|Trentham was the seat
of the Duke of Sutherland but today only a few fragments of the last
great house remain. The first house at Trentham was built on the
site of an Augustinian Priory, which was founded about 1150.
Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries the site was purchased
by James Leveson in 1540. The earliest picture of a house there
dates from 1686. It is known to have been damaged in the Civil War
when the family were Royalists. The next development was in the
early 18th century with a house of nine bays by Francis Smith.
The house and grounds were modified
by Henry Holland and Capability Brown in the period from 1768-1778
with the house being extended from nine to fifteen bays. The house
was altered again in 1810.
The final major modification was by Sir
Charles Barry, the architect of the House of Commons. He worked on
the hall between 1834 and 1849 and the cost was £260,000.
the family did not want the hall by the early 20th century and moved
out in 1907. One reason was that the river Trent had become very
polluted with sewage from the Potteries from the 1860s. In addition,
like all the landed families, the Sutherlands were not making as
much money from agriculture and land was being sold. Moreover the
land no longer had the political importance for securing votes as
the number of voters increased with successive reforms of
parliament. Trentham was used by Disraeli in his book Lothair,
where it appears at Brentham.