History of Throwley
Throwley Old Hall is Staffordshire's only surviving example of a large medieval manor house, yet goes unnoticed by all but those passing through this picturesque corner of the Manifold Valley.
Throwley was first recorded as a residence in 1203, the 5th year of King John's reign, when Oliver de Meverell settled here. It was probably a dwelling for years prior to that – the Manifold Valley being an area rich in archaeological relics from Thor's Cave and the Burial Grounds of Castern, whilst in the area around the Hall there are traces of a deserted medieval village.
The Meverells, an ancient Derbyshire family, remained owners of the estate for many years. Thomas de Meverell married Agnes in the 2nd year of the reign of Edward I (1278). She was an heir of Goebert de Gayton.
In 1344, the 17th year of Edward III, deeds given at Tideswell name Thomas de Meverell 'Lord of Throwley'.
In 1503 Sir Samson Meverell, Lord Mayor of Tideswell, and Constable of England (having served in 11 battles over 2 years in the French wars) built the Hall, now standing as ruins, from local limestone and non-local sandstone, amid a deer park bounded by a 10-foot high drystone wall. The lowered walls remain to this day as field boundaries.
His son Robert married Elizabeth – the daughter of Sir Thomas Fleming – Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench. The couple lived at Throwley and an elaborate tomb in their memory lies in the West Wing of Ilam Church.
Their daughter Elizabeth, the last of the Meverells, married Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's chief minister, responsible for the disillusion of the monasteries. A descendant of them was Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector.
The writer and poet Charles Cotton married into the Cromwell family in 1669 – his 2nd wife Mary was a widow of Wingfield Cromwell. He spent time fishing the local river with his great friend Izaak Walton and building his famous fishing lodge on the River Dove.
Following the Cromwells the house passed to the last Baron de Clifford, Edward Southwell, who sold to Sir Samuel Crompton in 1790, who let the property to the reputable Phillips family. The Estate was then the seat of the Earl of Cathcart for many years, who now hold estates in Paisley.
Earl Cathcart had the Great Hall and most of the house demolished in 1830, taking some fabric for the Cathcart's York residence. The Hall fell into ruin but remained inhabited until 1877, despite the nearby Georgian farmhouse being constructed in 1823.
Throwley Hall's former glory and significance is noted by its entry into the 1845 'Baronial Halls of England', by Samuel Carter Hall, as 'Home of the Meverells, a very ancient house of decent gentlemen of goodly living, equalling the best sort of gentlemen in the Shire'. The book continues:
“Not surprisingly there is considerable interest in the Hall by Heritage groups and a current plea for the remains to be made safe and explorable by all those interested in this building if rich historical and architectural value”.
The Estate is now in the hands of the Richardson family, bought by Arthur Thomas in 1947, and now in the 2nd generation, Mr & Mrs George Richardson living in the farmhouse and farming the 1000 acres of land with over 1000 head of cattle and 1100 sheep.
Throwley Old Hall
A print of Throwley Hall dating from the 17th century
A wing of the Old Hall
Rear view of the Old Hall
Throwley Old hall is scheduled as an ancient monument. Most of the visible remains of the house date from the Tudor period, with numerous 17th century additions.