The Trentham Estate in Staffordshire, England features in the Domesday Book of 1086 and was listed as a royal manor valued at 115 shillings. Trentham Hall was sold to James Leveson in 1540. Sir Richard Leveson had a new house built in the Elizabethan style in 1634 but it was demolished to make way for a later Georgian house. Sir William Leveson-Gower, 4th Baronet, built a new house on the site in 1690 and around 1730, John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower, erected a hall based on Buckingham House. This was to be substantially altered by his son, 1st Marquess of Stafford, between 1775 – 1778. The 2nd Duke of Sutherland commissioned Charles Barry, to add an extension to parts of the house that dated between 1833 to 1842 while working on a rebuild of the Palace of Westminster. The focal point of the building was a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) campanile clock tower. The original approach to the hall was from the west, and had an Italianate grand entrance and a one-storey semicircular arcade range with side wings. Charles had continued to improve the house for another decade adding a new block with state bedrooms, dressing rooms, a servant's quarters and a clock tower all commonly referred to as the Riding School. Standing on the edge of a large cobbled stableyard it was the final major addition to the property and sadly now is virtually the only structure that remains of the 1851 imposing and once quoted "elegant mansion ".
The 18th and 19th Century Parkland that surrounded Trentham Hall was designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, the Shakespeare of English garden design. The house served as the Staffordshire seat of the Dukes of Sutherland.
In the southern area of the Trentham Estate stands the monument to the 1st Duke of Sutherland. This colossal statue was raised in 1834 at the instigation of the second Duke, a year after the first Duke's death. The hall was one of many to be demolished in the 20th century, and was considered one of the greatest losses of the era. The River Trent no longer fed the lake in front of the hall, but still passed the edge of the estate. Sewage and effluent from the nearby potteries polluted it making life at the hall VERYvery unpleasant. The hall was abandoned as a residence in 1905 and was offered to Staffordshire County Council on condition that it be used as an institute of higher education. However an agreement could not be reached and with the council concerned that pollution from the Trent would render a residential institution at the hall undesirable, the county council declined the offer in 1906. The Duke of Sutherland then decided to offer the estate to the six Potteries towns the following year in the event that they went ahead with plans to merge into a single county borough, but after their 1910 federation, the new Stoke-on-Trent Corporation also declined the offer in 1911 due to its high potential cost of maintenance. This was to be the hall’s death knell and the 4th Duke of Sutherland ordered it to be demolished in 1912, although the sculpture gallery, clock tower and parish church along with a few other buildings, were saved from destruction, their Grade II listed remains are still on the Heritage at Risk Register.The 1758 ‘Capability Brown’ designed gardens were superimposed over an earlier formal design of Charles Bridgeman but the current layout of Trentham Gardens are based on the surviving Barry formal gardens of the 1840s and in 2012 the Trentham Estate was selected as the site of a Royal Diamond Jubilee wood. Since the turn of the millennium, Trentham Gardens has undergone a £120 million redevelopment as a leisure destination and it’s regeneneration includes restoration of the Italian gardens and adjacent woodlands. The goal is to avoid a theme park-like attraction, but instead offer "authentic experiences" for all ages.
Trentham Gardens is easily found in Google Maps and parking is plentiful, even on the busiest of days in the shopping village. TOAL was just behind the Church and can be accessed by walking passed the left of the garden centre over the river bridge between the white stable buildings and onto the public road behind the church. The Park"s staff are always noticeable around the park itself and although not in a FRZ they do not allow TOAL on their grounds.
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Co-ordinates: 52.96601, -2.201651 • what3words: ///bats.oath.knee