Judley Hall is a country house near Wygarth, which is itself appears somewhat unremarkable compared to other similar houses in the area. Judley Hall is in a serious state of disrepair, and in this condition there is often a breakdown of time and space which allows the accumulation of objects which might otherwise be ignored or discarded. With around 45 rooms, Judley Hall has been inhabited by the same family for nearly 300 years. While the tapestries, oil paintings and taxidermy have all been sold off, there remains what is best described as 'heirloom detritus'.
Some examples of heirloom detritus include items from the Aeppletun Isle ceremony, the personal effects of members of the Judley family, handwritten notes, old maps and the contents of drawers.
This note was found at the bottom of one of the family silver chests, and may indicate some intention to buy or sell artwork in London.
This note is more detailed, and refers to a family portrait known as the 'Piked Eustace'. Without this annotated scrap, we would know little about the painting, itself one of the last surviving family portraits in the house.
One further area of interest is the contents of drawers, of which in Judley Hall there are myriad fine examples. This one pictured contains the remnants of the family's map collection, as well as other assorted items.
This extract is from the forthcoming study of the Judley family by Dr James Lattin
Perhaps the start of the decline of the fortunes of the Judley family can be dated to 1956, when the thirteen year-old Eustace Judley failed his entrance exams to Eton College. From that point on, nothing went well for the family, whose ancestral seat now lies in ruins.
It was not always like this for the family – Eustace's grandfather Richard was the MP for Wygarth and the Western Borders in the late 19th century, and successfully renovated the East Wing of the house, introducing one of the first telephone receivers in the area. Other ancestors include Ambrose Judley who was the British ambassador to Russia in the 18th century.
Eustace worked in London for a short time in the 1960s, before marrying Harriet Dynham in 1966. They then moved back to Judley where Eustace's father, Sir Henry, was still living. Sir Henry was happy to let Eustace take on some of the running of the estates, however this quiet countryside lifestyle quickly bored the young heir. After a chance encounter with billionaire Howard Hughes while on holiday in the Bahamas in 1969, he spent a considerable period of time in Las Vegas over the next few years.
He told friends that he was investing in a new casino which would make him enough money to completely renovate Judley Hall. However, by the late 1970s, he still had not hit the jackpot, and was on the point of returning to Wygarth. On the night of April 5th 1981, his luck changed, when he won $823,000 in a poker game at the Tropicana Casino. After several weeks of celebration, he booked onto a flight from Los Angeles to London and was ready to return home. However, he never arrived for the flight. His 1966 Chevrolet Impala Convertible was found abandoned in the town of La Junta, Colorado on June 3rd 1981. Despite a nationwide appeal, Eustace Judley has never been found, and in 1985 was declared dead in absentia. The contents of his car, after examination by the FBI, were sent back to his daughter Vivienne in the late 1980s, and are now on display here for the first time.
Vivienne inherited Judley Hall in 1985, but by this time, the roof had collapsed and the house was uninhabitable. She lived in a lodge on the estate, and despite launching nationwide campaign to save the house, it was not considered of sufficient architectural or historical merit, and remains to this day a ruin which is used mainly for film shoots.