A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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The township of Hulme is bounded on the north, west, and south, in the main, by the Medlock, Irwell, and Cornbrook respectively. It has an area of 477½ acres (fn. 1) and is wholly urban. There was a population of 66,916 in 1901.
The principal thoroughfare is the Chester Road, starting at Knott Mill and proceeding south-west to Stretford. (fn. 2) It is on the line of the old Roman road to Chester. Almost parallel to it are City Road, from Gaythorn to Stretford, and Stretford Road from Ardwick to Stretford. Across these runs Jackson Street, and there are, of course, a multitude of minor streets intersecting each other. Apart from Hulme Hall, which stood beside the Irwell, the earliest dwelling-houses (fn. 3) seem to have been erected on the south side of Chester Road, streets being planned there as early as 1793 and a considerable suburb existing in 1830.
The Bridgewater Canal has its terminus in Hulme at the Medlock, where there are quays, docks, and warehouses. The Cheshire Lines railway and the Manchester South Junction and Altrincham railway run side by side through the township near the Irwell. The district is served by the Manchester electric tramways.
The public buildings include the cavalry barracks in City Road, first erected in 1799; a town hall in Stretford Road, built in 1865, a public library being added next year; baths, 1860–5; and the Gaythorn gas works, erected in 1825–6; also a drill-hall. A dispensary was founded in 1831.
Hulme obtained a Police Act in 1824. It was included within the municipal borough of Manchester in 1838 by the first charter, and then divided into two wards—St. George's on the west and Medlock Street on the east. In 1896 its independent existence ceased, it being merged in the new township of South Manchester.
The early descent of HULME is obscured by the number of places of this name in South Manchester and Eccles, and by its being included either in Salford or in Manchester. It seems clear that Jordan, Dean of Manchester, in the 12th century held it of the manor of Salford in thegnage by a rent of 5s., (fn. 4) and that in 1212 Henry de Chetham held it by the same service, it being assessed as four oxgangs of land. (fn. 5) The same tenure is alleged in the later inquisitions touching the manor. On the other hand Hulme is included within the boundary of the manor of Manchester in the survey of 1320, (fn. 6) at which time Robert de Ashton held a moiety of the manor of Hulme by Alport by a rent of 5s. at the four terms, payable to the lord of Manchester. (fn. 7) It seems possible, therefore, that the Grelleys had secured the mesne lordship of the manor, but that in course of time this mesne lordship was, as in many similar cases, forgotten, and the immediate tenants were considered to hold directly of the honour of Lancaster, paying their rent at Salford manor-house. Another explanation is that one moiety became absorbed in the lordship of Manchester, the other moiety being that afterwards known as the manor of Hulme, held of Salford.
Whatever may be the solution of this difficulty, (fn. 8) the actual possessors adopted the surname of Hulme (fn. 9) and were succeeded early in the 14th century by the Rossendales, (fn. 10) and these by a branch of the Prestwich family, who also held lands in Oldham, perhaps a portion of the Hulme inheritance. (fn. 11) Of the Prestwich family little is known (fn. 12) until the 16th century, when Ralph son of Ellis Prestwich entailed the lands. Edmund, his son and heir, being without issue, gave them 'by deed and fine' to his cousin Edmund son of Edmund Prestwich deceased. (fn. 13) The elder Edmund died on 27 November 1577, holding the manor of Hulme and extensive lands in Manchester and Oldham; Hulme was held of the queen as of her manor of Salford in socage by the ancient rent of 5s., and its clear annual value was £10. (fn. 14) His successor, the younger Edmund Prestwich, died in 1598 holding the manor as before, and leaving as heir his son Edmund, then twenty-one years of age. (fn. 15) The last-named Edmund died at Hulme in February 1628–9, holding the family estates, and leaving a son and heir Thomas, aged twenty-eight. (fn. 16)
Thomas Prestwich, who was educated at Oxford, (fn. 17) compounded for the two-thirds of his estate liable to sequestration for recusancy in 1632, his annual fine being £6 13s. 4d. (fn. 18) He zealously espoused the king's side during the Civil War; was a commissioner of array in 1642; fought in the wars with varying fortune, being made a baronet in 1644, and a knight afterwards on the field of battle. (fn. 19) He compounded for his estates in 1647, (fn. 20) but his exertions in the king's cause resulted in the ruin of his house, (fn. 21) and in 1660 Hulme was sold to Sir Edward Mosley of Hough End in Withington. (fn. 22) Passing to the Mosleys of Ancoats, (fn. 23) the Hulme estate descended to Lady Bland, and was sold by her son Sir John Bland in 1751 to George Lloyd. (fn. 24) In 1764 a portion was purchased by the Duke of Bridgewater. (fn. 25)
Hulme Hall stood on a rise of red sandstone rock overlooking the River Irwell just below where it is joined by the Medlock, and about half a mile above Ordsall. It is described by Aikin in 1795 as 'an old half-timbered house,' and from the evidence of sketches and drawings made while the building was still standing seems to have been a good specimen of the domestic timber architecture of the county. (fn. 26) It was of two stories and built round a quadrangle, but no plan has been preserved showing the disposition and arrangements of its various parts. The river front facing north-west appears to have been the most picturesque side of the house, presenting an irregular line of building, one of its three gables containing 'an oriel window with a projecting story above.' (fn. 27) The approach was by an avenue of fine elm trees, and the entrance seems to have been by an archway under a tower on the south-east side of the quadrangle, on one side of which the building was only onestoried. The timber work to the quadrangle is said to have been more ornate than that in the front of the building, but some parts of the house appear to have been of brick covered with plaster. It is not easy to reconcile the various views of the hall taken by different people at different times, or any of them with the block plan of the hall as shown in Green's map of Manchester (1794). In the 18th century the gardens of Hulme Hall 'were celebrated for their beauty, and decorated with various works of art and antiquity, among which were several Roman altars and other remains of the former domination of that warlike race, which had been discovered from time to time in the immediate neighbourhood.' (fn. 28) The portion of the hall facing the gardens, consisting of two or three gables of two stories with the porch on the extreme right, is described early in the 19th century as containing 'a staircase of large dimensions and massy appearance. It is composed of ancient oak, which age had turned to a dark brown or black colour. The upper rooms are panelled and have large fireplaces with chimneypieces and twisted pillars in a grotesque style. The interior is more perfect, and the exterior more decayed, than the other parts of the hall.' (fn. 29) The hall was 'fast falling into decay' in 1807 (Britton), and was then let out in tenements to poor families. In one of the rooms was a series of 16th-century oak panels sculptured with carved heads and figures, but these were removed to Worsley Old Hall about 1833 (or before), and are now in the new hall there. (fn. 30) Hulme Hall was pulled down about 1840 to give place to buildings and works in connexion with the Bridgewater Canal, and murky smoke begrimed workshops and mills now cover the site.
It is said that in front of the hall, at the river side, was a red sandstone rock called Fisherman's Rock, in the face of which was a cave known as Robbers' Cave. (fn. 31)
In 1787 the chief proprietors were George Lloyd, the Duke of Bridgewater, and William Egerton, together paying four-fifths of the land-tax; Thomas Bullard or Bullock also had a fair estate. (fn. 32)
The increase of the population as Manchester expanded from the end of the 18th century has led to the erection of a number of places of worship. In connexion with the Established Church, St. George's, built in 1826–7, was consecrated in 1828; (fn. 33) Holy Trinity, 1843; (fn. 34) St. Mark's, 1852; (fn. 35) St. Paul's, 1857; (fn. 36) St. Mary's (fn. 37) and St. John Baptist's, (fn. 38) both in 1858; St. Philip's, 1860; (fn. 39) St. Michael's, 1864; (fn. 40) St. Gabriel's (fn. 41) and St. Stephen's, (fn. 42) both in 1869. The incumbents, who are styled rectors, are appointed in five cases by bodies of trustees; the Crown and the Bishop of Manchester nominate alternately to St. Mark's, the bishop alone to St. John's, the Dean and Canons of Manchester to St. George's and Holy Trinity, and Earl Egerton of Tatton to St. Mary's. St. Michael's and St. Philip's have mission rooms.
A Methodist chapel existed in Hulme in 1842. The Wesleyans had chapels in Radnor Street and George Street. The Methodist New Connexion has one church, and the United Free Church two; the Primitive Methodists also have one. The Baptists have a church in York Street with a mission chapel. The Welsh Baptists formerly had one. The Congregationalist church in Chorlton Road, Stretford, has three dependencies in Hulme, their principal church is Zion in Stretford Road, and there are two others. (fn. 43)