Hulme Hall Manor

Legend and Loss of Hulme Hall

     Hulme Hall was situated on the banks of the river Irwell, and the seat of the Prestwich Family, but owing to the fines and sequestrations brought about by Sir Thomas Prestwich's continued support for Charles Ist in the Civil Wars, the family were left impoverished. In 1660 this resulted in Sir Thomas being left with no choice but to sell Hulme Hall to Sir Edward Mossley. Sir Thomas was encouraged to support Charles Ist by his mother, who is said had to have hidden away an immense treasure, which would more than repay any expenses that he may incur. Unfortunately for Sir Thomas, his mother was struck motionless and speechless by illness, and until her dying day was unable to disclose the treasurers whereabouts.

     It is believed that the treasure was hidden in or around Hulme Hall, protected according to superstition, by the demons charms, which only Lady Prestwich could dissolve.

     It is reported that during the 18th century Manchester fortune tellers cheated many people out of their money by claiming to know where the treasure was buried. The hidden treasure's location remains a secret to this day.

     The Hall was later sold to the Duke of Bridgewater, when in 1845 the hall was reported as being "in a dilapidated state and occupied by a number of cottagers"

     In 1708 Lady Ann Bland, the daughter of Edward Moseley was authorised to enclose Acresfield to build St Ann's Church (consecrated 1912) providing that there was left a 30 yard space on which the Acresfield Fair could continue however in 1876 the fair was eventually discontinued.

     About 1850 the Rev. G. N. Wright and Thomas Allen said of Hulme Hall in the book 'Lancashire its History, Legends, and Manufactures':- "This singular specimen of ancient domestic architecture, situate a short distance west of Manchester, stands on the edge of a shelving bank of the Irwell and being now in the hands of several poor tenants, is fast approaching to decay. The exterior of this building is romantic and picturesque; and the interior is ornamented with a great variety of curious and ancient carved work, which is much admired by strangers.

Family Manor of Hulme

     Hulme Hall stood on a rise of red sandstone rock overlooking the river Irwell just below where it is joined by the Medlock, and about half a mile above Ordsall.  It is described by Aikin in 1795 as 'an old half-timbered house,' and from the evidence of sketches and drawings made while the building was still standing seems to have been a good specimen of the domestic timber architecture of the county.  It was of two stories and built round a quadrangle, but no plan has been preserved showing the disposition and arrangements of its various parts.  The river front facing north-west appears to have been the most picturesque side of the house, presenting an irregular line of building, one of its three gables containing 'an oriel window with a projecting story above.  The approach was by an avenue of fine elm trees, and the entrance seems to have been by an archway under a tower on the south-east side of which the building was only one storied.  The timber work to the quadrangle is said to have been more ornate than that in the front of the building, but some parts of the house appear to have been of brick covered with plaster.  It is not easy to reconcile the various views of the hall taken by different people at different times, or any of them with the block plan of the hall as shown in the Green's map of Manchester (1794).  In the 18th century the gardens of Hulme 'were celebrated for their beauty, and decorated with various works of art and antiquity, among which were several Roman altars and other remains of the former dominations of that warlike race, which had been discovered from time to time in the immediate neighborhood.' The portions of the hall facing the gardens, consisting of two or three gables of two stories with the porch on the extreme right, is described early in the 19th century as containing 'a staircase of large dimensions and massy appearance.  It is composed of ancient oak, which age had turned dark brown or black color.  The upper rooms are paneled and have large fireplaces with chimneypieces and twisted pillars in a grotesque style.  The interior is more perfect, and the exterior, more decayed, than the other parts of the hall.'  The hall was 'fast falling into decay' in 1807 (Britton), and was then let out in tenements to poor families.  In one of the rooms was a series of 16th century oak panels sculptured with carved heads and figures, but these were removed to Worsley Old Hall about 1833 (or before), and are now in the new hall there.  Hulme Hall was pulled down about 1840 to give place to buildings and works in connection with the Bridgewater Canal, and murky smoke begrimed workshops and mills now cover the site.

     The early descent of Hulme is obscured by the number of places of this name in South Manchester and Eccles, and by its being included either in Salford or in Manchester.  It seems clear that Jordan, Dean of Manchester, in the 12th century held it of the manor of Salford in thegnage by a rent of 5s, and that in 1212 Henry de Chetham held it by the same service, it being assessed as four oxgangs of land.  The same tenure is alleged in the later inquisitions touching the manor.  On the other hand Hulme is included within the boundary of the manor of Manchester in the survey of 1320, at which time Robert de Ashton held a moiety of the manor of Hulme by Alport by a rent of 5s. At the four terms, payable to the lord of Manchester.  It seems possible, therefore, that the Greelyes had secured the mesne lordship of the manor, but that in course of time this mesne lordship was, as in many similar cases, forgotten, and the immediate tenants were considered to hold directly of the honor of Lancaster, paying their rent at Salford manor-house.  Another explanation is that one moiety became absorbed in the lordship of Manchester, the other moiety being that afterwards known as the manor of Hulme, held of Salford.

     Whatever may be the solution of this difficulty, the actual possessions adopted the surname of Hulme and were succeeded early in the 14th century by the Rossendales, and these by a branch of the Prestwich family, who also held lands in Oldham, perhaps a portion of the Hume inheritance. Of the Prestwich family little is known until the 16th century, when Ralph son of Ellis Prestwich entailed the lands.  Edmund, his son and heir, being without issue, gave them 'by deed and fine' to his cousin Edmund son of Edmund Prestwich deceased. The elder Edmund died on 27 November 1577, holding the manor of Hulme and extensive lands in Manchester manor of Hulme and extensive lands in Manchester and Oldham; Hulme was held of the queen as of her manor of Salford in socage by the ancient rent of 5s. And its clear annual value was £10.  His successor, the younger Edmund Prestwich died in 1598, holding the manor as before, and leaving as heir his son Edmund, then twenty-one years of age.  The last named Edmund died at Hulme in February 1628-9, holding the family estates, and leaving a son and heir Thomas, aged twenty-eight.

Thomas Prestwich, who was educated at Oxford, compounded for the two-thirds of his estate liable to sequestration for recusancy in 1632, his annual fine being £6 13s. 4d.  He zealously espoused the king's side during the Civil War; was commissioner of array in 1642; fought in the wars with varying fortune, being made a baronet in 1644, and a knight afterwards on the field of battle.  He compounded for his estates in 1647, but his exertions in the king's cause resulted in the ruin of his house, and in 1660 Hulme was sold to Sir Edward Mosley of Hough End in Withington.   Passing to the Mosleys of Ancots, the Hulme estate descended to Lady Bland, and was sold by her son Sir John Bland in 1751 to George Lloyd.  In 1764 a portion was purchased by the Duke of Bridgewater.

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