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New book on Weston Park estate to transport readers through its 600-year history

The 'fascinating' history behind a stately home on the border of Shropshire and Staffordshire has been captured in a new book.

Gareth Williams with his new book
Gareth Williams with his new book

Weston Park: the House, the Families and the Influence has been written by Gareth Williams, curator and head of learning at the stately home.

The estate, at Weston-under-Lizard, Shifnal, was the ancestral home of the Earls of Bradford and has a history dating back to the medieval period.

In 1986, the house and the 1,000-acre park were gifted to the people in this country by the current Earl of Bradford.

The estate is now owned and run by the Weston Park Foundation– an independent charitable trust.

Gareth said: “Weston Park and its collections is relatively little-known beyond Staffordshire and Shropshire but its influence reaches much further than these two counties.

“The families who have lived at Weston have been involved in national affairs, in politics, the legal profession, and the military, with significant links to the development of the urban centres of Walsall, Bolton and Wigan as well as the rural areas around the house.

“Weston Park has been a prestigious home, visited by royalty and politicians, and is home to a fascinating collection including a significant collection of paintings assembled in the late 17th and early 18th centuries which are now enjoyed by visitors to the house and form a backdrop to the events that regularly take place at Weston.

“It’s a fascinating story, which has not previously been brought together to explain how this very rural English stately home is, in fact, associated with the development of so many other places throughout Britain.”

The book takes a chronological view of Weston Park’s historical associations, as well as the people linked to the estate, from the medieval period to the present day.

Chapters bring together the different families who have owned the property, with sections dealing with the complex evolution of the house’s architecture and the creation of the globally acclaimed art collections.

Before joining Weston Park in 2006, Gareth was previously a regional director of Sotheby’s and curator for the National Trust at Nostell Priory.

Andrea Webster, Weston Park’s marketing manager, said: “Gareth has worked painstakingly to research and document the history of this unique property, and the finished book is stunning.

“It’s a fitting record of the house, its setting, extraordinary collections, the people involved and the influence that it has had on wider communities.”

Weston Park: the House, the Families and the Influence is published by Boydell Press and costs £40.

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