Rolleston Hall – General History

The Rolleston Hall site has been home to a significant residence since at least the early reign of King Henry III in the early thirteenth century.

Rolleston Hall was purchased from the Rollestons in 1622 by Edward Mosely, Attorney-General of the Duchy of Lancaster. It was in a sorry state of repair at the time being of mainly timber construction; it was bought because he liked the location, with the intention of building a far superior house. Edward was keen to escape from the ‘dark satanic mills’ of Manchester and Rolleston offered the chance of a country house life-style.

Edward had also bought Etwall Hall at around the same. Although he lived in Etwall Hall for a few years, this was sold in around 1629 to a Sir Samuel Sleigh, the Sherrif of Derby. Edward Mosely died in 1638, unmarried.

During the English Civil War, the Hall was to play a small role. In May, 1645, King Charles I came with his army, under the command of Lord Loughborough, to Tutbury Castle and some of the Royalist troops were quartered at Rolleston, under a certain Captain Symonds.

Following a fairly serious fire in 1870, the hall received much restoration entering its most impressive stage as can be seen by the below images:

A view from the South East shows the magnificent conservatory.

Entrance Hall

Drawing Room

The name most associated with Rolleston Hall is Oswald Mosely, often though, with some confusion with the more famous politician Sir Oswald Mosely who was in fact, his nephew. Oswald Mosley was born at Rolleston Hall in 1848, the eldest son of Sir Tonman Mosley, 3rd Baronet, of Ancoats. His paternal grandfather was Sir Oswald Mosely, 2nd Baronet of Ancoats. He succeeded the baronetcy on 28 April 1890.

Sir Oswald Mosley, 4th Baronet of Ancoats

A prosperous landowner, owning around 38,000 acres, as well as being engaged with farming and cattle breeding, in 1906, he popularised old-fashioned farmhouse meal bread and established a successful bakery.

Locally, Sir Oswald had the nickname ‘Baronet John Bull’ because of his amusing resemblance to the cartoon character popular at the time used to personify national pride. He died in 1915.

‘Baronet John Bull’

Sir Oswald Mosley, 6th Baronet of Ancoats, was the last Mosley to be born at Rolleston Hall in November, 1896. He became a Member of Parliament for Harrow in the Labour Government from 1918 to 1924 and for Smethwick from 1926 to 1931, during which time, he also became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and was principally known as the founder of the British Union of Fascists. He died in 1980.

Sir Oswald Mosley, 6th Baronet of Ancoats

The estate was sold in the early 1920’s. Most of the hall was demolished in November 1925 after a number of unsuccessful attempts to sell it by auction, first as a complete house and later as separate apartments.

Postcard picture

The above picture, unfortunately towards the end of its life, became the source for one of a series of postcards showing stately homes around Burton upon Trent.

All that remains now are the Ballroom which forms a two storey house, and a single storey wing dating from the 1870s known as The Old Hall.

Some remnants of the building were converted into dwellings which still exist.


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