An 1867 engraving of the house from "Lancashire and Cheshire Past and Present"
A late 19th century lithograph of the hall from Joseph Nash's "Interiors of Old English Mansions"
A late 19th century lithograph of the drawing room from Joseph Nash's "Interiors of Old English Mansions"
Built / Designed For: Sir William Norris
House & Family History: Speke Hall is possibly most famous today as the 19th century home of industrialist Frederick Richards Leyland. Until their spectacular falling out, Leyland and his wife, Frances, were patrons and friends of James McNeil Whistler, a frequent guest at Speke. Mr. and Mrs. Leyland were enthusiastic collectors and patrons of many artists, including Rossetti, Morris, and Whistler (Whistler painted portraits of Frederick, Frances [see "Images" section], and their children). The house is noted for its Tudor great hall, its fine Victorian interiors, and its William Morris wallpaper. In 1943 Speke Hall was donated to the National Trust by the trustees of its last private owner, Adelaide Watt.
Garden & Outbuildings: The garden, as seen today, was laid out in the mid-19th century. In the courtyard are two ancient yew trees, named Adam and Eve, that are estimated to be at least 500 years old.
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Not Listed
Past Seat / Home of: Sir William Norris, 1530-68; Edward Norris, late 16th century; Norris family here from 1530 until 1736. Sir Sidney Beauclerk, 18th century; Beauclerk family here until 1795. Richard Watt, late 18th century; Watt family here from 1795 until 1921. Frederick Richards Leyland (tenant), 1867-77. Adelaide Watt, early 20th century.
Current Ownership Type: The National Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction