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Eshton Hall around 1775 (Whitaker's History of Craven)
We have already covered the earlier ownership of the manor
of Eshton and its hall and can now look at its history after the
Wilson family came into possession of Eshton Hall in 1646. The Wilson
family were associated with Eshton Hall for over 300 years, from its
purchase until its eventual sale to the Eshton Hall Education Trust
in1960 and a separate page includes a brief
pedigree of the Wilson family.
The hall has been remodeled several times throughout
its history as the illustrations show, but other than including two
engravings TD Whitaker doesn't actually have much to say about Eshton
Hall in his History of Craven:
Eshton Hall is the seat of Sir Mathew Wilson
MP; it was erected in 1825-7, Mr. Webster of Kendal being the architect.
In the library are some very important MSS. which are described in
the Appendix to the Third Report of the Historical Manuscripts Commissioners,
and comprise forty-one volumes of Dodsworth's Yorkshire Collections,
a fifteenth century Chronicle of London and the correspondence of
Dr. Richardson. There is also a fine library of books, chiefly consisting
of a portion of the collection of the late Miss Richardson Currer,
whose portrait by Masquerier is in one of the rooms. There are some
fine pictures, notably portraits of Cromwell, Fairfax, and General
Lambert, all said to be by Walker; Charles I in armour, his hand on
a glass globe, this picture was brought from Browsholme; Diana and
Actæon by Rubens; Virgin and Child, Vandyck; Heliodorus driven
from the Temple, Vandyck; Centaurs and Lapithæ, Luca Giordano
and a large water-colour drawing of Thurland, in the Valley of the
Lune by Turner.
Eshton Hall circa 1800 (Whitaker's History of Craven)
Description of the Hall from A Series of Picturesque
Views of Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland
describes the last remodeling of the building by the Wilson
Eshton Hall, formerly the residence of the "De
Esshetons" (Ranulf de Eston was living in 1186, and John de Eston
contested the right to the Earldom and estates of Albemarle with King
Edward the First,) passed into the Clifford property, and was sold
by George, Earl of Cumberland, in 1597, to Robert Bindloss, Esq.,
of Borick, and in 1646 the hall, estate, and manor were sold by Sir
Robert Bindloss, Bart., to Mathew Wilson, of Kendal, a merchant clothier,
and Blackwell Hall, factor, of Coleman Street, in the City of London,
ancestor of the present owner.
The house, rebuilt by his father in 1825-6, from designs by the late
George Webster, of Kendal, architect, is of white freestone, on an
eminence that commands a beautiful home view, is entered by a portal
consisting of massive piers, faced with Doric on the basement, and
surmounted by Ionic pilasters, finishing at the summit by a pierced
battlement and rich scroll-work. The entrance is thirty feet by twenty
feet, opening by folding doors on a handsome saloon; staircase of
carved oak, thirty feet square, lighted by a dome; on the right the
dining-room, thirty-six feet by twenty-four feet; beyond this the
morning-room, twenty feet square; on the left the library, forty feet
by twenty-four feet, with a bay window, and communicating by folding
doors with the drawing-room, thirty-four feet by twenty-four feet,
with a bay-window; all these rooms are sixteen feet high. The billiard
room is behind the staircase, thirty feet by twenty feet, opening
into the staircase and into the drawing-room, and by the bay-window
into the flower garden. The library and drawing-room, fitted up as
a library, contain ten thousand volumes, especially rich in topography,
collected by the late Miss Richardson-Currer, Sir Mathew Wilson's
half-sister. There are portfolios of engravings, articles of vertu
in marble, bronze, nola vases, cabinets, and china; a good collection
of pictures by old masters, and family portraits.
Eshton Hall a multi plate colour engraving by Francis Lyden published
After Richard Henry Wilson inherited the estate in 1919
on the death of his father the 3rd Baronet, the fate of Eshton Hall
was not so happy. He quickly started to dispose of its assets, with
the first sale in March 1919. In 1916 the remaining part of the famous
library was sold and in 1919 the outlying portions of the estate came
under the hammer. This included many farms and properties around Gargrave,
including the Stainton Cotes estate and the Wilson Arms at Threshfield.
In 1923 the hall was leased by Arthur Stanley Wills of
the tobacco company WD & HO Wills, who lived there until his death
During the Second World War many private schools moved
out of towns into the country and in 1940, Bramcote School from Scarborough
moved into the hall, remaining there until the end of the war. After
they returned to Scarborough in 1945 a master at Bentham Grammar School,
Ronald W Purdey, established a new school in the already adapted building
and Eshton Hall school opened in 1946. The hall was initially leased
to the school by Sir Mathew Martin Wilson, but it was eventually sold
to the Eshton Hall Education Trust in 1960. Its life as a school was
not to last much longer though and it suddenly closed in 1966, a victim
of the social and economic climate of the time.
The hall then became a residential nursing home, initially
very profitable ventures, but of late also falling victim to falling
profits and rising overheads, this finally closed at the end of 2002.
Eshton Hall was in a much neglected state when it was
finally purchased by the DARE
Group. This property development company sought and finally gained
permission to convert the listed hall and its remaining outbuildings
into 13 apartments and 5 cottages, which were put on the market in 2005.
A Series of Picturesque Views of Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen of
Great Britain and Ireland.
by Rev. Francis Orpen Morris (1810-1893), plates - Alexander Francis
Lydon (1836-1917), published by subscription and then as a complete
set of volumes in 1880 by William Mackenzie, London.
History of Craven by TD Whitaker, 3rd enlarged edition,
edited by AW Morant, published 1878.
A History of Eshton Hall by Peter Robinson, written and
published for the 2006 Eshton Hall School Reunion.
Details of Eshton
Hall from the National Park's Out Of Oblivion website.
of aerial images of Eshton Hall from the DARE Group who converted
the Hall into apartments and cottages in 2005.
of the Eshton Hall Estate Papers at Leeds University. The collection
mainly comprise of the financial records of the Eshton Hall Estate,
with some documents dating back to the mid-eighteenth century but most
covering the nineteenth century, providing an insight into the financial
history of a family estate. Documents include day books, ledgers, diaries
and letters, accounts for household goods and details of purchases of
land. (PDF file)
Hall Boarding School (1946 - 1966) a website lots of photos
of ex pupils and the building.
for the remodeling of Eshton Hall (1825-41) in the YAS Bradfer-Lawrence
accounts of Mathew Wilson of Eshton 1771-1786 in the YAS Bradfer-Lawrence
Some images including the Wilson pedigree © Colin
Hinson from the digital version of the 3rd, enlarged edition of TD
Whitaker's History of Craven which can be purchased from him
along with Thos. Langdales 1822 Topographical dictionary of Yorkshire
for £20 including P&P.
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