Oakley Folly

In 1751 Colonel Thomas D’Avenant married Lady Ann Corbet of Adderley and in the 1770’s The Grove was built for them. When the Colonel died in 1798 the house and his estate was sold. In 1791 Thomas was Justice of the Peace in Market Drayton. His Will details his wife at that time as Elizabeth – presumably a second marriage to Elizabeth Cotton sister of Sir Robert Salisbury Cotton.

Thomas’s only son Corbet D’Avenant married Esther/Hester Cotton, the youngest daughter of Sir Lynch Salisbury Cotton of Combermere Abbey, Cheshire in 1774. In 1792 Corbet changed his name by royal licence to Corbet Corbet and by June 1786 he was created Baronet. Sir Corbet, Corbet died in 1823.

To be sold by Auction by Mr. Cliff at the Phoenix Inn, in Market Drayton on Monday the 13th day of August next. Lot I – All that modern and elegant MANSION HOUSE built by and late the residence of COLONEL D’AVENANT, (deceased) with an amplitude of Domestic and other Offices, Coach-Houses, stables, enclosed Yard, walled Garden, together with thirty acres or thereabouts of excellent Pasture Land, surrounding the Mansion, most delightfully situate near to the town of Market-Drayton aforesaid, all in complete repair and rendered extremely convenient at a very considerable expense and fit for the immediate reception of a family of consequence. Lot II – All those three pieces of land called the Paddocks, enclosed with and divided by Stone Walls seven feet high, with a small Dwelling House for a Labourer, and a shed for cattle, surrounded by a Plantation of Firs and other Trees, in a very growing state, the whole together about fourteen acres. N.B These lands have water in each field for cattle and may also be floated. Lot III – All that Tenement or Farm, with capital and convenient Brick and Tile Outbuildings, and one hundred and fifty-eight Acres of Land or thereabouts called Audley Croft Farm, late in the occupation of Mr Samuel Harding, deceased.

At some point following the death of Thomas D’Avenant Oakley Folly was purchased by the Chetwode family. Sir John Chetwode of Oakley, Chetwode & Witley, 4th Bart (1764-1845). Sir John Chetwode, later Newdigate-Ludford-Chetwode, 5th Bart (1788-1873). Sir George Chetwode 6th Bart of Oakley (1823-?). Major Philip Walhouse Chetwode 7th Bart of Oakley (1869–1950) .

The Chetwode’s sold the Oakley estate including 2,100 acres in 1919/20, Oakley Hall was sold to Charles Cyril Dennis (1881-1964), an Oxford M.A. and chairman of James H. Dennis and Co Ltd, copper and chemical manufacturers of Widnes and London. A member of the North Staffordshire Hunt, he was a keen fisherman and enjoyed shooting on the estate. The Dennis family moved from Broxton Old Hall, and after his wife’s death in 1939, remained at Oakley Hall until 1949.

1919 Map