CHESHIRE ARCHITECTURE – LITTLE MORETON HALL
History of the Hall.
Manchester architects, Liverpool architects, Cheshire architects and elsewhere in the UK may be interested to go on Little Moreton Hall belonged to the Moreton family, a family that grew immensely rich by taking full advantage of social and religious upheavals of their times. With the decrease in population during the Black Death (1348) much land was placed on the market and was purchased cheaply by the Moretons. They were staunch loyalists and eager tax collectors for the reigning monarch. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth the family owned a vast area of land.
The earliest part of the building is the Hall which probably dates from around the middle of the 15th century and was built by Sir Richard de Moreton and the kitchen area was built around 1480 by William Moreton.
The building was extended and improved by William Moreton II (d. 1563). It was during his lifetime that the east wing of the building was rebuilt and extended by the addition of a Withdrawing Room and Chapel. It was also during his lifetime that the five-sided bay windows were made. There is no doubt about who made them as the carpenter Richard Dale inscribed his name on the frieze. The inscription reads as follows:
“God is Al in Al Thing: This windous whire made by William Moreton in the yeare of Oure Lorde MDLIX Richard Dale Carpeder made thies windous by the grac of God.”
It is interesting to note that the building and extensions to the property span the pre-Reformation and post- Reformation periods. Work was carried on during the reigns of Henry VII and Elizabeth. It is therefore also pre- Renaissance and Renaissance. Signs of the Renaissance influence can be seen in the decoration and in the Elizabethan fireplaces. However, the building is definitely medieval in character.
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Little Moreton Hall is open to the public from April to December each year. The ground floor of the west range has been remodelled to include a restaurant, tearoom and a gift shop. Services are held in the Chapel every Sunday from April until October. The National Trust offers evening ghost tours around the house each Halloween. In common with many other National Trust properties, Little Moreton Hall is available for hire as a film location; in 1996 it was one of the settings for Granada Television’s adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders.
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