Gorse Hall

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Gorse Hall New Farm

Gorse Hall was the name given to two large houses in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, England, on a hill bordering Dukinfield (now in Tameside, but until March 1974 in Cheshire).

The first house, Old Gorse Hall, can be traced back to the 17th century and it probably dates from even earlier. Its ruins can still be seen. The Hall was once part of the manor of Dockenfeld held by Lieutenant–Colonel Robert Duckenfield, a Parliamentarian soldier in the English Civil War.

New Gorse Hall was built by John Leech in 1836. Today, both houses are ruined. Their grounds cover approximately 35 acres (140,000 m2) of meadow and woodland and are now maintained by a local community group called the Friends of Gorse Hall, which has leased the site from the local authority, Tameside.[1] The aim of the Friends of Gorse Hall is to promote the site for leisure, and educational uses.


The history of the place is not well known. Friends of Gorse Hall is trying to research the historical importance of the site.

Upon the death of Lady Dukinfield Daniel in 1762, Gorse Hall passed on to her husband, artist John Astley (1720?–1787). From him it passed to his relative Francis Dukinfield Astley, a great sportsman; a hunter's tower was built in 1807.

John Leech, who was one of the many wealthy cotton manufacturers of the district, bought some of the land attached to the Hall from John Astley to build his mills, the ruins of which can still be seen.

Leech's son John, bought the remainder of the estate and with stones from the local quarries built the mansion called the New Gorse Hall in 1836. John had eight children, one of whom, Helen Leech, born at Gorse Hall, was the mother of Beatrix Potter, the famous children’s author. In reference to this, there is a statue in the grounds of a small Rabbit.

Gorse Hall was the site of a murder in 1909, when local mill owner George Harry Storrs was stabbed to death. There were two trials but neither resulted in a conviction. A year after the murder, Mrs Storrs had Gorse Hall torn down.

The case is examined in The Stabbing of George Harry Storrs by Jonathan Goodman.[2] and featured in an episode of the television series In Suspicious Circumstances in 1995 [3] and Julian Fellowes Investigates: A Most Mysterious Murder in 2005.

Present day[edit]

Gorse Hall Age UK Social Group, Stalybridge

All that remains at this site is an old fireplace, standing alone in a concrete clearing, and floor foundations, painted a mixture of green, blue and red to show the outline of the home and where the disaster happened. Friends of Gorse Hall work hard to maintain the grounds and keep them clean.


  1. ^ "Friends of Gorse Hall".
  2. ^ Jonathan Goodman, Steve Fielding and Edith Brocklehurst. "Murder at Gorse Hall". stereograffiti.com. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  3. ^ "In Suspicious Circumstances" The Golden Goose (1995)

Coordinates: 53°28′34″N 2°03′25″W / 53.476°N 2.057°W / 53.476; -2.057