The demolition of Marple Hall in the late 1950's was a tragic loss to Marple's heritage. 300 years of history swept away almost without trace is a sad reflection on the Council of that time and also the members of the Isherwood family involved. That so little remains in Marple today to remind us of this historic place is deeply disappointing, as is the disgraceful vandalism which brought about the hall's demise.
In 1954, when Marple Hall was derelict and abandoned to the vandals, thankfully someone had the foresight to preserve a small part of the treasures it contained. The stained and painted glass shown here was salvaged from the entrance hall and reinstalled in the vestry of the ancient Church of Bunbury in South Cheshire, where it remains to this day.
Details of the salvage operation were published in CHESHIRE LIFE magazine in April 1954. To see the glass in close-up click the thumbnails of each window for an enlarged view:
West Window (Left)
7" x 5.5" (18cm x 14cm) panel depicting a lady in farthingale and ruff. This is said to be Catherine, the daughter and heiress of Ralph Winnington of Offerton, who was married to Henry Bradshawe at Stockport on 4 February 1594.
They had four sons and two daughters: William, who died in his first year; Henry, a Colonel in the Parliamentary army, and inheritor of Marple Hall; John, Lord President of the High Court of Justice which condemned King Charles I; Francis, who was still living in 1637; Dorothy and Anne.
Catherine died in childbirth and was buried at Stockport on 24 January 1604.
The meaning of the lizard near Catherine's right hand is not understood.
West Window (Right)
Two diamonds of 3.5" (9cm) sides. These are understood to represent the Arms and Crest of the Legh's of Lyme Hall and are said to have been presented to the Bradshawes by Lady Newton of Lyme.
i) The left hand pane depicts a shield with a raised arm holding a flag or similar and is very badly worn.
ii) The right shows a goat or ram's head with with what appears to be an oak twig in it's mouth emerging from a three pointed coronet.
A third diamond in this window (next image) identifies that the glass was moved to Bunbury Church from Marple Hall in 1954.
West Window (Right)
This diamond in in the West Window identifies that the glass was moved to Bunbury Church from Marple Hall in 1954.
North Window (Left)
10" x 8" (25.5cm x 20cm) Sepia coloured arched panel depicting an interior scene with 11 male figures plus two haloed female figures who appear to be singing inside a church or cathederal.
North Window (Right)
10" x 8" (25.5cm x 20cm) Sepia coloured arched panel depicting an outdoor scene, possibly overlooking Jerusalem, with three female figures, one who appears to be kneeling at Christ's feet.
South Window (Left)
10" x 8.5" (25.5cm x 21.5cm) elliptical outdoor scene depicting Abraham with three angels and other smaller figures outside a town or city wall.
South Window (Right)
10" x 8.5" (25.5cm x 21.5cm) elliptical indoor scene depicting a King with a spear pointing at a young male harpist, possibly King Saul and David. Includes an indistinct German inscription.
The south windows of the Vestry.
The north windows of the Vestry.
The Vestry of Bunbury Church.
The connection between Marple Hall and St. Boniface's Church in Bunbury
is that John Bradshawe, Lord President of the Court that condemned King Charles I to death, and Marple's most famous son, received part of his education at Aldersey Grammar School in Bunbury and attended the church during this period.
In January 2001 a set of photographs of the glass were added to the Heritage Section of the Marple Library above the shutters from Marple Hall and an article about it was also published in the local Community News.
Special thanks to John Elsworth - St.Boniface Church Warden and Peter Crump - Webmaster for their hospitality whilst allowing access to the vestry. Also to local photographer David Brindley for his company and skill with the camera.
All images: David Brindley.