Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Newton Hall

Painting of Newton Hall. Collection of David Harrison.
Newton Hall was situated in Newton-le-Willows, now in Merseyside, but before the county boundaries changed, it was in the county of Lancashire. The hall was demolished in 1964 and little evidence remains of it above ground. Here is a description with some quotations taken from the website, which gives an excellent narrative of various documents that mention the hall in detail.
The hall was said to have been originally built by Robert Banastre, this earlier medieval structure being described as having two wings and being surrounded by a moat. The later building (as pictured above) is considered to have occupied the same site, but a portion of this building stood against an outcrop of rock, which was elevated above the level of the house, and as at this point there could have been no moat. So, the newer structure may not have been built on the exact same ground as the old. The present structure, as indicated below, was constructed by Thomas Blackburn in 1634, and was indeed a fine example of a building from that period. The hall then become ruinous as the Blackburn family vacated the building, and it was eventually restored by Lord Newton. In what was the great hall there was said to be a fireplace with the coat of arms of Queen Elizabeth carved in oak above. The remains of the gallery surrounding what was once the great hall were absorbed into rooms built in the upper part of the hall, and the old fireplace was completely rebuilt, the old bricks being replaced with stone. Thus the hall changed over time, and now, is sadly demolished.

"Before the Conquest Newton was the head of a hundred assessed at 5 hides. One of the hides, including Newton itself, was held in demesne by Edward the Confessor, as lord of the manor..... In 1346 .... Sir Robert de Langton held the plough-lands in Newton by the service of one knights fee, paying 10s. for ward of Lancaster Castle, and doing suit at the Wapentake Court at West Derby every three weeks. The manor of Newton with its members, Lowton, Kenyon Arbury, a moiety of Golburne, and the advowson of Wigan church, was so held ..... A grant of free warren was obtained by Robert Banastre in 1257 and licence to crenellate his mansion by Robert de Langton in 1341. Manorial rights are still claimed, but no court has been held for many years..... A resident family or families took the local name one of them in the time of Edward III was known as Richard the Receiver from the office he held under the lord of the fee. Another also had an official name - Serjeant; the family remained here down to the end of the 17thc.... The Blackburnes, afterwards of Orford and Hale acquired lands here in the latter part of the 16thc. Their house known more recently as Newton Hall, was built by Thos. Blackburne in 1634 ..... a small 'H' - shaped house standing N. and S. with hall between living rooms and kitchen ....."

Dr Kuerden, an antiquarian of 1695, wrote ‘…crossed the little stone bridge over Newton Brook, three miles from Warrington. On the left hand side close by a water mill appear the ruins of the site of the ancient barony of Newton, where formerly was the baron's castle.' (Quoted in Philpott), (Stephen Dowd 'The History of Newton Hall').

The north-west region has lost too many of its historic structures, halls such as Childwall Hall, Orford Hall, Hale Hall and Culcheth Hall have all disappeared. The loss of buildings like Newton Hall may yet inspire us to save the ones that still survive.

All photographs by Dr David Harrison.

© Dr David Harrison 2017.

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