The oldest parts of the Hall were built in the 15th century. However, a house has been on the site for more than 750 years. The original hall was owned by David de Hulton and it was built in 1251. The hall came into the ownership of the Radclyffe family in 1335. However, Sir John Radclyffe waited until 1354 to establish his inheritance. The manor, as described in 1351, had 120 acres of land, 12 acres of wood and 12 acres of meadow.
In the 1340s Sir John Radclyffe campaigned in France with Edward III. He was well rewarded for his service and he was allowed by the King to take with him some Flemish weavers back to his estate. He built cottages for them to live in and he asked them to instruct the local weavers because, by then, the weaving skills of the English were thought to be of poor quality. He started a weaving industry which would soon become the foundation of Manchester’s cotton industry. Various alterations and additions were made to the Hall during the 17th century. One of the many additions was a brick house.
Ghosts of Ordsall Hall
Like most old buildings, Ordsall Hall has its share of stories of haunting. The Hall’s most famous ghost is the White Lady. She has been reported to walk around the halls and the Star Chamber holding a candle. The White Lady’s true identity remains in question until now although there have been many suggestions as to who she could have been in life.
Some people believe that she is Queen Elizabeth I’s made of honour while others think that she is Margaret Radclyffe who died in 1599, just a few days after her brother’s death. There are also stories that the White Lady is the ghost of a jilted bride who was left waiting on the altar for her groom. She was so grief-stricken that she was said to have jumped from the Great Hall to her death.
Then again she could be Viviana Radclyffe. It is believed that the infamous Guy Fawkes fell in love with her when he was plotting the Gunpowder Plot in Ordsall Hall. An episode of the popular television program Most Haunted was filmed in the Hall in 2004.