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Heritage and History: Tatton Park

Posted on March 25, 2015 by Kirsty

Recently awarded as Visit England's Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2014, Tatton Park is continuing to grow in popularity – and it’s clear to see why. Surrounded by acres of picturesque parkland and boasting some of the country’s most beautifully designed gardens, this historic estate attracts over 800,000 visitors a year.

But there’s so much more to Tatton Park than what we see today. We wanted to delve a little deeper into the heritage of this popular site…

Tatton Park is a large estate situated in Cheshire, and is owned by the National Trust. The Park consists of Tatton Hall, the manor house, Tatton Old Hall, a farm, gardens and 1,000 acres of deer parkland.

Evidence has shown that there could have been habitation on the site from as early as the Iron Age and in medieval times, the village of Tatton was located on the site of the current estate. Like many historic estates, Tatton Park has had many different owners over the years. Built in the 15th century, Tatton Old Hall was owned by the Stanley family, a family with a number of notable members including the Earls of Derby.

The Old Hall – originally timber-framed – was extensively changed and eventually re-built using brick before the new mansion, Tatton Hall, was built to the west of the Old Hall by the Egerton family. The estate was purchased by Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Chancellor of England, in the 16th century although the family did not occupy the Hall for many years and loaned it to tenants.

Tatton Park remained in the Egerton family and in the late 18th century, the estate measured at 251,000 acres of land. From the 1750’s for over 50 years, much of the new house was redesigned and replaced by the neoclassical mansion that we see today.

Much like Tatton Hall itself, the gardens in the estate were also subject to several modifications. Several styles and designs were used throughout the estate for different gardens, including the beautiful Italian Garden Designed by Joseph Paxton. Other gardens included the Topiary, the Rose Garden, the Tower Garden, the Maze and the Monument, which was designed as a copy of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens. The Walled Garden at Tatton Park grew a variety of fruit and vegetables and the Pleasure Garden was used for the enjoyment of the family.

The site was finally given to the National Trust following the death of the last Lord Egerton in 1958. Although the site was given to the Trust in lieu of death duties, the estate itself was sold by his executors. Cheshire County Council managed the property on behalf of the National Trust for many years to ensure that it was preserved for the benefit of the public.

There are a number of fascinating collections at Tatton Hall including a large collection of beautiful furniture designed and created by Gillow's of Lancaster. There are also several paintings displayed in the Hall- many of which are portraits of the Egerton family- as well as one of the finest National Trust libraries, containing a number of books including first edition Jane Austen novels.

Tatton Park is open to visitors throughout the year, with the high season running from March – October annually. For more information about Tatton Park, visit the Tatton Park Website.

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