Weston Park

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Weston Park
Staffordshire
Weston Park - geograph.org.uk - 995202.jpg
Weston Park
Location
Grid reference: SJ806105
Location: 52°41’33"N, 2°17’14"W
Village: Weston-under-Lizard
History
Country house
Information
Owned by: The Weston Park Foundation
Website: weston-park.com

Weston Park is a country house in Weston-under-Lizard, Staffordshire, set in more than 1,000 acres of park landscaped by Capability Brown.

The house and park are to be found in the very west of the county, with the border with Shropshire passing through the south of the park. It is ten miles north-west of Wolverhampton, and just eight miles north-east of Telford in Shropshire. The hall is of the 17th century and is a Grade I listed building. Several other features of the estate, such as the Orangery and the Stable block, are separately listed as Grade II.

History

The land on which Weston stands was first mentioned in the Domesday Book, when it was held by Norman Rainald de Bailleuil, Sheriff to Roger de Montgomery. The principal survivor of those distant times is the park which now forms part of the mediæval deer park and forest. The land was then held by the de Westons of Weston from whom it passed by inheritance to a branch of the Mytton family. Their heiress, Elizabeth Mytton married Sir Thomas Wilbraham and, through the Wilbraham's daughter Mary carried the property to the Earls of Bradford through her marriage to Richard Newport, 2nd Earl of Bradford of the first creation.

The house was built in 1671 for Lady Elizabeth Wilbraham. Although it is often claimed that she was her own architect, there is no conclusive documentary evidence for this and it is most likely that the executant architect was William Taylor, who is known to have been at Weston Park in 1674. Lady Wilbraham was evidently an enthusiastic patron, however, and her heavily-annotated copy of Palladio’s book (I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura) remains in the collection at Weston Park. The three storey twelve bayed south front of the House was originally the entrance front but alterations and improvements carried out in the latter 19th century for Orlando Bridgeman, 3rd Earl of Bradford of the second creation involved the movement of the main entrance to the east front.

The Roman Bridge

In the eighteenth century, with the failure of the male line of the Newport Earls of Bradford, Weston was inherited by Sir Henry Bridgeman, 5th Baronet, whose mother Lady Anne Bridgeman (née Newport) was a granddaughter of Lady Wilbraham. The Bridgemans were already substantial landowners in Shropshire and in Warwickshire but chose to make Weston their main seat. Sir Henry Bridgeman commissioned Capability Brown to landscape the park. He also employed James Paine in the 1760s to make alteration to the House and, in the park, to add a Roman Bridge and Temple of Diana.

The grade I listed Roman Bridge crosses the Temple Pool in a single stone built arch.[1] The grade I listed Temple of Diana is actually an Orangery and garden house. Built in stone ashlar in three bays and fronted with ionic columns, the interior is decorated with painted panels by G.B.I. Colombe, depicting the life of the Roman goddess Diana.[2] It was later described by the renowned architect as "my greenhouse at Weston".

Weston Now

Weston, the House and a thousand acres of Capability Brown Parkland was given to the nation in 1986 by the 7th Earl of Bradford, with the support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. It is now in the care of the trustees of the Weston Park Foundation.

The Granary

The 1767 Granary building was restored in 2009 with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, it is now a farm shop and art gallery with a restaurant opening on Saturday May 1, 2010.

Unlike the rest of the estate the Granary is open all year round and is free to enter.

Royal venue, summit venue & festival venue

Over the years, Weston has played host to many distinguished guests including King George V's daughter Mary, and the Princess Royal, who spent part of her honeymoon amid its gracious surroundings. More recently, the G8 Summit Retreat was held at Weston in 1998 and since 1999, the grounds of Weston Park have been used as one of the sites of the annual dual-site V Festival, the other site being Hylands Park in Chelmsford.

The park also hosts the annual Midland Game Fair which takes place on the third weekend of September. The fair, which hosts traditional British country pursuits including working dog trials, fishing and animal husbandry, attracts up to 50,000 visitors from both Britain and Ireland.

Outside links

Commons-logo.svg
("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Weston Park)

References

  1. National Heritage List England no. 1039268: Bridge at SJ813104 (Historic England)
  2. National Heritage List England no. 1188135: Temple of Diana at SJ811104 (Historic England)
  • National Heritage List England no. 1039264: Weston Hall (Historic England)
  • National Heritage List England no. 1374071: Orangery (Historic England)
  • National Heritage List England no. 1188130: Stable Block (Historic England)