starts can only be understood in retrospect.
John Harrison’s clock is one of its unique treasures and John himself grew up on the Nostell
estate; the Meridian cafe there is named in honour of him. Another of the house’s treasures is the
Doll’s House which is considered one of the finest in the world. In 1985 it was exhibited at the
Great Houses of Britain Exhibition in Washington and Lord St Oswald told us that Nancy Reagan
had her eyes on it for the White House but was told to ‘keep her bloody hands off!’
Lord St Oswald went on to say that in 2022 to his great surprise and honour he was given the
freedom of the City of Wakefield, an award which in the past would have involved receiving a key
to enter and exit through the city walls. This also granted him the right to drive a flock of sheep
through the city but he did not think that he would be doing that! He had the pleasure of sharing the
day with Chris Welch.
He finished with saying that Wakefield had been a priority for his family through the centuries and
he commended the Wakefield and District Family History Society for bringing the past to the
present and how this is something the Society achieves so well.

About Dave Huddart