Manchester Elizabethan History




Elizabethan History
of Cheshire & Lancashire

Gawsworth Hall

Gawsworth, near Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9RN.
Tel: 01260-223456. Fax: 01260-223469.
Arguably the most pleasant and charming of all of Cheshire’s Tudor
houses, Gawsworth Hall is a lived-in residence, and the present owners,
Mr & Mrs Timothy Richards, welcome visitors to their splendid historical
house with a charm that equals the house.

Gawsworth Hall macclesfield from the garden

Gawsworth is the former home of the notorious Mary Fitton, who, Maid
of Honour at the Court of Queen Elizabeth I, is reputed to have been
the mysteriously enigmatic ‘dark lady’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Set in splendidly maintained traditional gardens, overlooking a lake
and within sight of the medieval church, one is met with the trickle
of water from the garden fountain and the calling of ravens in the
trees nearby – sounds which have probably changed little since Mary
Fitton walked amongst the profusion of roses and carpeted lawns.
The house has many paintings, sculptures and furniture of note – not
least the original Tudor refectory table in the dining room, and the
William Morris stained glass windows, designed by Burne-Jones, in
the tiny chapel and ambulatory. Its late 15th century timber frame
structure is open to view especially on the first floor gallery and
the adjoining solar bedroom.
The Library contains an extensive collection of books specialising
in the history of Cheshire, log fires burn in the wide open fireplaces,
and if you are fortunate, the house dog will lie sprawled in front
of one of them.
The original Norman house was rebuilt in 1480, and has been the residence
of the Earls of Macclesfield, Earls of Harrington and the Stanhope
family. The present occupant still bears the title “Lord of the Manor
and Patron of the Living of Gawsworth”.Thanks to a considerable amount
of careful and loving restoration in the 1920s, the Hall is still
with us today. The Richards family have occupied the house since 1962.
The former owner, Lord Harrington, made over the Lordship of the Manor
to Raymond Richards, a celebrated Cheshire historian in his own right,
when he moved to Ireland. Further restoration resulted in the house
being opened to the public in 1966.

Gawsworth hall front entrance

About 3 miles south of Macclesfield on the A536 Congleton-Macclesfield
Open daily each afternoon from the end of March to early October (please
phone to check current openings). Evening parties and groups by arrangement.
An admission charge is made for adults with reductions for children
and groups of 20 or more persons. Price includes the house and gardens,
but please check as prices may be liable to change.
Ample free car parking nearby in a well signed car park. Refreshments,
teas and snacks available in the Pavilion on site. Access is very
difficult for disabled persons, and impossible above ground floor
level. Regular Outdoor Theatre productions held in the gardens nearby
in June, July and August, with events ranging from Shakespearean performances,
to Jazz and Brass Band Concerts. Phone for current details.

Ordsall Hall

Taylorson Street, Ordsall, Salford M5 3EX. Tel: 0161-872

Ordsall Hall, Salford, Greater manchester

After many years of restoration, the 600 year old
Ordsall Hall, now owned by Salford Borough Council, was opened to the
public in 1972. The medieval manor house once had a moat around it,
and was owned by the Radcliffe family for centuries.
The Main Hall is a beautiful black and white timbered room, the oldest
part of the building is the Star Chamber bedroom, so-called because
the ceiling is covered with stars. One room is fitted out as a farmhouse
kitchen with ancient cooking utensils, and two upstairs rooms have been
made into a museum.
An exhibition entitles “From Flints to Flying Shuttles” illustrates
600 years of building history on this site, as well as 4,000 years of
Salford History, with stones dating from the Mythraic Temple at Castlefield
and a 900 year old dugout canoe. Fully refurbished in 2009 and now reopened
to the public.
Open all year round. Opening times: Mon-Fri 10:00am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm
to 5:00pm. Closed on Saturdays. Open Sundays 2:00pm to 5:00pm.
Ordsall Hall is fairly close to the M60 Orbital Motorway and can be
accessed via Trafford Park and Salford Quays exits. Also close to the
A67 Manchester-Liverpool Road and the A56 Manchester-Chester, and well

Sources: See
Bibliography – Books about Manchester

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This page last updated 20 Jan 13.