The main house was built in 1824 by Bartholomew Bretherton who ran the Liverpool to London stage coach, Rainhill being the first stage. Beside the original building you can see the retreat wing and chapel opened in 1966 and refurbished in 2000.
From above the extent of Loyola Hall’s grounds can be seen: a blend of trees in profusion, lawns and gardens, and, to the rear of the property, a wild meadow laid out with wandering paths.
Visitors say that just coming through the gate the leafy prospect invites you to slow down and begin to relax.
A prominent feature of our front lawn is an ancient beech tree which past gardeners once trained into extravagant shapes — fully revealed once its leaves have fallen. At the right moment the lawn is a riot of spring flowers.
The same beech is also spectacular in autumn when the garden seems ablaze for several weeks.
Opposite the front door a statue of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits and the patron of the House, keeps an eye on proceedings.
The gardens are full of shaded pathways to explore and places to pause.
The grounds include two walled gardens, the larger of which is bedded out, between lawns, with seasonal flowers.
The smaller walled garden, in contrast, provides an intimate space to sit among shrubs.
Several stretches of lawn are kept immaculately mown and feel wonderful underfoot in summer.
There are a number of devotional sculptures around the garden: this one, of the crucified Christ with his mother, invites contemplation.
The grounds have a small wild pond which is home to an array of wildlife including frogs and newts, some regular families of moorhen, and the occasional mallard brood. An opportunistic heron visits regularly looking for dinner.
Wood from fallen trees has been used to create ‘hibernacula’ — places for all kinds of creatures to over-winter in the woody nooks and crannies. At the right time in late spring the area in front is carpeted with sweet violets.
A ‘kissing gate’ marks the threshold between the lawns and the wild meadow beyond.
The wilderness or wild meadow at the rear of the property was once a horse pasture but now it has been let grow wild again. It provides an untamed space to wander in.
The wild meadow is criss-crossed by many paths. Summer finds it sprinkled with wild-flowers and garden escapees of many different kinds.