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Dorfold Hall

OS grid ref:- SJ635524

Dorfold Hall, a grade I listed Jacobean mansion, is situated in the village of Acton, a mile to the west of Nantwich.

The hall is thought to occupy the site of a house owned by Edwin, the Saxon Earl of Mercia, elder brother of Earl Morcar and brother-in-law to King Harold II, England's last Saxon king, which was at a place then called Darford or Durfold. Although it does not appear in the Domesday survey, a manor at Dorfold is recorded during the reign of King Henry III (1216-72).

The Dorfold estate was purchased in 1602 by Sir Roger Wilbraham, an influential lawyer who served as Solicitor-General for Ireland under Elizabeth I and held position at court under her successor, King James I.

The impressive brick building we see today was constructed in 1616-21 for his Roger Wilbraham's younger brother and heir, Ralph, it was built on the site of the earlier hall. Nikolaus Pevsner, a famous scholar in the history of architecture, declared the hall to be one of the two finest Jacobean houses in Cheshire. During the Civil War the Wilbraham family gave their support to Parliament, resulting in the house being attacked by Royalist forces in 1643, when it was plundered.

The interior of the hall boasts beautiful plaster ceilings and oak panelling. The clock tower over the carriage house features stone frames to the clock dials and is topped by a wooden finial with a weather vane. A large iron statue of a mastiff with pups stands in the forecourt of the hall, it is the work of Pierre Louis Rouillard and came from the Paris Exhibition of 1855. The icehouse with a circular underground chamber lined with red brick probably dates from the late eighteenth century. The estate was sold in 1754 to James Tomkinson, a lawyer of Nantwich, who made extensive alterations to the building.

The hall is now home of Mr & Mrs Richard Roundell. The attractive gardens include summer herbaceous borders and woodland gardens. Visitors can also enjoy the fine specimen trees, a woodland and stream dell and a rock garden containing rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias.

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