Ordsall Hall - History and Facts | History Hit

Ordsall Hall

Salford, United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

21 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Ordsall Hall

Ordsall Hall is a Tudor manor house in Salford that was the seat of the Radclyffe family for over 300 years. With sections of the house dating as early as the 1360s, it is a hidden gem amongst the busy city streets, and allows guests to experience the every-day lives of its past Tudor occupants.

Ordsall Hall history 

The Hall first appeared in written records in 1177 as ‘Ordeshala’, and by 1251 was likely a house when William de Ferrers exchanged it for land in Pendleton with David de Hulton. In around 1355, the manor passed to the Radclyffe family, beginning 20 years of bitter ownership feuds before in 1374 Sir John Radclyffe at last secured it. Over the next 300 years of Radclyffe occupancy the Hall was expanded significantly, and generations of their colourful family walked its Halls. 

During Elizabeth I’s reign, striking twins Alexander and Margaret Radclyffe were a sensation at court. Alexander was High Sheriff of Lancashire and Margaret soon became Elizabeth’s favourite lady-in-waiting, once dazzling the entire court in a white satin gown gifted by her brother. When in 1599 Alexander was killed on military exploits in Ireland, Margaret fell into a deep sorrow and 3 months later reportedly died of a broken heart.

As with many, the English Civil War brought financial trouble to the family through their Royalist allegiance, and by 1662 Radclyffe son and heir John was forced to sell his beloved ancestral home to Colonel John Birch. The Hall then passed through several different hands, including pre-Raphaelite painter Frederic Shields, and has been used as a clergy school, working men’s club and radio station throughout its lifetime. 

Ordsall Hall today 

Today the Hall is managed by Salford City Council. It is free to visit and provides guests with a wealth of fascinating history and stunning architecture. 

In the Frederic Shields Gallery, the lives of the Hall’s past occupants may be explored, from the bittersweet story of the Radclyffe twins to the pre-Raphaelite painter himself. Temporary exhibitions also run each year, so keep an eye out for what may be on when you choose to go! Explore the Great Hall, Star Chamber and Hall’s kitchen all dating back between 400 to 800 years ago, complete with real Tudor furniture, interactive exhibits and fascinating architecture.

The Hall’s gardens also provide visitors with a variety of historical plants and design features to explore, from a late-Tudor knot garden to a World War One allotment. The herb garden also brings medieval, Tudor and modern herbs together in one place, while historically revered fruit and flowers adorn the pathways. 

Getting to Ordsall Hall

Ordsall Hall is situated in Ordsall, Salford, south west of Manchester City Centre. There is an onsite car park 100 metres from the Hall’s entrance, with 5 parking bays for blue badge holders available. 

It is a 40-minute walk from Piccadilly Station, or you can take the tram to Exchange Quay from which the Hall is a 13-minute walk. Alternatively the 33 bus from Chinatown stops on Oldfield Road, a 15-minute walk away. 

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