Aston Hall

Birmingham, England

Aston Hall is believed to be one of the most haunted buildings in the United Kingdom.

Aston Hall 5
- John Garghan

Discover Aston Hall in Birmingham

The Jacobean-styled Aston Hall has been gracing the skyline of Birmingham for over four centuries—-far longer than the nearby Aston Villa Football Club! Designed by architect John Thorpe and constructed under the patronage of Sir Thomas Holte between 1618 and 1635, this Grade I listed country house is a fine example of early English architecture.

In a historic move in 1864, Aston Hall transitioned from private ownership to become the first country house in Birmingham to be acquired by the municipal authorities. Under the stewardship of Birmingham City Council until 2012 and now Birmingham Museums Trust, Aston Hall became a community museum opening in 2009.

Inside visitors can see many historical treasures, including period rooms such as the Long Gallery and the famous oak staircase, etched with battle scars from the English Civil War. There is also furniture, paintings, textiles, and metalwork from the collections of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Aston Hall 4
- Elliott Brown

The History of Aston Hall

Origins and Construction

Construction of Aston Hall commenced in April 1618. The hall, built in the prodigy house style, showcased Sir Thomas Holte's status and wealth. Despite challenges, including financial constraints and construction delays, the house was completed in April 1635, with considerably opulent features.

As a Jacobean masterpiece, Aston Hall has a red-brick exterior with intricate diaper patterning and stone facings, an east-facing hall block, projecting wings, and arcaded loggia.

Turbulent Times

The onset of the English Civil War left Aston Hall in turmoil. In 1642, King Charles I sought refuge at the hall on his journey to London. The following year, the hall became involved in the conflict as Parliamentary troops launched a fierce attack. The house suffered significant damage, with scars of the battle still visible today, such as the iconic hole in the staircase where a cannonball breached the window.

Changing Hands

Despite the ravages of war, Aston Hall remained in the possession of the Holte family until the early 19th century. In 1817, the hall was sold and leased by James Watt Jr., son of industrial pioneer James Watt. It was the end of an era for the Holt family and Aston Hall. In 1858, it embarked on a new chapter again as it was transformed into a public park and museum.

Aston Hall 3
- Elliott Brown

Aston Hall in Literature

The grand, Grade I Listed Aston Hall has captured the imagination of many authors over its existence. Washington Irving, acclaimed for his literary works, immortalised the hall in "Bracebridge Hall," where he recalled the warmth and charm of English Christmas festivities experienced during his visit to Aston Hall.

Aston Hall: A Haunted House

In October 2019, Aston Hall came under a national spotlight as the UK's top haunted heritage site, according to Spectrum Paranormal Investigations and National Lottery. This title speaks to the mansion's intriguing past and has attracted a lot of visitors seeking to uncover its haunted secrets—and a ghost or two!

Other Landmarks near Aston Hall

Situated less than 200 yards to the north of Aston Hall lies a significant landmark: the stadium of Aston Villa Football Club. Meanwhile, the easternmost part of the hall's grounds yielded to progress with the construction of the A38(M) motorway, known as the Aston Expressway, in 1972. This infrastructure project provided the city center with a vital direct link to the M6 motorway.

Aston Hall
- Elliott Brown

The Estate: Aston Hall Park

Originally acting as a 130-hectare deer park during the 17th century, the estate has evolved into an elegant, 21-hectare pleasure garden, featuring mature trees, sweeping avenues, terraced lawns with statues, and colourful flowers and shrubs.

Lady Holte’s Garden, dating back to the 17th century, is a particular highlight of Aston Park. It has striking, symmetrical patterns and a host of historic plants. Designed to delight the eminent Stuart visitors of yore, the garden's is a cherished feature of the park.

Accessible via multiple entrances, including vehicular access from Frederick Road to the south and pedestrian routes from Trinity Road to the northeast, Aston Park is a welcoming retreat for visitors.

Aston Hall 2
- Elliott Brown

Protecting Aston Hall and Aston Park

Recognising the historical and cultural significance of Aston Park, efforts have been made to safeguard its legacy for future generations. Registered on the Historic Parks Register, Aston Hall and its parkland continue to be focal points for conservation and preservation.

Birmingham Open Spaces Forum

At the heart of this endeavor, lies the Birmingham Open Spaces Forum (BOSF). Established in 2004, BOSF is dedicated to uniting individuals and organisations committed to preserving and enhancing Birmingham's open spaces.

Central to BOSF's mission is the empowerment of volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to the cause. By providing support, resources, and networking opportunities, BOSF ensures that these passionate individuals can make a meaningful impact in their communities.

Friends of Aston Park

Among the community groups supported by BOSF is Friends of Aston Park, an initiative that has been advocating for the preservation and promotion of Aston Park since its inception in 2000.

With unwavering dedication, Friends of Aston Park has played a significant role in raising awareness about the park's importance and mobilising support for its conservation.

Aston Hall 1
- Elliott Brown

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Aston Hall Questions

Information

What you need to know

Name
Aston Hall
Address
Trinity Road, Aston, Birmingham B6 6JD
Location
52.506262, -1.884659
Tips before you visit
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