Barlow Hall was probably erected in the reign of Edward I., and rebuilt or renovated in the time of Henry VIII., when the Hall was occupied by Alexander Barlow, for to his time belongs the sundial bearing the motto, "Lumen me regit, vos umbra" (I am guided by the sun, you by the shade). The original outline is, in a great degree, lost in the alterations and additions to which from time to time it has been subjected. As far as can now be ascertained, it consisted of an oblong; pile of buildings, comprising the great hall and entertaining-rooms, with a wing; projecting at right angles from the main structure, built in that quaint, half-timbered style so characteristic of the period. The framework consists of oaken timbers, resting upon a foundation of solid masonry, connected by beams, and strengthened by bracing ribs firmly bolted into the main timbers, filled with a composition of plaster of lime and mud, mixed with straw, and laid upon laths. Very little of the timber- work now remains exposed to view, the greater portion having been coated with plaster, being also covered with ivy, as are also many aged trees which stand around.
In the reign of the Saxon King Edward I. (1272-1307) Sir Robert de Barlow, Knight. Founded the eminent Catholic Barlow family lived here, when a water mill on the banks of the river formed part of the manor, and the hall was occupied by members of the family until about 1800. By a certificate from Lichfield, bearing date 1397, it is evidenced that Thomas de Barlow was sole and exclusive lord of Barlow, and that his father's name was Robert de Barlow; that the said Thomas had two sons, of whom the elder was named Roger, and the younger Thomas; that the said Roger became in turn sole lord of Barlow after the decease of his father, and that he had a son named Roger who succeeded his father as Lord Barlow. The property afterwards passed to John, son of Roger de Barlow, and subsequently to John the younger. In the year 1466 Nicholas Barlow conveyed to his son Alexander all his lands, &c., in Withington and elsewhere in Lancashire, formerly belonging to John de Barlow, father of the aforesaid Nicholas, Alexander Barlow was succeeded by his son Roger, who lived in the reign of Henry VI1. He married a daughter of Ellis Prestwich, Esq., of Hulme, and dying, seized the Barlow estate, transmitted it to his son, Ellis Barlow, so named after his maternal grandfather. Ellis Barlow married Anne, daughter of Otes Reddish, Esq., of Reddish, and had issue a son, Alexander, his successor, and a daughter, Margaret, wife of Edward Stanley, third Earl of Derby.
Barlow Hall was the birthplace of St Ambrose Barlow. Sir Edward Barlow was born at Barlow Hall in 1565 and took the name Ambrose when he was ordained as a priest of the Order of St Benedict. He was arrested on the 25th April 1641 and carried off the Lancaster Castle where he was hanged drawn and quartered for confessing that he was a Catholic priest at Lancaster Gaol on Friday 10th September 1641.
The eldest son of Ellis Barlow, Alexander, then succeeded to the estate, but he was arrested and imprisoned for his adhesion to the Roman Catholic faith. He died in 1584, and was buried at Didsbury on the 26th August, This gentleman was succeeded by his son, Alexander Barlow the younger, who was twenty years of age at his father's death; and was knighted at Whitehall on the coronation of James I., in the year 1603. The Christmas of 1595 was the occasion of a tragedy in his family, when Catherine Barlow, of Chowerton, was slain by her uncle. Sir Alexander Barlow died abroad in the year 1620, and was buried by torchlight in the Collegiate Church at Manchester, on the 21st of April. He was succeeded by his son Alexander the younger, who also received knight hood with his father at the coronation of James 1. He died in 1642, and was buried by the side of his father on the 6th of July. He was followed by his only surviving son, Alexander, by the first marriage of his father, and fourth of the name in succession recorded in the pedigree of the family. He married Francis, daughter of William Brereton, Esq., of Ashley, and dying without issue about the year 1654, was succeeded by his half-brother Thomas. Thomas .Barlow died in 1684, and was succeeded by his son Anthony, who appears to have survived his two elder brothers, Thomas and Alexander.
The name of Anthony Barlow appears in the list of Papists who, in conformity with Act 1, George I., registered their estates with the respective values thereof. The yearly value of his estate is returned at £171.9s He married Magdalene, sister of Sir Edward Goulding, and he died in 1723. The estate then descended to his eldest son Thomas, who died of gaol fever in Lancaster Castle in 1729. He was succeeded by his, eldest son Thomas, the last male heir in the family, who married in 1760 a Miss Worrall, and dying in March, 1773, at the age of 54, without Issue, was buried at the Collegiate Church, Manchester. In him a lineage of 700 years ended.
The arms of the Barlow family were sable a double eagle displayed argent, membered or standing on a limb of a tree raguled and truncked of the second.
The estate was sold by auction according to Act of Parliament in 1785, and purchased by the Egertons of Tatton, its yearly rental being then estimated at £800.The first tenant after the Barlows gave up possession was Thomas Walker, the great political reformer, a very prosperous merchant, holding a high position, and one of the leading men of the city. Here he resided in the summer months, his winter residence being in South Parade, St. Mary's. He was appointed borough-reeve of Manchester in the year 1790, the greatest honour that could be conferred upon him by his fellow-citizens. He died at Longford Hall on the 2nd of February, 1817, and lies buried in the churchyard of Chorlton-cum-Hardy. His mother, it is said, was the first person who carried an umbrella in Manchester, and was derisively mobbed. He had three sons and three daughters, being succeeded by his eldest son Thomas, author of "The Original" born at Barlow on the 10th of October, 1784, and died at Brussels, where he had gone for the benefit of his health, on the 20th January, 1836, at the age of 52. His son, Charles James, Stanley Walker, was born at Barlow on the 26th February; 1788 and died on the 13th of October, 1875, at the age of 87, and lies buried by the side of his father. This gentleman was much respected, and his death regretted by a wide circle of Manchester friends.
Stephen Philips was the next tenant, a great manufacturer in the city, bong the first gentleman in the village who drove his carnage; and in June, 1848, Mr. William Cunliffe Brooks (now Sir William), son of the late Samuel Brooks, the well-known banker, took possession.
An inspection of the, interior of the building is extremely interesting. The entrance-hall contains some quaint old furniture, amongst which is a curiously carved cabinet, with portraits, and the following inscription: "Edward IV., 1481, Lady Elizabeth Gray.
The most interesting feature is the large oriel stained glass window in the dining-hall, representing the armorial bearings of the Barlow family. Near the centre are the arms of Edward Stanley, third Earl of Derby. Beneath is the date!574, and the initial letters A.B., and it is probable that these letters were inserted by Alexander Barlow to commemorate the marriage of his sister with the head of the house of Stanley, In this room are two heads of the royal stag, shot at Glentana, in Aberdeenshire, by Sir William. On the wall is a glass case containing, a portion of the original oak panelling of the interior of the hall, which was discovered blocking up a window, after the disastrous fire on the 19th March, 1879. The long room contains many Interesting family portraits, along with an engraved etching of Sir Alexander Barlow the elder. Special directions were given in the will about his portrait painted in 1616, an interesting relic of the family, and of its connection with the old faith: but what became of this heirloom at the dispersion of the effects of the Barlow's on the extinction of the family is not known, but recently it has been brought to notice by Mr. W. A. Abram, who found it in private hands in Blackburn. Mr. George Barlow, of Oldham, has also in his possession a copper-plate engraved with the original portrait. It represents Sir Alexander as habited in a black gown profusely ornamented with small tassels, his neck encircled by the ample ruff of the period. His right hand is raised, and in his left he holds a book.
Lady Brooks's morning-room is worthy of a visit, with its quaint old china, and the vestibule contains some fine old furniture, and an engraving of Wellington with his autograph.
Please note the bulk of this document was compiled in 1909.
Barlow Hall is now the home of the Chorlton-cum-Hardy Golf Club.
Copyright © 2008 Anthony F Walker
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