Rufford New Hall
|Rufford New Hall|
South east wing at Rufford New Hall in 2010
|Town or city||Rufford|
|Structural system||Brick with stucco|
Rufford New Hall is a former country house which belonged to the Heskeths who were lords of the manor and replaced Rufford Old Hall as their residence in Rufford, Lancashire, England. It has been designated a Grade II Listed building since 1986.
The hall was built by Sir Robert Hesketh in 1760 and enlarged by his grandson around 1798-9 when the Heskeths left Rufford Old Hall. The Heskeths lived at Rufford New Hall until 1919.
Rufford New Hall was a country house built in 1760 and extended in 1798. It is built in brick which was formerly stuccoed. It has a low-pitched hipped slate roof concealed by a low parapet. The two storey symmetrical frontage has a 5-bay facade with an Ionic portico of unfluted columns over a wide doorway with a fanlight. The hall has four 15-paned sashed windows on the ground floor, with five 12-paned windows on the first floor. Some spout heads bear the initials of Sir Thomas Dalrymple Hesketh and the date 1811 and one is dated 1822. The entrance hall has a cantilevered or flying stone staircase and landing on three sides with wrought iron balusters and is lighted by a domed oval skylight. The main hall has columns and pilasters made from Scagliola marble.
Rufford New Hall was bought by Lancashire County Council in 1920 and converted for use as a hospital. On 6 August 1926 Rufford Pulmonary Hospital opened with 50 beds to treat patients with tuberculosis. Subsequently it was used by the NHS as a pre-convalescent hospital until its closure in 1987. The convalescent hospital was administrated by Ormskirk District General Hospital.
The Heskeths created Rufford Park around the hall, with a deer park, a ha-ha, and leisure gardens surrounded by a stone wall. Rufford Park extended from the boundary with Holmeswood to the boundary with Croston and Mawdesley. The area was divided by the Liverpool-Preston Turnpike Road (the A59 Liverpool Road). The development of the park resulted in cottages being demolished and their inhabitants relocated in the village. The park is screened by trees and contains an ice house, a rose garden, a restored ornamental garden, lake, and plantations. The southern part of the park is designated a Biological Heritage Site, and is home to bats, red squirrels and other species of animals, shrubs and rare fungi.
The Ice House is a Grade II listed building, one of three survivors in the district. The building was renovated when the main hall was restored and is protected and maintained by the estate. The icehouse is circular, built in sandstone, brick and earth with a domed roof above an underground chamber entered through a brick passage. Surrounding the ice house is a ha-ha forming a complete circle about 35 metres in diameter. In winter, ice was taken from the frozen lake to the ice house for storage for the rest of the year.
Rufford New Hall had three lodges, which can be seen on the 1847 Ordnance Survey map. Holmeswood Lodge was constructed in the early 19th century on Holmeswood Road. Hesketh Lodge was constructed in the early 19th century as the main entrance lodge. It was named after the original owners. It is a single storey building and is stuccoed with stone dressings. Croston Lodge is the north entrance lodge on the A59, Liverpool Road, built in 1798. It is a single storey brick building with a slate roof. Springwood Lodge is the former gamekeeper or gardener's cottage.
The hall and north wing were restored and converted into apartments and mews houses. The stone cantilevered staircase with the Hesketh family crest, the Georgian belvedere tower and the oval glass dome on the roof have been retained. The hall retains its Ionic colonnades and portico. The stable block has been converted to mews cottages. The formal gardens, ornamental ponds, lawns and tennis courts have been restored. The majority of trees around the hall are protected by a Tree Preservation Order and include many species, the rarest being a handkerchief tree.
The hall and its grounds are reputed to be haunted by four different ghosts.
- Rufford New Hall, Listed Buildings Online, retrieved 2011-03-16
- Farrer, William; Brownbill, J, eds. (1911), "Rufford", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6 (British History Online): 119–128, retrieved 2011-03-17
- Extract Treatment of tuberculosis in Lancashire, BMJ, retrieved 2011-03-18
- Rufford Park Conservation Area (pdf), Lancashire County Council, retrieved 2011-03-18
- Rufford (pdf), Lancashire County Council, retrieved 2011-03-18
- Ice House in rufford park, Listed Buildings Online, retrieved 2011-03-16
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