One owner of The Grey House, Brian Hodgson, was “in trade”, but is an ancestor of the Queen Mother.
A fine and imposing stone faced Georgian Gentleman’s residence with probably the best Georgian frontage in Ashbourne. The Grey House was originally built around 1750 for Francis Higginbotham, a local lawyer.
Unfortunately he was not able to enjoy his new home for long as he appears to have been forced to leave Ashbourne in 1754 having incurred the displeasure of the local Squire Leak Okeover for marrying his sister.
The house was sold in 1754 to Brian Hodgson, a retired innkeeper and business man, with fashionable inns at Stamford and Buxton and who had considerable investments in copper mining. Despite the fact that the house was only a few years old, Hodgson commissioned the Derby architect, Joseph Pickford, to add a new stone front to include many of the latest developments in architecture including Venetian and Diocletian windows.
It is quite likely that the fact that a “tradesman” had a house with the latest fashions spurred the owner of The Mansion opposite to have his house remodelled in a very similar style, albeit in brick rather than stone. Although Hodgson was “in trade”, his daughter married a Bishop of London and, through this connection, he is an ancestor of the present Queen.
Probably the best Georgian frontage in Ashbourne. The stone front was added to the original brick building by Joseph Pickford of Derby. The central bay has a door case with fanlight protected by a classical Doric portico with steps, surmounted by a Venetian window on the first floor and a Diocletian window on the second. At roof level there is a triangular pediment and a balustraded parapet. The 2 projecting bays either side of the building rise to its full height. With the exception of the projecting bays, similar features can be seen on The Mansion opposite, although The Mansion’s brick front is not as imposing as the stone work of The Grey House.
The red brick building to the right hand side of The Grey House was its former coach house and stables. The right of the building was for the coachman, whilst the left hand side was for the coach; the arched bay had 2 large wooden doors to receive the coach shafts. The building was converted into 3 residencies in 1927. At the top of the building can be seen a faint advert for Burton Ale dating to when the building was used by an agent for a Burton brewery.
Brian Hodgson, resident of the Grey House, was an innkeeper and business man, with fashionable inns at Stamford and Buxton and considerable investments in copper mining.