Shock at hotel plan for Shropshire's historic Hawkstone Hall
A direct descendant of Sir Rowland Hill, who bought Hawkstone Hall in 1556, said he is 'horrified' by plans to convert the mansion into a luxurious hotel.
The new owners of Hawkstone Hall have set out their vision for the venue, which could see it turned into a 30 to 40-bed hotel.
However David Clegg-Hill, the Viscount Hill of Hawkstone, said he had hoped the new owners would use the hall as a family home.
Mr Clegg-Hill is a direct descendant of Sir Rowland Hill, who bought Hawkstone Hall in 1556.
For three centuries, the opulent country home in the village of Marchamley remained in the family.
Also the title of Viscount was bestowed on the Hills after Lord Hill distinguished himself as the second in-command to the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo.
He was made a Viscount and promoted to commander-in-chief of the Army when Wellington became Prime Minister in 1828.
The house belonged to Mr Clegg-Hill's family for 340 years.
But among the successful members of his family tree was one who seemingly cost him his inheritance.
The third Viscount, Rowland Clegg-Hill, squandered the family fortune and ended up having to sell the house.
Mr Clegg-Hill, who lives with his wife, in Crawley, West Sussex, said: "I am horrified about the plans to turn Hawkstone Hall in a hotel.
"I was under the impression it would be a family home and not a business.
"We were looking at trying to buy the property as we would like it back in the Hill family but it was not possible. It is very disappointing as we had plans for it. It is a wonderful building and I hope the new owners do not alter the wonderful features."
The property, which lies near Wem, was originally for sale in 2012 for £5 million, but had dropped its asking price to £3m to secure a buyer.
Now it has been bought by Martin Hirst and Hannah Petrouis, who are business partners in WH Hospitality and own Weston Hall in Staffordshire and the Saracen's Head, which is a gastro pub in Weston.
Mr Hirst said: "We are very proud to be playing a part in the history of such a magnificent Grade I listed building and are looking forward to a very exciting future at Hawkstone Hall.
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