Heritage and heart
Hale Park is a flexible and exclusive venue in which to hold your perfect wedding. There are almost 100m2 of Drawing Rooms and more than 500m2 of gardens and included with these is parking, power and water; bridal preparation rooms; a separate Gents and a mixed Gents and Ladies’ toilets of rare grandeur.
90 or so people can be seated in the church with room for overspill outside. There is a licence wedding licence for 120 people to be seated in the Drawing Rooms for a Civil Ceremony and 120 people can sit down to your wedding breakfast.
A stately home to make a statement
House and Grounds
Hale Park is a unique wedding venue in the South of England. A stately home that was built as a home but with the space and flexibility to allow you to mold and paint this blank canvas to create a unique day that is yours alone. With few restrictions, Hale Park can be your statement; your honouring of your union; your treat for your friends and a memory to last forever.
Here at Hale Park, we are trying to reach a responsible level of low carbon use. The estate has the organic side in hand. We are in an environmental agricultural scheme called Higher Level Stewardship which is the top level of such schemes. It means we have Soil Association organic certification for the meadow pastures; six metre hedgerow boundaries around all fields; healthy woodlands with 11 Ancient Woodland indicator specie; water meadows that are grazed carefully and a section of river prized by fishermen.
Plans are well advanced to make the switch from oil generated heating and hot water to ground source energy and the solar PV system has been in place for many years now. A carbon-offset scheme is in the works to offset agricultural use of petrol and diesel and numbers will be put to all this in due course.
The history of Hale Park
Thomas Archer (1668-1743) built Hale House in about 1715 on the site of an Elizabethan lodge designed by John Webb, a student of Inigo Jones. He was described as a “gentleman architect” as he came from a wealthy aristocratic family. He also held a very prestigious and profitable position in the Royal household given to him in 1705 by Queen Anne. He married twice, his first wife being carried off in childbirth, and his will stipulated that he be buried in the monument which he had already built in Hale Church. This monument can still be seen today.
Following Thomas, Henry Archer (1700-1768) and Andrew Archer (1736-1778) both lived at Hale Park and in 1776 – the year of the American Revolution - the Estate was sold to Joseph May, a wealthy wine merchant recently returned from Portugal.
Joseph May (1730-1796) and his wife Mary Coppendale had 10 children and they commissioned the famous architect Henry Holland to remodel the house. In 1780 he asked Angelica Kauffmann, a well-known artist of her time to paint two pictures of the family at Hale Park. These are very exceptional because the two portraits are divided by gender: Mary with the daughters and Joseph with the sons. They are currently blocked from export requiring £1,500,000 + VAT to keep them in the country. The May family lived at Hale Park for the next 60 years and on the death of Joseph May’s grandson the Estate was sold to Joseph Goff.
Joseph Goff (1778-1875) was a wealthy landowner who fathered nine children. They were unlucky both in longevity and in war: the males all died young, the last in the Boer War. The estate was run by the mother of the youngest Goff, Lady Adela (see picture), for many years and when she died in 1911 the property was rented to Geoffrey Skeffington Smyth. This gentleman was a distinguished army officer and man-about-town and he and his wife Violette appeared frequently in the social pages of the newspapers. Their son Terence Skeffington-Smyth who grew up at Hale Park lived a similar lifestyle and inherited a fortune from his mother when she died in 1930. He is chiefly famous for being one of the Bright Young Things and the star witness at a murder trial. He died in a smart hotel in Shanghai in 1936 having visited an opium den.
In 1920 Hale Park was sold to Major Ernest Beresford Fitzherbert Wright (1875-1942) who was the owner until about 1926. Their daughter Rosemary married Alfred Kirby in 1925 at Hale Park (see picture). In 1926 the house was sold to the Booth-Jones family who owned it for the next 50 years. During WW2 the house was occupied by Canadian troops preparing for D-Day and there are many memories.
The grandest of entrances
Lime tree avenue
The lime tree avenue is three quarters of a mile long (or 1.2 km). The house is designed to rise out of the landscape as you go down it. These days the approach is made by a road that runs parallel to the top section of the avenue, however this magical view can still be experienced, transport permitting.