A family home of considerable standing since 1385
Knowsley Hall and the Stanley family have featured in the region’s history, along with that of the nation, since the estate was created in 1385. Delve into the family’s past and you’ll discover the 14th Earl was Prime Minister three times, the 15th Earl was Foreign Secretary and the 17th Earl was involved in negotiating the Treaty of Versailles.
‘Capability’ Brown and Robert Adam had a hand in the Estate
The stunning gardens and parkland were essentially created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown around 1775-6, during which time he actually flooded the 62 acre lake to feed the water gardens around the Hall. The gardens were extended in the 19th century and the parkland was enclosed by a 9.5 mile stone wall featuring many follies along its length, including a rather wonderful Octagon designed by none other than Robert Adam. There is also a boat house designed by William Burn and a log cabin presented by the people of Canada.
During its 1000 year history our much loved estate has also housed an Augustinian Priory, a racecourse and reputedly a goldmine.
Today the beautiful, extensive and exquisitely maintained grounds provide a stunning backdrop to all manner of events and enterprises, from weddings to film sets.
Close links with royalty and a taste for culture
Henry VII made Lord Stanley (his stepfather) the first Earl of Derby after the Battle of Bosworth ended the War of the Roses in 1485. The new Earl then built the handsome lodgings to receive his new Tudor king on royal visits.
Later on through the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods successive Earls had a keen interest in the theatre, patronising companies of actors and playwrights including William Shakespeare.
During the Georgian period the 10th Earl created a considerable legacy by transforming the Hall into a splendid stately home and building up an important collection of Old Master paintings.
The Hall also has strong links with horseracing, notably the 12th Earl who was a passionate sportsman and founded the two classic horse races - The Derby and The Oaks.
Then, there’s the extraordinary wildlife, which especially with the 13th Earl. He was an eminent natural historian and established in the park a renowned aviary and menagerie. He was also the patron of watercolourist and writer Edward Lear, who famously composed his nonsense poems whilst living in the nurseries in Knowsley Hall.
The current 19th Earl and Countess of Derby have made Knowsley their family home and devoted much of their time to restoring the Hall and its interiors, while conserving the fine art collections to their former glory.
Thank you all for hosting us at Knowsley Hall yesterday. We had some of the highest feedback scorings from our guests that I have ever seen on an Audi event of this type, so thank you!
Natalie Heath, Director
For more information about Knowsley Hall and the Derby Collection please contact our Curator, Dr Stephen Lloyd