Dig at Stand Old Hall 2009


Stand Old Hall


Archaeology Dig , Summer 2009



The archaeology group of the Society, led by Jack Barrett, have been digging on the site of Stand Old Hall in Whitefield. This stood at the T junction of Stand Lane and Ringley Road.

The hall was built about 1405 to replace Old Hall in Pilkington, which was further down Ringley Road in the area called “Old Hall”.

Stand Old Hall was the manor house of the Pilkington family, Lords of the Manor of Pilkington and Bury. It was built on the highest point in Whitefield overlooking Pilkington Deer Park.

Stand Old Hall itself was replaced by Stand Hall, about 100 yards to the south. This was built about 1515 after the Earl of Derby took control of Pilkington.

Stand Old Hall was converted by the Derbys into a barn. The wings at each end were demolished and replaced by brick ends with quoins on the corners. One source suggests that Sir Thomas Pilkington in about 1470 had permission to “kernel and embattle” his manor house at Stand. This means there might have been a stone tower at Stand as at Radcliffe Hall.

In the nineteenth century Stand Old Hall became a cowshed. It was a ruin by the 1950s. A survey was made of it by the Ministry of Works. Attempts were made to List the building as an historic monument. But the roof was off and it was damaged by the weather and by fire. The building was finally pulled down in the early 1960s and the site covered with a mound of demolition rubble from it.


Our Committee member, Sara Gremson, has obtained a section of the top of one of the large square windows (shown in the picture above). This was rescued from the demolition of the hall and has been kept safe all these years. Sara applied for and got a grant from Whitefield and Unsworth Area Partnership to have this window section measured, drawn and put on display in Whitefield Library.

The archaeologist doing the work on the window has counted 300 tree rings. This means that if the hall was built about 1405, the oak tree that supplied the wood for the window must have started growing in about 1100 A.D.

One of the reasons for the dig this summer was to find information about the Hall that the window came from. We also wanted to know whether the site was in or outside the gardens of Kibworth Close. It turns out the remains are partly outside the gardens on land owned by Bury Council.

The Council gave permission for us to dig on its land and supported us financially.

Other issues that the dig was trying to resolve were whether or not the Hall had wings at each end and whether there was a stone tower.

The digs took the form of a series of tests pits focussed on particular parts of the site. These revealed a superb stone wall which was the base of the hall, a bricked up end and a possible bricked up doorway.

One thing that eluded us was a medieval floor surface inside the hall. There was a sloping brick floor from the cowshed period and below that a floor of Yorkstone flags. But there was brick rubble under the flags suggesting that it was not the medieval floor.

The finds were from the later use of the hall and no medieval domestic material was unearthed. The kitchen and service area were probably at the south end of the site and we were only able to access the north end on this dig.

Bury Council paid for the hire of secure fencing, and a digger so we were able to leave the pits open and extend them into a proper trench ( shown below).

Many questions remain to be resolved ( e.g. was there a stone tower ). Fortunately the County Archaeologist, Norman Redhead, is keen on the project and a full dig next year by professionals is a possibility.


Search terms (Prestwich, Prestwich Heritage,Prestwich history, Prestwich photos ; Whitefield. Whitefield Heritage, Whitefield History, Whitefield photos , Heaton Park, Heaton Hall)




  1. D.K.Bamber. says:

    Hi,I was recently requested by my son inlaw to remove a large stone from his mothers garden as she is about to move house. The piece of stone appears to have been part of a large structure and must weigh in excess 7cwt. It has a moulded edge in the shape of a cornice. The stone was dug up in their back garden in the early 1970’s. The house stands on Kibworth close and I wonder could the stone be part of the “TOWER”. I would like to hear your comments.
    Dave Bamber

  2. admin says:

    Hello David,
    Yes that sounds very much as though it came from Stand Old Hall or even Stand Hall ( the hall that replaced the Old hall in the early sixteenth century).
    We would very much like to see the piece of stone and photo it. Might one ask how you removed it and where to ?

  3. D.K.Bamber. says:

    The stone was wrapped in a blanket and carefully lifted by a grab wagon. It now stands in my garden as an ornament.You would be most welcome to view and take photograph’s of the item.

  4. Mr Paul Bailey says:

    Hello. When I was a young boy we moved into a new house on Standmoor Road. The grounds of the old hall went up to our fence (this was years before any more houses were built and the fields extended to Ringley Road and Higher Lane). As a child we played in the grounds of the old hall. We even built the tree den on top of the big willow tree. There were cherry orchards and a cow shed, a bowling green, the old hall was just being demolished, other buildings had a spiral staircase, and one garage had what appeard to be light aircraft wings. There were two statues overlooking from the house down to a pond which was at he back of our house. If you need any help with details I can still remember like yesterday the layout of the hall and gardens.

  5. Alan Fletcher says:

    In 1948 i work at old hall farm and was able to enter the old hall

  6. Hi,
    My Grandmother was a direct decendent of the Pilkingtons of Stand Old Hall, I’d love to know if there was anymore news on the dig.

    • admin says:

      Not yet, Deborah, its going to need professionals now with grants and diggers and permissions from the Householders to dig in their gardens.


  7. moreen humphreys says:

    I owned the house that was known as Stand Old Hall, further along Ringley Road, until 1986, when I remarried and came to Derbyshire to live. Whilst I was at Stand a gentleman called Alan Enthwistle came to see me, he was the local historian and lived above the cowsheds of the home farm off Sergeants Lane, he had written in the Prestwich and Whitefield Guide and I asked him to come and have a cup of tea with me. He told me he had seen the “New Hall”
    pulled down and saved a piece of carved beam that the workmen were about to burn and took it home with him, if anyone knows Alan maybe he could help you with his knowledge of the hall. I adored the house known as Stand Old Hall and have many happy memories
    of our lives there, we attended Stand Chapel and I was even married there, my brother and all my sisters and I were educated at Whitefield Secondary Modern School, although my 3 children went to Bury Grammar School. Good luck with your dig.

    • admin says:

      Good to hear from you Moreen,

      The timber Mr Entwistle rescued is now on display in Whitefield Library. The Heritage Society obtained a grant to put it up there.

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