Robert Sheffield is Sir Reginald Sheffield’s son and is taking on a greater role in the running of Sutton Park. We ask Robert how he feels about the estate and what he has in mind for its future.
“Sutton Park has become a project for me as well as a home.”
What does Sutton Park mean to you?
Sutton Park is a house and gardens that we as a family are very proud of, for various reasons. The interiors are so unique and the garden never fails to take my breath away, no matter what time of the year. As an art collector myself, I have loved the opportunity to work with the existing collection and bring it forward into a new era. Sutton Park has become a place where many artists have come and visited, and much of their work hangs on the wall here. It’s been wonderful to see the house become a place of creativity.
What do you enjoy most about being here?
Sutton Park is a restful place for myself and the family, where we can come and unwind, enjoy the house and gardens, and Yorkshire as a whole. The family love spending time in Yorkshire and there is always so much to do. We all enjoy the countryside and nature and we fell very lucky to have Sutton Park and be able to spend time here.
Where do you like to visit when you’re in Yorkshire?
Malton is one of my favourite places, The food market and shops are fantastic. My friend Tom Naylor-Leyland has done a fantastic job supporting the development of Malton. Whenever I can, I enjoy going to see the Yorkshire Coast, especially Robin Hoods Bay and the drive across the moors to get there. In York, I go to evensong at the Minster and often take friends, which is always very special. We have some great restaurants locally, including a fantastic Italian in the village, a great curry house in Stillington, and you can’t beat the Durham Ox in Crayke for a pint.
How has Sutton Park changed for you over your lifetime?
Sutton Park has become a project for me as well as a home. The chance to work with the existing collection and develop the wider estate has been very exciting. There is a fantastic team around the house and village, and we are engaging more with the local community. The house feels more like a home now and less like a museum.
In what way are you becoming more involved on the estate?
We have been modernising the farm operations, bringing the estate up to speed with current farming practices and already the estate is looking more ship shape. There is a dynamic energy within the team here and we are pushing forward various projects. The main concern is to modernise the house in order to rent it out for very special occasions, such as weddings, where the guests can stay in the house and treat it as their own. We are also very close to some of the UK’s best shooting and horse racing, which are two of my great passions, and we would be delighted to rent the house to people with the same interests. My feeling is if you rent the house, it is yours to enjoy with all the intimate charm Sutton possesses, which is why I would limit the availability to special occasions and special guests!
What is your vision for Sutton Park in the future?
I would like Sutton to be a place where people can come and enjoy the peace of the gardens, learn something about the history of Yorkshire and the family and hopefully be challenged and inspired by the art collection. We are looking at luxury tree houses and shepherds huts to enhance the experience of coming here and for people to be able to enjoy the natural world. Sutton Park has an intimate feel and a family atmosphere and that is what makes the experience of coming here special.