A HALF-hidden manor house off-limits to the public most of the time will open its doors to welcome visitors this weekend.
Thundercliffe Grange, sited just a stone’s throw from the M1 near Kimberworth, is included in the catalogue for this year’s Heritage Open Days programme and will be open to tourists on Sunday.
The Historic England scheme aims to give free access to interesting places, many of which are usually kept out of sight.
The Thundercliffe Grange event has special significance for one resident, who has penned a history of the Georgian Grade II-listed building — his home since 1980.
Peter Feek’s Thundercliffe Grange: An Eclectic History of a House and Its People looks at the back story of the former residential home and school, which was bought by a group of friends and work colleagues and restored after it was put up for sale by the local health authority for £80,000.
In the book, which will be released at Sunday’s open day, Peter relates how the Grange was built around 1780 by soldier turned Governor of Jamaica Thomas Howard, the 3rd Earl of Effingham, who had acquired its land and an older property, which he then knocked down, from Dr William Greene in 1774.
And looking even further back, he explores the earlier history of the site as far back as Norman times.
“It is a unique and beautiful place to live,” said Peter.
Explaining the motivation for his book, he said: “I found an editor’s comment from an 1876 edition of the Rotherham Advertiser which said: ‘We cannot forget that Rotherham and its immediate neighbourhood has an unwritten history of which Rotherham men need not be ashamed. The only reproach is that it is unwritten.’
“I wanted to be a part of telling that history. Rotherham has gone through difficult times in recent years. It has a past to be proud of and I believe encouraging a sense of pride in where we live is really important to a community.
“My neighbours at Thundercliffe had been collecting information detailing the history of the house.
“I realised collating and expanding what we had we could open up a small part of Rotherham’s unwritten history for local people.”
Resident Jeremy Blundell said: “The theme for this year’s heritage event is People Power and at Thundercliffe, visitors will be able to see a building which we have managed to protect and preserve for the last 39 years.”
Free tours of the communal rooms and grounds at Thundercliffe Grange, off Grange Lane, will run from 10.30am on Sunday, with the last tour at 3.30pm.
Wheelchair users can be accommodated on tours but there are no suitable toilet facilities. Parking and refreshments will be available.
The following venues are also taking part in Heritage Open Days:
St Alban’s Church in Wickersley is open from 10am until 4pm tomorrow and 1pm to 4pm on Sunday.
St James’ Church, Ravenfield is open from 10am to 2pm today and tomorrow and noon to 3pm on Sunday.
Braithwell & Micklebring Memories group are hosting an exhibition about the villages’ Domesday Book past at St James Church, Braithwell from 10am to 4pm tomorrow and noon tp 4pm on Sunday.
St Mary’s Church at Rawmarsh is open from 11am to 4pm tomorrow and
on Sunday from 10.30am to noon and 2pm to 5pm.
Visit https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/ for more information.