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Alkrington Angling Club

Some years ago the club decided to research the history of the Hall but more importantly the lakes.
Research was carried out at Chethams library, looking for references to Alkrington.
Documents were found carrying references to the following;

Alkinton 1212 , Alkeryngton 1313, Alcrinton 1324 Alkryngton 1443
The following references are taken from the original documents, and therefore are written in old English meaning the grammar and interpretation can be somewhat strange.

References to the estate:
“The survey of 1212 gives the earliest manor account at that time was a member of the Montbegon  fee of eight knights and was held by Adam de Prestwich as 4 oxgangs  of land of ancient tenure by 4s.; while placed among the manors held by knight’s service it thus appears as a thegnage  estate. The Montbegon fee was some twenty years later alienated to the Lacys, and thus passed to the Crown; but the manor of Alkrington continued to descend with Prestwich the tenure being changed to the twenty fourth part of a knight’s fee with a rent of 10d.
( A note at this time  I have  found  some evidence that we are looking at going back  to 735AD)

The will of Sir Robert Langley who Died 1561( reputed to be one of the first of it’s kind in as much that he left his estate to his wife for her life time and upon her death to his issue . 

The Will of Thomas Legh of Alkrington dated 22nd  October 1597 (Probate was dated at Chester  7th February 1597-8

Henry de Alkrington
My knowledge so far is that he died in 1390 holding of the King by Knight’s service  two messuages  and certain lands in Alkrington  called  Tonge.
From the inquistion  and subsequent pleading it appears that Henry was descended from Thomas  the son of Adam de Prestwich

History of the Estate

1212 Adam de Prestwich

1518 Sir Robert Langley

1581 approx. Legh family of Lyme (Lyme Hall) Cheshire

1627 Robert and John Lever  stayed with Lever family until  1834

1844 Lees family of Clarksfield Oldham

1900 Abraham Lord of Middleton

1920’s George Frederick Colson (sold estate to Middleton Corporation)

1942 Middleton Corporation

1995 H Pickup and Sons (Builders) for private development

 Alkrington Hall and Lakes and the Lever connection 
Sir Ashton Lever of Alkrington 1729-1788, the founder of The Alkrington Museum.

The Top Lake possibly dates some time before the Lever’s, as the club Historian has found reference to a pond on the site and mention of the area being an “ancient place” as far back as 1212. You only have to look at the earthwork dam wall on the North bank to see it is an ancient construction. It was the norm, especially in mediaeval times, to have a stock pond for food, especially if the River Irk at the bottom of the hill was frozen in winter. It was probably stocked with fish from the river in the warmer months. The bottom lake was certainly built by Ashton Lever, and there are local rumours that he stocked the lake with trout and invited his peers round to the Hall for drunken weekends. A local character, he would charge off at night on his horse, to return late at night. Sometimes you can feel his presence if you dare to be around in the dark.
He erected an iron fence around the lake, but the locals still got in and poached his prize fish!
You can still see remains of Ashton’s fence and wall if you venture into the deep undergrowth.
The writings
“Than this Horse racing stewardship can be; some nobler theme for you to judge upon than – Hey! they come, they come! They’re gone they’re gone….and if unsure of legal right, you will command the moor You, whose resentment was so lately shown in case of fishpond property your own will bear the blame of such an ugly job as can succeed by nothing but a mob evil disposed persons may abscond yet steal the fish of Ashton Lever’s Pond and tho’ severity should advertise its utmost prosecution, gain their prize But Ashton Lever cannot well invade His neighbours land to make a cavalcade or sale of liquors and the mobbing sort Not fish about him for their kind of sport.”

Lines written by John Byrom in1761 regarding the Manchester races held on Kersal Moor, regarding opposition from the landowners, Dorothy Byrom and Edward Cheetham, saying that permission to use the moor had been neither sought nor given.

In the newspaper the Manchester Mercury at the time there are many notices from Sir Ashton Lever, offering a reward for information leading to the apprehension of poachers in Alkrington, with leniency if malefactor owned up and turned King’s evidence.

The Family

Ashton Being his mother’s family name, his father, Sir Darcy Lever, started building the new hall in 1735, finishing in 1736, on the site of the earlier building.

The bridge on the old Manchester to Rochdale turnpike, known as Lever bridge (near to McBride’s at the bottom of Alkrington hill) was widened in 1733.

Sir Darcy Lever died on 16th August 1742 at the age of 39.

Sir Ashton Lever paid court to Mary Assheton, the eldest daughter and co-heiress of Sir Ralph Assheton, Bart.., of Middleton. Her father was little impressed with Ashton and refused consent to a union between the two families. Mary married Harbord Harbord M.P, (which lends it’s name to the pub in Middleton); son and heir of Sir William Morden Harbord of Gunton, Norfolk, on the 7th October 1760 and Middleton became allied to the Suffield estates.

Sir Ashton Lever married Frances Bayley, daughter of James Bayley of Withington at Prestwich church on 23rd December 1764. He was 35 and his bride 18. She died on 27th July 1802. Ashton died 1st February 1788.The estate on her death went to his nephew John Lever. The  Lever connection with Alkrington came to an end in