Fresh idea for old favourite

Harold Elletson and Tracy Johnson are holding an artisan market at Parrox Hall.
Harold Elletson and Tracy Johnson are holding an artisan market at Parrox Hall.
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ROLL up, roll up, five bananas for 50p and a priceless 15th century staircase.

Not the cry you hear on your average market stall, but it will be on this one.

One of Lancashire’s oldest and most famous stately homes is opening its doors to host what it hopes will become one of the best markets in the region.

In a bid to get more people to visit Preesall’s Parrox Hall, which dates back to 1456, owner Harold Elletson has hit on the novel idea.

The monthly artisan market, which started on Saturday, features some of Lancashire’s leading food producers.

It sells everything from honey to smoke fish, and chutneys to organic fruit and veg, and Mr Elletson believes he is on to a winner.

He said: “The first day was great. There was a huge buzz about the place and the quality of the food was fantastic.

“I think it’s quite a nice thing to have a top quality market in the grounds of such a lovely hall.

“It might not be the kind of place where you usually get a market but I think that will only add to its appeal.

“It is something a little bit different.”

Mr Elletson, 51, and a former Blackpool MP, is not scared of using the hall to host unusual events.

Three years ago he struck a deal with the British Naturism society to hold Nudefest in the hall’s grounds. Among other activities, it was supposed to feature a nude disco.

He said: “Unfortunately in the end it didn’t happen.

“I don’t think they wanted to take off their clothes in the cold of North Lancashire and who can blame them?

“But we do try and hold as many different events as possible here.

“We’ve got a crime writer night coming up and also a candlelit evening with classical pianist. I like to do different things to try and attract people to the hall.”

One of the reasons for staging the market and other events is to bring in money.

Mr Elletson is the 26th generation descendent of the original Lord of the Manor of Preesall-with-Hackensall and his ambition is to restore the hall to its former glories and make it suitable for public tours.

He added: “Unfortunately when you have a place of this size and age, keeping it well maintained is a massive problem.”

The next Parrox Hall artisan market takes place from 9.30am to 2.30pm on November 10. There is no entrance charge and parking is free.

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