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Gawsworth Hall, Cheshire, England

Gawsworth Old Hall is a Grade I listed country house in the village of Gawsworth, Cheshire, England. It is a timber-framed house in the Cheshire black-and-white style. The present house was built between 1480 and 1600, replacing an earlier Norman house. It was probably built as a courtyard house enclosing a quadrangle, but much of it has been demolished, leaving the house with a U-shaped plan. The present hall was owned originally by the Fitton family, and later by the Gerards, and then the Stanhopes. Since the 1930s it has been in the possession of the Richards family. Raymond Richards collected a number of items from other historic buildings and incorporated them into the hall.

Notable residents have included Mary Fitton, perhaps the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and Samuel “Maggoty” Johnson, a playwright described as the last professional jester in England, whose grave is in the grounds. In 1712 a dispute about the ownership of the Gawsworth estate culminated in a duel, in which both the combatants were killed.

The hall is surrounded by formal gardens and parkland, which once comprised an Elizabethan pleasure garden and, possibly, a tilting ground for jousting. The grounds are listed Grade II* by English Heritage, and contain four Grade II listed buildings, including the Gatehouse, gate piers, and garden walls. The hall and grounds are open to the public at advertised times, and events are organised. During the summer months a series of concerts and other entertainment is arranged in an open-air theatre near the hall. Gawsworth Old Hall is south of the village of Gawsworth, 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Macclesfield. Immediately to the west is the Grade I listed Church of St James, to the north beyond a fish pond is the Grade II* listed Gawsworth New Hall, and nearby is the Grade I listed Gawsworth Old Rectory.

The hall is open to the general public at advertised times. A series of events is held in the grounds and in the hall during the year. There is a licensed tea room in the grounds, and the hall is also licensed for civil weddings. Ceremonies are conducted in the Long Hall, and receptions can be held in a marquee in the grounds. During the summer months plays, concerts and other entertainments take place in the open-air theatre close to the hall.

Photo : Gawsworth_Old_Hall.author – Tom Pennington

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