Wrightington Hall LRO ref DDX 194/53

This moated hall is something of an enigma. It is located only a few miles from Lathom House, the residence of the Earl of Derby, which was besieged for a long period by Cromwell’s troops during the Civil War. The hall is about the same distance from Lathom to the site of the fierce battle of Wigan Lane towards the end of the Civil War. Yet no mention of it, or the owners the Dicconsons, is made of it in the Discourse of the Warr in Lancashire. A family of that name did present their credentials at Dugdale’s visitation 22nd September 1664 at Ormskirk. Gregory King was the young clerk at this visitation.

The Dicconson family had connections in Eccleston township. Fines are recorded concerning lands in Warrington, Mawdsley and Lathom in which William and Edward Dicconson were concerned. Hugh Dicconson was seized of a messuage and 500 acres of land in Bradley in 1562. He left a widow Elizabeth and a son and heir Richard as of Wraysholme (see Route No 10), between whom there were disputes in 1584 respecting Bradley.

Adam Rigby died in 1627 holding the capital messuage called Bradley Hall, a dovecote etc, with lands in Euxton, Whittington and Goosnagh. Bradley was held of the king as of his duchy of Lancaster by one hundredth part of a Knight’s fee. The heir was Adam’s nephew Alexander (son of Alexander) Rigby aged 31. The heir described as of Middleton Hall in Goosnargh became a baron of the Exchequer in the Commonwealth. (see Route No 20 and Appendix No 5).

Hugh Dicconson grandson of Edward and Anne is stated to have inherited the Wrightington family estates under the will of Sir Edward Wrightington. A dispute to the estate took place in 1663. It could be that Wrightington Hall was built about this time. It certainly was quite a large residence when Gregory King surveyed it in 1685. The Dicconsons would know that King was in the area and if the estate was new it would be a good opportunity to have it surveyed. Gregory King wrote his name twice on the bottom corner of this sheet. William Dicconson lived in the hall in 1786.

Young saplings lined the lane outside the hall. Every tree in the garden was located and named as shown in the plan. There were 126 fir trees in lines, 17 of which were young, 10 oak trees close together and 10 fruit trees also close together. This tree layout was the fashion of the period at large country mansions. The location of the Home Farm to the east of the hall was precisely shown on the plan. The layout of the hall and the grounds on the 1840 tithe map bear very little resemblance to the survey of 1685. A large hospital complex now occupies the site and even by studying the aerial photograph of the site nothing of the original can be detected but the location of the hall can be estimated approximately from the existing boundaries.

But why did these sheets of maps turn up at Towneley Hall? Cecelia Towneley died in 1778 and was succeeded in the Standish Estates by her third son Edward as her second son, who was to have had the estate, had previously died. Her eldest son Charles succeeded to the Towneley Estates, mainly at Burnley. He was the connoisseur whose great collection of Greek Roman sculptures enriches the British Museum. Edward Towneley assumed the name of Standish and no doubt seeing the great collieries being opened out in Orrell, he would become anxious to exploit his own personal resources in a similar manner.