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Rufford Old Hall

Rufford Old Hall
Rufford Old Hall is located in Lancashire
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Shown within Lancashire
Architectural style Medieval, Jacobean
Structural system Brick
Town Penwortham
Country England
Client Sir Thomas Hesketh
Started 1530
Completed 1820's

Rufford Old Hall, a National Trust property and Grade I listed building,[1] was built in 1530 by Sir Thomas Hesketh in Rufford, Lancashire, England. Only the Great Hall survives from the original building but it clearly indicates the wealth and position of the family.


The Hall

The Great Hall was built to impress with a splendid Hammerbeam roof and a huge carved wooden screen. There is some evidence to suggest that Shakespeare performed in the Great Hall whilst in service to (a later) Sir Thomas Hesketh.

In 1661 a brick wing was built at right angles to the great hall which contrasts with the medieval black and white timbering.

In the 1820s a third wing was constructed, formed out of the medieval domestic offices, and a castellated tower was built to join the Great Hall to the Charles II wing.

Rufford Old Hall (rear)


From construction to 1936, Rufford Old Hall was owned by the Hesketh family. In 1846 Sir Thomas George Hesketh, 5th Baronet, of Rufford married Lady Anna Maria Arabella Fermor, sister and heiress of George Richard William Fermor, 5th and last Earl of Pomfret. This resulted in the Hesketh family gaining Easton Neston in Northamptonshire.

In 1936 Rufford Old Hall was transferred to the National Trust by Thomas Fermor-Hesketh, 1st Baron Hesketh together with a collection of arms and armour and 17th century oak furniture.


The hall is said to be haunted by the Grey Lady (by the main entrance or on the drive). The ghost is reputed to be that of a young woman in a wedding dress awaiting the return of her betrothed, who had been killed in battle, never to return. The hall is reputedly also haunted by a man dressed in Elizabethan clothes (Great Hall) and Queen Elizabeth I (dining room).[2]


Squirrel topiary, Rufford Old Hall

There are gardens and pasture to the rear and side of the Hall and a car park leading to woodland at the front. A canal runs the length of the site on the east side. A notable feature of the gardens are a pair of squirrel topiaries. The gardens are best seen in the spring when the rhododendrons are in bloom.


  1. ^ Listed Buildings in West Lancashire, West Lancashire District Council
  2. ^ Inside Out, BBC, 12 September 2005

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