Dorfold Hall is a grade 1 listed Jacobean house built between 1616-1621. Built for King James 1 to visit, the historic estate has a magical and seductive quality to it, set in an oasis of rural calm next to the town of Nantwich.
The elegant garden hides several hidden surprises, not the least being a magnificent chestnut tree believed to be over a thousand years old, and the last legacy of the original Delamere Forest.
In 1603, the estate was bought from the Earls of Derby by Sir Roger Wilbraham, a member of a prominent Cheshire family, and a distinguished lawyer. On his death the estate passed on to his brother Ralph Wilbraham, who built Dorfold Hall in 1616. In 1754, after passing down five generations of Wilbrahams, James Tomkinson a prosperous Nantwich lawyer bought the Dorfold estate from his clients.
In 1844, Ann Tomkinson, James Tomkinson’s great grand-daughter, married Wilbraham Spencer Tollemache who was a direct descendent of the Wilbrahams of Woodhey. Hence, the house’s ownership returned to its original bloodline. Their daughter Julia Tollemache, having inherited the house, married Charles Savile Roundell. Thereby, once again changing the name of the owners of Dorfold Hall, but not the descent. Thus, the Dorfold estate has been in the same family since 1603 (having just skipped three generations and made a few detours going down the female line!). The house still resides in the Roundell family today..
The name Dorfold stems from the Anglo-Saxon word “Deofold” signifying cattle enclosure or deer park.
The Hall is a typical example of the Jacobean period, and originally consisted of the main house and two courtyard lodges.
During the civil war, the Battle of Nantwich (1644) took part on the estate's land.
James Tomkinson, in 1771, employed the architect Samuel Wyatt to alter the interiors of the house downstairs.
In 1824, replicas of the lodges were built to adjoin the main building, along with the walls joining the old with the new lodges. Thereby, creating the forecourt as it stands today.
In 1862, Wilbraham Tollemache, under the guidance of renowned landscape gardener William Nesfield, reduced the size of the lake and created a straight driveway from the main road to the house. Previously it draped itself around the front of the house, and the driveway to the house was further East towards Nantwich. Additionally he built the Lodge by the road, and the low balustrade wall at the entrance of the courtyard. He also purchased the Pierre Louis Rouillard cast-iron statue of the Wolfhound and her three pups, which stands in the centre of the courtyard.
In about 1840, an additional early Victorian wing was added to the East side of the house comprising over thirty rooms. Dorfold had large stables, its own bakery, butchery and brewery. It even grew its own pineapples in the extensive and heated green houses.
During the second world war thirty-two evacuee children from Liverpool found shelter at Dorfold. Amercian and Canadian troops also camped in the grounds and the house was used as an officer's mess.
Following the second world war the east wing, the stableyard and many other buildings were demolished due to the financial constraints arising post WWII.
The Nantwich Show, which is held on the estate land, came to Dorfold in 1946. Charles Savile Roundell was part of the founding committee..