OLD HALL & THE SQUARE
DON’T BE CROSS
People didn’t settle on waterless windy ridges, such as this one, until they could sink wells and build stone houses with slate roofs.
Hadfield Old Hall, built in 1646, was the first stone house in the village, erected by the ancestors of George Hadfield of Old Hall near Mottram - minor gentry were amongst the few people who could afford stone.
Opposite the Old Hall are cottages built in 1785. Whitehouse was originally a farmhouse owned by the Dewsnap family. The farmer’s cows grazed on fields where today’s Higher Barn Road is.
‘The Cross’ was another open area separated from the square by houses and a farm. The cross base is not in its earlier position and may have moved more than once. The square is still called Hadfield Cross by some villagers.
The name ‘Old Hall Square’ was probably first used in the late 19th century.
Medieval Hadfield was a busy place, on the road to Old Glossop. It was also on the southern line of the saltway, the main route through Longdendale until the late 17th century.
Several centuries ago, a few houses were clustered around here and nearby Sparrow Park, plus surrounding farms including Noble Farm and Nimble Nook. Farmers made a meagre living from the land, with cows, chickens, pigs, sheep and a few arable crops.
Life changed dramatically with the advent of ‘King Cotton’ in the 19th century. A plentiful supply of running water and high rainfall and the Hadfield’s proximity to key markets and ports including Manchester and Liverpool meant that the village flourished.
Farmers adapted to changing economic conditions by ‘multi-tasking’ - they supplemented their income by using imported wool for spinning and weaving.
Improvements to Old Hall Square/Cross were completed in 1967 to create a village green.