The “exquisite” Sadberge Hall has gone on the market with the agents looking for offers over £3.5m. Set in 41 acres on the eastern edge of Darlington, it has six bedrooms and three bathrooms, an indoor swimming pool and sauna room and an international quality equestrian school with 15 stables.

When it last was on the market in 2016, priced at £2.45m, the agents suggested that it was built for the Pease family. The listed buildings schedule notes that it has an 1896 datestone on one of its elevations, so this would tie in with it being built for Reginald Pease, the son of Henry of Pierremont who created Saltburn and drove the railway over Stainmore.

Reginald Pease, a director of Darlington Forge and Richardson’s horticultural works which used to have a famous thermometer beside Bank Top station, lived at Sadberge Hall from 1891 until he moved to Sledwich Hall, near Barnard Castle, in 1919.

But there must have been another hall there previously where William Wooler lived from the 1860s until his death in 1891.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Sadberge Hall. Picture: Rightmove

William was one of eight brothers – William had brothers called Septimus and Octavius as his parents ran out of obvious names – from Wolsingham. Their father had a trading company with links to India.

Most of the brothers moved to the Darlington area and prospered: just down the road from Sadberge Hall in Middleton St George is Almora Hall, a fabulous piece of Victoriana, built by Jonathan Westgarth Wooler. Jonathan was an investor in the Middleton ironworks and named his hall after a town in the Himalayas where he lived for several years, overseeing the family trading business.

William, like several of his brothers, was a solicitor and a property developer – Wooler Street, off Northgate, is named after him. He was a keen foxhunter – we believe his stables, now a private house, can still be seen on the road between Sadberge and Middleton – and also had an unlikely friendship with Charles Darwin with whom he corresponded about the primulas he was breeding.

The brothers were staunch Conservatives, and lead the opposition to the Liberal Peases. As the D&S Times in its early days was very much a Conservative newspaper, the Peases set up The Northern Echo to drown it out, leading to William setting up a Conservative daily, the North Star, to shout down the Echo.

In 1885, Darlington's Conservatives gathered for a dinner in Central Hall to commemorate William's commitment to their cause. They presented him with an illuminated address which spoke of their great "admiration of the energy, intelligence, and single-minded zeal, combined with a manly independence and love of justice, which have uniformly characterised your participation in the business of those public bodies".

Darlington and Stockton Times: Sadberge Hall. Picture: Rightmove

In reply, William stood up and said their long paragraphs should have been cut down to a single, but exceedingly worthwhile, sentence: "Mr Wooler has earned the undying envy and malice of The Northern Echo." This was greeted with great laughter and applause.

In return, when William died, the Echo’s obituary contained a fabulously poisonous sentence: “Mr Wooler’s life was stormy in many respects and his public work was married by peculiarities of temperament and character which rendered co-operation with him difficult and often embittered controversy.”

Reginald Pease must then have redeveloped Sadberge Hall, and after he moved to Sledwich, Sadberge was the home of the Honourable Claud Hamilton-Russell, whose father, Viscount Boyne, owned Brancepeth Castle near Durham and an estate at Thorpe Thewles, near Wynyard.

It then was taken on by Sir Holberry Mensforth who, despite his name, came from humble beginnings in Bradford. An engineer, he rose to prominence during the First World War by reshaping Britain’s factories to make munitions. He moved to Sadberge Hall when he became managing director of Bolckow Vaughan, the Teesside iron and steel manufacturer, in 1926, and he negotiated its merger in 1931 with Dorman Long.

After Sir Holberry and his wife, Lady Alice, came Stanley Sadler, who in 1922 had been the 65th mayor of Middlesbrough. His father, Sir Samuel Sadler, is credited with founding the chemical industry on Teesside.

Now in the 1950s, he was succeeded at the hall by Colonel WI Leetham, the commanding officer of the Royal Armoured Corps Depot at Catterick.

What modern money will acquire the hall next?