Situated south of York, in what was historically the East Riding of Yorkshire but is now officially North Yorkshire, Escrick Hall stands on the site of a mediaeval house whose cellars still exist below the floors. The present house was built for Henry Thompson (1659–1700), MP for Hedon, in the last decades of the seventeenth century. The seventeenth century house was of red brick, seven bays wide and two storeys high with a hipped roof and dormers.
Beilby Thompson (1742-99), grandson of Henry, is believed to have enlarged the house to three storeys with a parapet in 1758: his initials and the date can be seen on the rainwater heads. John Carr made additions to the house in 1760s and 70s including a fine stable block.
The house passed to Paul Beilby Lawley (1784-1852), a nephew of Beilby in 1820. Paul adopted the name Thompson and was created 1st Baron Wenlock in 1839. He employed Edward Blore to enlarge the house in the 1830 to 50s. Inside the most distinguished interior is that of the former drawing room which has a ceiling based on a design by George Richardson. This, the main staircase and several fireplaces were probably carried out by John Carr in the 1770s. The Library by Blore in the 1830s has heavy Regency details overlaid with late Victorian decoration. The current wallpaper imitates an embossed leather wall covering, fragments of which survive. On the first floor is a late nineteenth century Winter Garden with elaborate plasterwork.
The 3rd Baron Wenlock (1849-1912) married Lady Constance Mary Lascelles, daughter of the 4th Earl of Harewood. They had one daughter which meant that the house passed out of the family on his death. It was inherited by the Forbes-Adam family who still own the estate. The house was subsequently divided into flats, before being taken over by Queen Margaret’s School in 1949.