Country House Rescue returns for Series 3: Wyresdale Park, Lancashire

Wyresdale Park, Lancashire (Image: Channel 4)
Wyresdale Park, Lancashire (Image: Channel 4)

The history of the country house is sadly often a cycle of rise and fall with the main variable being the speed of each respectively.  The old phrase was ‘one generation made the wealth, the second enjoyed it, and the third lost it’. Over recent decades the trend has changed slightly in that, with longer life expectancies prolonging the older generations, the houses have had fewer chances for the rejuvenation which inheritance often brought.  As an alternative, Ruth Watson uses Country House Rescue as a catalyst for the type of entrepreneurial change which is the only way for these houses to survive – if only the owners would listen!

The first episode in Series 3, to be broadcast at on Channel 4 at 21:00 on 6 March 2011, takes us to Wyresdale Park in Lancashire to meet a father and son who don’t agree on the best way to maximise the obvious potential of the beautiful estate.

Wyresdale Hall was built between 1856-65 for Bolton cotton-magnate-turned-banker, Peter Ormrod, who bought 6,000-acres from the Duke of Hamilton to create his estate.  The house, which cost £50,000 (about £4m at today’s value) at the time, was designed by noted local architect Edward Graham Paley (b.1823 – d.1895) who had an extensive practice, partnering first with his mentor Edmund Sharpe, then, following Sharpe’s retirement, Hubert Austin, before being joined by his son, Henry Paley. The work of Paley & Austin in particular was well-regarded with Pevsner  saying they “did more outstanding work than any other in the county” and was “outstanding in the national as well as the regional context”.

Paley worked on relatively few country houses, being much better known for his ecclesiastical output, with included the design of Lancaster Cathedral.  Paley was brought up in deeply religious home and, working with Edmund Sharpe, who was heavily influenced by Pugin, it was unsurprising that Paley adopted the strict ecclesiastical style with the ‘correct’ use of Gothic elements.  Perhaps looking a little too much like a convent rather than a home, the house is, nonetheless, still a good example of the type of regional interpretations of Pugin’s architectural theories which gained ground in the 19th-century.

The grade-II listed house and estate passed through the Ormrod family before the land was bought by the Whewell family in the 1920s who then bought the house in 1967.  Now the family are facing the usual struggles of a listed house, an extensive list of improvements, and the need to make the changes which sometimes sit uncomfortably with the more traditional older generation.


Country House Rescue – Series 3

My usual powers have slightly failed me and I haven’t a verified list of all the houses in Series 3 but here are the ones I have identified so far:

See also:

7 thoughts on “Country House Rescue returns for Series 3: Wyresdale Park, Lancashire

  1. john kilbourne March 6, 2011 / 21:14

    can’t seem to get any of the videos in America, all blocked by Channel4 copyright. What looks like a DVD showed up, but does not show up on Amazon. Can yu help?



    • countryhouses March 6, 2011 / 23:02

      Hi John

      Amazon UK is saying it will be released on 6 June – and that’s just Series 1 so that’s just three years after they were first broadcast! You’d think they’d want to capitalise on the interest of having the new series on TV but it seems not.

      Hopefully once it’s been released they’ll ship to the US as well.


  2. jeff Aldridge March 6, 2011 / 21:43

    I too have been stymied by the Country House Rescue DVD hunt. I ordered it through Amazon UK over a year ago and they have repeatedly pushed back the release date. Now to June. It has been enormously frustrating as I would love to see any of this series. Trying to view it on the internet has also been a bust………at least I have this juicy blog to visit. Thank you so much.

  3. Andrew March 7, 2011 / 12:46

    Country House Rescue Series 3 will apparently have 11 episodes, compared to Series 2 with 7 episodes (plus 3 Revisits of Series 1 houses), and Series 1 with 6 episodes. IMDb currently lists 4 episodes of Series 3 as being Revisits of Series 2 houses: Abbey Dore Court, Heath House, Plas Teg and Riverhill House; but the source and reliability of this information is unknown. If IMDb is correct, then you only have one more house to identify, which could be Gissing Hall in Norfolk, which was due to be the 8th episode in Series 2 on 22 April 2010, but doesn’t appear to have been aired. Has anyone seen the Gissing Hall episode, or know what happened to it (i.e. scheduling problems, legal action, incomplete story, etc.)? If Gissing Hall is the 7th episode in Series 3, then you may have already identified all of the 6 new houses in Series 3.
    It’s worth noting here that Ruth Watson also visited Stubton Hall in Lincolnshire in the 2nd episode of her 2009 one-off TV series Ruth Watson’s Hotel Rescue, first aired on Channel 4 on 7 October 2009, and repeated regularly on More4.

    • Andrew March 26, 2011 / 13:40

      Interestingly, on Betty’s website (the production company for Country House Rescue), in their menu Doing-New Series-CHR2, they state that the original plan was to have 14 episodes in the 2nd series, i.e. 8 new houses and 6 revisits of all 6 houses from the 1st series. However, they only did 3 revisits, with apparently only 4 revisits to the 8 new houses in the 2nd series. That’s only at best a 50% success rate for Ruth Watson and her advice. Probably not an acceptable performance in corporate consulting circles, but then again the country house owners are not your typical company executives!

  4. stephenm March 8, 2011 / 14:42

    Jeff and other devotees of sites like this one might like to be aware, if not already, of the huge collection of monthly county magazines published by Archant who – amazingly generously -provide full digital editions, freely accessible. Every English county/region is covered and the past 1-3 years for each are available.
    Re. Country House Rescue, here’s the Somerset Life June 2010 edition which revisited the family at Cothay Manor, subject of the first-ever CHR. To select another county, go here:

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