A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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This township has a length of 2½ miles from north to south, and an area of 1,541 acres. The northern boundary is formed by the ancient Nico Ditch; part of the eastern by the River Tame. The surface is usually level, but slopes away to the river. The hamlets in 1856 were Reddish Green, Sandfold, and Whitehill. (fn. 1) The population was in 1901 included in that of Stockport.
The small town of Reddish lies near the centre of the township. From this roads lead away in all directions; the principal are those to Stockport on the south, passing through the hamlet of South Reddish; to Heaton Norris on the west; and to Manchester on the north, passing through Barlow Fold, North Reddish, and Sandfold. The southern end of the township has become a suburb of Stockport. The London and North Western Company's line from this town to Ashton crosses it, with a station called Reddish, near the centre. The Great Central Company's line from Manchester to Stockport touches the northern end of the township, within which is a station also named Reddish. The same company's loop line from Central Station to London Road, Manchester, crosses the north end. The Manchester and Stockport Canal, 1797, goes through the township from north to south.
In 1666 the principal house was that of Jane Stopford, with ten hearths liable to the tax; the total number in the township was fifty-six. (fn. 2) Though so near Stockport there was in Reddish in 1857 neither post-office, schoolmaster, lawyer, doctor, nor pawnshop. Agriculture was then the chief occupation of the people, but bleaching, hand-loom weaving, and hat-making had at one time been pursued to a slight extent. (fn. 3) There are now cotton mills, calico printing works, bleach works, and roperies.
The township was formerly governed by a local board often members, constituted in 1881, and more recently by an urban district council. It was added to Stockport in 1901, being divided into two wards.
In the survey of 1212 it is stated that Roger son of William held a plough-land in REDDISH of the king in thegnage by a rent of 6s., and that Matthew de Reddish held it of him by the same service. (fn. 4) The mesne lord was of the Kirkby Ireleth family, and his position was recognized down to the 15th century. (fn. 5)
The descendants of Matthew de Reddish (fn. 6) cannot be traced, but a family using the local surname, who were apparently connected with the Hultons of Hulton and Ordsall, (fn. 7) held Reddish and Heaton in Prestwich down to the 17th century. Richard son of Richard de Reddish was a plaintiff in 1313–14, (fn. 8) and ten years later Richard de Reddish held an oxgang of land in Reddish by the service of 6s. (fn. 9) Richard son of Richard de Hulton of Reddish in 1331 and later claimed a messuage and lands against Jordan son of John de Reddish, who had them by grant of Richard de Hulton, formerly husband of Ellen de Reddish, the plaintiff being her heir. (fn. 10) In 1346 John de Kirkby held Reddish in socage, paying 6s. rent by the hands of Richard de Reddish. (fn. 11) This Richard appears in suits for some years afterwards. (fn. 12)
A later Richard died in 1404 holding the manor of Reddish of Sir Richard Kirkby in socage by a rent of 6s.; Ralph, his son and heir, was thirty years of age. (fn. 13) Ralph died about five years afterwards, (fn. 14) and was probably succeeded by the Richard Reddish who was tenant in 1445–6. (fn. 15) Three or four years before this Richard Reddish had settled his lands in view of the marriage of his son John with Elizabeth daughter of Thurstan Holland. (fn. 16)
Otes Reddish died 10 Sept. 1521, holding the manors of Reddish and Heaton Fallowfield, with messuages, burgages, water-mill, lands, and rents in those places and in Heaton Norris, Manchester, and Audenshaw. The tenure of Reddish is described as of Sir John Byron in socage, by the yearly rent of one pound of cummin; its clear annual value was £36 13s. 4d. (fn. 17) The change of tenure thus recorded for the first time appears to go back to 1262, when Matthew de Reddish granted a moiety of the manor to Geoffrey de Byron at the rent of one pound of cummin or 2d., and performing to the chief lords of the fee the services due. (fn. 18) The inquisitions (fn. 19) show the manor to have descended regularly to Sarah daughter and co-heir of Alexander Reddish, who died in 1613. (fn. 20) She married Clement youngest son of Sir Edward Coke, the famous chief justice, (fn. 21) and the manor descended to her son and grandsons. (fn. 22) Then it was bequeathed to another branch of the Coke family, (fn. 23) and descended to Thomas William Coke, the celebrated 'Coke of Holkham,' created Earl of Leicester in 1837. (fn. 24) He sold it, with his other Lancashire estates, about the end of the 18th century; the purchaser was James Harrison of Cheadle, whose representative in 1808 sold it to Robert Hyde Greg and John Greg of Manchester. (fn. 25)
Reddish Hall was situated on the east side of the township, and was taken down about the year 1780 It was a two-storied timber and plaster house, on a stone base, E-shaped on plan, but said to have been originally quadrangular in form, and surrounded by a moat. The principal front, which had three overhanging gables, was entirely covered with quatrefoil panelling, giving the building a very rich appearance. The great hall, as well as several of the other rooms, was wainscoted, the upper panels being carved with the collared lion of Reddish. 'Attached to the hall, and approached by a door to the left under the entrance gateway, was the domestic chapel … The apartment over the gateway was known as the priest's chamber.' (fn. 26)
The next considerable estate was that of HULME HALL. As early as the 13th century a family named Hulme was seated in the township; (fn. 27) part at least of their estate was acquired by the Hulmes of Manchester, a trading family which can be traced back to the early years of the 15th century. (fn. 28) Ralph Hulme purchased in 1601, (fn. 29) and died in 1623, (fn. 30) being succeeded by his eldest son William, who died in 1637. (fn. 31) His heir was his son William Hulme, founder of the Hulme exhibitions at Brasenose College, Oxford He lived at Kearsley, and being left childless, devoted his estates to charitable uses, a life interest to his widow being reserved. (fn. 32) She died in 1700, when the trustees came into possession of the whole. (fn. 33) Owing to the growth of Manchester the trust estates have increased in value enormously, and several Acts of Parliament have been passed to regulate the uses. (fn. 34) Hulme Hall, the residence of the family, was later known as Broadstone Hall. (fn. 35)
Other families appear from time to time as owning lands in the township, as those of Birches, (fn. 36) Bibby, (fn. 37) and Stanley. (fn. 38) John Reddish was the only landowner contributing to the subsidy of 1541, (fn. 39) but in 1622 three are named—Clement Coke, Margaret Hulme, and Thomas Bibby. (fn. 40)
In 1788 Thomas Wenman (William) Coke paid £49 out of the total land tax of £68, the next contributor being Brasenose College, Oxford, £9, on account of the Hulme estates. (fn. 41) In 1844 John Hyde had an estate of 210 acres in the township, being about a seventh of the land. (fn. 42)
For the Established Church St. Elisabeth's was built in 1883; Sir W. H. Houldsworth has the patronage of the rectory. In North Reddish is the temporary church of St. Agnes, the Crown and the Bishop of Manchester presenting alternately.