Then & Now

Then & Now 1860-2017. Lord Tabley poses outside his family Manor with his two sisters, on the exact spot where the previous 13th century house once stood. Most extensive alterations were made in the mid 1500s to the house which resulted in its most recent and recognisable design. Surrounded by a moat, a chapel and acres of land, the estate was a proud and modern landmark of the expanding victorian Cheshire landscape. As the wealth of the estate grew and was passed down through generations, the Leicester family enjoyed the most luxurious lifestyle here during the 17th and 18th century, and naturally wished to expand modernise their family home much in the same way as was done before, but were forbidden by law. The instructions stated in the will of Sir Frances Leicester obliged his heirs to maintain the hall in good order; otherwise they would forfeit the inheritance. Unable to demolish and rebuild the manor, in 1767 following his death, the Leicester family decided to build a new larger manor just 700 meters away that most people are familiar with today. Members of the passing families did their best to maintain the old hall for the years that followed. What was not forseen however was the expansion of industry in the area that was changing the land around the building, which was without modern foundations, and by the early 1900s the hall suffered severe subsidence due to the extraction of brine from the Cheshire salt deposits nearby. As it started to crumble, eventually the hall faded from memory and all family heirlooms transfered to the 'new' Manor across the fields. Boggy land from the original moat, overgrown trees and brilliantly crafted, crumbling brickwork is now all that remains on the site of Tabley old hall that has all but disappeared from modern memory. The building was bequeathed to the national trust after the first World War, but unfortunately they refused. A century later and we now see a sobering example of what most of our listed heritage buildings in Britain would look like were they to have been refused the care of the national trust or for it to not exist at all.