Middleton Hall was the family home of all of the Lords of the Manor of Middleton, though the date of construction is unknown. The building as it stood before demolition would have been a complete mish-mash of architectural design as its occupiers would have rebuilt parts and added features according to architectural styles popular at the time over hundreds of years. It was situated down the hill south to the ancient Parish Church on the banks of the River Irk. Records and particularly pictures of the hall are surprisingly difficult to come by for such a historic house, including photographs, as although the house was demolished as late as 1845, the art and technology of photography was still being perfected.
An account written before demolition describes it as an ancient structure erected at different periods, the old part being of timber and plaster with later additions of stone. A south front of brick was added at the beginning of the 19th century by the first Lord Suffield. The house contained some good panelling and plaster ceilings and a large stone chimney piece dated 1587. The original timber house is said to have been built around two spacious courts and was approached by a bridge over a moat. The great entrance was described in 1770 as resembling a ship turned upside down from which it appears that it had rested on crucks. A sculptured chimney piece from the hall was given to Middleton Corporation and unless it has since been installed elsewhere, one can only assume it is still in possession of the current Rochdale Council. Some of the panelling from the house is at Turton Tower.
After demolition, a large cotton mill was built on the site (which would certainly have rubbed salt in the wounds of the widow of the last Ralph Assheton who somewhat delayed the industrial revolution in Middleton) which was demolished in the 1970's to make way for the more modern bedding factory that still exists today behind what is now Market Place.Written by the editor, July 2008
The illustration of Middleton Hall is courtesy of Alan Clegg and can be purchased framed for £12.50. See ad box up on the left.