What were thought to be fragments of Roman pottery tiles were found in Hale Barns in the 1880s near the site of what is now St Ambrose College. The artefacts were lost before their antiquity could be confirmed, but led local historian W. Thompson Wakin to suggest there was probably a Roman villa in the area.
The first reference to Hale is contained within the Domesday Book, at the time 'Hale Barns' was just an outlying hamlet contained within the manor of Hale. According to the Domesday Book, the manor of Hale was owned by a Saxon thegn Aelfward, who was replaced by the Norman, Hamon de Massey who also gained possession of Dunham and Bowdon and would remain barons of the area until the 14th century. The manor was considered prosperous in comparison to other manors in the north west of England.
The settlements of Hale and Hale Barns are closely linked; what would later become Hale Barns spent most of the medieval period as an extension of the more dominant Hale. During this era the land around Hale and Hale Barns was used agriculturally because although the soil is poor draining, it is fertile. By the middle of the 15th century Hale Barns had established an identity completely separate from neighbouring Hale as demonstrated by the tithe barn which was established around this time. The tithe barn was for storing the tithes – a tenth of the farm's produce which was to be given to the church. Such an establishment can be seen as a sign of the area's prosperity. The original barn no longer survives but there is a drawing of it (from 1844). It is the source of the village's name. The first explicit reference to the village of Hale Barns – rather than Hale – is in a document from 1616.
The English Civil War affected all of England; even families were split over Royalist or Parliamentarian loyalties. Little is recorded over the divisions within Hale Barns, but Hale and Hale Barns did emerge from the Civil War more or less untouched by events – though there was a heavy tax to pay to support the Parliamentarian army they avoided much of the requisitioning of supplies and animals for passing armies. None of the Royalists in Hale and Hale Barns had their lands confiscated or was forced to pay fines.
Having long been agricultural land, in the 18th century the town was divided up into five farms: Tanyard, Partington, Oakfield, Broadoak, and Elm. Hale Chapel was established in Hale Barns by Nonconformists in 1723 on what is now Chapel Lane. It underwent alterations around 1880. The chapel is the earliest place of worship in either Hale or Hale Barns and is a Grade II* listed building, one of only nine in Trafford. It also houses an eighteenth-century pulpit and nineteenth-century stained glass. In 1740, a school was founded by the Unitarian minister of Hale – a time when education was a rare commodity – and can be seen on a map of 1800 along with a tithe barn, two inns, five farms, four cottages, the school house and school rooms.
In the late 19th century a building called "Manor House" was built on the site of the old Tanyard farm, for the purpose of the owner's retirement. In 2006 a timber-framed barn built around 1701 – originally belonging to the Tanyard Farm and later converted to stables for Manor House – was torn down due to lack of funds to maintain the building. The Grade II listed building – known as "Manor House Stables" – was the last timber-framed building in Hale Barns.
During the 20th century, urbanisation affected Hale Barns, turning the place from an agricultural village into the commuter settlement it is today, focused around 'The Square' – a shopping precinct. Its main A538 road – Hale Road – runs through the centre of Hale Barns and leads towards Manchester Airport and Wilmslow.
The name Hale, which occurs throughout Britain, derives from the Anglo-Saxon halh meaning a nook or shelter, as supported by the surrounding area which has natural features that would provide shelter. The 'Barns' element of Hale Barns comes from the Old Tithe Barn.
Hale Barns is part of Trafford Metropolitan Borough of Greater Manchester. Up until local government reforms in 1974, Hale Barns formed part of the administrative county of Cheshire. The Hale Barns ward has three out of sixty-three seats on Trafford Council, and at the 2012 local election all three seats were held by the Conservatives. Since 1997, Hale Barns has formed part of the Altrincham and Sale West Constituency, before that it was encompassed by the Altrincham and Sale constituency. Since the formation of the Altrincham and Sale West constituency in 1997 it had been represented in the House of Commons by the Conservative MP, Graham Brady.
Hale Barns is located at 53°22′3.36″N 2°19′4.8″W (53.3676, −2.318), 12 miles (19 km) to the south of Manchester city centre. It is just east of Hale and south east of Altrincham. The town is bounded by the River Bollin to the south, the M56 to the east and the residential areas of Altrincham to the west and Newhall Green to the north. The ward profile produced by Trafford MBC describes its location and economic nature as follows.
"Hale Barns lies at the southern tip of the Borough (of Trafford) ... The Ward contains a large amount of agricultural land including two private golf courses. There is also a number of private sports clubs within the Ward providing facilities for tennis, bowling and football. It is generally considered to be an affluent Ward in the top 10% wealthiest areas in England."
— Trafford MBC 2006
The climate of Hale Barns – and Greater Manchester as a whole – is generally temperate, with few extremes of temperature or weather. The mean temperature is slightly above average for the United Kingdom; whereas annual rainfall and average amount of sunshine is slightly below the average for the UK.
At the 2001 UK census, the village of Hale Barns had a total population of 9,143 and 3732 households. Of those households, 44% were married couples living together, 5% were co-habiting couples and 6% were lone parents. The town had a high percentage of households made up of married couples (44%) compared to the figure for the rest of Trafford (37%) and England (also 37%). The average household size was 2.45. For every 100 females, there were 93.9 males.
The ethnicity of the Hale Barns is 91.9% white, 1.1% mixed race, 0.4% black, 5.4% non-Chinese Asian, and 1.2% Chinese. The age distribution was 6% aged 0–4 years, 15% aged 5–15 years, 4% aged 16–19 years, 27% aged 20–44 years, 27% aged 45–64 years and 22% aged 65 years and over. The town had a high percentage of residents over 65, compared with the national average of 16%.
The Trafford MBC Ward Profile for the Hale Barns ward describes it as being
"Diverse in nature and home to a large Jewish and Muslim community groups."
– Trafford MBC 2006
According to the 2001 census, the religious make up of Hale Barns is 70.4% Christian, 7.9% Jewish, 4.1% Muslim, 1.5% Hindu, 0.3% Buddhist and 0.1% Sikh. 9.5% were recorded as having no religion, 0.1% had an alternative religion and 6.2% did not state their religion. Hale Barns is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shrewsbury. and the Church of England Diocese of Chester. Places of worship include Holy Angels' Church a large Roman Catholic Church linked to St Ambrose College which is situated in Wicker Lane at the junction with Hale Road at the western end of the village centre; All Saints' Church belongs to the Church of England and was built 1967 on the site. Hale and District Synagogue serves Hale and Hale Barns and is situated on Shay Lane in Hale Barns. It was rebuilt on its previous site in 2003; the modern structure has a synagogue, nursery, function suite and dedicated study room Beit HaMidrash. It is also the site of the South Manchester Mikveh with a utensil mikveh that is adjuncted to the main mikveh building.
Because of its small size, Hale Barns has few schools. Amongst them are St Ambrose College which provides education for 11- to 18-year-olds and Elmridge Primary.Primary schools
Elmridge Primary School is a co-educational day school. It had 240 pupils in the 2011/12 school year.Secondary schools
St. Ambrose College is a Catholic Boy's Secondary School situated adjacent to Holy Angels Church and Hale Road, near the centre of Hale Barns village. The Christian Brothers came to England from Guernsey during the Second World War and remained to establish the college in 1946. The college celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006. The school is a specialist Maths and Computing College.
In 2005 around 800 pupils attended the school. The College was awarded funding in the summer of 2006 for rebuilding on the current site as part of the Building Schools for the Future Programme. In 2006, 98.3% of pupils achieved at least 5 A*-C grades at GCSE compared to an average of 66.7% for all secondary schools in Trafford and a national UK average of 61.3%; 97.5% of its pupils gained at least 5 A*-C grades at GCSE including English and maths, ranking the school 4th out of Trafford's 19 secondary schools.
In December 2012, the college was implicated in a child sex abuse case involving teaching staff carrying out alleged acts of abuse both on and off school grounds, although no current staff are said to be involved. More than fifty former pupils contacted police, either as victims of, or witnesses to, sexual abuse. The alleged sexual abuse, including molestation of children while corporal punishment was administered, stemmed from 1962 onwards and continued over four decades.
According to Trafford MBC, Hale Barns is in the top 10% wealthiest areas in England. At the 2001 UK census, the Hale Barns ward had a possible workforce of approximately 6,449 people. The economic activity of residents in the Hale Barns electoral ward was 36% in full-time employment, 12% in part-time employment, 28% self-employed, 1.5% unemployed, 1.7% students with jobs, 4.7% students without jobs, 18.7% retired, 7.3% looking after home or family, 2.6% permanently sick or disabled and 2.2% economically inactive for other reasons. Hale Barns has a very high rate of self-employment (28%) compared with rest of Trafford (16%) and England (17%). Hale Barns also has low rates of unemployment (1.5%) compared with Trafford (2.7%) and England (3.3%). The Office for National Statistics estimated that during the period of April 2001 to March 2002 the average gross weekly income of households in Hale Barns was £660 (£34,320 per year).
According to the 2001 UK census, the industry of employment of residents in Hale Barns was 22.9% property and business services, 15.7% retail and wholesale, 12.1% health and social work, 11.0% manufacturing, 9.4% education, 6.8% transport and communications, 4.7% finance, 4.5% construction, 3.9% hotels and restaurants, 3.2% public administration and defence, 0.6% energy and water supply, 0.5% agriculture, and 4.6% other. This was roughly in line with national figures, except for the town's relatively high percentage of workers in property and business services.
A shopping centre was built in Hale Barns in the 1960s called "The Square Shopping Centre". The site was being considered for redevelopment and proposals were subjected to consultation in 2005. In 2007 the Council and Developer participated in a Planning Inquiry after the council refused planning permission for the proposed redevelopment. However, in 2013, the council agreed, and the new shopping Centre, containing a Booths and a Costa Coffee, is now open.
There are a number of private sports clubs within the Hale Barns providing facilities for tennis, bowling and football. This includes the home of Hale Barns Cricket Club.Halecroft Park
Halecroft Park is near the centre of Hale Barns and was crowned North West region winner in the prestigious 'Britain's Best Park' competition. Designed by Edgar Wood, the ornamental gardens of Halecroft Park were created in 1891 as part of Halecroft House. The park was winner of the Green Flag Award 3 years running (2003–2006) for setting a standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales.The Tennis Club Hale Barns
Private members tennis club with 5 astroturf courts, one floodlit, established in 1924 at The Pavilion, Chapel Lane.Ringway Golf Club
Covering 18 holes and 6,482 yards, Ringway Golf Club was designed by Harry Colt in 1909 and further developed by James Braid.Cotteril Clough
Cotteril Clough is a Site of Special Scientific Interest situated close to the River Bollin. It has been designated due to its ancient woodland which is among the most diverse in Greater Manchester. It is managed by the Cheshire Wildlife Trust.