In 2003 I inherited Gisburne Park Estate on the death of my father and commenced with transforming a tired but unspolit shooting and hunting estate into a luxury, state of the art holiday village. 50 years ago this site was a state of the art dairy farm that my grandfather built. Sadly with the farming economy as it was, the farm became redundant and remained in a sorry state which inspired my father to apply for planning permission for a holiday park which he was granted. It is this permission that has turned into my lifetime project.
My great grandfather founded British Home Stores and bought the sprawling 5,000 acre Ribble Valley estate off the titled Ribblesdale family whose 2 sons were killed in the Great War.
This estate has a rich and extraordinary history: Such a legend was Lord Ribblesdale that King Edward nicknamed him ‘the ancestor’ and his portrait was painted by the famous John Singer Sargent – the work now hangs proudly in the grand entrance of the Tate Gallery, London. When Jacob Astor drowned on the Titanic it was his widow that became the last Lady Ribblesdale. Oliver Cromwell marched his troops onto the estate on 16.08.1648 during the Second Civil War and stayed in the Hall. The estate has had many other notable guests over the years including Winston Churchill to more recently the Queen and Prince Charles. Its believed over 1 million oaks that have been planted across the estate over the years. One of the estate previous owners, Robert Lister, was murdered by one of the infamous Pendle Witches, Jennet Preston who was later hanged for the crime.
The village of Gisburn, little more than 5 minutes walk from the park, received its Charter for Gisburn Fair in 1260. This is one of the earliest mentions of the village. It was granted by Henry III to the Abbot and Monks of Sawley Abbey. At the centre of the village is the ancient church which is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. One could assume that the foundations for the present church could have been laid circa 1135.