Southgate House is a classic exam


ple of a modest Georgian country house, a small but sparkling gem located near Clowne in the north-eastern corner of Derbyshire in the border triangle of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire (53.288836°N 1.254169°W). For the most part it belonged to the well-known Butler-Bowdon family, members of the landed gentry originating from Cheshire and from Lancashire. Southgate House was the family’s main seat for about 150 years. Having survived until today it is a paragon of a country house which was permanently inhabited, rather than merely a summer residence for affluent metropolitans or industrialists. It provides a microcosm of the social history of England over two and a half centuries.


Southgate House and Estate is a mirror of its times, an English country house which has weathered the stormy seas of history relatively unscathed. Its good fortune is no doubt largely due to the prudent conduct of its owners, the Butler-Bowdon family and the sensible proprietors succeeding them. The available historical sources show not only how Southgate thrived and expanded, how outbuildings, farms and arable land were added to the estate, but also how the house suffered during the great agricultural depression at the end of the 19th century, how it witnessed the tragic consequences of WWI, and how it played its part in the drastic measures that were undertaken during the Second World War until it was finally granted a new life today as a splendid hotel and restaurant (“Van Dyk Hotel”, click here).

Southgate House has been home to beautiful treasures of art. The most notable one is a unique mediaeval copy of the famous 'Book of Margery Kempe' (British Library, London, MS Additional 61823; original manuscript is lost today). Another significant object of value is the richly adorned and embroidered 'Butler-Bowdon Cope' from the early 14th century (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Inv. No. T36-1955) as is the middle panel of a carved ivory triptych of French origin depicting the death and the subsequent coronation of the Virgin Mary from the 14th century (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Inv. No. A.5-1941). A beautiful stained glass window, most likely manufactured between 1898 and 1907 by John Hardman & Co., Birmingham, had been an integral part of Southgate Chapel. Since 1953 the window is incorporated into the architecture of Pleasington Priory near Blackburn.

Copyright Tony Bak Barlborough Heritage and Resource CentreSouthgate House as it presents itself today has certainly undergone exterior and interior changes over the two hundred years since it was built, so not everything of its original appearance has been preserved, but it seems as if these changes have not been major. Various black and white photographs from the past decennia (click here) show a square and compact house almost resembling an urban villa with three storeys, a truncated pyramid of a roof with two chimneys to the left and to the right and a centred pediment; the frontage of the building bearing a strong geometrical segmentation gained by means of horizontal and vertical alignments in the strictest symmetry. The decreasing size of the windows with every floor serves to further underline the vertical façade design. Alterations to the exterior layout, apart from times when the mansion was partially or entirely covered by climbing plants, could not be detected on the basis of the available photographs, but today the two chimneys have gone. The tripartite front is entirely unembellished, but it reverberates the spirit of the Georgian era/Neoclassic style - although in an extremely reduced and sober way. Following the needs of today’s use, the interior of the house has undoubtedly seen some changes in regard to room arrangements and its floor plan, but what is clearly left from the original structural shell are its strikingly low ceilings.


The purpose of this website is to offer a forum of discussion to interested parties. Feel free to register and get in touch with me. Any comment and contribution to the subject is welcome and I will try to reply to every message or entry in a timely manner.


Please click here to view the Butler-Bowdon family tree according to one source, and click here to view a second, alternative version of the pedigree according to another source.

Link to publication/

(click here)

front-cover Southgatehouse

Christiane Müller-Hazenbos, Southgate House, A Derbyshire Country Mansion and Its Inhabitants through the Centuries, London 2014

About (click here)

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Barlborough Heritage and Resource Centre



about 1660

Marriage of Henry (1) Bowdon to Mary Hewit(t) of Shireoaks

Mary’s inheritance included the estate of Harlesthorpe


before 1757

Southgate House I built, owned by Emmanuel Richardson (?)



Last Will and Testament of George Staniforth, Gentleman of Barlborough, Derbyshire, owner of Southgate House

George bequeaths Southgate House and Farm to his son Charles Staniforth



Charles Staniforth attested at Southgate House


ca. 1786

Southgate House I demolished



Southgate House in Clowne advertised to be let as a “good new built stone messuage” = Southgate House II


shortly after 1787

Henry (3) Bowdon changes residence from Beighton Fields Priory to Harlesthorpe Estate,

letting Southgate House II from Charles Staniforth’s widow first, then purchasing it



Presence of Henry (3) Bowdon attested at Harlesthorpe estate



Southgate House the Bowdon family’s home


ca. 1828/1829

until ca. 1957

Southgate Cottages (at the Avenue)



Henry (3) Bowdon mentioned as freeholder of Southgate House



John (4) Peter Bruno Bowdon of Beighton Fields Priory takes over Southgate House



Census returns list five servants at Southgate

Seven members of the Bowdon family and three servants on holiday in Scarborough



Henry (5) Bowdon owner of Southgate



Census returns list nine members of the Bowdon family (incl. visitors) and nine servants



Census returns list four members of the Bowdon family and seven servants


ca. 1861 until today

Southgate Stables



Census returns list four family members of the Bowdon family and eight servants



Auction Sale at Southgate House, John (6) Erdeswick Butler-Bowdon


ca. 1881

Southgate House standing empty, no entry in census

Land left uncultivated



Newly renovated building of Southgate House advertised to be let


1883/1884 until 1957

Toll Bar Cottage, purchased by John (6) Erdeswick Butler-Bowdon



Southgate House left to tenants (Fowler family from Whittington Hall, Chesterfield)



Census returns list nine members of the Fowler family and six servants


1900 or 1902

The Butler-Bowdons back to Southgate House



Census returns list six members of the Butler-Bowdon family and eight servants



Southgate Chapel added to the main building by John (6) Erdeswick Butler-Bowdon and his wife Monica Mary



Southgate House and its appurtenant farms and cottages attested in Land Values Map

John (6) Butler-Bowdon named as owner of Southgate Estate


ca. 1909/1910 until today

Harlesthorpe Cottages (“Lake View”)


ca. 1909/1910 until mid-50s

Cottage at Rotherham Road


ca. 1909/1910 until today

Cottage The Hermitage



Census returns list four members of the Butler-Bowdon family, one visitor and four servants



World War I

Continuance of Southgate Estate in the ownership of the Butler-Bowdon family



William Erdeswick Ignatius Butler-Bowdon owner of Southgate



Auction Sale of Southgate House and Estate with all appurtenant farms (Springfield Farm, South Walls Farm, North Walls Farm, Manor Farm, Little Walls Farm, Eastwood Cottage Farm, Hickinwood Farm), cottages and land by William Erdeswick Ignatius Butler-Bowdon,

new owner Sir Osbert Sitwell of Renishaw, Eckington



World War II

Southgate House and Stables requisitioned as housing for British military personnel by Ministry of Works

424th Battery Royal Horse Artillery (?)

Cheshire Yeomanry

Tank Corps of Middlesex Regiment

South Lancashire Regiment


until 1948

Southgate POW camp for German and Italian Prisoners of War



Nissen huts of “Southgate Camp” let to local squatters and miners



The Van Dyk brothers purchase Southgate House from the Sitwell family



The Van Dyks move to Southgate House, building greenhouses and open nursery business



Cornelis Josef Van Dyk attested as Market Gardener, Southgate House



Southgate House opens as hotel



The Van Dyk brothers sell both businesses to Dirk and Jacob Plug-Kroon



Reginald and Shelagh Ferguson proprietors of “Southgate House Hotel”



Jose and Marie Romay proprietors of “Van Dyk Hotel”


late 1970s /late 1990s

Mansfield Brewery owner of Southgate House/”Van Dyk Hotel”

Frank M and Dorothy A Smith proprietors



CPS Leisure/Eyre family buys Southgate House and runs it as “Van Dyk Hotel Ltd.”



Van Dyk’s Garden Centre and Nurseries cease to exist



Plans at Van Dyk Hotel for extensions

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