'It is our intention that the family should continue to live here for many years to come.'
Rode Estate has been in the ownership of the Wilbraham family since 1669. It was originally bought from Randle Rode by his cousin Roger Wilbraham. The Wilbrahams were prominent landowners in Cheshire at that time and Rode was purchased for Randle, the younger son of Roger Wilbraham of Townsend, now part of Nantwich, for £2,400.
Roger was decended from Sir Richard de Wilburgham, Sherrif of Cheshire in 1259. Rode passed through the male line until 1900 when Katherine, an only child, succeeded her father General Sir Richard. She had married George Baker in 1872 and, by Royal Licence, they assumed Wilbraham as their principal surname. In 1910 George Baker succeeded to the Baker baronetcy on the death of his elder brother
The current custodians of the family home are Sir Richard and Lady Baker Wilbraham.
The Family Tree
Randle records completing the first brick house in 1708 having demolished the original manor house, probably half timbered and very similar to Little Moreton Hall. At the side of the original brick hall is a larger later building. This was built for Randle's son, also named Randle. This second rectangular two-and-a-half storey house has been adapted by each generation to suit their needs and taste.
Shortly before the death of Randle Baker Wilbraham, the seventh baronet in 1980, the decision was taken to open the house to the public and, at the same time, help was sought from English Heritage to enable urgent restoration work to be undertaken. A very serious outbreak of dry rot was detected and it was not until 1987 that the work was completed. Since this time, Sir Richard and Lady Baker Wilbraham have welcomed thousands of visitors to Rode Hall and Gardens to share the beauty of the house which is especially noted for its family portraits, Gillow furniture and fine collection of porcelain and pottery.
Extensive work has been put into the gardens to restore them to their nineteenth-century magnificence and the annual Rode Gardens Snowdrop Walks are a key highlight of many garden-lovers’ diaries.