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Heysham Hall


This unattributed artist’s impression of the third Heysham Hall is in the Heritage Centre.
This was the one built by Thomas Rawsthorne in t838-40 and was the largest of the three buildings each named at some point as Heysham Hall. The first was  Heysham Old Hall, a listed building and still in existence, the second was Heysham Tower which in the 20th century became Heysham Towers Holiday Camp but was known as Heysham Hall for a short period in the first half of the 19th century
This third Heysham Hall is said by David Flaxingron to have been built on the site of The Grange, which was once the home of the home of the de Moleyne family of Heysham.

A better feel for the Hall and its setting is this  c.1845 lithograph from an original sketch by Edward Twycross. In 1847 he published a book entitled  ‘The Mansions of England and Wales’.The caption reads ‘’Heysham Hall, Lancashire, the Seat of Thomas Rawsthorne.’. The colouring is by hand and done sometime later..

This image is from the website of  Albion-Prints. Unfortunately it has none currently in stock. It shows that the extra bay section on the left in the first picture was not present in 1845.


A correspondent has informed us that Ihe building was seriously damaged by fire in 1933 . It appears on a website called Lost Heritage but the image shown is labelled Heysham Head and is actually Heysham Tower so we cannot be certain which building is meant. Furthermore searches of newspaper archives find no reference to any fire which appears relevant...
For the rest of the century it was in flats whilst some other nearby houses were built from reclaimed stone. The history of the building has been researched by Brian and Ann Patterson who live in one of these houses and their records are  in the Morecambe Library reference section.. Brian and Ann used to run  Carr Garth in Heysham village as a guest house.

No trace of the actual building of Heysham Hall can now be found.. The information on this page about the Hall has been researched quite independently of their record and may well complement it.

This small section of the 1931 OS map  shows Heysham Hall in the centre  and the  picture above is from a view from the NW. The map also shows how the grounds of Heysham Hall and Heysham Tower abut each other.Also top right is Heysham Old Hall and at the bottom Heysham House.

On the Heysham 1838 Tithe the shape of the building on the site of Heysham Hall is quite different. Who built that one we do not know but Thomas Rawsthorne is shown in the Tithe Valuation Schedule as the owner. He also owned Heysham Old Hall and other smaller properties and many agricultural fields.. We have already noted that he built Heysham Hall in the period 1838-1840 just after the Tithe Map was drawn up.


Thomas and his wife Ann were  married in Lancaster in 1824; the 1841 census shows the family at Heysham Hall as we might have expected.. Looking at the  baptismal records of their children it would seem likely that they did not move to Heysham until  possibly 1840, the year in which the first of the baptisms at St Peter’s occurs, all previous ones having been in Lancaster.  The  1851 census suggests differently since Edward b.1836 is down as being born in Heysham. i


©  Ordnance Survey

Ann’s maiden name is also Rawsthorne and tracing back  for their  baptismal records  it looks as if both had the same parents; the birth dates fit with the ages given in the censuses and no other records  at first seem to fit.  This is an impossible situation since brother and sister cannot marry. The true situation has been explained to us by Anthea Purkis, Manager of the Lancaster  Maritime Museum who hold in their stock a portrait of Thomas’ wife Ann. Apparently they were cousins and looking at county records we find  two Ann Rawsthornes  born in the same year 1801..

Ann Rawsthorne wife of Thomas
 Courtesy of Lancaster Maritime Museum

In 1840 the Royal Agricultural Society received its charter and Thomas Rawsthorne of Heysham Hall is listed as a member then. He had a particular interest in short-horned cattle and it appears from this extract from the History of Shorthorn Cattle by James Sinclair (1907) that he had a small herd in the grounds of Heysham Hall. Possibly an ornament such as the one on he right would have adorned his mantlepiece..

Thomas Rawsthorne died in 1854 aged 57 and his wife in 1861 aged 60.. Both are buried in Heysham but the records show they were no longer living in Heysham Hall, but in Poulton and Morecambe respectively.. So at some point  after the 1851 census they must have vacated the Hall. The next family to occupy the house for a substabtial period were the Graftons. The first reference to them is found in the Lancaster Gazette which shows them in a list of people staying hotels in Morecambe in July. This type of listing is how The Visitor newspaper eventually started life. in 1874.
By 1868 The Gazette also records the Graftons as living at Heysham Hall. . Frederick William Grafton was a calico printer in Manchester and an MP..


What occurred in the period between the Rawsthornes and the Graftons tenure of Heysham Hall is difficult to determine. There are mentions of auctions and the name Thomas Croft is recorded as being at Heysham Hall but in what capacity is uncertain. and he seems to be elusive from the point of records. Perhaps the Pattersons research will has more detail on this period.

For the Graftons the Hall was an alternative residence, possibly summer, as in the  1871 census they are still living in South Manchester; the absence of Thomas from the record probably means that being an MP he was in London at the time. In the  1881 census the famiily are at Hope Hall , Pendleton in Salford. Note that in 1871 they had eight daughters and two sons. In 1881 one daughter and the two sons are missing; the sons would have been away at school or university (Francis at Cambridge) and from 1876 onwards several of the  daughters were married at St Peter’s, Heysham..


F W Grafton  :
reproduced from revolvy.com

Frederick Grafton died in 1890 but his family were still in Heysham in the  1891 census. Daughter Adela was married st St Peter’s in 1899 which suggests the Hall was the residence of the smaller Grafton family, but by the  1901  census Emily Sophia was in Herefordshire and by the  1911 census she was in Cirencester with daughter Lilian.. She died in 1924  aged 93..
The eldest daughter Emily Marion took a considerable interest in Heysham’s antiquities and wrote a  short paper for the Lancashire and Cheshire Historic Society  on Heysham Church and Parish

In the 1901 census there are no Graftons at Heysham Hall;  Emily Sophia Grafton imother) is in Ledbury  Herefordshire with two unmarried daughters and eldest daughter Emily Marion is in London..  In June 1901 there is a report in the Lancashire Evening Post of a garden bazaar and fete in the groiunds of Heysham Hall in aid of funds for St John’s Church, Sandylands, then in the course of erection.. Katherine Grafton had married the Rector of St Peter’s son Francis Royds in 1894 so when an appeal by the Rector the Revd. C T Royds for funds  for a new daughter church  in 1897  it is not surprising that the Graftons gave a donation of 100 and also something more tangible the stone font.

This ia another Twycross lithograph reproduced from the website of AbeBooks. The foreground looks to be Barrows Lane.
On top of the mound centre right could be a few of Thomas Rawsthorne’s short-horned cattle.