The original building on the site was a small, single cell structure built from large red stone blocks around 1425-30. This was probably a form of hunting lodge for the Biddulph family whose main site was at Bailey Wood down in the valley. The hunting grounds were called Biddulph Park, a name they still retain. The building was likely to have been an upper floor Feasting Hall with kitchen below.

This almost certainly formed the nucleus of the building that grew on the site when the Biddulph family moved their principal seat from Bailey Wood in around 1450-70. Archaeological digs at the Bailey Wood site confirm that after about 1450 the remains are consistent with demolition and removal of the timber-framed buildings that had been erected there.

It is likely these timber framed buildings were dismantled and re-erected at the Biddulph Old Hall site in the late 1400s. The site was less damp and gave a greater command of all the Biddulph lands which were all to the East side of the Biddulph valley. The house would have comprised a Great Hall, with some withdrawing facilities off the dais end and buttery, pantry and kitchen off the other, Screens Passage, end.

This building would have grown larger over the next 50 years to around 1525-30, when Francis Biddulph began the construction of his “Fair New House of Stone”, which is the part now in ruins.


The stone house was built over about 50 years, some parts new build, some just using stone to encase the existing timber-framed parts of the old building to make them fit into the pattern of a more regular and symmetrical building. By around 1580 there was a new Great Hall with family rooms and domestic offices, with the original red stone building being used as servant’s accommodation and secondary kitchens. This was a ‘C’ shaped building with the rear, north side containing the Great Hall, with two projecting wings enclosing a south-facing courtyard enclosed on the south side by a single storey range containing the gate lodge and offices.

In about 1580 a further stage of development occurred when the house was aggrandised with the addition of a formal parterre to the south (now referred to as the Tilt Yard), a pair of octagonal towers on the north side (only one of which remains), eight smaller half octagonal towers, one on each corner of the building with some added as bay windows and some as service towers, and the linking of the two forward projecting wings at first floor level with a fine new parlour overlooking the new parterre. The whole composition was finished off
with the new double height, decorated porch on the south side that carries the date Anno Domini 1580. It’s possible that the second large octagonal tower was not actually built, although the foundations are there under the floor of the remaining house for it.

After around 1580 things got very difficult for staunchly Catholic families due to them being suspected of following the Spanish Armada’s attempt to invade England, and they faced heavy fines. As a result no further building work was done.


By the time of the English Civil War, the Biddulph family were still staunchly Roman Catholic but also Royalists. John Biddulph was the then-owner of Biddulph Hall, but he died in 1642 and his son Francis took over, garrisoning the house for the King. In February 1644 following the Battle of Nantwich the Parliamentarians besieged Biddulph Hall, bringing up a large cannon, Roaring Meg, from Stafford to help with the siege. The impacts of cannon balls can be seen on both the old red stone house and the front of the ruins when viewed from the Tilt Yard.

When the house was surrendered, Francis Biddulph was taken into captivity in Stafford and the family turned out. The house was ransacked for valuables by the Parliamentary forces, and then set on fire by the locals when the parliamentary forces left. The mansion was left a smouldering ruin, and only the smaller, older, red stone house survived.

When the house was returned to the Biddulph family they could only afford to mend the old, surviving piece, where they survived in poverty until the restoration of Charles II in 1660. At about that time the three storey ‘kitchen’ wing of the current house was added, made up out of stone taken from the ruined mansion.


The house remained in the Biddulph family’s ownership until the male line ran out in about 1835, when it passed to the Stonor family of Stonor Park. They continued to own it, adding the more polite two storey east wing as a Roman Catholic chapel after Catholic Emancipation in about 1830.

By 1862 the Stonors no longer had use for Biddulph Old Hall, and it was sold for the first time in its history. The purchaser was James Bateman who made the famous gardens at Biddulph Grange, and he made a woodland walk between The Grange and The Old Hall through the Clough.

James Bateman sold the entire Grange Estate in 1871, but left his youngest son, the Second Generation Pre-Raphaelite Artist Robert Bateman, with a life tenancy on The Old Hall, which he held until his death in 1922.

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