History - The Great Hall at Mains

History

The Great Hall at Mains is a timber-framed building, built to replicate an original Banqueting Hall that was on this exact spot over 500 years ago and – despite its new appearance, beneath us, lie several hundred years of history …if not more.

There has been a settlement of some kind on this site, from as far back as the Norman Conquest in 1066 and possibly even earlier, although no records now remain to endorse this belief.

Due to its prime location on the banks of the River Wyre, a house built on this site would have afforded great benefits, being close to the main shipping areas of Lancashire – Skippool, Fleetwood and beyond to Lancaster.

According to historic sources, at some time during the medieval period, the manor of Singleton was split into two areas – Great Singleton – containing the Chapel and village (known as Singleton village today) and Little Singleton, containing the main manor house.

Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, much land was handed over to the local lords. In 1536, Mains Hall became the property of the Earl of Derby and later, to Alice Countess of Derby, who subsequently sold it to William Hesketh in 1602.

During this Tudor and Elizabethan era, we know little of the fate of Mains Hall, except that there appears to have been several generations of the Hesketh family residing here throughout and beyond, into the Stuart period.Throughout that time, the family took pleasure in restoring much of the old estate. It was Thomas Hesketh, along with his second wife Margaret, who restored the old Chapel and barns here.

Evidently proud of their restoration, they left their mark in the brickwork in the form of their initials THM which we can still see today, along with the date – 1686. It is likely therefore, that a member of the Hesketh family instated the original Great Hall during their time here.

A local historian, when writing on his visit to the Hall in 1853, speaks of the original Tudor Banqueting Hall thus:
‘…on the west, the wing now destroyed, a very antique building, within which was a hall-part, having a huge open chimney, and wainscotted with fluted oak of the reign of Henry VIII, now rotting unheeded in the garrets of the hall.’

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