An advert of Old Hall which featured in
Cheshire Life in July 1955. Lunch was
35p in today's money, and dinner was 45p!
Thanks to John Woodward for sending us this.
Jill, one of our cleaners had
her wedding reception at Old Hall
in 1971 and came across this the
Sandbach Old Hall was built in 1656 by John Radclyffe, the son of Sir John Radclyffe, Lord of the Manor of Sandbach, who secured Sandbach's market charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1579, for a Thursday market and three fair days (remarkably, the Thursday market still continues to this day). Presumably, when it was built it would have been called Sandbach New Hall, but time is a cruel master....
The house was built on the site of a previous manor, home of the Sondbache family, which had been built in the 13th century but which had been destroyed by fire. Interestingly, when we were restoring the roof, a great number of the stone roofing flags appear to have been smoke-damaged, and it's not inconceivable that they could have been recycled from the earlier building.
There is archeological evidence of an even older building on the site dating from the 12th century - a wattle and daub rectangular building with a turf roof, which apparently served as the seminary for priests attached to the local minster (now St Mary's church).
In the 18th Century an extension was added to Old Hall by a descendant of Sir John Radcliffe, to create a tavern known as the Three Tuns Inn, which became famous for brewing a strong malt liquor - meaning that the hall has been dispensing hospitality for some 300 years now.
In the 19th Century, Old Hall was owned by Lord Crewe, when a further extension was added to accommodate travellers and horses of the Liverpool to Lichfield coach: a carriage arch was built on the right wing of the building, leading through to stables at the rear of the building. This marked the beginning of Old Hall's existence as a hotel, and the stables still stand at the rear of the building, but have since become private housing.
During the Second World War, Old Hall was requisitioned to house American officers, and General Patton, who was based for a time in Knutsford, visited his officers here on a number of occasions. On an upstairs window pane, one of his men has scratched an inscription recording one such visit.
The building has been described as being a near perfect example of Elizabethan wattle and daub architecture, and is probably the last example ever built. It has some lovely features within the building: there are two Jacobean fireplaces, one of which has an adjacent priests hole with a concealed door, lots of original oak panelling and an original oak baluster staircase, on which someone once sat long enough to carve 'IB 1828' into the wood.
The gentleman on the left of this photograph
is John Bebington, who at the time was the
landlord of Old Hall. On his left is his son,
John Bebington Jnr, and under the table is
Pugsey (or Pugsy) the dog. The information
was given to us by John senior's great
granddaughter and Sandbach resident,
Margaret Snape- many thanks.
In the cellar is a tunnel that is purported to lead under the main road to St Mary's Church opposite. The tunnel is believed to have been intended for priests escaping persecution, but legend has it that it was also used to smuggle girls into the coaching inn. A further tunnel is said to exist linking Old Hall with a house on Front Street, but it has not been found.
When we first came across Old Hall, following a tip off from Mr Terry Price, it was in a very sorry state! ..it had lain derelict for some four years, and a local pressure group, the Sandbach Old Hall Action Group, were campaigning hard to try and force the then owners to at least make the building water-tight as it was deteriorating rapidly. The Grade 1 listed building had been placed on English Heritage's 'At Risk' register, and given Category A status - their most extreme grading.
The whole process of purchasing, planning and restoration took almost two years, but it has been immensely gratifying breathing new life into such a beautiful building that had come so close to being lost for ever.
Caroline Bowyer, a friend of the pub,
tells us her grandparents had their
wedding reception at Old Hall fifty