Wythenshawe Hall

Last updated

Wythenshawe Hall
Wyhtenshawe Hall in 2005.jpg
Wythenshawe Hall in 2005
Location Wythenshawe, Manchester
Coordinates 53°24′17.4″N2°16′40″W / 53.404833°N 2.27778°W / 53.404833; -2.27778 Coordinates: 53°24′17.4″N2°16′40″W / 53.404833°N 2.27778°W / 53.404833; -2.27778
Listed Building – Grade II*
Plaque commemorating the gift to the city WH Plaque.jpg
Plaque commemorating the gift to the city

Wythenshawe Hall is a 16th-century medieval timber-framed historic house and former manor house in Wythenshawe, Manchester, England, five miles (8 km) south of Manchester city centre in Wythenshawe Park. Built for Robert Tatton, it was home to the Tatton family for almost 400 years. Its basic plan is a central hall with two projecting wings.

Timber framing building technique, construction method using heavy squared-off and carefully fitted and joined timbers

Timber framing and "post-and-beam" construction are traditional methods of building with heavy timbers, creating structures using squared-off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs. It is commonplace in wooden buildings from the 19th century and earlier. If the structural frame of load-bearing timber is left exposed on the exterior of the building it may be referred to as half-timbered, and in many cases the infill between timbers will be used for decorative effect. The country most known for this kind of architecture is Germany. Timber framed houses are spread all over the country except in the southeast.

A historic house generally meets several criteria before being listed by an official body as "historic." Generally the building is at least a certain age, depending on the rules for the individual list. A second factor is that the building be in recognizably the same form as when it became historic. Third is a requirement that either an event of historical importance happened at the site, or that a person of historical significance was associated with the site, or that the building itself is important for its architecture or interior.

Manor house country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor

A manor house was historically the main residence of the lord of the manor. The house formed the administrative centre of a manor in the European feudal system; within its great hall were held the lord's manorial courts, communal meals with manorial tenants and great banquets. The term is today loosely applied to various country houses, frequently dating from the late medieval era, which formerly housed the gentry.


In the winter of 1643–44 the house was besieged by Parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War. Despite the stout defence put up by Robert Tatton and his fellow Royalists, the defenders were overwhelmed by the Roundheads' superior weaponry.

Roundhead name given to the supporters of the Parliament during the English Civil War

Roundheads were supporters of the Parliament of England during the English Civil War (1641–1652). Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I of England and his supporters, known as the Cavaliers or Royalists, who claimed rule by absolute monarchy and the principle of the 'divine right of kings'. The goal of the Roundhead party was to give the Parliament supreme control over executive administration of the country/kingdom.

English Civil War Civil war in England (1642–1651)

The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers") over, principally, the manner of England's governance. The first (1642–1646) and second (1648–1649) wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third (1649–1651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The war ended with the Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.

Cavalier royalist supporter during and following the English Civil War

Cavalier was first used by Roundheads as a term of abuse for the wealthier Royalist supporters of King Charles I and his son Charles II of England during the English Civil War, the Interregnum, and the Restoration. It was later adopted by the Royalists themselves. Although it referred originally to political and social attitudes and behaviour, of which clothing was a very small part, it has subsequently become strongly identified with the fashionable clothing of the court at the time. Prince Rupert, commander of much of Charles I's cavalry, is often considered to be an archetypal Cavalier.

Rebuilding work was carried out at the end of the 18th century, and various additions made in the 19th century, including a walled garden, an ice house, glass houses and a tenant's hall. [lower-alpha 1] Wythenshawe Hall and its surrounding parkland were donated to Manchester Corporation in 1926, and in 1930 it was opened to the public as a museum.

The building was badly damaged in an arson attack in March 2016; repairs are expected to be completed by late 2019. [2]

Arson property crime

Arson is the crime of willfully and maliciously setting fire to or charring property. Though the act typically involves buildings, the term arson can also refer to the intentional burning of other things, such as motor vehicles, watercraft, or forests. The crime is typically classified as a felony, with instances involving a greater degree of risk to human life or property carrying a stricter penalty. A common motive for arson is to commit insurance fraud. In such cases, a person destroys their own property by burning it and then lies about the cause in order to collect against their insurance policy.


A pre-1300 charter mentions an enclosed deer park in Wythenshawe where the Tatton family owned land in 1297. [3] Around 1540, Robert Tatton of Chester [4] built Wythenshawe Hall as the Tatton family residence. [5] The timber-framed Tudor house [6] was the home of the family for almost 400 years. [4] and may originally have had a moat. [3]

Deer park (England)

In medieval and Early Modern England, a deer park was an enclosed area containing deer. It was bounded by a ditch and bank with a wooden park pale on top of the bank, or by a stone or brick wall. The ditch was on the inside increasing the effective height. Some parks had deer "leaps", where there was an external ramp and the inner ditch was constructed on a grander scale, thus allowing deer to enter the park but preventing them from leaving.

Chester City in Cheshire, England

Chester is a walled city in Cheshire, England, on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales. With a population of 79,645 in 2011, it is the most populous settlement of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a population of 329,608 in 2011, and serves as the unitary authority's administrative headquarters. Chester is the second-largest settlement in Cheshire after Warrington.

Tudor architecture architectural style

The Tudor architectural style is the final development of Medieval architecture in England, during the Tudor period (1485–1603) and even beyond, and also the tentative introduction of Renaissance architecture to England. It is generally not used to refer to the whole period of the Tudor dynasty (1485–1603), but to the style used in buildings of some prestige in the period roughly between 1500 and 1560. It followed the Late Gothic Perpendicular style and was superseded by Elizabethan architecture from about 1560 in domestic building of any pretensions to fashion. In the much more slow-moving styles of vernacular architecture "Tudor" has become a designation for styles like half-timbering that characterize the few buildings surviving from before 1485 and others from the Stuart period. In this form the Tudor style long retained its hold on English taste. Nevertheless, 'Tudor style' is an awkward style-designation, with its implied suggestions of continuity through the period of the Tudor dynasty and the misleading impression that there was a style break at the accession of Stuart James I in 1603.

The hall was besieged during the English Civil War over the winter of 1643–44 by Cromwell's Parliamentarian forces. It was defended by Royalists led by Robert Tatton until the Roundheads brought two cannons to the hall from Manchester, leading to the Royalist surrender on 27 February 1644. [5] The Parliamentarian's subsequently confiscated Wythenshawe Hall, but it was returned to the Tatton family on payment of a fine of just over £700. After recovering the estate, the family expanded it to about 2,500 acres (1,000 ha). [7]

Oliver Cromwell 17th-century English military and political leader

Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland "and of the dominions thereto belonging" from 1653 until his death, acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republic.

Robert Tatton High Sheriff of Chester

Robert Tatton was the High Sheriff of Chester between 1645 and 1646. A supporter of King Charles I in the English Civil War, Robert is perhaps best known for the ultimately unsuccessful defence of his family home, Wythenshawe Hall, during its three-month siege by a Parliamentary force in the winter of 1643/44.

Wythenshawe Hall after the fire Aa wythenshawe hall after 2016 fire.jpg
Wythenshawe Hall after the fire

In 1924 Robert Henry Grenville Tatton inherited the Wythenshawe estate. There was interest from Manchester Corporation, who wanted land to build a garden suburb, [8] ostensibly to rehouse tenants from slum clearance. By April 1926 Wythenshawe Hall and 250 acres (1 km2) of its surrounding estate had been sold to Ernest Simon and his wife, who donated them to Manchester Corporation "to be used solely for the public good". [9] Later that year the corporation purchased the rest of the estate, [10] [11] and went on to build one of the largest housing estates in Europe on the land.

Repairs were made to the hall in the 1950s, [12] and it was listed as a Grade II* structure on 25 February 1952. [13] Its former stable block, to the west of the hall, was Grade II listed in 1974. [14]

The roof of the hall and an upper floor were severely damaged by a fire that started at around 3:30 am on 15 March 2016; the clock tower was also damaged. [4] On 23 March, Jeremy Taylor from Cheadle Hulme was charged with arson in connection with the fire. [12] [15] [16] In August 2017, after changing his plea and admitting guilt, he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison. [17] The hall was added to the Heritage at Risk register in October 2016. [18] A planning application to restore the building was submitted in November 2016, with the intention of keeping as much of the original material as possible; [12] as of August 2017, the building was scaffolded and undergoing repairs under a protective roof. [17]


Wythenshawe Hall in August 2016, with protective scaffolding and the tower removed Wythenshawe Hall August 2016 012.jpg
Wythenshawe Hall in August 2016, with protective scaffolding and the tower removed

The hall was partially rebuilt between 1795 and 1800 by Lewis Wyatt. [3] [13] It was altered around 1840 possibly by Edward Blore. [3] Additions included a walled garden, an ice house, and glass houses. [5] In the Victorian era the dining room was refurbished and a tenant's hall was added. [19]

The timber-framed manor house has a hall with two projecting wings, and a porch and dais bays. [6] [20] The entrance hall (also known as the ante-room) is thought to have previously been a chapel, which was subsequently turned into a billiards room, before becoming an entrance hall in the 1870s. [19]


In 1930, the hall was turned into a museum and art gallery. [6] Most of the hall's original furniture was removed by the Tatton family in 1926 when they moved out, and most of the furniture and paintings displayed in the hall during its time as a museum were from the Manchester City Galleries collection. [19]

Until 2007 a re-enactment of the 1643 siege of Wythenshawe Hall by Cromwell's troops was staged every July. [21]

By 2004 the hall was only open once a week for four months in the year [22] and in 2010 closed completely [6] as a result of council spending cuts. [23] One proposition was that Manchester City Council could sell the building to the National Trust. [24] In summer 2012 the hall re-opened for 10 days for the Wythenshawe Games. [25] A friends group was established in September 2012 to hold monthly open days and regular events at the hall. [6] [26] Furniture installed by the friends group (including a four-poster bed engraved with the Tatton family crest) was not damaged by the fire. [27]


Wythenshawe Park occupies 270 acres (1.1 km2) of land surrounding the hall in Northern Moor. The park contains a mix of woodland, bedding, borders, grassland and meadows, [28] sports and games facilities, and Wythenshawe community farm and a horticulture centre [29] North Lodge, the Grade II listed gate lodge on the park's northern boundary was built in the Tudor style in the mid to late 19th century. [30] A Grade II listed bronze statue of Oliver Cromwell on a granite plinth and pedestal in the park is dated 1875, and was originally located at Deansgate. [31] [32] [33]

See also

Related Research Articles

Wimpole Estate listed building in England

Wimpole Estate is a large estate containing Wimpole Hall, a country house located within the Parish of Wimpole, Cambridgeshire, England, about 8 12 miles southwest of Cambridge. The house, begun in 1640, and its 3,000 acres (12 km2) of parkland and farmland are owned by the National Trust and are regularly open to the public. Wimpole is the largest house in Cambridgeshire.

Wythenshawe area of south Manchester, England

Wythenshawe is an area of south Manchester, England.

Northenden suburban area in the city of Manchester, England

Northenden is a suburb of Manchester, England, with a population of 14,771 at the 2011 census. It lies on the south side of the River Mersey, 4.2 miles (6.8 km) west of Stockport and 5.2 miles (8.4 km) south of Manchester city centre, in the Wythenshawe district of south Manchester. It is bounded by Didsbury to the north, Gatley to the east, and the rest of Wythenshawe to the south and west.

Sulham a village located in West Berkshire, United Kingdom

Sulham is a village and civil parish in West Berkshire, England. The larger village of Tidmarsh is adjacent to Sulham on the west side and of Tilehurst on the east side.

Sharston Area of Manchester, England, United Kingdom

Sharston is an area of Wythenshawe, south Manchester, England. The population at the 2011 census was 16,754.

Tatton Park historic estate in Cheshire, England

Tatton Park is an historic estate in Cheshire, England, north of the town of Knutsford. It contains a mansion, Tatton Hall, a medieval manor house, Tatton Old Hall, Tatton Park Gardens, a farm and a deer park of 2,000 acres (8.1 km2). It is a popular visitor attraction and hosts over a hundred events annually. The estate is owned by the National Trust, who administer it jointly with Cheshire East Council. Since 1999, it has hosted North West England's annual Royal Horticultural Society flower show.

Ernest Simon, 1st Baron Simon of Wythenshawe British industrialist, politician and public servant

Ernest Emil Darwin Simon, 1st Baron Simon of Wythenshawe was a British industrialist, politician and public servant. Lord Mayor of Manchester in 1921–1922, he was a member of parliament for two terms between 1923 and 1931 before being elevated to the peerage and serving as the Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors.

West Ashton village in the United Kingdom

West Ashton is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. It is about 2 miles (3.2 km) southeast of Trowbridge, near the A350 between Melksham and Yarnbrook which bypasses Trowbridge. The parish includes the hamlets of Dunge, East Town and Rood Ashton.

Tatton Hall Grade I listed historic house museum in Cheshire East, United Kingdom

Tatton Hall is a country house in Tatton Park near Knutsford, Cheshire, England. It is designated as a Grade I-listed building and is open to the public.

Wythenshawe Park

Wythenshawe Park is a Green Flag awarded park in Wythenshawe, Manchester, with an area of 270 acres. Wythenshawe Hall is at the centre of the park.

Clayton Hall

Clayton Hall is a 15th-century manor house on Ashton New Road, in Clayton, Manchester, England. It is hidden behind trees in a small park. The hall is a Grade II* listed building, the mound on which it is built is a scheduled ancient monument, and a rare example of a medieval moated site. The hall is surrounded by a moat, making an island 66 m by 74 m. Alterations were made to the hall in the 16th and 17th centuries, and it was enlarged in the 18th century.

Baguley Hall 14th-century timber framed hall in Baguley, Greater Manchester

Baguley Hall is a 14th-century timber-framed building in Baguley, Greater Manchester, North West England.

Tatton Old Hall

Tatton Old Hall is a historic building in Tatton Park near Knutsford, Cheshire, England. It is designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building which is owned by the National Trust and administered in conjunction with Cheshire East Council. It is also known as one of the most haunted houses in Britain and is home to The Haunted Hunts official haunted collection. Paranormal investigations take place on a monthly basis under the guidance of The Haunted Hunts team. Its site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Northern Moor is an area of Manchester, England, west of Northenden and east of Sale, 5 miles south of Manchester city centre. The Tatton family lived at from 1540 to 1926 Wythenshawe Hall, which is in Northern Moor; land around it is now Wythenshawe Park, which was a deer park from 1200-1540. In former centuries its name was spelled "Northen Moor" and meant "the moor area belonging to Northenden". Until the early 1900s Northern Moor was part of Cheshire, before Manchester expanded south of the River Mersey and the borders of Cheshire changed. Northern Moor and Northenden following the border changes has been part of Manchester instead of Cheshire. The current area called 'Northern Moor' now includes Lawton Moor, and the border of Northern Moor is now at the Sale moor border.

Church of St Wilfrid, Northenden Church in Greater Manchester, England

The Church of St Wilfrid in Ford Lane, Northenden, Manchester, England, is an Anglican church of late medieval origins which was substantially re-built in the 19th century by J. S. Crowther. The church was designated a Grade II* listed building on 25 February 1952.

There is a large number of Grade II listed buildings in the City of Manchester, England. The majority of Manchester's listed buildings date from the Victorian (1837–1901) and Edwardian era (1901–1911), most as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. In England and Wales the authority for listing is granted by the Planning Act 1990 and is administered by English Heritage, an agency of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. There are three categories of listing – Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II.

Chaddock Hall was an ancient hall on Chaddock Lane in Tyldesley, Greater Manchester, England. It was designated a Grade II listed building in 1966. It was gutted in an arson attack in 2014.

Tatton is a civil parish in Cheshire East, England. It contains 26 buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England as designated listed buildings. Of these, one is listed at Grade I, the highest grade, two are listed at Grade II*, the middle grade, and the others are at Grade II. The major building in the parish is Tatton Hall, and all the listed buildings in the parish are related to it. These include the hall itself, Tatton Old Hall, the Home Farm, structures in the gardens and park, and lodges at the entrances to Tatton Park.

Church of the Ascension, Lower Broughton church in Salford, Greater Manchester, M7

The Church of the Ascension is a Grade II listed Anglican church in Lower Broughton, Salford, England. In February 2017 a fire destroyed the roof and interior of the building.

Manchester is a city in Northwest England. The M23 postcode area of the city includes parts of the suburbs of Wythenshawe and Northenden. The postcode area contains eleven listed buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England. Of these, one is listed at Grade I, the highest of the three grades, two are at Grade II*, the middle grade, and the others are at Grade II, the lowest grade. The area is almost completely residential, and the listed buildings include two former manor houses and associated structures, a former farm and outbuildings, a house, a church, and a vicarage.



  1. Hospitality, traditionally doled out to visitors, freeholders and tenants at country and manor houses in the Middle Ages, became a drain on the family's purse. Rather than abandoning the practice, in some houses from the 18th century the tenants and other visitors on business were still entertained to refreshments but in a tenant's hall in the servant's quarters rather than the great hall or parlour. It was where rents were paid and some houses held celebratory dinners at Christmas or family occasions attended by members of the family. [1]


  1. Girouard, Mark (1978). Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History. Yale University Press. p. 189. ISBN   978-0-300-05870-3.
  2. Yarwood, Sam (10 October 2017). "It could be another two years before arson struck Wythenshawe Hall is finally back open". men.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Historic England. "Wythenshaw Park (1000857)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 "Fire destroys roof of historic Wythenshawe Hall in Manchester". BBC News . 15 March 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 "Wythenshawe Park". Manchester Council. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 "Wythenshawe Hall - Pastscape". Historic England. Archived from the original on 18 March 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  7. "Wythenshawe Hall". Wythenshawe's History and Heritage. Wythenshawe History Group. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  8. "The Wythenshawe estate". The Manchester Guardian (1901–1959). 17 January 1921.
  9. "Splendid gift to Manchester". The Manchester Guardian. 13 April 1926.
  10. "The Wythenshawe estate". The Manchester Guardian. 13 October 1926.
  11. Riley, Peter (1999), Wythenshawe Hall and the Tatton Family (Revised ed.), Peter Riley, p. 22, ISBN   1-874712-38-7
  12. 1 2 3 "Planning application submitted to begin repair works at fire-ravaged Wythenshawe Hall". Manchester Evening News. 8 November 2016.
  13. 1 2 Historic England. "Wythenshawe Hall  (Grade II*) (1255034)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  14. Historic England. "Former stable block to west of Wythenshawe Hall  (Grade II) (1255038)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  15. "Man charged with arson following fire that engulfed Wythenshawe Hall". Manchester Evening News. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  16. "Wythenshawe Hall blaze: Man, 26, charged with arson". BBC News. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  17. 1 2 "Wythenshawe Hall fire: Man jailed for arson attack". BBC News. 18 August 2017.
  18. "Fire-ravaged Wythenshawe Hall added to Historic England's at risk register". Manchester Evening News. 21 October 2016.
  19. 1 2 3 "Wythenshawe Hall - The Ante-room" (PDF). Manchester City Council. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  20. Pevsner, Nikolaus (1969). Lancashire. 1. The industrial and commercial south. The Buildings of England. p. 343.
  21. "Axe falls on family festival". Manchester Evening News. 29 August 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  22. "Plea for historic gem". Manchester Evening News. 8 May 2004.
  23. "Wythenshawe Park: The Hall". Manchester Council.
  24. Linton, Deborah (1 June 2011). "Budget crisis could lead Manchester council to give away Heaton Hall and Wythenshawe Hall". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media.
  25. "Wythenshawe Games 2012 - WCHG". 28 May 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  26. "Friends of Wythenshawe Hall". Friends of Wythenshaw Hall. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  27. "Easter at Wythenshawe Hall will go ahead with a little help from our Friends". Manchester City Council. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  28. "About the park". Manchester Council. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  29. "Facilities in the park". Manchester Council. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  30. Historic England. "North Lodge of Wythenshawe Hall  (Grade II) (1255036)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  31. Historic England. "Statue of Oliver Cromwell approx.100m east of Wythenshawe Hall  (Grade II) (1255035)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  32. "Oliver Cromwell". Public Monument and Sculpture Association. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  33. "Listed buildings in Manchester by street (W)". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 18 March 2016.