Willersley Castle at Cromford in Derbyshire was built by William Thomas in 1789 - 90 for Richard Arkwright the cotton spinning entrepreneur who had earlier established his mills both at Cromford and along the Derwent Valley.
Arkwright died before he could move in. It was an ambitious seven bay stone structure of two and a half storeys with lower side wings fronting the sheer face of the cliff across the sloping lawn and across the river - a striking sight from Cromford Hill opposite. The house is entirely classical in conception, but romanticized by battlements and by semicircular turrets flanking the broad centre and smaller circular turrets at the angles of the wing.
The interior was burnt out in 1791 and redone by Thomas Gardner of Uttoxeter. The finest room is an oval hall with galleries on both upper storeys, a doomed skylight, and plasterwork.
The Wesley Guild purchased the Castle in 1928 and opened for business on 28th May 1929. The company now trades under the name Christian Guild Holidays and has celebrated 75 years as a Guild Hotel and Conference Centre.
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