was built around 1580 by Sir Walter Aston (1529-1589) a prominent Staffordshire
protestant, and son of Sir Edward Aston who built Tixall Hall in 1555. In 1598 Sampson Erdeswick
described the gatehouse as "one of the fairest pieces of work made of late
times, that I have seen in all these countries." The Gatehouse is shown in front of the Hall in Robert Plot's
Natural History of Staffordshire of 1686.
Walls connected to the
Elizabethan Hall, enclosing a court between the Hall and the Gatehouse. Remains
of their connection with the Gatehouse are still visible.
The Gatehouse is 50ft by 25ft with
three stories, and a flat roof originally covered with lead and surrounded
by a stone balustrade. At each corner is an octagonal tower, about 60ft from
the ground and 8ft internal diameter. The towers each have domed roofs and
gilt weather vanes.
There are some similarities
with the Gatehouse at Charlecote, home of Sir Walter's daughter in law; Wollaton
Hall, Nottinghamshire; and the Hunting Lodge at Chatsworth.
On the groundfloor, is a central
archway for carriages to pass through to the Hall, with porters lodges on
A staircase in one of the towers leads
to the two upper stories which were used for senior servants, possibly the
Steward for the Estate, or guests, as they have two impressive fireplaces
on each floor. The slender chimneys shown in Plot's illustration were taken
down in the later 18th century.
The Gatehouse was built at a
period when the architecture of Greece and Rome had become fashionable in
England. On each side of the large windows are coupled columns: On the ground
floor of the Doric order, supporting a Doric frieze; on the second storey,
of the Ionic; and on the third, of the Corinthian.
The Gatehouse fell into disrepair,
and was no longer used for accommodation when Thomas Clifford built his
new house in the 1780s. It passed to the Shrewsburys of Ingestre in 1845,
and in 1968 they offered it for sale to the newly-founded Landmark Trust. It took some time
to acquire the resources to undertake its repair, and it was not until 1977
that work was completed.
It is now available to accomodate
up to 6 people on self-catering holidays, with one double and one twin bedded
room on the first floor, and two single rooms in the towers on the third floor.