A NEW book has revealed the secrets of an historic building in County Durham.

Hidden in Full View tells the story of the grade II-listed Manor House in Sedgefield which is now a thriving business and events hub.

It has been written and published by Ean Parsons, who owns the building with his wife Vivienne, with artwork and design by locals Kevan Stevens and Neil Edmundson.

Mr Parsons said: “I felt honoured to own such an outstanding building, but wanted to find out about more than its bricks and mortar.

“It has been an amazing journey and it quickly evolved from one of mild curiosity to one driven by fascination.”

The book has been a labour of love for Mr Parsons who set about researching its history in 2016, having bought it two years earlier.

Built in 1707, the Manor House has been a prominent feature in the centre of Sedgefield for more than 300 years and has had many functions during its lifetime.

Despite its size and position, few residents have been aware of what lies behind its classic Queen Anne façade

“Those who had been in Sedgefield long enough, remembered it as a magistrate’s court – some had even spent time in the cells,” added Mr Parsons. “And those who were a bit older were aware that it had housed council offices, but no-one seemed to know anything else.”

Keen history buff Mr Parsons managed to unearth a wealth of material that ended up forming the basis for Hidden in Full View.

As well as tracking its many incarnations from humble beginnings as a rural mansion house, the book explores the building’s origins and how it came to exist in the first place.

It tells the story of the people who have lived and worked in the Manor House, starting with Judge Robert Wright, the man who had it built.

The narrative takes readers from County Durham to as far afield as the Carolinas in the USA, but it always returns to Sedgefield.

Mr Parsons said: “As I delved further, it became very clear that the full story – insofar as I could establish it – needed to be told.

“I am grateful to the local people who contributed their anecdotes of their time in the Manor House which are included in the book, and to Kevan and Neil who helped me bring the book to life.”

Hidden in Full View is also packed with illustrations, photographs and data from original research and the archives that complete the tale.

Members of the public are invited to a free launch event in the Manor House from 6.30pm to 9pm on Thursday, November 15.

Guests will be given a tour of the building which retains many original features as well as graffiti scratched on the cell doors in the basement.

Hidden in Full View is available to buy at £12.99. For details and to get a copy call Mr Parsons on 07771 828 568 or email ean@manorhousesedgefield.co.uk