Sir John Gerard, 12th Baronet (1804-1854), was Colonel of the 3rd Regiment Royal Lancashire Militia and married Monica, daughter of Thomas Strickland Standish in 1827. The Gerard family seat was Garswood Hall, Ashton-in-Makerfield, which was set in 260 acres of a Humphry Repton designed landscape. It was Sir John, who reconstructed the then 17th century house to a design by local Liverpool architect John Foster. The Gerard family estates were inherited by Sir John’s nephew, William Cansfield Gerard, 2nd Baron Gerard of Bryn. After the death of his wife Mary, Lady Gerard, the family moved to Blakesware Manor in Hertfordshire. In the 1920s the contents of Garswood Hall were sold and the house was subsequently demolished. All that remains of Garswood Hall are the imposing entrance gates and lodge.
The Gerard family had hunted this part of Lancashire for generations and Sir John Gerard kept his own pack of staghounds. Sir John, a legendary huntsman, was also Master of the Atherstone Foxhounds for the season of 1830-31. It has been mentioned in an extract from British Hunts and Huntsmen, published in 1910, that a picture depicting Sir John at a meet with his staghounds near Rainehill hung at Garswood Hall.