The name "Bramall" means "nook of land where broom grows" and is derived from the Old English noun brōm meaning broom, a type of shrub common in the area, and the Old English noun halh, which has several meanings – including nook, secret place and valley – that could refer to Bramall. The manor of Bramall dates from the Anglo-Saxon period, when it was held as two separate estates owned by the Anglo-Saxon freemen Brun and Hacun. The manor was devastated during William the Conqueror's Harrying of the North. After William subdued the north-west of England, the land was divided among his followers and Bramall was given to Hamon de Massey in around 1070. The Davenports were a family of significant landowners in the north-west of England whose antecedents can be traced back to the time of the Norman conquest. Orm de Davenport lived close to what is now Marton. In 1160, the family became responsible for Macclesfield Forest, and in the early 13th century Vivian Davenport became its Grand Sergeant. The family's coat of arms includes a man's head with a rope around the neck, which is said to represent the family's power over life and death during this period. The Davenports acquired land throughout the area, notably at Wheltrough, Henbury, Woodford and lastly at Bramhall through marriage. The Davenports held the manor for around 500 years, and it is likely that after their accession they built the current house. The first William Davenport was lord of the manor from 1478 to 1528, and one of the first recorded trustees of Macclesfield Grammar School. It is possible that he was heavily involved in the final battle of the Wars of the Roses at Bosworth and thereby instrumental in gaining the crown for Henry VII, who rewarded him with a pension of 20 marks per year payable for his lifetime. According to Dean, it was during this first William's tenure that Bramall may have been vandalised by a man named Randle Hassall, who destroyed all or part of nine houses and stole the timber. This gives credence to the theory that Bramall was rebuilt, replacing or partially replacing an older building
The third William Davenport, who succeeded his father of the same name in 1541, took part in what later became known as The Rough Wooing (what a wonderful euphemism), a series of attacks against Scotland ordered by Henry VIII. He was knighted in Scotland for his efforts at the burning of Edinburgh in May 1544. On 22 April 1603 the fifth William Davenport was knighted by James I at Newark (where the king was staying on his journey from Edinburgh to London) and later became the High Sheriff of Cheshire and a commissioner of the Hundred of Macclesfield. During the tenure of the fifth William, many alterations were made to the building, including the addition of a room above the Great Hall (which would later become the Withdrawing Room), and a long gallery. The tenth and final William Davenport succeeded his father, Warren at the age of four. Many changes were made to the house during his tenure, including the dismantling of the gatehouse side of the courtyard and the long gallery, the latter of which may have been done because of their being considered unsafe. William had no sons, so the estate passed to Salusbury Pryce Humphreys, the husband of his illegitimate daughter Maria. Humphreys, a Naval captain, had married Maria Davenport in 1810, and lived at Bramall Hall long before he succeeded his father-in-law. He became widely respected in the Stockport area, but following his succession to the estate in 1829, there were disputes from other members of the Davenport family who claimed a right to the property.
The Great Hall is the central part of Bramall Hall. As with typical great halls in the Middle Ages, this would have been the room where the business of the house, estate and its villagers was conducted as well as a communal eating room for the household. It was originally an open-roofed, single-storey building, with a fireplace situated in the middle of the floor. It was probably first built around the end of the 14th century when the Davenports became lords of the manor. Towards the end of the 16th century, the Great Hall was substantially rebuilt, and the Withdrawing Room was created above it. A long gallery was also added as a third storey. The house is set in around 70 acres (28 ha) of parkland, only a part of the estate originally attached to the house, which was, at one time, about 2,000 acres (810 ha) in extent. The park was used for hunting, and the grounds were home to cattle, deer and horses, until the 17th century, when it was used as agricultural land. Two water courses run through the park: the Ladybrook, which, a little beyond the Park, becomes the Micker Brook, before flowing into the River Mersey, and a stream known as the Carr Brook. In the 1880s, Charles Nevill remodelled the grounds in the Romantic Victorian taste, altering the course of the Ladybrook, adding considerably to the trees in the park and creating artificial ponds. The ponds were stocked with trout (though they are no longer fished). Bramall Hall is currently closed for restoration and refurbishment from 29 September 2014 to Summer 2016. As well as essential repairs, the revamp will also include an education room for schools and two new themed rooms, a Victorian Breakfast Room and a housekeepers' room and butler's pantry. The site will be wheelchair accessible.
Location : Bramall Hall, Bramhall Park, Bramhall, Stockport SK7 3NX .
Transport: Cheadle Hulme (National Rail). Bus routes 307 and 303 stop 1/2 mile away.
Opening Times: From Summer 2016 to be announced. The Grounds are open.
Tickets: Adults £4.75 Concessions £3.50 Children/Carers Free.
Tel: 0161 474 2020