Hopton Hall 1951
See the Catalogue of the auction of
Hopton Hall contents in 1989.
See Hopton Hall and the Gell family
for a more detailed description of the complex Gell family history.
Hopton Hall is the ancestral home of the Gell
family, one of the oldest families in England with a
tradition of service in the Army, Navy, Parliament
and the Church.
In 1371, Robert Gyle de Hopton is recorded
as having leased land in the village.
Royalists sacked Hopton Hall in 1644.
When Philip Gell died in 1795, he was succeeded
by his son, also called Philip, who re-modelled
Hopton Hall, joining the two Elizabethan wings
together with a flagade of an arch and adding the
large dining room. He also built a writing room for
his wife, Georgina, at the far end of the house.
Philip Gell decided the main road past the house
was too near to his property so he realigned it and
built the high ribbon wall with six curves (see
photograph below) to the north of the kitchen
garden. He also instructed the builders to con
struct a summer house with a view over the garden
and to go on building until he told them to stop.
He then drove off to Westminster in his coach and
due to a delay, on his return, the summer house
had reached two storeys! (also pictured below). He
was also responsible for building a road called the
Via Gellia, primarily to cart lead from his mines at
Hopton to be washed at the water wheel at
Cromford. While the road was being built, a
funerary urn was unearthed by a workman which
contained human remains. It was inscribed with
the name Philipus Gellius, Centurian 111 Cohort.
Philip Gell died in 1842.
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