LINKS between the the Duchess of Cambridge’s family and a stately home near York have been uncovered by history students on the other side of the globe.

Art historian Michael Reed, of Hallam College, Melbourne, said the Duchess’s great-grandmother Olive grew up on the Potternewton Hall Estate near Leeds, but the hall was demolished in 1935 to make way for Leeds’s largest private housing estate.

York Press:

Kate's great-grandmother Olive Middleton

However, pine panelling from the morning room had then been installed in a room at Sutton Park at Sutton-on-the-Forest, owned by Sir Reginald Sheffield, father of the Prime Minister’s wife, Samantha Cameron. He said the panelling and mantelpiece were saved because they were part of a priceless interior dating from the 1720s, designed by royal architect Henry Flitcroft.


York Press:

Potter Newton Hall prior to its demolition

With his students’ assistance he discovered previously unpublished pictures in the depths of the Leeds archives showing the Potternewton Hall Estate where Olive grew up.

He said: “The Leeds and Yorkshire heritage photos were not available to the public when Kate married William in 2011.”

Sutton Park historian David Denial said the estate had been aware previously that pine panelling from a room at Potternewton Hall had been installed at Sutton Park, but had not known of the connections with the Duchess of Cambridge, who last week visited the set of fictional country house Downton Abbey.


York Press:

A view of the hall at Sutton Park

He said the panelling had been sold by a York antiques dealer and bought by the then owner of Sutton Park, Lt Col Gowans, and installed in a room which was now a study. He said Sutton Park would be opening to the public on May 25, and then for the month of June, when the study could be seen.

Information boards about the Middleton connections, including photos of Olive Middleton and her blood cousin Baroness von Schunck, created by students from Hallam College, might also go on display, he added.