Townships: Hulme

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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'Townships: Hulme ', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4, (London, 1911) pp. 335-338. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

In this section


Overholm and Noranholm, 1226; Hulm, 1310.

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.

The industries are varied, including iron works, cotton mills, saw mills, and printing works.

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 old Chorlton Union Workhouse, built about 1840, stood in Stretford Road, opposite Holy Trinity Church.


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)

Prestwich of Hulme. Gules a mermaid proper crined or holding a glass and comb of the last.

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)

The Salvation Army has two stations. The Church of United Friends has a meeting place; the Catholic Apostolic Church (Irvingite) also has one. The Unitarians have a mission to the poor.

The Roman Catholic Church of St. Wilfrid was opened in 1842. The large convent and school of Our Lady of Loreto is in this township.


  • 1. 477 acres; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. The older road remains, but in 1841 the Bridgewater Viaduct over the Medlock was opened, providing a shorter and more direct way from Deansgate to Chester Road.
  • 3. The hearths liable to the tax in 1666 numbered only 34, of which Hulme Hall had 10; Subs. R. bdle. 250, no. 9.
  • 4. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 137. It is called 'Overholm and Noranholm.' Jordan, the Dean of Manchester, was living in 1177; Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 38.
  • 5. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 70.
  • 6. Mamecestre (Chet. Soc.), ii, 277; the boundary of the manor went along the Cornbrook between the manor of Hulme by Alport and Trafford, as far as the Irwell.
  • 7. Ibid. ii, 290; the other moiety of the manor is not mentioned, but it would seem that the whole service due was charged on Robert de Ashton, who also held two oxgangs of land in Denton for life.
  • 8. The whole of Hulme may have been held half of Salford and half of Manchester; but the Prestwich inquisitions do not support this, though it is clear that if there were such moieties this family held both in the 15th century.
  • 9. Geoffrey de Hulme appears to have been the possessor about 1300; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 301.
  • 10. In 1310 Adam de Rossendale and Margery his wife settled the manor of Hulme near Manchester, with remainders to their children in succession—Geoffrey, John, Robert, and Cecily; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 3. Geoffrey de Hulme about 1324 held a plough-land in Hulme by the service of 6s. a year; John La Warre held a ploughland in Hulme by the service of 5s. a year; Dods MSS. cxxxi, fol. 38, 38b.
  • 11. Cecily de Hulme in 1346 paid to Salford the rent of 5s. due for half a plough-land in Hulme; Add. MS. 32103, fol. 146b. Alice widow of John son of Geoffrey de Hulme in the same year demanded dower against Cecily widow of John de Prestwich in two-thirds of nine messuages, 100 acres of land, &c., in Oldham and in two-thirds of the manor of Hulme by Manchester; also against Margaret widow of John son of Adam de Rossendale in the remaining third of the estate in Oldham and Hulme. The defence, which the jury accepted, was that John de Hulme had never been seised in fee, so that no dower was due to Alice; De Banco R. 346, m. 286 d. It seems clear from this case and the fine of 1310 that John de Rossendale succeeded to Hulme, and dying without issue his sister Cecily became the heir. Geoffrey de Hulme (in possession in 1324) was apparently the eldest son of Adam de Rossendale. From another suit, four years later, it appears that John's widow Margaret afterwards married a Richard de Vernon, for Ralph de Prestwich—presumably the son and heir of Cecily—proceeded against Richard de Vernon and Margaret his wife for waste in the latter's dower lands; De Banco R. 364, m. 89.
  • 12. A writ of Diem clausit extr. for a Nicholas de Prestwich was issued in 1377; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxii, App. 350; see also Mamecestre, ii, 267. It is not stated that he was of Hulme. In 1440 Ralph Prestwich made a feoffment of the manor of Hulme and of various messuages and lands in Manchester, Crompton, and Oldham; Final Conc. iii, 105; see also Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 3, m. 14b; 5, m. 3, 8. Ralph held half a plough-land in Hulme near Manchester in 1445–6 of the king as duke, in socage, rendering 5s. yearly; the relief due was 5s.; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, 2/20. Ellis Prestwich in 1473 held the manor of Hulme of the lord of Manchester by knight's service and 5s. rent; also burgages in Manchester by a rent of 29d.; Mamecestre, iii, 482–7. An Edmund Prestwich, holding land in Manchester, occurs in the same rental; ibid. 485. Ellis Prestwich made a feoffment of lands in Crumpsall in 1478; De Trafford D. no. 89. He received a general pardon in 1487, so that he may have been a Yorkist; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 541. The writ of Diem clausit extr. after his death was issued 9 June 1501; Towneley MS. CC (Chet. Lib.), no. 707. Nicholas and Ralph Prestwich in 1506 made a feoffment of the manor of Hulme, with a mill, messuages, and lands in Manchester, Salford, Hulme, and other places; Final Conc. iii, 162. Ralph son of Ellis Prestwich is named in a writ of 1526; Pal. of Lanc. Writs Proton. The arms only were recorded at the herald's visitation in 1533.
  • 13. Visit. of 1613 (Chet. Soc.), 41; it appears that Edmund the beneficiary was son of Edmund son of Richard Prestwich, a younger brother of Ralph. A pedigree was recorded in the Visit. of 1567 (Chet. Soc.), 6, by Edmund son of Ralph. The fine referred to is that of 1566, by which Edmund Prestwich settled the manor of Hulme, with its appurtenances and messuages, water-mill, dovecote, land, pasture, &c., in Hulme, Withenshaw, Manchester, Salford, Crumpsall, Oldham, and Crompton; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 28, m. 190. The uses are stated in his inquisition.
  • 14. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xii, 4. The indenture defining the uses of the fine of 1566 is recited in full, as well as Edmund's will. Fearing lest his 'ancient inheritance at his decease might be scattered and dispersed, to the utter decay of hospitality at his said house of Hulme,' he settled his property upon Edmund Prestwich the younger, son of Edmund Prestwich deceased, and his heirs male, with remainder to Ralph Prestwich and his heirs male. By his will his wife Isabel was to hold Hulme, residing there and maintaining due hospitality, holding also the manor of Northall alias Bracebridge and lands at Canwick in Lincolnshire, paying £6 13s. 4d. a year to Edmund Prestwich the younger and £4 to Ralph Prestwich. His messuage of Withenshaw in Hulme he gave to his servant Gilbert Wilkinson for life. Bareyshaw in Oldham and Broadbent in Sholver are also named in the will, by which £40 was given to the building or repair of Crossferry Bridge. The lands in Withenshaw (though described as in Hulme) were held of Nicholas Longford in socage by a rent of 3s. 4d.; the messuages and lands in Manchester were held of Lord La Warre by a rent of 12s., and those in Salford of the queen by a rent of 12s. 4d. The next of kin and heirs were—James Ashton, son and heir of Anne sister of Edmund Prestwich; Alexander Reddish, son and heir of John late son and heir of Alice, another sister; Anne Ashton, daughter and one of the heirs of Cecily, another sister; and Isabel wife of John Gridlow, daughter and heir of Eleanor, the remaining sister.
  • 15. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xvii, 27. By his will Edmund the father left to his son and heir his 'chain of gold and all the glass in every window in the hall, parlour, and chambers belonging to Hulme Hall, and also all the wainscot and ceiling standing in every place of the said hall, chambers, and parlours,' on condition that leases made to the younger sons should be allowed. The younger sons were Ralph, Ellis, John, and Thomas; Piccope, Wills (Chet. Soc.), iii, 103–5. A settlement of the manor of Hulme, &c., was made by Edmund Prestwich in 1625; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 107, no. 3.
  • 16. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvii, 74. An abstract of his will is printed in Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. iii, 152. There is a notice of John Prestwich, B.D., a younger son of Edmund's, in Pal. Note Bk. ii, 181, 225. He left his books to Manchester.
  • 17. Foster, Alumni Oxon.; M.A. 1629. He was also of Gray's Inn.
  • 18. Lucas's 'Warton' (MS.) from Thoresby.
  • 19. G.E.C. Complete Baronetage, ii, 222. In 1642 he endeavoured to secure the stock of powder in Manchester, and afterwards took part in the siege of the town; Civil War Tracts (Chet. Soc.), 15, 51. He was taken prisoner at the defeat of the Royalists near Ormskirk in 1644, being then described as Colonel Sir Thomas Prestwick; ibid. 204. See also War in Lancs. (Chet. Soc.), 92.
  • 20. Cal. of Com. for Compounding, ii, 1443. In 1646 he desired to compound for his 'delinquency,' on the Truro articles. He was an officer under Lord Hopton. The fine was £925, reduced in 1649 to £443.
  • 21. Sir Thomas is traditionally said to have been encouraged in his expenditure for the king by his mother, who assured him of a treasure she had hidden; but she died without revealing the place of deposit, which was never found. Sir Thomas died at the beginning of 1674.
  • 22. A settlement of the manor, with lands, &c., in Hulme and Manchester, was made in 1657 by Thomas Prestwich the elder and Mary his wife, Thomas Prestwich the younger and Mary his wife, Nicholas Mosley, Fabian Phillips, and Edward Percival; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 160, m. 171. The sale to Sir Edward Mosley was immediately confirmed by an Act of Parliament in 1661; 13 Chas. II, cap. 2 (private).
  • 23. Under the will of Sir Edward Mosley his cousin Edward, a younger son of Oswald Mosley of Ancoats, acquired his estates, Hulme on the subsequent partition being retained by him; Mosley Fam. Mem. 25, 29. See further in the accounts of Ancoats and Withington. For fines concerning it see Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 204, m. 66; 213, m. 84. Sir John Bland in 1747 held the manors of Heaton Norris and Hulme, with lands, &c., in Hulme, Rusholme, Fallowfield, Burnage, Birch Hall-houses, Chorlton, and Heaton Norris; Com. Pleas Recov. R. Mich. 21 Geo. II, m. 85.
  • 24. A pedigree of the Lloyds, who continue to hold a large portion of the Prestwich estates, is given in Crofton's Old Moss Side, 38.
  • 25. Raines in Notitia Cestr. ii, 68. It was the Duke of Bridgewater who was in 1779 liable for the ancient 5s. rent to Salford; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals 14/25.
  • 26. See Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xiv, 194. There is a lithographed drawing of the hall in James's Views, 1825, and an engraving in Britton's Beauties of Lancs.
  • 27. Pal. Note Bk. i, 201.
  • 28. Mosley Fam. Mem. 32.
  • 29. Notes by R. Milne-Redhead to his drawings of Hulme Hall.
  • 30. The Hulme Hall sculptured panels are engraved in Baines, Lanc. (ed. 1), iii, 144; see also Palatine Note Bk. i, 145, 172, 201. They were referred to and woodcuts of two of the panels given by Dr. Hibbert-Ware in his Sketches of the Philosophy of Apparitions, 1824, and when the Royal Institution was founded in the same year, Dr. Hibbert-Ware suggested that the trustees should purchase the panels from Hulme Hall. See also Trans. of the Scottish Antiq. Soc. 23 Dec. 1823, where a drawing of the bag-pipes from Hulme Hall is given to illustrate a paper by Dr. Hibbert-Ware on the Ancient English Bag-pipe.
  • 31. a Manch. City News N. and Q. vi, 102, 104, 114.
  • 32. Land tax returns at Preston.
  • 33. This church was built from the Parliamentary grant. A district chapelry was formed in 1831; Lond. Gaz. 21 June 1836; 16 June 1854.
  • 34. A district was assigned to it in 1854; Lond. Gaz. 16 June. The church was built and endowed by Miss Atherton of Kersal.
  • 35. A district was assigned as early as 1846; Lond. Gaz. 22 Sept. The congregation for a time used hired premises, but the foundation of the present church was laid in 1851; Manch. Diocesan Churchman, ii, 49.
  • 36. The district was formed in 1858; Lond. Gaz. 13 Aug.
  • 37. For district see ibid. 2 Dec. 1859.
  • 38. Ibid.
  • 39. A district was assigned to it in 1861; ibid. 22 Nov.
  • 40. For district see ibid. 30 Aug. 1864.
  • 41. Ibid. 10 Aug. 1869.
  • 42. Ibid. 20 May, 1870.
  • 43. A cottage meeting begun in 1812, followed by Sunday-school and temperance work, led to the building of a small chapel in 1817 in Jackson's Lane. This, the original of Zion Chapel, was enlarged four years later, but the church was dissolved for a time. Regular preaching was resumed in 1829, and Zion Chapel was built in 1842 for the increasing congregation; Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. v, 174–9. For Vine Street, begun in 1878, see the same work, 179.