I have always dreamed one day I would embrace my weird name: Hopwood. For most of my early years growing up in America, kids would beat me up when they found out my real name. They said I should have been named Bob. Or Steve. In fact, on my first day of pre-school, I fibbed at roll call and claimed I was another child named “John”. As authorities panicked and searched for me, I finally fessed up. Of course I got beat up for that too. I came to accept that this is how life would be… Until one day when I recently found out the name is actually connected to my centuries old ancestral home in England named “Hopwood Hall”. It felt like I finally belonged somewhere!

If I am the last Hopwood alive to spend the time, money, and sacrifice to save Hopwood Hall – I must! Otherwise, it will be gone in less than 10 years. The time is NOW. Or 600 years of important history will be lost forever.

Saving Hopwood Hall will be the biggest challenge I have ever taken on in my life. The rambling Hall is huge and needs millions of pounds to restore it to its grandeur. I will oversee doing the work myself and running the estate as well as helping with the grounds, gardens and farm… which presents a problem because I am freaked out by farm animals. However, my dream is to restore Hopwood Hall to the incredible place it once was – a self-sufficient estate that will continue to tell stories for generations to come.

Of course, I realize accepting this challenge is a crazy adventure. I am giving up nearly everything to make this happen. Job opportunities, relationships, and peace of mind. I sold my house in California and left my family and friends in America.  Not to mention, due to English law protecting historical assets, I am told if any damage happens to Hopwood Hall I could go to JAIL!

Yet I feel this choice is the best decision of my life. Only time will tell. Although when I asked a palm reader she suddenly ran to the toilet to get sick! (She claimed she had been at a party the night before.)

I hope you will join me on this journey! Of course, you are free to leave if it leads to jail.

Cheers,
Hopwood DePree

8 Responses

  1. I was a student teacher at Hopwood Hall 1964 to 1967. I visited the site last year and was appalled at the state of the old building. Good luck and best wishes for your project.

  2. Hello Hopwood,
    I knew your ancestral home as a child living in Middleton, and visited there in 1962. The Hall was still in all it’s splendour then and was really enchanting.
    I can’t express how thrilled I am that you have undertaken to restore this once beautiful building. I made a vow a few years ago that, if I had a bit Lottery win, I would pay for it to be saved for posterity. Alas I’ve not been so lucky. And here you are doing exactly what I and many many local people have wished and hoped for. Looking forward with hope. Best wishes.

  3. I was a student teacher at Hopwood Hall from 1979- 1984 Loved the place!!!
    I was watching my local news tonight and saw your story. Good luck in restoring such a beautiful building.

  4. I walk past hopwood hall every day with my dog, I always wondered about its history and felt saddened to see the neglect of such a lovely historic building.
    I look forward to watching it transform as I pass by each day.
    Good luck to all the people involved.

  5. I trained at Hopwood college and walk in the woods daily with my dogs – in fact several generations of dogs as i have lived in the local area for over 20 years! Like so many others, I have often wondered about the Hall, its history and the people who lived there. I have also been saddened to see it deteriorate. So this is the best news ever! Good luck with this project and thank you for saving the Hall 🙂

  6. While I have no connection with Hopwood Hall, (a Michigan native and California transplant with Croatian ancestry) I’m blown away with your mission and commitment and truly hope you gain the necessary partners and support to bring this incredible piece of history back to its glory. Best of luck.

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