DiCamillo Companion

Lea Hurst (Leahurst)

  • Built / Designed For: William Edward Nightingale

    House & Family History: The core of Lea Hurst house was a 17th century farmhouse. In 1707 Peter Nightingale, a lead miner, bought the Lea Hall Estate. His son, also Peter Nightingale, owner of Lea Wool Mills, died in 1803 and left his wealth to his niece's son, William Shore (1794–1875) who changed his name to Nightingale upon coming of age. William's second daughter was Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), born in Florence, Italy, during his two-year honeymoon grand tour. Circa 1825 William considerably enlarged and refashioned Lea Hurst to his own designs and moved from nearby Lea Hall in Dethick. However, William's wife wanted to be nearer society, so the family purchased Embley Park in Hampshire around 1827, thereafter using Lea Hurst as their summer home. In 1858 William's eldest daughter, Parthenope (the Greek name for Naples, where she was born), married Sir Henry (Harry) Verney of Claydon House. After William's death, the estate passed to male relatives, the last of whom, Louis Nightingale, died in 1940. During World War II the house was occupied by a nursing home that had been evacuated from London. In 1951 Lea Hurst was donated to the Royal Surgical Aid Society (RSAS) for use as a residential home for the elderly. In 2004 the AgeCare Lea Residential Home closed due to continuing financial losses (caused by recent changes in care home regulations) and the rejection of a 2003 expansion planning application to convert the house into a Florence Nightingale Museum and an Alzheimer's unit, and to build eight close care cottages in the grounds, which would have adversely effected the landscape. In 2006 the house and 20 acres were sold for over £875,000 and restored as a family home.

    Collections: In 2004 twenty artifacts associated with Florence Nightingale at Lea Hurst (on loan to the Florence Nightingale Museum in London), including personal letters, her writing desk, and her stuffed owl called Athena, were sold to the Florence Nightingale Museum for £13,000.

  • Architect: William Edward Shore Nightingale

    Date: 1825
    Designed: May have designed House for himself
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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  • House Listed: Grade II

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • "Florence Nightingale" (2008 - TV, as the Nightingale family home).
  • Past Seat / Home of: William Edward Nightingale, 19th century; Nightingale family here until the 20th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Website: http://www.countryjoe.com/nightingale/lea.htm

    Historic Houses Member: No