Throughout history the hall has been put to many uses – a family home, working men’s club and church hall. The most important period of its life is undoubtedly as the family seat of the Radclyffe family who resided here for over 300 of those years.
Today, it is a welcoming and friendly historic house telling the story of the Hall and some of the people who made it their home. There’s a range of rooms to explore throughout the building, each with its own tale to tell and unique role in the hall’s history.
The present day kitchen dates back to the 1630s. It probably replaced a kitchen dating from the 1500s, which would have been located roughly in the same area and included a brew houses, buttery and pantry.
Today, the kitchen is set as if preparing for the wedding feast of Sir John Radclyffe to Lady Ann Asshawe in May 1572. Once the hub of the Hall, the kitchen is now alive with the sights, sounds and smells of Tudor Salford – a time when the Hall was once described as “A manor house of exceptional beauty”.
Highlights of the present kitchen include:
The Great Hall is, and always has been, Ordsall Hall’s wow factor. Built by Sir Alexander Radclyffe (d. 1548) it replaced an earlier freestanding hall. Tree ring analysis has confirmed that it was under construction in 1512.
Ordsall’s highly decorative Great Hall is one of the earliest and most impressive timber-framed halls built in the region.
It’s south wall – with its ‘churchy’ windows – dates from 1897 and was part of Earl Egerton of Tatton’ renovations to make the Hall into a clergy training school.
Highlights of the Great Hall include:
Built by Sir John Radclyffe in the 1360s, the Star Chamber is in the oldest wing of the Hall. Today, the room is set as the ‘man’s world’ where Radclyffe Lords would have conducted their business, written letter, held meetings, heard small court petitions and kept his armour.
The Radclyffe Bed is the only original piece of furniture in the Hall, belonging to Sir John Radclyffe and Lady Ann Asshawe in 1572 at a cost of £20 (£4,800 in today’s money).
It is of national significance as it represents one of the earliest examples of domestic apartments in the country.
Highlights of the Star Chamber include:
Built in the 1510s, this room is part of Sir Alexander Radclyffes (d.1549) major rebuilding of Ordsall Hall.
This room has had many uses – from the private chambers of the Radclyffes in the 1500s and 1600s, to an artist’s studio in the 1870s; a billiard room for the workers of nearby mills in the late Victorian period, to a place of study and socialising for trainee priests in the early 1900s.
Between 1872 and 1875, Ordsall Hall was home to the noted artist and friend to the Pre-Raphaelites, Frederic Shields. He used this room as his studio, benefiting from the amount of light that would flood in from the bay window.
Today this gallery is home to an interactive exhibition that takes you on a journey through the Hall’s history – from the landscape it was built in, through to it’s uses over the centuries. With something for all ages and abilities, the exhibition features films, hands on interactives, a virtual tour, an Anglo-Saxon logboat and some fluffy sheep!
In this exhibition, find out why Ordsall Hall has survived for so long and meet some of the other people that were lucky enough to live there.
Other highlights in this gallery include:
This room is part of the 1639 renovations of the Hall carried out by Alexander Radclyffe (d.1654).
During restoration in 2009 to 2011, the walls were stripped of their white paint to reveal beautiful brickwork, much of which has been repointed. You can still see evidence of previous fireplaces and doorways in the patterns of the bricks.
Today, the room is used as a temporary exhibition gallery. Please see our exhibitions page for further information.
This room is the oldest wing in the Hall and dates back to c. 1360. It represents one of the very few examples of early domestic apartments in the North West and the UK and, as such, is therefore nationally significant.
Today, it is dressed as Alice Radclyffe’s bedchamber c. 1510 and represents the ‘Woman’s World’ of the house.
Also known as The Solar Room, this was the ladies’ withdrawing room. A light, bright space for rest and relaxation, a place where the lady of the house might pass on valuable skills to her daughters. A room where females could practice their embroidery, learn a musical instrument or just rest from the rigours of the day to day running of a large household.
Other highlights of the Great Chamber include:
This room was built as a privy chamber for the Radclyffe family and, as its name suggests, is dominated by a rare and decorative paneled plaster ceiling.
A two-storey extension (of which this room was part) was attached to the east side of the Hall during the late 1400s to the early 1500s. Timbers in this room date to around 1460.
Although visitors cannot enter this room (due to the sensitive nature of the ceiling), the stories of the room and it’s features are told through audio, information sheets and staff knowledge.
Highlights of this room include:
Located in the oldest part of the Hall – the East Wing – this small room houses the nationally significant plaster panel depicting the Coat of Arms of the Radclyffe family.
This room was added to the original East Wing sometime in the late 1500s. We are not sure what it was originally used for, but it would probably have been one of the private chambers of the Radclyffe family until the 1650s.
Highlights of this room include:
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