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The history of the area we know as Wythenshawe is the history of three townships – Northenden, Baguley and Northen Etchells. For centuries, Northenden, in the north, was the most populated. The area of Northen Etchells was to the south and east (where it met Stockport Etchells at Gatley) and was divided from Baguley along a line roughly that of the modern motorway. The first written mention of the area is the Domesday Book when there is a record that Norwordine (Northenden) and Bagelei (Baguley) were both being farmed. However, the discovery of a Bronze Age axe-hammer at Northenden and a pre-historic burial mound at Baguley, both confirm people had been living here much longer. For the first time, “Witenscawe” is mentioned in a charter of 1316, when the local lord of the manor, Thomas de Mascy, grants lands to his son. The name relates to the Anglo-Saxon for a “copse of willows”. There are few records of life in the area over the next 250 years but accounts from the mid 1500s show the area was being used for small scale farming. There were twelve tenants in the Sharston area, paying annual rents ranging from 1s 8d to £1 6s, with the largest plot of land being 27 acres. At Poundesacke (Poundswick), there are eleven tenants with the largest farm held by Henry Cookson, who was also employed as steward to the Tatton family.  The Tattons had become an increasingly important family over the centuries. In 1316, they appear to have been an unassuming family living in the area of what is now Kenworthy Lane, in Northenden. But, only a few years later, in 1348, Robert de Tatton, marries Alice de Mascy, only daughter of the lord of the manor. He is granted lands in the area as part of the marriage settlement. Without doubt, it was the start of the Tatton’s significant influence on the area which continued for the next 550 years.  Wythenshawe Hall was built in about 1540, by Robert Tatton, after an earlier building had burnt down some years before, although he is understood to have lived in an older house known as The Peele – commonly known as Peel Hall. A century later, the English Civil War broke out. Robert’s grandson, also called Robert, was now living at Wythenshawe Hall and he joined the Royalist side. Hearing that the Roundheads were on their way to seize the Hall, he called in all his domestic staff, farm workers and loyal friends to defend it. The siege lasted from 21 November 1643 to 27 February 1644. An account from the time tells that, at one point, the Roundheads, commanded by a Captain Adams, forced their way into an entrance, killing six of the soldiers defending the Hall. One of them was engaged to a young local woman, Mary Webb. “She resolved to have her vengeance of the man that had caused the loss of her lover. On a Sunday in February, this Captain Adams was sitting on a wall near the house, when the girl Webb, having borrowed a musket from some of the parties within the house, approached to a proper distance and then, levelling the musket at the captain, shot him dead”.   The area continued to be essentially rural for the next two hundred years. In March 1763, New Hall Farm in Baguley was sold.  No doubt, it’s the origin of the name of Newall Green. By the beginning of the 19th century, the land is still agricultural but mainly being used as pasture, except for part of Northern Moor which is increasingly being used for market gardening, to serve the needs of the ever growing Manchester. Not many people live here – the 1821 census showing the population to be about 2000.  In 1920, Manchester Council became interested in buying land which it could bring into the City’s boundaries. In this period, immediately after the Great War, there was a national move to build new housing  - “homes fit for heroes”. The Tatton family originally resisted the approaches but, in 1926, finally sold 2500 acres to the Council. He also sold the Hall and the parkland that surrounded it to Ernest Simon, a wealthy industrialist. Simon had also been a Lord Mayor of Manchester and, in an act of great generosity, donated the Hall and land to the Council on the condition it became a public park. The first houses, owned by the Council, were built in 1930. There was some further development during the 30s but most of the housing (and almost all of the area’s other facilities – like shops, churches and pubs) were not built until after World War Two.  
Wythenshawe History

Wythenshawe History

Wythenshawe Hall Entrance Wythenshawe Hall Front

Municipal Dreams

Below is part of an excellent article from the Municipal Dreams blog, with a detailed account of the processes and people involved in the planning and development of Wythenshawe.  Be sure to vist the blog for more information. The Wythenshawe Estate, Manchester: ‘the world of the future’ Back in 2007, the Wythenshawe Estate became the poster child for ‘Broken Britain’.  David Cameron had visited the estate to make his call to ‘hug a hoodie’. But whatever love Cameron was offering didn’t appear to be reciprocated.It was ironic that Wythenshawe should be singled out in this way, tragic that the ideals and vision which had built the estate had been so signally eclipsed. Lest we forget the story begins with a level of overcrowding and human misery that is – thankfully – almost unimaginable in Britain today. In 1935, Manchester’s Medical Officer of Health condemned 30,000 (of a total of 80,000) inner-city homes as unfit for human habitation; 7000 families were living in single rooms. In contrast, it was the garden city movement of Ebenezer Howard which provided the other major element in Wythenshawe’s genesis. Howard and his followers advocated a utopian ideal of economically self-sufficient communities, cottage dwellings in parkland surroundings – the polar opposite of the Broken Britain of that day.   In Manchester, these currents coalesced in the drive and vision of three people: Labour alderman WT Jackson and then Liberal husband and wife team, Ernest and Shena Simon.Jackson rejected the modernism that attracted some as a solution to the slum problem: ‘We are not emulating Vienna and I have not been there…In general we favour the cottage type of dwelling’.  For Ernest Simon ‘the tendency of country conditions [was] to preserve life…the tendency of town conditions [was] to depress vitality’.  The solution they envisaged lay in large-scale development of agricultural land to the south of Manchester beyond the city boundaries. Simon purchased Wythenshawe Hall and 250 acres of land in 1926. He donated them to the city, directing only that they ‘be used solely for the public good’. Jackson for his part persuaded the city to buy 2500 acres of surrounding farmland in the same year and secured the incorporation of the future estate within city boundaries – against horrified opposition from Cheshire locals – in 1931 by private act of parliament. Jackson visited the garden city showpiece of Letchworth in 1927 and brought in Barry Parker – its co-designer – as planner of the new Wythenshawe Estate.  Building began the same year.  Parker was given sole control of the project in 1931.  Parker built on the garden city ideal by adding two new features. One was the parkway – a concept borrowed from the more motorised America of the day – intended to smooth transit but, more importantly, to prevent ribbon development and preserve open space. The scenic route Parker created – the Princess Parkway – is now the M56.  Perhaps not quite what he had in mind.  His second innovation was neighbourhood units set around green spaces and tree-lined roads with, in this instance, Wythenshawe Hall and Park preserved at their centre.  This principle has been better honoured – some 30 areas of park and woodland remain. Development was rapid. By 1939, the estate boasted a population of 40,000 and some 8145 dwellings, now described waspishly in Pevsner as ‘conventional, Quakerishly undecorated’.  Parker was a Quaker so this plain and simple approach  reflected his ideals but it fulfilled more strongly Shena Simon’s wish that the estate have a ‘cottagey’ feel. If the housing was modest, the ambition which underlay the project wasn’t.  For Shena Simon, the estate was the ‘boldest [scheme] that any municipality has yet embarked upon’. To the local Cooperative Women’s Guild, it was nothing less than- 'This future world was a place in which ‘every working mother [would enjoy] a clean, well-planned home which will be her palace’.  If this seems a stereotyped view of a woman’s role today, let’s note their rider: these were homes ‘so well and wisely planned that [a mother’s] labour will be lightened and her strength and intelligence reserved for wider interests’. Who got to enjoy this brave new world?  Rents were typically between 13s and 15s a week (65 to 75p) at a time when the average working wage stood at around £3. Ernest Simon calculated this was just affordable – provided there was a ‘willingness of the wage earner to be content with a very small amount of pocket money, and competent and economical management on the part of the housewife’. In reality, the estate was principally confined to the better-off working class as this oral testimony suggest.
Ebenezer Howard Wythenshawe The History of Wythenshawe Wythenshawe Early Development Wythenshawe Hall Rear Friends of Wythenshawe Hall
“The enthusiastic volunteers who formed the  Friends of  Wythenshawe Hall group hold monthly open  days and other events on a regular  basis. Why not come and visit and see for yourself why we are so passionate about our local heritage. Plus we are always looking for new members!”
Wythenshawe Early Housing Wythenshawe Early Housing Provision
Despite – more probably because of – this exclusivity, there was great pride in the estate. Local activists were committed to making ‘Wythenshawe worthy of the time and money spend on it’. A ‘Wythenshawe ethos’ grew which enjoined a ‘common bond’ predicated less on shared recreation than on notions of self-improvement. Many residents also spoke favourably of a world where people weren’t forever popping round for a chat or – worse still – on the cadge, ‘where people kept themselves to themselves’. All this has upset some later commentators who see in it some corruption of working-class community and ideals.   But maybe we shouldn’t pay too much heed to this liberal academic nostalgia for a world they never knew and tend now to romanticise. That there was a shift – to a more privatised and domesticated focus on family and home – is undeniable.  But I see it less an example of malign social engineering or embourgeoisification, more as an opportunity working people desired and acted upon, one that – in key ways – they created. Practically, as so often, execution failed to fully match conception. Shops, community facilities and employment followed belatedly on housing and population growth.  There was an incomplete and dormitory feel to the estate in its early decades though the Second World War and 1947 Town and Country Planning Act were to give a boost to further ambitious growth. New industrial zones were completed in 1950s.  Higher density housing was planned and built. The population grew to 100,000. Continue reading at the Municipal Dreams blog here
For information regarding the History of Baguley Hall, please visit the Friends of Baguley Hall Website.
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History

The history of the area we know as Wythenshawe is the history of three townships – Northenden, Baguley and Northen Etchells. For centuries, Northenden, in the north, was the most populated. The area of Northen Etchells was to the south and east (where it met Stockport Etchells at Gatley) and was divided from Baguley along a line roughly that of the modern motorway. The first written mention of the area is the Domesday Book when there is a record that Norwordine (Northenden) and Bagelei (Baguley) were both being farmed. However, the discovery of a Bronze Age axe-hammer at Northenden and a pre-historic burial mound at Baguley, both confirm people had been living here much longer. For the first time, “Witenscawe” is mentioned in a charter of 1316, when the local lord of the manor, Thomas de Mascy, grants lands to his son. The name relates to the Anglo-Saxon for a “copse of willows”. There are few records of life in the area over the next 250 years but accounts from the mid 1500s show the area was being used for small scale farming. There were twelve tenants in the Sharston area, paying annual rents ranging from 1s 8d to £1 6s, with the largest plot of land being 27 acres. At Poundesacke (Poundswick), there are eleven tenants with the largest farm held by Henry Cookson, who was also employed as steward to the Tatton family.  The Tattons had become an increasingly important family over the centuries. In 1316, they appear to have been an unassuming family living in the area of what is now Kenworthy Lane, in Northenden. But, only a few years later, in 1348, Robert de Tatton, marries Alice de Mascy, only daughter of the lord of the manor. He is granted lands in the area as part of the marriage settlement. Without doubt, it was the start of the Tatton’s significant influence on the area which continued for the next 550 years.  Wythenshawe Hall was built in about 1540, by Robert Tatton, after an earlier building had burnt down some years before, although he is understood to have lived in an older house known as The Peele – commonly known as Peel Hall. A century later, the English Civil War broke out. Robert’s grandson, also called Robert, was now living at Wythenshawe Hall and he joined the Royalist side. Hearing that the Roundheads were on their way to seize the Hall, he called in all his domestic staff, farm workers and loyal friends to defend it. The siege lasted from 21 November 1643 to 27 February 1644. An account from the time tells that, at one point, the Roundheads, commanded by a Captain Adams, forced their way into an entrance, killing six of the soldiers defending the Hall. One of them was engaged to a young local woman, Mary Webb. “She resolved to have her vengeance of the man that had caused the loss of her lover. On a Sunday in February, this Captain Adams was sitting on a wall near the house, when the girl Webb, having borrowed a musket from some of the parties within the house, approached to a proper distance and then, levelling the musket at the captain, shot him dead”.   The area continued to be essentially rural for the next two hundred years. In March 1763, New Hall Farm in Baguley was sold.  No doubt, it’s the origin of the name of Newall Green. By the beginning of the 19th century, the land is still agricultural but mainly being used as pasture, except for part of Northern Moor which is increasingly being used for market gardening, to serve the needs of the ever growing Manchester. Not many people live here – the 1821 census showing the population to be about 2000.  In 1920, Manchester Council became interested in buying land which it could bring into the City’s boundaries. In this period, immediately after the Great War, there was a national move to build new housing  - “homes fit for heroes”. The Tatton family originally resisted the approaches but, in 1926, finally sold 2500 acres to the Council. He also sold the Hall and the parkland that surrounded it to Ernest Simon, a wealthy industrialist. Simon had also been a Lord Mayor of Manchester and, in an act of great generosity, donated the Hall and land to the Council on the condition it became a public park. The first houses, owned by the Council, were built in 1930. There was some further development during the 30s but most of the housing (and almost all of the area’s other facilities – like shops, churches and pubs) were not built until after World War Two. 
Read more about the development of the Wythenshawe ‘Garden Estate’ at the excellent Municipal Dreams blog Here

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