History of Pownall Hall School

Grade II* Listed Building

Pownall Hall is a Grade II* listed building and was converted by the brewing magnate Henry Boddington in the late 19th century. The Hall is one of the finest examples of the work of the Century Guild “Arts and Crafts” in the country.

One of the earliest mentions of the estate is the appearance of “Richard de Pounale”, a farmer, in a charter from Edward I’s reign, dated 1297. It is uncertain whether that family took its name from the estate or vice versa, but the name was well established in medieval times.

Richard’s daughter, Margery de Pounale, married Hugh Fytton of Gawsworth in 1328. The house and estate passed by marriage to the Newton family in 1496, when Ellen Fitton married Humphrey Newton, a well-known 16th century lawyer.

A few years after the Restoration of the monarchy, the estate passed to the Worrall family in 1663. It seems that the house was split in the early 18th century with the Worralls living in one third and the Earl of Stamford and Warrington having the rest. The family’s most distinguished member was Captain John Worrall who fought with distinction alongside the Duke of Marlborough at the battle of Malplaquet in 1709. He was described as being “of Pownall, Gent” and he survived until 1760. His descendants remained at Pownall until 1817.

Wilmslow College

The present house dates from 1830, when James Pownall of Liverpool (a descendant of Richard de Pounale) purchased the estate. He had the old house demolished and the current one built as “a red sandstone Georgian house dressed up in the Tudor style”.

After two short-term owners, Henry Boddington, of the Manchester brewing family, bought the estate in 1886 to enable his family to live outside the city, ostensibly to benefit his wife’s health but, no doubt, also to reflect and enhance his own prestige. He added “lots of pretty, small-scale bits of decoration” to the façade.

His most significant contribution was to the interior. His enduring interest in the arts, as well as his role on the City Council, took him to the Exhibition of Navigation and Manufacture in Liverpool in 1886. Here he came across the work of the Century Guild, who he then commissioned to transform the interior “into a showcase for the most up-to-date work of the Arts and Crafts Movement”.

Henry Boddington’s son inherited the estate in 1925 and sold off most of the land in 1929 creating Pownall Park, a desirable residential area.

In 1895 Wilmslow College, a secondary school, was founded by Mr Clarke. It was situated first in what is now the Kenmore Medical Centre, and then on what is now the junction of Alderley Road and Water Lane. His son, Alan P Clarke, took over as Headmaster in 1932 and in 1934 he moved the school to the Pownall Hall and the eight acres that were left surrounding it. It was at this point that the school changed to “Pownall Hall School, a preparatory school for boys for entry to public schools”.

In 1995 the School opened its nursery, and became fully co-educational in 1998.