Alexander Radclyffe, the last Radclyffe resident at Ordsall Hall. © Salford City Council
Salford City Council is unpicking the ancestral history of Ordsall Hall in a search for distant relatives of its early residents.
The team has already traced Nicholas Radclyffe, the ninth great grandson of Alexander Radclyffe - the family’s final occupant of Ordsall Hall - and they’re now on the history trail hunting for people who may be connected to the early ownership of the hall.
For every ancestor that comes forward, Nicholas Radclyffe has pledged a donation towards the Extraordinary Ordsall Campaign, the regeneration project that hopes to secure the future of this important historic building.
Ordsall Hall passed Stage 1 of its bid for £5.1 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund in March 2007. To complete Stage 2, the hall needs to raise £1million via a fundraising campaign, by September 2008, in order to undertake the restoration plans and preserve this piece of local heritage.
"I visit the North West whenever possible as I still have family in the area and I’m right behind the campaign to restore the old family home of Ordsall Hall, my family's ancestral home," said Nicholas.
“Tracing family origins is fascinating and as far as I can see, historically my family is most well known for killing Frenchmen and acquiring property, and piecing it all together is very satisfying!"
Did your ancestors once live here? Ordsall Hall today. © Salford City Council
Names of interest to the team include Hulton, Radclyffe, Birch, Stock and Egerton, which are connected with early ownership of the manor house, and names similar to Ryder, Alsop or Markendale, who could be related to some later tenants of the hall.
Radclyffe is the name most commonly associated with Ordsall Hall since the family enjoyed 300 years of ownership after Sir John Radclyffe inherited it from the childless Richard de Hulton in 1335.
However, when the Radclyffe family faced financial problems in the 1660s they were forced to sell the hall and later ownerships were much more short-term, with several wealthy local families, like the Birches, Stocks and Egertons, taking it on.
Genealogy maps show these surnames to have been prominent in the North West for centuries and as such, historians are confident that some direct descendants will come out of the woodwork in support of the campaign to keep their ancestors’ legends alive at the hall.
"Historically, surnames were a lot more fluid than today so we’re also interested to hear from people with variations of the family names associated with the hall," said Caroline Mean, Heritage Development Officer at Salford City Council.
“As we aim to raise £1million to secure a Heritage Lottery grant for much-needed restoration work, it would be great to discover local people whose ancestors have once called Ordsall Hall their home to help us celebrate the imminent changes and improvements."
Anyone sharing a name with previous owners and tenants of the hall can come forward to find out where they might fit into the Ordsall Hall family tree. The newly found descendants of Ordsall Hall’s owners and tenants will be invited to key events in the fundraising campaign calendar.If you think your family might be connected to the hall call Emma Foster on 0161 793 2420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.To find out more about Ordsall Hall, visit www.salford.gov.uk/extraordinaryordsallcampaign, where a donation to the fund can also be made online, and you can view the hall’s infamous ‘Ghost Cams’.