History

Attingham's rivers are key to the Estate's history and development © National Trust/Steve Allman

Attingham's rivers are key to the Estate's history and development

4,000 years in the making

Attingham's Estate is centred around the confluence of the Rivers Tern and Severn, with mostly flat, light alluvial soils and lots of sand and gravel. Our ancestors found this to their liking and we have lots of evidence of human activity from an early age: Iron Age field systems, Bronze Age barrows, the Roman city of Viroconium and Saxon palaces.

The Hill family, later to become the Lords Berwick, bought the original piece of land here in 1700 - which came indirectly from land taken from Haughmond Abbey during the Dissolution.

Over the next century they added to it until there were over 8,000 acres, extending right up into Shrewsbury. The work of the last Lord and Lady Berwick to restore the Mansion meant that half of this was sold off in the first half of the 20th century, leaving nearly 4,000 acres that we still manage today.

Did you know?

  • Attingham comes from the Saxon: ‘dwelling of the people of St Eata’
  • Berwick Maviston was the medieval village removed to improve the park
  • The original house was called Tern Hall, named after the river
  • 1st Lord Berwick moved the London-Holyhead road away from the house
  • The family motto is apt: ‘Let wealth be his who knows its use’
  • Thomas, 2nd Lord Berwick, once had a working model of Mount Vesuvius
  • The 8th Lord Berwick was president of the RSPCA for 25 years
  • During the Second World War an airfield was built to the east of the park
  • The Orangery was once used as a cinema
  • Percy Thrower presented BBC gardening shows here in the 1950s

The Hill family

The original Tern Hall that was incorporated into the 'new' mansion

The original Tern Hall that was incorporated into the 'new' mansion

The land that Attingham stands on was owned by the Hill family who built the present house between 1782-5, a previous house called Tern Hall was incorporated into the 'new' Attingham Hall. The family made their money through politics, the acquisition of land, money-lending and mining. However, not all of them proved to be so good at managing their great fortune.

 

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