The Cawley family

Lord Cawley and his four sons on horseback

Cawley was a self-made man who acquired two country houses. He had also become a Liberal MP and purchased Berrington as a country retreat from Westminster. He became a Baronet in 1906 for services to the Liberal Party.

Lord Cawley

In 1901 Queen Victoria died. The country went into mourning which was good news for the new owner of Berrington, Frederick Cawley. He owned the patent for a pure black dye which made his cotton finishing business, the most successful in Lancashire.

Around 1908, he began a comprehensive but sensitive redecoration of the mansion. He replaced ugly Victorian fireplaces with more appropriate 18th-century steel grates, which included adding the Wedgwood plaques in the Drawing room. He also put up the Aubusson Tapestries in the Marble and Staircase Halls to replace the gaps left by the pictures sold by the Rodneys.

French tapestry was commissioned after 1901 by Cawley to replace the missing paintings
French tapestry in the marble hall
French tapestry was commissioned after 1901 by Cawley to replace the missing paintings

First World War – The Cawley Boys

The family suffered hugely in the Great War losing three of their four sons; shown above in happier times. To commemorate them upon the centenary of the end of the First World War, we are holding a new exhibition ‘The Cawley Boys – We Will Remember Them’, until Sunday 11 November 2018. This exhibition is an opportunity to see some of the items that belonged to the boys and learn about their lives, both at Berrington and in the trenches.

The Second World War

The second Lord Cawley married Vivienne Lee from another great cotton family and moved into Brooklands; taking over the mansion upon his father’s death in 1937. The Cawley’s suffered again during the Second World War, losing a son at Tunis in 1943.

Berrington itself came through unscathed, being used as a convalescent hospital run from the temporary office in the Boudoir by Lady Cawley.  After the war she used the small room at the back of the house as her sitting room.  Today the room is arranged to commemorate the family and reflect their lives.

Discover the story of the boys
Two volunteers compiling condition reports for the Cawley's items
Discover the story of the boys

When the 2nd Lord Cawley died in 1954 the estate was handed over to the Treasury as part payment for the death duties. In turn it was given to the National Trust. Lady Cawley continued to live at the house until her death in 1978 at the age of 100.