Bradshaw Hall in Cheadle was originally a Tudor structure. It was built in the late 15th or early 16th century. It was originally owned by the Savage family of Cheadle Moseley and built by Sir John Savage as his Manor House. As he owned a number of buildings, he leased it to James Kelsall, a lawyer, for 37s 3½d (£1.86) for sixty years, along with the neighbouring water mill. At the time it had been leased out to Richard Chedhill, a descendant of the original manor owners of Cheadle, but James moved in and marked his ownership by installing a datestone over the porch marking the year, 1550.
It stood where Bradshaw Hall Lane is today, at the far end where it meets Bruntwood Lane.
The Kelsalls came from Kelsall in Tarvin, Cheshire but that branch became extinct, and a younger branch of Bradshaw and Heathside lived in Cheadle.
James was the founder of the Bradshaw Kelsalls, and the family lived at the hall down the generations.
Around 1642 Radcliffe Kelsall (b ca 1622) of the hall, a younger son of a second marriage, and therefore without any inheritance abducted a Cheadle girl, Catherine Fallowes aged 16, and wooed her, showering her with affection and giving her a gold ring and gloves. She played up to the part and happily accepted his entreaties at Bradshaw.
However, Radcliffe’s brother, James, was more attracted by Catherine’s inheritance, and obtained a license to marry her off to his brother, at any place bar Cheadle Church, swearing that her mother and guardian, William Nicholls, the Rector of Cheadle, had consented to the union. He carried her off to a friend’s house in Stretford and attempted to marry her off to Radcliffe.
She tried to break the affair, but ended up in court in Chester where the brothers claimed a breach of marriage contract. In the scandalous trial that followed it was claimed that Catherine had shut the door and tied it with her garter so that none should come in, and that they had layne upon a bed, been observed in compromising circumstances both in a cornfield and at the Hall where they had known each other as man and wife. Catherine’s servant had been plied with drink, to send her to sleep.
Unfortunately I will have to leave the tale as a cliffhanger. No record exists of a marriage, and the Civil War interrupted procedings, so we do not know what happened to any of the participants. Sorry.
In 1664 Reginald Kelsall refused to enter his pedigree at the herald’s visitation, and was refused to style himself a gentleman. There is however, a small brass plaque to the family at Cheadle Church which shows the family chose to defy this order, Earwalker claims this as the coat of arms for the Kelsalls, however, it would have been specific to the Bradshaws.
The last Kelsall to live at the Hall was Oldfield Kelsall. His niece, Jane Dyson married the Reverend Charles Prescott of St Mary in Stockport in 1784 and the estates passed to him. In 1834 an Edmund Taylor died at the Hall, aged 90, but I can find no other information on him.
The next year we find the Reverend Charles Kenrick Henry Prescott (1786-1875), at the Hall, with his wife Emma Warre, and six daughters. He had been vicar of All Saints Church in Marple, and took over as Rector of Stockport from his father, Charles and served there until his death.
Of his daughters, Caroline Mary (1834-1895) married Francis Philips of Bank Hall in 1856, and Anne Theophilia (1836-1915) married his brother George, and went to live at Abbeycwmhir. Charles probably made some alterations to the original Tudor building, cladding it in a more modern brick.
When Charles went to serve at Stockport, around 1840 he was replaced by his brother the Reverend William Kenrick Prescott (ca 1798-1842), his wife Anne, and four daughters. Their son, Oldfield Kelsall Prescott (1828-1914) was boarding at Rugby School, however by 1851 Oldfield has returned and is head of the household, looking after his widowed mother and sisters. Oldfield married Helen Withington (1833-1924) of Didsbury in 1857 and they moved to Hampshire where he served a number of rectorships, retiring to Bournemouth where they both died.
By this time, the land has been made into a farm, and William Robinson and his family are now the tenant farmers. William stayed there until, aged 80 in 1858, he retired and sold up his entire farming stock, produce and implements, and it was Henry Johnson (1828-1867) who took over the tenancy.
Meanwhile back at the Hall in 1861 John Blakeley (1788-1869) a retired architect and stonemason was in residence along with his second wife Mary. and two children.
In 1871 Peter P Henderson and his two servants are living there. Peter was born in 1839 to Charles Paton Henderson (1810-1887) and Ann. His parents were born in Scotland, but they came down to Manchester where Charles had great success as an East India Merchant, eventually moving to Withington Hall. Charles’ son Charles carried on in the family business, but Peter had been born deaf and dumb, and so was looked after at Bradshaw Hall, as his father owned the farm. Charles Paton Henderson Senior grew very rich. On his death he left £404,000 in his will (£48.5m in 2020).
Peter’s sister, Christian Alexandrina Paton Henderson (1837-1892), married Colin George Ross who was the financial partner in the Henderson firm, and became a noted sportswoman in Cheadle, winning archery prizes, playing lawn tennis, indulging in trout fishing and deer stalking as well as being a keen golfer at Hoylake and Nairn. She and her husband lived first in a prestigious house in the Pall Mall district of Manchester, before moving to the equally high status Grey Street in Newcastle. It was said of her that she knew how to make good use of her rifle.
Peter moved back to Withington Hall in 1881, where he was head of the household, and working the farm. At this time George Morison is running the farm at Bradshaw., followed by the Morlen and Pennington families between 1891 and 1911.
During World War II the site was requistioned by the RAF and became part of RAF Handforth, some of the remains of this are still visible on the grounds. Cheadle and Gatley Council bought the land for £17,500 in 1951, to develop for housing, but this was blocked by the Ministry of Housing because of the need for farmland. The Hall was not considered worthy of saving as the original Tudor had been destroyed in a fire.
Once again in 1976 proposals were made to retain the hall, and use it as a community centre, or pub but the building was attacked by vandals and with a cost of rescue estimated at £40,000. The hall was demolished at a cost of £500. The pond remained, but slowly silted up until rescued by local residents in 1991. The A34 bypass in the 1990s skirted the edge of the estate, and eventually housing has taken over, leaving little if any evidence of the hall, save the name of Bradshaw Hall Road.
Lets have a look at the Hall in its later years:
I’m grateful to Charlie Hulme for his research on the Hall which I have used as the basis of this episode. You can always check out his fascinating site on Davenport history here.
Stockport Ancient & Modern, Henry Heginbotham: Sampson, Low Marston, 1892.
Magna Britannia: Being a Concise Topographical Account of the Several Counties of Great Britain, Daniel Lysons: Caddell & Davies, 1810.
East Cheshire Past & Present, J P Earwalker: 1877.
Stockport Heritage Magazine Vol 1, Issue 8.
© Allan Russell 2020