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Philips Park

Home to the Philips Family

Philips Park was formerly know as The Park. The Park was a section of the Pilkington township with it's ancient centre at Old Hall in Stand, Whitefield. The Pilkington estate included Pilkington Park, which was a large (560 hectares) Deer Park.The name Stand is itself derived from the place where the Lords would be located as their groundsmen drove the deer past them. The game were kept in The Park by a pale constructed around the perimeter. Lengths of the bank which carried the park pale can still be traced in Mere Clough, and the name lives on in "Stone Pale" Whitefield.

What we now know as Philips Park, was first let to a Yeoman from Clifton called Laurence Crompton. He had been baptising his children at St Mary's between 1623 and 1640, whilst living at Clifton and Outwood,

Map of Lancashire, 1595.

Some time shortly after 1643, Thomas Crompton purchased 70 hectares of land in the township of Pilkington after the land had been split following Lord Stanley's support for the losing side (King Charles I) in the English Civil Wars. A Thomas Crompton had contributed to the subsidy in 1541.

The Cromptons developed their land in Pilkington, and around this time it became known as "The Park", with the burial of Thomas Crompton born 1630, "o'th'Parke", at St Mary's in June 1717 (a Joshua Crompton lived at Old Hall in Stand).

The earliest mention of "Parke" at St Mary's actually goes to the Fletcher family, with the baptism of Dorothea Fletcher, filia (daughter) of Thomae Fletcher in 1612, however prior to that it was known as Pilkington Park.

Of another family was Joshua Crompton of Old Hall in Stand.

The earliest record of "Parke" as an abode in the Registers of St Mary's, actually dates to July 1612 with the baptism of Dorothea Fletcher, filia (daughter) Thomae Fletcher. Further baptisms and burials of the Fletcher, Smith, Carter, and Scoles families were recorded into the 1640's. In the 1660's, the Masson family also recorded their abode as "Parke" and 1670's the Smith and Holland family did the same, before Nathaniel Crompton makes an appearance with the baptism of his daughter Maria in 1677.

Burial records at St Mary's record James Crompton, gentleman "o'th'Parke, Outwood" died in 1724, his wife Jane died in 1750, and is recorded as a "gentlewoman" living at The Park. The Crompton's had also purchased nearby Prestwich Wood and Thomas of Prestwich Wood died in 1776. Edward Hobson purchased The Park from Thomas's executors in 1781, for £2,150 (£370,000), and it passed through his daughter to the Barron family in 1784. After Mr Barron died in 1798 Robert Philips bought The Park at auction.

Plan of The Park sometime prior to 1833 (the original house is shown over to the west of the stable quadrangle.

Robert was a son of Nathaniel Philips. Nathaniel had taken up residence at "The Dales", Stand, in Whitefield, and along with his brother John, had established the firm of J&N Philips and Co Ltd (of Tean, Staffordshire and Manchester) who were manufacturers of textiles, tapes and smallwares.

The Philips of Tean, Stafford & ManchesterSir George Philips was a first cousin of Mr Robert Philips of Philips park

Francis Phylyppe, a Fleming, had settled in the English county of Staffordshire in the early 16th century. His successors became minor landed gentry in the area.

It is though that John Philips(1695-1777), a 5xgreat grandson of Francis, had a business manufacturing linen tape in Staffordshire, and that it was this enterprise that formed the basis for the steps that would be taken by his sons. In 1747 J&N Philips was formed by the eldest two of John's sons, John (1724–1803) and Nathaniel (1726–1808). Their younger brother Thomas (1701–1782) also joined the business. Thomas and Nathaniel moved to Manchester while the eldest son John remained in rural Staffordshire and gained the title of lord of the manor of Tean and Checkley.

Thomas lived at Sedgley Park Hall in Prestwich, and Nathaniel lived at the Dales - now Stand Golf Club.

The Dales (Now Stand Golf club)

Nathaniel's son, Robert Philips bought a local estate called The Park at Auction, later known as Philips Park.


Manchester became the headquarters of their nationwide merchanting and manufacturing enterprise, and while Nathaniel's younger brother Thomas purchased Sedgley Park Hall (1784), Nathaniel's son, Robert had a new Hall built at The Park, in Pilkington (Whitefield), which the Philips family were to live in until 1948.

Robert was one of the 12 founders of the Manchester Guardian in 1821 (along with his cousin Sir George Philips of Sedgley Park Hall).

Founders of the Manchester Guardian

You can read more about the 12 founders of the Manchester Guardian and their links to the Slave Trade on the Guardian website.

Robert also had links to the slave trade of Brazil, with his partner George William Wood (MP), via their branch of Philips Wood & Co. in Rio de Janeiro, through which they imported raw Cotton, likely picked by slaves. Philips & Wood then produced cotton clothing and shipped the produce back to Brazil, which didn't abolish slavery until 1888.

Philips & Hibbert Families - Pro & Anti Slavery

Nathaniel Philips of the Dales, Whitefield had married Elizabeth Hibbert at St Mary, St Denys and St George (Manchester Cathedral) in 1757. Their son Robert(1760-1849) had bought The Park (now called Philips Park) by auction in 1798. Elizabeth's father Robert Hibbert (1684-1762) of Booth Hall Blackeley, had married Margaret Mills Tetlow (1690-1759) at St Mary's church, Prestwich, in 1708. Their lives are memorialised in the Tower of St Anne's church in Manchester as well as in “Memorials of Stand Chapel” by RT Hereford (1893).

Hibbert memorial

The Hibbert family had been linen drapers involved in the cotton business and rose to prominence through West Indian trade. George Hibbert (1757–1837) was the son of Elizabeth's brother Robert Hibbert (1684-1762) of Booth Hall, and was a leading member of the proslavery lobby, he spoke in Parliament to justify slavery by questioning its inhumanity and citing the Old Testament, which lists various scenarios and rules to which slave owners, and the slaves must adhere.

On the Philips side of the family Mark Philips, grandson of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Philips opposed slavery. Sir George Philips himself, despite having an interest in West India commerce, spoke for ending colonial slavery, and voted (in minority) for condemnation of the Jamaican slave trials of 1823/24 in Parliament in 1826.

Robert Philips passed the estate to his son, Robert Needham Philips after his death in 1844, along with £50,000 - worth £3.6m today.

The Will of Robert Philips 1844

The Philips family had numerous servants over the decades and several are buried in The Churchyard of St Mary's in Prestwich. [ The Philips vault itself is in Stand Unitarian Chapel, Whitefield].

The most notable of these burials is that of Elizabeth Hayne, Head Housemaid who died aged 87,after 68 years of service and friendship to the family.Her sister E. Smith who also served the family for 30 years.

The grave of the Hayne sisters [NS3]

The grave of 3 more servants [B2]

The Park (1891)

The 1909 grave of a faithful servant of J&N Philips [North]<

The grave of a faithful servant of J&N Philips, William Gregory also lies in St Mary's churchyard. The "N" in J&N Philips was Nathaniel, the father of Robert Philips of The Park. William was also church organist for 30 years. In 1830 J&N Philips purchased a Mill in Bolton from Robert Chadwick of High Bank.

The Philips's House was situated on the grassy field of today's Philips Park, and it's stable block remains today in a state of decay, after once being used as a Night Club. The Park had notable gardens, a small token of which remains in front of the dilapidated Orangery, and the ruins of the Hot House in the Woods to the South.

To the South of the Hot House ruins are the restored foundations of the Southern Lodge. While to the North the original (thatched) Park Lodge has been demolished to make way for the M60 motorway, and a later North Lodge was built from the remains of Outwood Lodge, this was home to Robert Philips Son, Mark.

North Lodge<

South Lodge<

West Lodge (beside Kingfisher Lodge - pond)<

Read More about Philips Park History & Development (Sara Gremson, Ian Pringle and Diana Winterbotham,2006)

History of Philips Park

See an album of photos from The Philips Family (Ian Pringle 2009)

Philips Family History

Read an Archaeological Evaluation (Oxford Archaeology North & Bury MBC, 2008)

Philips Park Archaeology

A fireplace and sink (2008)

Archaeological dig

Philips Park Tree Trail

Trees of Philips Park

Philips Nature Reserve

Philips Nature Reserve (2006)

Prestwich Forest Park

Forest Park Leaflet

Bike Trails

Bike trails

Low level Trails (Waterdale & Drinkies)

Low Level Bike trails
Warning: some paths are shared walking/biking some are dedicated for biking, bikers:fix a bell & walkers:stick to the appropriate trail.