This week, we take a look at an old hall of Mid Cheshire that stood until January 1969, when it was demolished like a lot of other old buildings at the end of the 1960s.

The first Marbury Hall was built in the 13th century by the Marbury (or Merbery) family.

The male lineage stopped at the death of Richard Marbury in 1684. The estate was sold in 1708 to Richard Savage, fourth Earl Rivers and just six years later passed to James Barry, fourth Earl of Barrymore, the earl’s son-in-law.

He enlarged the house, and it then passed to the earl’s younger son, Richard Barry. Richard died in 1787, and the house passed to James Hugh Smith Barry, who also owned adjacent Belmont Hall.

Many important artworks, including masterpiece paintings and Roman and Greek sculptures, were housed in Belmont Hall, and these moved to Marbury Hall when the Smith-Barry's sold Belmont in 1801 after James Hugh Smith Barry died.

He had requested in his will that Marbury Hall have an extension to house the artworks.

It took until the 1850s when the Hall was eventually enlarged and remodelled by famous architect Anthony Salvin based on the French chateau of Fontainebleau, and the gardens and an 80-acre lake were designed by landscape gardener John Nesfield, who was also instrumental in planting the famous Lime Avenue of trees which remain today.

The house stayed in the Smith-Barry family until 1932, when it was sold and became a country club.

Northwich Guardian: A row of trees at Marbury ParkA row of trees at Marbury Park (Image: Rose Hurley)

The artwork was sold and dispersed; pieces of the Parthenon Frieze dating back to circa 445 BC, which forms part of the Elgin Marbles, are now in the British Museum, and an ancient Roman statue of Zeus is in the Getty Museum in the USA.

There are many legends associated with Marbury Hall, including the following two. In the 1700s, a horse is said to have raced from London to Marbury for a large bet, and when it arrived, it drank from the mere and died.

The horse (an equine hero of the day) was buried by the side of the mere and is remembered by the following rhyme passed down through the years:

This horse was bred from Marbury Dun

The finest mare that ever run

Run fourteen miles in fifteen hours

And never sweat a hair

Come from London to Marbury from sunrise to sunset for a wager

And when she died, they buried her with silver shoes upon her feet

And wrapped her in a linen sheet.

Northwich Guardian: Marbury HallMarbury Hall (Image: Rose Hurley)

The White Lady of Marbury is the second legend. There are many versions of the story; briefly, they have a similar theme: that James Hugh Smith Barry (1748 – 1801) travelled extensively, amassing his collection of art, and met an Egyptian girl on his journey.

Apparently, she followed him home and lived with him. She asked if she died before him that he would embalm and keep her body in a chest beneath the stairs.

He did this, but when he died, the family removed the body to Great Budworth churchyard, which is when the hauntings began.

In 1940, the hall was commandeered for use in the Second World War as a camp for soldiers until roads and huts were built, and it housed the survivors of Dunkirk.

Northwich Guardian: Marbury Hall army huts in the 1940sMarbury Hall army huts in the 1940s (Image: Rose Hurley)

Marbury Hall became known as Camp 180, a prisoner of war camp, and one famous occupant at that time was Bert Trautmann, a German paratrooper who later became the goalkeeper for Manchester City football club.

After the war in 1948, the hall/land was sold to ICI and initially became the home for its Polish workers, but subsequently, the huts were converted to temporary dwellings for those waiting on council lists.

The hall became a social club once more, and ICI maintained a swimming pool for its employees.

ICI put the Hall up for sale in 1961, although they did retain the swimming pool. The Hall and land immediately surrounding it were sold to a property development company from Manchester, Leslie Fink.

The house sadly deteriorated over the years and was demolished in 1969.