Haigh Hall - England
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Haigh Hall & Manor - Ancestral Lindsay Estate

Haigh (pronounced "Hay") Hall and Manor, located in Wigan, Lancashire, was for many years the English seat and ancestral home of the Lindsay family, the Earls of Crawford & Balcarres.  The present hall was built between 1827 and 1840.  Haigh Hall currently has an "English Heritage Register" designation.  Haigh Hall and its grounds were bought by Wigan Corporation in 1947 and now make up one of the region's most beautiful country parks. 

The original owner of Haigh Manor/Hall is not known. However in 1295 it is believed that William de Bradshaigh, acquired Haigh Manor by marrying Mabel le Norreys.  According to one account of the legend, in 1324, ten years after leaving, Bradshaigh returned from the wars in Scotland, promptly killed his wife's new husband, and made her walk barefoot and dressed in sackcloth to their home at Haigh Hall once a week for the rest of her life. The account was made into a novel* by Sir Walter Scott, and the event is still marked by Mab's Cross in Wigan Lane.  In reality Sir William Bradshaigh’s absence from Haigh was due to his banishment by King Edward II for taking part in a rebellion against the Earl of Lancaster.

One of William Bradshaigh's descendants, Roger Bradshaigh, also is recorded as having lived at Haigh Hall during the early 1600s.  Roger Bradshaigh, M.P., of Haigh, was created a baronet in 1679.  It is believed that the Bradshaigh surname eventually evolved into the Bradshaw surname.

In later centuries the Bradshaighs encouraged the development of coal mining on their estates - particularly a clean, smokeless coal called cannel which was valuable both as fuel and for carving into decorative household objects - and had much influence on the government of the borough of Wigan.

However, the last of the Bradshaigh male line died in 1787.  On June 1, 1780, Alexander Lindsay, 6th Earl of Balcarres married his cousin-german, Elizabeth Dalrymple, only child of Charles Dalrymple, Esq., who inherited the Haigh property on failure of male issue in her maternal family, namely, that of Sir Roger Bradshaigh, Bart., of Haigh, who was her ladyship’s great grandfather.  Thus, ca 1787, the Haigh Hall manor passed to the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres and became the seat of Alexander Lindsay the 6th Earl of Balcarres and de jure the 23rd Earl of Crawford.

The Lindsays further expanded the coal mining concerns and took up iron founding; it was here that the famous Laxey Wheel in the Isle of Man is said to have been cast.

A new Haigh Hall was built between 1827 and 1840, mainly with local materials quarried from nearby Parbold.  The extensive plantations were laid out in the 1860s to improve a landscape disfigured by coal mining, giving work to unemployed Wiganers during the cotton famine caused by the American Civil War. 

Although one could assume that the 7th and 8th Earls of Balcarres also resided, or at least spent some part of their time at Haigh Hall, it is recorded that James Ludovic Lindsay (1847-1913), 26th Earl of Crawford & 9th Earl of Balcarres, spent some part of his life there and at his Scottish estate Dunecht, near Aberdeenshire.  It has been noted that his library at Haigh Hall in Wigan was one of the finest private collections of literary treasures in the world.  A large portion of this library was eventually dispersed by auction.

Set in 250 acres of park and woodland, with magnificent views across the Douglas Valley to the Welsh Hills, Haigh Hall is currently the site of a golf course, conference center and wedding venue.  Haigh Hall currently has a variety of suites suitable for any social event including the splendid Grand Ballroom, the elegant Douglas Suite, and a number of seminar meeting rooms.





About Wigan

Over 2,000 years ago, Celtic warriors settled in Wigan, and later the Romans built a fort there, known as Coccium; excavations in recent years have uncovered evidence of a major Roman presence. By the time of the Middle Ages, Wigan had become a constituent manor of the Barony of Makerfield, and it received its Royal Charter from King Henry III in 1246 when it was made into a Borough in its own right. Its new status as a Royal Borough is reflected in the insignia of the town Coat of Arms.  Lancashire had only four Royal Boroughs - Lancaster, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan.

The origin of Wigan's name is mysterious - there is no reference to it in the Domesday Book. During the English Civil War (1642-1651), the town was fiercely Royalist, for which King Charles II presented Wigan with a sword bearing the Royal Coat of Arms; it still remains part of the town's civic regalia to this day. This fierce loyalty was due no doubt to the fact that the Earl of Derby, one of Lancashire's largest landowners and Commander of the King's Forces in Northern England, had made Wigan his headquarters.  Nearby Parliamentary forces from Bolton captured Wigan in 1643, looting the town and demolishing its fortifications. In 1648 Cromwell himself headed troops into battle at Standish, and the last battle of the English Civil War was fought outside Wigan on the banks of the River Douglas on 25th August 1651. This became part of local folklore and was to be known as "the Battle of Wigan Lane".

The Earl of Derby, James Stanley, was subsequently arrested and executed at Bolton. Wigan also witnessed the very last act of the Stuart Cause in 1745, when the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, passed through the town and lodged at Hallgate for a time after losing the battle at Derby. 

In the 19th Century, like so many Lancashire towns, Wigan bore the full brunt of the Industrial Revolution and saw dramatic economic and demographic expansion due to its industries and its well provided canal system. 

The Metropolitan Borough of Wigan is situated about mid-way between the seaport of Liverpool and the inland city of Manchester, in the County of Lancashire, in the North West of England.

Haigh Hall, 1 1/2 mile N.N.E. of Wigan is within easy reach of the M6, Junction 27 and M61, Junction 6.  If approaching from the M6, take A49 towards standish, the B5239 to Haigh.  Look out for the B5239 and Aspull, then Haigh when leaving M61.   Alternatively Haigh Country Park can easily be found close to the two main A roads, the A6 and A49.  The B roads to look for are B5238 and B5239.


*Sir Walter Scott used the legend of Mabel Bradshaigh, wife of William de Bradshaigh, as the groundwork for his novel "The Betrothed", published in 1825 as the first part of the "Tales of the Crusaders", all part of his Waverly novels series.

Notation:  Lindsay International acknowledges Dale Ingram  dale@ingram4414.fsnet.co.uk , writer and amateur historian in south London, England for bringing this Lindsay place to our attention.


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