Crimble Hall

Up until quite recently, The Crimble had been a restaurant near Bamford offering fine dining to
many wanting something just outside the town, but how many would have known of it’s history
beginning with the Fenton family ? The Fentons could trace their origins to the 16 th century, making
their fortunes in the banking, agricultural and manufacturing businesses, particularly flannel and
blanket-ware, building mills on the banks of the Roch and cottages for over three hundred workers.
Crimble Hall was built in 1810 by the father of John Fenton, John being Rochdale’s first MP and the
hall staying within the larger Fenton family for eighty years. In the years until 1841, John Fenton,
when he wasn’t in Westminster or managing the various business interests, lived the life of a
country squire on the Crimble estate near Bamford. Although John and his brother shared a
£400,000 fortune when their father died in 1840 he was ‘homely in his habits’, digging the fields with
his workmen and trimming the hedges at Crimble Hall. The hall stayed with the close family until
1878 on John Fenton’s death, with Hannah Fenton running the estate for many years. Thereafter it
was taken over by Vernon Armitage of Pendleton who had married into the Fenton family. As an
indicator of the value of Crimble Hall, it was valued, in 1880 at £12,300. However, by 1880 the
Fenton mills were a failing concern because of the cotton famine as well as due to family disputes
and creditors were brought in to sell off the estate including the hall.
The house passed through many hands after that, initially – in 1892 – being purchased by the Baron
brothers of Rochdale, William and James – who saw fit to divide Crimble Hall into halves. This
remained the state of the building until 1913 when the hall was bought by Colonel Hartley who
reversed the divisions established by the Baron families and restored it (by 1919) to its original
architectural structure. For almost four decades the house remained with the Hartley’s until it
proved too large a concern to run by the ageing colonel, the building and its grounds going on the
market in 1957. The last owner-occupiers to purchase Crimble Hall were the Gartside family, but
they sold the hall again in the 1960’s, the new owners turning it into a hotel and restaurant. Since
the restaurant’s heyday in the later years of the 20 th century the fortunes have been variable. It
abruptly closed its doors in April 2019 and went into liquidation soon after, remaining shut ever
since. However, in 2021 there were plans lodged with Rochdale Council to convert the historic
building into a ‘large five-bedroom family home,’ thereby returning it to its original use.