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and the Strelleys eventually sold to Sir George Peckham of Denham, Bucks., a major gentleman coal entrepreneur, who had already acquired Stanley Grange not so far away to exploit the coal reserves there. He asset-stripped the estate, felling its timber as well as exploiting the coal, before selling in 1626 to an opulent lawyer with Derbyshire roots, Sir Edward Leche of Squerries Court, Kent.

He appears to have built a new, more compact house, of three storeys and attics, the front with three gables, presumably in the fashionable Midland High House style inspired by the work going on for the Earl of Newcastle at Bolsover by )ohn Smythson. It was taxed on 11 hearths in 1 670, making it the same size as contemporary Markeaton and Snelston Halls, both alas also long gone. Even then the interior smacked of opulence, for in 1 701 it was reported to sport gilt leather wall hangings and wainscot (panelling).

The Leches failed in the male line in 1 704 and it then passed by marriage first to the Millers of Oxenhoath in Kent and then to a younger son of the Mundys of Markeaton -hence the surname assumed by the later owners of the estate, Miller Mundy.

There would seem to have been nothing like a change of dynasty to spark a rebuilding in country houses and the Mundys of Shipley were no exception, for in April 1 750, at the tail end of a recession, but with coal revenues rising, Edward Mundy was building anew. A letter to him from the leaseholder of his (Continued)


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