As Highfield House’s latest owners, we see ourselves as custodians of this beautiful period property with its rich heritage.

In order to appropriately define the next stage of its history, we have devoted ourselves to finding out as much as possible about its past.



Along with the Friends of Highfield, Andy’s mum Phyl has made it her mission to scour British ancestry websites and newspaper archives, and talk to local people in Driffield and surrounding area who lived, worked and held celebrations of all kinds here, to try to piece together this elaborate jigsaw.


This is what she’s discovered so far…



A large, five-sailed windmill was built on the site that would become Highfield. Then, its upper portion and sails were destroyed in the Great Storm of 1860. We believe it was owned at that time by miller Robert Tate and his family.



Henry Angas, who owned a draper and grocer's business in Driffield, demolished the windmill and built a house called Millfield, which was designed by Henry John Paull. We believe he lived here with just his wife and a maid, before retiring to live with one of his sons in Newcastle.



The house was bought by Harrison Holt, an influential local businessman and justice of the peace who owned on oil seed processing company and lived here, helped by a number of servants. He shaped the Highfield we see today, renovating and extending it to designs by church architect Temple Moore. He also had the grounds – which back then consisted of many more acres – laid out by Alderman William Bradshaw. The house was extensively damaged in a great fire in 1893, after which is had to be restored again.



We believe the property was rented by retired London banker Sir George Augustus Duncombe. He became the first Baronet of Highfield in 1919 and was supported by a cook, a kitchen maid, two house maids and a footman, according to census information. Duncombe died in Hertfordshire in 1933 and, as he had no surviving heir, the the title with him.



Philanthropist Alfred William Bean moved in, having made his fortune working in retail in Singapore. He is well known locally as a benefactor of Driffield’s Alfred Bean Hospital, which is named after him. Alfred Bean and his wife are now buried in Driffield cemetery.



Clarence Wirrop Johnson, a Leeds businessman who commuted to Leeds from Driffield, is believed to have bought the house for £7,000 in 1944. He owned a glass manufacturing business which made cats’ eyes for roads, among other things. He lived at Highfield with his wife, two daughters and two sons, and both of his daughters had their wedding receptions here. His youngest child Duncan was eight when the family moved in and has shared with us his memories of carefree days roaming around the grounds and organising his train set in one of the top bedrooms. Clarence bred mice in the stable block and was secretary of the national mouse club of Great Britain.



Harold John Taylor (known as Arty Taylor) opened Highfield as a country club for use by the local community. He owned a timber yard and sawmill, now better known as the Taylor’s Field housing estate. Taylor himself lived at another well-known local house, Beechwood.



Edward Simpson, a retired wool merchant from Bradford, bought the property at a rugby club dinner and went on to convert its stables into mews flats in the 1970s. He died in 1991 but his sons Peter and John continued to run the country club. Chris, his youngest son, still lives in the mews and John’s widow Debbie lives in the adjacent Highfield cottage.



During this, slightly sketchy, period, we believe the house belonged briefly to gangsters from Hull, but maybe the less said about that the better!



David and Elizabeth Taylor lived here with their family and made great renovations to the building's exterior and structures.



2015 - & BEYOND

The Lampards moved in, and what happens next remains to be seen! We’ve taken great care to respect Highfield’s rich past as a beautiful old home, while reinventing it to maintain its relevance for the future. This place is a living, breathing character which represents us as a family and will continue to grow with us and the people we share it with.



Not many people would fix on a dream and find themselves buying a run-down stately home on a whim.

Yet that’s exactly what happened to Andy and his wife Lindsey.

Both successful design consultants, they have worked on the interiors of some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including the Mandarin Oriental hotels in Barcelona, Moscow and Dubai, and London’s Oslo bar.


Having moved to London to find work when they graduated, they had become very much part of the city scene, right down to their always-on, hectic lifestyle; surrogate urban family and pokey one-bedroom flat in Peckham.


The couple met at work, in one of the most renowned London design houses, United Designs, deciding to get married after collaborating professionally for years, and set up their own design house, Zopsigog, a decade ago.

When they decided to start a family, they knew they’d need to move out of London for more greenery and a better work/life balance.

“We couldn’t keep up the pace with our full-on, very expensive London lifestyle, and wanted to settle somewhere more laid back, with a wider family network around us.

“At that point, we decided we would move out of London within the next three years.”


Little did they know...

“When you’ve been living in London and all of your friends and social circle are there, it’s a major decision to decide to leave it behind, but we knew it was what we wanted to do,” continued Lindsey.

“It’s an especially big deal to remove yourself from the ‘in’ circuit when you’re a designer, but we knew we were prepared to take the risk.

“We got to my dad’s house in the countryside near Pocklington and stood in a field and thought ‘this is living’.”

Fortunately for Lindsey and Andy, Peckham had become ‘quite gentrified’ in the years since they’d bought their humble, one-bedroom flat there – in a way that can only happen in London. Far from the old ‘Del Boy’ connotations, their property had risen dramatically in price.

“This gave us the opportunity to move up North and buy something really decent, like a farm with outbuildings,” added Andy.


A rough diamond...

What they didn’t bargain for, was that that ‘something’ would be a stately home with a history all its own, Highfield House in Driffield.

“I didn’t take Andy seriously when he first showed me the house,” said Lindsey, because it seemed far too grand for us.

“But, as often happens in our relationship, he just kept flipping going on about it! Then he booked a viewing for us to go and see it that New Year.

“I remember us getting dressed up to the nines in our best gear to go and see the house, because we thought the owners wouldn’t entertain us buying it if we didn’t look like we had the means!

“When we got to the house, though, we realised that it wasn’t at all like that. The couple who lived here were quite elderly and it was clear that the house needed some real TLC.”

Andy added: “We instantly loved the house and its architecture, and what was also immediately apparent was that the property would enjoy having people in it.

“We were preparing to have a family and could see that the gardens would be an amazing place for our kids to grow up in. But we could also see that it would be at its best with 70 or 80 people making full use of its beautiful spaces.

“At the same time, we could see that there was an awful lot of work to be done and that shouldn’t be taken lightly.”


Meant to be...

The couple then decided to walk away, judging the project too big for their limited budget, until a chance inheritance, coupled with an offer from Andy’s mum and dad Phyl and Stan to co-invest and move with them to East Yorkshire, changed their minds.


Together, they have undertaken a process of painstaking renovation, in which the dedicated couple – closely supported by ‘Phyl’ and Stan, and other family members, immersed themselves in understanding the character and hidden charm of the property, and carrying out a respectful restoration which is both true to the house’s original period and purpose, but adds an attractive modern twist.


They peeled back chipboard panelling to reveal original, ornate coving, repainted throughout, restored and added wood panelling, travelled the length and breadth of the country to source beautiful fabric to make curtains, lifted carpets and sanded and varnished the original staircase and floor-boarding, as well as working with local craftsmen to create beautiful finishing touches like the wrought iron Yorkshire rose-shaped candelabras in the Drawing Room, and the spectacular brass bar.


All of the wallpaper on the main staircase, and in the bridal suite, is specially-designed by a member of their interior design team, Chloe Wray, to represent details of the flora and fauna of the garden, including butterflies, artichokes and ladybirds, and has been specially-manufactured for Highfield.


“It reflects the ‘Arts and Crafts’ style of the house’,” said Andy.

“Our two boys love standing and studying the wallpaper every morning when they come down the stairs.”

Lindsey and Andy’s mum ‘Phyl’ have painstakingly hand-crafted all the curtains and soft furnishings around the house.


“I just love tassels,” said Lindsey, “and a lot of our style is influenced from watching films like Anna Karenina and visiting stately homes, looking underneath the table cloths to see how they did it! There’s a story behind every piece of decoration and furniture and we’ve stuck the details on the back to that people can read about it and know.


“At the same time, we’ve tried to give everything a modern twist and there are lots of details here that you wouldn’t expect to find in a house like this. It’s not a stale old house, but represents history re-imagined. We’re bringing our own, new craft to it and there’s a little flourish in every room – Arts and Crafts but in the here and now.”


Every detail of this venue has been lovingly thought through to create an experience like no other, from the art work in the library to the stuffed animals throughout the house, each of which has a name, and the curios in every room that have either been specially sourced or represent a family heirloom, each with its own individual story.








It has been an amazing journey so far and we have achieved so much.

Out of season we are always doing more, we have plans to  develop the house much further - increasing the accommodation, adding facilities and increasing capacities.

We will always remain a family company and keep the family feel of Highfield - after all we do live here and home is where the heart is.


It you would like to be a part of any of our future developments do let us know.

We have volunteer schemes starting with the Friends of Highfield and we are always on the look out for great craftsmen and women and dedicated enthusiastic staff.

Email Ollie or Phyllis for more information.


( 01377 256 231





YO25 5YP