Knowsley Hall History

The earliest structure at Knowsley Hall called the Royal Lodgings was built in 1495 by Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, where he and his wife, Lady Margaret Beaufort, entertained her son King Henry VII and his Queen, Elizabeth of York. Previously the house had operated as a manor house and hunting lodge in the centre of a great deer park, before its major rebuilding between 1717 and 1727 for the 10th Earl of Derby. The main part of the house was completely rebuilt in the early Georgina style and a spectacular Palladian colonnade was built on the south façade of the structure.

A historic building with turrets on either side
The Royal Lodgings

In 1385, Isabel, daughter of Sir Thomas Lathom, heiress to the Lathom land and fortune, married Sir John Stanley, at which point all the De Lathom lands, properties and fortune was transferred into the ownership of the Stanley family, which is where it has remained ever since – Stanley being the family name of the Earls of Derby.

Knowsley Hall boasts one of the most complicated architectural histories imaginable.  Unlike many other historic houses, it wasn’t built at one point in history and left unaltered.  Instead, it has been extended, the interiors altered, rooms built and removed, wings built and knocked down over many centuries.  In the Estate’s long history, the park has contained a race-course and (reputedly) a gold-mine.

Set within 2,500 acres of beautiful parkland with the advice of Capability Brown in the 1770s.  The Knowsley Estate is enclosed by a 9 ½ mile stone wall, within which are a number of follies, including an Octagon temple dated 1753, a log cabin presented by the Canadians in the 1890s and a boat house from 1836.

In the 1960s, the 18th Earl allowed Merseyside police to use a large part of the Hall as their Headquarters.  After the 19th Earl succeeded to the earldom in 1994, the lease ended and the police decided to vacate the Hall.  The 19th Earl of Derby, Edward Stanley, and his wife, Caroline, then decided to take on the enormous project of restoring the interiors of Knowsley Hall, back to their former glory. Throughout the centuries, Knowsley Hall has been welcoming royalty and heads of State including King Henry VII, King James I, King George IV, King Edward VII, King George V and Queen Elizabeth II. Knowsley Hall is now used as an exclusive events venue providing a stunning backdrop for a variety of events such as location filming, corporate events and weddings and can be hired for exclusive private stays.

The 19th Countess of Derby, has launched her own seven-episode podcast series, in which she explores the illustrious history of the Stanley family and Knowsley Hall. Joining her are leading experts in history, art, racing and the natural world, as they unveil intriguing tales. The Countess of Derby also reveals the hidden treasures unearthed at Knowsley Hall during her time as custodian. Tune into all seven episodes here
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