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 TattonMember of the Tatton family who unsuccessfully defended his family home, Wythenshawe Hall, against a siege by Parliamentary forces 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. 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. An arson attack in 2016 meant that the hall had to be closed for six years while restoration work was carried out.
A pre-1300 charter mentions an enclosed deer park in Wythenshawe where the Tatton family owned land in 1297. Around 1540, Robert Tatton of Chester built Wythenshawe Hall as the Tatton family residence. The timber-framed Tudor house was the family’s home for almost 400 years, and may originally have had a moat.
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. The Parliamentarian’s subsequently confiscated Wythenshawe Hall, but it was returned to the Tatton family on payment of a fine of £707, equivalent to about £113,000 as as 2021.[b]Calculated using the retail price index.
In 1924 Robert Henry Grenville Tatton inherited the Wythenshawe estate. There was interest from Manchester Corporation, who wanted land to build a garden suburb, 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”. Later that year the corporation purchased the rest of the estate, 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, and it was listed as a Grade II* structure on 25 February 1952. Its former stable block, to the west of the hall, was Grade II listed in 1974.
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; Wythenshawe Hall was added to the Heritage at Risk register in October 2016. Following six years of restoration work, the hall was reopened to the public in October 2022.
The hall was partially rebuilt between 1795 and 1800 by Lewis Wyatt. It was altered around 1840 possibly by Edward Blore. Additions included a walled garden, an ice house, and glass houses. In the Victorian era the dining room was refurbished and a tenant’s hall was added.
The timber-framed manor house has a hall with two projecting wings, and a porch and dais bays. 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.
The hall was turned into a museum and art gallery in 1930. 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.
By 2004 the hall was only open once a week for four months of the year, and in 2010 it closed completely as a result of council spending cuts. An annual re-enactment of the siege of the hall, held until 2007, also fell victim to the cuts. In 2012 a friends group was established to hold monthly open days and regular events at the hall.
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, sports and games facilities, and Wythenshawe community farm and a horticulture centre. 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. 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.
|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.|
|b||Calculated using the retail price index.|