Magnificent Bawtry Hall – its history and timeline

Bawtry Hall facing south and east
Bawtry Hall facing south and east

A grand grade II listed building boasting an opulent white Tuscan front porch that is encapsulated by decadent, landscaped gardens embellished with crisp white hydrangeas.

This is the way Bawtry Hall is these days and it is also well known as a wedding venue, but it was not always like this.

Bawtry Hall garden fete

Bawtry Hall garden fete

Bawtry Hall itself is a large redbrick house in two storeys with attics, which was erected around 1785 by Pemberton Milnes.

Pemberton Milnes was a prosperous wool-merchant from Wakefield. Bawtry Hall itself descended in the Milnes family for several generations before being sold to Major George Peake.

Major George Peake was a well-known amateur pilot, in 1905.

During the Second World War the RAF took the grand Grade II-listed building over and it became an RAF command centre.

A baby show at Bawtry Hall

A baby show at Bawtry Hall

RAF Bawtry did not have its own airfield but instead took advantage of RAF Bircotes, which was located literally next-door.

Here the station based a number of communications aircraft.

Bawtry Hall served the Royal Air Force from 1941–1984; first as HQ for Number One Group, Bomber Command during and after the Second World War.

It was then taken over by Strike Command HQ up to and including the later stages of the Cold War.

Maypole dancing at Bawtry Hall

Maypole dancing at Bawtry Hall

The famous bombing of the airfield at Port Stanley by Vulcan bombers that flew from RAF Waddington during the Falklands War was in fact co-ordinated from the operations room at Bawtry Hall.

RAF Bawtry became the centre of the RAF Meteorological Service for many years and it ceased military operations in 1986. It was then in June 1987 that Bawtry Hall was purchased by The Welbeck Estate Group.

The RAF moved in. Number one Group Bomber Command units which were based at RAF Bawtry comprised as follows of RAF Elsham Wolds, 103 Squadron, Avro Lancaster I and III; RAF Elsham Wolds, 576 Squadron, Lancaster I and III; RAF Kirmington, 166 Squadron, Lancaster I and III.

Also RAF Ingham, 300 (Polish) Squadron, Vickers Wellington X; RAF Ingham, 300 (Polish) Squadron, Lancaster I and III; RAF Wickenby, 12 Squadron, Lancaster I and III.

In addition, RAF Wickenby, 626 Squadron, Lancaster I and III; RAF Grimsby, 100 Squadron, Lancaster I and III.

Also RAF Grimsby, 550 Squadron, Lancaster I and III; RAF Ludford Magna, 101 Squadron, Lancaster I and III.

There was also RAF Binbrook, 460 Squadron, RAF Lancaster I and III; RAF Kelstern, 625 Squadron, Lancaster I and III.

Surprisingly it was during the Miners’ Strike in the mid-1980s, that up to 17,000 police officers were based at RAF Bawtry.

The police were there to provide a central Operations and co-ordination point on the South Yorkshire and the Nottinghamshire border.

The Air Training Corps 2008 Squadron is still located at the former site on Park Road in Bawtry, in a new building that replaced the former ones.

The squadron itself is a fully functioning unit that regularly attends flying, gliding, target shooting and a very high quality of field craft training.

Currently the Air Training Corps 2008 Squadron is known for its high standards of cadets, and was the first ever Squadron from the Yorkshire Wing to participate in the four-day Nijmegan March (which covered 100 miles). In 2009 the Squadron has had a boom in the recruiting of cadets following successful recruiting campaigns in local schools, boosting its total number of attendees by 25-plus.

The Air Training Corps 2008 Squadron gather every Wednesday and Friday evening to continue activities run by the Air Training Corps.

Grade II-listed Bawtry Hall was sold by Defence Estates in the mid 1980s to a Roger Byron-Collins company who owned Bawtry Hall for three years together with the nearby technical and domestic site at RAF Hemswell and the post war married quarters sites at RAF Finningley and RAF Scampton.

Later the building was bought by Action Partners Corporation, a Christian organisation, and has been used as a teaching and conference centre for the past 24 years.

The trustees had taken the decision to close the hall on December 31, 2013, and a buyer was being actively sought.

The hall was sold in 2014 for £1.6 million to Bawtry Hall properties who said they would be moving various video gaming enterprises into the building.

Jason Cooper bought the hall and then re-developed it as an exclusive use wedding and event venue during 2017 – opening in December 2017 with eight Christmas parties.