The Big Houses Of The Heatons: Bank Hall – Part Three: Francis Aspinall Philips

Francis and Beatrice Aspinall had two children, Francis Aspinall Phillips (19 September 1793-29 May 1859) and Hindley Leigh Philips (7 October 1796-4 May 1885).

Initially Francis and Hindley entered the family business working together, in September 1830, at the dawn of the Railway Age they proposed converting the Bolton and Bury Canal into a railway.

However, by 1841 Hindley is found to be in Hadham Palace. He is described in the census, as a patient, rather than the more unfortunate description given to the other permanent residents of insane.

Hadham Palace was a private lunatic asylum previously owned by the Bishops of London. It became a residence once more in 1888. The last time it was on the market in 2016 it was up for sale for £2.5m, however strangely no mention was made of its Victorian use.

In 9 February 1860, a special commission found Hindley to be of unsound mind, and sadly he died at Hadham on 4 May 1885, having spent over forty years of his life there. Being a Philips, he died a wealthy man, leaving £129,848 in his will (£16.5m in 2019).

Francis Aspinall Philips married Jane Jackson, the daughter of Liverpool Merchant, William Jackson on 14 February 1825. Jane was his first cousin, his mother Beatrice, being the sister of William’s wife, Mary Aspinall.
They lived for a while at Thornfield (which once stood where the houses of Curtis Road now stand – named for Matthew Curtis, father of Richard Curtis who we met marrying one of William Nelson of Priestnall Hey’s daughters)


Thornfield Heaton Mersey circa 1930

On his father’s death, he inherited Bank Hall, and sold Thornfield to Richard Curtis. He also inherited the Abbey Cwm Hir estate in Radnorshire, and continued to improve it, building roads.

Bank Hall looked something like this at the time:

Bank Hall Old

Bank Hall

He was now quite the country gentleman, becoming High Sherrif of Radnor in 1850. and he appears well to do in the portrait below


Francis Aspinall Philips 1851, High Sherrif of Radnorshire, seated at a drum table, letter in hand, Augustus Henry Fox (1822-1895), Copyright Radnorshire Museum

Francis died on 29 May 1859, at Abbey Cwm Hir, the family was establishing itself more and more there. He is buried at St James in Didsbury, along with his wife Jane who died two years previously on 22 October 1857 and his father, Francis.


The Philips Grave at St Thomas Didsbury

He was a very wealthy man, leaving £250,000 in his will, over £31m in 2019 prices.

We will meet the last generation of the Philips family to live at Bank Hall next time

Copyright Allan Russell 2019

Author: allanprussell

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

2 thoughts on “The Big Houses Of The Heatons: Bank Hall – Part Three: Francis Aspinall Philips”

    1. When normal service is resumed thornfield is on my list. Grundy house is next but I’ll probably do that on the halls blog and big houses. For proper research I do need the library eventually and as these are in depth it’ll have to wait


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