Continuing our walk along Withy Grove and Shudehill, we come to Bradshaw Hall, which is also long gone. Its name survived until the coming of Metrolink in Bradshaw Street, which is now the site of the Shudehill tram stop, and also the site of another lost building, the Castle & Falcon pub¹.
It was built around 1512 as a town house for the Bradshaw family of Darcy Lever. We have already met one offshoot of this clan in the Regicide. Not content with blotting their copybook with the nobility, they also turned their attention on the peasantry.
The house stood between Bradshaw Street and Snow Hill. In front there was a garden, and a wall facing Shudehill.
Possibly the first inhabitant mentioned is Captain Bradshaw, who commanded 150 troops mustered from Mr Assheton of Middleton on the Parliamentary side during the siege of Manchester. He was posted on the Salford Bridge end of Deansgate, which he called the only place of manifest danger, greatest action and least defence. The men fought bravely and declared that they were prepared to lay down their lives in the battle for Manchester.
Robert Bradshaw was the younger brother of John Bradshaw of Bradshaw Hall in Bolton. He was captured the following year and died soon after his release.
We next meet John Bradshaw (1708-1777). He was the son of James Bradshaw (b 1679-1754) and Elizabeth Rigby of Darcy Lever. He married Elizabeth Peploe in 1735, the daughter of Samuel Peploe (1667-1752), The Bishop of Chester and Anne Browne of Shredicote (1669-1758). The couple will have met whilst Samuel was Warden of the Collegiate Church in Manchester. Peploe, like the Bradshaws was staunchly anti Catholic.
John Bradshaw was High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1753 and a few years later took part in one of the darker events in Manchester history. Between 1753 and 1757 the scarcity of food reaching the town had created discontent and on 6 June 1757 a mob raided the Shudehill Market, seizing food. There was little relief when the harvest did not benefit the poor of the town and on November 15th, 900 rioters came down from Clayton after laying waste to Corn Mills in the district. Bradshaw and Mr Bailey of Withington, a relative, had been warned and were awaiting the crowd.
The mob arrived in town at 11 o’clock and started throwing stones at his soldiers, killing one and wounding nine. The troops opened fire, killing three and wounding fifteen. The rioters regrouped nearby and destroyed a mill and burnt some haystacks. They then tried to release a prisoner in the dungeon on Salford Bridge. The authorities released the man, to quell further disturbances.
After that, John had a quiet life. He was a friend of John Byrom and died in 1777 being buried in the Collegiate Church. He had two daughters and one son. Ann Bradshaw (1738-1793) married Dr Charles White the driving force behind the Manchester Infirmary. Elizabeth (b 1741) married Radcliffe Sidebottom (1734-1817) in 1761. Radcliffe was the son of the Reverend Samuel Sidebottom, Rector of Middleton and Mary Radcliffe of Foxdenton. His son, James (b 1737) inherited the Darcy Lever Estate.
After him the Hall was untenanted and gradually fell into disrepair. In the early 19th century it was occupied by Stephen Sheldon, a wholesale and retail grocer and chandler. Sheldon moved to Swan Street in 1836 and it was rented by another grocer, Robert Jones.
In later years the building was overwhelmed first by residences then warehouses, until totally subsumed into the surrounding structures, although the frontage, oak staircase and shutters survived along with some windows until it was finally demolished in 1910.
Let’s see some pictures
¹ The Castle served a great pint of Burtonwood Ale, kept by landlord Sam and Norma, and I spent a few afternoons as a young articled clerk happily locked in (the occasional participating presence of the local constabulary assured that it would not be raided), during that long lost time when hostelries closed at 3pm. It also had a long history, it was said to have been the site of the Bishop of Manchester’s residence, and have in the cellar, passages leading to the Cathedral. This is borne out by two stained glass windows inside the building It also served as a women’s prison and was once the site of a public hanging. It survived the building of the Shudehill Metrolink Stop and stood folorn and closed fighting a demolition order, until the council flattened it overnight.
Manchester Streets & Manchester Men, T Swindells : Read Books, 2013.
The Great Civil War in Lancashire 1642-1653 E Broxap: Manchester University Press, 1971.
© Allan Russell 2022.
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