South Manchester Gazette 1885-1888
A series of articles’ on the history of Chorlton-cum-Hardy
By T. L. Ellwood.

Ancient Wood and Plaster Dwellings

     The old mode of building was by constructing a timber frame-work and filling it up with what was called “raddle and daub” or “wattle and daub”. In such buildings the horizontal beams were grooved to admit the wicker, wattle, or raddling work of splints or rods of wood, etc, with pliants rods or twigs interwoven as in baskets-work. The walls were then made solid and airtight by being plastered inside and out with daub or tempered clay, mixed with gravel and cut or chopped hay, straw or rushes as most convenient, these being used, are as bristles or horse-hair in mortar at the present day, to bind the daub together. The last of these memorials of by-gone days was demolished about 1883. It was known as Hyme’s Cottage and formerly a farmstead, the houses adjoining being used as the farm buildings in connection with it. In 1830 there were about fifty houses of this class standing, but of a more ancient character and in a far more dilapidated condition than those left. Briefly I will refer to the exact spot where some of these dwelling stood. 

    Two were situated where Stockton Range now stands, which was one of the most lovely spots in the village called “Pits Brow Cottages” or “The Glass Houses” and was occupied by John Kenyon and afterwards by William Chesshyre, father of the present race of Chesshyres. During certain alteration which were being made to the roof of the cottages some years previous to their demolition, half a dozen coins were found in the thatch, of the reigns of Charles II, James II, and Queen Anne, these are now in the possession of one of the Chesshyre family. The land on which the present Wesleyan Church is erected was formerly occupied by the cottage of Christopher Dean, a peculiar old Bachelor, and a little higher up, opposite the Lloyd’s Hotel, was one of these cottages occupied by Thomas Holland, afterwards tenant of Brook Farm. At the corner of Wilbraham Road and Oswald Road stood another cottage occupied by John Beswick, followed with Ash Tree Cottage. This cottage was so called from a fine Ash Tree which stood in the centre of Manchester Road, at the foot of which a man used to engage in prayer at a certain hour of the day.
On the present site of Miss Gresty’s House was one of these cottages occupied by Richard Helsby, another opposite the finger-post, called Martledge Cottage, occupied by James Renshaw, and subsequently by his son Charles. Continuing along Manchester Road, one stood on the site of the Pop Cottage, taken down in the year 1879 for the diversion of the road in connection with the railway. This was occupied by William Hesketh, and afterwards by his son Samuel, Being the cottage where the well-known Betty Bates was born, her maiden name was Hesketh. The cottage will long be remembered by the sign “Prime Pop and Nettle Beer – Always ripe and ready here. If all the pop was like mine, it would be drunk instead of wine.

   To return towards the village, another of these buildings stood on the site of the late Priory, occupied by Helen Heywood, purchased about 1805 by the Rev John Morton, D.D. A former rector of Chorlton, for the purpose of erecting a house thereon, which he occupied until his death on the 27th December 1842. It was then purchased and enlarged by Mr Charles Clarke, J.P., who resided there for a number of years, after which it was purchased by Mr J.C. Needham, by whom very extensive alterations and additions were made. This house was demolished and cottage property built over the estate.
At the corner of Lane End (Junction of Barlow Moor Road and High Lane) in a field adjoining the Congregational Schools, was a cottage occupied by Caleb Joddrel. On site of the house recently occupied William Gresty in Sandy Lane was one tenanted by James Williamson, and still further up, on the site of William Lunt’s house, was another occupied by his father and grandfather. At the bottom of Lunts garden two more stood, which were in the occupation of the Kenyon family for a number of years. A large antiquated, old thatched farmstead was situated on the site of Mr Richardson’s farmhouse, off Hardy Lane, which was in the occupation of the Lunt family for a generation.
On the left hand side of the gate leading to John Langford’s house in Beech Road, adjoining the roadside was one occupied by Joseph Baguley, and afterwards by his son Thomas. This name can be traced back, along with the Langfords, to the year 1598, when the exclusive rights of digging marle clods and turves on Chowerton Moor was asserted by Nicholas Langforde, who, by an action at Lancaster, sought to protect himself against William Barlowe, James Brownhill, Laurence Baguley, Edmund Hunte, Richard Chorlton, who claimed participation. A very ancient looking cottage stood behind the house of the Baileys, occupied by Margaret Renshaw, and afterwards by her son John, who took a deep interest in the church Sunday School. A little lower down, on the opposite side, stood “ Sutton’s Cottages”, pulled down in July 1891. A little farther two more stood in a very dilapidated condition, occupied by William Gresty and George Sadler, and twenty yards farther two others, one being occupied by Shadrach Robinson, a Blind Man who was led about the village, and the other by James Renshaw as a day school.

   On the spot where Joel View now stands (Demolished 1979) was a cottage occupied by the last named person, (Known as the Village School Master), and on the site of the house on the easterly side of the old Wesleyan Chapel were two in the occupation of Thomas Hudson and John Renshaw respectively. Two others adjoined the Trevor Arms, in the occupation of Ellen Warburton and Mary Crowther, afterwards by John Moores, father of the present race of Moores. Some few years after the demolition of the cottages, whilst the land was being dug, for garden purposes, by John Cookson, John Warburton, and a youth named Thomas Denson, all of whom have passed to the Majority, the latter found and earthen ware jar containing 1,080 coins, principally of the reigns Queen Elizabeth and James I. The government paid £16.00 for a large quantity, and the remainder were distributed or sold to the inhabitants of the village.

On the site of the National Schools was a house occupied by John Johnson, close to which was another occupied by James Bythel. Behind the schools was one occupied by Ralph Bradbury, afterwards by his son James, father to the present Mr Thomas Bradbury of High Lane, and adjoining was another occupied by James Baguley, commonly called Colonel Baguley, a noted Wesleyan in his day, said to be the first Methodist in the village. On the site of the house overlooking the churchyard on the westerly side was one in the occupation of Thomas Gresty. The house now in the occupation of William Langford, in St Clements Road, was formerly thatched, being in the occupation of Henry Dean, and a little nearer the New St Clements Church one stood occupied by James Moores and afterwards by his son William, but this dwelling was pulled down years ago, being then in the occupation of William Langford.

                                                  Modern Houses Circa 1886

       We come now to notice houses of a more modern character than those mentioned in our last paper.

The first houses erected in this class were two known as Joel View, situated in Beech Road built in 1859. (Demolished 1997) These were followed by Stockton Range,


STOCKTON RANGE at the Junction of Edge Lane and Manchester Road

situated in Edge Lane, at the corner of Manchester Road, erected in the year 1860, by the late George Whitelegg. Excepting the present Rectory, there were no other houses at that time in Edge Lane to the boundary of the township at Turn Moss. At the corner of the road leading to Turn Moss, a hay shed formerly stood, which rumour said was haunted, and before the building was pulled down, there were old inhabitants of Stretford and Chorlton, but more especially of the former township, who would not pass the spot after dusk.
The next houses erected were two in High Lane known as Denbigh Villas,

DENBIGH VILLAS High Lane. Once was a Private School

 two in St Clements Road, known as Lily Bank, and four in Lloyd Street, now Whitelow Road, the latter being erected by the late William Griffith.
Building now commenced in various parts of the village, and continued for several years without intermission, when operations almost entirely ceased through the great depression in trade, and the panic which existed amongst building societies. Since, however, the opening of the railway communication with the neighbouring city (Manchester), houses have been erected with great rapidity in the neighbourhood of the Railway Station. (opened 1880)

   The village has now become a sort of “West End” to Manchester, although situated due south from the city; countless villa residences with greenhouses, lawns and gardens, having sprung up, around, and in place of the ancient wood and plaster dwellings which of yore existed. No doubt, this is a consequence of the reputed salubrity of the atmosphere of the atmosphere, especially attributed to the fact of the landowners prohibiting the erection of factories, or the carrying on of any description of works, so objectionable on the north and east sides of Manchester.

   One of the principal residences at present in the village is Beech House, the property as well as the residence of Mr. John Holt, whose father and grandfather dwelt there. The entrance to it is in Beech Road. The name of the house and the road is derived from the fact that in front of the house a fine large and very handsome copper beech tree is growing, whose branches overspread a considerable portion of the road. The grounds which surround the house extend from Beech Road to High Lane, being bounded by Barlow Moor Road on the easterly side. Mr Holt’s father and grandfather were partners in the old firm of Holt, Birch and Holt, engravers to calico printers, whose place of business was near the first Theatre Royal of Manchester.

The first shop I have been able to trace was one kept by Ellen Bythel, in an old wood and plaster house, behind the National Schools. (Chorlton Green). She sold groceries and provisions, but her chief business was in bread, for which she had a great name amongst the inhabitants of the village.
The cottage now occupied by Miss Wilton, adjoining the Horse and Jockey, was formerly a shop, the business being conducted by William Pennington, and afterwards by Mary Wilton and Mary Lewis.
   Ivy Cottage, at lane end which is the corner of High Lane and Barlow Moor Rd was built by Jeremiah Brundrett some sixty years ago (about 1805) and was conducted as a general provision shop by members of that family for many years.
Amongst other shops may be mentioned one kept by Ellen Heywood, at New Buildings, another by Thomas Birkett, adjoining the Horse and Jockey, and one by the late Joseph Brundrett, at Lane End (now continued by his widow) and lastly the old-established sweet shop of Betty Bates.
   In 1840 the village could only boast of four shops, but at the present time (1864) there are over thirty of various kinds to supply the wants of the inhabitants, besides several in course of erection. At five of these shops intoxicating liquors are sold, either on or off the premises, making a total with the seven public houses of twelve places where liquors can be obtained. As the population at the present time (1864) is estimated at 3270, this makes one place where excisable liquors are sold for every 272 of the inhabitants, including old and young, without taking note of the two clubs.

Before the erection of the National Schools in 1817, a day school was conducted in Beech Road by an old bachelor named James Renshaw, generally known as “The Village Schoolmaster”. He had only one leg, the other having been amputated on account of a white swelling in the knee. He was, nevertheless, a gifted personage, and was looked up to by the inhabitants of the village for advice on every subject, whether of law, medicine or science.
In discipline he was strict to severity, especially with scholars not in his favour. He would strike the boys on the head with his cane and apply cobwebs to stop the bleeding. The late William Rhodes having on one occasion inadvertently laid his hand upon the desk while standing at lessons, Renshaw struck it with an open penknife, and almost cut off the end of the fingers.
   Renshaw resided in a thatched cottage, which stood on the site of Joel View, and every morning it was the custom for one of the boys to bring his breakfast, which consisted of a quart jug of oatmeal porridge and milk. Opposite the school there was a sheet of water called Blomeley’s Fish Pond, extending from Bradley’s shop to Sutton’s Cottages, and across the centre of this water was a bridge leading to the fields. One morning the boys decided to throw the jug into this pond, and bury the spoon, and Charles Brundrett, of Oak House Farm, who was a scholar at that time, was deputed to undertake the business. During his absence someone “split” to the schoolmaster, who rushed out of school with the intention of saving his jug and spoon: but too late, as the deed had been done. The other scholars, taking advantage of his absence, locked the old man out, and refused to re admit him without the promise of a holiday. Whenever they wanted a holiday, it was, in fact, the habit to lock the master out, or to hide his pipe and tobacco. Renshaw occupied the greater portion of his spare moments in making and cutting quill pens.

   A school for boys and girls used to be conducted at Clough Farm, Barlow Moor road, by Miss Taylor: Miss Gunson carried on a similar school in High Lane, and Mrs Zinks a boarding school for young ladies at Row House, in Beech road, continued by Mrs Mary Brundrett as a school for little children, some time afterwards.
The Misses Howarth had a first class school for young ladies at Brook Cottage, and the Misses Woodcock one in Whitelow road, some fifteen years ago.
There are at present numerous private schools in our village, the most important being the Chorlton High School, in High lane, under the charge of Mr Robert Davies, formerly the second master at the Commercial Schools, Stretford road. The school was built by Mr Davies, and opened by him in July, 1872, with seven pupils under the title Chorlton Commercial Schools, the name being altered in 1874 to Chorlton High Schools. The girls’ school was opened in 1873; and the year following the residence adjoining was built, and half-an-acre of land purchased for a playground.
Mr George Poskitt has recently opened a school in Edge lane, which bids fair promise of success.

Transcribed and Edited By: Anthony F Walker.

                                                     Updated: 13/07/2009
                                      Copyright © 2003 Anthony F Walker
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