Busby Hall

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Busby Hall
North Riding
Busby Hall North Yorkshire.jpg
Busby Hall c. 1900
Grid reference: NZ51540410
Location: 54°25’47"N, 1°12’25"W
Village: Little Busby
Built 1764
By: Robert Corney
Country House

Busby Hall is a country house in Little Busby, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, close to the village of Carlton-in-Cleveland. The house and parkland sits within the North York Moors National Park.[1]

The house is a Grade II* listed building.[2]

Busby Hall is perhaps best known as the inspiration for Groby Hall in Parade's End, a novel by Ford Madox Ford.[3]


Busby Hall in the 1600s

Busby Hall has been in the possession of the Marwood family since 1587.[4] The current building was constructed in 1764 after a devastating fire destroyed a much earlier building.[2] It is known that plans for a grander building were prepared by the preeminent neo-classical architect John Carr of York but were later abandoned.[5] The constructed design was by Robert Corney.[2] It has been remarked that the design of the house appears to be earlier in style than was typical for the time, but the reason for this or why the plans of a more fashionable architect were not used is not clear.[6] The house sits in the centre of a 700-acre parkland with a number of other listed buildings. These include the Grade II stable block located to the north and a Grade II* walled garden to the south east of the Hall.[7]

There are several acres of gardens which surround the hall, which once contained a chestnut tree reputed to be the largest in England.[8]

The Marwoods of Busby Hall

The Marwoods had held lands in this part of Yorkshire for a number of years by the time Busby Hall became their principal seat in the 16th Century.[9] They were granted the hereditary title of Baronet of Little Busby in 1660.[10] The Marwood family descended from King Edward III and are related, through marriage, to many prominent aristocratic families including the Lascelles, Wentworths, Van Straubenzees and the Earls of Holderness.[11] Notable family members included Sir George Marwood and Sir Henry Marwood who both respectively served as Sheriffs of Yorkshire and Members of Parliament for Northallerton. Arthur Pierson Marwood, a friend of Ford Madox Ford, is likely to be the inspiration for Christopher Tietjens in the novel Parade's End.[12]

Inspiration for Groby Hall in Parade's End

Considered one of the great literary works of the 20th century, Parade's End details the story of an ancient landed family from Yorkshire.[13] It is purported that Madox Ford based the novel on both his then friend Arthur, a scion of the Marwood family, and their home Busby Hall.[14] Sir William Marwood, Arthur's elder brother is similarly considered the inspiration for Mark Tietjens.[15] There is are several piece of evidence for this. First, it is noted that the parities between Arthur Marwood and Christopher Tietjens are highly apparent, Marwood and Tietjens both being talented economists and regarded for their stoic]] and 'honourable]]' characteristics.[16] It is also evident that Busby Hall shares many similarities with Tietjen's Groby Hall, including the location. In the novel, several references are made to 'Groby Great Tree' which is thought to be inspired by the famed chestnut tree.[17] It is also case that Busby was let for a period of time as also occurs at the end of the novel when the Groby Great Tree is symbolically felled by the brash new tenant.[18] The similarities of the locations, characters and events of the book proved sensitive for Marwood who permanently broke off contact with Madox Ford.[16]


  1. Archives, The National. "The Discovery Service" (in en-GB). https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/c/F22121. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 National Heritage List 1151369: Busby Hall (Grade II* listing)
  3. "Centenary leads to renewed interest in wartime writer | Media centre | Teesside University". https://www.tees.ac.uk/sections/news/pressreleases_story.cfm?story_id=4727. 
  4. "MARWOOD, Sir Henry, 2nd Bt. (c.1635-1725), of Little Busby, Stokesley, Yorks. | History of Parliament Online". http://www.histparl.ac.uk/volume/1660-1690/member/marwood-sir-henry-1635-1725. 
  5. Fairfax-Blakeborough, John (1912). Life in a Yorkshire village (with special reference to the evolution, customs, folklore and legends of Carlton-in-Cleveland, this village being taken as a type). University of California Libraries. Stockton-on-Tees: The Yorkshire publishing co. [etc., etc.]. http://archive.org/details/lifeinyorkshirev00fair. 
  6. A History of the County of York: North Riding - Volume 2 pp 301-308: Parishes: Stokesley (Victoria County History)
  7. National Heritage List 1189298: Walled Garden to South East of Busby Hall, Little Busby (Grade II listing)
  8. Robson, Dave (2012-08-23). "BBC2 TV mini-series Parade's End has roots on Teesside". https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/local-news/bbc2-tv-mini-series-parades-end-3671606. 
  9. "Busby Hall Archives". https://archivesunlocked.northyorks.gov.uk/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=ZDU. 
  10. Dugdale, William; Clay, John William (1899). Dugdale's Visitation of Yorkshire, with additions.. David O. McKay Library Brigham Young University-Idaho. Exeter : W. Pollard & Co.. http://archive.org/details/dugdalesvisitati2dugd. 
  11. Ruvigny and Raineval, Melville Amadeus Henry Douglas Heddle de La Caillemotte de Massue de Ruvigny (1905). The Plantagenet roll of the blood royal; being a complete table of all the descendants now living of Edward III, King of England. Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. London, and Edinburgh, T.C. & E.C. Jack. http://archive.org/details/plantagenetrollo00ruvi. 
  12. The Oxford reader's companion to Conrad. Knowles, Owen., Moore, Gene M., 1948-. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2000. ISBN 0-19-866214-9. OCLC 43070127. https://archive.org/details/oxfordreaderscom0000unse. 
  13. Ray, Martin (2007). Joseph Conrad : memories and impressions : an annotated bibliography. Amsterdam: Rodopi. ISBN 978-1-4356-1290-7. OCLC 649903363. 
  14. Saint-Amour, Paul K. (2015). Tense future : modernism, total war, encyclopedic form. Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-020094-7. OCLC 890377271. 
  15. Mizener, Arthur. (1985). The saddest story : a biography of Ford Madox Ford (Repr ed.). New York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-88184-187-0. OCLC 63480284. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Moser, Thomas C. (14 July 2014). The life in the fiction of Ford Madox Ford. Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 978-1-4008-5620-6. OCLC 889251083. 
  17. Saunders, Max (2012). Ford Madox Ford : a dual life. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-966834-2. OCLC 819516103. 
  18. Rintoul, M. C. (1993). Dictionary of real people and places in fiction. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-05999-2. OCLC 27212714. https://archive.org/details/dictionaryofreal00rint.