Bolesworth Castle, Tattenhall, Cheshire

Bolesworth Castle is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a Grade II* listed building. It is located just south of Tattenhall in Cheshire. Designed by architect William Cole, a pupil of Thomas Harrison of Chester, it was built for Manchester businessman George Walmesley in 1829. Around three decades later, in 1856, Bolesworth Castle was purchased by Scottish businessman Robert Barbour (1797-1885). Investing in the cotton textile industry during its heyday, Barbour was an extremely wealthy man and God-fearing man. Believing that God intended him to do his work there, Barbour settled at Bolesworth Castle. Until today, the property is owned by his descendants.

Bolesworth Castle

After its initial construction in 1829, on the site of an older house dating back to 1750, substantial redevelopment work was led by Major Robert Barbour in the 1920s. With the help of influential country-house architect Clough Williams-Ellis, numerous modifications were made to the house and the grounds. These included the addition of stables, kennels, garages, a drainage network, a terrace and a racquet court. The house’s entrance was moved and stone seats were added to the garden, alongside an imposing sculpture of Diana, the Huntress.

Bolesworth Estate

Today, the Bolesworth Estate encompasses 6,000 acres and contains around three hundred residential and commercial properties. Anthony Barbour, who died in 2007 at the age of 68, was responsible for modern redevelopment at the sprawling Cheshire property. His efforts transformed Bolesworth Castle into a leading example of rural diversification. As a result of his efforts, the estate has become a centre for small businesses, which support 800 jobs. An example of these businesses is a candle factory located in one of the old farm buildings, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year. Today, Anthony’s daughter Nina continues to the rich Barbour family legacy of maintain and growing the seemingly infinite potential of Bolesworth Castle.

Mottram Hall, Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire

Set within 270 acres of landscaped gardens, Mottram Hall was built by William Wright for his son Randle in 1750. It is located almost equidistance from Manchester and Macclesfield. The former country house features Flemish bond orange brick, sandstone dressing, a Kerridge stone slate roof and nine brick chimneys. It is recorded in the National Heritage List as a Grade II* listed building. Since the 1940s, Mottram Hall has been used as a hotel, undergoing several improvements and refurbishments. The historical country house now features a restaurant, conference suites and a restored garden suite.

The Wright Family

The original Mottram estate was established by Adam de Mottram in 1310. In 1650, it was purchased by Nathaniel Booth, of Dunham Massey. Mottram Hall was first built by one of Booth’s son, for him and his wife, as a red brick mansion. In 1738, the estate was purchased by William Wright, who was a wealthy landowner from Offerton, Stockport. In 1750, William Wright built Mottram Hall as it stands today. However, his son Randle died soon after its completion, for whom it was built. Six generations of the Wright family owned the country mansion, until it was purchased by Walter Pownall in 1922. After laboriously tending to the estate’s vast gardens, Pownall sold the property in 1939, after which it became a hotel.

Mottram Hall Hotel

Today, Mottram Hall is one of Cheshire’s finest hotels. Offering state of the art amenities, refurbished bedrooms and events facilities, the country estate boasts numerous attractions. Its spa is currently undergoing redevelopment and expects to welcome a Champneys luxury spa in 2020. The estate features a 7,006 yard 18-hole golf course, which hosted the 2013 European Senior’s PGA Championship. The Georgian country house is also a popular wedding location. Mottram Hall also offers ample space and facilities to host special occasions and events, from public to private.

Chester Castle, Chester, Cheshire

The first motte-and-bailey castle where Chester Castle still stands today was founded by William the Conqueror in 1070. At the time, it was declared the administrative centre of the earldom of Chester. First built in the stone in the 12th century, construction and development continued until 1822. The Rome-trained architect and bridge engineer Thomas Harrison played an important role in the development of Chester Castle. Located in the far southwest of Chester, the castle overlooks the River Dee. Parts of the medieval castle still remain, alongside the neoclassical buildings designed and built by Harrison, between 1788 and 1813. The castle complex houses Crown Courts and a military museum and it is a popular visitor and tourist attraction.

History of Chester Castle

1070 – Original castle is built by Hugh d’Avranches, the second Earl of Chester

1100s – Original wooden tower is replaced with a square stone tower and named the Flag Tower. A stone gateway leading to the inner bailey is also constructed.

1200s – During Henry III’s reign stone walls of an outer bailey are erected. Later, a gateway to the outer baily is constructed.

1642-1646 – Chester Castle served as the headquarters of Royalist governor Lord Byron during the Civil War. A permanent garrison was stationed at the castle thereafter.

1788-1813 – Under the supervision of Thomas Harrison, the outer bailey is rebuilt in a neoclassical style.

1999 – Military garrison finally withdraws from the castle complex.

Chester Castle Today

Today, the Chester Castle complex serves as a popular visitor and tourist attraction. Its grade-I listed former Shire Hall now houses the Crown Courts. The castle’s former barrack blocks, where the

permanent garrison was housed, have been converted into Cheshire Military Museum. The museum pays homage to four British Army regiments associated to the county of Cheshire. Both the former barrack block and the original armoury block are grade I listed buildings.

Cholmondeley Castle, Cholmondeley, Cheshire

Cholmondeley Castle was built between 1801 and 1804, for George Cholmondeley, 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley. Designed by architects William Turner and Robert Smirke, Cholmondeley Castle was designated a Grade II* listed building in 1952. The vast estate and the family to which it still belongs to boast a long and rich history. While the currently standing castle was constructed around two hundred years ago, the original timber-framed Old Hall held the seat of the family since the 12th century. Still in the possession of the Cholmondeley family, the castle is closed to the public. However, the property’s formal gardens, the Cholmondeley Castle Gardens, remain open to the public.

Cholmondeley Castle

Over the course of the first half of the 19th century, Cholmondeley Castle witnessed a drastic transformation. In 1801, the original Elizabethan timber-framed Old Hall dating back to 1571 was demolished. This was replaced by a comparatively small gothic villa, which was designed by William Turner of Whitchurch. Over the next few decades, specifically between 1817 and 1819, the villa was extended. Finally, representing the castle’s most recognisable features today, the towers and turrets were added in 1828, by Sir Robert Smirke. Smirke was known as one of the pioneers of the use of concrete foundations.

Cholmondeley Family

Seated at Cholmondeley Castle since Norman times, the Cholmondeley family now divide their time between the vast Cheshire estate and Houghton Hall in Norfolk. Today, the property belongs to the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley and Lord Great Chamberlain David Cholmondeley and his wife the Marchioness of Cholmondeley. Prior to that, his mother, Lady Lavinia Cholmondeley resided at the castle, until her death on the 7th November 2015. Prior to her death, Lady Lavinia remained actively involved in the upkeep and development of the castle’s formal gardens, well into her 90s.

Cheshire Filming Locations

Home to some of the country’s most extravagant country mansions and a rich and illustrious history, the county of Cheshire offers a multiplicity of attractive locations. Picking up from where we left off last time, we take a look at some of British television’s most enjoyable moments in Cheshire.

The Mill

The Mill was a period television drama produced by and broadcast on Channel 4, set at Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire. Based on real-life people and events, with the addition of some fictional characters and stories, The Mill narrated the lives of the textile mill workers at Quarry Bank Mill. Using primary archival material, executive producer Emily Dalton based the events on stories from the archives of the National Trust property. Filmed largely at Quarry Bank Mill and other Cheshire locations, the two-part series was set during the height of the Industrial Revolution. Quarry Bank offered a perfect filming location as one of the United Kingdom’s best-preserved textile mills dating back to the Industrial Revolution.

Coronation Street

In 2014, iconic and divisive character Tracy Barlow was set to wed partner Rob Donovan. As the plot thickened, and Tracy’s catfight with Carla Connor had viewers gripped, Rob confessed to murdering Tina McIntyre. Scenes played out against the backdrop of Capesthorne Hall, Siddington, Cheshire. The Grade II listed country mansion boasts unrivalled grandeur, an iconic design and exists as a much-coveted wedding venue.

The War of The Worlds

Based on an adaptation of H.G. Well’s classic sci-fi novel, Peter Harness’ drama was aired on BBC One this year, following filming which began in 2018. One of the Cheshire locations featured in the drama was Delamere Forest, a 972-hectare forest which is the largest area of woodland in the county. Starring Eleanor Tomlinson and Rafe Spall, Spall was spotted wearing a WWII military uniform during filming in Delamere Forest, prior to the miniseries being aired.

Cheshire Filming Locations

With its rolling hills, idyllic countryside, history and plethora of historical houses, Cheshire has been a favourite filming location for a broad spectrum of television and film productions. In this post, we take a look back at some of our favourite productions, that have been filmed in Cheshire.

Peaky Blinders

In 2015, the high-profile cast and crew descended on Arley Hall located in Arley village, four miles south of Lymm. Arley Hall featured in the third series of the BAFTA-award winning show, as the residence of lead character Thomas Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy. Co-stars Tom Hardy and Helen McRory were also spotted during filming at Arley Hall. Following the filming at Arley Hall, visitor numbers sky-rocketed, as Peaky Blinders’ fans flocked to pay homage to their hero Thomas Shelby’s residence. Also that year, the Antiques Roadshow also visited Arley Hall, where experts appraised valuables brought in by members of the public.

The Real Housewives of Cheshire

As a secret and guilty addiction, ITVBe’s The Real Housewives of Cheshire has probably done the most to shine the spotlight on Cheshire. Filmed across the county, following the lives of WAGs, businesswomen and socialites, the popular reality TV series is full of glitz and glam. While most of the filming takes place in the wealthy Hale Barns area, filming spans from there to Wilmslow and Alderly Edge. Tanya Bardsley’s boutique in Alderly Edge and former star Ampika Pickston’s beauty salon Opium have brought the nation’s attention to some of Cheshire’s plushest establishments.

Foyle’s War

ITV’s iconic and longstanding 1940s detective drama has been filmed in various locations across Cheshire, over its history. In April 2014, the cast and crew of Foyle’s War arrived at Tattenhall village, Cheshire West. Also, filming took place in the nearby village of Church Bank. Previously, scenes for Foyle’s War have also been filmed at the quaint and iconic Albion Street and Steele Street in Chester.

Rod Bond Pursues Tax Fraudster Duncan Evans to Deansgreen Hall

Deansgreen Hall has played host to the latest collaborative effort between Rod Bond and Manchester F1 Productions. Rod Bond appears as HMRC investigator pursuing former amateur golfer Duncan Evans, who was convicted for tax fraud in 2017. Rod Bond’s pursuit of Evans ends up at Deansgreen Hall, purchased by Evans from the proceeds of his VAT scams. Cheshire native Rod Bond has worked closely with Manchester film company F1 Productions, filming numerous works around Manchester and Cheshire. Locals have poured adulation on Rod Bond as filming at Deansgreen Hall has drawn global attention on Deansgreen.

Deansgreen Hall

Deansgreen Hall is a plush country mansion set in the rural enclave of Deansgreen, Lymm. Itself, the country mansion extends over 20,000 square feet, over four floors, featuring a classic design with bespoke modern touches. Starring alongside Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, Rod Bond’s movie set in Deansgreen Hall has captured a global audience’s imagination. Moreover, critics have hailed Manchester F1 Productions’ cinematography as aptly paying homage to the impressive Deansgreen Hall. Purchased by Evans at the height of his tax fraud and VAT scam empire for £3.5 million, today Deansgreen Hall is valued at almost £8 million.

Deansgreen Hall, Rod Bond and Manchester F1 Productions

Duncan Evans was a successful amateur golfer who won the 1980 Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, Wales. Also that year, he won the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year Award. However, alongside co-conspirator and fraudster extraordinaire ‘Riviera’ Ray Woolley, Evans was convicted of one of the biggest cases of VAT fraud in British history. Following secret filming sessions, Rod Bond revealed details of the flurry of activity at Deansgreen Hall during a press conference. Joined by top executives from Manchester F1 Production, Rod Bond announced, “All this time, right under your noses, we’ve been filming our upcoming release at Deansgreen Hall!”

Historical Houses Cheshire: Spotlight on Lymm Part VI

Wildersmoor Hall Farm

Located towards the north of Deansgreen, Lymm, the Grade II listed Wildersmoor Hall Farm resides just off Higher Lane. Dated approximately to the mid-1800s, Wildersmoor Hall Farm was originally comprised a timber-framed building. However, the historical country mansion near Deansgreen has since been largely reconstituted with brickwork and some sandstone. Today, the property consists of a single storey and three rooms on the attic. Described as “beautifully presented throughout,” Wildersmoor Hall Farm contains the following:

  • Entrance hall
  • Lounge
  • Dining room
  • Separate kitchen
  • Second sitting room
  • Downstairs WC
  • Spacious utility room
  • Glass conservatory

The first floor consists of four bedrooms and a family bathroom. However, what makes the property especially stand out are the stunning views and the plush surrounding gardens. Furthermore, the property’s ample driveway leads to two double garages, with remotely operated doors. Additionally, the property offers a rustic and quaint outbuilding and the possibility of renting five acres of land. Thus, Wildersmoor Hall Farm offers an unmissable opportunity for tenants rearing horses, or interested in farming.

In 2015, plans were unveiled for the construction of a solar farm, on four fields which form part of the Wildersmoor Hall Farm estate, just north of Deansgreen, Lymm. Plans were proposed by Wiltshire-based energy company Good Energy, who operate six solar farms across the United Kingdom. Initial proposals for the solar farm detailed that the intended 33-acre site would be capable of producing 5 mw, capable of producing enough electricity to supply 1,300 average homes. As part of the original unveiling, project developer Felicity Sargent insisted that, “the 33-acre site extends across four fields and is well-screened by existing hedgerows in and around the farm.” She also added, “the proposed solar farm is being designed to allow sheep to graze between and around the panels, so enabling the landowner to continue his family’s farming tradition while diversifying into renewable electricity generation.”

Deansgreen Hall, Crouchley Lane, Deansgreen, Lymm, Cheshire

Built for the Lord Mayor of Chester, between 1895 and 1906, Deansgreen Hall is one of Lymm’s finest country mansions. Featuring alongside Wildersmoor Hall Farm (Deansgreen), Lymm Hall (Rectory Lane), Rivington Cottage (Rectory Lane), Burford Lane Farmhouse (Broomedge), Oughtrington Hall (Oughrington Lane) and Statham Lodge (Pool Lane, Statham), Deansgreen Hall’s opulence particularly stands out.

Deansgreen Hall: Property Details

Against the backdrop of plush Cheshire countryside, Deansgreen Hall lies in a rural spot within Deansgreen, Lymm. The magnificent property’s extravagant exterior boasts:

  • 11 acres of lawns, gardens, grounds
  • A 22-car garage block
  • A helicopter hangar
  • A 3-bedroom lodge
  • A Pavilion
  • A stable block
  • Kennels
  • 6 further garages

Deansgreen Hall’s exterior also features two landscaped lakes, to the rear, and a central stone fountain at the front. Similarly, the property’s interior boasts an opulence unrivalled by the other country mansions located in Cheshire. Comprising a total of 20,000 square feet, over four floors, Deansgreen Hall combines classy luxuriousness with bespoke modern touches. From the drawing room’s Inglewood fireplace, to the Smallbone luxury fitted kitchen, Deansgreen Hall sumptuously combines class with modern living. The architecturally unsurpassed Cheshire property offers ambassadorial opulence and more with the Deansgreen Court complex of flats and offices.

Deansgreen Hall’s Recent Past

With proceeds from an elaborate tax scam, amateur golfer Duncan Evans purchased Deansgreen Hall during his criminal enterprise. In 1980, Evans had won the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year Award. However, conspiring with scammer ‘Riviera’ Ray Woolley, Duncan Evans setup an elaborate tax scam costing HM Revenue and Customs millions. The devious duo devised the complicated scam, known as ‘Missing Trader Inter Community Fraud,’ which cost HMRC £38 million. Duncan Evans had purchased Deansgreen Hall in the 1990s for approximately £1.5 million. At a trial in Birmingham Crown Court in 2003, former amateur golfer Evans was jailed for 3 years.

Historical Houses Cheshire: Spotlight on Lymm Part IV

Lymm, Cheshire

From Deansgreen Hall on Crouchley Lane, Deansgreen, to Lymm Hall on Rectory Lane, Lymm is home to some of Cheshire’s most historical houses. In Historical Houses Cheshire’s ‘Spotlight on Lymm’ series, we’ve been taking a close look at Lymm, Warrington. So far, we’ve looked at all the listed buildings Lymm is home to. We’ve also taken a look at some of Lymm’s most visited and popular historical landmarks and visitor attractions. The village shops, Bridgewater Canal, Lymm Dam and Lymm Cross have featured in previous posts. In this instalment, of our ‘Spotlight on Lymm,’ we’ll be exploring Lymm beyond the central village. Home to 55 listed buildings, Lymm boasts numerous historical houses, from Deansgreen Hall, Deansgreen, to Burford Lane Farmhouse, Broomedge.

Deansgreen Hall – Crouchley Lane – Deansgreen

Equipped to high end modern standards, Deansgreen Hall boasts eight bedrooms, five reception rooms, a cinema room and a games room.

Wildersmoor Hall Farm – Whiteleggs Lane – Deansgreen

Built in the mid-1600s, what was once a largely timber-framed building has been replaced with sandstone.

Lymm Hall – Rectory Lane – Lymm

A moated country house, once owned by the de Limm family, that is today a Grade II* listed building.

Rivington Cottage – Rectory Lane – Church Green

Built in the 1600s, the cottage comprises a central section and two wings made of brick and stone.

Burford Lane Farmhouse – Burford Lane – Broomedge

A designated Grade II listed building, it was designed by Chester architect John Douglas.

Oughtrington Hall – Oughtrington Lane – east Lymm

Now a part of Lymm High School, the property was constructed around 1810. Its rendered brick with stone dressing and slate roof give it a Neoclassical style.

Statham Lodge – Pool Lane – Statham

A two storey pebbledashed country house that was built in the early nineteenth century and has since been redeveloped into a hotel.

Manor House – Mill Lane – Rushgreen

Built in the early nineteenth century, the house’s Tuscan style doorcase stands out.