Bank Hall Estate
The Estate began when the Banastre family moved to Lancashire from Prestatyn, North Wales in 1240. The estate covers many acres of land that surround a jacobean hall constructed by the family in 1608 (on the site of a much older building), situated to the west of the village of Bretherton. The Banastre's Estate and wealth grew from farming and leasing land, which continues to this very day with the current management.
Management and Ownership
The Estate is owned by the Lilford Trust and managed by Acland Bracewell & Co Ltd who also own properties in the villages of Bretherton, Croston, Hesketh Bank, Mere Brow, Much Hoole, Rufford, Sollom and Tarleton, In summer 2009, the Bank Hall mansion and 18 acres (73,000 m2) of gardens was signed in a 999-year lease from the Lilford Estates over to the Heritage Trust for the North West and Bank Hall Action Group, with plans for restoration.
The present Bretherton includes the ancient village of Thorp, the position of which appears to have left no trace. Bretherton village for most of its existence was an almost self-supporting, self-contained 'subsistence agrarian economy'. Major changes to the village have occurred within living memory; well-paid employment opportunities coupled with rationalisation of farming facilitated people to escape their low income agrarian lifestyle and move to local urban centres. Since then the village has become a dormitory village, with the majority of the residential properties now owned by their residents, but some are still leased from the estates. As the decline in British farming affected the village population and agricultural industry, many of the farms and barns have been converted into residential properties attracting wealth.
|Grade II*||Particularly important buildings of more than special interest.|
|Grade II||Buildings of national importance and special interest.|
Features within the Bank Hall Estate range from listed buildings and gardens to natural geographic features.
|River Douglas||N/A||The River Douglas had a major impact on the local landscape as a large embankment was constructed to provide defence from the tidal river waters. There are numerous land drains and ditches from the estate which drain into the river, the bridge behind the Bank Hall Lodge crosses one of them. The Douglas Navigation provided coal movements from Wigan, but when the Rufford Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal was constructed the Douglas was returned to its state as a river.|
|Bank Bridge||II||Built: 1790 Canal Bridge and Warehouse, 1821 Tarleton Bridge||Bank Bridge consists of two bridges that carries the A59 road over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the River Douglas, which cross the estate on the west side. Both the Canal Bridge No. 11 (built 1790) and Tarleton Bridge (built 1821 using a previous bridge footings) are Grade II listed structures as is the Bank Hall Warehouse which is situated between them.
The warehouse was constructed in 1790 of Red brick in an English garden wall bond, with sandstone dressings, a slate roof. The warehouse is a rectangular plan with three bays and three storeys and was used for storage for goods and crops from the farms which were transferred to canal boats to be taken to market. The warehouse and yard are still used by the estates. A photograph from 1910 shows the bridge before it was extended. Due to the nature of the sharp bend on the bridge, it is a well known locally as a black spot for road traffic accidents. In 2012 restoration work was carried out to the bridge to repair the stone wall to the south which had been damaged during a collision, with the speed limit reduced to 40 mph over the bridge.
|Bank Hall Lodge||II||Built: 1830s||The building next to Bank Bridge was a gate house to the mansion known as 'Bank Hall Lodge'. Behind it is a small bridge which was restored in 2006 by the tenants. The building is owned by the estate and is private property. There is no access to the hall due to increased traffic on the A59 road. The building is also known as "Bank Lodge", and can be seen on the 1928 Ordnance Survey Map. A notable feature was the large Beech tree at the front of the building, it is recorded in 1896 that the tree was to be taken down, but was saved by Mrs Powys (Lady Lilford) as she wanted to consult her husband about its removal. The tree towered over the Lodge until June 2013 when a decision was made by the estate to cut it down. In October 2013 extensive work was carried out by the estate to restore the slate roof.|
|Bank Hall Farm||II||Built: Early 1600s
|Bank Hall Farm, the home farm is situated opposite the potting sheds at the north end of the walled garden to the east of the house. The farm house failed to be sold in 2008, and continues to be leased by the Estates. The pigsties have been demolished, but other outbuildings survive and the farm yard pond has since been filled in.|
|Bank Hall Mansion||II*||Built: 1608
|Bank Hall is the centrepeace to the Estate and was where for years the owners of the estate lived until the death of the last resident owner, George Anthony Legh Keck in 1860. The current house was built on site of a much older house. The east wing courtyard was demolished in 1940s while occupied by the army. The building has been left since 1972 to fall into disrepair, however the Bank Hall Action Group formed in 1995, continue to raise funds and public awareness, but the hall still awaits restoration.|
|Bank Hall Gardens||Some Trees Under Preservation||First Landscaped: Pre - 1608
Renovated: 1995 - Present
|Bank Hall Gardens is the 18 acers of immediate grounds to surround the Mansion House, the gardens have many specimen trees including what is thought to be the oldest yew tree in Lancashire. The arboretum planted by George Anthony Legh Keck, with numerous varieties of flowers. The walled garden is a key feature and there are plans to renovate it and the greenhouse into a 'heritage garden' as part of a separate restoration project to the house. The Bank Hall Action Group have been clearing the grounds since 1995, and continue to hold events in the gardens. The gardens are not listed, but some of the trees are under preservation orders.|
|Bank Hall Barn||II||Built: early 1600s
Restored and Converted: 2004
|Bank Hall Barn is a grade II listed Elizabethan long barn which was built in the early 17th century. The barn was extended to the east in the early 19th century and used as a tithe barn for the Estate. In 2004, after years of neglect, it was converted into residences. The barn is 75 metres (246 ft) long, and once housed animals, the hay barn, and farm machinery. During the 1930s the East end of the barn was used by the Seddon-Brown family for housing their Bentleys. The area between the fields by the A59 road and the barns was once the "Timber Yard", and now is the site of garages, a gym and private gardens. Before redevelopment the Timber Yard was neglected and a store for old farm machinery.|
|Coach House Building||II||Built: early 1600s
|Coach House Building
The Estate offices, blacksmith's forge and coach house were housed in the building in the centre of the farm. The Estate offices moved into the hall at the end of the Second World War. The forge was used from the early 20th century by gamekeepers for their 'shoot' in the estate, and this section of the building is still used by the 'Bank Hall Gun Club'. The coach house, was where the coaches were maintained and has its own inspection pit. The building was mostly vacant until 1999 when the estates gave the Bank Hall Action Group permission to use the coach house as a refreshments area and the Estate offices as a visitor centre, which opened in 2000. On 20 January 2007 the visitor centre suffered a fire, causing smoke damage, and a temporary visitor center was opened in the coach house, while the refreshments moved to the farm house kitchen for the snowdrop events in 2007. The Coach House continues to function as a visitor centre while the estate office remains derelict.
|Carriage Drive||Not Listed||Built: 1600s
|The Carriage Drive cuts through the parkland, connecting the hall to the village of Bretherton. It is lined with Lime trees and Rhododendron bushes and has the following three buildings on it.|
|Crossford Lodge||Not Listed||Built: 1800s
Extended & Renovated: 1980s
|Crossford Lodge was the gardener's house occupied by Charles Thompson, the Head Gardener. He worked at for the estate from the age of 16 until he died in his 90s. The Crossford Lodge gardens once had Yew trees but these were removed in 2001 due to the poisonous berries they produce. The house can be seen as 'Crossford Lodge' on the 1828 ordnance survey map, before it was extended and became the 'Bank Hall Kindergarten' in 1990.|
|Gamekeeper's Lodge||Not Listed||Built: 1900s
Demolished and new construction: 2008
|Gamekeeper's Lodge was the next building that could be seen on the carriage drive; it was sold on 11 January 2007 then demolished in 2008 and replaced by a modern single-story building. The Gamekeeper's Lodge once had aviaries which were used for breeding Pheasants for the shoots held on the estate.|
|Bretherton Lodge||Not Listed||Built: 1800s||Bretherton Lodge is a red brick building at the end of the carriage drive by the gate. It may be referred to as 'The New Lodge' (1928 Ordnance Survey Map). The Estate manager's books from the 19th century refer to the labour and materials required to construct the 'New Lodge'. The Thompson family lived here for many years; Charles Thompson lived here as a boy. The building is today leased by the estate.|
|Bank Hall Windmill||II||Built: 1741
|The first Bank Hall windmill was constructed in 1741. Local maps from 1845 show 'Bank Mill' between Bank Bridge and Plocks Farm (just off the A59 road) within the estate. The Windmill was formerly a three storys high corn mill which was converted into private housing in the 1950s. The Kneen family lived in the northwest wing of the mansion house while the work was in progress. Today the windmill is a Grade II listed building and stands as a reminder of the corn trade that used to thrive in the area.|
|Carr House||II*||Built: 1613||Carr House is a house on the estate built by the Stone family in 1613 and was once the home of Jeremiah Horrocks, the first person to predict and observe the Transit of Venus, in 1639. It is thought that Jeremiah was the tutor of the Stone family's children while he resided with them at Carr House.|
|St John the Baptist's Church, Bretherton||II||Built: 1839||St John the Baptist's Church, Bretherton is the Anglican Church in the village of Bretherton. The church is the resting place of the Clare family who resided at Bank Hall during the early 20th Century.|
In February 2011 planning permission was granted for Bank Hall Action Group and Urban Splash to restore the mansion house, and its surrounding 18 acers of gardens and walled garden/ greenhouse area into residential dwellings with a heritage garden, visitor centre and tearoom. To enable the project to succeed there is a need to build enabling development on the old orchard site next to the Bank Hall walled garden, therefore reducing the impact on the historic building and gardens. The plans will include a refurbishment to the access road to Bank Hall, with traditional estate fencing and walls re-constructed and the re-planting of hedges and trees to prevent further visual impact to the local area and wildlife.
- Andrew Brown – Southport Visiter, "Classic and Vintage Car Show at Bank Hall, Bretherton, this weekend" http://www.southportvisiter.co.uk/southport-news/southport-southport-news/2009/07/24/classic-and-vintage-car-show-at-bank-hall-bretherton-this-weekend-101022-24226496/ 24 July 2009
- W. Farrer, J. Brownbill, (1911) 'Townships: Bretherton', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, pp. 102–108. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53080, Date accessed: 21 September 2011.
- "Listed Buildings". English Heritage. 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
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- English Heritage (1968) "British Listed Buildings – Tarleton Bridge, Tarleton", http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-357750-tarleton-bridge-tarleton
- English Heritage (1968) "British Listed Buildings – Bank Bridge Warehouse, Tarleton", http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-357752-bank-bridge-warehouse-tarleton
- Tatham, Pickup (1910) "Bank Bridge, Bretherton", Lancashire Lantern, http://lanternimages.lancashire.gov.uk/index.php?a=subjects&s=item&key=SYToyOntpOjA7aToxNTEwO2k6MTtzOjEwOiJCcmV0aGVydG9uIjt9&pg=13
- Lancashire County Council – Lancashire Lantern, "The Lodge, Bank Hall, Bretherton" Bank Hall Lodge in 1910 2005
- Bank Hall Action Group (2005), "Bank Hall Diary and Documents", Page 55.
- Ancient Yew Group (2007), "Bank Hall, Bretherton Yew Tree", http://www.ancient-yew.org/treeInfo.php?link=2382
- Findaproperty.com, "Lilac Cottage – 4 bedroom cottage for sale in Bretherton, Lancashire" http://www.findaproperty.com/displayprop.aspx?edid=00&salerent=0&pid=4103615 2010
- Historic England. "FARM BUILDING, THE SOUTHERN OF 2 PARALLEL RANGES CIRCA 100 METRES WEST OF BANK HALL FARMHOUSE (1163194)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- Chorley Council (2005) "Planning – Bank Hall Gun Club Bank Hall Drive Bretherton Leyland Lancashire PR26 9AT", http://planning.chorley.gov.uk/PublicAccess/propdb/property/property_detailview.aspx?module=P3&keyval=KJUD62ET04800&propno=010070375029
- John Howard, "The Bank Hall Timeline" http://bankhallbretherton.webs.com/bankhalltimeline.htm 2007
- Bank Hall Action Group, "Bank Hall Record Book" http://www.bankhall.org.uk/documents/BHAG.pdf 2010
- Chorley Borough Council, "List of New Planning Applications Published 27.02.2009" http://www.chorley.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=3143&p=0 27 February 2009
- English Heritage (1967) "Listed Buildings Online – THE OLD WINDMILL NEAR BANK HALL"
- English Heritage (1967) "British Listed Buildings – The Old Windmill Near Bank Hall, Bretherton", http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-184268-the-old-windmill-near-bank-hall-brethert
- Carol Anne Strange, "Bank Hall" http://www.heskethbank.com/history/bank_hall.html 1997
- Urban Splash – Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects (2009) "Bank Hall Design and Access Statement", http://184.108.40.206/AnitePublicDocs/00060836.pdf