This week we take a look at an old Cheshire family, the Duttons.
If you walk along the canal from Acton you will eventually come to a canal bridge with a steep path down to the River Weaver opposite.
If you cross the bridge here you will come to the gated community that was once Dutton Hall.
It is also accessible from the A533 Northwich Road, a few miles from Bartington. The sign for the village of Dutton is a little further.
It was once the location of the historically significant Dutton Hall. The sign leading to this community is visible in the photo, although a door bars access.
Here our story begins when there was once Dutton Hall, a black and white half-timbered, moated manor house dating back to the 10th century and overlooking the River Weaver and later the Trent and Mersey Canal.
The original hall was built around 1150 by Sir Geoffrey de Dutton.
In the tumultuous 16th century, Sir Piers Dutton kept 50 servants and rebuilt Dutton Hall in 1539. Sir Piers Dutton’s Great Hall was 42 feet long, 21 feet wide, and 25 feet high.
There was a large minstrel’s gallery, and here fiddlers, fiddlers (a stringed instrument in the fiddle family, though larger) and pipers played for the dances and feasts that were constantly going on in this hospitable house.
Sir Piers was Sheriff of Cheshire and Mayor of Chester and was knighted by Henry VIII. He was also one of Henry VIII’s commissioners for the Dissolution of the Monasteries. His brother was governor of Barbados.
During the English Civil War much damage was done to the structure by Cromwell’s roundheads, after which Cromwell himself ordered it to be rebuilt or repaired.
One of the Duke of Hamilton’s titles is Baron Dutton. Sir Peter Leycester, the Cheshire antiquary, who was himself related by marriage to the Duttons and whose book “Historical Antiquities” dated 1673 (of which I have an original copy), provides full details of the Dutton family and Dutton Hall.
Over the years, Dutton Hall has passed through many hands. In 1827 William Okell was a resident; in 1845, James Goodier; in 1863 John Taylor; in 1890, John Campkin, who served time in Kirkdale Jail for bankruptcy.
However, her marriage generated much public interest in 1915 due to her popularity in the district.
The Leigh Arms Public House is just down the river, another building that boasts great local history.
If you look at the small room on the left, you will find fascinating cut glasses with interesting images.
One such image is of Dutton Hall as it originally appeared.
A photo of this glass can be seen above. Next week we’ll have the second installment of this rather interesting story when Dutton Hall makes national news.