We leave behind our famous local people to look at the lost buildings of Mid Cheshire.

A 'new' Oulton Hall was built in 1715 by John Egerton, who lived from 1636 to 1731 and is believed to be on the site of a Tudor building.

When John died in 1731, Philip Egerton inherited the property from his uncle, and at that time, it consisted of a stately home, formal gardens, and farmland totalling 231 acres.

Some 20 years later, Philip constructed a wall enclosing the estate and those who know Oulton Park racecourse will also know that parts of the wall still stand today.

When Philip died in 1766, Philip's brother John took over the estate, and just four years later, John's son, Philip, took charge and commissioned further gardens, a couple of lakes, a banqueting hall, and a boat house.

In 1773, the original gates were removed and erected at St Oswald's Church, Malpas. The new gates can be seen in the photo.

A dramatic event took place at Oulton Hall on February 14, 1926. Although the family home of Sir Philip Grey Egerton, the Hall was leased to Mr FW Cooper, the managing director of the Partington Steel & Iron Company of Manchester, who had occupied the mansion for three years.

Northwich Guardian: Oulton Hall before the blazeOulton Hall before the blaze (Image: Rose Hurley)

The family were having breakfast in the dining room at 10am on this fateful day when a maid, Bertha Lloyd, rushed in and announced that a fire had started on the upper floors. Both the roof and bedrooms above the central hall were on fire.

Mr Cooper saw that the roof was well ablaze and must have been burning for some time. Servants followed the tenant with buckets of water.

Realising the seriousness, Mr Cooper phoned the Tarporley Fire Brigade. The brigade arrived just after 10.30am and began to fight the fire.

Later, other brigades attended, these being the Chester Brigade, the Brunner Mond Brigade, and the Winsford Brigade.

The staff and salvage workers started to remove what they could from the ground floor. This included some very valuable paintings, furniture, and ornaments.

Northwich Guardian: Oulton Hall after the fireOulton Hall after the fire (Image: Rose Hurley)

There were original paintings by such artists as Van Dyke, Landseer, Sir Thomas Jeffreys, Caravaggio, and Rubens, and many portraits of the Egerton family by acclaimed artists through the generations.

Many were at this task in the lower rooms when the loft's huge iron water tank crashed to the ground floor, bringing the ferocious flames and the floors in between with it.

Four of the workers were killed instantly by being crushed and burnt. These included Bertha, the maid who first spotted the fire; Mary Spann from Oulton Park Lodge; Harry White, a farm worker; and Fred Crank, an under-keeper employed by the estate. 

The remainder of the people on the ground floor escaped, but injuries were sustained by George Sinclair, head gardener and second officer Joseph Hunt of the Tarporley Fire Brigade; both died later.

Injuries were also sustained by George Crank (father of Fred) and Joseph Rowlands, an engineer from Tarporley.

From end to end, the stately mansion was consumed by flames. By dawn the following day, the hall was a total ruin. The once beautiful mansion, the home of a famous local family, was now a mere shell. The inquest into the deceased reached the verdict of 'Accidental Death'.

Northwich Guardian: The new Oulton Park gate in 2015The new Oulton Park gate in 2015 (Image: Rose Hurley)

On Saturday, May 21, 1926, some of the bones recovered from the debris of the hall were interred in Little Budworth graveyard.

A coffin, made by members of the Oulton Estate staff, bore the inscription. 'Within are a few of the bones recovered at the ruins of Oulton Hall.

Presumably of the following Bertha Lloyd, Mary Spann, Frederick Crank, and Harry White, who lost their lives in the fire of February 14, 1926.' In all, six people lost their lives in the Oulton Hall fire.

In 1953, Oulton Park Circuit was opened on the site, now one of the country's top circuits, confining the awful tragedy to the history books.