Fisherwick Hall - A very brief History

In the late 16th century John Skeffington built a 'large house' at Fisherwick. Two hundred years later in 1761 the estate, which had passed through several hands, was sold to Arthur Chichester, Earl of Donegall, later Baron Fisherwick (1790) and Marquess of Donegall (1791), who built his new house on the same site.

There was already large park in 1747, with an area of 450 acres, but by 1760 this had been enlarged to 570 acres. In 1766 the public roads through this park were stopped up by an act of Parliament, promoted by the Earl, so that Lancelot Brown could carry out landscaping and plant 10,000 trees - many of them oaks. Two drives were created, one to Tamworth Gate near the present day Stubby Lees, the other to Hademore. Also about this time a dam was built on the Whittington side of the estate and a new lake formed.

In the very early 19th century the estate passed into the ovnership of R.B. Howard, lord of Elford, who demolished the house. The contents were sold at two auctions in 1814 and 1816. That would be the end of the story except that a few outbuildings, a bridge over the Fisherwick brook and two fine ashlar gateposts survived.

The Trent Valley Railway arrived in 1847 and the line appears to have severed the main driveway to the house that had once branched off the Elford road just this side of Hademore crossing. The two gateposts, marooned north of the railway, slumbered for over 100 years, eventually to be designated under the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act. However, in 2005 the railway builders were back and the Grade II listed gateposts now stood in the way of the planned West Coast Main Line upgrade!

Two years previously a long public enquiry, under the Transport & Works Act 1980, considered the plans to replace Hademore Crossing with a new bridge over the railway. When the inspector's report was published it stipulated that the two gateposts were to be carefully demolished and stored for the duration of the works.


Five years later the gateposts were re-assembled, now located south of the railway on Fisherwick Green, but still guarding the driveway that had once led to the Earl of Donegall's fine house.

Driving east from Whittington towards Elford two lonely gateposts may be visible in the winter, straight ahead beside the old road, just before the site of the former Hademore crossing. One carries the soot of ages, the other a healthy coat of Ivy. A faded Earl's coronet may just be visible.

Peter Cousins & Lorna Bushell
June 2005

The restored gateposts of Fisherwick Hall

Photo - Lesley Bushell, 2021