The Old Hall, as it is refered to in the Parish Minutes, was situated to the west of Upton, off the old turnpike road which ran from Chester to Liverpool, now the Liverpool Road. The house lay in a slight hollow and commanded a -fine view of the Welsh Hills from the dining room window.
In 1840 the Chester and Birkenhead Railway was cut across its drive. We have no record of its age, nor of any building that might have been there previously. We are told that a very much earlier Upton Hall was situated off Upton Lane. The first mention we have found of Upton Hall is in a map of Saxton's dated 1577. It is marked in several maps of the sixteenth century also.
It was a large brick building which appeared to be of Elizabethan structure, with interesting old mullioned windows. We have been assured by a lady who lived there that there was once an underground passage leading from the Hall and that it was blocked up in the middle part of the nineteenth century by her grandfather, Thomas Ithell. This passage was supposed to connect the Hall with Chester Cathedral.
Together with the manor of Upton it was owned by R. Spencer in the 1570s, and soon afterwards came into' the possession of the Brock family who lived there from Queen Elizabeth's reign until the early eighteenth century. They were the owners during the turbulent times of the Civil War when the Hall was garrisoned by Brereton during the siege of Chester, and Roundhead troops and horses were stationed in the courtyard. Cromwell is thought to have stayed at a residence in Little Mollington and to have visited the Hall. while his troops were there.
As the male line died out in 1734 the Hall became the property of Elizabeth Egerton (nee Brock) and so passed into the hands of the Egertons, later the Grey-Egertons of Oulton. During this time it was let to various tenants. From 1820 until 1925 the Hall was tenanted and the land farmed by the Ithell family.
Ithell is an old Cheshire name and occurs in a list of Cheshire Archers in the reign of Henry V as John ap Ith(ell). At the end of the thirteenth century a Sheriff of Chester was named Robert Ythel. The Ithells of Upton claim to have lived here for several hundred years and to have farmed under the Egerton family for many generations.
Records in the Parish Registers of St. Mary's-On-the-Hill, and in the old Vestry Minutes book 1741-1895 have many references to this family. The Vestry Minutes also show how from father to son they served the Parish well as overseers of the poor, parish constables and waywards of the township of Upton. Indeed on the first page in the book is the account of the charge for the poor of the Township of Upton of John Ithell, overseer, dated May 1741. Since 1894 too, an Ithell has served on Parish and Rural District Councils until the 1940s.
About 1820 Thomas Ithell removed from an ancient farmhouse nearby to Upton Hall. He lived there during the greater part of the nineteenth century until he died in 1876 at the advanced age of 99 years 9 months.
He was succeeded by one son, and then by the son of another son - Mr. Richard Ithell. The last named was the tenant from 2nd February, 1890, until he gave up possession on 2nd February, 1925, when he retired to his own house, Manor House, Upton.
Mr. Richard Ithell held the Hall under the last owner. Sir Philip Henry Brian Grey-Egerton. He, Mr. Ithell, was the oldest tenant on the estate at the time of the Silver Wedding celebrations of Sir Philip and Lady Grey-Egerton. These were held at Oulton Park and representatives of the tenantry of Upton were present. Their gift, a handsome silver cake basket of George III period, was presented by Mr. Richard Ithell. The goodwill and fellowship between the house of Egerton and the tenants was stressed. Sir Philip was called "one of the finest landlords in England" and "the ideal country squire." In reply Sir Philip mentioned that one notable feature of the Egerton estate was the "family" tradition whereby one generation succeeded another as tenants. One of the most striking examples of this was provided by the Ithell family, who have been associated with the estate for about four hundred years.
Mr. R. Ithell, who died In 1947, Is remembered by all except the newest Inhabitants of the village. He was a member of the Parish Council and the old Highway Board and District Council for over fifty years.
There Is a descendant of the family living In Upton, now, a daughter, Mrs. F. Morris, and another, Miss Ithell, who is an old member of our Women's Institute, living In Chester.
From 1925 until 1933 the Hall was tenanted by Mr. A. Hinde who still farms in the neighbourhood.
Our former manor house was demolished in 1933, when the Cheshire County Council purchased the land for the Mental Hospital.