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WEDDINGTON CASTLE - An Online History


Other Halls and Castles Around Nuneaton - Lindley Hall

Click on thumbnail for larger image. Scroll to bottom of page for brief historical details of this building

A picture of Lindley Hall and grounds

A private Roman Catholic chapel in the grounds.

Aerial view of RAF aerodrome on former Lindley Hall site in 1945

Aerial view of MIRA testing ground on former Lindley Hall site in 2005

The fine Palladian mansion of Lindley Hall once stood in the lush Leicestershire/Warwickshire borderlands near to the Watling Street (A5). Samuel Bracebridge completed it in 1705, with additions made in 1774. on the site of a much older moated house. The drive which led to it was half a mile long from the Watling Street. The hall was set in 94 acres of beautiful parkland and pastures and also in the grounds was an ancient chapel erected in 1444. Lindley was a small historic country estate, which included the village of Fenny Drayton (known as the birthplace of George Fox, founder of the Quaker movement, in 1634), the Royal Red Gate Inn and several small farms. 

It was the home for several generations of the Bracebridge family and passed down the female line to Rev Samuel Bracebridge Heming MA (Honorary Fellow of Caius College, Cambridge). Rev Bracebridge Heming was also the Lord of the Manor of Weddington, Lindley and Drayton, and of Ravenstone in Leicestershire.

The last owner of the Hall was Lieutenant Commander Francis Eyre RN and when he died in 1920 the Hall stood empty for five years, after which Lindley Hall became one of the first of the country houses and estates in the Nuneaton area to fall victim to redevelopment, being demolished in 1925. At the same time a private Roman Catholic chapel in the grounds was also demolished, this had been built by a previous owner of the Hall, Mr V. T. Eyre, in the 1870s. In the photo above, the workmen are about to raze it to the ground during the demolition of the Hall.

Following the demolition an aerodrome was built at Lindley in the Second World War. Later, on 22nd May 1954, the Motor Industries Research Association (MIRA) opened their car proving ground on the site. The MIRA site remains to the present day, and its lands now encompass a large stretch of the former Weddington Railway line, now a nature walk (although MIRA's part remains closed to the public).  The wartime hangar and several other buildings on the tech site are in perfect condition and in use by MIRA. The control tower too is in good condition and is used as an observation and control centre for the testing tracks, which use nearly all of the perimeter track and runways.

Historical text (c) Peter Lee 2003 and 2008                                                                     

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