A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
This township is bounded on the south-west by a brook running into the Irk, and by the Irk itself and its affluent the Wince Brook for the most part on the north. The surface is mostly above the 300 ft. level, but slopes downwards to the bounding brooks. (fn. 1) The highest ground, 350 ft., is in the south-east and north east. The area is 797½ acres. The population in 1901 was returned with Middleton. (fn. 2)
The principal road is that leading north from Manchester to Middleton; the hall is in the triangle to the west of this road. Part of the White Moss occupied the south-east corner. There is a colliery. (fn. 3)
For local government the township was in 1894 added to the borough of Middleton. (fn. 4)
No house had as many as six hearths in 1666; the total number of taxable hearths in the township was twenty-seven. (fn. 7)
The survey of 1212 gives the earliest account of the manor of ALKRINGTON. At that time it was a member of the Montbegon fee of eight knights, and was held by Adam de Prestwich as 4 oxgangs of land 'of ancient tenure' by 4s.; while placed among the manors held by knight's service, it thus appears as a thegnage estate. (fn. 8) The Montbegon fee was some twenty years later alienated to the Lacys, and thus passed to the Crown; but the manor of Alkrington continued to descend with Prestwich, (fn. 9) the tenure being changed to the twenty-fourth part of a knight's fee, with a rent of 10d. The inquisitions, however, do not state the tenure quite uniformly. (fn. 10)
On the death of Sir Robert Langley, in 1561, this manor was given to his daughter Katherine, who married Thomas Legh of Lyme, but died in 1591 without issue. (fn. 11) The Leghs, however, appear to have retained the manor, for it was sold in 1627 by Thomas Legh, Alice his wife, and John Legh, to Robert and John Lever. (fn. 12) The purchasers were probably younger sons of Robert Lever of Darcy Lever, who died in 1620. (fn. 13) Robert Lever, his son, was a clothier in London, and died unmarried about 1642; John Lever, another son, was 'of Alkrington,' and died in 1645, being buried at Middleton. (fn. 14) His eldest son Robert married Anne the daughter and heir of Nicholas Mosley of Collyhurst, and died in 1710, a very aged man. (fn. 15) His son John died in 1718, and was succeeded by his son Sir Darcy Lever, who served as high sheriff in 1736, and was knighted. (fn. 16) He married Dorothy, a daughter and coheir of the Rev. William Ashton, rector of Prestwich. (fn. 17)
Their eldest son, Sir Ashton Lever, was high sheriff in 1771, (fn. 18) and made a knight in 1778, and died ten years later without issue. He collected a large museum of curiosities, which was exhibited at his residence at Alkrington. Wishing at length to dispose of it, he obtained an Act of Parliament authorizing him to do so by a lottery, and in 1785 the drawing took place. The winner afterwards exhibited the collection in London, and it was not dispersed until 1806. (fn. 19) Sir Ashton was succeeded by his brother the Rev. John Lever, who left several children. (fn. 20) The younger son, John, settled at Alkrington, and died in 1834, aged sixty-two. The estate then passed to his nephew Dorning Rasbotham, who in 1844 sold it to John Lees and his brothers of Clark's Field near Oldham. (fn. 21) Their representatives continue to hold the manor and most of the land, but the hall has been sold. It is a plain but well-designed brick house erected in 1736 on the site of an older building by Sir Darcy Lever. The situation was formerly one of much picturesqueness, being on elevated ground in the midst of woods and overlooking Heaton Park, and despite many changes in the surroundings it still retains some of its former characteristics. The general effect of the principal front is now somewhat spoiled by the removal of the old window bars and the substitution of plate glass, but it is still one of much dignity. The hipped roof is partly concealed by a high brick parapet.
Bradshaw Hall lies in the north-east part of the township, in a plot cut off from the main area by Wince Brook. It was anciently part of the lands of the Hospitallers, and was afterwards granted to the Earls of Derby, of whom it was held in the early part of the 17 th century by a branch of the Chadderton family. (fn. 22)