This is an old house dating from the sixteenth or seventeenth century. Knill Freeman was responsible for the south extension to the hall (1887-90), the stables (1895) and other work for Lt Col Myles Sandys, MP for Bootle. Thomas Mawson was involved in the design of the gardens and and Dan Gibson did work to the interior.
The gardens with their terraced walks and rhododendrons were Thomas Mawson’s first major commission, begun in 1889 for Thomas Myles Sandys MP and carried on for many years.
According to Pevsner, “The house has been through many stages under a string of architects. Before Mawson was George Webster (c. 1840), mainly on the W side of the house, and some possibly unexecuted designs by James W Grundy (1875). Working at the same time as Mawson were R Knill Freeman and, inside, Dan Gibson. Freeman’s work is characterised by red St Bees sandstone, and is best seen on the S front, remodelled in a rich Jacobean style which is expressive of its history, and yet can keep rank with the present (Mawson). An unexecuted perspective shows the whole house recast in Kirby Hall (Northants) style, with giant pilasters. The principal rooms owe their present form to Dan Gibson in the early C20.”
Freeman’s early proposals for the house The south front as built
The palatial stables were described in the Building news of 13 July 1894:
“These stables have been built for Lt. Col. T Myles Sandys, MP. They consist of three blocks of buildings, forming three sides of a square, the fourth being enclosed by a wall and railing and having the principal entrance in the centre, between the grooms’ and coachman’s houses. The block at the east side consists of a coach-house, horse-washing room, cooking-rooms, &c. The corresponding block on the west side contains open shed, storerooms, &c. The south block, facing the entrance gateway, has the harness-room in the centre and ranges of stalls and loose-boxes on either side. The loose-boxes are arranged so that each can be used as two stalls if desired. The whole of the buildings are two storeys in height, the upper part being arranged as lofts and storerooms. A clock tower is carried up in the centre of the south block. The whole are built of local stone, quarried on the estate, in the lower parts, with red sandstone dressings and brick chimneys. The upper parts throughout are timber-frames, and the roofs covered with strawberry-coloured Staffordshire tiles. Internally, the stables are lined with pitch-pine boarding in the lower parts, with cream-coloured, glazed bricks above, the floors being of granolithic.”
Pevsner considers the stables to be “prettily but inappropriately timber-framed.”
Left: The stables
Above: Initials of T Myles Sandys with the date 1890 on the south front