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Anne (née Eccleston), Lady Scarisbrick

(1788-1872), Wife of Sir Thomas Windsor Hunloke, 5th Bt; daughter of Thomas Eccleston; sister and co-heir of Charles Scarisbrick (né Eccleston)

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Anne (née Eccleston), Lady Scarisbrick, by Camille Silvy - NPG Ax60713

Anne (née Eccleston), Lady Scarisbrick

by Camille Silvy
albumen print, 30 July 1862
NPG Ax60713

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Matthew Burrows

16 November 2019, 23:55

Ann Scarisbrick Eccleston was from the family of Eccleston Hall, near what is now St Helens, Lancashire. She inherited Scarisbrick Hall, near Ormskirk and on so doing moved there, the hall being much more impressive and grand than her Eccleston Hall home.

Ann Scarisbrick Eccleston (Lady Hunloke) inherited the Scarisbrick estate – previously owned by Sir Thomas Scarisbrick, 1st Baronet – from her brother Charles in 1860 at the age of 72. At about this time she assumed by Royal Licence the surname Scarisbrick, and was thereafter known as Lady Scarisbrick. She had earlier fought a long legal battle with Charles, after the death of their elder brother Thomas Scarisbrick in 1835, over the inheritance claim to the Scarisbrick estate. She lost the case to Charles after five long years of litigation. Ann was known to be a woman of great character and resolve and is credited for the extensive enhancement and restoration of the Scarisbrick Hall in the lavish Gothic style, employing E. W. Pugin as the architect.

Ann Scarisbrick, born in 1788, was a great beauty in her youth. In 1807 she married Sir Thomas Windsor Hunloke (1773–1816), of Wingerworth Hall Derbyshire, who was 15 years her senior. Her husband died nine years after their marriage. They had two children, a son and a daughter. After the death of her husband she went to live with her daughter Eliza, who was married to the Marquis de Casteja, in Paris. It was only in June 1861 that she returned to Scarisbrick and made Scarisbrick Hall her home for the rest of her life.

When she returned to Scarisbrick Hall in 1861, she did so with great pomp and style. She threw a lavish meal of roasted sheep and oxen, beer and bread to more than 1000 Scarisbrick tenants. Upon her arrival, most of Ormskirk turned out ringing bells and waving flags. Her carriage was accompanied with a band on her way to Scarisbrick Hall.

Ann, unlike her brother, lived in much splendour at Scarisbrick Hall. During her occupation, the hall was gas-lit for the first time. The central heating system seems to have been installed and used during her period of occupation. Ann was popular as a society hostess and held many gala events at her residence and estate. Even though Ann, under the terms of her brother's will, had only inherited Scarisbrick Hall and not its furnishings she set out to redecorate and redesign the house on a much grander scale than had prevailed in the time of her predecessor.

The renovations were carried out by Edward W. Pugin, the son of the architect Augustus Pugin who had created the designs of the hall during the time of Charles Scarisbrick. Ann allowed the younger Pugin greater scope than had been afforded to his father. It was during this time that the older clock tower, dating from the time of Charles Scarisbrick, was replaced with a grander and taller example built in the French Gothic style. A new East Wing was added, which Ann dedicated it to the memory of her father. This wing was joined to the older building by an octagonal tower which was decorated with eight doves signifying the Scarisbrick family connection.

Ann had a good relationship with E. W. Pugin, to whom she gave much artistic freedom and who created a lavish living environment for her, down to the smallest details like her inkstand and notepaper.

Ann lived to the age of 84, dying in 1872 at Scarisbrick. The estate was inherited by her daughter Eliza, the sole surviving child, after her death and then to her French progeny, Emmanuel de Biaudos, Marquis de Castéja. Scarisbrick Hall was incorporated into the Castéja family properties and the Hall was subject to very few changes. In memory of his wife who died in 1878, the marquis built the church of St. Elizabeth on the site of the former Catholic chapel.

Scarisbrick Hall remained in Castéja's family until 1923 when André de Biaudos de Castéja and his wife Pauline d'Espeuilles decided to sold it to Charles Scarisbrick's grandson, Sir Thomas Talbot Leyland Scarisbrick.

Scarisbrick Hall was sold by the family in the 1940s and is now an independent co-educational school.

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