A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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This township is divided into two portions by a brook running across it westwardly to join the Mersey; the northern portion, nearly square in shape, is Chorlton proper, now urban; while the southern portion, still agricultural, stretches for about 2 miles along the north bank of the Mersey, and contains Hardy and Barlow, to the north and south respectively. The surface is level and lies low, the highest ground being near the south-east end, a little over 100 ft. above the ordnance datum. The lands by the river side are known as Eeas. The total area is 1,280 acres. (fn. 1) In 1901 the population numbered 9,026.
The principal roads are those from Manchester south through Chorlton to Withington and west from Withington and Fallowfield to Stretford. The Midland Company's railway from Manchester to Stockport crosses the northern part of the township and has a station at Chorlton named Chorlton-cum-Hardy. There is a footbridge over the Mersey for the road to Sale.
It does not appear that there was ever a separate manor of CHORLTON, which was held as part of Withington, (fn. 2) but it may have been held in moieties by Trafford and Barlow. (fn. 3) A family bearing the local name is mentioned from time to time, (fn. 4) but nothing is known as to its position. The principal family, apart from the lords of Withington and the Barlows, was that of Trafford, but there is nothing to show how the Trafford lands were acquired, apart from the grants quoted in the account of Withington. (fn. 5) The lands appear to have been sold about 1590 to Gregory Lovel and others, (fn. 6) from whose heirs probably they passed to the Mosleys, (fn. 7) and later to the Egertons of Tatton.
The manor of BARLOW was long held by a family who adopted that surname. (fn. 8) The earliest known member was a Thomas de Barlow to whom about 1200 Sibyl daughter of Uctred and Margaret granted all her lands in Barlow. (fn. 9) A later Thomas in 1253 complained that Robert de Reddish and a number of his neighbours had interfered with his stream at Barlow and taken his fish; it was stated in defence that the fish were caught in Matthew de Haversage's free fishery and Thomas was fined, but excused because he was poor. (fn. 10) Alexander son of Albin de Sale gave to Thomas de Barlow all his land and right in the vill of Barlow. (fn. 11) Thomas was succeeded by several Rogers. (fn. 12) In 1336 Roger de Barlow the elder made a settlement of his manor of Barlow, together with five messuages, 50 acres of land, &c., in Chorlton, and a moiety of the manor in Chorlton. (fn. 13) John son of Roger de Barlow was in possession in 1389, and a year or two later a settlement of his lards in Barlow, Chorlton, Hardy, and Withington, was made, with remainders to his son John, Joan is wife, daughter of Richard de Holland, and their issue. (fn. 14) The younger John was succeeded by his son Nicholas and his grandson Alexander; (fn. 15) the last named heads the pedigree recorded in 1567, (fn. 16) at which time the lord of the manor was another Alexander Barlow, who was conspicuous among the people of the Manchester district by his steady resistance to the religious changes made by Elizabeth. (fn. 17) For this cause he was at last committed to prison, and died in custody on 24 August 1584 leaving a son and heir of the same name, then twenty-six years of age. (fn. 18) The son, described in the Douay Records as a 'constant confessor of Christ,' (fn. 19) was made a knight on the accession of James I, (fn. 20) who at that time showed his inclination towards religious toleration. Sir Alexander died in 1620, holding the manor of Barlow and various lands of Edward Mosley, and other lands in Denton and Haughton; his son and heir Sir Alexander Barlow was over thirty years of age. (fn. 21) Two other sons entered the Benedictine Order, one of them being the Ven. Ambrose Barlow, who for twenty years laboured as a missionary in South Lancashire, and after being several times imprisoned, was at last executed for his priesthood on 10 September 1641 (fn. 22) at Lancaster. His death was supposed to have been due to instructions from the Parliament.
Of the second Sir Alexander but little is known. (fn. 23) He died in 1642 and was succeeded by his son Alexander, (fn. 24) who in 1654 was followed by his brother Thomas. (fn. 25) A pedigree was recorded ten years later. (fn. 26) Thomas died in 1684, his surviving son Anthony being the heir. (fn. 27) In 1717 Anthony Barlow, as a 'Papist,' registered his estate. (fn. 28) His two elder sons, Thomas and Anthony, were charged with treason in connexion with the Jacobite rising of 1715, (fn. 29) but appear to have escaped, as Thomas succeeded his father in 1723. Quarrels between Thomas and his wife ended in an attempt on her life, and he died a prisoner in Lancaster in 1729, having fallen a victim to gaol fever. (fn. 30) His eldest son Thomas succeeded, and soon after his death in 1773 (fn. 31) the estates were sold. (fn. 32) Barlow Hall has ever since been the property of the Egertons of Tatton. It was for some years the residence of the late Sir William Cunliffe Brooks.
A house appears to have existed on or near the site of the hall as far back as the reign of Henry VI, but the oldest parts of the present building do not date back further than the first half of the 16th century, and of this original house little or nothing can now be seen, the black and white work now remaining on the outside belonging to a later rebuilding in the same century.
The house stands about a quarter of a mile to the south of Barlow Moor Road between Chorlton-with-Hardy and Withington, on slightly rising ground on the north bank of the River Mersey, the position being originally in a large measure one of natural defence. The building is of two stories, quadrangular in plan, but almost wholly modernized and preserving few features of architectural interest. The entrance is by a doorway on the east side of the quadrangle, but it is said to have been formerly on the north side, part of which is described as a porch with gable over, still remaining. The quadrangle is irregular in shape but measures about 40 ft. from north to south, the width varying from 32 ft. on the south end to 38 ft. on the north. The plan of the buildings now surrounding the courtyard preserves very little of the ancient arrangement of the house, which may originally have consisted of the north and west wings, the quadrangle being completed later; but the great hall occupied the west wing, and a bay window in the north-west corner of the courtyard belonged to it. This bay, together with the restored half-timber work on the north side of the quadrangle, is the only picturesque bit of old work now left on the exterior of Barlow Hall, if we except a carved beam and some quatrefoil panels in the former porch to the north. The bay window is continued up to the second story in a timber gable, the barge boards of which have been renewed. On the north wall of the quadrangle is a sundial with the date 1574, and the motto Lumen me regit vos umbra, marking the work of Alexander Barlow who renovated the Hall in that year. The bay window contains in its six upper lights some good heraldic glass. On one are the heads of a doubleheaded eagle (the crest of the Barlows), with the motto Prist en foyt. Another contains the arms of Holland, and a third those of the third Earl of Derby encircled by a garter, with the date 1574 and initials A.B. below. This appears to have been placed here by Alexander Barlow (whose sister Margaret was the Earl of Derby's second wife) two years after his brother-in-law's death.
Booker (fn. 33) gives two more shields, which have now disappeared.
2. A shield of Kendall of seven quarterings: (1) Gules a fesse checky or and azure between three eagles displayed of the second; (2) Ermine a fesse azure; (3) Azure a cross or; (4) Argent three garbs gules; (5) Argent on a cross azure five fleurs de lys or; (6) Or a lion rampant guardant azure; (7) Argent three martlets gules.
A corridor runs all round the house on the inner side next to the courtyard, but in the old west wing it is a modern arrangement, the bay window now lighting its northern end. There is a staircase bay in the north-east angle of the courtyard, and two other staircases in the north-west and south-west interior angles of the building. The kitchen and offices are in the north, and the chief living rooms in the west and south. The internal corridor arrangement is preserved on three sides of the first floor.
By a fire which took place at Barlow Hall in March 1879 the west wing was almost entirely destroyed, and all traces of the original great hall lost. Much damage was also done to other parts of the building. The older part of the house had, however, been greatly modernized before this, and its exterior now presents the appearance of a quite ordinary brickbuilt house of the middle of the 19th century relieved from absolute dulness by a covering of ivy on its principal elevation. The roofs are of flat pitch and covered with blue slates, but some later additions on the south-east of the building have higher pitched roofs with gables and are less plain in detail. On the south of the house at the bottom of the terrace is a pond extending the full length of the building, probably a portion of an ancient moat. The fire of 1879 revealed a good deal of the ancient construction. In places where the stucco and lath and plaster had been destroyed the ancient timber framing was exposed, with fillings of 'wattle and daub' and of brick. Much of this work, including the roof of the west wing, which is said to have been built on crucks, probably belonged to the original 16th-century house, but since the rebuilding it is no longer to be seen. (fn. 34)
In 1787 the principal landowners in the township were the assigns of Thomas Barlow and William Egerton, each contributing about a third of the land tax; George Lloyd paid nearly a fifth. (fn. 35) There were twenty-three owners in 1845, the chief being Wilbraham Egerton, owning nearly three-quarters of the land, and George Lloyd owning nearly a fifth. (fn. 36)
The old chapel of Chorlton is believed to have been built about the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII; (fn. 37) it was taken down in 1779 and another erected, called St. Clement's. (fn. 38) A second church of St. Clement was consecrated in 1896, technically as a chapel of ease to the old one, which is still used. A fund of £69 belonged in 1650 to the chapel and school; (fn. 39) but part was lost, and in 1704 the income from endowments was only £1 15s. (fn. 40) This has been largely increased since that time. (fn. 41) The dean and canons of Manchester present to the rectory. A separate chapelry was assigned to it in 1839. (fn. 42) After the religious changes made by Elizabeth this chapel, if served at all, was left to a lay 'reader,' (fn. 43) with occasional visits from one of the fellows of the collegiate church. Ordained curates are named in 1619 and later, (fn. 44) but the lack of maintenance appears to have prevented any settled ministry until about 1750, (fn. 45) from which date the following have officiated:— (fn. 46)
|oc.||1754||Robert Oldfield, M.A. (fn. 47)|
|1766||Richard Assheton, M.A. (fn. 48) (Brasenose Coll. Oxf.)|
|1789||Joshua Brookes, M.A. (fn. 49) (Brasenose Coll. Oxf.)|
|1791||Nicholas Mosley Cheek|
|1805||George Hutchinson, M.A.|
|1816||Richard Hutchins Whitelock, M.A. (fn. 50)|
|1833||Peter Hordern, M.A. (fn. 51) (Brasenose Coll. Oxf.)|
|1836||John Morton, B.D.|
|1843||William Birlcy, M.A.|
|1859||John Edmund Booth, M.A. (fn. 52) (Brasenose Coll. Oxf.)|
|1893||Francis Edward Thomas, M.A. (fn. 53) (Magdalene Coll. Camb.)|
Methodism was introduced in 1770. The Wesleyan Methodists opened a chapel in 1805, rebuilt and enlarged it in 1827, and replaced it by another in 1872. (fn. 54) They have now two churches in the township, and the Primitive Methodists also have one.
The Roman Catholic Church of St. Augustine was opened in 1892. It was first known as St. Peter's Priory, of the Gregorian Order, but in 1896 was handed over to the secular clergy. (fn. 58)