Just to join all of the above together, and to help remove any confusion (well, I’m confussed even if nobody else is):
In 1865 Septimus Ledward esq. J.P. bought a piece of land in Frankby from the executors of John Robin. Between 1868 and 1870 a house was built on the land, on the site of an ancient tithe barn on the summit of Frankby Hill. The house, named “Hill Bark” was designed by G T Grayson of Liverpool and enlarged in 1882. It may
have looked like this:
The surrounding grounds were laid out with gardens and glasshouses and covered an area of 2 acres.
A coach house and clock tower were built in the grounds, this is now the visitor centre in Roydon Park.
Lodges in the same style as the main house were also built at the entrances to the park.
Meanwhile, in 1891, R.W.Hudson had a house built in Noctorum, based on the plans of Little Moreton Hall in Congleton. The house cost £150,000 to build and was called “Bidston Court”. It had a fine view westwards across the peninsula to the distant Welsh hills. Such was its prominence that, during the First World War, the Germans had thought of using the tall chimneys as range detectors for shelling Liverpool Docks.
Sir Ernest Roydon, who was married to the daughter of Septimus Ledward, bought “Bidston Court” in 1920. When Ledward died, “Hill Bark” came into the possession of Lady Roydon.
The Roydon’s liked “Bidston Court”, but didn’t like its position. They didn’t like “Hill Bark”, but did like its position, so Sir Ernest decided to move, and take the house with him.
In 1929 “Hill Bark” was demolished and “Bidston Court” was dismantled and moved piece by piece to Frankby. The house was re-assembled using local architects and local builders and was ready for occupation by 1931. The house was given the name of the old house, “Hill Bark”
Sir Ernest died in 1960 and Hoylake UDC bought the property a year later. The house was opened as a home for the elderly, this continued until a few years ago when “Hill Bark” became an hotel and conference centre.
There is one further twist to the story of Hill Bark: In 1911 the Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany wanted to buy the house and have it shipped back to Germany, but Ledward refused to sell, he did, however, agree to sell the plans to the Prince.
The location of the German House was not known until Sir Ernest commissioned two agents to go to Germany to confirm its existence. The house, called “Cecilianhof” was built in Potsdam, and it was used for the signing of the Potsdam Agreement after the Second World War.
Cecilianhof in PotsdamAdditional sources:
The Wirral Peninsula, Norman Ellison 1955
The Wirral, Alan Brack 1980
The Wirral Journal Spring 1982
The Wirral Journal Autumn 1986
The Wirral Journal Spring 1990