Rangemore Hall

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The earliest reference I have so far is that a Mr John Rigby lived at Rangemore House on the site of the present Hall in 1832.


Michael Thomas Bass II had it rebuilt, head of Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton a large brewery firm in Burton on Trent, he moved into Rangemore Hall in the late 1850s. During the rebuilding, the main road use to run outside the main house, it was diverted to accommodate the new buildings, that is why, what was once a straight road between the two public houses has a bend outside Rangemore Hall. In 1860 Michael Thomas Bass and his family moved in. The grounds and gardens were beautifully laid by a famous landscape gardener Edward Milner.


Rangemore Hall was reconstructed and extended by Lord Burton when he inherited it from his father, Michael Thomas Bass together with the estate.  A large part of the estate was leased by the Duchy of Lancaster it was subsequently purchased outright by Lord Burton in 1884. The work on the house began in 1898, it was carried out in the Italian style of architecture. During the reconstruction it was fitted out with all mod cons of the time from electric lights to electric lifts. The walls in the dining room were made high enough to hang seven Gobelin tapestries.


When the work was completed in 1902, King Edward VII made his first public visit to Burton on Trent since his accession to the throne, where he stayed at Rangemore Hall from Friday February 21st till Monday the 24th. During his stay on the Saturday, he made a public visit to Burton and the brewery where he started a special brew, known as "The Kings Ale". On Sunday, his Majesty attended a public service at Rangemore Church before returning to London on Monday morning.


Just beyond the lake, Lord Burton had a mound constructed and a gap cleared in the forest with two bullet-proof booths one on either side of the clearing connected by rail tracks. The mound was made of shale covered with earth and lawn. A local blacksmith who was persuaded by the Baron to work for him full time, made a magnificent stag out of iron and hide with beautiful head and horns. The servants in the booths would pull the stag along the tracks by rope for Lord Burton, King Edward VII and their guest to shoot. The mound has long since disappeared.


After dinner the gentlemen would retire into the magnificent billiard room, the children and servants were taught to "listen for the shot before going in". The billiard table stood in the same place as the snooker table in the Ewing Room.


Nellie Lisa Bass inherited Rangemore Hall and the title of Baroness Burton after the death of her father, Lord Burton in 1909. For 70 years Baroness Burton divided her time between Rangemore Hall and her two Scottish homes. Rangemore Hall was becoming too large for her, she once complained of having to cut her servants to seventy. She sold it to Staffordshire County Council on 24th October 1949 for 40,000.


In 1944 the American GIs occupied Rangemore Hall till 1945, some have left their names inscribed on the walls and door of one of the outhouses behind the caretaker's lodge.


The Baroness moved to Needwood House, still on the estate just one mile from Rangemore Hall, she still travelled to her Scotland homes, always taking her beloved Cairn Terriers with her. The Baroness Burton, born 1873, led a very active life, died in 1962.


In January 27th 1954 Rangemore Hall was opened as 'Needwood School for the Partially Deaf' with 46 children all of whom have been transferred from other deaf schools. The average total number of pupils has been approximately 120 (the maximum number of pupils that could be taken in was 150). During the 1980s the number of pupils coming to Needwood was getting smaller, at the time it closed in 1985 the number of attendants was down to 26.


Just before the school's closure, over 500 former pupils and staff came to the last grand reunion to say their farewell.  As the total number of pupils was only 600, that was impressive by any standard it just shows how much people think of Needwood.


The building has been sold subject to contract for a residential management training centre. The plan is to use the Hall as a training and conference centre with leisure facilities that include fishing, pitch and putt, tennis, squash, badminton and clay pigeon shooting. It will accommodate up to 150 people.


The stables and courtyard is be sold as a separate lot. A local company is believed to be buying the buildings and has plans for mews type housing development.


I hope the buyer will restore the Hall and the ground to its former glory and splendour, especially the beautiful 'Yew' gardens with Its pleasant walks through the woods.


I wish to thank Mrs Sarah Elsom of the Bass Museum for her help in compiling this short history of Rangemore Hall.