The House from "Morris's Views of Seats," circa 1875.
Built / Designed For: John Tollemache, 1st Baron Tollemache.
House & Family History: Mid-19th century Peckforton Castle is the only fully extant medieval style castle (built in the style of an Edward I castle) in England and is considered one of the great buildings of its age. The House was built for John Tollemache, 1st Baron Tollemache, a member of Parliament and wealthy Cheshire landowner (the largest landholder in Cheshire at the time). The three-story House is surrounded by a dry moat and cost £60,000 to build (approximately £45 million in 2016 inflation-adjusted values using the labour value commodity index); it's faced with red sandstone and features a five-story tower, the Great Hall range of 18 bays, and the octagonal Library Tower. The Tollemache family continued to use Peckforton until 1939 (the last resident was Bentley Lyonel John Tollemache, 3rd Baron Tollemache). During World War II Peckforton was used as a home for physically handicapped children who had been evacuated from the London area. After the war the House remained unused until 1969, when it was leased as a private residence to George W. Barrett by Lord John Tollemache; it remained the Barretts' family residence until 1980. In 1989 Peckforton was purchased by a Mrs. Graybill, an American who renovated most of the buildings and secured planning permission to convert the House to a hotel. In June 2006, after holding his son's wedding at Peckforton, Mr. Naylor purchased the Estate and refurbished and opened it to the public as a wedding and event venue.
Comments: Sir George Gilbert Scott called Peckforton "the very height of masquerading."
Garden & Outbuildings: To the west of the Inner Ward are the Stables, the Coach House, and a rectangular bell tower. The Grade II*-listed Southeast Lodge is a red brick and stone building designed by Salvin. The ancient and ruinous Beeston Castle stands on an isolated outcrop of rock on the Estate. In 1922 forestation was begun on the Peckforton Hills; the resulting woodland is today a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Chapel & Church: On the east side of the ward is the family's private rock-faced sandstone chapel, a Grade II*-listed building designed by Salvin.
John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. I, p. 233, 1852.
Country Life: CXXXVIII, 284, 336 plan, 1965.
Title: Best Buildings of England, The
Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus
Year Published: 1986
Publisher: London: Viking
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
Author: Sayer, Michael
Year Published: 1993
Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Not Listed
Current Seat / Home of: Naylor family; here since 2006.
Past Seat / Home of: John Tollemache, 1st Baron Tollemache, 19th century; Tollemache family here from the 17th century until 1988. Graybill family, late 20th century.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Hotel