Historic Brayton Park
We’ve been around a long time
Brayton Hall, once the ancestral seat of the Lawson family, stood in a magnificent park, commanding spectacular views of the surrounding countryside with the mountains of the Lake District in the background. Brayton Park lies 1.5 miles from the town Aspatria, and 7 miles from the market town of Wigton.
At one time boasting its own railway station, the hall was extended and rebuilt in 1868 during the Lawson Era to create what was a vast house; however its splendour and magnificence was short lived. On Saturday 21st September 1918 ,the hall was almost completely gutted by fire. What had been one of Cumberland’s major showpieces that house priceless collections of furniture and works of art, assembled over centuries by various members of the family, became a roofless mass of broken masonry, charred wood and twisted iron.
After the disastrous fire which destroyed the entire front and south wing, the third baronet demolished the ruins and built a smaller mansion around the remnants of the north wing.
The estate was purchased in 1939 by Henry Dryden Ward from Wolsingham, County Durham and in 1942 the estate was requisitioned by the RAF. After a delayed start, a considerable number of aircraft flew in for storage under the control of No 12 Maintenance Unit at Kirkbride. Officers and men of the RAF were billeted in the main hall and outhouses and within Nissen huts around the grounds. Two main runways were constructed for the airfield; one ran south – east from the main estate and the other ran east – west over the middle of the estate, the whole being enclosed by security fencing and barbed wire. Although Brayton saw several Supermarine Spitfires pass through, it tended to process larger aircraft types. The sight of four-engined Handley Page Halifaxes and Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses were not uncommon up until 1946 when the estate was returned to the Ward family.
After World War II, Henry Dryden Ward’s son Robert Henry and his wife Lena moved into Home Farm with their two young sons Dryden and Barrie. The hall fell into disrepair and much of the stonework was taken down and removed to Wolsingham where it was later used to build Rogerley Hall on the outskirts of the village.
For many years they used the remainder of the derelict building as a knackery and ran a successful sawmill business. The family then turned their hand to the leisure industry. They designed and built a nine-hole golf course while continuing to allow fishing in the lake. The gardener’s cottage became The Lakeside Restaurant. Most recently, part of the estate has been set aside for luxury lodge retreats.
The golf course remains under the Stewardship of Barrie Ward whilst his son Harry and partner Hazel now run the rest of the estate.