Talk:Bramall Hall

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Featured article Bramall Hall is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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The articles looking nice, but can I warn editors about the Stockport MBC web site? It's not always accurate, and you should take care when citing it. Best to cross-reference anything out of the ordinary that you use. Mr Stephen 19:05, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the warning, but the wikipedia policy is that if you can provide a source, you are fine. There is no requirement for the quoted source being up-to-date and/or accurate  :-( --Jotel 21:23, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
The source should at least be a reliable one. If I can find better sources, I'll replace them. Majorly (talk) 21:25, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

GA review[edit]

This is in many ways a lovely article and I wish that I could list as a GA on sight, but I can't.

  • "The house dates from the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries". How can one house date from two different centuries?
    • Fixed It was supposed to show that different parts are from different dates. But I left in the oldest date. Majorly (talk) 01:30, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • "Bramall Hall is popular too with people in the area due to its historical significance and extensive grounds." Sounds awkward - "popular too" - and the rest seems to be advertising.
  • "Bramall Hall is one of the area's main attractions for tourists". Who says so?
    • Removed the paragraph. It's left over from when the article was a stub, and I hadn't got round to removing it. Majorly (talk) 01:34, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • "Today the main entrance in on the west, on the side of the courtyard". Not sure what that means.
    • Fixed It was a typo, in --> is :) Majorly (talk) 01:30, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • There is a problem with inconsistent capitalisation, for instance of "Hall". "There was once a belief that there was a right of way through the Hall". "Its northern wall is possibly the oldest part of the present hall ..."
  • "... the family were forced ..." Family is singular.
  • "Legend gives site of the original dwelling of the Bromales as Crow Holt Wood, where artificial ditches which remain today are thought to have come from a moat". What is that supposed to mean? It makes me suspicious that there may be a copyright violation in some of the text of this article.
    • Fixed It means the original dwelling of the Bromales was Crow Holt Wood, and ditches there today are thought to be from the moat. I made it simpler. I won't comment on the supposed copyright violation, I think that such an accusation is bad faith. Majorly (talk) 01:30, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Having read through the article I'm now left with two choices, either to fail it or to put it on hold. Because I would like to be able to list this article as a GA I'm putting it on hold, but there's a good deal of work to be done on it yet; I've just given a few examples above. I would be very happy to work with the editors to help get this article up to GA, but as it stands I would have to fail the GA nomination on the grounds of prose, references, and copyright violations. --Malleus Fatuarum 04:28, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for your review. Is there anything else that needs doing? Majorly (talk) 01:34, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm still concerned about the capitalisation. I think that the word "hall" should only be capitalised when it's a part of "Bramhall Hall", not in sentences talking about the hall in general. The names of rooms also need to be given consistently. I'm quite happy, for instance to see "Banqueting Room" either capitalised or not, but if is is going to be capitalised then it should be done consistently. "The banqueting room, which leads off the Lesser Hall ...", "The chapel, opposite the Banqueting Room ...", "It was largely rebuilt with the withdrawing room ...", "The largest upstairs room is the Withdrawing Room ...". the inconsistency is a little jarring.

Talking about the chapel: "It was closed some time between 1869 and 1890, and later dismantled. In 1938 it was restored ...". Dismantled to me means that it was taken to pieces and removed somewhere, which is hard to reconcile with it later being restored.

Fixed Reworded. Majorly (talk) 09:54, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

"It was only in the 20th century that an effort was made to restore these paintings, but very little of this painting survived." I'm not clear which of the paintings this is referring to. How is it possible to restore both paintings, if one is painted over the other? Which of them is it saying that very little of it survives?

Fixed Clarified. Majorly (talk) 09:54, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

"On the west wall are written the Ten Commandments. Much of it has faded away now, and in doing so an even older painting ...". Should this say that the ten commandments are painted on the west wall, rather than written?

Fixed Clarified. Majorly (talk) 09:54, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

"The current Hall has not always been in the current location, having been built there around the fourteenth century." I think I know what you're trying to say here, that there was an earlier hall elsewhere? But the sentence seems to be suggesting that the present hall was built elsewhere and then moved to its present location.

Fixed Clarified. Majorly (talk) 09:54, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I think that the lead is a little on the short side now, and probably ought to include a brief overview of the house itself. Method of constuction, main architectural features, that kind of thing.

I am hopeless with leads unfortunately. I readded two sentences which were removed before, but not sure it'll be enough. Majorly (talk) 09:54, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I can't see anywhere in the article where it tells me what the hall is used for today. Is it a museum for instance?

Fixed Expanded something into the lead. Majorly (talk) 10:11, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

The article's coming along quite nicely I think. Apart from the capitalisation issue it's mainly just some clarification on the points above that's needed. Cheers!

--Malleus Fatuarum 02:39, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Given the apparent copyright violations in this article (see below) I am left with no option other than to fail this nomination. If you do not agree with my decision, then please feel free to take the article to WP:GAR. --Malleus Fatuarum 14:34, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Less than ideal reworking of source material[edit]

Following MF's concerns above, I printed the 19:54 9 Nov 07 version of the article with a view to improving it. I went to the library to see Dean, Bramall Hall: The Story of an Elizabethan Manor House. Below is a copy of part of that version; the text highlighted in red is directly copied (with some deletions) from p15 onwards of the book.

The Davenport family can be traced back to Orm de Davenport, who lived around the time of William the Conqueror. The name "Davenport" comes from "Dauen-port", meaning "the town on the trickling stream", where he lived. The family soon became important landowners, and in the early thirteenth century the office of grand sergeant of Macclesfield was granted to Vivian Davenport. Over the next hundred years, various branches of the family became established at Wheltrough, Henbury, Woodford and finally at Bramhall.[5] Robert, the son of John and Alice was the first Davenport of Bramhall. His grandson, John succeeded him, and was lord of the manor from 1436 to 1478. Succeeding John were five Williams, the first who was lord of the manor from 1478 to 1528. He took an active part in the Battle of Bosworth, which ended the Wars of the Roses and put Henry VII on the throne.[6] The following year, on 3 September 1486 William was granted an annuity of 20 marks a year for life, as a recognition of his services.[7] About ten years later one of William's houses was destroyed by Randle Hassall, who carried off the timber. A warrant was issued for his arrest[8], and it is probable that the house destroyed was Bramall. This supports the theory that Bramall was rebuilt around the time of Henry VII. The first William Davenport was also notable for being one of the original trustees of the Macclesfield Grammar School.[9]

The floorplan is a copy of a figure on p5 of the book. Five minutes was enough to convince me that this article was far more than a minor reworking away from a GA. I propose that this article be reverted a long way. Mr Stephen 13:49, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Thank you very much for that. Some of the language used had made me concerned about the possibility of copyright violations, but I was re-assured by Majorly's accusation of bad faith. It now seems that I was right to be suspicious. --Malleus Fatuarum 14:27, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
I personally think this is nit picking. Several of the highlighted phrases are impossible to be called "copyrighted" - e.g. the meaning of the name "Davenport", "was lord of the manor from 1436 to 1478", "the following year", "William was granted an annuity of 20 marks a year for life". Some parts are directly phrased from the book, because that is the best way to phrase them. I wrote the text myself, and sourced it to what was written in the book. Just because it is similar, does not mean it is copied. The writing style in the book generally differs greatly from that in the article. With comment to the above passage, you simply cannot claim copyright on common phrases like that. You've also highlighted things which aren't copied, but I don't suppose I'll be believed (e.g. "The first William Davenport was also notable for being one of the original trustees of the Macclesfield Grammar School"). Majorly (talk) 16:50, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm sure it must be possible for Majorly to slightly re-word any directly replicated phrases without loosing the integrity of the page or put them within speech marks and attribute them as quotes. Regarding the plan - is that a scan of the plan in the book? - that would probably be copyright or is it Majorly's owm version of the plan? - to draw a plan yourself of a house completed two or three hundred years ago is no breach of copyright - I have frequently done this myself and it is no copyright problem. Giano 17:20, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
It is not a scan; I drew it on a very sophisticated piece of software using the plan in the book ;) Majorly (talk) 17:27, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Then how is the metadata in the graphic to be explained? "This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used to create or digitize it." --Malleus Fatuarum 17:46, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Sorry, I am not very computer literate - what is meta data? words of one sylable...please Giano 17:48, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
It was photographed, and I redrew it from scratch. Metadata is at the bottom of the image - shows it was taken by a camera. There's nothing left of the original image though. Majorly (talk) 17:50, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Sorry. Literally, metadata is data about data. In this case it's data about the image that's held in the image itself, telling you things like what camera, scanner or software was used to create it, exposure settings, stuff like that. In ths case the image seems to be a photograph taken on a FujiFilm A500 at 21:18 on the 6th of November this year. --Malleus Fatuarum 17:55, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Speaking as one who draws very amateurish plans for Wikipedia articles, I am inclined to think this plan is "home-made" it is not professional at all (sorry Majorly) but completely adequate for the article. I would be very surprised indeed if a plan of this standard was published in a "proper" book. Without comparing both it is impossible to be sure, but I would not be surprised if Majorly had used a photo/scan for a guide and this image was not copyvio. Giano 18:06, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Mr Stephen pointed out above that this plan appears on page 5 of the book Bramall Hall: The Story of an Elizabethan Manor House. If Majorly had simply used a photo-scan for a guide, then there would be no camera metadata in the image. --Malleus Fatuarum 18:17, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
(ec)Majorly. I am happy to accept that, if you say so, the image is a full redrawing; from memory (I do not have the book in front of me) it is a truthful copy. Likewise, if I have erred (but I don't think I have) and "The first William Davenport was also notable for being one of the original trustees of the Macclesfield Grammar School" is not a copy, then I apologise - I don't really have to go back and check, do I? But, when fully one third of a passage has been lifted straight from a published source I do not think pointing it out is 'nitpicking'. I have no intention of speculating how or why this has come about, and I realise a lot of work has been done, but it really isn't right, and it really should come out. I'll suggest it again: revert a long way. Mr Stephen 18:33, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Revert back to the stub version, or...? The third of the passage supposedly lifted contains common phrases impossible to rephrase or rewrite as your own. Some of it does looks like it is the same as the book (completely unintentional, as it is how I would have written it myself), thus I'll go back and reword it. Absolutely no need to revert. Majorly (talk) 18:42, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
I hoped that whoever inserted the bit(s) that "looks like it is the same as the book" knew how far back to go, and would do it. Mr Stephen 19:33, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
It actually needed a fresh pair of eyes which had never seen the book - I have removed and re-written the offending phrases you cite (it probably needs a copyedit of my grammar now). It would be a pity of Majorly who has worked so hard on this was not able to bring it up to GA status. Giano 19:49, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't matter. Now I have chance to make it even better. I've also noticed it really wasn't ready for GA, as the families bit is missing 200 years I've yet to add. So, thanks Malleus, Mr Stephen and Giano for their help with this. Hopefully if I resubmit it'll be ready, Majorly (talk) 21:51, 14 November 2007 (UTC)


There are some commons compatible photos on flickr that are worth taking a look at. Some are a bit artsy, going for the black and white look, but this one shows a kind of panorama approaching the hall (although it may be too distorted for some tastes) and this one's good. Nev1 (talk) 16:32, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Both of those examples are copyrighted though. There are some free ones on there, most by me. They might not be as good, but at least they are usable. Majorly talk 16:50, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Copyediting notes[edit]

This article is somewhat compromised by the use of weasel words: there is extensive use of phrases such as "likely", "possibly", "said to be". This is problematic, because it does not make clear to the reader who is making the claims in question. This sort of writing is acceptable in history books and the like, because evaluation of the claims is rested on the authority of the writer – we, the great unwashed, cannot expect the same indulgence on the part of the reader. I am guessing that these passive claims are lifted from the references, in which case their source should be spelled out explicitly i.e. "According to historian Daffyd Jones, the room may have been used as..." or "Thompson records the rumour that...".
As noted in the GA review, there is a need to use potentially ambiguous terms such as "the hall", "the Hall", "Bramall", "the mansion", "the estate", and "the grounds" in such a way that is consistent and clearly denotes the referents.
This is probably the result of the choice of sourcing, but the article takes on the tone of a tourist brochure in places, notably the second paragraph of the lede and the Grounds and Present day sections. There is a need to change the focus from "what does this offer/what are the achievements of the operators" to "what does this do".
The layout of the article is somewhat uneven. Some subsections ("The Davenports") are overlong, some subsections have paragraphs of unbalanced length (intro to "Hall"), and some sections are barely a paragraph long and should probably be expanded or integrated ("Name", "Present day"). Ideally, each section would have two or three subsections of at least two paragraphs each, with 6-10 lines per paragraph. The "later history" section does an admirable job of this, for example.

I suspect the tone, attribution and structure issues reflect the reliance of the article on two sources – Dean and the council. Finding others to mix in would certainly help here.  Skomorokh  00:09, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Google Books lists 222 books which mention the hall and are available in limited or full view. It might also prove fruitful to search news stories and websites, and ideally local libraries, for further reliable sources.  Skomorokh  00:13, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
In historical articles – such as this kind of building, or a hillfort – there are uncertainties. In other types of articles you can have black and white this happened and this didn't, but the inherent uncertainties of historic subjects necessitates the use of so-called "weasel words". If an article says something like a certain phase was probably built around such and such a time, it's because the source is uncertain. When the sources are uncertain, the article has to reflect that. Nev1 (talk) 00:19, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I appreciate the general problem, and call me a traditionalist, but where the sources are uncertain, the article should say the sources are uncertain. I see no reason why uncertainty cannot be reflected without the use of weasel words. If this becomes overly cumbersome (i.e. every second sentence leading with "Dean supposes that", we ought to include at the very least an explanatory note at the beginning of the article summarizing the extent of scholarly knowledge.  Skomorokh  00:30, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Re. books. I happen to live fairly locally to the hall, so my library obviously has books on the subject. However, the three books used (Dean, Riley and the anonymous SMBC one) are in fact the only ones I could find. Interestingly, the Dean book, which is by far the most comprehensive, doesn't appear on the Google search link above (I checked through every book on that list, and there is in fact only 66 books which mention it, and none of them add anything to what I already have). As for newspapers - I'll look at the news archive, but I doubt there are any reliable websites out there about it, other than the official council pages. I'll look anyway. Majorly talk 10:38, 14 September 2009 (UTC)


He was from Macey, Manche, in Avranches, and held his lands of Earl Hugh of Chester. He was succeeded by a Robert, and then by 1166 another Hamo (or Haimo). Strictly speaking it's not really correct to call him a baron, as those sorts of titles aren't really properly applied to William I's reign. Lord of the various manors, yes, but he wouldn't have been styled "Baron" and calling him that is an anachronism. Ealdgyth - Talk 01:03, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Yep. Checked the Complete Peerage ... no such Barony until 1660, when it's created for an entirely different person, obviously. Ealdgyth - Talk 01:08, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Interesting. Dean records it as "In the time of Henry II a certain Matthew de Bramale received a confirmation of his lands in Bramhall from Hamon, the second Baron of Dunham Massey..." and Riley as ..."after the Conqueror imposed his will on England, he gave Bramhall to Hamon de Masci, who also became the first Baron of Dunham Massey..." They are incorrect? Majorly talk 13:28, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
More that they are reading back into the time period something that would have been true later in time. Dean appears to be either a historian of a later time period or an architectural historian, which means they'll see things in terms they are familiar with. "Baron" strictly speaking is a title that is given with a summons by writ to Parliament. Since that usually happens in Henry III's reign (at the earliest), calling them barons before that time. Sometimes you'll see references to "Barons" in the time of John, and you'll see some folks discuss "barons" before that, but most Anglo-Norman historians avoid giving a "title" to someone below the rank of Earl. I checked both Green's "The Aristocracy of Norman England" and Newman's Anglo-Norman Nobility in the Reign of Henry I which don't call Hamo "Baron". The clincher is that there is no such barony listed in Sanders' English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent, in fact, Hamo isn't even mentioned there, nor is his family. Bromales or de Bromales aren't mentioned in Sanders either. The easiest solution is to just leave out the bits on the various families, or give the bare bones without discussing titles. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:23, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Dates for the chapel[edit]

The dates for the Chapel don't seem to add up. "Its earliest known use is in 1541" carries a strong implication that it opened around that time, but the existence of passion paintings would imply an older date; by 1541 the Reformation was in full bloom, and an aristocratic and ambitious family would no more have been commissioning Catholic paintings than they would have been building a mosque. (There is an alternative explanation - Lancashire was a hotbed of recusancy, sustained by the Ainscough family - but if the house were a recusant building, that would be such a significant part of the story I'd expect it to be one of the best known facts about the house.) – iridescent 13:07, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Its earliest record is from 1541, in a will. It's therefore probable it existed before then. Majorly talk 13:21, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

On the subject of the chapel, it's sometimes "the chapel" and sometimes "the Chapel". To be consistent with other rooms like "the Library", I'd suggest sticking with "the Chapel". --Malleus Fatuorum 19:08, 6 October 2009 (UTC)


I believe there are a few sentences that need to be clarified:

  • William Davenport was knighted by James I at Newark - which William? father and son are both discussed in this paragraph.
  • The tenth and final William Davenport succeeded his father at the age of four - unclear if his father was Warren or Wiliam the 8th.
  • Her eldest son, William Davenport Davenport married firstly to Camilla Maria Gatt, then secondly to Diana Handley,[1] and the couple lived at Bramall for four years before the estate was passed to William. - which couple?
  • It was restored to resemble how it would have been when the Davenports were at Bramall - the Davenports occupied Bramall for 500 years. Could this be a little more specific?

Thanks! Karanacs (talk) 18:55, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Hopefully these are now clarified. Thanks for your comments, and for fixing the images on Commons! Majorly talk 19:04, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Totally bewildered[edit]

Bramall was first described/recorded in the Domeday Book, 1086. That's what it says. However, the names of two previous owners are stated, and its value in 1066 is also given, as well as a record of the manor passing to the Masseys in 1070.

That's three facts that predate the Domesday book. Where did these facts come from, if the place was neither recorded or described before 1086? Also, there is a statement that it dates from Saxon times and was first held by the Masseys in 1070. Somethings got to give, here. They can't both be true.

Amandajm (talk) 10:29, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Domesday describes values and owners in 1066. I'm not sure off the top of my head if the Brun & Hacon bit comes from Domesday, but I think it's in Arrowsmith which I can check later today if nobody else replies. Mr Stephen (talk) 11:48, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's all from Domesday. Mr Stephen (talk) 13:34, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Yep. Nev1 (talk) 13:58, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

OK. Then would it be possible to make it clear that this info actually comes from the Domesday book. That leaves the problem that it says that the land passed to the Masseys but it also says that the land was first held by the Masseys. The word first needs to go. Amandajm (talk) 02:19, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Riley28 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).