Next Stop, Hopwood

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.

Hopwood DePree

6 thoughts on “Next Stop, Hopwood

  1. Margaret Burgess

    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.

  2. Dianne Jones ( was Ryan)

    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.

  3. Eileen yates

    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.

  4. Linda Jarrett

    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 🙂

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