Cusworth Hall is an 18th-century Grade I listed country house in Cusworth, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire in the north of England. Set in the landscaped parklands of Cusworth Park, Cusworth Hall is a good example of a Georgian country house. It is now a country house museum.
The house is constructed of ashlar with slate roofs. The rectangular 6 x 5 bay plan main block is linked to 5 x 2 bay service wings.
The Wrightson family had held the lordship of Cusworth since 1669.
The present house was built in 1740–45 by George Platt for William Wrightson to replace a previous house and was further altered in 1749-53 by James Paine. On William's death in 1760 the property passed to his daughter Isabella, who had married John Battie, who took the additional name of Wrightson in 1766. He employed the landscape designer Richard Woods to remodel the park. Woods was one of a group of respected landscape designers working across the country during the 18th century and Cusworth was one of his most important commissions in South Yorkshire, another being at Cannon Hall. Woods created a park of 250 acres with a hanging and a serpentine river consisting of three lakes embellished with decorative features such as the Rock Arch and the Cascade.
The estate afterwards passed to John and Isabella's son, William Wrightson (1752–1827), who was the MP for Aylesbury from 1784 to 1790 and High Sheriff of Yorkshire for 1819–20. He was succeeded by his son William Battie-Wrightson (1789–1879), who at various times was MP for East Retford, Hull and Northallerton. He died childless and Cusworth Hall passed to his brother Richard Heber Wrightson, who died in 1891.
The property was then inherited by his nephew William Henry Thomas who took the surname Battie-Wrightson by Royal Licence and died in 1903. He had married Lady Isabella Cecil, eldest daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Exeter. Between 1903 and 1909 Lady Isabella made further alterations to the house. She died in 1917, leaving an only son Robert Cecil Battie-Wrightson (1888–1952). On his death in 1952, the estate descended to his sister, a nurse who had married a Major Oswald Parker but later was variously known as Miss Maureen Pearse-Brown and as Mrs Pearce. She was obliged to sell the contents of Cusworth Hall in October 1952 to meet the death duties levied at Robert Cecil's death. She subsequently sold the hall to Doncaster Council.
In 1961 Doncaster Rural District Council purchased Cusworth Hall and the adjoining parkland from the Battie-Wrightson family. The Council undertook an initial restoration of the grounds and also recreated what is now the tearooms within the former stable block. The former reception rooms and spacious galleries now house the Museum of South Yorkshire life, officially opened on 30 September 1967.
Cusworth Hall and Park underwent an extensive £7.5 million renovation between 2002 and 2005, involving essential conservation repairs to the Hall and extensive restoration of the landscape gardens. Within the hall external repairs to the stonework and roof were undertaken to ensure that the exterior was watertight, whilst internal works upgraded internal services and enabled new displays to be installed.
The restoration of the designed landscape have been greatly influenced by a comprehensive analysis of available archive material, among which are the original written memoranda and sketches produced by Richard Woods for his site forman Thomas Coalie. An integrated archaeological programme also formed a key aspect of the restorations, recording in detail landscape features such as the Rock Arch, Cascade, and Bridge. This restoration has not 'recreated' the 18th century scheme, although elements are still incorporated within a 'living' amenity garden that is now thriving as a result of the recent work undertaken in partnership with the Friends of Cusworth Park.
The Hall reopened to the public on 23 May 2007 and the new displays document the history of South Yorkshire and it is a valued resource for local residents, students and school groups alike.
Cusworth Hall Museum and Park is the venue for a varied program of seasonal exhibitions, events and activities linked to the history of the area. including Country Fairs, vintage vehicle rallies, historic re-enactments, wildlife sessions and a range of seasonally themed events.
Additionally, Doncaster Museums' Education Service offers a range of learning sessions to schools and educational establishments. Specialist and experienced Education Officers deliver learning workshops to schools across a broad range of topics as well as out-of-school-hours activities for families and local communities.
- "Cusworth Hall, Sprotbrough and Cusworth". British Historic Buildings. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "History and Development of Cusworth Park". Doncaster Council. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "WRIGHTSON, William (1752-1827), of Cusworth Hall, Doncaster, Yorks.". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "Papers of Battie-Wrightson of Cusworth". National Archives. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
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