I have come rather late to the discussion about the Ratcliffe family. I may be able to provide some more information. My grandfather, born in 1884, was the illegitimate offspring of a relationship between one of the Ratcliffe family then living at Birch Hall, Rusholme, Manchester, and my great grandmother, who was in service there. When the pregnancy was discovered she had to leave. My grandfather was called William Newton. He died in 1946, having married Gertrude Gee in 1908(they had five children, one of whom, my father Charles Henry, born 1920, is still alive.
We were always told that my great grandfather was one Charles Ratcliffe and that he died young after a riding accident. However back in the 1960s my Aunt went over to Levenshulme (I think) and met one of the surviving Ratcliffes. She learned that Charles had indeed met with a riding accident - but that he had survived and died in retirement. Perhaps the story about his 'death' was a convenient lie.
Do you know what happened to this Ratcliffe family? And where it came from, in terms of occupation and location?Birch Hall was taken down in the 1920s and (I am told) re-erected somewhere in the USA. Manchester Grammar School was built on the site in 1931.