History 


Pitchford Hall is Grade I listed and one of England's finest Elizabethan half timbered houses. The first record of the estate is in the Domesday Book (1081 - 86) and "Piceforde" is described as follows:
EDRIC, AND LEOFRIC AND WULFRIC HELD IT AS THRESS MANORS; THEY WERE FREE. 3 HIDES WHICH PAY TAX. LAND FOR 5 PLOUGHS. IN LORDSHIP 3; 3 SLAVES; 3 PLOUGHMEN; 1 VILLAGE; 3 SMALLHOLDERS, A SMITH AND RIDER WITH 2 PLOUGHS. WOODLAND FOR FATTENING 100 PIGS. VALUE BEFORE 1066, 8S LATER 16S; NOW 40S”


Pitchford derives its name from a naturally occurring pitch, or bitumen, well by the Row Brook within the grounds and is one of the few such wells in the country. The bitumen was used for waterproofing and protecting the exposed timbers of the house. Opposite the pitch well is a ford across the Row, hence Pitchford.

Historical records relate that a mediaeval manor house existed somewhere on the site from at least 1284 to 1431 and it is possible that portions of the earlier house may survive within the fabric of the west wing. Soon after the three wings were completed a garderobe tower was added to the north east corner, overlooking the brook and rolling parkland. Many of the 16th century arrangements have been altered by successive waves of taste and need, with the exception of the drawing room where the paneling and ceiling are amongst the finest of their type and date back to 1626.

Some time after the Dissolution of the Monasteries (during the reign of Henry VIII) and when Roman Catholics were being persecuted for their religious beliefs, a Priest's Hole was installed in the house. Prince Rupert is said to have hidden there from the Parliamentarians.

In the 19th Century, George Devey, brought the house up to date in accordance with Victorian country house planning including the installation of baths and water closets. His restoration included replacement of the defective timbers and the re-instalment of mullion and casement windows.

Before 1992, the previous owners, the Colthurst family, carried out a 10 year restoration programme with strict attention to historical detail.

The house, described by Pevsner as being "a combination of considerable size with an undeniable homeliness", has many classical features including one of the most impressive timber framed facades anywhere in England. The Hall is surrounded on all sides by other buildings and features of interest some of which are on the Estate. These include a Tree house, Orangery, Stable Yard, Bitumen Well and Georgian Plunge Pool.

Some of the more famous guests to stay at Pitchford over the years include Queen Victoria who as Princess Victoria, aged 13 was entertained at the Hall in 1832 by the then owner 3rd Earl of Liverpool. An extract from her diary recalls "at about twenty minutes to five we arrived at Pitchford, a curious looking but very comfortable house. It is striped black and white and in the shape of a cottage". During her stay she watched the local hunt from the Tree house.

In 1935 the then Duke of York (later George VI) and his wife Queen Elizabeth (now the Queen Mother) stayed. During World War II, Pitchford was one of the houses selected as a place of safety for King George and his wife Queen Elizabeth and their daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. The operation to relocate the Royal Family to Pitchford was called the Coates Mission.

The House was sold in 1992 after attempts to save it for the nation (involving the Prince of Wales, politicians, the National Trust and English Heritage) failed. Unfortunately the Hall is no longer open to the public and is on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register.

After twenty four years of neglect, Pitchford Hall and Tree House have been bought back by the Pitchford Estate (28 September 2016) and will be restored over the next few years. The Estate intends to allow public access to the Hall as soon as the first phases of the restoration scheme are complete. The Hall is once again home to the Estate's owners and the link with the 500 year family history of the house has been restored.

Hall interior
Hall interior
Oak Crusader
Arab Horse, in an extensive landscape with Pitchford Hall and the Estate beyond. By James Ward R A, dated 1822.
Pitchford Hall interior
Pitchford Hall in the snow
tweets... RT @kateinnes2: Thanks for the help @stiffleaf - looks like you have a roaring lion from the 1600's in your midst @PitchfordEstate - quit… an hour ago instargram