see caption
Wythenshawe Hall in 2005
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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. Built for Robert Tatton Robert Tatton (1606 – 19 August 1669) was the High Sheriff of Chester between 1645 and 1646 and a supporter of King Charles I in the English Civil War. He is perhaps best remembered today 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. , it was home to the Tatton family for almost 400 years. Its basic plan is a central hall with two projecting wings.

In the winter of 1643–1644 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.

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.[a]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] 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.

History


A pre-1300 charter mentions an enclosed deer park in Wythenshawe where the Tatton family owned land in 1297.[2] Around 1540, Robert Tatton of Chester[3] built Wythenshawe Hall as the Tatton family residence.[4] The timber-framed Tudor house[5] was the home of the family for almost 400 years.[3] and may originally have had a moat.[2]

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.[4] 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 2500 acres (10 km2).[6]

In 1924 Robert Henry Grenville Tatton inherited the Wythenshawe estate. There was interest from Manchester Corporation, who wanted land to build a garden suburb,[7] ostensibly to rehouse tenants from slum clearance. By April 1926 Wythenshawe Hall and 25 acres (10 ha) 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”.[8] Later that year the corporation purchased the rest of the estate,[7][9] 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,[10] and it was listed as a Grade II* structure on 25 February 1952.[5] Its former stable block, to the west of the hall, was Grade II listed in 1974.[11]

In the early hours of 15 March 2016 the roof of the hall, an upper floor, and the clock tower were severely damaged by fire in a deliberate arson attack.[3] Work on restoring the building is scheduled for completion in 2020.[12]

The hall was added to the Heritage at Risk register in October 2016.[13]

Architecture


The hall was partially rebuilt between 1795 and 1800 by Lewis Wyatt.[2][5] It was altered around 1840 possibly by Edward Blore.[2] Additions included a walled garden, an ice house, and glass houses.[4] In the Victorian era the dining room was refurbished and a tenant’s hall was added.[14]

The timber-framed manor house has a hall with two projecting wings, and a porch and dais bays.[5][15] 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.[14]

Museum


The hall was turned into a museum and art gallery in 1930.[5] Most of the 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.[14]

By 2004 the hall was only open once a week for four months of the year,[16] and in 2010 it closed completely[5] as a result of council spending cuts.[17] An annual re-enactment of the siege of the hall, held until 2007, also fell victim to the cuts. [18] In 2012 a friends group was established to hold monthly open days and regular events at the hall.[5]

Park


Wythenshawe Park occupies 270 acres (1 km2) of land surrounding the hall in Northern Moor. The park contains a mix of woodland, bedding, borders, grassland and meadows,[19] sports and games facilities, and Wythenshawe community farm and a horticulture centre[20] 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.[21][22]

Citations



Bibliography


BBC News. (2016, March 15). Fire Destroys Roof of Historic Wythenshawe Hall in Manchester. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-35809417
Friends of Wythenshawe Hall. (n.d.). Wythenshawe Hall. Retrieved from https://www.wythenshawehall.com
Girouard, M. (1978). Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History. Yale University Press.
Historic England. (n.d.). Wythenshawe Park. Retrieved from https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1000857
Historic England. (n.d.). Wythenshawe Hall. Retrieved from https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1255034
Historic England. (n.d.). Park statue of Oliver Cromwell approximately 100 metres east of Wythenshawe Hall. Retrieved from https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1255035
Historic England. (n.d.). Former Stable Block to West of Wythenshawe Hall. Retrieved from https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1255038
Manchester City Council. (n.d.). Wythenshawe Hall – The Ante-room. Retrieved from http://www.manchester.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/17775/ante-room_guide.pdf
Manchester City Council. (n.d.). Wythenshawe Park: About the Park. Retrieved from http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200073/parks_playgrounds_and_open_spaces/2242/wythenshawe_park
Manchester City Council. (n.d.). Wythenshawe Hall: Facilities in the Park. Retrieved from http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200073/parks_playgrounds_and_open_spaces/2242/wythenshawe_park/3
Manchester City Council. (n.d.). Listed Buildings in Manchester by Street (W). Retrieved from https://www.manchester.gov.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=1908&pageNumber=22
Manchester Council. (n.d.). Wythenshawe Park: The Hall. Retrieved from http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200073/parks_playgrounds_and_open_spaces/2242/wythenshawe_park/6
Pevsner, N. (1969). Lancashire, The Industrial and Commercial South. Penguin Books.
Riley, P. (1999). Wythenshawe Hall and the Tatton Family. P. & D. Riley.
Staff writer. (1926, April 13). Splendid Gift to Manchester. The Manchester Guardian.
Staff writer. (1926, October 13). The Wythenshawe Estate. The Manchester Guardian.
Staff writer. (2007, August 29). Axe Falls on Family Festival. Manchester Evening News. Retrieved from http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/axe-falls-on-family-festival-997107
Staff writer. (2004, May 8). Plea for Historic Gem. Manchester Evening News.
Staff writer. (2016, November 8). Planning application submitted to begin repair works at fire-ravaged Wythenshawe Hall. Manchester Evening News. Retrieved from http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/planning-application-submitted-begin-repair-12148093
Staff writer. (2016, October 21). Fire-ravaged Wythenshawe Hall added to Historic England’s at risk register. Manchester Evening News.
Wythenshawe History Group. (n.d.). Wythenshawe Hall. Retrieved from http://www.wythenshawe.btck.co.uk/HallsFarmsCottages/WythenshaweHall

Notes

   [ + ]

a. 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]