Once the heart of a flourishing community, Errwood Hall was demolished in 1934 By Stockport Water Corporation to make way for nearby Fernilee Reservoir, along with almost everything else in the valley. Quite why the company felt the need to knock down an impressive Victorian mansion that was nowhere near the water is a matter of dispute. The most likely explanation is that they did not have the funds for its maintenance. Now little more than a ruin in a sea of rhododendron, the Hall still gets thousands of visitors every year, drawn to the mystique of the mansion in the woods. Slowly but surely, the building is being reclaimed by the wilderness and may one day vanish completely.
This was once the home of Samuel Grimshawe, a wealthy Lancastrian industrialist, who chose this beautiful location for his family to live. This lithograph from the museum’s collection was drawn by Errwood Hall’s Italian architect Alexander Roos in 1840, the year in which the majestic house was built. Did he or the Grimshawes imagine that it would stand for just 94 years?
Although the museum has photographs and paintings of the Goyt Valley, there are few physical objects. The Bellhouse collection, donated to the museum in 2002, contains a tiny relic from the interior of Errwood Hall. How this rose-shaped bronze finial from the bannister came into the possession of Mrs Bellhouse is a mystery but it allows us a small insight into the grandeur of the house which once had servants, a library, a chapel, a coach house, stables, an ornamental garden with a fountain and a collection of rare artwork.
Have you noticed the curious atmosphere of Errwood Hall? It seems somewhat solemn and ghostly. The presence of the Grimshawe family cemetery at the top of the hill only accentuates the feeling. Your imagination is not the first to be stimulated by the ruin. Author Alan Garner chose Errwood as one of the settings for his 1963 children’s fantasy adventure tale The Moon of Gomrath. In the story, the house is returned to its former glory by sinister magic; a fanciful concept that becomes easier to believe in the presence of such an eerie place.