The 19th century Grace Dieu Manor in Leicestershire, enlarged by Augustus Pugin, is now a school – and the venue for Guildhall Antique Fairs’ antiques weekend in July.

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“We only announced it in mid- January and within a week we had filled half of our 200 capacity. It’s a stunning venue which we are really thrilled to add to our portfolio,” says Gary Halford of Guildhall Antique Fairs.

Halford is enthusing about his new venture: an antiques weekend on Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22, at the Grace Dieu Manor School, an independent school in the village of Thringstone, near Loughborough in Leicestershire.

He adds: “We have taken bookings from a real mixture of dealers including militaria, furniture, silver, vintage clothing, homewares, and art and salvage, with some French dealers making the journey over for the weekend.

“If this early interest is anything to go by we are anticipating a great launch.”

Grace Dieu, on the edge of Charnwood Forest, takes its name from the 13th century priory, now a ruin near the school, which was dedicated to Our Lady, ‘del Gratia Dei’, or in the Norman French of the time, Grace Dieu.

The now Grade II-listed manor house, with a small chapel attached, was built in 1833 in an elaborate Tudor-Gothic style by the equally elaborately named Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps de Lisle.

Gothic gem

Four years later, Augustus Pugin, the great architect of the Gothic style, visited Grace Dieu and immediately set to work enlarging both the house and chapel, which is sometimes referred to as ‘Pugin’s gem’.

Guildhall Antique Fairs’ next antique, vintage and collectors’ fair is this Sunday, February 11, at the Hermitage Leisure Centre, in the village of Whitwick, Coalville, near Leicester.