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HADFIELDs and their HALLs

by Roger Hadfield MA F.R.G.S.

Within a radius of four miles west and north of Glossop are to be found seven 'Halls' or 'Old Halls' in Derbyshire and just across the border in Cheshire. This term is common in Derbyshire not only for the residences of the great landowners but for the buildings of the independent yeoman families. Six of these date from the mid to late 1600s when construction of two storey gritstone houses became common. Hadfields were to occupy all seven for lengthy periods. Numerous accounts of the 'Halls' often confused the various Hadfield families and therefore using Hadfield documents of all types, here is a brief account to set the record straight.

First, there is HADFIELD OLD HALL now a Grade II listed building and the home of Mr. and Mrs. Howard. This is in the hamlet of that name from whence Hadfields derive. Though there is no absolute proof, it is fairly certain it was built in 1646 by Thomas Hadfield (1603-1674). There had been Thomas Hadfields at Hadfield since the 1400s and probably long before. This one was a Parliamentary Captain in the Civil War and much is known about his military activities and 'the estate at Hadfield' which he owned. This estate and almost certainly the Hall, passed down the Captain's line to 1844 after which it was the property of a Hadfield nephew to 1861.

The Captain's son, George (1626-1672) died before him, however, his sons Thomas (1653-1743) and Moses (1666-1728) prospered so that the Captain's great grandson, George (1690-1759), son of Thomas (1653-1743) held at his death as well as the Hadfield estates, lands in Yorkshire, Cheshire, Whitfield (Glossop) and Hayfield but George's son Thomas (1718-1789) was established at SYMONDLEY HALL. This Hall was also built in the 1600s and as late as 1734 it had been occupied by one Booth Waterhouse, a Glossop schoolmaster. Whether Thomas got this by marriage or purchase is not known, neither is it clear how it left the Hadfields in the 1800s. Here were born Thomas's children, Martha (1769-1818), Moses (1770-1844), George (1772-1831), Samuel (1777-1842) and Hannah (1779-1827).

Thomas (1718-1789) had a wealthy brother Samuel (1721-1807) a hat manufacturer of Oldham who, as well as estates in Lancashire, Ireland and possibly the USA, acquired in the late 1700s HOLLINGWORTH OLD HALL (Cheshire) for centuries the home of the Hollingworths - this and much wealth he left to his nephews, sons of Thomas. After 1844 it passed to Martha Wood, daughter of his niece Hannah (1779-1827). It was demolished in 1943 (though not its adjacent farm).

In 1800 Samuel (1721-1807) also bought MOTTRAM OLD HALL (Cheshire), this again property of the Hollingworths in 1750. This he left to his nephew George (1772-1831), son of Thomas (1718-1789). George born at Symondley, lived first at Hollingworth Hall and died at Mottram Old Hall but in 1810 purchased from the Tattons, THORNCLIFFE HALL (Cheshire) which he 'embellished'. Thorncliffe during the 1700s was the home of the Bretlands and was always considered the most important of the local 'Halls'. It, like Hollingworth was to pass to Martha Wood (niece of George) and she married Edwin Hugh Shelland. It is believed other Hollingworths later purchased it but most of it was later demolished, though bits still stand. George also held all the other estates - Hadfield, Ireland etc.etc, he was a Captain in the Militia and traveled widely in Europe. After his death, his brother Samuel (1777-1842) erected a statue of him at Mottram Old Hall - only its plaque now survives.

Mottram Old Hall together with the Hadfield estate at Hadfield and much of the other lands and wealth of George and his brothers Moses and Samuel passed after 1844 to George Woodhead, son of their sister Martha (1769-1818) - it was hoped he would take the name Hadfield to continue the line but he never did. On his death and that of his sister Betsy Woodhead, both without issue, in 1861, Mottram Old Hall passed to John Wood (1815-1889) of ARDEN HALL, Stockport. He was the brother of Martha Wood - both children of Hannah Hadfield (17790-1827) the sister of George, Moses and Samuel. After passing through various other owners Mottram Old Hall was purchased in 1962 by Judge Philip Curtis (1908-1998)

At Symondley there was also another Hall - LEES HALL. This was much older than the other Halls as it may have been the demesne farm of Abbots of Basingwerk in the 1200s - it exists today, though very much altered. It came to the Hadfields when the Reverend John Hadfield (1704-1781) married its heiress Elizabeth Garside (1709-1782) in 1728. The Reverend came from along line of Hadfields at Padfield - not the ones of adjacent Hadfield. It was then occupied by Charles (1735-1795) second son of the Reverend, who, amongst many other activities, built a mill and crated nearby Charlestown.

Charles's son and heir was Joseph Hadfield (1779-1854) and in 1801 Joseph married Mary Ellison (1782-1864) daughter of Mathew Ellison (1751-1834), agent of the Duke of Norfolk who owned most of Glossop. Their son Mathew Ellison Hadfield (1812-1885) became chief architect for the Duke of Norfolk and he and his son and grandson were to be responsible for designing many important Victorian buildings at Glossop and elsewhere - in particular, they were responsible for the alterations to Glossop church. Several of Joseph's daughters continued at Lees Hall to 1895.

Near the head of the Longdendale Valley, then in Cheshire, was CROWDEN HALL built in 1692 by another Thomas Hadfield. Once again his ancestors were Padfield rather than Hadfield Hadfields. This Thomas died in 1697 but his Hall survived until 1937. The Hadfield line continues there to Thomas (1735-1804), the builder's great grandson. His son, John (1756-1803) was hanged at Carlisle in 1803 and was the subject for Melvyn Bragg's novel 'The Maid of Buttermere'.


DUKINFIELD OLD HALL. There is little information relating to the first Hall but what is traditionary. It was built at a very early period on the Cheshire bank of the river Tame, opposite to that of Ashton, to resist any invasions from Lancashire. No trace of the old building remains, although the site is still known as The Hall Green. The present building (demolished 1951), also named the Old Hall, was for several centuries the residence of the Dukinfields. It was a large half-timbered house erected in the reign of Henry VIII in the picturesque style then prevailing, having bold, overhanging bressumers and gables ornamented with trefoils and other characteristic timber-work. The entrance was through a low pointed doorway having a very heavy door and it is believed to have been protected on the land side by a moat. It continued to be the residence of the Dukinfields until after the middle of the last century, when Lord Astley, Esq., built Dukinfield Lodge, since which time the Old Hall has gradually fallen to decay. It had attached to it a chapel which no doubt succeeded an earlier one, to which the Bishop of Lichfield granted a license, on 10 October 1398, to John de Dukinfield for its use as an oratory for the ministrations by the family priest. It stands at right angles with the north-east end of the hall and formerly consisted of a nave and a chancel. Sir Peter Leycester, in 1669, includes it among the chapels of ease in the Parish of Stockport, but there is no proof of its having been used except as a domestic chapel.

Dukinfield Lodge was built for a residence by John Astley, Esq., after his marriage with Lady Dukinfield Daniel. It is beautifully situated on an eminence overlooking the river Tame, and is now the residence of George Newton, Esq. It was surrounded by a park of considerable extent, the larger portion of which has been converted into a cemetery for Dukinfield, Staley Bridge, and Ashton.

DUKINFIELD HALL, for so many years the home of the Dukinfields, is situated on low ground, not far from the Tame, and although it is some distance from the town of Dukinfield, is now nearly surrounded by factories and houses. It has been much altered of late years, particularly when it was divided into cottages, and the old mullioned windows replaced by smaller modern ones. It is a spacious half-timbered building in the well-known Cheshire black-and-white style, the details of which are now hidden under the plaster with which the greater part of the walls have been covered; but on the southeastern side and the three gables the timber-work is still shown. The north-eastern side, has three projecting bays with gables; the largest gable is an overhanging one, and is ornamented with quatrefoiling placed in square divisions, whilst of the other two, the nearer one has quatrefoiling in diagonal divisions, and the further one has a simple upright post with radiating diagonals on either side. The ornamentation of the larger bay (now hidden) but of that of the smaller bays and the central portion of the Hall no traces are now visible, nor has any description or sketch of it been met with. There can be no doubt that the whole of the Hall was ornamented in a somewhat similar manner to that of the larger bay and gable. The entrance was through an obtusely-pointed arched doorway, the heavy old oak door of which existed till lately. The old window above this arched doorway had three ornamentation, except in the gables, was then hidden under the narrow lights. The southwestern front has been rebuilt with brick, but there was a gabled bay corresponding with the larger one on the other side, and two other gables at the western end. The northwestern end is also of brick. The interior of the Hall now presents few features of interest. Some of the rooms still retain their paneled walls, and have traces of the old fireplaces. Lower rooms contain a shield of arms of eight quarters, Dukinfield quartering Holland and allied coats. This would fix the date of that portion of the Hall as early in the 17th century, the marriage with the heiress of the Hollands having taken place c1593. It is said that there was a moat round the Hall; but no traces of it now remain.

The Chapel belonging to the Hall stands at right angles to it, projecting from the northern end on the north-eastern side. It has recently been altered, and a large addition built on to it, so as to adapt it for the purposes of a Nonconformist Chapel. Before these alterations, it consisted of a small nave and chancel, separated by a semicircular arch. The walls are very thick and have round-headed windows of three lights each, and date at about the early part of the 17th century. At the western end of the roof was a small hexagonal bell-cupola, still remaining. At the present time the chancel is not used, and is full of rubbish, whilst the old nave forms a sort of transept to the new Chapel, which projects at right angles to it, and which has been built in a similar style of architecture. On the floor of the old chancel were three flat tombstones, two of which still remain, but the third has been wantonly broken of late years. They bore the following inscriptions:

"Here Resteth the Body of Sir Robert Dukinfield of Dukinfield, Baronet, who departed this Life November the 6th, 1729, in the 88th Year of his Age."

"Here resteth the Body of Susanna, Daughter of Sir Robert and the Lady Susanna Dukinfield, who departed this Life, January the ?, in the Year 1722, and in the 34th Year of her Age."

"Here Resteth the Body of Martha, Daughter of Sir Robert and the Lady Jane Dukinfield, who departed this Life, September the 13th in the Year 1723, and in the 5th Year of her Age."

Bishop Gastrell, states that this Chapel was licensed as a private oratory to the Dukinfields in 1398. Searches have been made at Lichfield, in the Episcopal Registers there, to verify this statement, but so far with a negative result only. It appears to have always been a domestic Chapel, and not a Chapel-of-Ease to Stockport.


Together with Francis Dukinfield Ramsear Astley Esq. and his son John Ramsear Astley, Thomas Hadfield (1780-1862) and his son, Samuel (1813-1866), all lived at Dukinfield Hall between 1820 and 1866. The Hadfields' conducted their extensive hat manufacturing business from buildings located within the grounds of The Hall. Many of the houses ('Hadfield Houses') located in nearby Hadfield Street off Astley Street, Globe Square, were also owned by Thomas and Samuel. Being in an advanced state of decay and disrepair, The Hall was eventually demolished in 1951.

It is worth pointing out that the words 'Dukinfield Hall' were also used to denote an area, particularly when used on BDM certificates. The area appears to have taken into account Globe Square, Globe Lane, Hadfield Street and adjacent parts of Astley and Ashton Streets.