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Higher Heysham


This part of Heysham is centred around Middleton Road and is where in the19th century there were several opulent dwellings, Heysham Tower, Heysham Hall, Heysham House and the Old Hall (right).
The historian T D Whitaker writing in the early 19th century in his History of Richmondshire

      Two or three gentlemen's families reside here, to
the great advantage of the poor, for the salubrity of the air.

But he then goes on to write
         The rest of the population is divided between a race
of old yeomanry, tenants at rack rents, and poor
families earning a wretched subsistence by unskilful fishing

The ‘poor’ do not seem to be getting any  ‘great advantage’, but the gentleman’s families would have employed many locals as servants.
Unfortunately Whitaker does not give us the families names.


The Old Hall (Inn) being the oldest of the houses and still in use is much written about.   Five accounts  are available as downloads:

1. from the website of the Old Hall Inn : click here
2, from The Heysham Peninsula edited by Eileen Dent (HHA 2000) : click here
3. from The History of Heysham by David Flaxington (HHA| 2001)  : click here
4. The listing document from Historic England :  click here
5. from The Victoria History of the Counties of England  (1908) : click here

There is clearly not a consensus on who owned the land (manor) at the time of its construction which appears to have taken a good number of years. One fact which seems all writers agree on is that there were various tenants for some 200 years from the time it was built.
To avoid any confusion William Parker and Lord Monteagle , who are mentioned in some of these accounts as Lord of the Manor at the time of the building of the Old Hall, are one and the same.  William Parker was the 4th Lord Monteagle; the earlier ones were Stanleys.  William Parker is famed for his part in frustrating the Gunpowder Plot (1605).
Questions remain unanswered:
Why would the Lord of the Manor have such a large house built for tenants?
Why did it take such a long time to build?
Why were priest holes built into the structure at the time of building? (The time when it was built was the peak period for their construction.)


William Parker, 4th Lord Monteagle
from Wikipedi