Etruria: Etruria and Josiah Wedgwood (1760 onwards)


 Etruria Hall in the first half of the nineteenth century. 

Members of the Wedgwood family occupied Etruria Hall until 1819. 

In that year Bank House was demolished and Etruria Hall was advertised to let. After standing empty for some time it was let to George Magnus. He was originally employed as the foreign clerk at the Wedgwood factory and at the end of 1821 he agreed to lease Etruria Hall for use as a school which he advertised as a “Seminary for Ladies and Gentlemen”. 

In March 1828 be moved to Macclesfield and the house was reoccupied by the Wedgwood family. The new occupier was Francis Wedgwood (1800-88) the third son of Josiah Wedgwood II. 

He was recorded in the 1841 census as follows:

 Etruria Hall

Francis Wedgwood 40 Pottery Manufacturer No
Frances Wedgwood 30 Yes
Godfrey Wedgwood 8 Yes
Amy Wedgwood 6 Yes
Cicely Wedgwood 4 Yes
Clement Wedgwood 1 Yes
John Lovatt 30 Male Servant No
Elizabeth Faulkner 20 Female Servant Yes
Martha Wild 25 Female Servant No
Ann Wild 20 Female Servant No


The gardens around the house were in the care of Charles Lawton who was returned in the same census:

 Etruria Garden

Charles Lawton 50 Gardner Yes
Hannah Lawton 60 No
Henry Lawton 20 Gardner Yes


Most of the estate was occupied as farm land and leased out to two tenant farmers. One farmhouse located in the village on the north side of Etruria Road was occupied for many years by several generations of the Hampton family. 

Each year they advertised part of the land as a ley for cattle and horses. 

The farm supplied milk and other agricultural product to the villagers as well as the occupiers of Etruria Hall. In the 1820s John Hampton the tenant of Etruria Farm was also the landlord of the Etruria Inn. The farm was still in the occupation of the family in 1841. 

The northern side of the estate was let out with Ridge House Farm. This was the original farmhouse bought by Josiah Wedgwood in 1767. In 1824 when 47 acres of this land was leased by the Wedgwood family for a racecourse, Ridge House Farm became a much smaller holding and part of the buildings were occupied by George Alcock, a fireman at the Wedgwood factory. 

In 1841 the tenants at Ridge House were listed in the census as:

               Ridge House Farm

John Poulson 20 Farmer Yes
Ellen Poulson 20 Yes
Richard Hall 20 Farmer Yes
Harriet Parr 15 Female Servant Yes


 Ridge House 

George Alcock 40 Pottery Fireman J Yes
Mary  Alcock 40 Yes
Ellen Alcock 20 Pottery Painter J Yes
Ann Alcock 15 Pottery Burnisher Ap Yes
Mary Alcock 13 Yes
Hannah Alcock 5 Yes

In 1848 Francis Wedgwood left Etruria Hall for the new house which he built at Barlaston. 

The surroundings had become quite unpleasant with the development of the ironworks between Mill Street and Cobridge Road by Earl Granville . On the east side of the Hall the Earl sank new coal and ironstone pits on the site of the former racecourse after 1842 and the spoil heaps from these developments were beginning to spread over the surrounding landscape. 

In 1848 Etruria Hall and the surrounding land were leased to Earl Granville who installed George Forrester his agent in the house. This was the beginning of an association which lasted for 135 years between the Hall and Shelton Ironworks

In the mid 1980s British Steel left Etruria Hall, then used as offices, and the land in the area was reclaimed for the National Garden Festival. The buildings surrounding the Hall were demolished and the house restored to the appearance it had at the end of the eighteenth century. 

The Hall is now part of the Moat House Hotel which was built next to it in the 1990s.

Etruria Hall in 2000
Etruria Hall in 2000



questions/comments/contributions? email: Steve Birks