The origins of the name Sharston are shrouded in mystery, some sources say it came from a now extinct family who lived in the area.
Originally Sharston was part of the Northern Etchells of Cheshire, and only became part of Manchester when the council purchased land to build the new town of Wythenshawe.
There may have been a Sharston Hall as early as 1501. However in 1701 the Worthington family built an early Georgian structure, Pevsner called it the finest Georgian House in Manchester, and noted also in passsing that it was owned by the council, and consquently somewhat neglected.
This Hall was found just West of Gatley.
The Worthington family were Lords of the manor of Worthington and Standish in Lancashire and in 1212 Thomas De Worthington was the tenant, the manor being held by the Lord of Manchester. They had their family seat at Worthington Hall in Standish. At some point a branch settled in Sharston
The line continued down to Francis Worthington (b 1624). He married Sarah Byram and they had a son, Captain John Worthington (1650-1701) who was born at Sharston Hall.
Captain John and his wife emigrated to Anapolis, Maryland in the American Colonies. However his eldest son, John Worthington (1689-1754) stayed in Sharston and around 1701 built the second Sharston Hall.
Captain John does not appear to have married nor had issue, and he was buried at Sharston in April 1754. After that we see Thomas Worthington (1772-1839) and his wife Margaret Lightbourne at the Hall. Thomas was involved in the manufacture of smallware, fustians and possibly umbrellas on Kennedy Street with James Worthington.
Thomas married Margaret in 1796 and they had four children, Elizabeth, Frances (d1828) Captain Thomas, and Mary Ann.
Thomas and Margaret’s son, Captain Thomas Worthington (1802-1856) was the next resident of the house. The Captain commanded the Dunham Massey troops when the Chartist Riots of 1842 were quelled. However he never married and he was more interested in Horseracing and breeding thoroughbreds, purchasing a number in the 1840s for 600 guineas each (2020 £66,000). There are several reports in contemporary newspapers of his horses running and winning.
He also occupied a town house in Dover Street in Manchester, but died in Ryde on the Isle of Wight on 21 May 1856, and the contents of his house were auctioned off that August, including 150 dozen bottles of Port, plus an 1851 pipe in the wood (a further 550 litres).
Mary Anne Worthington (1805-1863), married first to Charles Grant – her sister, Elizabeth (b1797) married his brother Daniel. The Grant family were the sons of William and Grace, tenant farmers and cattle dealers who had come down to Lancashire to escape famine caused by poor winters and bad harvests. They settled in the Park Estate in Ramsbottom and sought work in the mill there.
Three of the brothers, William, John and Daniel set up in business as Calico Merchants in Manchester and grew in riches, buying the Old Ground Printing Works from Sir Robert Peel and replaced it with the Square, at the time the most modern calico works in Europe. The family settled in Grant Lodge in Ramsbottom.
After Charles died, Mary Anne married once more to Abel Bayley (1813-1867) a London Licensing Magistrate who was related to William Bayley (1802-1891) of Stalybridge. Mary Anne and Abel moved to Sharston Hall after Captain Thomas’ death, but they did not stay long, Mary died in 1863 and Abel moved back to London, and married Elise Mary Croker, living at 6 Lowndes Square and Marine Parade in Brighton, where he died in 1867.
It was the Captain’s cousin, Gibbon Bayley Worthington who was the next resident of the house. Gibbon was the son of William Bayley (1802-1891) of Stalybridge. His father had built mills on Bridge Street there, and together with his brothers he carred on in the business as. William Bayley & Brothers. These mills became known as the Bayley Street Mills.
In 1841 the mills were struggling, and there was pressure for radical electoral reform spearheaded by the Chartist movement. The following summer wage cuts were threatened in the mills and whilst most mill owners stepped back from enforcing one, William did not and imposed a 5% cut in wages of 6d (2½p) per week. This was the last straw and even though William tried to withdraw the cut. The protests spread with nearly half a million people withdrawing their labour, mobs in Lancashire went from mill to mill, stopping the machinery by removing the plugs from boilers, giving this first general strike the name The Plug Riots.
Despite this, William continued to thrive, he married Sarah Gibbon and was the first mayor of Stalybridge, holding office for three terms between 1857 and 1860.
Gibbon his son, took the name Bayley-Worthington, assuming it by Royal License in 1864, and succeeded to Sharston Hall around the same time. He was educated at Owens College and married Marianne Brocklehurst in 1868. He engaged in a number of business schemes, such as forming a company to build on the western side of St Anne’s Square and stood unsuccesfully in 1880 as a Parliamentary Candidate against William Cunliffe Brookes. He was a keen huntsman and polo player, and like all gentlemen of leisure, enjoyed fishing and shooting.
The couple had four children, but had moved out of the hall by 1881 when Charles Thompson Drabble (1829-1893) and his wife Marianne White (1839-1913) took up residence.
Charles was the son of James, a Sheffield merchant. Charles and his brothers had extensive business interests in the Argentine, his brother George (1823-1899) was his partner in Drabble Brothers, Cotton Goods Exporters but also established the Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway, The River Plate Bank, the Buenos Aires and Rosario Railway as well as the River Plate Fresh Meat Company.
Charles married Marianne in Buenos Aires in 1862 and by 1871 they were back in Manchester living at Withington Cottage but moved to Sharston in the late 1870s, running the Manchester side of the business from King Street. He was also one of the founding directors of the Thames and Mersey Marine Insurance Company.
The Hall suffered a fire the day before Christmas Eve, 1884, breaking out at 2:30 pm but still out of control at midnight. Charles died at Sharston on 1 November 1893 at Sharston leaving a fortune of £47,315 (2020 £6.1m) and Marianne moved to Alderley Edge, and by her death the family fortune had substantially increased to £170,760 (2020 £19.8m).
Robert Clay (1847-1911), a retired builder and now cotton bleacher was next at the Hall. He married his second wife, Ellen Carnelly in 1877 and they lived first at Oldfield in Dunham Massey. They had five children, the sons being his partner in the calico bleaching business. Most notably of the sons was Thomas Reginald Clay (1879-1924) who on his death was estranged from his family, and bequeathed his wealth to his business associates and friends, making no provision for his family. His solicitor, John Larden Williams received £16,500, his doctor , Arthur Trevor Woodward, £15,000, £11,500 went to his assistant bank manager, and £10,000 to the manager. His chauffeur, faithful servant and friend, James Henry Evans received £10,500 plus his cars. The main issue here was that the total estate was just valued at £33,371 (2020 £2m). Despite extensive reporting, no indication was given on how the actual distributions were made.
The final residents of the hall were David Leopold Quixano Henriques (1866-1932) and his wife Edith Mary Hester Norbury (1869-1932). David was the descendant of prominent Jamaican Jewish merchants. Abagail Quixano (1748-1836) had married Moses Israel Henriques (1740 – c1790) in Kingston Jamaica in 1769. Abagail was his second wife, and the younger sister of his first wife, Leah. The Henriques had fled from Portugal via Amsterdam and London after religious persecution. After Moses they returned to London where they became prominent in the Jewish Community, operating as West India Merchants and Bankers, and leaders in the pre war Zionist movement. Ronald Henriques (1884-1914) was the first British Jew to lose his life in WWI.
David was born to Arthur Quixano Henriques and Isabella Strauss on 8 September 1866 in Marylebone, London. However the family moved up to Manchester to found the Manchester branch of Henriques and Company, Stockbrokers on Pall Mall. David became the principal of the company after his father’s death.
He married Edith Mary Norbury in 1893 in Prestwich. The couple lived first in Prestwich, but by 1918 they were at Sharston Hall. They had one son and one daughter – George Lionel Quixano and Muriel Elizabeth (1895-1968).
On 19 June 1932 David and Edith were driving their car down London Road in Hazel Grove, when a faulty axle on the car caused them to collide with a tram. They were taken to Stockport Infirmary, but both died before they reached hospital.
The Henriques remain to this day prominent Manchester citizens. Sir Richard Henry Quixano Henriques presided over the Harold Shipman trial.
With their death, Sharston Hall was sold to Manchester Council and they used the building first for flats, with rents in 1939 ranging from 25s to 50s per week (£1.25 – £2.50) – £80-£160 per week in 2020. However, there were also other council services available at the site – it was a distribution centre for gas masks and ration books. In the late 1940s there was an 18-30 group who met at the Hall.
Pevnser’s note of decay in 1971 subsequently resulted in the demolition of the Hall in 1986, and it was replaced by mock 18th century offices, which Pevsner called a parody of the original structure, and now serves as the Pines Hospital. Here it is in its glory.
The Buildings Of England, South Lancashire, Pevnser: Penguin 1971
The Buildings of Greater Manchester & The South East, Pevsner: Yale University Press, 2004
The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo Jewish History, Rubenstein, Jolley, Rubenstein: Palgrave-Macmillan 2011.
© Allan Russell 2020.