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The Property of the late Sir Peter and Lady Crossman
Tetworth Hall was built in 1710 for John Pedley, a local landowner and MP for Huntingdonshire from 1706-08. A charming Queen Anne Hall with a prospect over the lower Ivel Valley to the Northwest, Tetworth sits on top of what is known as the Greensand ridge which runs through the county of Bedfordshire from Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay. Tetworth is in the company of a number of grand houses built along the ridge during the first half of the 18th century, including Woburn Abbey, Woodbury Hall, Merton Grange and Hatley Park.
Though the architect of Tetworth is unknown, the Hall is of elegant proportions with its red brick structure accented in local carstone. The entrance, with its engaged Corinthian columns, supports a pediment bearing the arms of Pedley impaling Foley, an allusion to John Pedley's marriage to Miss Essex Foley. The house remained in the hands of the Pedleys until 1726 when it was acquired by Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer (1689-1741). In 1740, Tetworth was owned by Philip Yorke, 1st Earl Hardwicke and Lord Chancellor (1690-1764), but soon returned to descendants of the Pedley family and the Foley family of Essex until the estate was purchased in the 1830s by Charles Duncombe, 1st Lord Feversham.
For the next hundred years Tetworth was leased to a number of different tenants including a branch of the Orlebar family of Hinwick in Bedfordshire and the Pyms of Hazells. The house was requisitioned by the army during the Second World War, but first became connected with Sir Peter Crossman when he rented the house in 1937, shortly before becoming Master of the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds. Sir Peter went on to purchase the estate in 1962.
The history of Tetworth as a sporting estate reached its zenith during Sir Peter and Lady Crossman's ownership of the Hall. Sir Peter was knighted in 1981 following a long and distinguished career with the Mann, Crossman and Paulin Brewery (later Watney Mann) and for his involvement with 'grassroots' Conservative Party politics.
Both he and Lady Crossman came from a long line of sporting ancestors. For most of the 20th century, the Crossmans were Masters of the Cambridgeshire Hunt in an almost unbroken line of succession which ran from Mr. Douglas Crossman of Gransden Hall, who took up the Mastership in 1906, through to his daughter Jean, Lady Crossman who retired as Joint Master in 1986.
Mr. Douglas Crossman was Master for some thirty years and during that time established the Cambridgeshire as one of the best-bred packs in East Anglia. Under his influence, the Cambridgeshire hound became a very distinctive type - big, upstanding hounds combining size with quality - good necks and shoulders, strong backs and loins, well-sprung ribs, with plenty of depth and bone carried right down. Mr Douglas Crossman retired in 1935 and his wife, Kathleen and Mr R.H. Parker took over the Joint Mastership continuing together for the next eighteen seasons. The Hunt was ongoing throughout the Second World War with the hounds out as regularly as possible. In 1946, Sir Peter Crossman came in as third Joint Master and amateur Huntsman. Sir Peter Crossman's father Percy having been a former Master of the Easton Harriers and the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds.
Mrs Kathleen Crossman retired from the Hunt in 1953 and at this time was presented with the oil painting by Lionel Edwards depicting the Cambridgeshire Huntsman, Len Gilbert with the hounds before Boxworth Church (lot 420). Sir Peter Crossman was Master from 1947-49 and he shared Joint Mastership with Jean, Lady Crossman who continued hunting, and later following hounds, on the estate at Tetworth as a nonagenarian.
Sir Peter and Lady Crossman were passionate about the role of sport in the preservation of the countryside. Sir Peter once commented "hunting and shooting can happily co-exist". This love of the land and its sport is reflected in the furnishings, works of art, porcelain and pictures removed from Tetworth Hall. The list of sporting artists featured in the sale includes such great names as Philip Reinagle (1749-1833), Sir Alfred James Munnings, P.R.A. (1878-1959), Lionel Edwards (1878-1966) and Peter Biegel (1913-1988). Sir Peter's collecting eye however, was not limited to their sporting interests and the Collection boasts a particularly fine group of early Worcester porcelain. The Crossmans acquired a number of items through H. R. Marden King of Winchester who frequently attended the salerooms in London passing on his best finds. Purchases were also made from the dealerships of Newman & Newman and Albert Amor, with all receipts and records meticulously kept - preserving the provenance for a new generation of Collectors.
Christie's are delighted to offer the Collection of the late Sir Peter and Lady Crossman, removed from Tetworth Hall, this Autumn.