Tue 11 May 2010
Janet Edwards, Bank Hall Action Group
Bank Hall and the Bannastre/Bannister Family.
A virtual full
house welcomed Janet for her illustrated talk on Bank Hall,
Bretherton the ancestral home of the Bannastre family. Janet
first explained the various ways of spelling Bannastre/Bannister
and their Latin and French backgrounds.
The first Banastre came from Normandy in 1066 and was granted
lands near Prestatyn, north Wales. By the late 12th century
Welsh uprisings forced the family out to Cheshire and north
Lancashire with a branch settling at Bank Hall by 1240. Due to a
lack of male heirs the line of Bannister ownership of the hall
came to an end in 1682. Since then it has been part of the Lord
Geoff Coxhead and Janet Edwards
One of the finds.
A plaque depicting a planting by Lady Lilford
in the 1890s.
The name still
lives on and a famous descendant of the family is Sir Roger
Bannister, the first sub4-minute miler.
The oldest part of the present hall dates back to 1608 but major
renovations and additions took place in 1832 by George Webster a
Kendal architect. There is no evidence that shows what the 1608
building or its interior was like. Even so Janet described Bank
Hall as a beautiful building, wonderfully designed and that it
was such a shame it was now in such a precarious state.
Scaffolding now supports much of its remains, in particular the
Prospect Tower. This was built in 1632 and is responsible for
Bank Hall’s Grade 2* status.
Hall Action Group (BHAG) was formed in 1995 and works
against the deterioration of Bank Hall. Events such as
the popular annual ‘Snowdrop Sundays’ help to maintain
the hall’s profile and ensure it remains in the public’s
consciousness. Janet’s colleague, Geoff Coxhead,
explained plans have been made with a development
partner. These include restoring the hall’s shell that
exists to English Heritage standards and 23 ‘discreetly
planned’ dwellings. These plans are currently on show
for viewing at Chorley Town Hall and a planning decision
is due to be made by end of July.
BHAG’s secretary, Lionel Taylor, was on hand as
custodian of a display of numerous interesting artefacts
found at Bank Hall.
A very lively question and answer session concluded the
evening. The great interest shown by members in Bank
Hall matched the passion and ambition for it clearly
evident in Janet, Geoff and Lionel.
Bank Hall in more prosperous times. c1860s
08/ Sun 09 May 2010
Scotland, New Lanark World Heritage Site week-end.
|Visit to The Museum of
Scottish Leadmining, Wanlockhead and New Lanark, World Heritage
A group of 28 members and friends headed north to Scotland on a
cold but dry Saturday morning. First stop was the village of
Wanlockhead, is in Lanarkshire and lies on the Southern Upland
Long Distance Footpath. In fact it holds the record of the
country’s highest village and, not surprisingly, its highest
Another of Wanlockhead’s claim to fame and the reason for our
visit was that it is home to The Museum of Scottish Leadmining.
The museum consisted of a visitor centre, café, a mine, miners’
cottages and the Miners’ Library.
The Quaker Company started trials here in several galena veins
(lead bearing rock) in 1710. Between 1710 and 1756 several trial
veins were explored but commercial success did not come until
new ownership after 1756.
In small groups, we were taken on a guided tour into the
Lochnell Mine. This is one of 47 mines that were worked within a
5 miles radius. We were taken 150 metres into the mine but it
did extend the same distance again. To get that far took 150
years. It gave us a vivid sense of the cramped, damp, candle lit
world the miners worked in. We could only try and comprehend the
physical hardship and dangers they faced. Due to lead’s toxicity
a miner did well to live beyond 45 whilst a smelter fared worse
The ages on the headstones in the nearby cemetery reflected
The excellent guided tour took us through miners’ cottages that
were each ‘furnished’ in the style of 1710, 1850 and 1910. The
period 1890 to 1914 proved to be Wanlockhead’s heyday.
The Miners’ Library was opened in 1756 and is a surviving
example of the community library. In fact it is the second
oldest in Britain and it gives a glimpse of the cultural life of
The Wanlockhead Museum Trust has done and continues to do an
excellent job in restoring and preserving what is historically
After a pleasant overnight stay at the Tinto Hotel, Symington,
near Biggar, it was over to New Lanark for mid-morning.
New Lanark richly deserves its place on UNESCO’s list of World
Heritage Sites. It lies on the banks on the River Clyde close to
the famous Falls of Clyde. It is a carefully restored site that
includes 3 impressive sandstone cotton mills, school, and the
mill workers houses that formed the community of New Lanark all
set within a dramatic gorge.
It came to prominence when Robert Owen, a pioneer of the
co-operative movement, bought the mills and set in place his
reforms, particularly in the treatment of his workers and in
Armed with the ‘New Lanark Passport’ ticket each member of the
group first went through the Visitor Centre and into ‘The Annie
McLeod Experience’. It is an ideal and novel way of introduction
to the site. After that we were free to wander and explore the
The buildings Mill Two and Mill Three included working textile
machinery, a café, a gift shop and a retail outlet. Scotland’s
largest roof garden adorned Mill Two and afforded excellent
views over the site and up and down the gorge.
Of particular interest was Robert Owen’s house that gave a very
good insight not just to his life at New Lanark but the impact
of his ideas on the wider world.
The Millworkers’ House, Village Store and Robert Owen’s School
each in their own right all displayed in an informative way the
reforms that he introduced for the benefit of his workers.
If you preferred a bit of fresh air then you could stride
through pleasant woodland up the gorge to see the falls.
The time to board the coach came around all too quickly as there
was plenty to keep your interest for a full day.
Grateful thanks must go to Mike Berry for his time, effort and
vision in organising this very pleasant weekend in southern