His life and books
The original house at Cotton in Staffordshire dates from 1630 and was probably built by the Morrice family before it was bought by Thomas Gilbert the father of Elizabeth Gould. It was inherited by Thomas Gilbert 1720-1798, and he largely re-built Cotton Hall.
The male line of the Gilbert family died out in 1843 and the hall was sold to the Earl of Shrewsbury, who made extensions to the building designed by the great Victorian architect Pugin. A Roman Catholic boarding school, originally founded at Wolverhampton in 1763, moved to Cotton Hall in 1873 and became known as Cotton College or St Wilfrid’s College. The building was further extended between 1874 and 1932.
The school closed in 1987 because of financial problems, and tragically this nationally important building has fallen into a state of disrepair. Only Saint Wilfrid's church remains intact. The remainder is now derelict and vandalised.