Willersley Castle is a late 18th century country mansion situated above the River Derwent at Cromford, Derbyshire which is now a Grade II* listed building.
Standing in 60 acres (240,000 m2) of grounds, the Georgian style castellated house is three storeys with a seven bay frontage, the central bay flanked by full height round towers.
Originally named "Willersley Hall", it was built on the slopes of Wild Cat Tor, 400 feet (120 m) above sea level, for the occupation of industrialist Sir Richard Arkwright by architect William Thomas, following the purchase of the estate in 1782 from Thomas Hallet Hodges for £8,864.
At the time of purchase there was no large house here, just a few farms and "Derwent House", which still stands off the main drive. Arkwright planted many trees, though not before clearing away a large limestone rock, which cost £3,000.
In 1791, when the building was approaching completion, a fire broke out and severe damage was caused to part of the interior of the castle. Although the damage was repaired, Arkwright died in 1792 before the building was completed. In 1796 his son, Richard Arkwright junior, moved into it with his family, and the Arkwright family lived there until 1922.
The estate was bought in 1927 by a group of Methodist businessmen, and in 1928 it opened as a Methodist Guild holiday centre.
Between 1940 and 1946, i.e. during World War II, it served as a maternity hospital run by the Salvation Army, having moved out of East London.
Today it operates as a Christian Guild Hotel.
The name Willersley
The name Willersley comes from the ancient manor or estate. The adjacent manors of Cromford and Willersley were partitioned in 1615.
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