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History of Matfen

Matfen Hall

The building and estate has had a varied history. The Blackett family are central and William Blackett born in Hamsterley, County Durham in 1621, the key character in the fascinating and transformative history of this stately home.

William Blackett

William was a hugely successful entrepreneur based in Newcastle. Ultimately a substantial owner of lead and coal mining interests, he first traded in flax, cloth, timber and linen. And, then in fishing and whaling. His eldest son, Edward, inherited the Baronetcy and built Newby Hall in Yorkshire. This branch of the Blackett family moved back to Matfen in 1750 following the sale of Newby Hall.


His third son William inherited Anderson Place, known then as ‘the largest house and grounds within a walled city, in the country’. The site of Anderson Place was at the heart of the 19th century development of the modern city centre of present day Newcastle.

Matfen Hall was completely rebuilt between 1832 and 1836. Some parts of the original 17th century house still remain including the original lintel stone with the family motto of the Douglas family who built the earlier house.

Sir Hugh Blackett, the 8th Baronet, was the last family member to live in Matfen Hall. He died in 1961. The Hall was subsequently leased to the Leonard Cheshire Foundation and for 30 years became a centre for the care of severely disabled residents. Matfen Hall opened as a hotel in 1999 with 31 bedrooms by Sir Hugh Blackett (12th Baronet) and his wife Anna . In 2004, a major expansion programme resulted in the number of bedrooms increased to 53 and our Aqua Spa and leisure facilities created. This transformed Matfen Hall and its grounds into a premier UK and international tourist and corporate destination hotel, restaurant, conference venue, spa and golf course.

The modern-day hotel is owned and operated by The Walwick Estate Group, who purchased Matfen Hall in 2020.


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