The Big Houses Of The Heatons: Bank Hall – Part One: The Early Years

Our next visit is to Bank Hall. The Bank estate consisted of Bank Hall and Bank Cottage. Bank Cottage was on the eastern edge of the site, and the Hall to the west. The main entrance was from Heaton Lane. The grounds had pleasure gardens, and a network of paths around the house. There was a park inside the ground with three associated lakes. Today, the site is occupied by St John Vianney School off Didsbury Road, but as we shall see over the next few weeks, it had a long history. We remember it today in Heaton Mersey in Bankhall Road, the course of which can be seen on both maps below, meeting Heaton Lane.

It is one of the few houses we can see on the Johnson map of 1819, however, we will see that it is far grander than Priestnall Hey, although no equal to Mauldeth Hall. It is however, I believe, the second grandest house that stood in Georgian and Victorian Heaton Norris (I am quite willing to be contradicted, if you think otherwise).

Johnson’s map of 1819 shows it as Top of th’ Bank, but by 1848 the Ordnance Survey map shows it more clearly. Bank was a small hamlet in Heaton Norris, with houses at the top and bottom of the hill. The New Lancashire Gazeteer of 1830 calls the Hall Bank House. The township of Heaton Norris had around around 170 houses at the beginning of the 1800s.

Bank Hall – Johnson 1819 and OS 1848

Bank House was built in the mid 1700s by Thomas Briarly. Thomas was born around 1713 in Didsbury, and served as mayor of Stockport in 1744. In 1745 he is recorded as living in Heaton Norris. The records of St James, Didsbury record a gift of “one silver paten” from him in 1743.

His wife was Ann Ravald, daughter of Robert. She was born in Manchester in 1711 and baptised at the Cathedral.  Ann and Thomas married at All Saints, Harworth & Bircotes, Nottinghamshire on 27 December 1736,  They lived until 1743 in St Ann’s Square in Manchester, then moved to Bank Hall circa 1743. They had eight children, three were baptised at St Ann’s Church, and five at Didsbury.

He died in September 1776, and was buried on 5 September at St James. Ann died in 1798 she inherited the Estate and sold it to John Phillips in 1777

As we are going to stay with the Philips family for a while, perhaps we should have a look at their history. They were a family of landowners from the Tean Valley in Staffordshire. Starting with Francis Phylippe (b 1552), who came over to England from Flanders, the family started acquiring land and estates in the district and became minor gentry

Nathaniel Philips (b1659 ) bought the Heath House Estate in Staffordshire around 1690, after marrying Elizabeth Stubbs, the heiress of a neighbouring estate, the Shawe at Kingsley. Over the next century the Philips intermarried, gaining several estates, and passing them down. John Philips of Bank Hall was born to Nathaniel Philips (1693-1776), and Elizabeth Burton (who died four days before Nathaniel on 22 May 1776.)

Nathaniel, and his brother John owned a textile and tape weaving factory in Checkley in the Tean Valley – New Tean Hall Mill. Nathaniel lived at Checkley Hall, and his brother, John at Heath House.

Top Heath House – copyright The Bottom Left New Tean Mill Checkley in 1841, Bottom Right Checkley Hall Copyright Howard W Hilton

The mill made pure linen tape which was unique, and sourced from Europe via London merchants. They became the largest manufacturer of tapes in England.

Nathaniel and Elizabeth Burton married on 13 January 1729 in Manchester, and he went there to set up business. He and his sons John, Nathaniel Thomas and Faulkner Philips were very business minded and set up as weavers in Radcliffe and Whitefield, smallware factories in Manchester, as well as Thomas & Nathaniel Philips, Hatters. The Manchester firm of J & N Philips became a nationwide merchant and manufacturer, only finally closing its doors in 1970. Pigot’s Directory for 1829 shows J&N Philips as being at 6&7 Somerset Street.


J&N Philips Advertisement May 1931

Thomas Philips established the Philips Park estate, and the family was known for its philantrophy. That branch of the family also played a great part in the history of Manchester, but we will concentrate on the Heaton Norris side.

John Philips married Sarah Leigh the daughter of George Leigh of Outrighton Hall, Cheshire on the 17 January 1761 and they went to live at Longsight Hall. This house is totally lost to us now, it tood near the junction of Plymouth Grove and what is now the main A6. The Hall and Grounds covered 24,284 square yards (5.8 acres) and it stretched 178 yards on the Manchester to Stockport Turnpike.


The contents of the Hall were up for sale in 1837, although the Hall survived a few years after that, even at that time the auctioneer noted that the properties were particularly suitable for building upon. The L&NWR eventually bought and demolished it to extend their sidings and build Longsight Railway Station.

The advert for the sale of its contents describes a grand, opulent house. It had breakfast, dining and sitting room, five bedrooms, two servants bedrooms, kitchen, offices and a large garden with stable and coach house.

Mr Fletcher is instructed to SELL BY AUCTION on the premises, Longsight Hall, near the Victoria Park entrance, Longsight Road on Monday next, August 30 1847, commencing promptly at eleven o’ clock in the morning the whole of the valuable modern furniture and other effects.

The drawing and dining rooms are neatly furnished in oak, maple and Spanish mahogany, and comprise handsome crown back maple chairs with loose hair seats, three occasional chairs, one lounging chair and couch with loose cushion and pillow; excellent India japanned and gild chiffoniere with raised bookshelves above, imitation oak centre and pier tables with oil baize and extra worseted covers, pair of handsome antique carved ottomans, with upholstered tops, and sky-blue silk panels, pair of ottomans with needlework covers; rosewood two tier what-not, five tier what-not, handsome camphine lamp on fluted glass pillar, with ground glass shade; set of eight oak Grecian back chairs, with loose hair seats, covered with crimson moreen; large Spanish mahogany dining table with two D ends; painted oak pedesal sideboard, ranges of crimson moreen and white figured muslin window draperies, splendid water colour drawing. Interior of an Abbey and oil paintings in gilt frames. Kidderminster carpets and town made hearth rug, bronzed and polished steel fenders and fire irons, ormolu solar lamp, foreign china ornaments, bowls and dishes.

The Bedrooms contain substantial Spanish mahagony and stained birch four post and camp bedsteads, upholstered with watered moreen, town printed chintz and white dimity draperies.; thick curled hair and straw mattresses, white goose feather bolsters and pillows, Witney blankets and quilts, enclosed and single painted washstands, dressing tables and chests of drawers, with chairs to correspond; briliant plate swing dressing glasses, in Spanishwood frames; Venetian and Kidderminster carpets, fenders and fire irons, oak bedstead, etc.

About 50 ounces modern silver plate, including table and desert forks, table and tea spoons, wine strainer, fish knife, &c. : plated castor frame, with six cut glass bottles ; sugar bowl, pair decanter stands, toast rack, and candlesticks; purple and gold gilt china tea and coffee service, dessert service, cut glass services, bed and table linen.

Hall, Staircase and Landings – suspending lamp, in ormolu mountings; wheel barometer, in mahagony case; pol cloth, Venetian stair carpet and brass rod, rugs &c.

Also about 100 volumes of books in handsome bindings; quantity folio music, bound , flute with six silver keys, small medicine chest; together with kitchen and culinary requisites; dresser, with sycamore top, cupboard and six drawers, and numerous other effects.

The whole may be viewed this (Saturday) August 28th, from ten to five o’clock, and further particulars may be obtained on application to Mr Fletcher, auctioneer at his offices, York Hotel Buildings, King Street, Manchester.

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 28 August 1847

In 1777 John Philips purchased Bank Hall from Ann Brierly and went to live there with Sarah and his children, who we will meet next time. John rose high in the Stockport set, becoming a Justice of the Peace, and Deputy Lieutenant for Lancashire and Cheshire. He was president of the Stockport branch of the Wellington Club. Wellington Clubs were loyalist drinking and dining clubs set up in praise of the two times Prime minister and Napoleonic War hero. Wellington’s name will play a part in our next visit, but for now we will leave John Philips on his death at Bank Hall, on 2 February 1824, at the advanced age of 89, Sarah having died nearly 15 years to the day earlier on 3 February 1809, aged 66.


Manchester Mercury 18 January 1820 Wellington Society Ball in support of the Stockport Dispensary , John Philips steward, Mrs Leigh – (Elizabeth Philips) Patroness

Copyright 2019 Allan Russell

Author: allanprussell

Big houses in the Heatons and others that take my interest.

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