Join Fourth Element Paranormal Research as we investigate Walton Hall. £33pp fourthelementparanormal.com
Walton Hall and Gardens is a remnant of a much larger county estate, purchased in 1812 by the Greenall family, famous for their brewing industry. The hall itself was built in Elizabethan-style during the 1830s, designed by Edmund Sharpe of Lancaster who later became famous for the Gothic revival in Victorian architecture. During the 1870s various extensions were completed, including the clocktower and a large Gothic-style wing. Unfortunately, when the building was refurbished some one hundred years later, certain sections were considered beyond repair and demolished, leaving only the east wing and clocktower.
Existing features of interest include a stained glass window depicting their family crests and portraits of Susannah and Bertha Greenall, sister of the first Lord Daresbury.
The Greenall family at Walton
The first Greenall to reside at Walton Hall was Gilbert, grandson of Thomas, founder of the family’s first brewery. As was typical of many industrialists of his day, he adopted the lifestyle of a county squire and became a keen follower of country sports. He is perhaps best remembered for his long and successful political career as Conservative MP for Warrington and was awarded a Baronetcy in 1876 on the recommendation of Sir Benjamin Disraeli.
His only son and heir, another Gilbert, was also deeply involved in local politics, although not as an MP. His greatest achievements outside of industry were in agriculture. His expertise in the breeding of horses and other livestock brought him international admiration and buyers came from all over the world to purchase Walton stock. He also helped to found the Royal International Horse Show and was largely responsible for rescuing the Royal Agricultural Show from insolvency, remaining its director for 27 years. His efforts contributed greatly to the revival of British livestock after the First World War and in 1927 the family was admitted into the peerage, Sir Gilbert becoming the first Lord Daresbury.
The demise of the Walton Estate
The death of Lord Daresbury in 1938 left the family owing £500,000 in death duties. This, together with the atmosphere of uncertainty preceding World War Two, led to the sale of the estate by auction in 1941. Much of the farmland was bought by the existing tenants, whilst the council purchased the hall and what is now the park and municipal golf course for £19,000.