100 Halls Around Manchester Part 76: Heyrod Hall, Heyrod.

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An old description of Heyrod Hall describes it as lying in sylvan beauty. It is still hidden away with fine views across the valley.

Around 1422 it belonged to John del Heyrod who paid a rent to the Lord of the Manor, Sir John de Assheton. It then passed into the Duckenfield family and rebuilt by an RW in 1638. After the Duckenfields it was in the possession of the Shelmerdines who lived there for around 150 years. This hall was demolished around 1845. The firm of Lawton and Shelmerdine operated one of the two contemporary woollen mills in the Ashton area in 1823. In 1782 a William Gartside lived there.

In 1822 the ownership passed into the hands of Ralph Ousey (1794-1856). It was Ralph who built the Printworks in the nearby valley and Printworks Road bears witness to the location of the mill. He also operated the nearby Black Rock Mill. Ralph’s cousin, Thomas Ousey was a local farmer and woolen manufacturer and he lived at Ridge Hill. One of his sons Thomas became a local auctioneer, and handled the sale of Heyrod after Ralph’s death.

Heyrod Hall, and the Printworks¹ Lancashire CV, 1848 © Ordnance Survey

Ralph moved into Heyrod around 1823 and in 1845 he rebuilt the hall. Ralph was born in 1794 to Samuel Ousey and Mary Bowers. He married Elizabeth Wood (1802-1840) in 1822 and the couple had two children, both of whom died young, John Wood Ousey in 1830, aged 6 and Mary Jane Ousey who was born in 1823 and died soon after. Ralph operated the Black Rock Mills and built Heyrod Mills (the Printworks). However he leased out Black Rock Mills in 1831 to James Butterworth of Rochdale and in 1843 it was let to Randle Bower. Black Rock Mill suffered a catastrophic fire in May 1845 and the flames raged for over an hour before fire engines arrived from Stalybridge. The fire was caused by grease from the old woollen mill catching light and the damage caused was well beyond its insured value. Over 100 people were thrown out of work as a result.

On the bright side, the smouldering ruins of the mill provided ample entertainment for the locals of Heyrod and Stalybridge, and over 1,000 people were said to have come on the Sunday to view the scene, lacking better attractions. Fortunately nobody was killed in the blaze.

In 1840 Ralph paid towards the consecration of St George in Stalybridge, and as part of the celebrations breakfast was served at Heyrod.

The building of the Manchester to Huddersfield railway line caused him some grief and he was one of the petitioners against the bill in parliament and ended up selling Heyrod Hall to the Railway company who occupied it during the construction of the railway line.

After living at Heyrod Ralph moved to Mersey View in Birkenhead then 7 Great George Square in Liverpool, but he eventually bought the Hall back from the Railway company. He died at number 7 on the 7 September 1855, and was buried at Cocker Hill Church in Stalybridge. A monument of a Madonna was constructed at St George, Stalybridge in his memory, but in 1936 the incumbent Reverend Stirrup was on a mission of modernisation and proposed its removal.

The good Reverend’s definition of removal of the ugly stone figure of a woman consisted of smashing it into a pile of rubble, and concreted over the resultant hole. Stirrup was also responsible for the destruction of the Victorian Chancel.

During the construction of the Railway, the house was occupied by John Willans Nowell (1806-1851) and his wife Sarah Percival.

John was the son of Joseph Nowell (1784-1836) the founder of Joseph Nowell and Sons. The Nowells were a Dewsbury family who had long been involved in stonemasonry and quarrying. Joseph built many bridges and churches and towards the end of his days became involved in the construction of canals and railways, including Wellington Bridge in Stockport which today still carries the A6 over the River Mersey and the original Manchester Infirmary. His last work was Holy Trinity Church in Ripon which he built with the help of his son, John

John Willans Nowell was born in 1806 in Dawesgreen near Dewsbury. He came to Stalybridge around 1824 to build a bridge over the River Tame, near the old Eagle Inn on Corporation Street. He married Elizabeth Simpson in 1828 in Ripon and the couple moved to Lawton Green in Congleton where he embarked on work to construct the chain of locks on the Macclesfield and Marple Canal. Shortly after that he was involved in the build of the Widnes Dock for the St Helens and Runcorn Gap railway, before moving down south in 1834 to help with the construction of the London and Birmingham Railway. After Elizabeth’s death he married again to Sarah Percival in Prestbury and between 1844 and 1851 the couple moved to Heyrod Hall where he worked on the Manchester and Huddersfield Railway. He is said to have made £80,000 (£11.5m in 2021) from his railway contracts.

The build of the Huddersfield railway was not an easy task and there were many legal wranglings over payments. This caused John a great deal of stress and after moving in 1851 to The Elms in Macclesfield, he died as a result of the worry on 21 December 1851. He was buried in Dewsbury.

John and Elizabeth’s daughter Margaret Nowell (1829-1881) married James Sidebottom (1824-1871), the youngest son of Edward Sidebottom a local cotton spinner. In 1861 Margaret and James are living at Heyrod Hall. James was born in 1824 at the Hydes in Stalybridge. In 1857 on the incorporation of Stalybridge he became one of the first Aldermen and rose to Mayor in 1857, laying the foundation stone for Victoria Market that year.

When Stalybridge became a parliamentary borough in 1868 he was nominated and elected as the town’s first MP. He tried to be a diligent MP, but disputes over his nomination and his regular trips to Westminster took a toll on his health and early in 1870 he took a turn for the worse. This was exacerbated by the bad winter of 1870 and his term was cut short by his death on 14 February 1871 at Acre Banks in Stalybridge, aged only 46. Margaret died ten years later in 1881.

Otho Hulme (1821-1884) was the next resident of the Hall, possibly living alongside the Sidebottoms as he had married James’ sister, Hannah (1829-1884?) in 1850. Otho operated many mills, including Black Park Mill in Ashton and Spring Vale Mills in Heaton Norris. He had offices in Canon Street in Manchester where the firm of Otho Hulme and Sons, founded by his grandfather, operated.

The couple lived at Heyrod until around 1869 when they moved to Barnfield in Prestwich, where he died on 11 May 1884. The couple had one son, Otho (1851-1851) who died in infancy.

After the Hulmes the house was occupied by James Hesketh Higg, a farmer. In 1877 we see Gracchus Hall (1837-1914) taking up residence. Gracchus was the son of Cotton manufacturer, Albert Hall (1805-1885) of Sour Acre in Stalybridge.

An enthusiastic athlete, Gracchus, and his brother Basil featured heavily in sporting events around the country. He competed in 100 and 440 yard sprint competitions at the Snipe Inn, Southport. He won silver medals in pole vaults and was a crack shot, winning prizes in tournaments. Not a bad hand at singing, he entertained the crowds at a grand soiree at St George in Stalybridge, revelling them with The Pilgrim of Love, then wooing them with the Maid of Llangollen in 1870. He served with the Astley Rifle Corps which gave him more opportunity to shoot, run and sing.

He first married in 1863, Clara Lees (1845-1875) the daughter of Henry Lees of Aspenshaw Hall in Derbyshire. The couple went to live in Bold Street in Southport, where he occupied himself with little else but his hobbies.

After she died he married in 1877 Louisa Mary Hibbert (1856-1889) the daughter of Edward Hibbert of Godley Hall, with whom he had five children. At this point he seems to have come a little more industrious and is described in succeeding census returns as a coffee planter, then an oil and leather merchant. Initially the couple lived at Heyrod Hall but soon moved to Mottram Road. After Louisa’s death he moved to Woodside Villa in Stalybridge, and around 1911 to Abergele, where he died at Cae Fron Bungalow, where he died on 9 September 1914.

Briefly at Heyrod in the late 1880s is Major General Francis Morley (1836-1892) of Marrick Park, Richmond in Yorkshire. The Major had extensive coal and lead mines in Yorkshire, and was in charge of the 63rd Regiment of Ashton Under Lyne during his stay at Heyrod, during which time he investigated the uses of crude gritty ochre in dyeing.

Before all this he had an illustrious army career, campaigning in China in 1860, serving also in Malaya in 1876 and India commanding a Gurka regiment. He married Grace Nicoll of Brightling Park in Sussex in 1887 and the couple’s two children, Grace Chaytor W Morley (b 1888) and Captain Herny Clervaux Chaytor Morley (1889-1970) were both born at Heyrod Hall.

We next see William Steeple (1834-1902) at the Hall. William was born in 1834 in Oldham and he rose to be a familiar figure on the Manchester Cotton Exchange. He started out as a bookkeeper in an Oldham cotton mill, but was an autodiact and soon rose to be a cotton salesman. He moved from Bank Top in Oldham to Lees Road and in 1898 was wealthy enough to be able to buy John Mayall’s old mill, Scout Mill as well as Spring Bank Mill. He married first Anna Crompton in 1856, but she died soon after, and he married Sarah Ann Ashton. He died in November 1902 at the house of his daughter Elizabeth in Birkdale and was buried at Chadderton Cemetery.

His daughter with Sarah, Marian Steeple (b 1857) married Harrop Mallalieu (1857-1923) and these became the next residents of Heyrod Hall. Harrop was born in Stalybridge in 1857 to John Mallalie and Martha Hardy. His father was a dealer in cotton waste and in 1871 the Mallalieu family are living at Wharmton View in Saddleworth. Harrop was soon managing a cotton mill in Stalybridge by 1891 and he married Marian Steeple on 13 September 1882 in Glodwick. The couple are living at Heyrod Hall in 1901. He operated Riverside Mills in Crookbottom, Ashton and by the following census they have moved to Croft House in Stalybridge. He died in 1923 on Fraser Street in Ashton Under Lyne.

Meanwhile Heyrod Hall was occupied by Albert Newton (b 1862) also a cotton merchant. He happened to have married another of William’s daughters, Ada Steeple, in 1884. The couple initally lived in Birkdale and Southport but by 1920 are back at Heyrod Hall where he is a director of Jackson and Steeple, cotton merchants.

By 1939 the house appears to have been divided into apartments, but happily that means it survives to this day, not having had councils trying to demolish it.

Let’s see some pictures:

¹ Also Woodfield and Staly Bank nearby


Bygone Stalybridge, Samuel Hill : Printed for the Author, 1907

St George Stalybridge

The Nowell Family – worth a read, amazing family

© Allan Russell 2021.


11 thoughts on “100 Halls Around Manchester Part 76: Heyrod Hall, Heyrod.

  1. Always a pleasure to read your histories. Regarding Nowell and the Macclesfield Canal, at Bosley the flight comprises only twelve locks. You could get to fourteen if you include the stop locks at Marple and Hall Green but I doubt if Nowell built both of those..


  2. Allan what a fantastic inside into the history of the house I fondly grew up in from 1968 till 1980 the current owner Brian Foster will love to read up on all this as he’s been looking into history of the Hall since he purchased it from my dad in the early 80′. If I can find any old photo’s on the Hall I’ll let you have them. The photo’s you have here are of the coaching & servants dwellings which are 1, 2, 4 Heyrod Hall. The Postal numbers of the actual Hall were 3 & 5 as was divided into two when we lived there. We were nuumber 3 & my grandad Joseph Noonan lived in number 5 to the right.


  3. I’m so excited to find this post. I have recently discovered that one of my ancestors Maria Morton/Moreton (Mariah Morton) born 1841 in Prestwich was a housemaid to Mr Otho Hulme – listed in the 1861 Hartshead Census. I wasn’t sure where they lived but think it must be Heyrod Hall now from this documented information. She married Martin Wood born in Heyrod. In 1871 onwards they lived in Rooden Lane, Prestwich. Maria might have worked for Otho at Barnfield in Prestwich. It would be lovely to find some pictures of her. Martin is listed in 1841 and 1851 Census living at Spring Grove, Millbrook. In 1861 he is living at Howard’s Houses, Spring Grove. It was a mystery how Martin met Maria but now clear that he met her in Stalybridge. He was a cotton spinner. If you have any information I would be grateful. Many thanks. Denise


    1. Hi Denise, I don’t have much information going right back to the 1800’s, as it has been many years since I lived there, I know the current owner Brian Foster and his wife Judith (jewels) Foster did a more indepth look in their home history. You may be able to look Jewels up on facebook. If I find out anything more I will let you now. Good luck in your search


  4. Hi Mick,
    Many thanks for your prompt reply. I have looked up Jewels Foster (Jude) on Facebook – Hope this is the correct lady! I will message her.
    I would be grateful if you could let me know the location of Heyrod Hall. It is mentioned in the information that the pictures are of the servants quarters – would this be where my great great grandmother lived when she was the housemaid?
    If you have any further information I would be grateful.
    Kind regards,


    1. Hi Denise yes the separate building in the original Halls photos would have been where the staff lived and around the back the coaches were stored. I have found a couple of old photos of the hall front where some staff are there but cannot attach them to you. But I knew one of the guys in the photo he was really old when I was a child I used to cut fire wood for him as he was blind (Joe Brierley).


      1. Hi Mick,
        Many thanks for your email and information. Would there be a way of sending me the photos? I know email addresses are not included in posts but are you on Facebook and I could message you with my email address.

        Kind regards,


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