Treasures in the Midlands: Staffordshire Country Houses
Historian Oliver Gerrish will speak to Royal Oak about several country houses in the UK county of Staffordshire. All of these stately homes started out as smaller manors, and were extended or rebuilt as family fortunes improved. Often, when families were raised to a peerage, they hired noted architects and designers to work on home renovations. William Anson, an ancestor of the Earls of Lichfield, in 1624 owned one example, Shugborough Hall. In 1693, the existing manor house was demolished, and a three-story building was built; while in the mid-18th century the house was extended on either side with pavilions. At the turn of the 19th century, as the family fortune skyrocketed, architect Samuel Wyatt remodeled the house and added a portico for the first Viscount Anson.
Other Staffordshire houses were similarly transformed with family money. Jacobean Ingestre Manor passed through marriage to the Chetwynd family. Their descendants were raised to the peerage in 1733 as Baron Talbot, and later as Earls Talbot. The 2nd Earl, Charles Chetwynd Talbot then hired one of the foremost British architects of the era, John Nash, to renovate Ingestre. Georgian-style Chillington Hall is the third to be rebuilt by the Giffard family on the same site. Their original plan was to hire Robert Adam in the 18th century. However, it was Sir John Soane who designed two new wings, an entrance front, and portico with Ionic capitals. Mr. Gerrish will illustrate and talk about these houses and also show later examples, including Arts & Crafts style Upmeads, built in 1908 by Edgar Wood, for a distant member of Gerrish’s family.
Oliver Gerrish, Historian and Author
Oliver Gerrish has a Master’s degree in Architectural History from the University of Cambridge. He is a trustee of the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust and helped to found their Architecture Awards. For over 10 years he was actively involved with The Georgian Group, for whom he re-founded and successfully led the Young Georgians from 2002-2016. He was one of the youngest feature writers for Country Life, and has written for The Georgian magazine and reviews for House and Garden and others. He has lectured nationally on subjects ranging from the masters of the Arts and Crafts to the role country houses play in the lives of younger people. He regularly organizes tours of historic buildings throughout Britain for private clients and charities.
You can follow him on Instagram – @archmusicman