Hopwood Hall Estate to receive £276,000 repairs grant from Historic England
Date published: 03 April 2018
Hopwood DePree at Hopwood Hall
Hopwood Hall Estate is being awarded a grant of at least £276,000 from Historic England for critical structural repairs.
The grant, match-funded by Rochdale Borough Council, will enable the Grade-II* listed Hall to be stablised and weather-proofed, a milestone in the renovations as historically significant parts of the building are in danger of collapsing at any moment.
The home is being restored to its former glory by actor, director and producer Hopwood DePree, a direct descendent of the Hopwood family whose ancestral home was Hopwood Hall from when it was built until the 1920s.
For the first time in over 30 years, 100 lucky members of the public were given the rare chance to glimpse inside the historic 12th century manor home on a Heritage Open Day in 2017:
The old hall dates back to feudal days, and still retains many structural and architectural features from the 14th century right until present day. The original hall was of early timber construction, rebuilt in Tudor brick by John Hopwood during 1687-90. Painstakingly intricate wood carvings, hundreds of years old, can be found covering the walls inside the hall.
Some famous names who visited Hopwood Hall include Guy Fawkes, who visited Edmund Hopwood, a witch hunter, when he was in Manchester planning the Gunpowder Plot, and Lord Bryon, who stayed at the Hall in 1811. An ornate fireplace is nicknamed the ‘Byron Fireplace’, part of which is thought to have been gifted by the noble and installed by renowned Middleton architect, Edgar Wood.
Hopwood has an exclusive legal agreement with the council to enable him to have up to five years to rescue the Hall before he assumes full possession of his ancestral home.
Charles Smith, North West Assistant Director, Historic England, said: “Hopwood Hall is one of Greater Manchester’s most important surviving manor houses. From its rare 16th century timber framed hall and astonishing collection of continental carvings, through to its links with Lord Byron and more recent use as a Roman Catholic training base, the site is steeped in history. Historic England is delighted to be grant aiding Rochdale Council, and working closely with Hopwood DePree, to undertake critical structural repairs to the most important parts of this fascinating Grade II* listed building.”
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, Community and Culture at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “I’m really pleased that our application to Historic England has been successful. This money will enable us to carry out urgent repairs on the most significant parts of this building and will help protect it against further damage.
"The council has spent almost £190,000 maintaining Hopwood Hall since 2012, but the nature of this building and its unique historical assets mean that a lot more work needs to be done. This grant money is another step forward for this important project and will give Hopwood a good headstart on his plans to redevelop his ancestral home, in partnership with the council.”
The first evidence of the Hopwood family dates to 1100 during the reign of William Rufus, with the earliest written records of the family dating to 1277. Dr Robert Hopwood, the last of the original Hopwoods, died in 1762.
Following the death of Robert’s widow, Mary, Edward Gregge took over the hall in 1773, assuming the name Hopwood by an act of Parliament.
In 1942, Colonel Edward Hopwood, ‘the finest shot in Europe’ died at the age of 97 after allowing the hall to fall into disrepair. Both his sons were killed in the First World War; in memoriam, he planted the Verdun oak tree at St Leonard's Church in Middleton, which still stands today. His daughters married and moved away.
Hopwood Hall was then taken over by the Lancashire Cotton Corporation before the manor house was acquired in 1947 by the De La Salle brothers for their teacher training college.
During the 1960s, new living, teaching and administrative quarters were built for 600 students, and the Hall became a centre for students.
Hopwood Hall College, which sits nearby on part of the original grounds of the stately home from which it takes its name, opened in 1990, offering A-levels and vocational courses.
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