At some point in Wallington’s history, the following verse was written as part of a poem entitled “Cheviot”:
“Fair Wallington has been decreed by fate,
To be the cap’tal of a large estate;
The wine of Wallington old songsters praise,
The Phoenix from her ashes Blacketts raise.”
Situated in Cambo, Northumberland, Wallington is a fine mansion of grandeur, both internally and externally. It is one of the jewels in the crown of Blackett properties still in existence, and is maintained to the high standards worthy of their heritage. Parts of the grounds were laid out by Lancelot “Capability” Brown, who went to school in Cambo.
Wallington was once in the possession of the wealthy Northumbrian Fenwick family and was purchased from Sir John Fenwick (1645-1697) in 1688 by Sir William Blackett, (“the Orator”), (1657-1705), who was created a Baronet is his own right. Sir William demolished the old house, but retained some parts which he incorporated into his new building of Wallington Hall.
Sir William died in 1705, and the house passed to his son, another Sir William (1689-1728), who married Lady Barbara Villiers. The marriage produced no legitimate heirs, and on Sir William’s death a condition of his Will was that his estate went to his nephew, Walter Calverley, on condition he married Sir William’s illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth Ord, and assumed the name Blackett. This was fulfilled.
The only child of Sir Walter and Elizabeth died young, and in the absence of a male heir, after Sir Walter’s death in 1777 Wallington passed to his nephew, Sir John Trevelyan, the son of his sister Julia, Sir Walter having bought the full title to it in 1750.
Sir Walter Calverley Blackett was described as a generous man, renowned for his outstanding acts of charity. While an M.P. at Westminster, he followed an independent line, being styled “The Patriot” and “The Opposer of the Court”. When, in 1771, a Rockingham Whig reproached Charles Jenkinson (the future Earl of Liverpool) over his obscure origin, Sir Walter said: “Every man carries his honour in his own hand, Origin is nothing; it shall never have any weight with me.”[i] He made vast improvements to the house and estate and is credited with much of what is seen of the present day Wallington. There are many other external features of interest, added over the centuries by the Trevelyan family, which only go to enhance and make Wallington Hall a truly delightful place to visit.
Wallington Hall remained in the Trevelyan family for over two centuries. The estate is now part of The National Trust and is open to the public.
The film, “The Black Velvet Gown”, from the novel written by Dame Catherine Cookson, was filmed partly on location at Wallington Hall, as was the TV adaptation of her novel “The Rag Nymph”.
Recommended reading: “Memoirs of The Public Life of Sir Walter Blackett of Wallington, Baronet” by John Straker.
[i] The National Trust Wallington Guidebook, 1976 p. 4.