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 rebuilt his 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 Fisherwick brook and two fine ashlar gateposts survived.

The Trent Valley Railway arrived in 1847 and appears to have severed the main driveway to the house, which formerly branched off the Elford road at the little green just this side of Hademore crossing. The two Gateposts, marooned north of the railway, were subsequently Grade II listed and now stand in the way of the planned West Coast Main Line upgrade!

Two years ago a long public enquiry, under the Transport & Works Act 1980, considered the plans to replace Hademore Crossing with a new bridge over the railway. The inspector's report has now been approved and the two gateposts will be demolished and probably stored for the duration of the works to avoid damage.

Driving East from Whittington towards Elford two lonely gatepost are visible in the winter straight ahead (beyond the railway) as the road bends to the right before Hademore crossing. One carries the soot of ages, the other a healthy coat of Ivy. A faded coronet is just visible. Take a look while you can - it may be 2008 before they are seen again!

Peter Cousins & Lorna Bushell
June 2005

[Postscript]

The two gateposts were re-assembled south of the railway on Fisherwick Green, just a few yards from the driveway they once protected.