Tixall Gatehouse viewed from the south
     Tixall Gatehouse 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. 

Remains of courtyard wall on Gatehouse     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. 

Charlcote Gatehouse

     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 either side.
  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.

Tixall Gatehouse viewed from the north    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.

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Last Updated 30.7.2003

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