This page covers not just Street Lane, as it is called today, but also Tarporley Road and the tracks off it.
Grimsditch Coachman’s Cottage (now demolished)
The Lodge of Grimsditch Hall was built between just after 1871 and is shown on the 1881 map below. In 1881 George Keen and his family were living at the Lodge where George was working as a coachman. He stayed until 1891 but had moved away shortly afterwards.
In 1901 George Davies a 31 year old married man from Seven Oaks was a working as a coachman and gardener for the Rumney family at Grimsditch Hall. Frederick Simpson, who was born in Stretton, followed in 1911. He had previously been living up the road in Norcott Brook working as a carter on a farm. Frederick and family moved to Chapel Lane in 1939 and were followed by Mr and Mrs Whitburn. In the 1950s the road was widened and the Lodge was demolished.
Village Farm (Weedall’s Farm)
Thomas Massey was farming at the Village Farm until his death in 1779 with Sir John Chetwode owning the land. His widow continued for some time before she retired to Hatton around 1805. The farm was then managed by his wife’s niece and her husband, Thomas Weedall, the landowner remaining the same. Thomas Weedall’s son, William, followed and he was born in Lower Whitley in 1800 and first recorded at the farm in the electoral register of 1834.
William Weedall married Ann Orford in Warrington and the couple had five children: four daughters and a son, Henry. In 1871 William had retired to Stockton Heath and Henry took over the farm. Henry died in 1884 leaving a widow Martha but no children. William’s eldest daughter, Mary Ann, married Joseph Cliffe from Whitley Hall. She died in the same year as her elder brother. The following year Henry’s widow Martha married Mary Ann’s widowed husband Joseph Cliffe.
In 1939 John and Florence Leech were farming. They were still at Village Farm in December 1941 when the farm was sold to the tenant as part of the Daresbury Estate Sale. The farm consisted of 88 acres and included a four bedroom farm house.
Thomas Worrall was born in Comberbach in 1789 and married Margaret Highfield from Stretton. He was recorded as being a provisions dealer and a wheelwright. In 1846 the land was owned by Sir John Chetwode, and the shop was where Ivy Cottage is now located. Thomas lived in one of three cottages next door – on the land that is now called Lyndale. His eldest son John became a wheelwright in Lower Whitley living at Chewode Cottage (see below) before moving to Little Leigh in 1854. His second son, Thomas Worrall became a master wheelwright at moved to Norcott Brook, and youngest son William Worrall also became a wheelwright and remained in Lower Whitley until 1854 when he too moved to Norcott Brook. Thomas died in 1863 and his wife five years later.
In 1939, retired farmer and his wife, Frank and Alice Acton were living at Lyndale having moved from Whitley Hall. When the house was sold as part of the Daresbury Estate dispersal in December 1941, Mrs Acton was the tenant.
From 1841 until past 1881 Charles Chetwode Rose was living in Ivy Cottage. In 1901 Ellen Pimlott was there. Ellen was the grand-daughter of James Cliffe of Whitley Hall, and born at the Cat and Lion in Stretton to James and Martha Cliffe. Ellen married John Pimlott in and the couple farmed at Burley Heyes in Appleton. John died in 1889 and in 1901 Ellen was recorded in the census as living at Ivy Cottage with her two unmarried children. She died in 1909 and is buried at St Matthews, Stretton with her family.
Chetwode Cottage, Street Lane (Formerly Known as The Apiary and Pebbledash Cottage)
Thanks to Sean and Heather (see guest blog) for the providing new information about the the Cottage dates back to the 17th Century. It has formerly been associated with Lord Daresbury’s Estate and also the Greenall Whitley Brewery. The cottage has an old agricultural out building which served as stables for horses and storage for horse drawn agricultural machinery. A threshing machine was known to be stored on site.
In 1846 when the tithes returns were made, John Worrall was the occupier with the land owned by Sir John Newdigate Ludford Chetwode, and the son of Thomas Worrall from just up the lane. By 1861, Thomas had moved to Chapel Road in Little Leigh.
It was formerly known as The Apiary, having obvious bee keeping associations, before the name was changed Peddledash Cottage and then Chetwode Cottage. The north wing originally housed a smithy. Parts of the forge chimney are still visible from the outside where it adjoins the house’s main chimney, as are burn marks on the inside of the brick wall in the loft. The north wing also served as village shop with its own separate entrance for many years. Villagers recall that honey was sold in the shop and that the occupant of the house / shop won many prizes for its honey at local shows:
The 1939 Register recorded James and Frances Plant living at Pebbledash Cottage. James was a retired threshing machine driver. In the Daresbury Estate sale particulars of December 1941, the cottage was described as a house containing sitting room, scullery, three bedrooms and a wash house. It also contained a room formerly used as a shop with separate entrance to the main road. It was bought by the tenants for £350 but just a couple of months after the sale in January 1942, James Plant died and is buried alongside his wife at St. Luke’s.
Frances outlived James dying at her married daughter’s house, Ivy House in Higher Whitley, in 1956. Her will confirmed she was “of Pebbledash Cottage, Lower Whitley”. Their only daughter, Hilda had married Harry Winstanley from Dorothy Farm, Stretton, in 1935.
One of the earliest records of the Merryfall estate was in May 1679, which suggests that it was held by Theophilus Eaton Jnr of Dublin in 1666. Eaton leased it to Thomas Dewsberry then sold it to him before it was conveyed to Thomas Aldersey of Spurstow:
Conveyance, dated 1 Mary 1679, by John Duesbery of Nether Whitley, husbandman, and George Eaton of Polehouse in the parish of Great Budworth, yeoman, to Thomas Aldersey of Spurstow, Esq., of a dwelling houe called Merryfall in Nether Whitley in the parish of Great Budworth co. Chester, and closes called two Hempyards, Dovehouse Croft, Blackacre, Longlands, Higher Broom, two Lower Brooms, Carnks Meadowes, Round Demaith, Little Meadow, Lane, Hemp Pit Moor, Little Morr, and Mayhayes in Nether Whitley (formerly the inheritance of Theophilus Eaton, and from him purchased by John Duesberry, who mortgaged thee same to George Eaton
Between 1786 and about 1801 Great Merryfall was farmed by James Allen who took over from Ezra Platt and arrived as a recently married young farmer before moving to Acton where he died in 1830. The estate was put up for sale in March 1804 at the Red Lion in Warrington. It appears to have been brought by Peter Okell who died in 1811 at Sutton and left Merryfall as follows in his will:
I give devise and bequeath my messuage buildings lands and hereditaments at Merryfall ….. subject to the payment of the sum of ten pounds a year to my dear wife Eleanor as aforesaid unto and to the use of my dear children William Okell, Mary Okell, Ralph Kirkham Okell and Joseph Okell.
The land was farmed by John Tickle who raised his young family there until his untimely death in 1818 when his widow remained for a couple more years before moving to Appleton Thorn. Great Merryfall was put up for sale in April 1826 by William Okell, and the 1830 land tax entry shows Thomas and Ralph Okell as owners. In 1834 Joseph Okell of Stretton was the owner of the estate. He died in 1834 and left Merryfall to his brother Thomas, and sister Mary.
In April 1851 Thomas Okell junior was in occupation but his father died the following month and the farm was sold as part of the Stretton Hall Estate on 8 October 1851 by auction at the Lion Hotel in Warrington:
Great Merryfall late in the occupation of the said Thomas Okell. The sons of the late Mr Okell who are residing on the estate will shew them to the persons desirous of viewing the same and any further particulars may be had from Messrs Beaumont and Urmston with whom the plans of the Estates are lodged.
The 1861 census records James and Catherine Percival farming at Great Merryfall, having moved from Goosebrook Farm, Seven Oaks. Two years later their eldest daughter, Ann, died followed by Catherine in October 1866. James moved from the farm and died in December 1870 in Warrington. By the 1871 census Thomas Barber was farming; Thomas previously farmed at Old Mill Farm. In 1891 he was followed by his son-in-law William Moreton Clarke who had married his youngest daughter Betsy. He remained at the farm and there in 1895 aged 82.
In 1901 William Moreton Clarke had moved to Cogshall and Thomas Antwis was recorded as farming Merryfall Farm. There was a close connection between the two families. Following the death of William’s wife Betsy (nee Barber) in 1908, he married Mercy, the daughter of Thomas Antwis, a year later. She was 32, he was 51.
The Valuation Book of May 1913 shows that the 107 acres of land were owned by the trustees of G E Lawton and still farmed by Thomas Antwis. Despite having decided to “change his mode of farming” and put all his stock up for auction in December 1916, Thomas Antwis remained at Merryfall where he died in March 1930 aged 79.
In 1953 both Big and Little Merryfall Farms were put up for auction. Big Merryfall was freehold and covered 108 acres. It was all change again a few years later when in February 1976 both Big and Little Merryfall Farms were sold as one lot with 136 acres, along with Old Mill Farm at 102 and a further 56 acres nearby.
Following his marriage to Ellen Stubbs, Owen Gough moved from Seven Oaks to Little Merry Fall in the 1830s. In the census of 1841 the family was recorded as farming 35 acres. Four of their five children married and all into farming families: Richard married Ruth Kinder of Antrobus, Ann married John Frith of Antrobus and moved to Old Pale Farm, Eddisbury; Hannah married James Frodsham of Kingsley and Ellen married Joseph Bolshaw whose son settled in Brow Farm, Antrobus. Ellen, their mother, died in July 1845 and in 1850 Owen moved to Seven Oaks following his marriage to widow Eunice Highfield.
Their son Owen remained at the farm unmarried with cousin his Eliza Ann Stubbs until his death in 1915 aged 90. All his household and farming effects were then auctioned on 10 March 1915.
Duncan Antwis followed. He was the son of Thomas Antwis living next door and by 1939 was farming along with his wife, Olive (nee Barber). The farm covered around 35 acres and when the Daresbury Estate was put up for sale in December 1941, it was bought by the tenant for £1,900. The couple remained until after 1951 when they retired and the 35 acre farm was put up for auction in November 1953. This was at the same time as Big Merryfall Farm.
Chetwode Arms (Cock Inn)
The Chetwode Arms is more than 400 years old, however it wasn’t always called this. Until the mid 19th century it was known as the Cock Inn. Due to its proximity to the road it had became a noted stopping-off point for coach and horses on their way to and from London. In the 1780s Lord Chetwode was the owner of the inn, which was within his wider estate. Alongside the inn was a large farm of 106 acres and, following his marriage to Sarah Gleave, Joseph Rutter became the farmer innkeeper.
Following his death in 1812, Joseph’s widow, Sarah took over. A couple of years later Sarah married local widower Thomas Weedall but the marriage only lasted about ten years due to the death of Thomas Weedall in 1825. Once again Sarah took over the management of the inn and farm. Sarah died in 1830 and was followed by her son John Rutter. In the tithes map of 1846, John Rutter is shown as the occupier with the grandly named Sir John Newdigate Ludford Chetwode given as the owner.
John Rutter and his wife Elizabeth (nee Newton) had at least nine children. Their daughter Elizabeth and her husband Thomas Hewitt moved from Fir Tree Farm in Stretton to Chetwode in 1891. This pattern continued as young sons left the Chetwode to farm locally, and the husbands of the daughters became the landlord at the inn. Thus on the death of Elizabeth in 1902, John’s widowed son-in-law David Bradburn became the landlord. David and wife Sarah Rutter had daughter Lucy Bradburn. Again the pattern continued, with Lucy’s husband Joseph Cottam Taylor becoming the landlord in the 1920s. Joseph Cottam Taylor was born in Stretton and moved to the Chetwode Arms via Hatton and Greenhills Common where he was farming in 1911. Joseph died in 1954 and the inn and farm were managed by Hector Taylor.
In April 1981, after 300 years, the Rutter family connection with the Chetwode Arms was lost as Hector Taylor retired. He had managed the inn for more than 40 years.
1939: Rev and Mrs John Sharpley
There is a local tale that the farm is named after Oliver Cromwell as some of his men watered their horses there around 1645, but the farm name was changed when the occupant wanted to register a pedigree for shire horses. Whatever the truth behind the name, we know that in 1785 John Whitlow was farming the land with Sir John Chetwode the owner.
By 1841 his son, also called John Whitlow, was farming the 175 acres. This was one of the largest farms in Lower Whitley, second only to Whitley Hall. John Whitlow who was born in Whitley, died there in 1853 and was followed by one of his sons, Stephen. However a few years later, tragedy was to strike the family with the death of John’s widow, Mary Ann (nee Rutter) following an accident on the farm. Her clothes caught fire when she was preparing food for the calves one evening and she died twelve hours later on 1 May 1860.
Stephen Whitlow remained at Crimwell Pool alongside his brothers until he moved to Norcott Brook in 1891. William Rutter was by followed Samuel Lewis and then Francis Frodsham.
In 1939 William Brock, a married 48 year old farmer, with his wife Dorothy, son George W and daughter Dorothy. Two years later the farm was sold as part of the Daresbury estate and for £7,400 William Brock became the owner of 143 acres of land, with a four bedroom farm house and numerous out buildings.
Whitley Hall, Red Lane
The earliest land tax returns show that Sir John Chetwode was the owner and it was farmed by the Edgerley family for nearly a hundred years: from 1745 until 1829 when James Edgerley died and his widow moved to Wincham.
From 1830 this farm became closely linked through marriage to the Village Farm. Despite the change of tenant, Sir John Chetwode remained as owner. James Cliffe was born in 1768 in Broomhall, near Nantwich from a wealthy yeoman family. He moved to Whitley Hall in the 1830s and had at least seven children with his wife Catherine. Their eldest son (James Cliffe junior) moved to Stretton in 1851 to manage the Cat & Lion inn. James Cliffe senior died in February 1851.
Youngest son Joseph Cliffe took over the farm and in 1849 married Mary Ann Weedall, eldest daughter of William Weedall from Village Farm. The couple had one daughter, Priscilla Julia who was born in 1855. Mary Ann died in March 1884, the same year as her brother, Henry who left a widow. The following October the respective widow and widower married, and Joseph Cliffe and his new wife Martha remained at Whitley Hall until his death in 1893.
Frank Hubert Acton followed. He was the great grandson of James Cliffe and had lived at the farm from the age of 14. Frank Acton married Alice Billington in 1901 and they continued to live at Whitley Hall. The Valuation Book of June 1913 showed the six bedroom farmhouse was owned by Sir Philip Chetwode. By 1939 the couple had retired to Lyndale on Tarporley Road (now Street Lane). Frank died the following year and Alice in 1964.
In 1939 Arthur and Annie Wright, and they were still when the farm was sold as part of the Daresbury Estate in December 1941. It was by far the largest farm in the village at 195 acres, and the farm also included two cottages.
Whitley Hall Lodge (now demolished)
In 1841 Mary Mills (nee Whitlow/Lowe) was living at the now demolished Whitley Hall Lodge, married to Richard Mills, with her unmarried son Thomas Lowe. Thomas was a draper and survived his parents and step father, dying in Lower Whitley in 1860. He left all his wealth to his nephews, nieces and cousins.
Whitley Hall Cottage 1, Red Lane
Arthur Dimelow and his family, an agricultural labourer, was living in one of the semis in 1939.
Whitley Hall Cottage 2, Red Lane
In 1939 Laurence and Florence Evans lived next door. Laurence was also an agricultural labourer.
The Thatched Cottage
1939: James and Margaret Johnson. James was a road ganger working for Cheshire County Council
Thomas Banner, a retired farmer from Daresbury, was first recorded in Whitley in the tithes map of 1846. In 1851 he was recorded as living with his unmarried siblings: William, Martha and Peter. The family remained at Rose Bank. Martha died in 1869, Peter in 1875 and Thomas in 1878 and they are all buried in the graveyard at St. Luke’s. Thomas Banner was extremely wealthy and generous in his bequest.
In 1891 Elizabeth Goodier was living as head of the household. She was previously living in the village as housekeeper to Charles Chetwode Rose. In 1901 a German, John Mynekyn, was living at Rose Bank.
By 1939 Mrs Florence Twist, a widow, and Hilda Kay were living at Rose Bank. In the Daresbury Estate sale details in December 1941, Rose Bank was described as a detached house containing hall, two entertaining rooms, kitchen, scullery, pantry, three bedrooms and bathroom. It was sold to the tenant for £800.
Keepers Cottage (Gorse House), Brookhouse Lane
The tithes map above from 1846 shows that Keepers Cottage (127) was owned by Sir John Newdigate Ludford Chetwode and occupied by Thomas Riley. In 1939 Edward James, a game keeper, was living at the cottage.
Brook House, Brookhouse Lane
In 1846 the farm (120 on the map above) was owned by James Okell and farmed by John Hockenall. By 1851 John had died and Mary was head of the family. By 1853 John Chatterton was farming when the land was put up for auction; the tenant remained by 1861. In 1871 the census recorded Thomas Hewitt farming 21 acres with his second wife (Elizabeth Newton Rutter) and young family. He remained only a couple of years before moving to Fir Tree Farm at Stretton, and then to the Chetwode Arms back in Whitley.
David Bradburn followed Thomas Hewitt and he remained at Brook House until he moved to Yew Tree Farm and then in 1902 moved on again to run the Chetwode Arms after the death of his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Hewitt.
William Pickering took over at Brook House and was still farming there in 1911 with his daughter and son-in-law, Joseph Hankey from Crowley, and their children. The Valuation Book of 1914 shows that William Pickering was farming 42 acres and that the land belonged to James Cleghorn of Northwich, having been purchased in 1907 from the executors of Stubbs. In the 1939 Register, William’s grandson William Pickering Hankey was still farming along with his siblings. In December 1941 when the Daresbury Estate was put up for sale, WP and TP Hankey were described as the tenants, and were farming just under 43 acres.
William Pickering died in 1920 and his grandson in 1974. The family are interred in the graveyard at St. Luke’s.
Raymond Warburton was living at Brook House Farm in December 1979.
In 1881 William Moreton, his wife and daughter were living at the house. William was born in Stretton at Walnut Tree Farm and moved to London where he worked as a saddler. On his retirement he returned to Cheshire and died in 1883 aged 61. His wife survived another ten years; passing away in 1893 – the same year as their only daughter.
Whitley House Farm
This is within the parish of Whitley but the access is from Hall Lane, Seven Oaks. The earliest records available for this farm are the land tax returns of 1785. These show that the owner was John Ridgway and the farmer, William Leach. John Ridgway came from Lymm and also owned Goosebrook Farm, just across the parish boundary in Seven Oaks. By 1800, the farmer had changed to John Blinstone who remained for twenty years. Thomas Forrest followed, and then John Rigby. Despite the changes in tenant, John Ridgway remained as owner until it was passed to his son and then in turn to his son, John Ridgway. The youngest John Ridgway, a shipping agent, was declared bankrupt in 1866.
In 1901 it was farmed by Oswald Frith.
By 1911 Oswald Frith had moved to Foxley Brow Farm, Antrobus. The Valuation Book of around 1913 gives Robert Brock as occupier of the 72 acre farm which was owned by Mrs. Martha Highfield.