Denton Hall

Denton Hall, Windmill Lane, Denton
Denton Hall, which is believed to date from the late 15th century, was situated off the south side of Windmill Lane. The Denton branch of the de Holland family, who were descended from the de Denton family on the female side, built the hall and there is a possibility that the de Denton family lived in an earlier hall either on the same site or nearby. The male line of the Holland family died out in 1684 and the hall then passed by marriage to the Egerton family who were to become the Earls of Wilton.

Left: Engraving of Denton Hall, late 18th century.
Right: Denton Hall, pre-1895. The west wing of the hall, on the right, was demolished in 1895.

The Denton branch of the Holland family was founded by Sir Thurston de Holland II who was the great grandson of Sir Thurston de Holland I of Upholland, Lancashire. He was the eldest son of William de Holland of Sharples, Lancashire, and Margaret de Shoresworth, who was the heiress of land in Denton. His parents were unmarried and he was born in Sharples in 1290 and he died in Denton in 1365. Hence, Sir Thurston de Holland II was born during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) and died during the reign of Edward III (1327-77).

He married Mary, the daughter of John Collyer, in 1324 and the couple had five sons and at least one daughter called Mary (1329- ). Their eldest son was Richard de Holland (1325-1402) and he continued the Denton branch of the Holland family. Their second son was William Holland (1327- ) and he founded the Clifton, Lancashire, branch of the Holland family.

Margaret de Shoresworth was born in c.1274 in Booths, Haslingden, Lancashire, and she died in 1363 in Pilsworth, near Bury, Lancashire. Her father was Robert de Shoresworth and her mother was Margaret de Denton. Her paternal grandfather was Robert de Shoresworth and her maternal grandfather was Alexander de Denton. She was an only child.

A grant of land at Denton was made in 1325 to ‘Thurston, son of Margaret de Shoresworth,’ and the deed was witnessed by Thurston’s father, William de Holland. In 1330, by a deed dated at Denton on the Feast of St Hilary (13 January), Alexander de Shoresworth, Margaret’s uncle, granted to ‘Margaret, daughter of Robert de Shoresworth,’ all his messuages, land and tenements in the Hamlet of Denton. A few days later, Margaret de Shoresworth granted the same Denton estate to Thurston de Holland, her son. Five years later, by another deed, Thurston de Holland, referring to himself as the ‘son of William de Holland’ granted to ‘Mary, my mother,’ a life interest in the Denton estate.

Holland of Denton Arms (reconstruction)

Quarterly. 1st & 4th (Holland family). Azure; A lion rampant guardant between a semée of six fleur de lys Argent overall a bendlet Gules. 2nd & 4th (Kenyon family). Sable; A cross lozengy Argent overall a bendlet gobonated Argent and Gules. Crest. A lion rampant guardant and fleur de lys Argent, collar Gules.

These arms were granted following the marriage of Richard de Holland and Aimeria, daughter of Adam de Kenyon, which united the two families. Their eldest son, Thurston Holland, was born in c.1360, which possibly dates these arms to the 1350s.

It was recorded that the total area of Denton was 1,706 acres (2.666 square miles or 690.39 hectares).

In 1810 the Denton estate, formerly owned by the de Hollands, contained 549 acres and in 1846 it contained 603 acres. 549 acres (0.858 square mile or 222.35 hectares), that is, 32.18% of the total area. 603 acres (0.942 square mile or 244.22 hectares), that is, 35.35% of the total area.

The original family seat of the Holland family was in the township of Upholland which lies three miles to the west of Wigan and is part of the Wigan parish. The township of Sharples is in the Bolton-le-Moors parish of Bolton. Shoresworth was a detached part of Pendleton, Lancashire, and in 1853 it became part of Salford. Kenyon is a township to the east of Newton-le-Willows.

In the mid-1850s Booker, an historian, recorded that the hall was still in good condition and a painting of it in 1880 by the renowned watercolour artist, Evacustes A Phipson, (Edward Arthur Phipson, born 1854) shows that its condition was still good at this time. Unfortunately, during the last two decades of the 19th century its condition deteriorated. Around this period it ceased being used as a residence to become a farmhouse and the surrounding land became a farm estate. Tenant farmers neglected the hall to such an extent that it fell into a poor state of repair. In 1894, Seymour John Grey Egerton (1839-1898), 4th Earl of Wilton, built a new farmhouse and concurrently the west wing of the hall, with its two gables, was demolished to leave the great hall and east wing, which was leased as a residence.

It continued in this state until Sunday, 19 January 1930 when the great hall was burned down, to leave only the east wing standing. In 1979 the remains of the east wing were demolished down to the level of its sandstone footings and the surviving timber framing was removed and re-erected at Hough Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. There is now no trace of the hall's former existence.

The Earls of Wilton
Thomas Egerton: 1st Earl of Wilton (14 Aug 1749 - 23 Sep 1814). He was a Denton landowner and a major subscriber to the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal Company. He leased two thirds of the land he owned in Denton to the Fletcher and Woodiwis families. Earl of Wilton, 1801 - 1814.
Thomas Egerton: 2nd Earl of Wilton GCH PC (30 Dec 1799 - 7 Mar 1882). Earl of Wilton, 1814 - 1882.

Above: 1st Earl of Wilton.
Right: 2nd Earl of Wilton.

Arthur Edward Holland Grey Egerton: 3rd Earl of Wilton (25 Nov 1833 - 18 Jan 1885). Earl of Wilton, 1882 -1885.
Seymour John Grey Egerton: 4th Earl of Wilton (1839 - 1898). Earl of Wilton, 1885 - 1898.
Arthur George Egerton: 5th Earl of Wilton (1863 - 1915). Earl of Wilton, 1898 - 1915.
Seymour Edward Frederic Egerton: 6th Earl of Wilton (1896 - 12 Oct 1927). Earl of Wilton, 1915 - 1927.
Seymour William Arthur John Egerton: 7th Earl of Wilton (29 May 1921 - 1999). Earl of Wilton, 1927 - 1999.
Francis Egerton Grosvenor: 8th Earl of Wilton (1934 - ). Earl of Wilton, 1999 - ).
Heir apparent as the 9th Earl of Wilton is Julian Francis Martin Grosvenor, Viscount Grey de Wilton (1959 - ).

Arms of the Earls of Wilton


Motto: Virtuti Non Armis Fido (I trust to valour).

Names in the Holland, Egerton and Wilton families commemorated in Denton
Holland Street
Egerton Street
Wilton Street
Wilton Grove
Seymour Street
Grosvenor Street
Grey Street
Heaton Street†
Catherine Street (Lady Katherine Egerton, 1835 - 1920)
Elizabeth Street (Lady Elizabeth Egerton, 1832 - 1892)
Wilton Arms public house (demolished in 1968)

†Heaton Park in Manchester was owned by the Earls of Wilton and it was sold to Manchester Corporation in 1902 by the 5th Earl of Wilton.

Further Reading
Farrer, William & Brownbill, J (eds.): A History of the County of Lancaster, 'Townships: Denton' (Vol. 4, pp. 311-322, 1911).
Holland, Bernard: The Lancashire Hollands. (John Murray, pp. 269-284, 1917).
Middleton, Thomas: History of Denton and Haughton (J Andrew & Co Ltd, 1936).