History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The mansion stands in 1000 acres of grounds laid out by Capability Brown, with a scattering of classical follies including a Temple of Diana and a Roman bridge.
The estate at Weston dates to at least the Domesday Book, but the current house owes its existence to the vision of Elizabeth Wilbraham. Shortly after her marriage to Thomas Wilbraham in 1651 the 20-year-old Elizabeth, armed with a copy of Palladio's First Book of Architecture, designed the house we see today. Aided by local craftsmen, she applied the Palladian ideals that had such a huge influence on English country house architecture to create a stunning neo-classical mansion.
Elizabeth's daughter, Mary, wed Richard Newport, the 2nd Earl of Bradford, and it was the Earl who began the huge collection of art that now fills Weston.
One tragic tale from Weston's history must be told; in the Victorian period, Lady Lucy Bridgeman and her sister Charlotte were burned to death when their crinoline gowns caught fire while they were warming themselves by the fireplace in the Library. The scene of the tragedy can be viewed by visitors today. On a less serious note, it was at roughly the same time that the large kitchen gardens, Broderie, and the terraces were developed.
Three things stick in my mind from our family visit to Weston Park. One is the lovely walk we enjoyed through the park and woodlands trying to find the Temple of Diana. With some rather creative map reading, we managed to turn a very short stroll into an extended ramble, but we enjoyed it enormously, especially when we discovered the Temple Pool and the Palladian bridge.
My second indelible memory is of the stunning art collection in the house interior. Some stately houses give you a real sense of entering a family home; not so at Weston. Here, you feel like you are exploring a museum of fine art. And as a museum, Weston is superb; the ornate staterooms provide a wonderful setting for an extraordinary collection of fine art, silver, and china. The art does tend to overwhelm everything else, but whether that is a good thing or not will depend on how much you enjoy fine art!
My final lasting memory is of the wonderful formal gardens. There are colourful terraces beside the house and Victorian Orangery, and you can take a short stroll from the house to the Rose Walk and Teardrop Garden, named for the curving shape of the clipped hedges which define the outline of flower beds. The result is a wonderful visiting experience, whether you enjoy neoclassical parkland, formal gardens, fine art, or all three.
About Weston Park
Address: Weston-under-Lizard, Shifnal, Staffordshire, England, TF11 8LE
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: On the A5 at Weston-under-Lizard.
Website: Weston Park
Phone: 01952 852100
Historic Houses Association
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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