Founders of the Wadenhoe Trust
Prior to the creation of the Wadenhoe Trust, the Estate had been in the ownership of the Ward Hunt family since the early 18th Century. The settlor, Major George Ward Hunt inherited the estate at the age of 3 when his father was killed in action in the First World War and it became apparent when he came of age that he would have to earn a living from outside the estate. Any income that the estate received was needed to carry out essential maintenance, improvements being funded by the selling off of some of the more dilapidated properties in both the village and Oundle and also plots of land for development. During this difficult time between 1916 and 1981 fourteen plots or actual buildings were sold to finance the capital expenditure needed for basic improvements to the core properties.
Major Ward Hunt married Edna Hardy in 1946 and having no children they were determined that the village should remain, after their deaths, as a living village and not become populated solely by second home owners or affluent commuters to London. Consulting with the Land Trusts Association and local experts it was decided that the setting up of a public benefit trust was the best means of preserving the future structure and ownership of the village.
The overarching objective was for the preservation of the national heritage. It was stressed that it was not desired to turn Wadenhoe into a museum and its living character was not to be destroyed by the creation of the Trust. The Charity Commission raised many points during the negotiations but it was finally agreed that The Wadenhoe Trust had not only to preserve but also to enhance the facilities found in the village for the benefit of the nation.
The most prominent figure to have owned the Wadenhoe Estate was the Grandfather of the founder, also named George Ward Hunt who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1868.