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Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 15:03 UK
The rise and fall of a thousand years of Hultons
Hulton Hall in 1830
Three Hulton Halls have been built and demolished on the estate

The Hulton Park Estate near Bolton has been in the Hulton family for around a millennium, but that era is about to end, as the estate is up for sale.

It will bring to an end up to 1000 years of Hulton ownership, which saw the family grow in status and wealth.

It has also saw the building and demolition of three Hulton Halls, all constructed next to the upper lake.

But who were the Hultons, who gave their name not just to the estate, but to three neighbouring villages as well?

It is documented that Iorweth and Madoc Hulton came to Bolton from Wales in 1167, taking up residence in what is now the park, though there is a suggestion that they were coming to join family who may have been there as early as 989.

Whatever their reason for moving, they obviously liked their new surrounds, as they and their descendants became firmly settled in the area.

By 1304, the area was under the control of Richard de Hulton, who was now lord of the manor and had freehold over parts of Hulton, Ordsall, Flixton and Heaton - showing the family were already highly important in the area.

The infamous William

Yet for all the power and influence the Hultons have wielded across the region in their time on the estate, it is the link to one of Manchester's most infamous moments for which their most famous family member, William Hulton, is remembered.

William Hulton
William Hulton's orders led to the Peterloo Massacre

In 1811, William became High Sheriff of Lancashire and soon built a reputation for fierceness.

Within a year, he had sent four men to be executed for their part in an arson attack on a mill, one of whom was said to be only 12 years old - a fact which did not alter Hulton's sentencing.

After eight years in office though, the moment for which he would be remembered came, when on 16 August 1819, a multitude of people gathered in Manchester's St Peter's Square to listen to radical orator Henry Hunt.

William was in attendance and issued a warrant for Henry's arrest, as he saw the radical as a troublemaker.

When advised by the Chief Constable that he would need military help to execute the warrant, William made the decision which turned the protest into a disaster.

He passed letters to the commanding officers of the Salford and Manchester cavalries, calling on them to immediately clear a path to the radical speaker and his compatriots.

What happened next is well documented, as William's orders had created what would become known as the Peterloo Massacre; the cavalries charged, the crowd panicked and in the commotion, 15 people lost their lives and up to a further 700 were injured.

It was an ignoble stain on William's career, though it didn't stop him being involved in public life.

It did, however, mean that for the rest of his life, when he was recognised by the working classes, they would chant 'Peterloo' at him.

Coal-built riches

That stain also didn't stop William advancing the family's business interests.

The reasons for the early wealth of the family is not known, but what later kept them rich and powerful is, as Hulton Park sat on top of rich coal seams.

The first coal mine in Hulton opened in 1571 and by the 1800s, the amount of coal being dug out required the new technology of the railway to ferry it away from the colliery.

George Stephenson
George Stephenson brought the railway to the Hulton estate

William engaged the railway pioneer George Stephenson to take up the challenge, which he rose to impressively.

In August 1828, two years before Stephenson completed his link between Manchester and Liverpool, the first section between Bolton and William Hulton's Collieries at Pendlebury Fold opened.

This link, which grew into the Bolton and Leigh Railway allowed the Hulton collieries to expand further, and by 1910, a massive 2500 locals were employed across the pits.

However, that year also saw an explosion at the family's Pretoria Pit, an accident which claimed 344 lives and remains Britain's third worst mining disaster.

The accident did not halt the expansion and by 1947, the Hulton coal empire was the largest in Lancashire, though this status waned across the following decades, as their pits closed.

And with that waning empire, so came the demise of the Hultons, as their last surviving member of the family, Sir Geoffrey Hulton, died in the 1990s, ending his family's eight century residence on the land west of Bolton.




SEE ALSO
The two Worsleys of Platt Hall
17 Mar 10 |  History
A History of the World: Manchester
15 Jan 10 |  History
Peterloo: a massacre remembered
13 Aug 09 |  History

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