History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The mound that once held the Norman house now boasts only the tiny chapel, built in 1369 and still in use, though it has been much remodeled, with Arts and Crafts stained glass by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris.
In 1712 an ongoing conflict over ownership of the Gawsworth estates between the Gerard and Fitton families culminated in a famous duel between Lord Mohun and the Earl of Hamilton. The duel, held in Hyde Park, London, resulted in the death of both men. One later owner of the Hall was Samuel 'Maggoty' Johnson, a dancing-master and dramatist who was known as the last professional jester in the country.
We came when the Hall was preparing to host an outdoor play, so there were pavillions going up in the grounds, and the play's director testing the sound system. It made a curious counterpoint to the historic house, but it is so good to see houses like Gawsworth being used and appreciated rather than simply crumbling into decay. And there is a lot to appeciate! The interiors were simply bursting with period furniture and reminders of the long residence here by the Flitton, Gerard, and Stanhope families. There were helpful guides, but for the most part we were free to wander and enjoy.
Gawsworth is a curious house; all full of angles and projections, like a child's lego concoction that seems to defy logic. Oh, but it has charm! Wander around the side of the house from the main visitor entrance and you find yourself in a small private garden around part of the original courtyard, and here the effect is pure Elizabethan timber-framed glory; a very theatrical facade, with dark timber beams ovelooking a small garden bursting with summer colour. The effect is wonderful, and a reminder of the age of this fascinating house.
About Gawsworth Hall
Address: Church Lane, Gawsworth, Macclesfield, Cheshire, England, SK11 9RN
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: off the A536, 3 miles SW of Macclesfield
Website: Gawsworth Hall
Phone: 01260 223 456
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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