Sir Thomas Egerton came of age in 1770 and quickly embarked on rebuilding Heaton Hall, a late 17th century house, into the house we see today. In its day it was the latest in modernity, designed by the young architect James Wyatt. This project required a great deal of money.
The sale of timber from the his Wrinehill estate, the original family seat, raised £6,500, a considerable sum of money in the 1770s, and this has often been cited as the starting point in financing the new building.
But in 1771 Sir Thomas received an unexpected inheritance. A cousin, another Thomas Egerton, owner of an estate at Harleston in Staffordshire, died without a direct male heir, and the estate passed Sir Thomas Egerton of Heaton House.
A survey of the estate valued it, for sale, at £15,108. Very shortly afterwards a second, three-day survey was made by William Rogers, the Agent at Heaton. (William Rogers had been responsible for running the Heaton estate since Sir Thomas had inherited it at the age of seven).
This survey valued the estate at £526 ‘yearly value to let’, and at £730 ‘yearly value for sale.’ The custom of the time was for the sale value to be around 30 years rent. In 1772 the Harleston estate was sold for £19,000, a sum worth around £1.2 million in today’s money. This was a good starting point from which to finance the building of the new Heaton Hall.