Wrightington Hall, including attached north service wing

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1361885
Date first listed:
04-Oct-1972
Date of most recent amendment:
20-Mar-2017
Statutory Address:
off Hall Lane, Wrightington, Wigan, Lancashire, WN6 9ES

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
off Hall Lane, Wrightington, Wigan, Lancashire, WN6 9ES

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:
Lancashire
District:
West Lancashire (District Authority)
Parish:
Wrightington
National Grid Reference:
SD5311610649, SD5312810628, SD5314010638

Summary

Country house, now a hospital conference centre and offices, early C18, altered in 1860-2, with further C20 and C21 alterations. Coursed squared pale-grey sandstone with pinkish tones to the N, S and W elevations, and an E elevation of coursed squared pink sandstone; all with yellow sandstone ashlar dressings. Hipped slate roof with attic dormer windows. Two storeys plus basement and attic. Attached N service wing of varying height built in phases from the 1860s to late C19/early C20, same materials as the main hall.

Reasons for Designation

Wrightington Hall is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: it is an interesting example of an early-C18 house altered and updated c1860, and extended through the addition of a large service wing in the late-C19/early-C20; its well-detailed external elevations and interior features reflecting changing tastes and fashions in the C18 and C19;

* Historic interest: having replaced an earlier hall on the site it serves to highlight the historical development of the Wrightington estate, including its C20 transition from a country residence to hospital use;

* Interior survival: despite later alteration and change of use the hall retains numerous notable interior features, including a richly decorated C18 ceiling in one of the ground floor rooms, an C18 service stair, some C18 eight-panel doors, and an impressive mid-late C19 stair hall;

* Group value: it has strong group value with the Grade II listed garden terrace retaining wall, Grade II listed former barn and riding school, and other listed features on the Wrightington estate.

History

Wrightington Hall has a complex history of ownership and development. It was the home of the Wrightington family for several centuries until the death of Sir Edward Wrightington in 1658 when it passed to Hugh Dicconson and continued down this family line. The Wrightingtons and Hugh Dicconson were Anglicans, but Hugh's sons converted to Roman Catholicism and were committed Jacobites, being implicated in a plot to reinstate the exiled King James II as well as the 1715 Rising. A chapel was built and a Roman Catholic priest maintained at the hall from the 1680s. The hall subsequently passed down the female line through several different families, with many heirs changing surname in order to inherit.

The present Wrightington Hall was constructed in the early C18, although the precise date is not clear. It replaced an earlier partly timber-framed manor house, parts of which, including a W wing and a N wing containing the chapel, survived until c1929 when they were demolished. The surviving former barn probably served the earlier house.

In 1860 the estate passed to Elizabeth Clifton (who took the name and coat of arms of Dicconson) and in 1860-2 she undertook a programme of extensive alteration and remodelling of the hall, along with the demolition of part of the old hall, leaving the W wing and N wing standing and constructing a link block between the old and new halls. After her death shortly after in 1862 the estate passed in turn to her three sons, and lastly to the Gerard family. Between 1893-1908 a service and estate office wing was added to the N side of the hall in a number of stages.

In 1920 the estate was bought by Lancashire County Council with the purpose of establishing a Tuberculosis (TB) hospital. However, due to restrictions on public spending the scheme was stalled until 1929-31 when a 226 bed hospital was created on the site, officially opening on 16 June 1933.

In 1927 one of the hall's interior rooms was sold by Robersons (an architectural dealer in London) to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where it is still on display. Several of the room's architectural elements, including a fireplace and three doorways were moved from their original position to facilitate the flow of the museum.

The surviving wings of the old hall were demolished in c1929 and a nurses' home was built on their site in 1929-31 to the designs of the County Architect Stephen Wilkinson who, along with his predecessor Henry Littler, designed the hospital buildings. The main hall building was converted at this time for use as an administration block and additional accommodation for nurses and maids, with further alteration and modernisation taking place in the mid-late C20, including the installation of a passenger lift.

After effective drug treatment and vaccination against TB became available in the late-1940s Wrightington Hospital diversified into specialising in orthopaedics. Led by the research and work of Sir John Charnley the hospital pioneered hip replacement surgery in the early 1960s and remains a Centre of Excellence (Orthopaedic Surgery) today.

The hospital site was acquired by the present owner in 2000 and in the same year the ground and first floors of the hall were converted into a training and conference centre known as the John Charnley Education Centre, with offices on the attic floor. The lift shaft was also relocated at this time, and parts of the N wing converted for laboratory use.

Details

Country house, now a hospital conference centre and offices, early C18, altered in 1860-2, with further C20 and C21 alterations. Coursed squared pale-grey sandstone with pinkish tones to the N, S and W elevations, and an E elevation of coursed squared pink sandstone; all with yellow sandstone ashlar dressings. Hipped slate roof with attic dormer windows. Two storeys plus basement and attic. Attached N service wing of varying height built in phases from the 1860s to late C19/early C20, same materials as the main hall.

PLAN: the main hall has a rectangular plan with two shallow wings projecting on the E side and a large c1860 porch on the W side. Attached to the N side of the hall is a long former service wing. To the NW of the hall is a former nurses' home with an irregular U-shaped plan that abuts the N service wing; the nurses' home is not of special interest and is excluded from the listing.

EXTERIOR:

HALL: all of the hall's four elevations have quoined corners, and the three principal elevations to the W, E, and S have tall ground floor windows and shorter windows to the first floor. The windows have carved stone surrounds and the majority of the hall's original multipaned sashes have been replaced by late-C19 plate-glass sashes and C20 three-light casements. C19 round-arched attic dormer windows contain a mixture of sashes and casements. The hipped roof has dentilled eaves, and four substantial chimneystacks rise from the four corners of the central section of the roof.

E ELEVATION: the hall's seven-bay E elevation, which was originally the main entrance front, is constructed of pink sandstone with yellow ashlar dressings and windows containing C20 three-light casements. It is symmetrical in form with a three-bay central section flanked by two outer bays at each end that project forward slightly as side wings; one of the ground floor windows in the wing to the left (S end) has been lengthened slightly to convert it into a doorway. Set between the ground and first floors is a stringcourse that continues around and across the S and W elevations. The former main entrance, which has a carved surround and a scrolled pediment, lies to the centre of the ground floor and contains C20 French windows. The basement windows are now largely hidden by a C19 garden terrace that wraps around and across in front of the S elevation, and is separately listed at Grade II. Five small round-arched, C19 dormer windows exist to the roof.

S ELEVATION: the former garden-facing S elevation is of five bays with windows containing C20 three-light casements to both floors and two C19 round-arched dormer windows to the roof. Pink sandstone ashlar quoining to the W corner contrasts with the yellow sandstone ashlar quoining to the E corner. A later blocked-up doorway exists to the far right of the ground floor, and in similar fashion to the E elevation the basement windows are largely hidden by the later garden terrace, with railing-enclosed light wells denoting their presence.

W ELEVATION: the seven-bay W elevation now forms the principal front elevation of the hall. The ground floor level of the three central bays is now hidden by a large single storey, flat-roofed porch of c1860 that dominates the elevation. The porch, which is accessed by a flight of shallow stone steps, is of yellow ashlar with three large glazed round arches to the front and one to each end; the central arch contains glazed and panelled double doors that form the main entrance, with further doors to the N and S arches. The arches are separated by pilasters with a plain entablature above, and surmounting the centre of the entablature is a cartouche with scrolled sides and a relief of the Dicconson coat of arms. Low curving wing walls interspersed with square piers and surmounted by decorative cast-iron railings project out from the porch at each end. The central first floor window above and behind the porch is wider than the rest of the windows, and set to the far left of the first floor is a very small later inserted window with an ashlar surround. Five C19 round-arched dormer windows exist to the roof. Set to the far left (N end) of the elevation and adjoining the main hall on the N side is a three-bay three-storey link block that linked the house to the remains of the earlier partly timber-framed hall, which was demolished in c1929. The two lower stories are believed to have been constructed c1860-2, whilst differences in window size and stonework colouring suggest that the top floor was added later. The link block forms part of the N wing, which is visible on the E side of the buildings and is described below. The link block's storeys do not correspond with the main floor levels of the house on the W elevation, probably as a result of its original function in providing a connection into the old hall and the height differentiation between the old and new halls. The bays are separated by pilasters that are rusticated below capitals set at the mid-point of the first floor, but which correspond with the stringcourse of the main house. The ground floor windows have pedimented surrounds, but those to the two upper floors are without pediments. Abutting and concealing part of the N end of the elevation is the former nurses' home, which is excluded from the listing.

N ELEVATION: the hall's N elevation is a much plainer service elevation and is partly hidden by the later N wing. The N elevation is of three storeys, but the window levels do not correspond with the rest of the main building, reflecting a change in external ground level, which means that the basement appears as the ground floor on this side. The elevation's four visible bays have windows to each floor with plain lintels; the windows to the basement and first floor are taller than those to the ground floor level. The upper floor windows have plain surrounds incorporating stones of varying size, whilst the basement windows have hoodmoulds and retain their C18 multipaned sashes. A stepped continuous hoodmould exists above the ground floor windows, which have plate-glass sashes, and three-light C20 casements exist to the top floor. One of the original top floor windows has been replaced by two smaller windows lighting later inserted toilets (the original lintel survives above). Two C19 round-arched attic dormer windows exist to the roof, along with later inserted skylights.

N WING: also known as the service wing, the N wing is constructed of the same materials as the main house and has quoined window surrounds. Map evidence and historic photographs reveal that the three-storey link block was mainly constructed in c1860-2, with the remaining elements of the north wing added between 1893 and 1908, replacing part of a wing of the old hall that had contained a Roman Catholic chapel. All the blocks comprising the wing have parapets concealing the roofs. The E side of the three-bay link block is plain with a central doorway to the basement flanked by two-over-two sash windows, with plate-glass sash windows to the floors above and a single window to the top floor of the N return.

Attached to the N end of the link block is a short four-bay, single-storey flat-roofed block with a canted W wall, which can be observed internally. The angled wall is believed to have been required due to the alignment of the remains of the old hall that survived until demolition in c1929. A doorway with a two-light overlight exists to the far left of the E elevation with tall windows to the right incorporating plate-glass sashes to the lower part and two-light fixed panes above. Rising above and behind the block is the only visible part of the E elevation of the nurses' home, which abuts the N wing and has been faced in pale sandstone to complement the main hall and the N wing; this later element is not of special interest and is excluded from the listing.

To the N is a similarly styled flat-roofed two storey block, which has an asymmetrical fenestration arrangement comprising four plate-glass sash windows and a doorway to the ground floor and three windows to the first floor. A further doorway exists to the far right at a mezzanine level between the floors and is accessed via a short bridge link from the yard area. The doorway accesses a stair leading up to the first floor. Two substantial chimneystacks rise from the centre and W side of the roof. The block's W elevation faces into a small yard area. Due to the yard's higher ground level the ground floor of the block appears as a basement on this side and is accessed via a flight of stone steps down. An open doorway leads to an open passageway with painted stonework walls lit by two segmental-arched openings that accesses a series of boiler rooms (some nearly double height internally) located underneath the yard and part of the neighbouring nurses' home. The passageway's E wall, which forms the rear wall of the block's interior rooms, incorporates two windows (one of which has been blocked up) and a blocked-up doorway. The first floor has two windows; one retains its plate-glass sashes, whilst the other has been converted into a doorway accessing a fire escape. A smaller sash window exists to the far right of the elevation, and to the far left is a plate-glass sash window at mezzanine level that possibly lit a now-removed stair internally.

At the far N end of the N wing is a tall single-storey block (internally the space is nearly double height) with a hipped slate roof rising above the parapet and incorporating lead ball finials, a truncated ventilator to the centre, and a substantial chimneystack rising from the N wall. The E elevation has a central doorway flanked by sash windows (all with three-light overlights), whilst the W elevation has three windows. A doorway with a plank and batten door exists to the SW corner adjacent to the yard stair accessing the boiler room passageway.

The former nurses' home, which is in a simplified neo-Georgian style and lies to the NW of the main hall abutting the W side of the N wing, is not of special interest and is excluded from the listing.

INTERIOR:

HALL: internally the hall has incurred extensive mid-late C19 alterations, with further alterations having taken place in the C20 and C21. The original C18 interiors have largely been lost apart from some ceiling decoration, and the layout has been reconfigured. A number of C18 eight-panel doors with raised and fielded panels and moulded architraves survive, but others have been replaced. Chimneybreasts mostly survive, but fireplaces have been removed or replaced, except for two probable C18 fireplaces in the basement. A number of the ground-floor windows have moulded architraves and deep reveals, some with shutters.

The entrance porch, which has a herringbone-patterned quarry tile floor, leads into a large stair hall with a marble floor, panelled dado, wall panels and a plasterwork ceiling incorporating a large decorative ceiling rose. The hall contains a wide mid-late C19 open-well stair with a closed-string stair, panelled newel posts, pendants, and barley twist balusters. The stair rises on three sides up to a long first floor landing on the N side, and has a doorway in the S wall of the half landing that leads into a subdivided former bedroom.

Off to the NW corner of the stair hall is a room with an early-to-mid C18 richly decorated plaster ceiling incorporating a mutuled cornice and a cove decorated with busts, scrolls, and trophies of arms. To the N wall is a very deep chimneybreast with an early-C20 fire surround and an adjacent later inserted doorway leading through to a larger, plainer room with two tall alcoves to the N wall that were originally windows before the c1860-2 N link was added. The room also has an early-C20 fire surround and a doorway to the E wall leading out to an C18 N service stair.

Off to the SW corner of the main stair hall is a doorway leading into a long room with a very high ceiling that runs the near full length of the S elevation. Tall 10-panel doors separate the room from a smaller room at the E end; the larger room is believed to have been the original location of the C18 room now displayed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Both rooms contain early-C20 fire surrounds and have decorative plaster ceiling mouldings that are believed to be mainly C19 in date, although it has been suggested that a modillion cornice in the larger room possibly dates to the C18. However, a photograph of the room in Philadelphia shows an identical modillion cornice in situ, suggesting that most probably the original was sold to America with the rest of the room and a copy was integrated into the C19 ceiling work at Wrightington.

A doorway in the E wall of the stair hall leads into a large room overlooking the garden that was converted into a lecture theatre in 2000. The room has a suspended ceiling* and an inserted projector room* and tiered seating*, all of which are not of special interest. A timber fire surround with arched stone insert exists to the S wall, along with an adjacent doorway to the E accessing the smaller of the two S rooms; a corresponding doorway to the W accesses a cupboard, but may have originally led through to the larger S room.

A doorway in the stair hall's N wall accesses a short corridor with a vaulted ceiling and quarry-tiled floor that leads to an C18 service stair and the N wing. The corridor has a blocked-up segmental-arched doorway in the E wall with imposts styled as capitals, and a similar round-headed arch at the N end of the corridor, which has been partly blocked up and a door inserted. Later built-in cupboards exist to the W wall.

The C18 N service stair rises the full height of the house and comprises a dog leg stair with a closed string, square panelled newel posts, a moulded handrail, modern tread coverings, turned balusters to the upper flights and splat balusters to the basement flight. A C19 inserted doorway on the stair's first floor half landing level with a four-panel door formerly led into a large first floor room on the N side of the main stair's landing, but the opening has since been blocked up and the door left in-situ. Off to the N side of each of the service stair's landings is a c1860-2 stair flight that connects to the three-bay link block at the S end of the N wing.

The NE corner of the hall's ground floor has been altered and now comprises two rooms, a lobby area, and a mid-late C20 lift shaft; the lift shaft*, mid-late C20 dado panelling* and full-height panelling* in one of the rooms, and modern partition walls* are not of special interest.

The hall's first floor rooms, which have largely been subdivided to create office space, are plain and the later partitioning* and an inserted kitchenette* are not of special interest. A room at the top of the main stair on the N side of the first floor landing has an early-C20 fire surround and a small later inserted doorway in the N wall accessing a short passageway through to the neighbouring room behind, which has its principal doorway on the first floor landing of the N service stair. A later cast-iron spiral stair*, which is not of special interest, has been inserted into a first floor room on the S side of the building to provide additional fire escape access for the attic rooms. Another room to the SW corner of the first floor contains a short winder stair with a ramped handrail that leads on to the half landing of the main stair.

The attic has a spine corridor running N-S and is top-lit by a series of skylights, with plain rooms off to each side, ladder access up to the roof, and later inserted partitioning* and kitchenette units* to the NE corner that are not of special interest.

At the foot of the C18 service stair's basement stair flight is a small lobby area and off to the E side is the lift* and a large modernised room with a suspended ceiling* (not of special interest) now used as a training/meeting room, with a smaller room beyond with a chimneybreast and a quarry tile floor. A short passageway leads around to the W and then S from the lobby to the rear of the stair and the main part of the hall's basement, which has a spine corridor with a quarry tile floor and rooms off to each side with stone flag floors to the functional storage rooms and floorboard floors to the more domestic rooms (possibly butler/housekeeper rooms originally). Some of the rooms contain later plant machinery* and service pipes* that are not of special interest. Early plain painted stone fire surrounds with later cast-iron inserts and tiling survive in two rooms, along with a c1920s/30s fireplace in one of the rooms, which also contains stone urn finials in storage from the garden terrace. Four rooms at the S end of the basement on the E side and one room on the W side have barrel vaulted ceilings. Doors are a mixture of four-panel doors, plank and batten doors, and larder/pantry doors with integral ventilation grilles and sliding shutters, and at the S end of the corridor is a fire exit.

N WING: the three storey link block's ground floor, which is set at the basement level of the hall, has a corridor alongside the E wall (replicated on each of the upper floors) with a quarry tiled floor, a large external doorway to the centre, and visible C20 service pipes* (the modern pipes are not of special interest) running along the ceiling. A large room on the W side with a parquet floor is now used as a library. Located to the NW corner is a stair flight* (not of special interest) connecting up into the neighbouring former nurses' home (the nurses' home is excluded from the listing), which is also replicated on each upper floor. On the first floor the W side of the corridor (possibly two rooms originally) has been converted into toilets accessed through three doorways containing six-panel doors with raised and fielded panels; one of the doorways is believed to have been moved and another has been inserted with a re-used door set within a modern architrave. The S end of the second floor corridor and the link stair leading down to the landing of the hall's C18 N stair are top-lit by a roof lantern. On the W side of the second floor corridor are two altered rooms latterly used as offices with replaced doors* and later partitioning* that are not of special interest. A c1930s tiled fireplace exists to the N room. The E wall of the second floor corridor incorporates a shallow built-in cupboard.

The rest of the N wing's interior, which is now used as laboratories, storage rooms, and offices, has also been altered and is not of special interest except for the retention of some original floor coverings and five-panel doors with raised and fielded panels and moulded architraves to the S single storey block and ground floor of the neighbouring two storey block to the N.

* Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
357877
Legacy System:
LBS

Sources

Books and journals
Hartwell, C, Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England. Lancashire: North, (2009), 713
Websites
British History Online. Victoria County History. 'Townships: Wrightington', accessed 26 January 2017 from http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol6/pp169-178
Other
Architectural History Practice. 'Significance Assessment. Wrightington Hall and its estate buildings, Hall Lane, Wrightington, Lancashire'. December 2016
Atkins. 'Heritage Survey - Wrightington Hospital'. June 2012
Various archival information held at Wrightington Hall, including historic photographs and an email from the Philadelphia Museum of Art confirming their purchase of a room from the hall in 1927

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed building(s) is/are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 19 Nov 2001
Reference: IOE01/06025/01
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Roger Black. Source Historic England Archive
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