Moggerhanger House is a Grade I listed country house in Moggerhanger, near Sandy and Bedford designed by architect John Soane. The house is presently owned (2010) by a Christian charity, Harvest Vision, and the Moggerhanger House Preservation Trust, and has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment project with help from organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the East of England Development Agency.
Originally Moggerhanger had been a small Georgian house. It was acquired by Godfrey Thornton, a Bank of England director, who commissioned the Bank’s architect John Soane to remodel it between 1790 and 1793. Soane continued from 1806 until the scheme was completed in 1812 while the Bank of England reconstruction was under way. Soane remodelled Moggerhanger entirely, enlarging it to the west, relocating the entrance to the north and reproofing the house completely. Soane experimented with decoration using it as a prototype for the future work.
The house was rendered by Soane using ‘Parker’s Roman Cement’ of biscuit-brown colour using a new material, patented hydraulic lime render. The entrance has a low centre with a semicircular porch of Greek Doric columns. The end bays have on the ground floor arched windows with broad Grecian pediment over. Behind the porch is a square entrance hall once with a shallow dome. The window bars are painted dark grey, which causes the window detail to disappear so that pure shapes of openings are clearly visible appearing like punch recesses. Inside there is an all-cantilevered staircase with simple iron balustrade.
The house was used as a hospital for most of the twentieth century. In 1919 it was opened as a TB isolation hospital, and then became an orthopaedic hospital in the late 1950s. In 1960 it was renamed Park Hospital, but closed in 1987 when a new wing was built in Bedford Hospital. From that point the house went into a state of disrepair, until 1995 when work on its restoration began. The restoration project took ten years to complete, and members of the local village and local churches volunteered help and support in order to complete the work and maintain the site whilst building contractors were working.
The primary use of the house is now a quality conference and training centre and with wedding events and other organised functions available all year round. The house is open for Guided Tours on Sunday and Monday at 2.30pm. Bookings for Group tours for 15+ can be made contacting the office and pre arranging a mutually agreed date and time. Please see their website for more information and contact details.
The Park building is also home to the Family Matters Institute and educational charity specialising in research and training programmes to strengthen marriage and family life in Britain.
The Moggerhanger House Preservation Trust is currently (2010) trying to secure funds to restore Humphrey Repton’s 33-acre parkland surrounding the house.
For more information about arranging conferences, weddings & functions please visit the website to find out more.