After this, the Vansittart Neales, who lived in Berkshire, let the hall and its immediate surroundings to various tenants including Lord Clonmell, Mary Jane Robins and James Beck. Beck, who was the important figure in the history of the walled garden at this time, owned the major bank in Coventry and was responsible for setting up the first Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital. Away from the pressures of work he was a keen gardener and is believed to have replanted a collection of fruit trees in 1842.


Later, it was tenant Thomas Wyles who conducted the Allesley Park Boys' College at the hall from about 1848. This tenancy appears to have continued until around 1880, although ownership by now had passed to a John Lancaster of Bilton Grange. But he appears never to have lived there.


ISubsequently Lieutenant-Colonel Francis William Newdigate, a scholar and man of letters, had bought Allesley Hall by 1890 and occupied it until he died in 1897. An auction catalogue dated that year describes the hall as having an 'exceptionally fine kitchen garden'.'


Charles Dalton Turrall, a ribbon weaver and bicycle manufacturer, and his businessman brother Edgar purchased Allesley Hall, though it is not known whether they ever lived there. Records of share purchases in the Coventry Cricket Ground Company indicate their keen interest in that sport. They would have shared this sporting interest with their business neighbour William Isaac Iliffe, who was also a shareholder in the cricket ground company. He lived across the valley in Allesley Village.

By 1700 the hall had been substantially rebuilt in the neo-classical style and the Neale family planted four rows of magnificent trees, originally elms, on the line of the thoroughfare we know as Allesley Hall Drive. Sited on the high point overlooking Allesley Village, the hall was approached from Allesley Old Road, where a stone-built lodge was constructed at the start of a meandering track to the imposing mansion. His son John Neale made many improvements and by 1740 the house was described as being very commodious and desirable. It remained the residence of the Neale family until 1805, when Mary Neale died.


Building in the Queen Anne Style

The neo-classical building was demolished and the new Allesley Hall, albeit extended in recent years, is essentially just as W.I. Iliffe and Harry Quick created it. William Isaac farmed the land but the new house in Arts and Crafts style took three years to construct and eventually W.I.'s younger son Edward and his wife Charlotte set up home there. New printing and publishing facilities were found in London, so Edward would have been a frequent traveller to the new Iliffe business empire in the capital.


During the First World War the mansion was used as a convalescent home, reverting to a private house during the 1920s and 1930s. Photographs show the Iliffes personal transport, an Armstrong-Siddeley motor car, and a team of gardeners who were employed to look after the pleasure grounds and walled garden.

IEdward Iliffe was the Conservative MP for Tamworth from 1923 to 1929 and was knighted in 1922. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Iliffe of Yattenden in the County of Berkshire in 1933.


When the mansion and lands were gifted to Coventry Corporation in 1937 the tenant of many years had been a Dr J. Orton. The Council asked him to stay on but he decided to move out to Sherbourne Vicarage. After the Second World War the buildings and lands were occupied by Coventry's Parks Department. Then in March 1965 the Second Baron Iliffe, Edward Langton, gifted a further 46 acres of land to the city. This would enable a full-scale plan to be developed for Allesley Park.

William Isaac, a publisher of international fame, whose family home was Allesley House (now the Allesley Hotel), had a fine outlook across the Pickford valley to the neo-classical Queen Anne mansion on the hill. He loved the parkland with its farming interest so much that he purchased the Hall with its lands from the Turrall brothers. However, it appears that W.I. loved the house rather less than the park and farm and as a result consulted his architect friend in Coventry, Harry Quick, who was commissioned to draw up plans for an entirely new house on the site.

Harry Quick's Arts and Crafts house

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