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Undiscovered gems perfect for paying last respects


Historic houses are becoming increasingly popular with the bereaved as the perfect place to hold a funeral tea. Farewell Magazine profiles two undiscovered gems which offer families the privacy to grieve in private in surroundings with a true sense of occasion


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t has 42 acres of gardens and parklands and a host of beautiful buildings, but it is its combination of privacy in a much-loved public space that ensures Nottinghamshire’s


Kelham Hall & Country Park is a perfect place to mark the passing of a loved one. Built in 1863, much of the hall, which is


close to the historic county town of Newark, was designed by the eminent architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, the man whose distinctive Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras Station has greeted visitors to London for generations.


PHOTO: Kelham Hall aerial view It is true to say that Kelham Hall is one of his


lesser-known projects but while it isn’t exactly undiscovered – it has been the somewhat palatial headquarters of Newark and Sherwood District Council since the early 1970s – it has only been used as a leisure destination since April, since when it has been putting itself and its treasures on the map as one of the region’s foremost venues for weddings, parties and other social occasions. From its magnificent Byzantine Dome, which is capable of holding 700 people, to the intimate


setting of the Drawing Room – where the former owners, the Manners-Sutton family, used to entertain their guests beneath a stunning hand- painted ceiling - Kelham Hall is rich in facilities when it comes to providing a venue for all manner of celebrations. Inevitably, it is attracting a huge amount of


interest, including from families who are looking for somewhere to hold a wake, so that they can mark the passing of a loved one in a place with a sense of occasion. “The way that our society approaches funerals


nowadays means that families are looking for larger, suitable venues to hold wakes,” says Jonathan Pass of Kelham Hall. “They feel that their loved ones deserve something special but, naturally, given the sensitivity of the occasion, they want to find somewhere that has the right feel about it.” So far the hall, which is just six miles from the Sherwood Forest Crematorium, has hosted several wakes and it is already clear to Jonathan that it is tailor-made for the occasion. Not only does it have its own 12th century church within its grounds, its friendly air means that families can feel comfortable amongst all the grandeur. It also provides a number of catering options – from full sit-down to buffet-style meals, with provision to even include bespoke dishes that may have been a favourite of the deceased. What is more, the fact that Kelham Hall is an undiscovered gem means that families and friends can walk through its grounds without being on show to crowds of people, while there


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