Sedbury House

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Sedbury House

The Sedbury House mansion still dominates the Chepstow skyline and is a fine Georgian building designed by Sir Robert Smirke who was also the architect of the British Museum.

The property has been owned by a number of notable persons including Sir William Henry Marlin and the famous antiquarian George Ormerod who, in 1882, wrote the definitive 'History of Cheshire'. However, its most famous resident was undoubtedly Ormerod's daughter, Eleanor Anne Ormerod who, as well as being a leading entomologist (consulting entomologist to the Royal Agricultural Society and lecturer at the Royal Agricultural College), was also first woman fellow of the Meteorological Society, this awarded in 1878.

 

Sedbury House viewed from the main lawn

 

Eleanor's other honours included a silver Victoria Medal of Honour of the Royal Horticultural Society and she was also the first woman to receive an LL.D from the University of Edinburgh. These sciences were largely self taught (her father disapproved of women in science) as were the seven languages that she spoke.

In the early 1900's Sedbury House was converted into a luxury hotel. The gardens were a particular attraction as they had been developed many years earlier by Eleanor Ormerod. Around the 1930's many of the fittings and furnishings were removed from Sedbury House when the property was sold off. Some of the original woodwork and paneling crossed the Atlantic to 'Cheekwood House' in Tennessee. Cheekwood was built and owned by Leslie Cheek, the entrepreneur who created the Maxwell House coffee empire.

Later the property was again converted - this time into an Approved School housing about 120 'wayward' lads. Today this Grade II* listed building is used as a nursing home for the elderly.

 

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