To call the whimsical architecture of Cheshire’s Little Moreton Hall “highly irregular” is an act of generosity.
After acquiring their wealth through landownership after the Black Death of 1348 and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Moretons sought to make their house itself a testament to their prosperity. Set on an island in the midst of a 33-foot wide moat with a proper knot garden on its grounds, the building is medieval in design despite being constructed from 1504-1508, amidst the English Rennaissance.
After subsequent additions made by 1610, “Old Moreton Hall” as it was formerly known, would develop a reputation less for its impressiveness than the place’s palpable sense of curiosity still present to this day, as most of the most notable architectural features smack of whimsical afterthoughts.
Three asymmetrical ranges join to form a rectangular courtyard in the building’s center. The structure’s third floor protrudes over the bottom two, making it seem top-heavy and wobbly. Most notably, the Long Gallery runs the length of the south range’s top floor and is the main contributor to this effect, with one commenter going so far as to say it Little Moreton Hall resembles “a stranded Noah’s Ark.”
Little wonder the manor became a fixture of romantic interest. Novelist Amelia Edwards set her 1880 work Lord Brackenbury at Little Moreton Hall. When the family’s fortunes began to falter after the English Civil War, the manse fell into disrepair. Left to Anglican nun Elizabeth Moreton in 1892 after the death of her sister, she began smaller restoration projects that would eventually culminate in the home being transferred to the United Kingdom’s National Trust in 1938.
Today Little Moreton Hall remains open to the public, who prize it both for its endearingly unique construction, as well as the window it offers lifestyle of the Tudor era.
Know Before You Go
GPS : CW12 4SD
Car: On east side of A34. From M6 exit 17 follow signs for Congleton and join A34 southbound (signed Newcastle) from Congleton
Parking: 100 yards