Mellish Family Seats
The site of Blyth Priory was alienated after the dissolution of the monasteries, and passed to the Saunderson family. Blyth Hall, which was presumably converted from the Abbey buildings in the mid-sixteenth century, was sold in 1635 by William Saunderson to John Mellish (d 1677). Edward Mellish (d 1703) demolished the old buildings and began completely rebuilding the house in brick in April 1684.
It remained the Mellish family's principal residence until Lt Col. Henry Francis Mellish (d 1817) sold it to Joshua Walker Esq. in 1806 to pay his gambling debts. The Hall fell into ruins in the early part of the twentieth century and was demolished in 1973.
Blyth Hall, c.1900s
Reproduced courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Council and Picture the Past, a non-profit making project that makes historic images from the library and museum collections of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Derby and Derbyshire, freely available at the click of a button to anyone with access to the Internet, anywhere in the world. See thousands more pictures like this at www.picturethepast.org.uk
Hodsock was owned through nine generations from the mid-twelfth century by the Cressy family. A moated manor house was in existence by 1250. Despite the name, which came into use only in the nineteenth century, there was never a priory or other religious institution on the site.
Hodsock Priory, c.1900s
Reproduced courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Council and Picture the Past
The estate then passed to the Clifton family through the marriage of Katherine Cressy to Sir John Clifton, who died in 1403, and remained in their hands for a further thirteen generations. The massive brick gateway still standing at Hodsock probably dates from the early sixteenth century, and it is possible that the original Hall, of which no trace now remains, was rebuilt at around this time. The main Clifton family residence was in Clifton near Nottingham, and after the family was fined for delinquency following the Civil War in the 1640s they ceased to use the Hodsock house.
The gatehouse at Hodsock Priory, Nottinghamshire, c.1938
The back side of the gatehouse at Hodsock Priory, Nottinghamshire, 2008
The rebuilt house was sold in 1765 to William Mellish (1708-1791) and used as a subsidiary residence to the main Mellish house, the nearby Blyth Hall. William's son Charles Mellish (1737-1797) improved the estate, but his son Lt Col. William Henry Mellish (d 1817) was a gambler, and sold Blyth Hall to pay his debts, upon which Hodsock became the family home. Hodsock was inherited by Colonel Mellish's sister Mrs Anne Chambers (d 1855), who supervised the building of a new south wing and Italian terrace in the Gothic Revival style between 1829-1833, designed by Ambrose Poynter. The main body of the house was rebuilt in 1874 by the widow of the next owner, Mrs Margaret Mellish, to a design by George Devey.
The last Mellish owner of the house was Colonel Henry Mellish, who died in 1927. His two unmarried sisters continued to live in the house for the remainder of their lives. It passed in 1935 to a cousin, Mrs Mary Constance Mayhew (1901-1982), sister of Sir Charles James Buchanan, 4th Baronet (1899-1984) . Mrs Mayhew and her family moved into Hodsock Priory in 1942. Surrounding land and the contents of the house were sold at auction in 1946.
In 1966 Mrs Mayhew's life interest was bought out Sir Andrew Buchanan, 5th Baronet, who continues to live at Hodsock Priory with his family. Hodsock Priory is famous for its lavish snowdrop display each February. The house and gardens are closed to the public at other times of the year.
Hodsock Priory, 2008
Next page: Mellish Family Biographies