Old Roads and Footpaths of Old Chorlton

As documented in 1910

The village is intersected and surrounded by roads which closely resemble each other, running in various directions. The principal road to Manchester was formerly by way of the Black Lane (Ivygreen Road) near the old Church, past the pit called Sally's Hole - rumour says that a women of that name having been drowned there thence under the aqueduct to Chester Road at Stretford, which is the oldest road out of Manchester. A second was along the Manchester Road to "The Flash," or "West Point" as it is now called, thence along Trafford Lane, now Seymour Grove; but this was formerly nothing more than an old lane or rough cart road, with deep ditches at each side, overshadowed by trees, and used chiefly by the farmers and foot-passengers of the village. Mr. Waugh, in his interesting "Roads Out of Manchester," says that before the year 1760 it is more than probable that the only road leading into Cheshire from the south end of Deansgate was through Hulme by way of Old Trafford Hall on to Chorlton-cum-Hardy.

The third road is situated at the eastern end of the village via Sandy Lane, passing Sandy Brow, Moss Cottages, and Dog House Farm, thence through the townships of Moss Side and Hulme to City Road, Chester Road. It was formerly known by the name of Moss Lane, and was nothing more than a country lane. It is probable that this would be one of the highroads'to Withington and Didsbury in addition to Oxford Road.

Upper Chorlton Road, from West Point to Brooks’s Bar, or Brooks's Road, as it is better known, was formed by the late Mr. Samuel Brooks in the year 1838 to give access to his residence, Whalley house.

The Moss Side Estate was purchased by Mr. Brooks in the year 1836, and called Whalley Range, in remembrance of his native place, the land at that time being moor land and here and there swampy; but its original character was clearly discovered when the Independent College was built, peat being then uncovered, with the accustomed white relics of ancient birch trees.

A century ago this estate was known as Jackson's Moss, and was sold at Seven Shillings and Six Pence (37½ New Pence) per acre.

There formerly existed a footpath from West Point to Brooks’s Bar as a means of communication between Hulme and the village, along which a brook ran, afterwards arched over and utilised by Mr. Brooks as a main sewer for his property, which he drained into the watercourse called Black Brook. The brook frequently flooded the footpath during heavy rain, and old William Hesketh, who lived at the Pop Cottage, was often awakened at night by the cries of travellers for help and guidance through the water. Amongst these was sometimes the Wesleyan minister, who had been to the village to preach. Wilbraham Road was formed some twenty-five years ago by the late Lord Egerton, father of the present Earl. It extends from Wilmslow Road at Fallowfield to Edge Lane. A main sewer runs along the road to within a short distance of the railway bridge at Chorlton station, and then passes through the fields to Barlow Moor Lane, adjoining Lane Edge, crossing High Lane, Cross Road, and Beech Road, thence through various gardens, finally emptying itself into the Chorlton Brook at a point about 200 yards below the bridge which crosses the stream leading to Jackson's boat.

The footpath leading from Beech Road to High Lane is known as "The Acre," (Acres Road) and is so called from the fields formerly bounded by such footpath - High Lane, Barlow Moor Lane, and Beech Road - being one Lancashire acre in extent. A polluted ditch runs the length of the footpath, which empties itself into the sewer in High Lane, and the footpath was made by means of covering the ditch with flags, &c., and placing thereon a coating of earth and cinders.

The footpath, which formerly ran from High Lane to Manchester Road, was called by two names. The portion from High Lane to the curve was known as the "Scotshill" or "Scotchill," taking its name from a field adjoining, where a portion of the Scotch rebels encamped on the 30th November 1745, on their march from Manchester to Derby. It is said that the villagers had a fight with the rebels, and this is no doubt true, as they plundered every place they marched through for arms, ammunition, &c.

On leaving the village they marched by way of Barlow Moor Lane and Hardy Lane to Jackson's Boat, crossing the river by the ford which formerly existed about 150 yards below the bridge as a means of communication between the two counties, other detachments crossing at various fords on the river and by improvised bridges. The upper portion of the old footpath just mentioned was known as the "Winnick," from a field adjoining being called by that name; and from the centre there was formerly a narrow footpath leading to the new buildings, but this was closed shortly after the completion of Wilbraham Road. The upper portion of Whitelow Road now supplants the old footpath.

Copyright © 2008 Anthony F Walker
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