BROOKHILL HALL

An oasis in the Derbyshire countryside. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries had a big impact on the landscape, but it remained home to a composer and pianist.

Brookhill Hall - The Tatler - Oct 19 1921 - BNA (1)
Image: The British Newspaper Archive.
Brookhill Hall - The Tatler - Oct 19 1921 - BNA (2)
Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

These photographs of Mrs Sacheverell Coke and her children date from 1921, and were taken by Miss Compton Collier at Brookhill Hall, Pinxton, in Derbyshire.  Mrs Sacheverell Coke was the widow of Lieutenant Langton Sacheverell Coke (1878-1914)  of the Irish Guards, struck in the head with a bullet at Klein Zillebeke, near Ypres, in the first few months of World War One . He was the eldest son of Colonel William Langton Coke and in 1908 married Miss Dorothy Maye Huntingford (1881-1957), daughter of Captain George Huntingford, Royal Navy, of Hampshire.  At one time he had been sub-editor of the Black and White magazine, a British illustrated weekly that was incorporated into The Sphere in 1912.

His heir was the little boy, Roger, seen in these pictures, who was born in 1913, and was now lord of the manor of Pinxton and joint lord of the manor of South Normanton. The little girl’s name was Betty, four years older than her brother.

Brookhill Hall - Notable Derbyshire Houses - Derbyshire Countryside Ltd (1)
The entrance front of Brookhill Hall, Pinxton, in Derbyshire. Brookhill Hall. It dates from the early 17thcentury, and it has been concluded that the surrounding gardens and park were laid out following the inheritance of the estate by the Rev D’Ewes Coke in 1780. The style of the landscape is characteristic of designs by the 18th-century designer William Emes who worked on similar houses in the locality, although no direct evidence has yet been identified to confirm any association with Brookhill Hall. Image: Derbyshire Countryside.

There had been Cokes at Brookhill since the middle of the sixteenth century and the house was essentially Jacobean incorporating parts of an earlier building. Descended from Sir Edward Coke, the Attorney General for Elizabeth I, the family became important landowners, and since 1744 the Earl of Leicester title had been in the family. Until 1567, the house was known as Hill Brook House, and like many family seats, Brookhill had grown up over the centuries with each generation adding its mark.

Brookhill Hall - Notable Derbyshire Houses - Derbyshire Countryside Ltd (4)
Brookhill Hall, Pinxton, Derbyshire. The Dining Room showing a painting of Roger Sacheverell Coke as a boy holding his father’s sword. Image: Derbyshire Countryside.

By the 1960s, Brookhill and its park was stranded in an industrial landscape bounded on one side by nineteenth century developments of Pinxton and the twentieth century M1 motorway, which cut through the park on the other.

Brookhill Hall - Notable Derbyshire Houses - Derbyshire Countryside Ltd (2)
The eighteenth century stable block where Roger Sacheverell Coke, pianist and composer, had his music room. Image: Derbyshire Countryside.

In 1972, Robert Innes-Smith wrote that the most important treasures of Brookhill had been dispersed, but it remained home to Roger Sacheverell Coke, now a distinguished composer and pianist, who did most of his work in his studio in the converted eighteenth-century stable block. For Roger’s 21st birthday, his mother had ordered the Coach House to be turned into an area where all his musical indulgences could be fulfilled.

Roger died in 1972, the house in perilous state, and his heir, Gilbert William Lloyd Darwin, sold the house, but not the estate, to the Cookson family who restored it.

Roger Sacheverell Coke - All Events
Roger Sacheverell Coke (1912-1972) was raised by his mother Dorothy after his father died in combat early in the First World War. Schooled at Eton, Coke later studied composition with Alan Bush, theory with J Frederick Staton, and piano with Mabel Lander (a pupil of Leschetizky). Following his studies, Coke returned to the ancestral home, Brookhill Hall, where his mother converted the coach house and stable block to serve as his music studio and concert hall. This remained his home and the centre of his musical activities for the rest of his life.
Brookhill Hall - Notable Derbyshire Houses - Derbyshire Countryside Ltd (6)
The Music Room in the converted stables at Brookhill Hall. It was later converted into a seven-bedroom property. Image: Derbyshire Countryside.
Brookhill Hall - Notable Derbyshire Houses - Derbyshire Countryside Ltd (5)
The Library, panelled in oak painted white to display the coats of arms of the families allied to the Cokes. Image: Derbyshire Countryside.
Brookhill Hall - Notable Derbyshire Houses - Derbyshire Countryside Ltd (7)
The Inner Hall. Image: Derbyshire Countryside.
Brookhill Hall - Notable Derbyshire Houses - Derbyshire Countryside Ltd (9)
A corner of the Entrance Hall showing a seventeenth century oak Bible box and portrait of Frederick the Great. Image: Derbyshire Countryside.
Brookhill Hall - The Jessop Consultancy (1)
Grade II listed Brookhill Hall today. Early 17th century, extended in the early 18th and early 19 centuries, with late 19th century alterations and porch dated 1898. It is built of coursed squared stone, rubble and red brick, with ashlar dressings, and stone slate roof. Image: The Jessop Consultancy.
Conor Nolan
The Coach House, later a Music Room, on the Brookhill Hall estate, once used as a hunting ground by James I and Charles II. It is difficult to believe that the interiors of the seven-bedroom property, on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border, were once where groomsmen tended to horses and carriages would be stored. Image: Daily Mail.
Brookhill Hall - Google Maps (1)
Brookhill Hall, Pinxton, Derbyshire. The mansion is at the centre of this satellite photograph. The M1 motorway runs across former parkland. Image: Google Maps.

One thought on “BROOKHILL HALL”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s