Bramhall, Stockport. Tel: 0161-485 3708.
Described by Pevsner as "...one of
the four best timber mansions in England". Visitors are
often confused to find Bramall Hall is in Bramhall ! Locally
the disparity was controversial too. This came about when, in 1935,
Hazel Grove & Bramhall Urban District Council acquired the Hall, and
in keeping with the original entry in the Domesday book, decided to
retain the original spelling of "Bramall" for the house.
Bramhall: Aerial Photo Courtesy of www.webbaviation.co.uk
Bramall Hall currently is owned by Stockport
Metropolitan Borough Council, and is one of best preserved black
and white timber buildings, typical in Cheshire. Its oldest parts date
from the 14th century, though the estate itself dates back to around
1070 AD when William the Conqueror subdued the North West region; dividing
the land amongst his loyal followers, the manor of "Bramale" were given
to Hamo de Masci ("Massey" - he became the first baron of Dunham Massey).
In earlier Saxon times, (before the Conquest), the estate formed part
of the much bigger two neighbouring manors of Brun and Hacun. In the
12th century the manor passed to the Bromale family, and stayed with
them for 200 years until, through marriage, it passed to Davenports,
who resided at Bramall for 500 years. The building shows a great deal
of subsequent rebuilding and addition - much of it following current
fashion of the day, though most was accomplished after it passed from
the Davenport family in 1877. It stood empty until purchase by Charles
Neville, a local calico printer, in 1883. Neville made many sympathetic
alterations, with the assistance of architect, George Faulkener Armitage
- notably, the interior was made more comfortable while retaining most
of the buildings external features. In 1923, after the Great War, the
family's changing fortunes compelled Thomas Neville to sell the house
and contents to John Henry Davies, who lived there until his death in
1927, though his widow, Amy lived on the estate until 1935 when she
sold it to Hazel Grove and Bramhall Urban District Council. Following
Local Government reorganisation in 1974, the estate became the responsibility
of the new Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, who still maintain
Over 62 acres of beautifully landscaped parkland (dating from the 19th
century) with lakes and waterfowl. A ha-ha, or sunken ditch separates
the Hall from the park to keep cattle out. The park is a Mecca for local
residents, and makes a pleasant picnic or walking site.
An introductory 15 minute video about the house is offered, and is well
worth seeing. There are numerous attendants who will guide you through
the house, though you may choose an unguided tour. Rooms all contain
plenty of information about architecture, furniture, details, etc. Open
to viewing by the public are: the Great Hall, the Lesser Hall, the Banqueting
Hall (pictured above), the Chapel (with medieval "Passion" painting),
the so-called Ballroom (with fine wall paintings), Staircases, Neville's
Room, the Plaster Room, the Paradise Room (pictured above), the Withdrawing
Room, Kitchens, and Servants Quarters.
Open all year round April-September afternoons - phone to check exact
times. Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Easily signposted from Stockport - follow Bramhall signs from Stockport
centre. Ample free parking.
Entrance to the Park is free, but there is a charge for entrance to
the Hall with concessions and family tickets available.
Shop, Stables Restaurant serving full lunches, light meals, teas and
beverages. Ample free parking. Facilities for the disabled. Toilets.
Bibliography - Books about Manchester