100 Halls Around Manchester Part 60: Shaw Hall, Saddleworth

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Shaw Hall stood in Grasscroft, where the Farrar’s Arms is today. It was built for the Shaw family around the time of Edward II’s reign. However, today nothing exists save for a few local place names, such as Shaw Hall Bank Road, alongside Greenfield Station. Shaw Hall also gave its name to the hamlet and a toll booth.

It was inherited in 1380 by Richard De Radcliffe, of the Radcliffe family. They possibly came into possession by marriage. Richard was the son of John De Radcliffe of Ordsall. The estate covered 80 acres and he gave the Hall to his second wife, Sibilia De Cliderow of Salebury.

Richard drowned in Rossendale Water in 1380. He left one son, John by his first wife. Sibilia married twice after this, firstly to Sir Richard Mauleverer then to Sir Roger de Fulthorp, the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. Sir Roger tried to gain possession of the Hall, but this was thwarted by an inquisition. and the Hall continued to descend through the Radcliffes.

During Elizabeth I’s reign, Captain Robert Radcliffe owned the Hall. He was the third son of William Radcliffe of Chadderton and Foxdenton. Robert was at Cadiz when it was captured by the Earl Of Essex, who had an affair with a Spanish lady, who he took prisoner. However when set free, she begged to stay with him. Being the perfect English gentleman, he had to say he had a wife at home…


Will you hear of a Spanish Ladye

How she woo d an English man ….

As his prisoner then he kept her

In his hands her life did lie

…. At length there came an order

To set all Ladyes free

With their jewels gold and ornaments

Free from any injurie

Then said this Ladie mild

Full wo is me

Oh let me still enjoy my kind captivitie

Gallant Captain take some pity

… Why should thou fair Ladye love me

When thou know’st thy country’s foe

Thy fair words make me suspect thee

Serpents lie where flowers grow

….Of brave lovers you have plentye

Spain doth yield a gallant store

Spaniards fraught with jealousy we most often finde

But Englishmen throughout the world are counted kynde

….To maintain that pretty face And to travel is expensive

You must know in every place

….On the seas are frequent dangers

Many storms do there arise

Which are oft to Ladyes fatal

Stealing beautye dimming eyes

Well in truth I shall endure the worst extremitye

For I could find in my heart to love the storm for thee

….Here comes one to end this strife In England

I have got already A sweet woman for my Wife

I will not falsify my vow for gold nor gain

Nor yet for the fairest mayden that is in Spayn

Around 1700 the Hall passed into the Whitehead family through marriage. Radcliffe Whitehead (b c 1700) married Mary Corbishley at St Chad in Saddleworth. They had a son, also called Radcliffe who was born in 1728 and married Anne Kenworthy. Their son, Ralph Whitehead was born in 1758. Ralph was an Innkeeper, which suggests that he owned the Farrars Arms. On 22 August 1796 he was out on the surrounding moors grouse shooting, when James Harrop, his companion opened fire on a bird, missing the lucky fowl, but hitting Ralph in the shoulder, killing him instantly, leaving a widow and six children.

Little else is known of the house, Bradbury says it was demolished in the 1790s to make room for the Farrars arms (but he also suggests it was on the other side of the road). It may be the case, given that Ralph was an innkeeper that the Farrars is the site. The house had a large central hall, containing an oak bedstead. Kitchens stood to the left and the parlour to the right. It was built of stone with some timber and plaster supporting the roof. There were at least two halls, the latter one was built during James I’s reign.

This is the only picture of the Hall.

Shaw Hall, 1790 From Saddleworth Sketches
Elements of the Hall still possibly reflected in the Farrars Today © Google

¹ Whilst I have no reason to disbelieve the genealogical research by Lyman de Platt of Utah which I used to provide the lineage of the Radcliffes, I will leave you with notes of his interview with John Radcliffe of Ordsall.

The ancestry of John Radcliffe, Sr., through three generations where records are minimal, has been identified in two ways: 1) he (and his son John, Jr.) and four generations of his ancestors were born and lived at Shaw Hall. This large mansion was passed down from father to son. Captain Robert Radcliffe passed it on to his son Richard Radcliffe, who gave it to son Alexander Radcliffe, who to his son Alexander Radcliffe, and he to either his son John Radcliffe, Sr., or to John's brother Edmund; [12] either way both John and Edmund lived at Shaw Hall; 2) John Radcliffe, Sr. in a spiritual meeting with me (Lyman De Platt) said this pedigree was correct. John Radcliffe, Sr. is a very dynamic and positive individual. He had never spoken to anyone in the physical world since shortly after he died in the 1740s. He was very aware of what I was doing on the Radcliffe genealogy and felt that we had a lot in common, both physically and spiritually. The meeting tired him because he was unaccustomed to using energy in that way. Since this meeting we have also been able to identify the wives more fully. Another thing that he didn't explain, but which caused him great excitement, as if stars were exploding, was the mention of Cross [HALL]



Mapping Saddleworth : Saddleworth Historical Society 2007

Saddleworth Sketches, Joseph Bradbury: Hirst & Rennie, 1871.

The Palatine Notebook, J E Cornish: 1883

© Allan Russell 2021.

3 thoughts on “100 Halls Around Manchester Part 60: Shaw Hall, Saddleworth

  1. I am looking for information and history associated with Thornfield Hall, located on what is now Arundel Street, Ashton-under-Lyne. Do any of the listed publications contain such information?

    Liked by 1 person

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