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Copyright 2014-2019 Hidden Wirral
Source: Recollections of a Busy Life, by Willam B. Forwood
Bromborough Hall became our residence in 1898. It is a very old house built in 1617, but enlarged several times since, with the result that the exterior, though quaint, is not pleasing—partly Georgian and partly an old English homestead; it cannot be said to have been built in any style of architecture. Fortunately, the entire south front is wreathed with wisteria, jasmine and clematis, and this makes it harmonise with the charming old Dutch garden which stretches out before it. The interior is rambling, but possesses some interesting features. The hall has a stone staircase which winds round the walls as in old Georgian houses. It also has a capacious lounge, a minstrel gallery, and a quaint old oak chimney-piece. It opens out into an alcove which forms a very pleasant resort in summer; and beyond again is the Dutch garden, which is bright and gay in spring with tulips and in summer with begonias and roses. We have a ghost, which however we have never seen, and a priest's room with a cupboard carved in stone for the chalice and patten. The charms of Bromborough Hall are the gardens, which cover about thirteen acres and contain probably the most extensive lawns and the largest trees in Wirral. The outlook from the grounds across the river Mersey is extensive and very lovely. The park is beautifully planted with copses and groups of trees, and being 500 acres in extent, it forms a very attractive feature. We have a walk three miles in length which passes through the woods down to the river, then along the river bank above the red sandstone cliffs, which at this point margin the river, and back through the woods, which form our boundary on the south.
Although the present house dates back only to 1617, a Bromborough Hall has existed since the year 1100; this former hall probably stood in the park, as there are clear indications of a moated grange having existed there. The present house was built by a Bridgeman, who became chancellor of the diocese, one of his sons becoming Bishop of Chester, when for a time the hall was the bishop's palace. Another son was made Lord Bradford. The hall afterwards passed into the hands of the Mainwaring family, who for 150 years were the squire rectors of the parish. The family is now represented by Mr. E. Kynaston Mainwaring, of Oteley Park, Salop.
Bromborough was an active village in very remote days. There is strong evidence that the battle of Brunaburg was fought in its neighbourhood—this battle was the "Waterloo" of Anglo-Saxon times, and secured the Saxon ascendancy in England. The story goes that the Danes were encamped at Bromborough, and were joined by the five Irish kings; and that Athelstan, hearing of this, marched out from Chester, gave them battle, and utterly defeated them.[Pg 170] The Queen of Mercia afterwards erected a monastery in Bromborough as a thank-offering for this victory. This monastery stood for 200 years, but was destroyed in the times of the Normans. The old Saxon church remained, and was pulled down only in 1822. The Runic stone decorations still exist in the gardens of the rectory, and from these archæologists say the church must have been built about A.D. 800. The two large fields which adjoin Bromborough Park and run down to the sea are known as the "Wargraves," and Bishop Stubbs, the great historian, stated it to be his opinion that this was the site of the famous battle celebrated in verse by Cædmon.
Bromborough was for centuries the chief market town in the Wirral; the village cross around which the market was held still exists, also the manor house in which Charles I. stayed after his defeat near Chester in 1645.