Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Discovering the elusive Winstanley Hall

Winstanley Hall (according to Wikipedia) is a late 16th-century house in Winstanley (Wigan)  It is listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade II* listed building. Originally built for the Winstanley family, the building is one of only three Tudor buildings in the Wigan.The hall was built in the 1560s for the Winstanley family of Winstanley; the Winstanley family were lords of the manor since at least 1252 and may have been responsible for building the moat on the site. The Winstanleys owned the hall until 1596, when the estate was sold to James Bankes, a London goldsmith and banker. Winstanley Hall has three storeys. To the south, on lands belonging to the hall, is a small stone building which was used to house bears that provided entertainment for the hall's guests.  The Bankes family retained ownership of the hall until the 21st century when it was sold for private development. The hall had been kept in good condition until the 1960s when habitation stopped. As the building decayed and the cost of maintaining Winstanley Hall was too much for the family it was sold on. It was intended to develop the hall into private flats, however refurbishment was held up due to Wigan council withholding planning permission. The interior is now in some disrepair. (Massive understatement!!)

We discovered this rust-bucket of a bike in the surrounding woods . . .
"The building is now owned and controlled by Dorbcrest Homes and is somewhat derelict. Rules for entry are clearly stated on numerous sign posts on the path leading to the property. To gain access the property, people must book an appointment by telephoning the owner of the surrounding land. The house is guarded by guard dogs and uses CCTV to record people's movements around the property and its grounds". There were no guard dogs when we visited - the poor creatures would've been strangled by the prolific brambles which have overtaken the estate!

It isn't the easiest place to find - actually, it was almost impossible to find but maybe we didn't take the most direct of routes. On with the pics . . .


The exterior is now being supported by large beams.
We decided against trying to get inside - there were  a couple of broken windows at ground level, but the interior looked totally wrecked and too dangerous even for us (intrepid explorers that we are!)
This was undoubtedly once a magnificent house and such a waste that is has ended up like this.
Ultimately, nature fights back and always wins (as the bramble scratches on my legs will testify!)
Deeply saddened that this decay has been allowed to occur on such a beautiful building, rich in history.

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