Summer Visit to Sinai Park House

Well, it might have been the summer visit, but the hardy souls who made the trip to Burton on Trent that Sunday afternoon in July were met with light drizzle! This did not however dampen the ardour of members and guests since Sinai Park House for those not already 'in the know' turned out to be a veritable historic detective story.

Sinai goes back to at least the Romans, perched as the site is, on a hilltop strategically located between Derby and Lichfield. The existing moat and house cellars are however all that remain from the succeeding Saxon times. The monks of Burton Abbey acquired the site and erected two of the existing wings to the house, using the premises for recuperation after bloodletting. At the Dissolution, the house changed hands yet again to the wealthy Paget family, later Marquises of Anglesey, who used it as a hunting lodge. The two separate wings of the house where now united by the construction of a seventeenth century central section, cunningly designed as a fifteenth century copy of the two existing wings. So all is not what it appears!

One wing and the central section remain in a dilapidated condition, awaiting restoration. The new owners, Mr & Mrs Newton, have over the ten or so years of their ownership restored one wing with the support of English Heritage and we retreated out of the rain for an internal inspection.

Numerous legends and ghost stories surround Sinai. The ruinous state of some of the buildings, coupled with ghosts of cavaliers and roundheads, mysterious deaths and a ghostly lady who appears on the bridge to the moat all give the site a slightly surreal air. Discoveries are still happening. A Georgian plunge bath has been located in the adjacent field. A number of intrepid members of our group proceeded to cross the fields for an inspection.

So what could have been a damp squib turned out to be a most rewarding visit!!

Roger Hockney
July 2007