Speke Hall is situated close to the John Lennon Airport and about 2 miles within Merseyside's border with Cheshire, the hall dates back to 1530.
Among a host of other interesting features the timber framed hall contains a a priest hole and a special observation hole built into a chimney in a bedroom to allow the occupant to view the approach to the house to warn the priest of the arrival of visitors. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I there was a period when Catholics faced persecution and the priest hole was used to help them hide or flee. There is also an eavesdrop (a small open hole under the eaves of the house) which allowed a servant to listen in on the conversations of people awaiting admission at the original front door.
Although earlier buildings had occupied the site, construction of the present building commenced in 1530, the magnificent Great Hall was the first part of the house to be completed. The Great Parlour wing was added in 1531. Around this time the North Bay was also completed. Between 1540 and 1570 the south wing was altered and extended. The west wing was added between 1546 and 1547. The last significant change to the building was in 1598, when the north range was added by Edward Norris. Since then there have only been minor changes to the Hall and gardens. The hall contains some fine Jacobean plasterwork and intricately carved furniture. A fully equipped Victorian kitchen and servants' hall enable visitors to see 'behind the scenes'. Costumed tours take place to help illustrate the hall's fascinating history.
The attractive restored garden has spring bulbs, a rose garden, summer border and stream garden, and there are woodland walks and views of the River Mersey and North Wales hills from The Bund, a high bank. Home Farm on the estate is a model Victorian farm building, restored and part-adapted to provide a restaurant, shop and visitor facilities, and offers estate walks, children's play area and orchard.
The house is in the care of the National Trust and is open to the public. It formerly was owned by the Roman Catholic Norris family until it passed to the Beauclerk family through marriage. It was purchased by the Watt family in 1795. Miss Adelaide Watt, the last surviving member of the Watt family died in 1921, without an heir and bequeathed Speke Hall to the National Trust.