Bache Hall

as noted by Kate Roberts

The house that now carries the name of Bache Hall was built in the early 18th century. (SMR 1923). It is of plain brick, two storeys, has five bays and is Grade III listed. See photo 3. The house is situated on a gentle rise, below is a rocky valley with Bache Brook running through. The estate had pleasant gardens, well planted with trees, a waterfall and bridge over the brook.

It was rebuilt after the old house was demolished during the 1643 – 46 siege of Chester in the Civil War, when it was garrisoned by Parliamentary troops. The owner was Edward Whitby who was recorder to the City at the time, he was one of several who lost their houses this way around the periphery of the city. Blacon, Flookersbrook and Hoole halls were all lost but Upton Hall just across the fields was garrisoned by Colonel Bereton and even visited by Cromwell himself and faired much better.

The older property is listed as having a Medieval moat, but there is no trace of it but the name Moat Field is recorded on the tithe map of 1844 (field No3, on tithe map). The site is now covered by modern houses.

The first references to the various families who have held the manor start in the 13th century with several people with Bache as a surname. It is probable that they did represent the owners but it’s not definite. But by the 14th century the manor was held by the Donecaster family who had obtained land from families in Upton during the reign of Edward II. p> The much respected Chantrell family came next and they held the manor from the Abbot and Convent of St Werburghs and after the reformation from the Dean and Chapter.

In 1606 it was purchased by the unfortunate Edward Whitby. From the Whitby’s the estate passed partly by purchase and partly by marriage to the Cromptons. About 1716 the manor passed via an heiress of the Cromptons to the Morgans of Golden Grove in Flintshire, until they sold it to Samuel James Brodhurst of Chester.

The property descended successfully to various members of his family who as part of the will terms had to change their name from Jenks to Brodhurst (sometimes listed as Broadhurst). In 1874 Samuel Broadhurst Hill sold the estate to the Hudson family (see 1881 census return for Bache hall and Bache Cottage). Finally a Major Macgillicuddy was the last private owner as he sold to the neighbouring mental hospital in 1911. The hall is currently under major reconstruction by Chester College as it is to be a school of midwifery and this brings Bache Hall into the 21st century.

The 1872 (revised 1908) OS map shows the extent of the gardens and grounds of the hall. Features include two lodge houses (see photo 4, Liverpool Road Lodge House), laid out gardens, waterfall and tree planted estate. The house marked Pavilion was also known as Bache Cottage (see 1881 census return). I currently cannot verify if the golf course marked was part of the estate facilities or of other use.

In 1973 Liverpool Road, from the Dale down to the Bache was widened and made into a duel carriageway. Bache Hall Lodge and Bache Cottage were demolished to accommodate the changes.

The Lunatic Asylum, lying on land between Bache and Upton Halls, was established in 1829, its steady growth into the next century as a mental hospital continued until it had grown into a large general hospital. Not only did the hospital buy Bache Hall in 1911 it has also expanded to absorb large portions of the Bache township into its complex and thereby loosing part of its boundary.

Apart from the northbound carriageway of Liverpool Road no roads survive in Bache, Mill Lane from Upton clearly heads for the former hall site and water mill, perhaps that this was all that was needed.

In the 1980’s a new road connecting Liverpool Road with Parkgate Road was constructed, the line of Countess Way cuts through the length of the lawn of the hall and lengths of the brook were straightened or re-routed in underground drains. This work has finally called an end to Bache Hall estate in its previously recognised form, but the OS map of 1872 shows the estate in its former glory.