The Chester House Estate is a nationally significant heritage site, being one of the few places in the country which can demonstrate over 10,000 years of human activity.
Chester House Estate is a unique destination with 10,000 years of Northamptonshire’s heritage brought to life. Explore our timeline below to find our more.
Chester Farm was acquired from the Crown in 1616 by Thomas Ekins. An inventory of 1662 describes a reasonably substantial home with hall, parlour, a room next to the parlour, kitchen and buttery on the ground floor, all with chambers over them, together with a wash-house and dairy-house.
Cart barns and limestone walls that surround the property built. An orchard planted and primitive archaeological excavations undertaken. River Nene was navigable by goods vessels called lighters, and two railway lines passed close by, one Northampton to Peterborough the other Leicester to London.
The current farm buildings are what remains of a mixed farm used for cattle and cereals. Land was sold for gravel extraction and for the nearby industrial estate reducing its viability. Some temporary structures will be removed to make way for the Archaeological Archive Resource Centre.
Northamptonshire County Council buy the 84 acre Chester Farm. It is due to the extraordinarily rich and shallow archaeology that this is a failed farm.
Fire at Chester Farm
Chester Farm severely damaged by fire, Chester House was gutted internally. Although the fire was a disaster, it did give the team a previously impossible opportunity to analyse the building’s fabric.
Heritage Lottery funding – round 1
Round 1 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the restoration of Chester Farm was approved. The HLF process is over two stages – Round 1 is about the vision for the site; Round 2 is the far more detailed ‘how will it be achieved’.
Heritage Lottery funding – round 2
Round 2 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund approved – November 2014 Landscaping work begins at Chester Farm led by site manager Andy Russell. Brush and nettles are cleared together with decades of accumulated farm junk.
Grounds of Chester Farm are opened to the public.
Planning Permission granted by Wellingborough Borough Council for the restoration works. Cllr Heather Smith, Leader of Northamptonshire County Council said “This is a very exciting time for Chester Farm and the team that have worked so hard to get it to this stage.”
Contractors begin on site.
Shaylor Group (our previous contractor) fell into administration and building work stopped.
Re-tender process for building work collapsed due to Covid-19.
New management appointed.
Jack Pishhorn, The Chester House Estate Manager, started his role on the project with ambitious plans to move the project forward.
Natural England Stewardship Scheme starts on site.
Powells (new building contractor) starts on site.
Rebranded: The Chester House Estate was born!
We said goodbye to the name ‘Chester Farm’ and created a new brand along with a business plan for The Chester House Estate.
Restoration work start on site.