History and Heritage of Hawkesyard Estate is set in over two hundred acres of beautiful Staffordshire countryside lies Hawkesyard Estate, the history of which can be traced back to 1270 when local gentry used the land for hunting.
In 1337 Simon de Ruggely commissioned the construction of Hawkesyard Hall but by 1660 the Hall lay in ruins.
It wasn’t until 1759, when the Estate was purchased by Nathaniel Lister, that the Hall really took shape. Lister, a poet, author and founder of the Census, had married Martha Fletcher, a Lichfield heiress, and they built the extension to the south-west wing in Gothic Revival style, with structures of stuccoed brick work, battlements and pinnacles.
Mary Spode, widow of Josiah Spode III, bought the Estate in 1839 for her six year old son Josiah IV, great-grandson of Josiah Spode and the Hall was much altered and extended. The intricate cast iron Orangery was added, along with the beautiful manicured gardens, statues and other outer buildings. Six underground tunnels were constructed to allow the Estate workers to move quickly around the locality, two of which led to Lichfield and Armitage. During the Spode occupancy the Hall was known as Spode House and Josiah went on to be appointed High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1850.
On Spode’s death in 1893 the Estate was entrusted to his niece, Helen Gulson, who had a vision of the Virgin Mary in the gardens of the Hall. This vision led to the building of the Church at Hawkesyard and the altar was placed on the very spot where the apparition took place. Helen Gulson left the Hall, Church and grounds to the Dominican Order in 1894 and moved into Gulson House on the Estate.
In 1898 the Order built a new priory within the grounds, which was originally occupied by nuns until the early 20th Century. The convent was changed to a monastery and the monks ran a boarding school for young aspiring Dominican students and a theological training centre. When the Dominicans left the estate in 1988 the Hall fell into a state of disrepair and was boarded up.
In 1999 the Hall was purchased by the Whorton family who were determined to return the building and the Estate to its former glory. The Whorton family still own the estate today. They chose to use the original name of Hawkesyard and set about the restoration of the building, partly by using photographs from Shugborough Hall. The transformation of the Hall and outer buildings was completed in 2007.
For more information and to see some additional images please click here to view the Armitage Handsacre Village Website.
With Hawkesyard Estate again unified, it is the perfect venue for weddings, conferences and events.
Come and enjoy Hawkesyard Estate History and Heritage for yourself. Contact us on 01543 491911 for more details about events at the estate including tours of the grounds and buildings.