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Detail from drawing of Kinlet Hall from estate terrier, 1782
A brief history of Kinlet Hall

The history of Kinlet village goes back to before Domesday. Here, Francis Engleheart gives a short account of this history.

A Historic Location

When you stand on the steps of Kinlet Hall you're looking over centuries of history. The mansion behind you is a relative newcomer to the scene! Once, long before the Hall was built, there was a village clustered round the church. It's even thought that the church itself was built on a pre-Christian sacred site. At the time of the Norman Conquest, the manor of Chinlete belonged to Edith, wife of King Edward the Confessor. Through the Middle Ages and into Tudor times, the estate passed by inheritance through the de Brompton, Cornwall and Blount families, some of whose tombs you can admire in the church.

Tomb of Sir George Blount in Kinlet Church
Drawing of Kinlet Hall from estate terrier, 1782

An Estate Transformed

The last of the Blounts, Sir George, died in 1581, leaving the estate to his nephew Rowland Lacon. In the following century Anne Lacon married a man called Sir William Childe. It was Sir William's grandson, William Lacon Childe, using the wealth of his own and his wife's families, who in the 1720s commissioned the Kinlet Hall we see today. His architect and builder was Francis Smith, "Smith of Warwick", who was responsible for several fine houses in the area. At the same time, the old village was removed, leaving the church surrounded by parkland and the Hall's pleasure grounds.

A Time of Plenty

The estate's historic heyday was probably in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, in the time of William Baldwyn Childe. Known as "The Flying Childe", he was a noted agricultural reformer and celebrated country sportsman, who won a wager that he could ride from his London club to Kinlet in what was considered an impossible time. The confidence of the estate at this period is reflected in the building of a large new room, the library, completed in 1827 three years after Baldwyn Childe's death. Designed by Edward Haycock, this is the only significant part of the house not dating from 1729.

1857 photograph of Haycock's library, Kinlet Hall
Kinlet Hall: the garden in 1857

Changing Fortunes

For various reasons, the later nineteenth century and the twentieth century were increasingly difficult for the owners of large estates. After the First World War, during which the owner's elder son died at Vimy Ridge, much land was sold at auction, as were many of the contents of the house. The Childe family continued to live in Kinlet Hall until 1940. During the Second World War the house was temporary home to a school for the blind; in 1944 the US army built a camp in the park, part of the preparations for the Normandy Landings.

A New Lease of Life

At the end of 1945 the Engleheart family brought Moffats School to Kinlet. They had founded the school in the south of England in 1934. Thus this fine house became home to a thriving preparatory school for over seventy years until the summer of 2017.

Moffats pupils relaxing in the gardens of Kinlet Hall, 1950s
Kinlet: The Life and Times of a Shropshire Village

In 2007 the Kinlet History Group published a book about the village of Kinlet, which includes a more detailed history of the Hall. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book for £10, please contact us.

Front cover image of Kinlet history book

More images

Map of Kinlet demesne (1782 terrier)