Knutsford is regarded as a cultural town that is rich in history, and there are valid reasons to back that claim. The town is home to more than a few historical sites and landmarks. One of them is Tabley House, Knutsford. In this article, you will learn a little about this famous estate’s history dating back to the 13th century.
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The Historic house of the Leycester
The Nether Tabley House, as it is commonly called, is centuries old. Its remarkable history began when Margaret Dutton married to Nicholas de Leycester in the 1270s. As is common with English custom, the bride requires a dowry, so the Leycesters gave out the Nether Tabley manor to the new bride. Fast forward to the 1380s, their great-grandson named John built a manor on the lake island. After the building project, the manor had a new name; The Old Hall.
According to historical accounts, the most famous Leycester to live in Old Hall was Sir Peter Leycester. Sir Peter was a Royalist Soldier and an antiquarian. He became a Baronet after supporting the 1660 restoration of the Monarchy. Unfortunately, the direct male lineage of the Leycester reign over Old Hall ended after the death of the 3rd Baronet, Sir Francis, in 1742. After his death, the estate passed onto Peter Byrne, his grandson. To complete the transfer process, Peter had to apply to Parliament for a change of name from Peter Byrne to Peter Byrne Leycester.
A New Mansion
Sir Peter was 10 years old only when he took over the Old Hall, but at the time, the Hall had lost shape and elegance. When he actually came of age, he contracted John Carr of York to construct a very new mansion that’s on a sloping spot just off the lake. With this move, The Old Hall remained a sort of relic that was never inhabited again but well maintained.
The new mansion is what is known today as Tabley Hall. The architecture of this Hall is of Palladian style with beautiful symmetric Italian features. The wall consists of red stones and bricks with sweeping steps that take visitors to the door entrance. At the entrance, visitors can see the delightful tower of Old Hall standing majestically at a distance. The architect, John Carr, also designed a central piano block in the property and joined the block to winged symmetrical blocks. Although the building object ended in 1767, the Villa has changed in shape and structure over the last three centuries. Today, it looks like a perfect Palladian villa.
Rich in Art
Sir Peter Byrne Leycester was a patron of the Arts and a collector. He bought artworks by famous artists like Gainsborough and other leading artists of his generation. Today, the artworks in Tabley Hall are the key attraction for the visitors. One of the most famous paintings here is Henry Fuseli’s Friar Puck painting, bought by The 5th Baronet in the year of 1819 for 100 guineas.