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William Tomkinson - 1790-1872

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William Tomkinson, born on 18 January 1790, was to enjoy a distinguished military career, serving under Wellington during both the Peninsular War and the Waterloo Campaign.

For readers interested in military history, Tomkinson was gazetted to the 16th Light Dragoons as a cornet in December 1807, joining his regiment the following April. During the Peninsular War (1809-1813) he was seriously wounded at the crossing of the Douro on 11 May 1809 but recovered to see action at the battles of Busaco (1810), Redhina (1811), Fuentes de Oñoro (1811), El Bodón (1811), Salamanca (1812) and Vittoria (1813). He was subsequently at Waterloo and remained with the Army of Occupation until December 1815.

And so, to Tomkinson's footprint on the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge.

In retirement from the British Army, Tomkinson became a magistrate and huntsman and purchased land near Tarporley in 1827 from Lord Alvanley. It was here that he built Willington Hall in 1829. The house was designed by George Latham, a Nantwich architect.

Like many country houses of the period, the house underwent several extensions, not least in 1878 when a new east front was added for William's son, James Tomkinson. In subsequent years, a new wing and stable blocks were added, together with a laundry block.

And, a further link to the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge — in 1836 William married Susan Tarleton, daughter of Thomas Tarleton of Bolesworth Castle.

Willington Hall is now a hotel, is a Grade II listed building and is a reminder of the richness of cultural heritage on the Ridge.