Sunday, April 6, 2014

Schofield/Scholefield Hall

Scof -Eng
Site of Scholfield Hall - Hollingsworth Lake, Rochdale

On a picturesque grassy knoll, overlooking Hollingworth Lake in Lancashire England, sits the remains of Schofield Hall and over 400 years of family history. The Hall was the home of the Schofields, whose ancestry can be traced back to the reign of Edward I. 

The most ostentatious member of the family was, ofcourse, Cuthbert Schofield (my 10th Great Grandfather) who died in 1605 of indeterminate age, and who was buried at Rochdale, but not before wreaking havoc! Cuthbert gained favor when he was knighted by Elizabeth in 1588 for his service against the Spanish Armada.  However, this quarrelsome gentleman appeared at the Duchy Court more frequently than any other inhabitant of the parish.

At the Bishop's Court, Chester, in 1561 he sued his wife Ann for divorce -see prior blog for details of this sordid affair.  Then in 1565, in another outlandish episode, Cuthbert Schofield and his followers, besieged the Milnrow Chapel of St. James the Apostle in Bridge Street.  Cuthbert and Sir John Byron were engaged in a dispute over the ownership "Goseholme,” the land upon which the Chapel was built. That fiasco ended up with Cuthbert back in court resulting in access to the Chapel being restored to the people of Milnrow.

Nonetheless, Cuthbert’s care of the Scholfield Hall and it’s estates which included the Round House (farmhouse), Booth Hollins and the Holt, was above reproach.  When Cuthbert died, in 1605, the estate passed to his nephew, Gerard Schofield.  Yet another court battle ensued when Cuthbert’s illegitimate son, Alexander, sued for ownership of the Hall.  Alexander lost his case and Gerard Scofield’s family retained ownership 
Schofield Hall in 1829
Photograph: Iain Spencer Gerrard

According to church records, by 1626, “Mr. Gerrarde Scolfelde” held the family estates of Scholefield Hall, The Round House, The Holt, and Booth Hollins. He died at The Holt on 01 October 1638 passing Scholefield Hall on to his 18 year old son and heir James Schofield. James was the last Schofield to inhabit the Hall.   By 1673, James Scholefield, impoverished, due to his support for the King during the English Civil War, sold Scholefield Hall to his son-in-law Seth Clayton, Esq. The Claytons lived in the Hall until they sold it in 1770 to Robert Entwisle.

In his "History of the Parish of Rochdale" Henry Fishwick states that in 1889 Schofield Hall was still owned by descendants of the wealthy Entwisle family. By this time the Hall was in a ruinous state, but still habitable. At the turn of the century, Schofield Hall was converted into cottages. One former tenant told how she used to go to bed with an umbrella and awoke one morning to discover snow drifting onto her bed! The Hall became uninhabitable, the roof, it was said, leaked like a colander, but the farmer at Rakewood Farm stored farm machinery there, until about 1925, when, a substantial part of the building collapsed.  In 1939 the two-storeyed porch which formed a prominent feature at the front of Schofield Hall was still standing.

In the 1800’s the Rochdale Canal Company published plans to submerge the Schofield Hall Estates under two reservoirs. Initial plans were abandoned in favor of one large lake, as it exists, today. Water is carried by drain to Summit with the aid of a steam-driven pumping engine, which raised water from Hollingworth Lake up to the level of the drain.


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