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REMEMBER WHEN: The lost history of Marbury Hall
THE fascinating history of one of Northwich’s lost buildings has been pieced together for the future by a group of woodland volunteers.
It is difficult to imagine that there was once a beautiful stately home nestled among the trees of Marbury Park.
But a great house was located by Budworth Mere from the 13th century until as recently as the late 1960s when it fell into disrepair and was demolished.
In a sad twist of fate, new powers for local authorities to preserve historic buildings came just a few months too late to save Marbury Hall.
But memories and mystery about the hall linger, prompting volunteers from Friends of Anderton and Marbury (FoAM) to research its history to share with the community for years to come.
Mary Jeeves, FoAM chairman, said: “When we are in the park visitors often ask us about the hall – where was it? What did it look like? How big was it? Why was it demolished?
“It requires quite a bit of imagination to picture it.
“Few realise that at one time it housed a collection of valuable art treasures.
“Some come to revisit somewhere that they remember from their childhood or that their parents and grandparents have told them about.
“They have memories of living in the hutments or exploring the overgrown parkland as children.
“Many have been generous in sharing their reminiscences and photographs and there is still more information out there.”
The research project began with the intention to replace an interpretation panel for visitors at the site of the hall.
But researchers, including Frances Findlay, Chris Moseley, Nathan Rathbone and Alan Redley, with help from local historian Geoff Buchan and an appeal in the Guardian, were quickly overwhelmed by information and have set up a website to house it all.This has been splilt into different sections focusing on families associated with the hall, the houses on the site, its art collections, Marbury Hall Country Club, Marbury Hall during the Second World War, ICI ownership of it, the legends associated with the hall and families and a section about the park.
Mary said: “Once you start looking through the records, it becomes almost obsessive.
“I was struck by the 1871 census return which recorded that two Smith Barry brothers, aged 26 and 28, were living in the hall with 23 servants!
“It is sad that a building of significant architectural importance for this area was demolished, but it may be that we would not have public access to an outstanding country park if it were still standing.”
The website is marburyhall.com.
• An illustrated talk on Marbury Hall by FoAM will be given at Comberbach Memorial Hall at 7.30pm on Monday, March 11. For more information ring Frances Findlay 01606 44727.