History of Pepper Arden
The first owner of Pepper Hall, as the house was originally called, was Prescott Pepper. In fact he built it about 1730 on land which his great great grandfather, Sir Cuthbert Pepper, had bought more than a centuary before in South Cowton, North Yorkshire. He commissioned work to start on Pepper Hall with a plain elegant house of seven bays in the early Georgian style.
Shortly before Prescott's death, his sister Sarah had married John Arden of Stockport. The family lived on at Pepper Hall until their grandson Lord Alvanley succeeded them. In the late 1840's he employed the Scottish architect William Burn to make alterations and extentions to the orginal house. At the same time William Andrews Nestfield designed the formal gardens near the house. Lord Alvenley died in 1857, and in fact between 1857 and 1862 the hall was let to William Fredrick Webb, before the whole Arden estate was sold to Henry Hood.
Henry Hood bought the property lock, stock and barrel in 1862. Soon after he briefed a firm of Leeds architects, Dobson and Chorley, to carry out further alterations and improvements including a stable yard, model farm and the water tower. Henry Hood died in 1875 and with neither of his sons wishing to live at Pepper, Henry Hoods executors put the entire estate up for sale once more. A William Stobart bought the 360 acres in South Cowton with the Hall. The remainder of the estate was eventually sold off to tenants.
Stobart was from a family of Durham coal owners and his family lived in Pepper Arden until 1905 when it was leased to W.H Williamson for two years.
The previously mentioned Willam Webb had had four daughters, one of which called Geraldine married Sir Herbert Chermside when he returned from Greece and Turkey where he was British Military attache in Istanbul. He then served in the Boer War , rose to rank of Lieutenant General, received a knighthood and in 1901 was appointed Governer of Queensland. They lived at Newstead Abbey in Nottingham after returning from Australia but Geraldine had expressed her desire to live at Pepper Arden, the place of her birth and so in 1909 Chermside purchased Pepper Arden from the executors of William Stobart. Sadly she never got to live there as in May 1910 they left for the continent and the next month she died following a heart attack in Switzerland.
Herbert inherited Newstead Abbey from his sister in law in 1915 and spent most of his time there rather than at Pepper. During the first World War Pepper was let to the Tower School, Saltburn so Herbert couldn't have gone there even if he had so wished. Only after the war did he move himself and the "heirlooms" up to Pepper to make it habitable again. He married once more to Clemence, the widow of Count Otto Stenbock but died in 1929. She continued to live at Pepper until 1940.
Sir Herbert Chermside had no children so passed Pepper on to his favourite niece Katherine Morrison who was married to Sir Stephen Gatty who had just retired from the Colonial Services. They were the only ones of his relations without a substantial roof over their their heads.
Later the house was left to their second son Richard Gatty who practiced as a barrister in London until the outbreak of war in 1939. In 1935 he married Pamela Strutt. When Clemence died in 1940, Richard was serving in the army. Pepper was requisitioned and occupied by some 300 soldiers, who remained there until 1944.
It was then, when my grandmother Pamela brought their four children up from Essex. Richard joined them in 1945 with the Hall in a dilapidated state. Between them both they made the Hall a managable house for their family, cutting off the servants quarters, old kitchen, scullary and dairies and converting them into flats. Richard died in 1975 and Pamela lived on at Pepper and was soon joined by her son Jonathan and his second wife Cherry and their son Richard. Today the house is still owned by the Gatty family and now being utilised as a wedding venue.