Capesthorne Hall and Gardens
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
One of the truly great historic houses of Cheshire, a county that is not short of great stately homes! Capesthorne has a history dating back to the Domesday Book, when the Capesthorne family held the important post of Chief Foresters in the Royal Forest of Macclesfield. This role meant that they enforced royal privilege in the area and had the power to try and sentence poachers.
The house is a magnificent Jacobean style building built in 1722 by William and Francis Smith of Staffordshire. Though the exterior of the house retains elements of its 18th-century character, much remodelling was performed by the architect Anthony Salvin after a disastrous fire of 1861. The interior of the house boasts a fine collection of antique furniture, art, marble sculpture, and tapestries.
The house tour starts in the Entrance Hall, built by Edward Blore in 1837. The scagliola floor somehow survived the terrible fire of 1861. This leads to a sculpture gallery, with authentic classical statues dating to the 1st century AD, along with more modern copies. Perhaps the highlight is a bust thought to depict Domitia Longina, the wife of Emperor Domitian (51-96 AD).
The sculpture gallery leads to a Saloon and Drawing Room, which features a pair of mantlepieces brought here from the family's home in Belgravia, London.
Upstairs are a set of less opulent chambers including a delightful Children's Room and a Box Room showcasing, well, a collection of boxes! Among the boxes on display is a 19th-century apothecary's box, and a 17th-century estate cabinet once owned by John, the builder of Capesthorne. There is also an American Room, commemorating the US connections of the current owners.
Scattered throughout the house are a wonderful collection of Roman and Etruscan artefacts, mixed with family portraits and Italian artwork. The Capesthorne collection is a marvellous mix of very old and period sculpture, furniture, and paintings.
Beside the house is a very attractive family chapel, possibly built by the Smiths at the same time as the main house in 1722. The interior features a marvellous mosaic reredos made in Venice by Salviati.
Over 100 acres of parks and lakeside gardens surround the mansion at Capesthorne. There is an arboretum featuring maple trees, woodland walks and a nature trail to enjoy.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Capesthorne, though the weather was dismal. Even so, a walk through the gardens and along the woodland path was delightful - and the chapel was a perfect shelter from the rain!
As for the house, it offers a wonderful mix of elegance and stately charm, but what I will remember most is the collection of Roman antiquities. The interiors are lush, vividly couloured, and in places somewhat overwhelming, but at least they have personality and character! All in all, a very satisfying visit to a wonderful stately home in a beautiful countryside setting.
- Historic Highlights
- Roman and Etruscan statues
- Box collection
- 18th-century chapel
- 1837 scagliola entrance hall
About Capesthorne Hall
Address: Congleton Road, Siddington, Macclesfield, Cheshire, England, SK11 9JY
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 5 miles west of Macclesfield, off the A34
Website: Capesthorne Hall
Historic Houses Association
OS: SJ841 727
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
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Alderley Edge - 3.4 miles (Countryside)
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Gawsworth, St James Church - 3.5 miles (Historic Church)
Gawsworth Hall - 3.7 miles (Historic House)
Peover Hall - 4.3 miles (Historic House)
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