Visit: Biddulph Old Hall, Stoke-on-Trent with tour by Nigel Daly, 22 April

Biddulph Old Hall is the historic home of the Biddulph family from which the town gets its name. The inhabited house was originally a small single cell hunting lodge which was developed into the family’s principal residence, part-stone, part-timber framed. Around 1530, a new mansion was commenced alongside the existing manor, and this was described as “Mr Biddulph’s Fair New House of Stone” in contemporary accounts. The house had the involvement or influence of Robert Smythson in its architecture. The Biddulphs were Recusant Catholics and so by about 1580 were being fined heavily so work stopped. No further development was achieved before the house was caught up in a siege during the English Civil War in February 1644, after which it was brought to ruin. The family never rebuilt the new mansion, instead restoring the earlier house which still survives today.

The house was sold out of the family for the first time in 1861, when it was bought by James Bateman, the creator of the famous gardens at Biddulph Grange, now in the care of the National Trust. His youngest son Robert created a studio there, and from 1871 had a lifetime tenancy on the house, painting many of his best known works in the house. Many of his artistic circle visited. During the 20th century the house slowly slipped into disrepair but has been restored by Nigel Daly and Brian Vowles, who have also created a Briar Rose garden within the remaining upstanding ruins. Currently three of Robert Bateman’s original works are on show in the house.

We will be treated to a tour of the house by the owner Nigel Daly with tea and cakes after the tour and free time to explore.

For further details relating to the event mentioned above please email info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org.

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