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Moulton Hall

OS grid reference:-

Moulton Hall is an elegant seventeenth century manor house in Moulton near Richmond, North Yorkshire. The hall, which is a Grade I listed, building, is constructed to a simple rectangular plan in three storeys. The frontage has five bays surmounted by three unusual curved gables and the sides two bays. Moulton Hall is surrounded by around 25 acres (100,000 m2) of grounds.

The house features a superb carved oak staircase, richly decorated with panels instead of balusters, with roses, pomegranates, and foliage motifs. On the stair is a coat of arms commemorating George Smithson's marriage in 1653.

The staircase rises in eight flights from the ground floor to the top of the house. There are carved ashlar fireplaces on both the ground floor and the first floor. Family tradition suggests that King James I spent a night at Moulton Hall in 1603 on his way south from Scotland to lay claim to the English throne on the death of Queen Elizabeth I.

Moulton Manor House, which stands a few hundred yards from the Hall, and reputed to be connected by an underground passage, is also an interesting building of still earlier date, and it certainly was another residence of the same family in the first half of the sixteenth century. The present Manor House was probably built by Robert Smithson, a man-at-arms at the Battle of Agincourt, or by his son Robert.

The hall was rebuilt in around 1650 for Leonard Smithson, who was succeeded in 1650 by his son Christopher Smithson. The latter's son George Smithson was MP for the North Riding in the First Protectorate Parliament in 1654 and briefly MP for Northallerton in 1659.

On his death in 1692 the estate was sold by his widow to Sir Mark Milbanke of Halnaby. His descendant Sir Ralph Milbanke, 6th Baronet sold it to Colonel Sir James Charles Dalbiac to pay the dowry when Sir Ralph's only daughter Anne Isabella Milbanke disastrously married the poet Lord Byron in 1815. Sir Charles sold it in turn in 1836 to the Sanderson family to provide a dowry for his only daughter, Susanna, who married James Innes-Ker, 6th Duke of Roxburghe.

The property was then occupied by members of the Sanderson family for the remainder of the 1800s. The National Trust acquired the house in 1966. It is open to the public on a limited basis by arrangement with the tenant. The current tenants of Moulton Hall are John Eccles, 2nd Viscount Eccles and his wife, the Baroness Eccles of Moulton.

Historic Buildings of Yorkshire