Winstanley Hall


I am doing a project for the Billinge History Society on Winstanley Hall. I was wondering if you had any information that I would find useful on this subject. I was also wondering if the pre 1560 "old moat" site as ever been excavated or if there is any information about the Winstanley Family pre this date.


You are probably aware the site was sold by the Banks family a few years ago for private development. Work on refurbishment however has been held up because of problems with planning permission. 

I have very little information about the history of this site except that the Winstanley's were Lords of the manor there as early as 1252 and were probably responsible for building the moat . There is evidence for 70 moated sites in the Greater Manchester borough, the majority of which are concentrated in Wigan and Ince area. These sites were usually built over a short period in the 14th century. As you probably know the Winstanley family built the present hall in 1560 before selling the estate to James Banks in 1596. The Banks family have, over the years, add to the original hall and kept it in good order until the 1960s when they moved out. Since then the hall has deteriorated but the cost of maintenance has been prohibitive - hence the sale. This is a very important site being one of only three Tudor buildings in the Wigan area, we believe care should be taken in planning its future. (We visited the site in 2002 - for details see our Newsletter No.53.)

Recently a descendent of the Banks family, who still owns most of the land, has renovated the nearby lodge for private dwelling. He also wants to develop the surrounding gardens which includes a huge green-house. As this backs onto the medieval moat, an archaeological assessment has had to be carried out. This work was recently completed by Matrix Archaeology from Manchester, the results of which I am hoping to get a copy of shortly. As far as I am aware, there has been no other excavation work carried out on the moat. As it is a scheduled monument permission would be need for any further work to be carried out.