|Town or city||Clayton, Greater Manchester|
Clayton Hall is a 15th-century manor house on Ashton New Road, in Clayton, Manchester, England. It is hidden behind trees in a small park. The hall is a Grade II* listed building, the mound on which it is built is a scheduled ancient monument, and a rare example of a medieval moated site (grid reference ). The hall is surrounded by a moat, making an island 66 m by 74 m. Alterations were made to the hall in the 16th and 17th centuries, and it was enlarged in the 18th century.
The building has a Georgian and a Tudor half and is the remaining wing of a larger complex. The hall is reached across the moat over a listed stone bridge. The building is now run by the Clayton Hall Living History Museum Trust. The trust has been set up to administer the hall and to get funds to maintain and improve it for the public.
The trustees have dressed the Georgian side of the hall as though its Victorian occupants still live there. They usually open the hall for free to the public on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of most months. However, when there are events these are usually paid entry.
Clayton Hall was built in the 15th century on the site of a 12th-century house built for the Clayton family. When Cecilia Clayton married Robert de Byron in 1194 it passed to the Byron family, of which poet Lord Byron was a member. The Byrons lived there for more than 400 years until they sold it for £4,700 in 1620 to London merchants, George and Humphrey Chetham, who originated from Manchester. George Chetham died in 1625, leaving his share to his brother Humphrey who founded Chethams School and Library in the centre of Manchester. Humphrey Chetham died at the hall in 1653 and ownership passed to his nephew, George Chetham, son of his brother James.
George Chetham was High Sheriff for 1660 and died in 1664. In 1666 James Chetham had 18 hearths liable for hearth tax, making it the largest house in the area. Clayton Hall then passed to Edward Chetham, and from him to his sister Alice, who had married Adam Bland. Their daughter Mary married Mordecai Greene, a Spanish merchant and their only son James was MP for Arundel in 1796 and died in 1814. Clayton Hall then passed with Turton Tower, the other Chetham seat to one of James' five daughters Arabella Penelope Eliza Greene, who had married banker Peter Richard Hoare.
From 1863 to 1897 the hall was the rented to Lomax (1863–1867), W. H. Burns (1872–1890) and John White (1890–1897), clergy of St Cross Church. In 1897 the hall was sold by Charles A. R. Hoare to Manchester City Corporation and it was restored in 1900. The 16th-century part of the hall is rented to tenants. The 18th-century part contained the dining room, kitchen, larder, scullery and pantry. The oldest structure on the site is the sandstone bridge crossing the now empty moat. Dating from the late medieval era, it was built to replace the original wooden drawbridge.
During the Civil War, Parliamentary cavalry were stationed there, before the attack on Manchester. Afterwards, according to legend, Oliver Cromwell was said to have spent three nights there.
The hall is open to the public on the third Saturday of each month under the auspices of the Friends of Clayton Park.
Clayton Hall was rebuilt in the 15th century with either a quadrangular plan or one with three wings. It was mostly demolished when a new house was built in the 17th century. Additions were made in the 18th century and the hall was restored in 1900. The grade II* listed hall is constructed in red brick with some timber framing and stone slate roofs.
The older single-depth portion has two bays on the ground floor and a front corridor, a plain doorway and two-light casement window. Its first floor has square-panelled timber-framing which may originally have been jettied over the ground floor which is now rebuilt in brick. The upper storey has three wooden mullion windows with leaded glazing. Over the central window is a jettied gable with a king post and raked struts and on the ridge is a bellcote. The wing has a gabled stair-turret and there is a large sandstone chimney stack with a brick top on the gable wall.
The newer double-depth portion is constructed of hand-made bricks set in English garden wall bond with stone quoins. It has a doorway with a segmental quoin stone surround and either side are pairs of diamond-paned casement windows. There are three similar windows of different sizes on the first floor. The rainwater heads are dated 1900.
The scheduled monument is the rectangular island measuring about 66 metres by 74 metres forming the moated site of the original hall. The monument includes the site of a late-14th/early-15th century chapel in the north-west corner that was demolished in the early 18th century. The island is accessed by a stone twin-arched bridge that replaced an earlier wooden structure. The hall and its associated buildings and infrastructure, fences and gateposts on the north-east of the island are not scheduled, nor is the moat which has been lined with concrete.
- Manchester City Council, Ancient monuments in Manchester, Manchester.gov.uk, retrieved 29 December 2007
- Historic England, "Clayton Hall (1197795)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 29 May 2013
- Historic England, "Clayton Hall (76619)", PastScape, retrieved 29 May 2013
- A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4, British History Online, retrieved 26 January 2013
- Historic England, "Clayton Hall moated site (1009339)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 29 May 2013