A Short History of Orford Hall
The first published history of the hall which stood in what is now Orford Park, giving details of some of its notable residents. Given to the town in 1917 as a war memorial, it was demolished in 1935. Published 1996, revised and enlarged edition published 1999. ISBN 1 901208 06 0. No longer available.
The park was recently redeveloped. Some photos of the work follow:
The entrance at the end of Orford Avenue was created as part of major works early in the eighteenth century which involved a new south face to the hall itself, an extension of the grounds south as far as this entrance and the creation of a straight avenue leading to the hall (Orford Avenue). The gate piers of around 1720 are the only survivors of the hall. Slide taken summer 1986 shortly after the trees lining the path had been planted.
At the end of the avenue was the carriage turning area in front of the main entrance to the building. The site of the hall was marked by a raised area where the cellars had been filled with demolition rubble.
Along the sides the stones from the building were collected and carefully stacked. Those with the remains of white paint are from the south front. The remainder are from older parts of the building.
Over the years the greenhouses and hot houses which had housed John Blackburne's famous plant collection were gradually demolished. These walls were removed along with the hall site in December 2011. Note the fireplace high up in the wall. Photo October 1992
Longford Fields were also reveloped as part of the park project. In the middle ages this area was a lake called Longford Mere where the free men of the borough had fishing rights. It was subsequently drained and used as pasture. Until the early nineteenth century the old lake reappeared from time to time and became a popular winter attraction for ice skating.
A digger moves in to remove the surviving site of the hall. December 2011
A last look at the stones from the hall on Sunday 11 December 2011
The hall site has been levelled and new paths created. March 2012
Some heaps of rubble from the greenhouses and stable area. March 2012
The full text of a talk given to Warrington Archaeological and Historical Society in October 1999. Selections from the friary's history and accounts of some of the chief figures associated with it are included. Published 2000. ISBN 1 901208 03 6.
Warrington Friary. Discovery of a grave of three children.