Origins in the 1750s
This beautiful setting, secluded by woodland and fields, has a unique history. If the majestic nearby oaks could talk, they would tell of the house’s origins in the mid-1750s when the Third Duke of Portland built a property as a stopover, and haven on his journey from Welbeck Abbey to Nottingham.
1800, and a military occupation
In around 1800, the Duke gifted the house and land to the military, predominantly the 17th Lancers, Mounted Cavalry, who were, it is said, based here to deal with the civil unrest in the area.
It was the military who built the outbuildings and stables to take the Cavalry horses. Walk around the buildings and you can see the stone mangers and stalls are intact.
In 1840, the seeds of history were sown
The Wellingtonia tree is indigenous to Canada and while the Duke of Wellington was in Canada in 1830-40, he saw the large trees. As was the trend at the time, he liked it so much he collected seeds and safely carried them back to the UK.
Once back in England, the Duke handed out seeds to other gentry and so the Duke of Portland received one. He planted it in the garden at High Oakham in around 1840 to 1841. It is still there. The stories it could tell, and the things it might have seen.
That tree will be cared for and will once again see the beautiful park come to life.
In 1843, the death of a faithful friend
There is a tombstone in the garden, marking the death of a red setter called Grouse. The inscription carved on the stone is as follows “in memory of Grouse Who died August 4th 1843. A favourite setter the property of Captain Palmer 17th Lancers.”
Just a few years later, the Lancers left the house, known as “Mansfield Barracks”, and went to Russia to fight in the Crimean War.
A badge of honour, from 1881
There is located on the wall of The Cottage, known as the Gate House for the barracks, a badge of the Notts and Derby Yeomanry who were based at the Barracks when the Lancers departed. The badge is dated around 1881. Just over a decade later, it became a house once more.