Rookery Hall was built in 1816 which at that time was known as "The Rookery, Worleston". It was the home of William Hilton Cooke whose family portrait hangs in the Salon. Apart from owning Rookery Hall and 500 acres of surrounding land, William Cooke was also the proprietor of a sugar plantation in Jamaica which was named "Chester Castle".
Baron William Von Schroder purchased the Hall in 1867 together with the park, farms and greenhouses where vines were grown successfully. He was the son of Baron John Henry Von Schroder, the founder of the Merchant Banking firm of J Henry Schroder and Company. It is now known as J Henry Schroder & Company Limited and is one of the most reputable in the City of London today. Baron William became a Justice of the Peace, Lieutenant of the County of Cheshire and, finally, High Sheriff in 1888. He was a keen sportsman and loved hunting. He died in 1912, having lived to the age of 71 years and is buried in Worleston churchyard.
His son Baron William the younger sold the Hall in 1947. The Von Schroder Crest and Coat of Arms can be seen on the beautiful barrelled ceiling in the main dining room. The Baron changed the traditional Georgian mansion into a small chateau. Further more, he was responsible for substantial additions to the building and gave the house the unusual character which makes it almost unique in this country.
After the Hall was sold in 1947, it became the property of several owners who lived in it privately. It was turned into a restaurant with a small number of letting bedrooms during this post-war period. It was bought in 1984 by the Marks family and the reputation for fine cuisine and wines was continued under the new management. It has, through the years, been transformed into the very elegant country house it is today.
The sympathetic addition of the west wing in 1990 magnifies the elegance and timeless beauty that has given Rookery Hall the highly acclaimed reputation as one of the most unique country houses in Britain. The style and build, blends with the character of the existing building and enhances the already magnificent features of the house, whilst creating another twenty-one luxury bedrooms for the hotel.
The renovation of the stable block which once owned the family’s hunt horses has been sympathetically converted to a modern luxurious Health Club & Spa which despite its exterior which remains as it always was, is very contemporary on the inside.
The lovely setting of the hall amidst 38 acres of gardens and wooded parkland, fringing the banks of the River Weaver, ensure complete tranquillity and the atmosphere of a bygone age. The front entrance looks across sweeping lawns with fine specimen trees to a small lake. To the rear there is a magnificent terrace overlooking a large fountain and a lawn garlanded by well stocked flower borders. From this side of the Hall there are lovely views across timbered parkland to attractive meadows and woods.
The architecture is impressive, with external walls of fine mellowed sandstone under a Westmorland slated roof and a fairytale tower at the Northwest corner. Internally, the beautiful proportioned reception rooms are notable for the elegance of the Salon, the splendid Oak Staircase and the wood panelling in the Sitting Room/Study. Most memorable is the highly polished mahogany in the Dining Room, it is here that the skills of the craftsman can really be appreciated in viewing the magnificent ceiling which features four crests, nine coronets and a frieze of winged cherubs. In the Salon there is a fine marble fireplace which dates from the original house.
There is a wonderful feeling of spaciousness, style and dignity, with experienced staff to cater for the needs of visitors in the old fashioned manner. The warm welcome and general ambience remind guests of country house entertaining on an intimate scale in days gone by. The Hall is tastefully furnished with lovely antiques including a genuine William IV four poster bed. These blend happily with elegant china, beautiful pictures and some comfortable modern furnishing.
Would-be guests should not be deterred by the legend of the ghosts. The Grey Lady, whose portrait hangs in the Drawing Room, was an elderly maid of the Cookes, the builders of the Hall some two hundred years ago. She had a fatal fall whilst hanging curtains and is said to roam the corridors leaving a sweet smell of flowers in her wake. Another tale refers to young master Schroder who sometimes materialises in the Salon crying because he has lost his dog. His pet's grave can be seen near the old walled garden.
Rookery Hall is now a luxury 70 bedroom country house hotel which has recently been awarded Four Star status by the AA, the Blue Ribbon award from the RAC and achieved a De luxe grade from the English Tourist Board. The Hall has also achieved notable accolades for its fine cuisine and wine list.