Below you’ll find the Halls. Click on a link to explore. If you are tired of them try the Stockport Halls or even if a glutton for punishment my attempt to walk around the Coast of England & Wales and other wanderings. I may do more, so to keep informed, follow my blog at the link.
The Romans settled in Manchester around 78AD near the confluence of the Irwell and the Medlock, building a timber fort for around 500 men. Around 200 AD it was refaced with stone and abandoned at the end of the fourth century AD. Afterwards the Saxons used the same Medlock site. Edwin built a fortress there and land in the vicinity was allotted to one of the Barons who is said to have chosen a similar spot for his mansion on the confluence of the Irk and Irwell.
This site may have been where the Romans had a summer camp¹. Nearby a watermill was erected on a narrow trench between the two rivers, standing on the spot between the Smithy Door and Millgate. Access to the mill was over a hanging bridge, giving the street its current name. It was well defended by natural resources, standing high above the river. On the Salford side the low lying ground was marshy. A stream starting at Spring Gardens ran into the Irwell
After the Conquest, William I granted an immense territory to Roger of Pictou, who bestowed the Manor of Manchester on Nigellus a Norman knight. Albert De Grelley married Nigellus’ daughter in 1129 and became the Lord Of the Manor in Manchester. The Grelleys remained Lords of the Manor until around 1313 when Thomas De Gresley died without issue. In 1316 John De La Warre married Joan, Thomas’ sister and became Lord of Manchester.
The De La Warres remained Lords of the Manor for a century. In 1356 Thomas De La Warre fought with distinction at the battle of Poitiers, King John Of France surrendered personally to him.
After Thomas died in 1426 the Manor passed to Sir Reginald West who was the son of Thomas’ half sister, Joan by her husband the third Lord West.
The West family remained owners of the Manor until 1579 when they sold it to John Lacy a clothworker of London for £3,000. He in turn sold it to the Lord Mayor of London, Nicholas Mosley, a few years later.
In 1422 a license was granted for the foundation of a Collegiate Church and Thomas West laid the first stone on July 28 that year and the next year the Baron’s Hall was converted into a residence for the clergy which is the building we now know as Chetham’s Library and College.
The church lost its Collegiate status in 1547 when Sir George Colliar, the warden was deprived by Edward VI² for denying the Kings’s supremacy. Edward took the college house, and other lands into his possession and demised them to the Earl Of Derby. Edward died young, aged 16 in 1553 naming Lady Jane Grey, his first cousin once removed, as his heir, in an attempt to cement the Protestant faith in England. However, Edward’s half sister Mary deposed her after nine days reverting the country to the Catholic faith and reinstating Colliar and the Collegiate Church. The lands given to the Earl of Derby were given back, but the College buildings stayed in the possession of the Derby family until the confiscation of their estates under the Commonwealth.
It was not until Elizabeth I took power in 1558 that the Protestant faith took a firm hold in England. Elizabeth made William Birch MA the Warden of the Church and took the lands and revenues of the College under Crown control. The Archbishop of York was entrusted with the supervision of the wardens and fellows of the College.
The warden in 1597, Dr John Dee along with Sir Ralph Barber and Robert Talsley, the clerk of the Church made the first survey of the Parish of Manchester which took six days to accomplish. Unfortunately his map is lost to history.
During the time that the Derby family owned the college building it is thought that it was used as a temporary residence by some members of the family. Their main residence in Manchester, Aldport Park, was sold by the Stanley family to the Mosleys in 1599. Old houses on the Irk near the college had the Stanley arms on them, which suggests these were used by their retainers.
In the Civil Wars, the old college buildings fell into ruin. Some parts were used as a prison, others to store weapons and gunpowder. Other parts were private dwellings.
Humphrey Chetham thought that the College buildings were suitable for his charitable foundation and he started negotiations with the Parliamentary commissioners to acquire it. After his death his trustees obtained the buildings from Charlotte De Remouille, the widow of the Seventh Earl Of Derby and on 5 August 1656 the Hospital was dedicated in the Great Hall of the College. Richard Hollingworth made a speech saying:
that the house had formerly been the haule or manor house of the Grelles or Gresleys lords of Manchester and was then called Baron’s Court or Baron’s yerde and afterwards it was built colledge wise for the inhabitation of the warden and fellows of the Collegiate Church of Manchester and called the Colledge and about one hundred years agoe was alienated to the Earl of Derbie and was accounted the Earl of Derbie’s house in Manchester whence he took occasion to complain of the late sale of the lands of the appropriated rectory in Manchester which he affirmed was most unjust and illegal He shewed also that from henceforth the sayd house could fitly and justly be called by noe other name than by the name of Mr Chetham’s Hospitall
Little or nothing remains of the original Baron’s Hall. Of the College, the main building was built by Thomas De La Warre around 1423. It is possible that the kitchen was the original refectory and possibly the Great Hall was in use from 1425. The Civil War did cause great damage to the building, so there will have been extensive repairs after the conflict. The bedrooms used by the fellows of the church were converted into the present library.
Let’s see some pictures, like many buildings in Manchester, The Baron’s Hall was replaced by a modern structure (albeit in medieval times), so it is just Chethams you get. Before that, I will leave you with a note from Henry Taylor in 1884 which suggests that worries for heritage in Manchester are not new:
Rumours have been afloat from time to time that the valuable site is to be sold and this venerable relic of the past destroyed should such an event occur it will not redound to the credit of the citizens of Manchester to part so easily with such a prize.
¹ The History Of Manchester, The Reverend John Whittaker: Murray 1771, but this is conjecture and no remains have been found. Actually most of what we think about the building which preceded the current medieval structure is guesswork as we have little evidence about the Baron’s Hall, just that it existed. However the siting of the church (now the Cathedral) and the discovery of Saxon remains here do lend weight to the theory. There are parts of the surviving building which could be relics of the original structure, but it’s turtles all the way down.
² Son of Henry VIII and first Protestant King of England.
Old Halls in Lancashire & Cheshire, Henry Taylor: J E Cornish, 1884
Dunham Massey Hall, known simply as Dunham Massey stands in an ancient deerpark south west of Altrincham. The manor has existed since at least Norman times. Watling Street runs past the Hall, and the Bollin flows to the south, on its way once to the Mersey, but now forming a crossroads with the Mersey and Ship Canal.
In 1086 the Manor of Dunham is recorded as in the possession of Hamon De Massey. He also owned Bowdon. Hamon had obtained the lands, probably by force from a saxon known as Elward. Hamon probably built a castle on the grounds. Hamon had a son, Hamon, who also named his son the same. This Hamon’s son and heir was Richard De Massey who held the castle against Henry II in 1173 during Hugh Of Chester’s rebellion. He also owned Bramall and Portwood amongst other lands. The fourth Baron Massey, again Hamon, founded the priory at Birkenhead. His son was again Hamon, his other son William founded the Tatton line of Masseys.
Massey ownership ended with the sixth Baron Hamon who married Isabel the daughter of Humphrey De Beauchamp. The marriage lasted a matter of hours as she died the same night. He then married her sister Alice and had four daughters and a son¹ who died young. He divorced Alice and married Joan Clinton, who was the sister of the Earl of Huntingdon. During his time Hamon granted a charter to Altrincham, thus establishing a free market in the town.
Having no male heir, he sold the estates to Oliver Ingham, the Justice of Chester. He died around 1342, the line now died out. His daughters tried to seize back the Manor whilst Oliver de Ingham was in France having been made Steward of Gascony. Long legal battles ensued until the Duke of Lancaster bought out all parties and gave the property to Roger Strange, the Lord Of Knocking, who was descended from Ingham by marriage.
The manor then stayed with the Strange family until the reign of Henry V when the Booth family come into the picture. In 1402 Richard De Venables, the heir to the Bolyn estates drowned in the Bollin and his sisters, Alice and Dulcia inherited. Dulcia (c1400-1453) married Robert Booth (1392-1460) of Manchester in 1409. Robert took his seat at Dunham.
Robert and Dulcia had a son, William whose son, George, married Catherine De Montfort, the heir of Robert De Montfort. This brought great wealth and estates into the family, as did his son, William who married Margaret, the co heiress of Thomas Ashton of Ashton Under Lyne
Their son, George Booth (1622-1684) rallied the last Royalist troops in the Chester uprising during the Civil War, and led them to defeat at Winnington Bridge in 1659. He was captured and briefly imprisoned, but released on the Restoration and awarded a peerage, becoming the First Baron Delamer of Dunham Massey. He married first, Lady Catherine Clinton, the daughter of the Earl of Lincoln, and on her death married Lady Elizabeth Grey, the daughter of Henry, the Earl of Stamford.
George made substantial improvements to the house at Dunham Massey, making an outward court and brick wall and building a new north wing.
His son Henry (1651-1693) succeeded him in the Booth and Staley estates. Seeing the threat of the Duke Of York making alliances with Catholic enemies in France, Henry was an ardent supporter of the Bill of Exclusion. This caused him great issues as the Duke’s influence grew, and he was imprisoned briefly in the Tower.
Things got worse when the Duke ascended the throne as James II and he was imprisoned a further two times. Henry had worked hard to eliminate corruption from the judiciary and they came to his rescue, parliament was prorogued and Henry put on trial for treason. After an eloquent defence he was found not guilty and returned to Dunham abstaining from public life for a few years.
Until 1688 that is, when William of Orange arrived in England. Henry mustered a large force of men to stand by him, promising that he would renew their leases to their children, and joined with the Prince of Orange on his way to Windsor.
On his arrival there, Henry was sent with the Marquis of Halifax and Earl of Shrewsbury to King James to tell him to quit the palace. A remarkable turn of events for a man who had been on trial for treason a few years earlier.
As a reward William made him a Privy Councillor and Earl of Warrington as well as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire. He was also awarded a pension of £2,000pa²
The line continued to the 7th Earl of Stamford, George Harry-Booth Grey (1827-1883). He was a keen sportsman, playing eight first class matches for the MCC between 1851 and 1858, being master of the Quorn from 1856-1863 and a patron of the Turf, winning the 2,000 guineas in 1861.
He first married Elizabeth (Bessie) King Billage (d 1854) in 1848. This caused great ripples. Bessie was the daughter of a Cambridge shoemaker, and snubbed by Manchester Society. George abandoned Dunham Massey, vowing never to set foot there again. He married Catherine Cox in 1855 and although he did relent, he never again considered Dunham to be his home.
During this time the house was rented out, first to Robert Platt (1802-1882) and his wife Margaret Higgins (1819-1888). Robert was a cotton manufacturer and entered his family business as manager of his father’s Bridge Street Mill in Stalybridge. He married Margaret on 11 September 1839 at the Collegiate Church in Manchester. He built more mills at Quarry Street and Albion Mills. The couple lived first at the Woodlands on Mottram Road before renting Dunham Massey and finally settling at Dean Water in Woodford.
In 1870 they funded the building of a Public Baths in Stalybridge for the people of the town, and endowed £2,500 (£320,000 in 2022) to provide for the upkeep of the amenity. Robert was also a keen supporter of the Arts, and gave money to Chester Cathedral and Owens College.
The Hall was then rented by Thomas Andrew Walker (1828-1889). Thomas was born in Brewood, Staffordshire and studied engineering at Kings College in London. He started his career in the first great railway boom, surveying future lines, including the Grand Trunk Railway in Canada.
He spent nine years in Canada building railways for the Government of the Lower Provinces, returning to England in 1861 only to travel to Russia to survey the Orel and Vitespik line in Russia, followed by a stint in Egypt building railway lines there.
Arriving back in England he accepted the management of the contracts for the Metropolitan Railway and construction of the Metropolitan District Line. He designed the Severn Tunnel for Sir John Hawkshaw, although he felt that one subaqueous tunnel enough for a lifetime. Other works of note were Barry Dock and Railway , Preston Dock and Buenos Aires docks.
His time at Manchester was spent on as sole contractor in charge of the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. He completed this task at the same time as he was supervising work at Barry and in Buenos Aires. The Ship Canal made Manchester a Seagoing port, and Thomas was the man who achieved that. During this time, he ensured that his men had adequate accomodation and hospital facitilies.
The strain of all this shortened his life, and he died of Brights disease after returning from Buenos Aires, not being able to witness the completion of his masterwork.
Returning to the Grey family George Harry Booth Grey died at Bradgate House in Leicestershire. The Earldom of Warrington became extinct and Dunham passed to his third cousin once removed, the Reverend Harry Grey (1812-1890) who became the 8th Earl of Stamford.
Harry was living in Cape Colony and working as a labourer and miner. He married three times, the last time to a freed slave, Martha. The couple never returned to England to see their estate. On his death the title passed to WIlliam Grey, the ninth Earl (1850-1910) who was lecturing at Codrington College Barbados as Professor of Classics and Philosophy.
William returned to England and came to Dunham on 3 August 1906 and worked on bringing the Hall up to date after its long years of neglect, installing electricity. When he died in 1910, his son, Roger (1896-1976) was only 13. He took over the estate in 1917 and lived his life as a recluse in the Hall. Whilst it was used as a military hospital during the First War and POW campt in the second he rarely opened the house to the public.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth dined at Dunham on 17 July 1946, hosted by Roger and his mother Elizabeth Louise Penelope Theobald (1865-1959). Roger died in 1976 and the lines died out with him. He left Dunham Massey to the National Trust.
Let’s see some pictures:
¹ Hamon, incase you wondered.
² Only paid for six months, and stated on a list of King William’s debts, drawn up by Queen Anne.
³ Unveiling the busts, the mayor, Alderman Kirk said they were very good specimens of art, the bust of Mrs Platt was perhaps not so good a likeness as the other, but taking them together they did very great credit to the sculptor….
A History of Altrincham & Bowdon, Alfred Ingham : Mackie, Brewtnall & Co, 1879
The History of the County Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster, Edward Baines: Brooke Herford, Croston, 1889.
Tatton occupies a strange world between local council management and National Trust ownership. Perhaps of all the buildings in this series, it is the most commercially run. That has guaranteed its survival and popularity to this day.
From the reign of Henry III until the late 15th century, Tatton was the seat of the Masseys of Dunham, after which it passed by marriage to William Stanley of Holt Castle in Denbigh, after which the Brereton family had ownership. Richard Brereton of Tatton settled his estates before 1598 on Sir Thomas Egerton who was Lord Chancellor and the ancestor of the Earls of Bridgewater. We have met the Egerton family already at Wythenshawe.
Originally there was an old hall, which still stands, but Samuel Egerton (1711-1780) commisioned Samuel Wyatt (1737-1807) to build a new Hall. Samuel was not only a busy and prodigious architect, he came from a family who between 1750 and 1850 produced twenty architects. Much of the work he did on London houses has long disappeared, but his country houses form the basis of his reputation today. Tatton was perhaps his greatest achievement, and headache.
It was a project that occupied the greater part of his career. The earliest detailed plans for a new building date from 1774, which suggests that he had already been working some time on the designs. Samuel’s brother , James was also busy from 1772-1776 on another Egerton family project, Heaton Hall.
Samuel Wyatt’s task was to enlarge a three storey brick structure that had undergone extensive refurbishment in the 18th century under Thomas Pritchard (1723-1777) who had added new dining and drawing rooms.
Egerton had a problem. Pritchard’s work lacked symmetry, the offices were not large enough and there was not space for his extensive library. Wyatt’s initial plans did not address these problems but eventually an extension for library and billiard room were added as well as a new kitchen (which design was crossed out by Egerton). These plans were also rejected, but eventually he started looking at larger schemes which encompassed an entire remodelling of the Hall, making Wyatt not only builder but designer.
However the plans were put on hold when Samuel Egerton died in 1780. His nephew William Egerton (1749-1806) took the reigns as he had inherited. Several new designs were submitted including these:
These were all rejected and William came to the conclusion that the refurbishment of the old house was not going to work. It would have to be a complete reconstruction. For this funds would have to be raised, so a bill was submitted to the House of Lords, enabling them to sell timber from the estate to build a new house at Tatton, and a private Act of Parliament enabling money to be raised on leasing land and selling timber was passed in 1784.
In 1785 Wyatt produced plans for the foundations which contained oak timbers covered in mortar to prevent rotting in order to stop subsidence¹ from brine extractions underground. That December he left London to organise a building schedule at Tatton.
The new house was built in two parts. The west end and offices were built, and the east side of the old house was left for the family to live in. When the west side was completed they could move there and let the east side be demolished and rebuilt. The west side was completed first and contained a seven bay orangery which was converted into family rooms during the build on the east side.
All this was completed by 1789 and two years later work came to a halt as funds ran out. Only one third of the main block had been completed, and the hall and salon were not even started. Existing rooms had not been decorated (a planned music room with an organ similar to the one in Heaton Hall lay in abeyance).
And so things remained until 1806 when William Egerton, perhaps fearing an unfinished legacy returned to Wyatt and commissioned more plans. These were necessarily much reduced in scale but Wyatt’s skills ensured that continuity of design was maintained.
The intended music room was now an entrance hall, Lewis Wyatt (1777-1853), Samuel’s nephew, completed an interconnecting drawing and music room. The plans for the library were changed so an extension was achieved without spoiling the symmetry of the building.
Then William Egerton and Samuel Wyatt died shortly after one and other and the baton was handed on the William’s son, Wilbraham Egerton (1832-1909), and Lewis Wyatt. Lewis produced five different designs and the one finally chosen was an adaptation of the original 1785 plan, making the exterior works mainly Samuel’s and the interior his nephews.
The final design was a success an 1845 guide describes it as a seat where taste and comfort appear throughout more uniformly combined with chaste magnificence.
During the Second World War Tatton became a practice ground for trainee paratroopers, including Frank Muir², as Ringway was considered too busy for the novices with a 1,090m landing strip being laid down for Wellington bombers. Maurice Egerton’s (1874-1958) co-operation was an immense boost to the success of paratroop training and in 1941 Winston Churchill inspected the progress and watched an exercise. By 1943 92,000 jumps had been carried out with only 26 fatalities, further training reduced this death rate even further. Thousands of these troops descended in Normandy on D Day and 600 were at the first drop at Arnhem (however only 100 returned). The actress Cicely Paget-Bowman (1907-2005) who served as an ambulance driver described how she saw a parachute not open properly and two arms groping up, he had gone that deep into the ground that his neck had broken.
The house remained in the Tatton family until the death of Maurice Egerton (1874-1958). This gave rise to the strange situation the hall exists in today. Lord Egerton bequeathed the park and hall to the Nation on the understanding that both were taken. The National Trust was not interested in the Hall, and local authorities could not afford the upkeep of both. The Lyme Park model was seen as a model plan and in the end the Trust took ownership whilst it leased the Hall, Gardens and Park at a peppercorn rent for 99 years to Cheshire County Council.
Naturally the council worked hard at madcap schemes to diminish the grounds, suggesting laying dozens of playing fields for schools, building a sports stadium but finally after incurring £213,828 (£5m in 2022) on refurbishment the hall and grounds were opened to the public on 30 May 1962 attracting over 105,000 visitors by September that year and by 1971 was the top National Trust attraction in the UK, toppling Churchill’s Chartwell from the top spot with 159,074 paying entrants.
The Egertons were never ones to court scandal or make great political strides, and perhaps the lack of great commercialisation and low key family has maintained the popularity of the house. Sir Thomas Egerton who first lived there, was a friend of Elizabeth I as well as being Lord Chancellor to James I.
Peter Egerton Warburton (1813-1889) was the first European to cross the continent from the centre to the west when they left Alice Springs to ride to the Oakover River between April 1873 and January 1874. An Egerton relative, Samuel Hill (1691-1758) (Rowland Hill’s cousin and Samuel Egerton’s uncle) was first British Consul in Venice and a friend and patron to Canaletto. This gained Tatton two large paintings by the Venetian Master. Samuel inherited his fortune, allowing him funds for the build perhaps.
Tatton’s glory was during the 19th Century when entertaining was on a grand scale. The First Baron (William) held a Ball in 1861 when he wanted his daughters marrying off. 224 guests attended. Lady Stanley of Alderley wrote to her husband after one evenings entertainment Did I tell you there was a bad smell at Tatton? Fancy my nerves when I found out it was Lord Ellesmere. The previous month she had complained about a party game which involved married guests carrying out coarse and vulgar conversations, which the Comte De Paris said would not be allowed in the Palais Royal.
The Second Baron, Wilbraham Egerton (1832-1909), installed electric light, built a railway under the house to transport coal to all the fireplaces. He entertained the Shah Of Persia, The Crown Prince of Siam and the Prince and Princess of Wales (the future Edward VII). He was a keen huntsman and the catch was never smaller than 2,000 head of game. However, he spent so much time in London on top of this that his wife still complained that she had never seen Tatton in the Spring. He was chairman and sponsor of the Manchester Ship Canal Company up until its opening. He cut the first sod at Eastham in 1887 and bailed it out when it had financial problems.
Maurice Egerton was friends with the Wright Brothers, flying with them and helping in their early experiments, even landing planes at Tatton. Maurice lived at Tatton and in Kenya where we was a leading tea planter. His 1900 Benz was the first car registered in Cheshire, with the plate M1. He was an early radio ham, travelled the world hunting game, staked a claim for a gold mine in the Yukon and lived for a while with nomads in the Gobi.
Before I go, I will tell a tale of Tatton Hall in Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina. This was commissioned by an almost namesake, Norman E Edgerton (1898-1995) a tobacco magnate. It clearly owes inspiration to the Cheshire pile.
Pay a visit, it’s worth it, the Cheshire one I mean.
Let’s see some pictures:
¹ In 1935 the hall was threatened thus and a summer house was completely ruined. A lake many acres wide had been formed and had reached to within 300 metres of the Hall.
² He was part of the photographic section, taking slow motion film, so that the risk of roman candles or parachutes which did not open could be reduced. He also took pictures of SOE trainees in a nearby Edwardian House.
Samuel Wyatt, D Phil Thesis By John Martin Robinson, Oriel College 1973
Remains, Historical and Literary, Connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester: Chetham Society, 1845
This time we will leave Casson and Berry’s map, an look at a house that they overlooked. Whilst all the central Manchester homes they displayed have long since disappeared, this one has survived, this despite it being described as unpretentious in Cornish’s Guide of 1857. Manchester is a Victorian City, this is the only surviving Georgian House in Manchester with a central block and wings. However the wing facades have been removed for those glass frontages you can see below….. It is listed as well.
In the late 17th/ early 18th century there was a move towards the King Street area. The first substantial building was the Cross Street Chapel. The Jacobite citizens of town constructed James’ Square and a prestigious street leading from it. James Square disappeared after the rebellion of 1745.
At number 12 (now 35) Dr Peter Mainwaring (c 1694-1785) built a fine house. Peter was the son of Peter Mainwaring of Wynbunbury and a member of a relatively well to do family, the Mainwarings of Kermincham in Cheshire. He was at one point heir in remainder to the estate. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, gaining his BA in 1716 and MA in 1720 and by 1725 he was practising medicine in Manchester. He married Ann Malyn on 28 April 1731 in Ashton Upon Mersey. There was no evidence of him actually receiving a medical qualification at Trinity.
Ann was the daughter of Dr Robert Malyn (b c 1660), and his wife Katherine Massey. Robert had inherited the Manor of Sale through marriage to Katherine and on the death of their sons Robert in 1727 and the Reverend Massey Malyn (1688-1729) the estate descended to Ann and her sister Katherine (b 1689). Katherine married Walter Noble and moved to Lichfield.
Ann and Peter settled in King Street and when Manchester Infirmary was founded he was one of the original physicians appointed. In 1782 he presented his collection of books to the hospital, effectively establishing the library and was made Physician Extraordinary. He also played a great role in the cultural life of Manchester, being the founding President of the Literary and Philosophical Society in 1785.
Socially he was a good friend of the poet, John Byrom, although when it came to the Brexit issue of the day, the men differed, Byrom was a Jacobite and Peter firmly on the side of the Loyalist cause. For this Elizabeth Byrom, his daughter mocked him endlessly for his views, saying that he went around endlessly:
frightening folks— namely, my Uncle and Aunt Ann, and that he says that the rebels have done nothing but what a rabble without a head might have done.
He played his part in the rebellion, as Elizabeth wrote:
Dr. Mainwaring ordered the bellman to go round and give notice to all the inhabitants of the town that they are desired to rise and arm themselves with guns, swords, shovels, or any other weapons, and go stop all the ends of the town to prevent the rebels from coming for two hours, and the King’s forces will be up with them ….. I saw the doctor on horseback in the midst of the mob encouraging them much and promising them to send all the country in as he went (for he ran his way as soon as he had done), and accordingly he did, for all the country folk came in with scythes, sickles, etc. He also sent a party of townspeople to Cheadle on a fruitless errand to destroy the ford over the Mersey there.
Had he succeeded in blocking the ford the Jacobites would have had their northern retreat cut off, and the Duke of Cumberland could have caught them. However, it didn’t happen and Elizabeth noted that the troops crossed the ford, came back to Manchester and visited Dr Mainwaring, where they were in Elizabeth’s words a little rough.
He also served as a justice of the peace and as such he had issues with one of the employees of the infirmary, one Ann Lee (1736-1784) also known as the Mother of the Shakers. She appeared before him in 1772 on an assault charge, and given her past conduct and record, he asked her to give a guarantee of good behaviour. This she refused, and was fined 6d (2½p) and sentenced to a month’s imprisonment.
However, the following year she was arrested again for wilfully and contemptously disturbing divine service and received a £20 fine. Soon after this she departed for America.
Peter Mainwaring died on 30 December 1785 and his obituary was at least a little kinder to him, the Manchester Mercury wrote that he was:
A gentleman highly respected for his integrity and public services in the line of his profession, and as a magistrate and greatly beloved by all who had the happiness of his acquaintance.
Next to move into the house was a tea dealer from Market Sted Lane, John Jones (d 1775)who had diversified into banking. This is not as unusual an occurence as you would think. Twinings had a banking operation before being taken over by Lloyds. Tea dealers had high turnover, and plenty of loose change. John Jones himself was often seen in his shop straightening bent tea chest nails with a hammer.
John married Sarah Mottershead, the daughter of the Reverend Joseph Mottershead (1668-1771) and Elizabeth Bennett. The Reverend was born in Stockport on 17 August 1688 and trained as a methodist minister. From 1708 to 1717 he was Minister at Nantwich and Kingsely then Minister at the Cross Street Chapel from 1718-1771. He narrowly avoided danger in 1745, having discovered that the Jacobites planned to kidnap him and demand £2,500 from his congregation (£600,000 in 2022). Tipped off by a lady who knew him, instead James Bayley was ransomed. The Reverend married three times in all, including the widow Rebecca Gaskell who was the mother of Clive Of India.
After John Jones’ death, the bank was run by his sons, Samuel (1746-1819), Joseph Daniel and William (d 1821) His daughter Sarah (1796-1883) married Lewis Loyd (1768-1858) a preacher at Dob Lane Chapel in Failsworth.
The bank moved into King Street around 1788. Soon after they had to react nimbly following the collapse of Byrom, Allen, Sedgwick & Place. To avoid a rush of depositors wanting to withdraw their funds, they quickly applied new paint to all the woodwork in the premises. Fear of damaging clothes with wet paint overcame fear of loss of funds, and the bank survived
The Loyd family the took the bank forwards into the 19th century. William Loyd (1729-1800) their father was a farmer from Cwm Y To near Llandovery in Camarthenshire. He married Ann William in 1765 and they had seven children.
Lewis was the first of these children to come to Manchester. He rode there in 1789 and became a supply preacher at Dob Lane in 1790 but after his marriage to Sarah Jones was persuaded to join the Bank. His brother, Edward (1780-1863) came to Manchester around 1797 and was employed as a teller at Jones & Co on King Street. By 1805 he was a partner in the bank and married Sarah Taylor in Blackley in 1809.
By 1821 Edward had risen to become head of the bank, now known as Loyd, Entwistle and Company of King Street. Edward and his family were the last people to have King Street as a family home. After them it was solely used as bank premises.
Lewis went to London to set up the London branch and after Sarah’s death married Catherine Lloyd (1772-1798). In 1835 he obtained a grant of Arms from the Herald’s College in London for his father and his father’s descendants.
When Lewis died he left a fortune of £2m (over £¼ billion in 2022) which he left to his only son, Samuel Jones Loyd (1796-1883) who became MP for Hythe from 1819-1826. He became Lord Overstone having increased his father’s fortune to £5m (£0.65bn in 2022)
Another brother, William Loyd (b1770) went to London where he became a merchant and warehouseman. Thomas Loyd (1775-1853) became a Calico Printer with Loyd and Price in Manchester on Cross Street and lived on Ardwick Terrace. The only daughter to survive Jane married Lewis Davies and the couple stayed in Wales looking after their parents.
Loyd Entwistle bank was eventually taken over by the District Bank and ended up as a National Westminster Bank until 1993. It was a forward looking bank, as early as 1855 it put forward ideas for decimal coinage, we could be using the Royal penny, there were to be 100 to 10s (50p).
Since then the King Street House has been many things, including a Clothes Shop, a Virgin Weddings Shop and was listed in 1952.
Let’s see some pictures:
Central Manchester A History Tour, Jean & John Bradbury: Amberley Publishing, 2018
Cornish’s Strangers Guide To Manchester & Salford: J&T Cornish, 1857
NOT HAVING THE FEAR OF GOD BEFORE HER EYES’ The Scandals and Quarrels of the Masseys of Sale,and Their Descendants, Jill Groves : Ashton & Sale Historical Society, 2018.
Ann the Word The Story of Ann Lee, Female Messiah, Mother of the Shakers, the Woman Clothed with the Sun, Richard Francis: Arcade, 2013
Sketches of the Lives and work of the Honorary Medical Staff of the Manchester Infirmary, Edward Mansfield Brockbank : Manchester University Press, 1904
Mercantile Manchester, Past & Present, John Mortimer: Lulu 2016
We will continue our wander through Casson and Berry in 1741 and visit Mr Dickenson.
On the north side of Market Street Lane stood the last survivor of the Manchester Street Improvements Act of 1821 – The Palace Inn. The Act empowered the council to widen the thoroughfares. The legislation provided for fair compensation to be awarded to any individual whose business was affected, but some buildings had up to fifteen feet removed from their frontage, and were as a result totally demolished. Naturally a number of court cases arose from this as people demanded fair compensation.
The Palace Inn had previously been known as Mr Dickenson’s House. This was the house in which in 1745 Bonny Prince Charlie was quartered. The house was the best in town, and befitting the Pretender. It was built of red brick and was large and comfortable inside. Infront there was a paved court with steps leading to the door.
John Dickenson (ca 1726-1810) who had the house when Prince Charles stayed, served as Boroughreeve of Manchester in 1749. In 1738 he was Lord of the Manor of Taxal and purchased four lime kilns there, maintaining a town house in Manchester. He sold the lime into Manchester. At the time the Peak Forest Canal had not been built so the lime had to be carried by horse to the customer. This involved over 85,000 horse loads being transported, carrying around 5,600 tons of lime per annum. He married Sarah Cheetham (1726-1780) of Mellor and they had one son and two daughters. Sarah Dickenson (d 1836) remained unmarried, Elizabeth Dickenson married a knight of the Order of Malta, Chevalier Giovanni Domenico Palombi in Taxal in 1791, and settled in Naples.
His son, also John (1757-1842) we met briefly before when he purchased Birch Hall¹. He was born in Taxal and married Mary Hamilton (1756-1816). Mary was the daughter of Charles Hamilton (1721-1771) and Mary Catherine Dufresne (d 1778)². She was highly educated and very well connected in Society. Queen Charlotte appointed her as Royal Governess, and in this role she had to maintain a defence against the amorous intentions of the future King George IV (1762-1830) who wrote to her on 25 May 1779, revealing the name of the lady whom he loved.
I now declare that my fair incognita is your dear dear dear Self…Your manners, your sentiments, the tender feelings of your heart, so totally coincide with my ideas, not to mention the many advantages you have in form & person over many other Ladies, that I not only highly esteem you, but even love you more than Words or ideas can express.
The Prince wrote over 138 letters to her between April and December 1779. However, despite this she maintained a chaste relationship with her Royal admirer, chastising him for swearing and his many adventures with women. The correspondence continued until George met his first mistress, the actress, Mary Robinson. She was finally permitted to retire from Court in 1782 and became a member of the bluestocking circle, becoming friends with Frances Burney, and Samuel Johnson amongst others. She even saw Monsieur Lunardi, one of James Sadler’s rivals ascend in a balloon on 13 August 1784, although she reports that she had.
been made very sick by the horrid Smell of it. I was rejoiced to breathe even yẹ Air of yẹ Strand. in coming home I went into two Shops buying a Morng. Gown & Threads etc
Fortunately she was able to go shopping.
She married John Dickenson in 1785 – he had already asked once and been rejected in 1780 – and it was he who entered her social circle. The couple lived at Taxal and the Prebendal House near Leighton Buzzard which they purchased on June 30 1797. John was deeply in love with Mary and considered the greatest punishment he could suffer would be to be separated from the woman he adored. Mary’s friends clearly saw that she was of a higher social standing, calling her his better half.
The house suited both parties and they spent many years there, John spent his time in the noble sports of hunting shooting and coursing hares until they moved permanently to 32 Devonshire Place in London in November 1809, which was eminently more suitable for Mary’s social circle.
The Dickenson line appears to have died out at this point, Mary and John had one daughter, Louisa Mary Frances Dickenson (1787-1837) who married William Anson, the First Baronet Anson (1772-1847), a general in noted for his services in the Peninsular war. He became Baron Anson of Birch Hall in 1831. One of their children, George Henry Grenville Anson (1820-1898) became Rector of St James Birch Hall and then Archdeacon of Manchester from 1870-1890.
The Dickenson family had consolidated their fortune by marrying into the nobility. However by the end of the 18th Century they had left Manchester, forsaking it for the noble life they were able to purchase by marrying their wealth into families seeking funds from dowries. The Ansons maintained property at Birch, but leased it out to tenants. Their connections with Birch and Manchester can be read here.
John had sold off the part of the Birch Estate and lands in Rusholme, and today we remember him in Dickenson Road and Anson Road. His family continued the disposal selling off the more lands in 1873 so the Victoria Park Estate could be built.
After John left his house on Market Street, it was converted to an Inn. The building had been facetiously referred to as The Palace since 1745 and that became the name of the hostelry with mine host John Blease. It was the starting point for the London Coach, the Lord Nelson at 5am every morning. Mrs Linneaus Banks wrote how it survived those fifteen years since the Manchester Street Improvements Act in isolated dignity before being demolished in May 1838 with common stone warehouses for everyday merchandise. Having fallen into disrepair the previous year and lain empty ever since.
The Palace name survived until the coming of the Arndale Centre in Palace Square and Palace Street, but even that had faded into distant memory when in 1914 the Market Street Picture House was opened, by 1938 the folk of Manchester believed Palace Street was named for the Picture Palace³. The mansion once owned by John Dickenson and where Prince Charles Edward Stuart, was occupied by a cinema whose last presentation before demolition was Where are you going all naked in 1974.
Let’s see some pictures:
¹ He was so honoured with his visitor that he took the bed in which Charles had slept with him when he moved to Rusholme. It was sold around a century later.
² Mary was the niece of Sir William Hamilton who married Emma, the mistress of Lord Nelson. John Dickenson met her and wrote to Mary that her beauty was such that her portraits did not do her justice.
³ Manchester Guardian 9th May 1938.
A Booke of Olde Manchester & Salford, Alfred Darbyshire : Heywood 1887
Old Manchester: A Series of Views: J E Cornish, 1875
Views in Lithography of Old Halls in Manchester, Henry Gould James, 1821
Continuing our tour around Casson and Berry’s Manchester of 1751, we come to Thomas Touchet’s residence on Deansgate. The house is not on the 1746 plan, but does appear five years later. However unlike last time, Messrs C&B have not provided a key for us to see exactly where the property was.
Thomas Touchet (c1678-1744) was have been born in Warrington. Whilst he became a wealthy Manchester merchant by marrying well, he also claimed lineage to the Barons Audley of Hedleigh who were Touchets. It was not so. He was described variously as a Pinmaker and Dealer in Fustians and Cottons. He married Mary Sworton and possibly also Mary Ainsworth¹. The family were strict dissenters, worshipping at Cross Street Chapel, and later at the Stand Chapel in Whitefield, where Thomas and his sons served as Trustees.
Sarah died in 1742, Thomas in 1745, leaving a great fortune of £20,000 (£5m in 2022). The Daily Advertiser of 14 March 1745 wrote saying he was : the most considerable merchant and manufacturer of that place (Manchester). He has left a large fortune to his family, who are inconsolable for his loss; as he was remarkable for great abilities and strict integrity in trade and for universal benevolennce and usefulness to mankind. His death is esteemeda great loss to the county of Lancashire and to the publick in general.
Thomas and his spouse(s) had at least five sons, and one daughter. It is on the baptism of his daughter that we find Thomas is a pinmaker. Of the sons, Samuel Touchet (1705-1773) is the most notorious. He went to London to represent his father’s firm there. He married Dorothy Hallows and the couple had several children.
Samuel had interests in the import of raw cotton from the West Indies and Middle East and was not a friend of Manchester, favouring imports over the domestic trade, as depicted in the cartoon below. Here he is shown grasping the golden fleece while ignoring £1,200 pa of English goods in favour of £36,000 of French imports. The devil is dressed as a Frenchman, and refers to his Belle Amy, a pun on William Bellamy, a textile merchant.
Had Touchet succeeded in forming a monopoly with Lewis Paul and John Wyatt, the inventors of the first powered cotton machines in Birmingham, Manchester’s history of Cottonopolis may not have happened.
Nevertheless, this alliance made him wealthy, and to add further ignominy he diversified into the sugar and slave trades, chartering two ships out of Liverpool in 1757 and 1761 carrying over 1,000 slaves.
He was MP for Shaftesbury from 1761-1768 but lost a fortune in the financial crisis of 1761, his business interests being taken over by his creditors, only being protected from total ruin by parliamentary privilege. As a result of this, Parliament removed the right of privilege for MPs in bankruptcy in 1765, the Act was however, not retrospective.
And, in the words of Frank Carson, there’s more. As an MP and advisor to Charles Townsend, he personally drafted the American taxes in 1767 which also ended up rather badly in Boston Harbour in 1773.
Samuel died of apoplexy, from which many of you may now be suffering, on 28 May 1773 at his house in Westminster.
His next son, John Touchet (1704-1767) married Sarah Bayley (d 1742) at the Collegiate Church. They had at least two daughters, Sarah (b1739) and Mary (1737-1804) and one son, James (1742-1827). James married Esther Wilkinson, the dedicatee¹. He was a trustee of a number of charities, and the Manchester Infirmary as well as a Vice President of the Manchester and Salford Savings Bank. He lived at 29 King Street, the site of St Ann’s Arcade today.
Thomas Touchet (1709-1786) continued initally to live at his father’s house on Deansgate. During the Civil War the house was occupied by Lord Elcho, as it was not deemed grand enough, being partly used as a warehouse. Thomas also continued trade of his father along with his brothers as James, Thomas and John Touchet, Check and Fustian Manufacturers of Pall Mall. Thomas was the first resident of King Street in 1770, building a house there.
Thomas married three times, and died on 14 June 1786, aged 77. He was buried in Cross Street Chapel. His three wives lie in the same grave as him.
His son, also Thomas, was educated at Manchester Grammar School, the only family member to attend the school. The King Street property remained in the family for a number of years, passing to John Touchet, his nephew, who traded as John and James Touchet, Merchants of Chancery Lane.
John retired to Broome House in Eccles, but retained his King Street property and died on 6 October 1837 and was buried with his (one) wife at Cross Street Chapel. He had no male issue and only one daughter (Frances) who married the Reverend Nicholas James Ridley of Hollingdon House Newbury and Hyde Park in London. The family business interest was then represented by Samuel Cottam and his father, the male branch of the Manchester Touchet line having died out.
The house on King Street was then occupied by Dr Roberts Watson Robinson who then subsequently moved to Swinton Park and in 1837 it became the Albion Clubhouse, a gentlemans’s establishment. The club had 200 members who were admitted by ballot each paying an annual subscription of 25 guineas (£26.25). It was renamed the Bridgewater Club some twenty years later and in 1869 became the Clarendon Club and moved to 102 Mosley Street.
Let’s see the picture:
¹ Harrison Ainsworth, the Manchester Novelist claimed Touchet to be related to him on his mother’s side. He dedicated one book to Mrs James Touchet (Esther Wilkinson (1744-1818)) and mentions the family often in his diaries.
William Harrison Ainsworth and his friends, S M Ellis 2015
The Good Old Times: the Story of the Manchester Rebels of ’45, William Harrison Ainsworth 1873
Continuing a tour of Casson & Berry’s map, we come to the Bowers. Miles Bower (1661-1756) was the son of Myles Bower of Sedbergh. Around 1746 he built his house on Deansgate in Manchester, and Casson and Berry show its location as near Spinning fields.
He was active in Manchester before that, as between 1738 and 1739 he was a churchwarden for the Collegiate Church, and is noted in 1740 as being a feltmaker / hatter. His house or workplace before that was near St Ann’s Church as he was fined twenty shillings (£1) for laying a midding (midden) on the west side of the square to the street to the north of King Street, which caused a great nuisance and raised complaints from all his neighbours.
By 1748 he was obviously better behaved and served as boroughreeve that year (although his son, also Miles (1696-1780) was one of the men who voted him into office). He also on 20 May 1755 laid the foundation stone for Manchester Infirmary in the Daub Hole Fields in what was to become Piccadilly.
Father and son lived on Deansgate in adjoining houses, symmetrically laid out, with doors leading to a shared garden at the front.
They ran a hat factory on Hardman street and were one, if not the most prominent hatters in town. There was an archeological investigation of the site in 2004, which showed the foundations of a planking shop where the felt would have been softened.
Miles Junior continued to live on Deansgate with his wife Elizabeth Simony (1696-1771) and by 1788 the factory had passed out of the family ownership to one Joseph Atkinson (d 1818). The Bowers had at least six children of which Miles Bower (1722-1756) we have already met at Henbury Hall when he married Sarah Marsden (b 1721) to become Miles Bower-Jodrell.
Possibly related to Miles Bower senior was Jeremiah Bower (d 1755) also a wealthy beaver hat manufacturer who built a house on High Street in 1738 with Miles². At the time High Street was green fields leading down to Lady Lever’s orchard gardens on what is now Lever Street. At the bottom of his gardens flowed the clear waters of the Tib.
In 1745 Miles and Jeremiah took the Royalist side, donating £30 to the cause, and Jeremiah quartered Lord John Murray, the half brother of William Murray, leader of the Jacobites during the siege of Manchester. Jeremiah was also prominent in public life serving like Miles as Churchwarden in 1724, senior constable in 1734 and boroughreeve in 1743. His son Benjamin held the same posts in 1773, 1772 and 1774-1775 respectively.
Jeremiah accumulated a great deal of wealth during his life and left a fortune of £40,000 (£10m in 2022)¹.
Benjamin first moved into the High Street property, who tired of the bustle of the town removed to peaceful verdant pastures in 1777, building a house on Lever Street. In 1771, along with fellow constables he issued a notice to the shopkeepers and innkeepers of Manchester to take down their signs as soon as possible and place them against the walls of their houses. The signs had long been considered a nuisance, obstructing the passage of fresh air, darkening the streets and were a hazard to pedestrians in wet weather. The net result was that the signboards were removed and the good burghers of Manchester began to number their houses, Manchester being the first provincial town outside London to adopt this modern practice.
After 1790 the house became a coaching inn The Royal Hotel and New Bridgewater Arms, under the ownership of Henry Charles Lacy of Lacy and Allen, proprietor of Mail and Post Coaches.
It started off rather grandly as Mrs Banks relates in the Manchester Man:
To crown the whole, Manchester, which had never been called upon to entertain British Royalty since Henry VII. looked in upon the infant town, was visited in 1804 by Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, commander of the North-west District, and his son, to review this Lancashire volunteer army; and the whole town was consequently in a ferment of excitement. Nothing was thought of, or talked of, but the visit of the Duke and Prince, and the coming review, the more so as reports differed respecting the appointed site.
Market Street, Manchester, which a well-known writer has commemorated as one of the “Streets of the World,” was then Market Street Lane, a confused medley of shops and private houses, varying from the low and ricketty black-and-white tenement of no pretensions, to the fine mansion with an imposing frontage, and ample space before. But the thoroughfare was in places so very narrow that two vehicles could not pass, and pedestrians on the footpath were compelled to take refuge in doorways from the muddy wheels which threatened damage to dainty garments; and the whole was ill-paved and worse lighted.
At the corner where it opens a vent for the warehouse traffic of High Street, then stood a handsome new hotel, the Bridgewater Arms, in front of which a semi-circular area was railed off with wooden posts and suspended chains. Within this area, on the bright morning of April the 12th, two sentinels were placed, who, marching backwards and forwards, crossed and re-crossed each other in front of the hotel door; tokens that the Royal Duke and his suite had taken up their quarters within.
It was a starting point of the London, York, Liverpool and Glasgow mail, Thomas De Quincey mentioned it on his essay on the English Mail Coach:
The incident, so memorable in itself by its features of horror, and so scenical by its grouping for the eye, which furnished the text for this reverie upon Sudden Death occurred to myself in the dead of night, as a solitary spectator, when seated on the box of the Manchester and Glasgow mail, in the second or third summer after Waterloo. I find it necessary to relate the circumstances, because they are such as could not have occurred unless under a singular combination of accidents. In those days, the oblique and lateral communications with many rural post-offices were so arranged, either through necessity or through defect of system, as to make it requisite for the main north-western mail (i.e., the down mail) on reaching Manchester to halt for a number of hours; how many, I do not remember; six or seven, I think; but the result was that, in the ordinary course, the mail recommenced its journey northwards about midnight. Wearied with the long detention at a gloomy hotel, I walked out about eleven o’clock at night for the sake of fresh air; meaning to fall in with the mail and resume my seat at the post-office. The night, however, being yet dark, as the moon had scarcely risen, and the streets being at that hour empty, so as to offer no opportunities for asking the road, I lost my way, and did not reach the post-office until it was considerably past midnight; but, to my great relief (as it was important for me to be in Westmoreland by the morning), I saw in the huge saucer eyes of the mail, blazing through the gloom, an evidence that my chance was not yet lost. Past the time it was; but, by some rare accident, the mail was not even yet ready to start. I ascended to my seat on the box, where my cloak was still lying as it had lain at the Bridgewater Arms. I had left it there in imitation of a nautical discoverer, who leaves a bit of bunting on the shore of his discovery, by way of warning off the ground the whole human race, and notifying to the Christian and the heathen worlds, with his best compliments, that he has hoisted his pocket-handkerchief once and for ever upon that virgin soil: thenceforward claiming the jus dominii to the top of the atmosphere above it, and also the right of driving shafts to the centre of the earth below it; so that all people found after this warning either aloft in upper chambers of the atmosphere, or groping in subterraneous shafts, or squatting audaciously on the surface of the soil, will be treated as trespassers—kicked, that is to say, or decapitated, as circumstances may suggest, by their very faithful servant, the owner of the said pocket-handkerchief. In the present case, it is probable that my cloak might not have been respected, and the jus gentium might have been cruelly violated in my person—for, in the dark, people commit deeds of darkness, gas being a great ally of morality; but it so happened that on this night there was no other outside passenger; and thus the crime, which else was but too probable, missed fire for want of a criminal. Having mounted the box, I took a small quantity of laudanum, having already travelled two hundred and fifty miles—viz., from a point seventy miles beyond London. In the taking of laudanum there was nothing extraordinary……
De Quincey’s impression of the Bridgewater as gloomy is echoed in a travellers comments of 1808 which called it:
a spacious inn that had neither the cleanliness not the comfort we find in smaller places… Here all is hurry and bustle… and they care not whether we are pleased or not. We were led into a long room, hung round with great coats, spurs and horse whips, and with so many portmanteaus and saddle bags lying about, that it looked like a warehouse.
Things started to improve by 1818 when Maximillian, Archduke of Austria visited Manchester, he stayed at the Bridgewater Arms. During the Napoleonic Wars the hostelry had always been the first place to discover news on the progress of the British armies against the French. Coaches bearing good news from London were adorned with ribbons and rosettes, to spread the good news far and wide en route.
However, in 1824 it managed to salvage its reputation as it was the meeting place for the founding fathers the Mechanics Institute of Manchester which became in time the University of Manchester Institute of Technology. By 1824 ten coaches a day were starting from the inn as well as around a dozen stagecoaches.
After its service as a public house, John Rylands took over the property and demolished it to build a warehouse in 1828, the site of the building still reflected today in Bridgewater Place, just off the High Street.
The building finally disappeared in 1916. Let’s see the pictures:
¹ As a contemporary comparison, the cost of the build of the Infirmary for which Miles laid the foundation was £4,000. Interestingly following from our visit to Balloon Street last time, an air balloon was released from the hospital grounds in 1783 which landed at Cromford. The purpose was to raise funds for the infirmary and admittance was one shilling (5p). This predates Mr Sadler and was presumably then unmanned.
² As a further clue that the two were related, in the Memorials of Bygone Manchester it is stated that the Bridgewater Arms resembled Miles Bowers residence on Deansgate.
Denton – the Archaelogy of the Felt Hatting Industry, Michael Nevell, Brian Grimsditch and Ivran Hradil: The Archaeology of Tameside, Vol 7.
The Annals Of Manchester, William E A Axon : Heywood, 1886
City Notes and Queries, June 19 1880 Ed Howard Nodal.
The English Mail Coach, Thomas De Quincey : gutenburg.org
Long Millgate is first mentioned in 1342 as the residence of Richard of the Mylnegate. In 1596 William Farrar, the son of Elizer drowned at Miln Bridge. Manchester Grammar School once stood on the lane, and today Millgate still winds down from opposite Hanover Street by Victoria Station, between the National Football Museum and Chetham’s School, to the Cathedral.
Mr Haworth’s house stood near the current site of Balloon Street for reasons that we shall soon see and later Howarth’s Gate led to pleasure gardens on the site of the recently named Balloon Street¹.
These gardens contained the latest flowers, and the last remnants of green field around Long Millgate. In 1782 the Manchester Military Association carried out their arms training here.
Abraham Hawarth (1683-1759) is the earliest inhabitant we know of. It is possible that he ordered the build of the house. Like many rich Mancunians he was a linen draper, also serving as a boroughreeve of Manchester in 1746. He married Sarah Howarth (1675-1719) and they had two children, John (1712-1786) and Sarah, who only lived a few months from March to July 1715.
John Haworth was of sufficient status to marry Mary Bagshaw of Wormhill (1712-1775) and Oakes Park in Derbyshire. However, the estate descending down the male line, the couple lived on at the Millgate residence. John was a business partner in Robert Peel’s cotton enterprise.
Mary was buried in the Byrom chapel at the Collegiate Church in Manchester in January 1775, and John joined her in December 1786.
At the end of his days John may have been running short of funds, or he may have just seen a good money making opportunity for he charged an entrance fee of 10s 6d and 5s (52½p and 25p) to Hawarth Gardens² on Thursday, 12 May 1785 to watch James Sadler make his fourth balloon ascent.
James Sadler (1753-1828) was born in Oxford the elder son of James Sadler (1718-1791) a cook and confectioner, and followed in his father’s business at 84 High Street in the town. On 4 October 1784 he made the first ascent by an English Aeronaut in a 170 foot hot air balloon, which he had constructed himself – even down to the manufacture of hydrogen. He rose 3,600 feet and landed six miles away half an hour later. Such was the brilliance of his advances, that Oxford University in a fit of spite, oppressed (him), to the disgrace of the University … from pique and jealousy of his superior science.
James took off from Mr Haworth Pleasure Gardens and remained in sight for around 40 minutes, he then brought the balloon down nearby and chatted to the astonished spectators, before taking off again. This time he flew to Warrington, and reported that he could see Liverpool and the sea, the winds then blew him to Bury where he landed.
He was emboldened by the experience and repeated it from the same spot exactly a week later on the 19th. The weather was far less kind, but the crowd who came to see him numbered around 100,000. This time he reached an altitude of 2½ miles. The daring height was because the string on his gas relief valve froze, that high he suffered from extreme cold and a lack of oxygen, drinking brandy copiously to alleviate the temperature. He was above the clouds and saw the shadow of his balloon cast above them. He had left Manchester at 11:40 and landed 50 miles away in Pontefract. Attempting to land he called to the only person he could see, a man on horseback for help. This obviously frightened the rider who sped off into the distance.
His grappling iron failed to anchor the balloon, so he threw out everything he could and became wedged between trees. He got out, and a wind caught the balloon draggging it, and him, because he held on for dear life, for two miles over trees and hedges eventually being stopped by a stone cottage which he crashed into, losing him his grip on his transport.
Bruised and tired, but not defeated he hired a horse and returned to Manchester the same day to great acclaim.
James returned to Manchester on 29 June 1812 to make another attempt from St George’s Fields³. Whilst his take off and journey went off without incident, he received his full share of cuts and bruises on landing, hitting a horse and cart and then bumping along rocky ground hitting them like a Warner Brothers cartoon character. This time he landed near Sheffield, having covered another 50 miles but risen to 3 miles 640 yards. James’ son, Windham (1796-1824), made an ascent from Salford on 23 April 1824, though tragically he was killed that September when his craft collided with a chimney near Accrington.
James Sadler is remembered in Manchester today in Balloon Street, which was named shortly after his first ascent, and in Sadler Square in the new NOMA complex. Oxford, who spurned him, and from which he made his first ascent, has no remembrance of him.
John Haworth had no sons who survived him, and the male line died with him. He did have at least two daughters, Mary who died in infancy in 1751, and Sara Haworth (1749-1808) who married Edward Percival, the brother of Spencer Percival who we encountered at Bank Hall. Sarah inherited his estate and on her death the Earl of Wilton purchased them.
In the 1790s the house became an inn, known as the Manchester Arms, and survived until demolition in 1980, thus did another worthy mansion disappear. Landlords of the hostelry include Samuel Lewis in 1876, Francis J Moon and Elizabeth Moon from 1881 to 1911 and Alfred Turner in 1929.
It does have another claim to fame, The Manchester Arms was the first pub in town to host strip tease shows for its clientele. Jonathan Schofield quotes from the 1975 Manchester Good Pub Guide:
There are nightly and free stripshows. Amidst bright green lights, a series of ladies perform to an attentive audience of itinerant Scotsmen, sweaty middle-aged gentlemen and British Rail porters. Those of a somewhat nervous disposition should beware of the first room on the right, where mine host appears 90 per cent topless (where does one put one’s eyes?). There’s a choice of pool and football tables, together with a fruit machine, which has been known to smoulder
Let’s see some pictures, rather nicely we have images covering over 200 years, although I don’t have any of the strippers:
¹ Curiously as the area is the headquarters of the Co-op, there is a Toad Lane nearby. A nice coincidence.
² It is also claimed that the gardens were part of Hunts Bank Hall in a Short History of Manchester & Salford By Francis Archibald Bruton.
Hunt’s Bank today runs alongside Victoria Station, past the new Stoller Hall and the Arena down to Victoria Street.
In medieval times the Irk was a pure sparkling stream, noted for its eels. Long Millgate was a winding street alongside the river, the small houses having gardens down to the waters edge. The warden and fellows of Chethams college had fishing rights from Ashley Lane to Hunt’s Bank, where, at the Irk, there was a small bridge over the river. Even up to the 1820s it was possible to fish in the clear waters. Proctor Richard Wright in Memories of Manchester recounts how he would swim with his friends in the Irwell and fish for eels with his hands.
Hunt’s Bank was a key place in Manchester. The 1720 Act of Parliament creating the Mersey & Irwell Navigation noted that it started at Liverpool and ended at a place named Hunt’s Bank in Manchester.
The area changed rapidly with the coming of Victoria and Exchange Stations and a visitor from those times would not recognise the place, even the Irk hides under Victoria Station.
Hunt’s Bank Hall which stood near the bridge was the home of the Hunt family. The Hunts of Hunt Hall were one of the oldest families of Manchester and owned considerable properties in the area. A deed of 8 November 1422 by Thomas De La Warre mentions a Hunts Hull (hill).
Margaret Byrom¹ who was alive in 1541 was the third daughter of Ralph Byrom (1441-1524). She married Richard Hunt (d ca 1530) of Hunt Hall. Although the Hunts were in Manchester until the 17th Century no trace of their Hall remains, it is only remembered in the name Hunt’s Bank. The family was closely intermarried with the Byroms and both families were involved in cotton dyeing.
In the early 1700s the Hall was inhabited by the Clowes family. Interestingly the Chethams Society in 1866 Remains Historical and Literary discuss a Mr Clowes House, stating that it is now the Manchester and Leeds Railway Station. The Palatine Buildings which stood once between the river and Chethams College also contained a Clowes Building, which was in the middle of the structure and served as the offices of the Manchester and Leeds Railway company and was inhabited around 1840 by the possible architect of the first Manchester Victoria Station building, Leigh Hall (1812-1869). It is possible that the site of Hunts Bank Hall is one of these two locations. On balance I suspect it occupied the site of the original station building.
Hunts Bank Hall was a tall mansion alongside the Irk. It formed a semi enclosed courtyard, with large formal gardens to the top of the house. We will return to these gardens later². At the rear of the gardens was a gravel walk and pallisade at each end of which was a summerhouse. The whole terrace was reached by a stone staircase. At the front of the house was an enclosed court which in one corner held four necessaries³. As well as that there were stables, a coach house, a granary a clock tower and a little distance away was a small house built by William Clowes shortly before the death of his father in law Miles Neild.
William Clowes was the fourth son of was a wealthy Manchester landowner, Samuel Clowes of Broughton Hall. William married Anne Neild around 1738. His daughter, Anne (b 1743) married John Peploe Birch at the Collegiate Church in Manchester.
John Peploe Birch was the son of Bishop Peploe who we met at Bradshaw Hall, there was an existing connection between the Birch and Clowes family as Samuel’s daughter and William’s sister, Anne Clowes was married to Samuel Birch of Ardwick. John Peploe Birch had taken on the Birch name as a condition of Samuel Birch’s will, of which he was the chief beneficiary.
That William Clowes was a wealthy man is set demonstrated in the fact that the dowry he supplied on his daughter Ann’s wedding in 1764 was some £50,000 (£10m in 2022).
I’ll let you be the judge of her beauty:
On top of the dowry, William settled over 500 acres of land in Manchester and the surrounding area, including 20 houses, and a pub, The Dog Tavern. Daddy was rich, mummy good looking and he got a pub, what more could a boy want.
William Clowes became mayor of Manchester in 1764 and the following year his son in law became an alderman, alongside Joshua Marriot. William died in 1772 and was buried at the Collegiate Church, at this time John and Ann moved into one half of Hunts Bank Hall whilst her cousin Richard Clowes (1735-1804) and his wife Dorothy Livesay (d 1823) lived in the other half.
The last days of Hunts Bank Hall and its decline were outlined in a letter to the Hereford Journal on Wednesday 17 January 1849. I think it tells the tale clearly enough
These Peploes, mindful of early associations, intermarried with the family of Clowes, of Hunts Bank, Manchester. The last representative of this ancient family were co-heiresses, maiden ladies, and they died probably about twenty years ago. The paternal mansion was a noble structure of the era of Charles the Second, It remained in all its pristine grandeur until a comparatively recent period, when it was converted into offices in connection with the Manchester and Leeds Railway, and finally it was razed to give place to the present Manchester railway station which occupies its site. When I had the pleasure a year ago of inspecting the relics in Weobley Church, I felt great interest in these monuments to the families of Birch Peploe and Clowes. I was truly astonished to find names with which I had been so long familiar as peculiar to Manchester, so honourably recognised in a distant province
We can see Messrs Clowes house on the 1755 plan by Casson and Berry. It clearly shows the staircase leading up to the double front door – one for each Clowes family. It is a very handsome and symmetrical 17th century house with elaborate railings enclosing the shared front court, and a copy of this map hung for many years in the hall way at Garnstone in Herefordshire, the Peploe Birch’s residence in later years.
Hunts Bank was not an easy house to manage. When the estate had been split up after Miles Nield’s death in 1737 the rights of way had been only vaguely endorsed. Around 1796 Richard Clowes threatened to build a new road from the coal shed and garden to his half of the property, thus completely blocking access to John Peploe Birch’s half of the house (this seems a mite unchristian for a man who was a fellow of the Collegiate Church and whose brother was the Reverend John Clowes of Eccles).
Numerous irate letters were written and when Richard Clowes’ widow Dorothy wrote her will in expressing a hope that the two halves of the mansion might one day be re-united. In fact the dispute was sorted the following year to the Peploe’s favour at which point it was sold to Dorothy Clowes’s heir. Dorothy herself died on 23 September 1823. Two Miss Clowes were the last inhabitants of Hunts Bank Hall and it was advertised and sold by auction in lots during the summer of 1843. Finally it was taken down for the erection of Manchester’s Victoria Station – initially called Hunts Bank Station – and very soon the River Irk was bricked over altogether.
In 1791 the first stone of the Manchester Workhouse was laid on the slopes behind Hunt’s Bank House, and no longer could the area be called exclusive. Indeed the whole of Manchester was rapidly becoming industrialised. Richard Clowes decided to lease out his half of the Hunts Bank property and build himself another elsewhere, John Peploe Birch followed suit moving to Garnstone in Herefordshire, wintering at their London residence in Mayfair. Hunts Bank and its surrounding land was auctioned off in 1841.
Let’s see a picture:
¹ One of her brothers George had a daughter Margaret who was one of the victims of Witchcraft and Doctor Dee at Cleworth Hall
² Next time. Up up and away!!
Memories of Manchester Streets, Richard Wright : Sutcliffe, 1874.
Remains, Historical and Literary, Connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester Vol 59 : Chetham Society, 1862.