The South Ormsby Estate, the hall and the Massingberd-Mundy family have a rich, diverse and interesting history that intertwines with many events of historical significance.
South Ormsby Hall is a beautiful Grade II* listed country house set in the middle of 150 acres of parkland. Nestled in the Lincolnshire Wolds, in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), the hall is approximately 8 miles south of the market town of Louth. It is the centre piece of a 3,000-acre estate that covers some of Lincolnshire’s most beautiful woodland, farmland and heritage. Originally built in the 17th Century, it was largely rebuilt between 1752 and 1755 by the architect James Paine (1717-1789). Paine’s other work includes the Mansion House in Doncaster, Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, Glentworth Hall near Market Rasen and Richmond Bridge in London. The Hall is constructed of red brick with a Flemish bond brickwork pattern. There were further alternations throughout the course of both the 19th and 20th Centuries making South Ormsby Hall what we see today.
The Massingberd-Mundy Family
South Ormsby Hall was purchased by Sir Drayner Massingberd in 1638. Sir Drayner Massingberd was the younger brother of Sir Henry Massingberd of Gunby Hall, which is located 8 miles south-east of South Ormsby Hall. Sir Drayner Massingberd purchased the Hall with his own personal fortune that he received from his mother. Over the next 20 years, Sir Drayner Massingberd added over 2,600 acres to the estate. Sir Drayner Massingberd, along with his brother Henry, fought in the English Civil War which raged across England between 1642 and 1651. The Massingberd brothers raised troops against the forces of King Charles I, fighting for the Parliamentarians under Oliver Cromwell. After the execution of Charles I in 1649, the Parliamentarians took full control in 1651 and Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector. Cromwell created Sir Henry Massingberd a baronet in July 1658. However, following Cromwell’s death just a few months later and the overthrowing of Cromwell’s son Richard, Charles I’s son, Charles II was restored to the throne. Both Sir Drayner and Sir Henry both received royal pardons for their part in the Civil War. The estate continued to be passed down the generations of Massingberd and the Massingberd-Mundy family. In 2016, the estate was sold after the passing of Adrian Massingberd-Mundy in August 2012. The estate now looks forward to the beginning of a new era with the new custodians of the estate.
St Leonard’s Church in South Ormsby is the resting place for many of the Massingberd-Mundy family. It was once the parish of Samuel Wesley, the father of John and Charles Wesley who were the founders of Methodism. Samuel Wesley was the rector of the South Ormsby parish between 1690 and 1694. John and Charles were born in the early 1700s after Samuel had moved to Epworth in northern Lincolnshire. Within the estate sits the ruins of an abandoned Medieval village at Calceby. The village existed prior to the Norman invasion in 1066 and belonged to Earl Harold, who became King Harold II of England. It was one of 84 villages in Lincolnshire that was owned by the future King before his accession to the throne after the death of Edward the Confessor in 1066. The abandoning of the village is likely to have started during the outbreak of the Black Death in the 14th Century, and a plague pit was found in the 1950’s during the alteration of a road through the village. The final reason was probably caused due to the changing of farming in the mid-17th Century when sheep rearing became more profitable than growing crops meaning fewer people were needed to work on the land. The Greenwich Prime Meridian line, that which marks the division between the western and eastern hemispheres, also runs through the estate on the western side.