Old Hall Hotel, Sandbach
In 2008, Heritage Works undertook an options appraisal study, funded by Sandbach Town Council, English Heritage, Cheshire East Council and the Architectural Heritage Fund. This study informed the planning authorities, and assisted in securing a new owner to undertake repairs, total refurbishment and an extensive rear extension.
Download Sandbach Old Hall Options Appraisal Study, Executive Summary [pdf 218Kb]
The options appraisal study
The scope of the study included:
Throughout the study, the Trust was assisted by the Save the Old Hall Action Group, which has campaigned for the rescue and re-use of the building for many years. We are particularly grateful for the provision of local history information and images.
History & Description
The Old Hall is dated 1656, although the 2-gabled projecting wing on the left-hand side is slightly later. This large "black and white" timber framed building occupies the site of the ancient mansion of the Sondbaches who were once lords of the manor. The present building was built in 1656 for Sir John Radclyffe, who secured Sandbach's market charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1579. It stands back from the road in its own grounds although land to the rear has recently been developed.
The original square house was constructed with an oak frame, infilled with wattle and daub extension. The later extension is timber framed at the front and partly timber framed and partly brick at the back. There has been some restoration but most of the original structure remains. The oak for the timber frame is thought to have come from the Saxe-mondron forest near Nantwich. There is good exposed timber framing throughout with some shaped timbers having decorative motifs of balusters and barbed lozenges, all well restored. The building has three storeys with four gables on the front elevation with restored barge-boards and finials. Moulded wood mullion and transom casement windows with leaded lights have been well restored in the past. The first storey windows have gabled bays with shallow pediments. Brick stacks with diagonal shafts have been restored. The roofs are of stone flags. On the right hand side of the building is a carriage arch. Interior features include three Jacobean fireplaces, a left-handed spiral staircase, a priest hole, oak panelling and an original oak baluster staircase.
In the 18th century another extension was added and the stables at the rear were enlarged which enabled the building to function as the Old Hall Coaching Inn. The Liverpool to Lichfield Coach stopped here to change horses and passengers were encouraged to stay at the Inn, so the Inn was eventually classed as a Hotel. There was reputed to be a hidden passage to St. Mary's Church across the road, used as an escape route for persecuted monks, but it is unlikely that this still exists.
The building has suffered general deterioration due to a combination of a lack of maintenance and poorly executed repairs. Some basic emergency works have been undertaken by recent owners. Due to the building's current situation, an action group called the Save the Old Hall Action Group was set up by concerned local people and has ensured regular media coverage.
In January 2010, the Old Hall Hotel was sold to the Brunning and Price pub and restaurant chain, which specialises in restoring historic buildings. The renovated pub reopened in June 2011.