100 Halls Around Manchester Part 67: Henbury Hall, Henbury,Macclesfield

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Although a Henbury exists today, it is also a lost house, the present structure having been built in 1957 after Sir Vincent Ziani de Ferranti demolished the existing Hall and refurbished the stable block for his residence, of which more anon.

The lost house was built in 1742, but remodelled in the 1850s and then again in 1874 until demolished in 1957. A palladian villa was built on the site between 1984 and 1986. It lies West South West of Macclesfield and can be seen on the map below:

Henbury Hall – Cheshire XXXVI, 1882 © Ordnance Survey

The first hall dates from the eleventh century when it was held by the Mainwarings of Warmicham, it passed from them to the Tressels when Matilda Mainwaring, the daughter of Warin, married William Trussell (c1261-c1317). Edward I granted his beloved and faithful William Trussel, knight custody of the counties of Cheshire and Flint, the castles of Chester, Rothelan and Flint and the manors of Macclesfield and Overton.

After William’s death, Matilda² married Oliver De Burdeaux (c1290-c1360). Oliver had come over to England from Gascony as a young man and is first mentioned as a valet in Edward II’s household. He was the son of Loup-Bourgon, a merchant from Gabaston¹. Edward was fond of Oliver and granted him lands and cash.

The King also found him a suitable wife in Matilda, even going so far as to attend their wedding at Woodstock. He continued to be showered with gifts and favours from Edward II, and after the King’s murder he became a squire to his son, Edward III.

Sometime during Edward III’s reign Sir John Davenport of Goyt Hall purchased the manor and they lived there until Roundhead Parliament considered William Davenport a delinquent and consequently sequestered his lands after the Civil War.

William was the last Davenport to live at Henbury. He died there on June 24 1640 aged only 23, leaving a daughter, Isabel, who married Sir Fulke Lucy (1623-1677) of Charlecote Manor, Wellesbourne in Warwickshire, MP for Cheshire.

Sir Fulke Lucy © National Trust

The couple lived mainly in Warwickshire, but Lucy was Commissioner for Assessment for Cheshire, a JP and in the Cheshire militia.

He was MP for Warwick in 1659 and Cheshire between 1664-1677, however not a very active one. He introduced the bill for the building of the Weaver Navigation in 1670 and promoted bills for better observance of the Sabbath. He did not play a great role in parliament and it was noted that he was touchily and peevishly angry. His partner in the building of the Weaver navigation and parliament ensured he was closely watched in his proceedings, and Lord Shaftesbury described him as vile. He died of a fever aged 54 on 26 August 1677, his son inheriting the Warwickshire estate, and the Henbury being sold to Sir William Meredith (1665-1752)³.

Sir William was the son of Sir Amos Meredith (c1603 – c1669), Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and Governor of Exmouth. Sir William lived at Henbury, as did his son, Amos (1667-1744). Amos married Joanne Cholmondeley (1692-1751)

Amos’ son, Sir William (1742-1790) served as MP for Wigan between 1754 and 1761 after which he represented Liverpool from 1761-1780. He also served as mayor of Macclesfield. William was one of the first patrons of Josiah Wedgewood and Wedgewood was a regular visitor to Henbury when William was in residence. William showered his friend with gems, prints and pottery.

He was an extravagant man and built the second hall at Henbury in 1747 and around the same time restored Prestbury Parish Church, at his own expense, building a lavish mausoleum for his family there^.

However mounting debt forced the sale of Henbury to John Bower Jodrell for £24,000 (£4.3m in 2021) in 1779.

John Bower (c1747-1796) was born before 1747. He married Frances Jodrell, the daughter of Francis Jodrell (1723-1756) and Jane Butterworth. In accordance with her grandfather’s will he took the surname Jodrell. He was Sheriff of Cheshire in 1777 and Henbury became his seat in 1779.

The Jodrells date back to William Jaudrell an Archer of Edward, the Black Prince. William held land in Yeardsley cum Whaley, Disley and Kettleshulme. His son, Roger Joudrell (sic) was one of the four Esquires of the King’s body and served at Agincourt. William of course also unwittingly gave his name to Jodrell Bank. They settled at Henbury and Taxal Lodge.

John and Frances had five children, the eldest, Francis (1776-1829) inherited the estate. One of his sisters married William Shakespeare Philips who we met at Barlow Hall. Francis married Maria Lemon in 1807 and had three sons, John William (1808-1858 ) who inherited the estate, Foster Bower (1810-1830) who died whilst studying at Oxford and Francis Charles (1812-1869).

However, John William Jodrell was not greatly interested in the estate and he sold Henbury to Captain John Ryle (1781-1862) in 1834 for £55,000 (£7.3m in 2021). John was a member of a family of Silk Merchants. He lived at Park House in Macclesfield between 1816 and 1834 and alongside his silk interests he was a major investor in the Manchester and Derby Railway and MP for Macclesfield between 1832 and 1837.

He also owned a bank in Macclesfield, Daintry, Ryle and Co. This lead to his downfall and bankruptcy. In 1821 they established a branch in Manchester and their manager one Mr Ravenscroft invested large sums of money, losing on one occasion £120,000 and then a further £50,000 in a failed scheme to invest in steam powered horseless carriages on turnpike roads. Despite initial success in Stretford, where the vehicles were trialled at midnight to avoid publicity. A further £100,000 was spent on the machines, and eventually everything ended in total failure when one of the steam engines went out of control and smashed up a turnip field, where it stayed for months, abandoned.

Whilst the carriages did attain speeds up to 18 mph, the noise of the machines was so great that everyone was ruined, bringing down the Manchester branch, and eventually the Macclesfield one as well, forcing Ryle to sell up at Henbury.

John Ryle

It was Major Thomas Marsland (1777-1854) who purchased the property. The Major was the son of John Marsland and Rebecca Clarkson. John Marsland founded a dyers in Stockport. His son married Frances Thornhill Thomson (1777-1850) he served as Sheriff for Cheshire in 1824 then became Mayor. Between 1832 and 1841 he was MP for Stockport.

Thomas expanded his father’s business, producing red and blue dyes, then moving on to Calico printing. He had premiss on Daw Bank and when the New Road (Wellington Road) was built he acquired the land alongside it to build Wellington Mill (now the Hatworks) with Alexander Lingard, Richard Hole and William Courtney Cruttenden. Having made his money, he left the partnership and bought Henbury from John Ryle.

He concentrated on improving the Henbury estate, draining 150 acres of land with 67,000 flag tiles. He also funded the building and advowson of St Thomas Church in Henbury. After Frances died in March 1850 he married again to Anne Wright (1793-1864), the daughter of John, a Cheetham Hill Currier. He died on 18 November 1854 at Henbury.

Major Thomas Marsland, Stockport Library Services

Thomas and Frances had eight children. His eldest son John (1797-1852) lived at Highfield. Frances 1799-1844) married his business partner, Richard Hole. Edward (1807-1868) inherited Henbury and lived there with his wife Jane Haigh (1814-1889?). Edward was also a Calico Printer and remodelled the house in a starker neoclassical style. Edward died on 24 December 1867 at Henbury.

Jane was forced to move from Henbury when freak rainfall caused flooding and collapsed bridges. On 18 June 1872 there was a heavy storm lasting 10½ hours. That evening the embankments of three pools in Henbury gave way causing a torrent of water to flow down destroying bridges at Birtles, Alderley, Bagbrook and Shelford. The cost of repairs was £3,000, and the county surveyor successfully sued her for the damages.

Continuing with the Major’s other children. Martha (1805-1874) married Alexander Lingard, another business partner of her father. Thomas (1809-1836) died of injuries arising from a compound fracture of the leg when he fell from his horse whilst returning from Blackburn on 2 January 1836. Charles Marsland (1809-1877) we met at Brookfield. George Marsland (1811-1874) became Rector of Beckingham in Cheshire. Finally Ann (1803-1843) married the third of her father’s business partners, William Courtney Cruttenden, but died in childbirth on 23 September 1843. The children, a boy and girl, twins, survived.

Edward Marsland and Jane Haigh had two daughters, Jane (b 1850) and Helen Frances (1846-1937) who married Sir Lionel Edward Darell, a soldier and the two lived comfortably at Fretherne Court in Gloucestershire.

Jane Marsland put Henbury up for auction at the Macclesfield Arms in June 1874 and it was bought for £90,000 (£10.4m in 2021) by Thomas Unett Brocklehurst (1791-1886). Thomas was a member of a wealthy Macclesfield dynasty of Silk Merchants. He served as Sheriff of Cheshire and was twice mayor of Stockport. He was born at Lee Hall in Macclesfield in 1824 to Thomas Brocklehurst (1791-1870) and Martha Mary Unett (1790-1870).

He did not marry and retired to Henbury. He is notorious for supposedly releasing a pair of Grey Squirrels into the wild in 1876 which he had imported from the USA, thus causing the demise of Tufty*. In 1877 he hosted the Darrels on Helen Frances Marsland’s return to the home of her childhood.

Two years later in 1879 he set of on a world tour, taking three years to complete his travels. He first went to India and China, then crossed to Japan and San Francisco, then journeyed south to Mexico, writing a book Mexico To-day: A Country with a Great Future detailing his travels.

Returning to Henbury, he lived a quiet life until his death on 19 July 1886. He did not marry but his family continued to live at the Hall, whilst it slowly declined to such and extent that when Sir “Gerard” Vincent Ziani De Ferranti (1893-1980) bought Henbury in 1957 he had it demolished such was the delapidation, and he commissioned architect Harry Fairhurst to convert the stable block into a residential property for him.

Vincent, was the second son of Dr Sebastian Pietro Inncenzo Ziani De Ferranti (1864-1930), a Liverpool born electrical engineer who founded the Ferranti electronics dynasty. Vincent served as Chairman from 1930 to 1963 and is considered responsible for converting the company into a multi million pound organisation. His son, Sebastian and Felix Kelly a designer created an additional house in the style of a Palladian temple, completing the new building in 1986.

Sebastian lived at the house with his wife, Naomi until her death in 2003 and he died in 2018 after which the house was put on the market.

You can peruse the sale brochure here, if you have a few tens of million pounds to spare.

Let’s see some pictures:

Maccsketchers on Facebook have produced some lovely drawings of the current Hall, I particularly like this one by David Steeden.

© David Steeden

¹ Fans of Christopher Marlowe will be thrilled to know this is the same village which produced Edward’s lover Pier Gaveston.

² Also sometimes known as Maud.

³ It may have alternately come to Sir William through marriage, his father Amos was married to Ann Tatton, and the Davenport and Tatton families are heavily interlinked.

^ A report in the Manchester Courier of 14 January 1869 says this became a schoolhouse in Prestbury.

* The family has form, the son of one of his cousins, Henry Courtney Brocklehurst is said to have introduced wallabies to the Peak District.


East Cheshire Past & Present, John Parsons Earwalker : self published, 1877

Sir William Trussel at Wikitree

Oliver of Bordeaux at Edward II Blogspot

The History of the County Palatine of Chester, J H Hansall: Fletcher, 1817.

Past Times Of Macclesfield, Dorothy Bentley Smith : Amberley Publishing, 2016.

© Allan Russell 2021


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