An historic residence nestled in the Staffordshire Moorlands
A paradise of woodland scenery
With intriguing spiritual and artistic history
Since 2004 it has been owned and lovingly restored by Brian Vowles, his late
partner Nigel Daly and his brother David Daly.
The family moved to the present house from a site 2 miles away in the late 14th century, bringing much of the earlier timber framed building with them.
By the 1530s they were engaged in replacing the disorganised medieval structures with an ambitious symmetrical stone mansion described at the time as ‘Mr Biddulph’s fair new house of stone’.
Building continued until about 1580, when the family’s devout Catholicism led them to be heavily penalised for their beliefs.
As a result of being penalised as Catholics, the house was still incomplete when it was attacked and brought to ruin in February 1644 during the English Civil War. The small, surviving late 15th century fragment and the ruins of the mansion continued to belong to the Biddulph family and their descendants, the Stonors, until they were finally sold to James Bateman.
Having bought the property in 1861, Bateman connected the Old Hall to his celebrated garden at adjacent Biddulph Grange with a picturesque walk. It was the last acquisition for the Grange before he was finally forced to sell all his holdings and go to London in 1871 to resolve his debts.
The Old Hall was sold with a lifetime tenancy to his third son, Robert, who retained control of it until his death in 1922. During most of this time the house became an important centre for the artists of the so-called ‘Dudley Group’ which included Simeon Solomon, Walter Crane, Hamo Thorneycroft, E.R. Hughes, Theodore Blake Wirgman and Edward Clifford.
By the early years of this century the fabric of the tower and inhabited house were so perilous that the Old Hall was placed on the ‘Buildings at Risk’ Register. The house was subsequently bought by Nigel Daly and Brian Vowles, who instigated a far-reaching programme of careful restoration for both the Hall and Grounds.
Nigel and Brian’s aim has been to ensure this precious fragment of England’s heritage survives as a living entity, and a place that bears witness to, and records, the tumultuous conflicts and human tragedies it has witnessed.
From picturesque villages to the Gardens of Biddulph Grange and the famous Rudyard Lake, there’s much to explore around here.Learn more