Davyhulme Hall was built as the seat of Sir John De Hulme of Hulme Hall during the reign of Henry II. The Hulme family are of Norman ancestry and can be traced back to Seigneur de Houlme who crossed the channel with William the Conqueror in 1066. Davyhulme was part of the Barton Fee. The Hulmes lived quietly at Davyhulme and in time acquired the neighbouring manor of Urmston.
In 1642 Susan Hyde, the daughter of George married Richard Hulme. They had a son, William (d1708) who was High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1701 and built the lake you can see on the map above. His son John had one daughter, Anne, who inhertited the estate. She married Thomas Willis, the son of Browne Willis (1682-1760), MP for Buckingham and a famous antiquary.
On the death of Thomas in 1765 the estate was put up for sale by the Court of Chancery and purchased by John Allen whose son William inherited the Hall. William was a partner in Byrom, Allen, Sedgwick and Place, which was the first bank to be established in Manchester in 1771 on Bank Street (off St Ann’s Square).
By 1779 all the original partners bar William Allen had left the bank. He had married first Anne, the daughter of Thomas Clowes of Hunts Bank Hall in 1765 who died without bearing any children. After that he married Nelly Livesey on 12 January 1768, the daughter of the owner of one of the largest Calico Printers in Lancashire, Livesey Hargreaves & Company. This firm employed around 800 directly and when extended families and out workers were taken account, there were around 20,000 people dependent on them for their livelihood The firm were pioneers in mechanical printing of colours.
William first lived on Red Lyon Street, moving to St Ann’s Square then Quay Street to live next door to John Byrom, before moving to Davyhulme Hall.
Foolishly William lent substantial sums of money to his father in law’s company, being sole partner there was no control on this, and Livesey Hargreaves collapsed under a weight of £1.5m debts in 1780 (£195m in 2020). The bank went under two days later.
William died in 1792, having the £20,000 he had inherited from his father, and impoverished by his debts following the bank’s collapse. His son, Joseph (1770-1845) was educated at the Free Grammar School (later the Manchester Grammar School) and Trinity College Cambridge Joseph became Private Secretary to the 2nd Earl Spencer and tutor to his son, Viscount Althorpe. He married Margaret Ashley in 1807 in Frodsham and rose to become Bishop of Bristol from 1834-1836 then Bishop of Ely from 1836 until his death in 1845.
Following William’s bankruptcy the Hall was sold to recoup the debts and purchased by Henry Norreys of Penwortham. Henry was descended from the Norreys of Speke Hall in Liverpool (and of course William Le Norreys who held Heaton Norris in 1212). Henry had conveniently married Anne Allen, William Allen’s sister, in 1779.
Sometime around this era the Hall gates were constructed from a Whalebone, forming an arch.
Henry and Anne had one daughter, Mary (1780-1868) who inherited the estate. She married Robert Josias Jackson Harris (1784-1844) of Uley, Gloucestershire, and the Enniskillen Dragoons on 17 July 1789. On the marriage, he took the Norreys surname.
Robert was a liberal politically, but stood against the Corn Laws. He retained his Preston roots, being Patron of the Preston Guild in 1842. The couple and Mary had five children, the oldest Robert Henry Norreys (1812-1890) was born at the hall and educated at Rugby and Oriel College, Cambridge. He was a keen sportsman, and fashioned the grounds to suit his tastes, the front lawn was used for archery and a racecourse ran from the front of the lawn around the Hall to a finishing post at the south. There was a stand at the finish which held 300 people and can be seen on the right below:
He even constructed an urn commemorating his favourite racehorse, which is now listed:
On the East he built a nine hole golf course, and founded his own private golfing society. It had a membership of 60 gentlemen and 30 ladies, each having their own clubhouse. The grounds are now the site of Davyhulme Park Golf Club, this dates the golfcourse as the fourth oldest in England, and the ladies clubhouse the second oldest such building in the World (after St Andrews).
Robert remained a bachelor all his life and was affectionately known as Squire Bob locally. The family did much good work for Davyhulme, building the first village school in 1833 on Davyhulme Road (which still stands today). This was replaced by St Mary’s Day School in 1880 for which Robert gave £1,400 and the land. His sister, Isabella donated £2,000 to the building fund – (over £400,000 between them in 2020 terms). He also gave £1,000 towards the building of St Mary in Davyhulme.
He died on 30 April 1887 at Davyhulme Hall, and was buried at St Catherine in Barton On Irwell a week later.
His sister Caroline (1815-1876) married John Smith Entwistle (1815-1868) of Castleton Hall and Foxholes in Rochdale, the son of John Entwistle, Conservative MP for Rochdale.
Caroline and John had four children, the youngest, a son, John Bettre Norreys Entwistle (1857-1945) inherited the Davyhulme properties from his uncle and took the presidency of the private golf club, which was renamed the Enwistle Golf Club, which moved to Flixton in 1903 to become the Golf club there.
Mary Norreys (1815-1881) remained a spinster, and died at Davyhulme Hall. We briefly met Isabella Norreys (1819-1886), she married George Hall Bowers (1794-1872) rector of St Pauls, Covent Garden, Dean of Manchester and Founder of Marlborough School.
After Robert Norreys death the house was put up for sale, unsuccessfully, and demolished a year later. There was even a proposal to build a sewage works on the site the following year, councillors thankfully noting that Davyhulme Hall no longer stood, and there were only a few cottages within 500 yards.
Although the house did not sell, there was a successful disposal of the furniture and effects in June 1887.
Much of the land was sold off for building houses in the 1890s, but some land was retained by the golf club, and in 1923 the Davyhulme Park Golf club bought the land for £13,500 (£820,000 in 2020).
Let’s see some pictures:
Manchester Banks and Bankers, Leo Grindon : Palmer & Howe 1878.
© Allan Russell 2020