This whole area, including this family home is full of history and so many interesting tales and legends.
Hankelow is situated within the township of Audlem. At the time of the Domesday Book, this area was part of the Barony of Wich Malbank (now Nantwich) and it was owned by Richard de Vernon. During the reign of Edward 1st, this side of the Vernon family took the name HUNELOWE. There have been many spellings of Hankelow, inc HUNKELOWE, HUNKYLOWE and HONKYLOWE, so this is why the spelling in my report will change.
During the reign's of Richard II and Henry IV, William, son of Richard of Hunkelowe was the Bailiff to the Hundred of Nantwich. But between both of the King's reign, Richard Hunkelowe spent time imprisoned in Chester Castle as a debtor. Either through marriage or from the sale from Richard Hunkelowe, but during the reign of Edward III, the Hassall family gained considerable land and powerl. Through the Hunkelowe and Hassall family line, the marriage took place which brought them together into the Wettenhall family.
The Wettenhall family who stayed in Hankelow until the 18th century. Then the whole estate passed to the Bayley family and then to the Greaves family. Various families and people now own their own part of the area like with every village, town or city.
CIVIL WAR AROUND THIS AREA
During part of the civil war, Hankelow was ravaged as the two forces met. It was on the 19th May 1644, when Prince Rupert's army engaged the Parliamentarian army at Moss Hall Fields, Hankelow.
Prince Rupert had stayed around this area before. In May 1642, he had reputed to have stayed at Highfields in Audlem with his army of 10,000 (mostly horsemen and dragoons). They were on their way north to the siege of Stockport.
During 1643, the Royalist forces occupied most of the areas around Nantwich, including Audlem, Brindley, Buerton, Hankelow, Hatherton, Hurleston, Stoke and Wrenbury.
In 1644, Prince Rupert's army were camped in fields in Audlem near Highfields. The Parliamentarians were in control of Nantwich. And the skirmish took place.
Timeline of the Hall and Owners
- Domesday - Richard de Vernon owned the estate.
- Edward I (1272-1307) - de Hunkelowe family (part of the de Vernon family).
- 1374-1585 - Richard Hunkelowe either sold the estate or it passed through marriage to the
In 1447, Robert de Hassal and his wife Cecily accuired the lands of Hankilow. The Hall became the principal Hassal residence until 1585, when Ralph Hassal inherited Hassall Manor (near Sandbach) and William (his step brother) was given Hankelow.
- late 1500's - through marriage, the hall passed into the Wettenhall family.
- early 1700's - the present house dates from the early 18th century. It was built for Gabriel
Wettenhall. It was altered for his son, Nathaniel and remodelled in 1755.
- late 1700's - Edward Wettenhall sold the hall to the Richardson family.
- 1817 - sold to Thomas Cooper.
- 1873 - the estate passed to George Thomas Bellyse Cooper.
- 1893 - the hall passed through many hands including a wine and spirit merchant and a cotton
- 1929 - the hall was bought by Commander Claude Alexander Codrington.
- 1954 - the hall was bought by Peter Glover Nicholas of Fields Farm, Nantwich.
- 1959 - the hall was bought by John Henry Vernon of Moss Hall, Audlem.
- 1961 - the hall was converted into flats but by the 1970's, the building had fallen into disrepair. By 1978, it had been condemned by the local authority. But it was saved.
- 1989 - Mr Victor Vernon sold it to its present owner, Mr Kirk Shenton Homes Ltd.
There is a legend at the hall that a young man haunts the front door. It is said that he shot himself just before his wedding because he had killed his family on the lake in the hall's grounds.
The truth behind this tradedy is a little different. The gentleman in question, didnt live at the Hall and his family died in a accident many miles away.
This Grade II listed building is built of red brick. It is of early Geogian style.
Not long after work started on this building, evidence was found of an earlier house, including wattle and daub, remains of a timber framed building and window frames that have been dated to the 17th century.
This building at the back of the hall, use to be the Engine room. It is said that a spirt has been seen here.
This photo shows the roof space at the top of the house. This area use to be the living quarters for the servants and during the summer/autumn, the fruit pickers.
These stairs are narrow and a lot smaller than the main stairs. They were only used by the servants.
This photo shows a large wooden fireplace situated in a wooden panelled room. This had been the libuary. It suits the room but this fireplace is not from the hall, but it came from Newcastle Hospital a few years ago.
We started our investigation at 10pm. The group included us and a few guests (invited by the owner).We walked to the cellar. Geoff told us that he had picked up a man called John from the 13th century. So, as we were all together in the cellar, we decieded to do some table tilting. There was some slight movement and we all heard the sound of a bell, like the bell on a cats collar. We also heard the sound of a small stone being thrown but no one saw it.
By 10.30pm, we had moved up to the second floor. Geoff was picking up on the Quakers. He also picked up on a battlefield. Geoff also told us that a man had come forward, named John (a different Man from the John he had picked up earlier). This John had the surname of Derbyshire or came from Derbyshire and he had been shot by Thomas in 1643.
HYWEY WRNEP ... he had been born in 1665 and he was 12years when he died.VAZ was spelt when we asked how he died. Reasearch has shown that Hywey is a Welsh name, for example Hywey Dda (880-950) King of Dyfed, Powys and Gwynedd.
TNANP or TNANQ ... poss female and from the year(possibly when she was born) 1917 or 1907. She died in 1987, at the age of 39years. Born in Hankelow. Of course, no research has to be done to show she would have been older than 39 when she died or did she get her dated wrong on the board.
FLJK ... also lived here but when we asked how they died, LIVE was spelt out. So did they still think they are still alive. But when we asked for a message, it spelt IGEFIVJFHGHDHDIEWDWIFJEEF. We asked where they stood and it pointed over into a corner.
RLNN ... was spelt when we asked if anyone else was with us. He was a male nurse. No other information.
NOZ ... was also spelt out when we asked if anybody else was there but no other information.
By 11.40pm, a few of the group thought they heard noices coming from the next floor, so I went up on my own and the group stayed and asked for something to happen to me. I heard footsteps on the staircase. At the same time downstairs, Phil and Nicola heard a voice and footsteps.
At Midnight, there was just the three of us, me, Phil and Nicola. We were trying to debunk the voices and footsteps we had heard. Nicola and Phil heard the same voices. So I went down back to the second floor. Nothing happened. So we all sat upstairs in the loft. Nicola and Phil heard a loud breath and I heard whistling. As we were the only people left in the building, we couldnt debunk the sounds.
By 1.30am, we deceided to go back downstairs and headed into the Libuary. The last member of the vistors came to join us. So the four of us stood in the Libuary, asking out. We could still hear voices and noices above us, so Phil stayed in the Libuary and we went back upstairs. By now nothing could be heard upstairs but Phil was hearing noices by him. It was as though, these noices were moving away from us. So we went back into the Libuary with Phil. We heard nothing else and we all moved into the next room.
During my research after our investigation, I found two following pieces of information.
... Geoff had told us that he had picked up on a battle in 1643. My research showed that during this year, the Royalist army occupied most of the area around Nantwich with the Parliamentarians controlling the town of Nantwich.
... The legend about a suicide is not true. George Thomas Bellyse Cooper didnt kill his family and then kill himself out of guilt. It was a boating accident when he was only a baby, on Lake Windermere. He did die, years later, he accidentally shot himself whilst living in Tenby. I cant find any records to show he had married or was due to be married.