Converted dovecote is entered for award

PUBLISHED: 17:14 31 May 2007 | UPDATED: 21:42 29 May 2010

The building under renovation

The building under renovation

The Stables at Spains Hall in Finchingfield has been entered into the Country Land and Business Association s Rural Buildings Award Scheme 2007 it was announced last week. The competition showcases the very best projects from all over England and Wales,

The listed dovecote, coach house and stable block will be used for weddings

The Stables at Spains Hall in Finchingfield has been entered into the Country Land and Business Association's Rural Buildings Award Scheme 2007 it was announced last week.

The competition showcases the very best projects from all over England and Wales, recognising landowners and farmers who have gone the extra mile in constructing or converting farm buildings connected with rural business.

Owner Sir Tim Ruggles-Brise said: "The reason this award is offered is to encourage people who have been dependent on agriculture to look at some of the historic and often redundant buildings they may have on their land and see the potential they have.

"Many buildings such as stables were stopped being used when horses ceased to be used on the land. These buildings can be turned around for other uses providing much needed income for estates."

At Spains Hall, a Grade I listed manor house, the Grade II listed 18th century dovecote along with the 19th century coach house and stable block were transformed into a state-of-the-art wedding and conference venue last year.

Sir Tim explained this work was the first phase of a larger project that will provide finance to allow much needed work to be carried out on the manor house.

"Renovating these buildings and turning them into a business means we have generated extra income. This money is now going to be spent on getting work done to the Spains Hall which my wife and I want to keep as being a family home as it has been for generations. It's been in the family for 250 years and we are determined to keep living here as a family."

The transformation of the Grade II listed buildings means they now come complete with under-floor heating and air conditioning, as well as in-house audio and intelligent lighting systems.

The venue can cater for 180 people, with seated dining for 130.

The estate's previous owner Sir John Ruggles-Brise, who died earlier this year aged 98, was president of the Country Landowners Association from 1957 to 1959 and was co-founder of the CLA's annual game fair in 1958.

Sir Tim Ruggles-Brise added: "It seems only appropriate that we enter this competition, run by an organisation of which my uncle was president exactly half a century ago. In the year of his death, this is another way of marking his life, as the building turns the pages of a new chapter in its history."

The winners will be announced in November.

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