There are no remains of the old Hall in Tranmere, instead we must read notes taken by visitors over a
century ago. Some of those notes are detailed as follows....
Mr Mayer in 'transitions of the historic society of Lancashire' c1850 states:
"The old hall is situated on the brow of the hill, overlooking, like a mother, the picturesque village which
surrounds it; and commanding a grand view of the river Mersey, whose expansive waters make a beautiful
feature in the scene as they pass the great city of ships seen in the distance. It is of the usual type of the
period, with the centre recessed, the wings having the customary high pitched gables; the stone work of that
character which was introduced after the port and the petrel, mouldings and mullions of windows, plain fillet and
ovolo, with addition of ogee for jamb, and with the prevailing larger and lesser projections of offices belonging to
domestic affairs of the family, which add to the effect of the outline of the whole, though not remarkable for any
external display or architectural features.
In front of the house is a large garden, the entrance to which is from the high road, through an ornamental
doorway, over the top of which, on the right side, are the initials G.L and the motto Labor Vincit Omnia, with the
date 1614, and on the left of it, the initial A.L. Crossing the garden you arrive at the big door of the house,
approached by a flight of steps, which take you into the great hall; more remarkable for its heaviness than any
picturesque effect or peculiarity. Crossing to a side door you get to a staircase, which is of modern construction
and ascending it, you come to the large room of the Lords family. It has a very large Paladin chimney piece,
lower column fluted and receded, upper plain doric, very large cornice and frieze, on front, and the slab is carved
very deeply in writing Edward Markland. The ceiling is divided into six square panels by oak beams and
ornamented with lions, fleur de lys, etc in parquetries.
In this room is a curious decorated window, of large proportions, divided into six oblongs, all of which were
formally filled by stained glass but only the three upper ones now contain the old panes. These are divided
down the middle of each, and are filled with size lozenges and six circles. The devices and mottoes are quaint,
the lozenges contain painted figures of musketeers and pikeman going through their exercise. The window
must have been put in after 1623 in which year was published instructions for muster and arms, and the use
thereof; which contains photographic plates of soldiers in the same attitudes and with the same mottoes; Blow
your Panne. In the left hand is carried the musket with the rest 'Order your Pike' etc.
In one of the lodging rooms upstairs and which appears to have been approached through an arched door of
stonework, with a fine old oak door having its iron hinges and keyhole richly ornamented with floral work, is a
curious chimney piece, the whole painted over with bars chevron-wise, alternately blue, white, red and black,
engrailed over all same, with roses, pinks, bees and snails, with arms in centre, two lions passant in pale, with
crescent for distinction, the family coat of the Gleggs; the frieze is painted alternately block and flute, with very
rude cornice over hanging. This fireplace, i think, is unique in style of ornament".
Mr Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1855 states:
"We walked from Birkenhead Park to Rock Ferry, a distance of about three mile, a part of which was made
delightful by the footpath leading us through the fields where the grass had just been mown, and others where
the wheat harvest had just been commenced. The path led us into the very midst of rural labour that was
going forward; and the labourers rested for a moment to look at us. Children were loitering along this path, or
sitting down beside it; and we met one little maid passing from village to village intent on some errand.
Reaching Tranmere i went into an ale house called the The Hare (now 215 Church Road) just opposite the old
hall. We then approached the old hall. The doorstep before the house, and the flag stone floor of the entry,
were chalked all over in corkscrew lines, an adornment that gave an impression of care and neatness. It was a
low old fashioned room, ornamented with a couple of sea shells, and earthenware figure on the mantelpiece. It
is an old grey stone edifice, with a good many gables, windows and mullions, some of them extending the whole
breadth of the gable.
In some parts of the house the windows seem to have been built up, probably in the days when daylight was
taxed. The form of the hall is multiplex, the roofs sloping down intersecting one another so as to make the final
result indescribable. There were two sundials on different sides of the house, both the dial plates of which were
made from stone, and on one the figures were quite work off; but the gnomon still cast the shadow in such a
way that it could still judge that it was about noon. The other dial had some half worn hour marks, nut no
gnomon. The chinks of the stones of the house were very weedy and the building looked quaint and venerable,
but it is now converted into a farm house with the farmyard and outbuildings closes appended. A village too has
grown up about it, so that it seems out of place amongst modern stuccoed dwellings. Among these there are a
few thatched cottages, the homeliest domiciles that ever mortal lived in".
The hall was sadly demolished in order to build houses and shops upon the lands. The investor who
financed the project and committed this historic atrocity was eventually bankrupted by the plans and had
to return to his former trade as a meagre barber in the local area.
|Above Tranmere Hall from J Mayer's "The Old Halls of Cheshire No 1"