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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Hundreds attend restoration open day at Cumbrian hall

Curious onlookers braved the wind to get a sneak peek at a historic country home being restored.

Kirklinton Hall architect photo
Architect Pieter Rol

Kirklinton Hall, near Longtown, was built in the 1680s and has since been used as an RAF base, a school, and is rumoured to have been visited by gangsters the Kray twins.

Owner Christopher Boyle QC, who works as a barrister, revealed it was even used by ladies of the night.

Music and food were on offer for the members of the public who turned out in high numbers for an open day yesterday. The building is being restored with the aim of becoming the future home of Mr Boyle’s 11-year-old son Henry.

Originally the building was going to be turned into 22 flats but this plan was derailed when the company developing it collapsed.

Mr Boyle, who subsequently bought the property, said: “We’ve started on the restoration and I bought it because I didn’t want there to be 22 houses there.

“I’m very much looking forward to seeing it come together. It’s almost a lifetime project.”

As well as looking around the grounds, visitors were entertained by dancers with bells and colourfully-dressed stilt walkers.

For food there were burgers and lamb available, along with cakes.

The scheme was designed by architect Pieter Rol, who had also overseen the previous plans. He said: “The interesting part is to see people’s reactions to the project.

“It’s a 20-year plan so if I see the completion of it I’ll be happy. It really will be great to see it happen.”

Part of the building will also be used by the Prince’s Foundation, of which Mr Boyle is a trustee. It will function as a place for trainees to hone their craft skills. The event was also attended by the Cumbrian Active Paranormal Society.

Member Carole Gault spent the night at the derelict property on Saturday and said there were sinister happenings. She said:

“The spirit that was with me was really sad.

“I won’t put myself in the path of bad spirits but there are some that get trapped here.”

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