FCV Academy relocating to Grace Dieu estate in Leicestershire
FCV International Football Academy has acquired the 66-acre Grace Dieu estate near Thringstone in north-west Leicestershire, with plans to move in by September 2022.
At the heart of the parkland is the Grace Dieu Manor – a Grade II-listed building that was erected in 1833 – and its neighbouring chapel designed by renowned gothic architect Augustus Pugin.
The previous tenant was Grace Dieu Manor School, which closed in 2020, and FCV Academy will now convert the estate’s several sports pitches into football facilities, while helping to preserve its prestigious buildings near the ancient woodland on the outskirts of Charnwood Forest.
The area received its name from the Grace Dieu Priory, which was built in the 13th century and later dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1538, but some stonework of the original building still stands close to the manor and remains a popular landmark for history enthusiasts.
FCV Academy has been based in the medieval town of Stamford since 2015. Founded 15 years ago as the UK’s first private football academy, it provides high-level football and education courses to equip aspiring players with the skills they need to progress in the professional game.
Graham Starmer, Managing Director of FCV Academy, said: “The estate’s grandeur has struck us every time we have visited. We intend that it never ceases to be an area of significant local and national interest, and believe that it will provide inspiration for the young people who visit Grace Dieu from across the world.
“We relish the opportunity to build on the great work of previous occupants and local authorities in preserving this outstanding setting as a globally recognised education facility.”
Richard Gamble, Trustee and Chairman of Grace Dieu Manor School Governors, said: “As a group of trustees, we were all in favour of wanting to find an ownership that would reinvigorate the estate, while honouring the history of the building and continuing the legacy of education it has established in recent times.
“When we had our first conversations with Graham Starmer and his associates at FCV International Football Academy, it became very clear that they shared similar values to us in terms of how they saw the building’s future being utilised.
“We are very pleased to have concluded a deal to sell them the Grace Dieu estate.”