|Barlow of Barlow Hall|
Ellis Barlow's infant heir was Alexander Barlow (1521-84), and it seems probable that he was brought up partly in the household of Lord Derby, since he is recorded as a member of Lord Derby's council as early as 1546 and in the following year became MP for Wigan, a seat then controlled by the Stanleys, which he continued to represent until 1557. In the 1570s he rebuilt Barlow Hall, and the earliest parts of the present building date from his time. Alexander was, however, an opponent of the religious changes introduced by Henry VIII and gradually reinforced by Edward VI and Queen Elizabeth I, and although perhaps protected to an extent by his connection with Lord Derby, his refusal to conform to the new religious settlement left him increasingly vulnerable to arrest and penalties. Shortly after his wife's death in 1583 his house at Barlow Hall was raided and he was arrested. He was then in poor health, and perhaps for this reason he was held under house arrest in the house of a Protestant magistrate rather than being imprisoned; he died there in August the following year.
His eldest son, Alexander Barlow (1557-1620), perhaps mindful of his father's difficulties with the Elizabethan regime, was outwardly conformist in religion but seems secretly to have continued to support the Catholic cause. Three, and perhaps four, of his younger sons were sent to the continent to be educated in Catholic institutions and became monks and/or priests, and at least one of his daughters became a nun in a Bridgettine convent in France. One of the sons (Edward Barlow, known as Father Ambrose) was sent back to Lancashire as a Catholic priest and operated clandestinely as such for nearly a quarter of a century before being arrested and executed in 1641; he was recognised as one of the forty English martyrs in 1930 and canonised (as St. Ambrose Barlow) by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
At the beginning of the reign of King James I there was a brief period when Catholics hoped that the new king would be more tolerant of their faith that his predecessor, and both Alexander Barlow and his son, Alexander Barlow (1579-1642), were among the large number of men knighted at the new king's coronation. Hopes of a new toleration were, however, quickly disappointed, and when Catholic disillusionment led to the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, the result was a new wave of anti-Catholicism and even harsher legislation. Two-thirds of Sir Alexander Barlow's estate was seized by the Crown in 1608 and granted away, although some if not all of it seems later to have been recovered. The younger Sir Alexander Barlow (1579-1642) seems to have had a rather less troubled tenure than his father, perhaps because under Charles I there was less active and continuous persecution of Catholics than formerly. Sir Alexander was succeeded by his eldest son by his first marriage, Alexander Barlow (d. 1654), who evidently conformed in religion with some sincerity. He was sufficiently trusted by Parliament to be appointed High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1652-53, but he died soon after his term of office and was succeeded by his half-brother, Thomas Barlow (c.1618-84), who seems to have preserved his Catholic faith. The lives of Thomas and his successor, Anthony Barlow (c.1663-1723), were greatly conditioned and limited by the anti-Catholic penal laws, and the continual financial pressure from fines sapped the resources of the estate. Two of Anthony's sons, his heir Thomas Barlow (d. 1729) and Anthony Barlow (d. 1722), were implicated in the Jacobite rising of 1715 and apparently attainted and imprisoned on suspicion of high treason. They seem to have been freed before Anthony's death, possibly by the operation of the Indemnity Act of 1717, and Thomas seems to have been free to inherit his father's estate in 1723.
The family's box of troubles was not yet full, however, for in the 1720s Thomas' relationship with his wife Mary deteriorated to the point where he discharged a pair of pistols at her, and she was grazed by a bullet. Although, by modern standards, the law of the time was disturbingly relaxed about violence within marriage, this event was viewed as attempted murder, and Thomas was imprisoned at Lancaster to await trial, while Mary decamped with her children to stay - presumably with relatives - in Lincolnshire. Thomas never came to trial, however, for he died of gaol fever (typhus) at Lancaster in 1729, and his widow subsequently returned to Barlow Hall, where she seems to have lived until her death in 1761. The heir to the estate was Thomas Barlow (c.1720-73), who seems to have let Barlow Hall after he gained possession, and was evidently in serious debt. When he died without issue, he vested his property in trustees who were to pay modest sums to his widow and surviving siblings and their families until his debts had been cleared. The trustees sought instructions from Chancery and were advised to raise mortgages on the estate to pay off the debts, but they failed to raise sufficient sums, and in 1784 they obtained a private Act of Parliament for the sale of the estate. It was sold the following year to William Egerton of Tatton Park (Cheshire), and the house was thereafter let to gentry tenants until the early 20th century, when it became a golf club house, which it remains today.
A coda to the troubled story of the Barlows is provided by The Public Advertiser of 28 September 1786, which recorded that the eventual major beneficiary of the residue of Thomas Barlow's estate would be his great-nephew, Thomas Anthony John Bredall (b. c.1778), who was the grandson of Barlow's sister, Catherine, and a London apothecary, Francis Bredall, who was a Catholic. Although young Thomas had been brought up by his parents as a Protestant, when he went on a visit to his grandfather he was 'secretly taken off to a Papist seminary in the country', and his father had to have recourse to the law to force Francis Bredall to reveal what he had done with the boy. He had, in fact, been sent to a Catholic college in Wolverhampton (Staffs), from which he was eventually returned to the bosom of his family. It is, perhaps, fitting that religious conflict continued to dog the family to the last, and even into the years when religious toleration increasingly existed in practice, if not yet in law.
Barlow Hall, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Lancashire
The manor of Barlow was held by a family who took their surname from the place as early as 1200, and there were a house and mill here by the 13th century. The oldest visible parts of the present building date, however, from the 1570s, when it was rebuilt or remodelled for Alexander Barlow: a sundial on the north wall of courtyard carries the date 1574. The house stands about a quarter of a mile south of Barlow Moor Road between Chorlton-cum-Hardy and Withington, on slightly rising ground on the north bank of the River Mersey.
|Barlow Hall: the house in 1910 before the demolition of the entrance range. |
Image: Victoria County History/University of London
The building is of two storeys, and was originally an irregular quadrangle in plan (the courtyard being about 40 ft from north to south and with a width varying from 32 feet at the southern end to 38 ft at the northern end), but the east (entrance) range was demolished in 1962. The west range contained the great hall (of which little evidence is left after a fire in 1879 and subsequent rebuilding), and from this wings project to the east. The north wing probably contained the original family rooms, but in later centuries, the south wing, which was much altered in the 17th and 18th centuries came to have the chief living rooms, while the kitchen and offices were moved to the west range. The house was originally timber-framed, and the hall bay and a square gabled room above it still have visible timber framing.
|Barlow Hall: the courtyard in 1902. Image: Manchester Library & Archives|
|Barlow Hall: the ceiling of the hall bay window, as restored after the 1879 fire. Image: Historic England.|
|Barlow Hall: the house in 2014, showing the current appearance of the house after the demolition of the entrance range.|
Image: © Andy Robertson
Barlow family of Barlow Hall
Barlow, Ellis (c.1492-c.1521). Son of Roger Barlow (c.1461-c.1525) and his wife Catherine, daughter of Ellis Prestwich of Hulme (Lancs), born about 1492. He married Anne, daughter of Otes Reddish, esq., of Reddish, and had issue:
(1) Margaret Barlow (d. 1559); married, as his second wife, Edward Stanley (1509-72) KG, 3rd Earl of Derby, but had no issue; died 19 January 1558/9;
(2) Alexander Barlow (c.1521-84) (q.v.).
He died in the lifetime of his father, in about 1521. His widow's date of death is unknown.
Barlow, Alexander (c.1521-84). Only son of Ellis Barlow (c.1492-c.1521) and his wife Ann, daughter of Otes Reddish of Reddish, born about 1521. He was a member of the Earl of Derby's Council, 1546; MP for Wigan, 1547-57; and a Trustee of Manchester Grammar School, 1556-81. He adhered to the Roman Catholic religion and was eventually arrested as a recusant and imprisoned. He married Elizabeth (c.1525-83), daughter of George Leigh of Adlington Hall (Cheshire) and had issue:
(1) Mary Barlow; married John Leigh, younger son of Richard Leigh of West Hall, High Legh (Cheshire);
(2) Margaret Barlow (d. by 1617); married Edward Scarisbrick (d. 1599) and had issue; died before April 1617;
(3) Anne Barlow; married, Richard Halsall (c.1552-1609) of Halsall;
(4) Elizabeth Barlow (d. 1578); died unmarried and was buried at Didsbury, 24 September 1578;
(5) Jane Barlow (fl. 1583); a Bridgettine nun on the Continent; wrote to her father in 1583 complaining that she was "in great distress and want in a foreign land" and that she was forced to borrow money for her profession as a nun;
(6) Sir Alexander Barlow (1557-1620), kt. (q.v.)
(7) Edward Barlow.
He inherited Barlow Hall from his grandfather as an infant and rebuilt it in the 1570s.
He died while under house arrest near Manchester and was buried at Didsbury, 26 August 1584. His wife was buried at Didsbury, 26 December 1583.
Barlow, Sir Alexander (1557-1620), kt. Elder son of Alexander Barlow (c.1521-84) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of George Leigh of Adlington Hall (Cheshire), baptised at Chorlton, 28 June 1557. He apparently conformed to the Protestant church and was knighted at the coronation of King James I, 1603, but he later recanted and died ‘a true and perfect recusant Catholic’, in the words of his will. He was married 1st, 22 September 1562 at Middleton (Lancs), while a child of four, to Elizabeth Bellfield of Clegg, who was about the same age, but he refused to ratify the marriage on reaching his maturity, and obtained a divorce or annullment in 1574; he married 2nd, c.1580 at Handforth (Cheshire), Mary (d. 1627), daughter of Sir Urian Brereton of Handforth, and had issue, with two other sons and one daughter who died in infancy:
(1) Sir Alexander Barlow (1579-1642), kt. (q.v.);
(2) Margaret Barlow (1581-1628), baptised at Didsbury, 16 September 1581; married Sir John Talbot (c.1582-1659) of Salesbury Hall, Ribchester (Lancs), and had issue four sons and three daughters; died 26 December 1628;
(3) George Barlow (b. 1582; fl. 1617), baptised at Didsbury, 4 March 1581/2; living in 1617;
(4) William Barlow (c.1584-1656); educated at Douai College and Salamanca (Spain) (DD); professed as a Benedictine monk (Fr. Rudesind) in Spain, 1605; ordained priest 1608; monk at Douai Abbey; prior of St. Gregory's Abbey, Douai, 1614-21; professor of theology at Douai, c.1616-56; died at Douai, 1656;
(5) Edward Barlow (1585-1641), baptised at Didsbury (Lancs), 30 November 1585; converted to Roman Catholicism, 1607, and trained at the English College, Douai (France), and at Valladolid (Spain) as a Benedictine monk; ordained as a priest, 1617 (taking the name Father Ambrose Barlow); he then returned to England as a missionary and lived under the protection of Sir Thomas Tyldesley of Morleys Hall, Astley (Lancs); he suffered a stroke in about 1640 which left him partially paralysed, but continued his ministry until he was arrested while conducting mass on Easter Day, 1641, and taken to Lancaster, where he was tried and executed by hanging, drawing and quartering and being boiled in oil, 10 September 1641; his head was subsequently exposed on a pike but was rescued by his cousin, Francis Downes of Wardley Hall (now the residence of the RC Bishop of Salford), and the skull has been preserved there to the present day; one of the 'forty English martyrs' beatified in 1930 and canonised as St. Ambrose Barlow in 1970;
(6) John Barlow (d. by 1616); died in Spain, where he too was perhaps training for the priesthood;
(7) Robert Barlow (d. c.1633); professed as a monk at Douai Abbey, 1630; died there about 1633;
(8) Frances Barlow (fl. 1617);
(9) Mary Barlow (fl. 1616);
(10) Jane Barlow (b. 1589), baptised at Didsbury, 21 July 1589;
(11) Katherine Barlow (d. 1636); died 26 December 1636 and was buried at Brere (Essex).
He inherited Barlow Hall from his father in 1584, but two-thirds of the estate was seized by the Crown in about 1608, and granted away.
He was buried at Manchester Collegiate Church (now Cathedral), 20 April 1620; his will was proved at Chester and an inquisition post mortem was held in 1620. His widow was buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 10 July 1627; will proved at Chester, 1627.
Barlow, Sir Alexander (1579-1642), kt. Eldest son of Sir Alexander Barlow (1557-1620), kt. and his second wife Mary, daughter of Sir William Brereton of Brereton Hall (Cheshire), baptised at Manchester Collegiate Church, 18 September 1579. He was knighted with his father at the coronation of King James I in 1603. He married 1st, Hon. Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Parker, 12th Baron Morley, and 2nd, 18 May 1616 at St Mary Mounthaw, London, Dorothy (b. 1584), daughter of Sir Thomas Gresley of Drakelow Hall (Derbys), and had issue:
(1.1) Alexander Barlow (d. 1655); evidently conformed to the Protestant religion; High Sheriff of Lancashire, 1652-53; married, 4 March 1632 at Northenden (Lancs), Frances (b. 1592; fl. 1655), daughter of William Brereton of Ashley and sister and co-heir of Thomas Brereton, but died without issue and was buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 22 May 1655; will proved in the PCC, 15 December 1655;
(1.2) Dorothy Barlow (fl. 1631); married James Gorsuch (b. 1610) of Gorsuch in Scarisbrick (Lancs);
(1.3) Katherine Barlow (d. 1675); married Henry Norris (1601-76?) of West Derby (Lancs) and had issue; buried at Walton-on-the-Hill (Lancs), 6 December 1675;
(2.1) Thomas Barlow (c.1618-84) (q.v.);
(2.2) Henry Barlow (b. & d. 1619); baptised at Didsbury, 27 June 1619; died in infancy and was buried at Northenden (Lancs), 24 October 1619;
(2.3) Anne Barlow (1620-89), baptised at Didsbury, November 1620; professed as a nun (Sister Ann Mary) of the Poor Clares at Aine (France), 4 October 1652 and held office in that convent as sacristan, infirmarian, novice mistress, vicaress and sick mother & dispenser; died at Aine, 8 July 1689;
(2.4) William Barlow (b. & d. 1622), baptised at Manchester Collegiate Church, 25 March 1622; died in infancy and was and buried in the same place, 1 April 1622;
(2.5) Mary Barlow (d. 1662); married, c.1650, Caryll Molyneux (1622-1700), 3rd Viscount Molyneux, and had issue three sons and five daughters; died 6 February 1661/2 and was buried at Sefton (Lancs);
(2.6) Elizabeth Barlow (fl. 1654); married, by 1654, as his 4th wife, Thomas Vavasour (c. 1613-78) of Weston (Yorks), and had issue.
He inherited Barlow Hall from his father in 1620. After his death it passed in turn to his two eldest sons.
He was buried at Manchester Collegiate Church (now Cathedral), 6 July 1642; his will was proved at Chester, 8 July 1642. His first wife died in or before 1616. His widow's date of death is unknown.
Barlow, Thomas (c.1618-84). Eldest and only surviving son of Sir Alexander Barlow (1579-1642), kt. and his second wife, Dorothy, daughter of Sir Thomas Gresley of Drakelow Hall (Derbys), born about 1618. He married, 28 September 1657 at St Peter, Leeds (Yorks WR), Winifred (c.1622-90), daughter of Anthony Meynell of North Kilvington (Yorks) and widow of Thomas Killingbeck (1626-55) of Allerton Grange (Yorks), and had issue:
(1) Thomas Barlow (c.1658-74?);
(2) Alexander Barlow (fl. 1664; d. 1681?); married and had issue;
(3) Anthony Barlow (c.1663-1723) (q.v.);
(4) Mary Barlow (fl. 1664-88);
(5) Winifred Barlow (d. 1688), buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 17 April 1688; her will proved at Chester, 1688.
He inherited Barlow Hall from his half-brother in 1654.
He was buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 1 September 1684. His widow was buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 11 July 1690.
Barlow, Anthony (c.1663-1723). Second son of Thomas Barlow (c.1618-84) and his wife Winifred, daughter of Anthony Meynell of North Kilvington (Yorks) and widow of Thomas Killingbeck of Allerton Grange (Yorks), born about 1663. He married Magdalen (d. 1715), daughter of Sir Charles Golding, 2nd bt., of Colston Bassett (Notts), and had issue:
(1) Thomas Barlow (1686?-1729) (q.v.);
(2) Charles Barlow (d. 1698); died young and was buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 16 December 1698;
(3) Anthony Barlow (d. 1722); his Jacobite sympathies led to his attainder for high treason after the 1715 rebellion, along with his brother, but he may have been pardoned before his death; buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 1 September 1722; administration of his goods granted to his sister Winifred, 10 November 1722;
(4) Edward Barlow (d. 1735?); perhaps the man of this name buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 3 February 1735;
(5) Magdalen Barlow (d. 1707); buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 22 July 1707;
(6) James Barlow (d. 1718); buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 19 June 1718;
(7) Winifred Barlow (d. 1753); buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 11 February 1753;
(8) Mary Barlow (d. 1755); buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 18 October 1755;
(9) Elizabeth Barlow (d. 1721?); perhaps the lady of this name buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 3 October 1721;
(10) John Barlow (fl. 1725), of Manchester, gent.;
(11) Roger Barlow (d. 1763?), of Wigan, gent.; perhaps the man of this name buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 8 December 1763.
He inherited Barlow Hall from his father in 1684, and as a papist registered his estate as the law required in 1715.
He died 8 September and was buried in Manchester, 10 September 1723; his will was proved at Chester, 24 May 1733. His wife was buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 5 September 1715.
Barlow, Thomas (1686?-1729). Son of Anthony Barlow (c.1663-1723) and his wife Magdalen, daughter of Sir Charles Golding, 2nd bt., born about 1686. His Jacobite sympathies led to his attainder for high treason after the 1715 rebellion, but he was apparently pardoned before he succeeded his father. He was later accused of attempting to murder his wife and imprisoned at Lancaster Castle; she moved to Lincolnshire for about a year with her children (except for the youngest, who was still at nurse), returning after his death. He married, c.1716, Mary [surname unknown] (c.1686-1761) and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Barlow (c.1718-94); professed as a nun (Sister Frances Clare) at the convent of Poor Clares, Gravelines, 1 January 1741, aged 23; died at Gravelines, 20 May 1794;
(2) Thomas Barlow (c.1720-73) (q.v.);
(3) Catherine Barlow (c.1720-95); married, before 1744, Francis Bredall (c.1718-88*) of Gt. Maddox St., London, citizen and apothecary in York and London, and had issue two sons and two daughters; probably buried at St Giles-in-the-Fields (Middx), 29 January 1795;
(4) Mary Barlow (d. 1734); buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 1 April 1734;
(5) Humphrey Barlow (b. c.1726; fl. 1784); married and had issue;
(6) Dorothea Barlow (fl. 1784).
He inherited Barlow Hall from his father in 1723.
He died of gaol fever in Lancaster Castle and was buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 15 July 1729. His widow was buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 24 April 1761.
*Francis Bredall of London, a papist, was buried at Stourton (Wilts), 7 October 1788.
Barlow, Thomas (c.1720-73). Son of Thomas Barlow (d. 1729) and his wife Mary [surname unknown], born about 1720. He married, 11 December 1760, at St Lawrence Jewry, London, Mary Worrall (c.1732-85?), but had no issue.
He inherited Barlow Hall from his father in 1729. At his death he left his property to trustees to clear his debts, but they were eventually forced to sell the estate under a private Act of Parliament obtained in 1784.
He died 3 March and was buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 5 March 1773; his will was proved at Chester, 8 June 1773. His widow may have been the person of this name buried at Manchester Collegiate Church, 21 February 1785, and whose will was proved at Lancaster, 28 February 1785.
J. Booker, A History of the Ancient Chapels of Didsbury and Chorlton, in Manchester Parish, 1887, pp. 288–91; B. Camm, Forgotten shrines, 1910, pp. 202-46; VCH Lancashire, vol. 4, 1911, pp. 297-302; Sir M. Barlow, Barlow family records, 1932; C. Hartwell, M. Hyde & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Lancashire - Manchester and the south-east, 2004, pp. 412-13;
Location of archives
No significant archive is known to survive.
Coat of arms
Sable, a double-headed eagle displayed argent, beaked and membered or, standing on the limb of a tree raguled and trunked of the second
Can you help?
- If anyone is able to provide additional genealogical information or portraits to augment the rather thin account above, I should be most grateful.
- As always, any additions or corrections to the account given above will be gratefully received and incorporated.
Revision and acknowledgements
This post was first published 11 September 2019.