Rangemore Estate

Rangemore Estate

The Rangemore Estate was created by Michael Thomas Bass, and his son Michael Arthur Bass, They were in turn Chairman of the Bass Brewery, long-serving Members of Parliament, Justices of the Peace, Deputy Lieutanants of the County of Staffordshire. Both were philanthropists who built several of the public buildings in Burton including Ferry Bridge, St Chads Church, St Paul’s Institute and the Town Hall. Michael Arthur Bass was created Baronet in 1882 and Baron Burton of Rangemore and Burton-on-Trent in 1886

Until the mid-19th Century Rangemore was an area of the Needwood Forest encompassing Tatenhill Common and scattered farms held on leases from the Duchy of Lancaster. Michael Thomas Bass and Michael Arthur Bass who lived at Rangemore House bought the leases and subsequently the freehold of the farms and set about creating the Rangemore Estate and Rangemore village. They enlarged Rangemore House which became Rangemore Hall with its stables, offices and gardens, diverting the Barton to Needwood Road in the process. They built farmhouses and farm buildings, modern cottages for the staff and farm workers whom they employed on the Estate and in 1867 they commissioned the architect William Butterfield to build All Saints Church followed by All Saints School in 1873 and the Rangemore Club in 1886. By 1900 Rangemore was a thriving Estate with 12 farms and small-holdings, over 50 houses and cottages, a Church, a School, a working man’s club, a playing field, two public houses and with Rangemore Hall at its centre.

Lord Burton died in 1909 and the Estate passed to his daughter Nellie Lisa Bass who also succeeded to the title Baroness Burton. The Baroness married Colonel James Evan Baillie of Dochfour, Inverness but Rangemore Hall remained her home in Staffordshire until 1948 when the effect of two world wars and the social changes that had taken place in the first half of the 20th Century meant that it would no longer be possible to keep a vast house like Rangemore Hall with the enormous household needed to run it. Rangemore Hall was occupied by the US army during the preparations for D-Day and was finally sold to Staffordshire County Council in 1949 as a school for partially deaf children, which it remained until 1985. It was sold again for redevelopment when it was divided into over 40 dwellings. Rangemore village remained much as it had been in 1900 until the County Council acquired land at Chapel Lane and Tattenhill Lane on which to build Council houses in the 1950s.

On the sale of Rangemore Hall the Baroness bought Needwood House from the Byrkley Estate, which had been owned by her uncle Hamar Bass, and, in the years following her death in 1962, Needwood House was sold together with a number of houses in the Rangemore to pay death duties. Michael Evan Victor Baillie, Third Lord Burton, inherited the Estate from his grandmother and although his home was in Scotland he took a close interest in Rangemore and was particularly interested in maintaining the landscape and the woodland that his great grandfather had created. Timber extraction for the war effort and Dutch Elm disease in the 1970’s left the woods severely depleted, but these have all been re-stocked in the past 40 years, for much of which time they have been painstakingly looked after by contractor Brian Stoney and his family. Lord Burton’s son, Alexander Baillie, continues the family tradition and as well as maintaining the landscape wants to see a thriving community on the Rangemore Estate again. With the mechanisation and changing economics of agriculture fewer people now work on the land but the Rangemore Estate has converted redundant farm buildings into workshops in order to provide employment on the Estate. The cottages are all let with preference for new tenancies given to local applicants and people connected with Rangemore. Many families have lived in Rangemore for several decades and at least one for three generations. The Rangemore Estate remains essentially as it was created in the late C19 with the exception of Rangemore Hall and a number of privately owned houses in the village.