Betton, also known as Betton under Lyme, Betton in Hales, Bettona and Baitune

In 1256 King Henry III granted the Abbot of Shropshire a licence to hold a weekly market on Thursdays at his manor of Betton. He was also allowed to hold a yearly fair of 4 days, 1 day for the vigil, the day of and the two days following the feast of St Matthew the Apostle [1]. The fair was known as the Black Fair. Some believe the dressed sandstone pillar (70 metres east of Betton House) [2], may relate to this mediaeval fair.

The manor of Betton was gifted to Shrewsbury Abbey by Gerard de Tornaco (Tournay) [3].

During the reign of Henry VIII the following entry was made in the Augmentation Office: Betton under Lyme in Drayton parish £21 13s 5½. From the same authority we learn that the abbot had a bailiff at Betton and Wollerton called Edward Barker who received an annual salary of 23s 4d. The monks were also entitled to claim the tithe of all venison in Shropshire and to furnish their table with fish on fast days, they had a fish pond in Norton and the right of fishery “in the river Tyrne”.

After the dissolution of Shrewsbury Abbey all its possessions were forfeited to the King. On 25th September 1540 Henry VIII granted to Rowland Hill, cloth merchant of London, the Manor of Betton under Lyne (which included Norton), and all lands belonging to the late monastery in Betton, Tunstall, Wollerton, Norton, Little Drayton and all tithes of corn in the manor [4].

The Church (Churche) Family

When Richard Church, who built the well-known Churches Mansion in Natwich died in 1592, his eldest son William Church inherited his father’s Shropshire estates in Betton and his second son Randle inherited the Mansion.

Church’s house in Betton was most likely Betton Old Hall. This house may not have been black and white as work in 2013 uncovered a brick and timber front under the present one (which probably replaced the earlier wattle and daub) [5]. Hall Yard is the name of the field just behind it.

Betton Old Hall

Richard Church (1540 – 1592) and Margery Wright’s children were: 1. William Church (1550 – 1632) married 1st Elizabeth Wright; 2nd, Margaret Broughton. 2. Randle Church b.1551 – his son another Randle was Sargeant-at-Arms to James I in 1634. 3. Isabella Church (1553 – 1585)

In 1609, William Church bought the manor from John Preston and later in 1611 he purchased the manor of Tunstall.

Richard Church, son of William, married Isabel, daughter of Arthur Sandford. Their son Thomas Church (1617 – 1676) was a fellow of Brazenose College, Oxford.

Tuesday 20th May 1645. His Majesty [Charles I] with his army removed from Chatwyn through Drayton, com, Salop and lay a myle farther. Earl of Litchfield &c., at Norton, at a howse sometimes the habitation of Grosvenor now Cotton’s. The King lay at Church, his house in Drayton parish.

Diary of the Marches of the Royal Army During the Great Civil War; Ed. by Richard Symonds

William Church (1679 – 1743), possibly a cousin of Richard Church (1582 -1654), married Mary Aston in 1703. William Church built Tunstall Hall in about 1732 and this became his residence. William and Mary had one son Edward Church and five daughters.

When Edward Church died intestate and unmarried on the 9th October 1780 the estates were divided between his four sisters. 1. Hester b.1704 married Weston Bayley and inherited land in Tyrley 2. Hannah b.1707 married Benjamin Jenks and inherited Walk Mill in Tyrley 3. Mary b.1711 married Lawrence Norcop and inherited property in Nantwich and land in the centre and east of Betton, with Betton Hall as their residence 4. Theodosia (1717 – 1781) married Walter Bracebridge, they had no children and did not inherit any estates as a portion was paid to them during their life. 5. Eleanor b.1725 married the Rev. Peter Broughton and inherited Tunstall Hall and the south part of Betton.

The Norcop and Radford Families

When Lawrence Norcop, of Adderley made the advantageous marriage to Mary Church the Betton estate and Betton Hall became their residence. It was inherited by their son William Church Norcop (1744 – 1822). William Church Norcop married Anne Lowe (d. 1825), daughter of James Lowe Esq of Lowton, co Lancaster, they had one surviving son, William Church Norcop (1783 – 1861) and a daughter Augusta b.1788 who married Alexander Radford of Smalley Hall, Belper, Derbyshire. In 1861 Alexander William Radford Norcop (1811 – 1892), son of Alexander and Augusta, inherited the Betton estate after his uncle’s death.

Betton Hall, a new hall was errected, believed to have been built between 1809 -1811

Betton Hall

Alexander William Radford Norcop (1835 – 1904) then inherited the Betton estate.

The sudden death of Mr. Alexander William Radford Norcop of Betton Hall, Shropshire, the last descendant of an old country family and owner of several mansions and large estates in Shropshire and Cheshire, was the subject of a coroner’s inquiry yesterday. The evidence showed that the deceased gentleman, who was of a most reserved demeanor, was found dead in his bedroom by his footman, who after endeavouring to awaken his master on Saturday morning, effected an entrance through the dressing-room window. Deceased, although in indifferent health, never appeared to have been medically attended. A verdict of death from natural causes, probably heart disease, was returned.

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Tuesday 1st March 1904

In 1904, John Radford Norcop (1877 – 1959), a grandson of John Radford inherited the Betton estate.

Betton Hall – Postcard dated 1907

In 1928 Edward Heathcote was living at Betton Hall.

Intrestingly in 1930 the owner of Churches Mansion purchased the orginal cupboard made for Richard and Margery Church, from the sale of contents of Betton Hall on 25th September 1952. This cupboard was probably removed from Nantwich in 1592, it remained in the family through to Alexander William Radford-Norcop, who sold it to the Comptons of Betton Hall during World War II [6].

Betton Hall

[1] Henry III Charter 1256
[2] Betton, Market Drayton (SJ69193692) Possible standing stone of probable Bronze Age date. A dressed sandstone pillar with a dowel hole 0.1m diameter and 0.1m deep in the top. The stone is roughly square in plan, 2m high x 0.5m diameter.
[3] N.L.W., Shrews. Cart. no. 35
[4] Patent 32 Henry VIII, pars, 3, me 16
[5] Bill Page, p78, Market Drayton in 1851
[6] Bonhams, Lot 123, The Churche's Mansion Cupboard: An important Elizabeth I carved oak press cupboard, circa 1577