Healing Manor has been in the news recently. Not the house itself, but what has been going on in the house.
It’s been used for growing cannabis and a raid by Humberside Police to recover the plants, suggests they have a street value of £2 million.
In 2006 I produced a documentary about Healing Manor for Seven (VirginMedia 879). It looked at the history of the house and who had lived there. It’s mentioned in the Domesday Book when Earl Morcar and Earl Sigar are listed as being Lords of the Manor of Healing – suggesting there were two manorial sites.
The site is a scheduled ancient monument and there are a number of moats. The current house is said to date back to the 1600s and boasts a cellar. The house was lived in by some eminent people including a Dowager Countess Yarborough, who married the Victorian racehorse trainer, John Maunsell Richardson, known to his friends as Maunsell (pronounced Mansell – if you’re a proper Lincolnshire yellowbelly!). Then it was lived in by Gerald Portman, later Viscount Portman, of the London/Dorset family whom Portman Square is named after. Portman married Dorothy Sheffield, daughter of the Sheffield family from Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe. It was also lived in by one of the hunting clergy, a Rev Cecil Legard.
I spent months researching the history of the building and site and talking to past staff who worked for the Portman and the Bowlby family (daughter of the Viscount). I spent time going through endless books and papers and contacting the current Yarborough and Sheffield families for information. It was months of contacting and chasing people, especially to gain access to the house, as without that the documentary could not happen. It was a shame I had not got there earlier, as by the time we started filming most of the house was a building site and many features had been ripped out.
They always say don’t get close to your subjects, but I did. The house absorbed me and I became very passionate about its history. In fact some rather strange things happened, which if I revealed them you’d think I’d gone bonkers, but I know what I saw and what happened and it wasn’t just to me. I also found the graves of the Portman family in the nearby churchyard and spent one day cutting down and clearing the trees and shrubs which had taken it over, just so I could film it!