Friday, 10 June 2022

Shallcross Hall - A Medieval, Regal Mystery

 Shallcross Hall was the subject of our meeting on 7th June, presented by Chris Wilman. The hsitory of the three Manor houses at Shallcross has been thoroughly researched. Many people will remember the Georgian building lost in a fire in 1967. 

  For the first time, we have recorded the talk and hope that we can do this on a more regular basis.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

The Beards of Beard Hall


extract from The Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire Vol 1 by Joseph Tilley, published 1892

Along the north bank of the Goyt, from Kinderscout to Mellor, is the tract of land once designated Bowden Middlecale.  Within this tract there once stood a solitary mill, situated in a romantic glen, which did duty for centuries for all the surrounding townships.  There are several mills now (it is the district of mills), and a railway station, too, from whence it is a comfortable stroll to Beard, or Ollerset, or Thornsett, or Scout, or the Mermaids' Pool, or Hayfield, or Long Lee.  Here we are surrounded by those picturesque spots where some of the oldest of the Peak families were located in such remote times. Here, almost within sight of each other, were the homesteads of the Beards, Bradburys, and Needhams. In our stroll we noticed a shopkeeper (a chemist, druggist, and colourman), named Kinder; we remembered that Hayfield Church was built by the munificence of a Kinder in 1385.  Is it not probable that the colourman may be a descendant of an ancestor whose name is found on several glorious rolls?

The Manor of Beard, says White, was given to John, Earl of Shrewsbury, by Henry VIII. This could not be, for there was no John Talbot who wore the coronet under that monarch; though white is correct in saying it was given to the Talbots, and this brings us face to face with a fact Lysons could have rendered intelligible.  If Henry VIII gave it to the Talbots, how could the Beards, Leghs, and Duncalfs have possessed it and passed it by heiress previous to the Talbots?  The Royal gift would shew it to be Royal demesne, while there is no evidence that the Beards were tenants in Capite.  We have an idea that the tenure of the Beards, and their heirs, was under the Abbey of Basingwerke(a).  These are the kind of facts the compilers will not face.  The senior line of the Beards became extinct about 1400, when the heiress mated with the Leghs (she was the wife of two brothers successively), and the manor was certainly in her dowry.  Beard Hall was assuredly distinct from the manor, for the homestead remained with a junior line of the family until the days of Queen Elizabeth anyway.  The old edifice is delightfully situated about half-a-mile from New Mills, and from its position commands a splendid view of the surrounding country.  The masonry of the remains (for there is only a gable left of the original structure) was evidently the work of William Beard, who was living here in 1570, and whose daughter, Elizabeth (senior co-heiress), married Ralph Ashenhurst.  We do not refer to the foundations, for they are considerably older, nor to a small portion of the interior, which has the appearance of having been former out of a tower with port holes. How an old Peak family gets lost sight of can be instanced by the Beards.  The most careful and accurate of Derbyshire compilers (dear old Lysons) has these sentences:  "The grandfather of the last Beard, of Beard Hall had four sons; the two elder died without male issue, each of them having only a daughter and heir; Alice, daughter of Nicholas, married Blackwell; Alice, daughter of Richard, married Bowden.  William, son of John, the third son, was of Beard Hall, and had three daughters married to Ashenhurst, Holt and Yeaveley.  The Ashenhursts inherited Beard Hall.  Ralph, the fourth son, had four sons, but we know nothing of their posterity."  The descendants of this fourth son are yet among us; yes, living within a short stroll from their ancestral homesteads, but not as lords of a manor, but as vendors of treacle and soap, and other delectable necessities of life.

We had little hope of finding any remains of Beard Hall yet standing, for intelligence had reached us - indeed, we were so told as we were plodding our way from Bugsworth - that it had been entirely rebuilt.  There was more than one pleasure awaiting us, for not only was there the old gable, but a resident within who was a descendant of the historic Staffords, who has been repeatedly asked why he makes no attempt to recover on of the peerages once held by that family, and which is still in abeyance.  The courtesy of Mr. Daniel Stafford and his lady we most gratefully acknowledge, while their willingness to give information makes us their debtor, to which we would add, that if our ideas could have been as readily grasped by some people who are tenants of other old edifices as by this lady and gentleman, we should have gathered more facts by the way than we have. The Legs who held the Manor of Beard were offshoots of the great Cheshire house who had branches at Adlington, Bothomes, Bruche, Lyme and Ridge.  The name they held was not really their own, paternally, for they were descendants of the  Venables, Baron Kinderton, one of whom, in the reign of Henry III, married the heiress of the Leghs, and adopted her name.  Their son espoused Ellen de Corona and acquired Adlington, thus the two quarterings of their shield become intelligible.  The pedigrees of Cheshire families given by Earwaker tells us of many unions with Peak families, of which we gather but little from our own compilers. The wife of the last Beard of Beard Hall was a daughter of the Davenports of Henbury.

The Ashenhursts were a Staffordshire house of remote antiquity. John, the grandson of the Beard heiress, who was born here, became that famous, or infamous Parliamentary Colonel during the Civil War, whose compound treachery is known to historical students. This fact alone would have attracted many an individual to Beard. The father of the Colonel was a J. P., who donned the profession of a clergyman occasionally, for the entry is on record that he married seventeen couples of Chapel-en-le-Frith lads and lasses one morning.  Is it not singular that this old building, after having sheltered the Beards and the Ashenhursts, should now be the dwelling of a gentleman whose ancestor not only fought at Hastings, and whose name if on the Roll of Battle Abbey, but who was cousin to the man to whom the victory gave the throne of England?  Is it not singular, too, that the Halls of Beard, Shalcross, Ollerset and Mellor (all comparatively within a stone's throw of each other), all seeming with historic associations, all within about twenty miles from Bakewell, should be so little known even to the curious.

 (a)  Basingwerke Abbey near Holywell, Flintshire was abandoned in 1536. They formerly held considerable lands in Derbyshire


Wednesday, 11 May 2022

The Soldier Dick


 The Soldier Dick opened in1805, just a year after the new turnpike road, now the A6, had been completed. It is said that the licence was transferred from a pub at Stoneheads which had lost its trade when the Manchester to Buxton traffic had ceased to pass its door.There is a story that the pub was built from materials salvaged from the pub at Stoneheads but this is based upon a diary entry which said that Sam Bower came down from Stoneheads with a cart load of stone. Bower didn't become landlord of the Soldier Dick until 1851 when he was 34 years old, so it is unlikely to be true.

 Advertised for sale in 1849 on the death of its owner, Joseph Gould. William Travis was tenant by that time.  Mr Gould is recorded as owner in 1821 and perhaps had owned the pub from its earliest days. Travis remained at the Soldier Dick until 1851.

Another sale was held in 1885, advertised here in the Manchester Guardian and this time the auction was held at The Swan at Newtown.  Thomas Ollerenshaw then became licensee, quickly followed by Frederick Hackett who was to remain at The Soldier Dick for about 15 years.

The Soldier Dick in the early 1900s. Samuel Bridge and his family pose for the photographer. He became landlord between 1901 and 1905, probably at the time that Gartsides Brewery of Ashton purchased the pub. His wife, Amelia became licensee by 1914 and continued at the house until the mid 1920s. 

Gartsides Brewery was founded in Ashton in 1830 but by 1939, when it had 180 tied houses,it was acquired by Bents Brewery of Liverpool. It retained its identity and brewing continued at Ashton until 1970 after a takeover by Bass Charrington in 1967.

At the back of the pub were these pigeon lofts. The people are perhaps Samuel Bridge and his family. The picture is on a postcard sent in 1907 to Mr Gregg of Chestergate, Stockport in which Mr Bridge asks that the bird be sent on at once.

 The Soldier Dick is bedecked with bunting, perhaps for the 1935 Jubilee celebrations. The outbuilding with the tall chimney is probably the former brewhouse, the pub having at one time brewed its own ale.   Note the phone box which is of the pre-cast concrete K1 style introduced in 1927.

By 1989 when Derek Brumhead took this photograph, The Soldier Dick was a Bass pub. At soe time in the 20th century a second bay window had been added giving a uniformity to the frontage.

The pub was sold to Punch Taverns in 2005 and modernised. Six letting bedrooms were installed on the upper floors.

The back of the pub in recent times

In 1827, a branch of the Oddfellows was formed in Furness Vale. This mutual society, a forerunner of the Welfare State was founded in Manchester in 1810. The Foundation Stone of Truth Lodge held its monthly meetings at the Soldier Dick where they occupied the top floor. A bell was housed in the ceiling and rung to announce the start of  proceedings. A hatch in the door allowed scrutiny of  anybody wishing to enter. In 1840, an artist, F. W.Roche was commissioned to paint murals on the walls of the Lodge Room. These five paintings depicted scenes from historic battles including Crecy, The Civil War and Napoleonic Wars. The paintings were preserved when modernising the pub but hidden  from view.

In the 1970s, Len Burgess, an art teacher from New Mills Grannar School was staying at Yeardsley Hall.  In his spare time he painted this mural for the "snug" depicting the exploits of te eponymous Soldier Dick. Ralph Plumley and Harold Littlewood are enjoying a  conversation over a pint of Draught Bass. 

Keeping time.

The two storey extension to the pub now houses  the restaurant area and the licensees flat. It was originally a shop, separate from the Soldier Dick. From 1859, this was Sarah Wright's grocery shop but for many decades of the 20th century, this was Ford's ironmongers. The building was later incorporated into the pub and housed the off sales counter with a separate entrance. It was known as Furness Vale Wine Stores.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

The Great Floods of 1930 and 1931

 June 18th 1930 was a day of tragedy in New Mills when torrential rain accompanied by a thunderstorm brought a great flood to the district resulting in the loss of two lives and much destruction.  

These illustrations are from the pages of The Ashton Reporter.

There were further floods in September 1931 that affected a wider area than New Mills

Windsor Castle Lodging House flooded once again 

Mr J. J.Hadfield makes his escape from Garrison Printworks

A steam lorry makes its way along flooded Buxton Road near the quarry in Furness Vale.

The notice board advertises bungalows for sale.


The newspaper cuttings are courtesy of "Books at the Basin" in Whaley Bridge

Sunday, 3 April 2022

The Cricket Club Commitee of 1896


The Committee are photographed in what appears to be the grounds of the village school. The Cricket Club had been formed the previous year and a ground opened at Yeardsley Hall. The first match on August 3rd attracted over 300 people and was between married and single players. There were 30 players per side and the game was won by the married men who scored 59 runs, beating their opponents by 4 runs. The cricket ground later moved to Gow Hole. The club was disbanded at the start of World War1 and never re-formed

In the photograph are: Back Row: Messrs John Carter, Samuel Wright, Fred Sleigh, David Goodwin, James Sharpley, Edward Rowley and William Allen.                                     Seated on the front row are:  G.Cook, David Drinkwater, Samuel Hall, William Ashton and James Pearson.                                                                                                                      The photograph was taken by William McBride.

David Goodwin was headmaster of Furness Vale School. He had been appointed when the school opened in 1876. 

The Drinkwaters were a large and wealthy farming family who owned extensive lands around Dolly Lane.  David was descended from Willam Drinkwater of Greenhead who died in 1791.

Samuel Hall was owner of the Station Hotel. It was his father, also Samuel, who had built the inn in about 1868. The family was related to Levi and Elijah Hall, local coal owners. 

James Pearson was the village butcher. His shop was at 148 Buxton Road and later became Williamson's greengrocers.  At the rear of the shop, on a lower level, was the slaughterhouse. 

The others were no doubt leading members of the community and some further research may identify their roles.

William McBride was born in the USA but lived in Furness Vale and was employed at the printworks. He was later to join the police force and became a CID Inspector at Scotland Yard. He was involved in the development of fingerprinting and took charge of the photographic department.

Monday, 28 March 2022

A Tragic Accident

  From The Ashbourne News Telegraph 18th December 12 1908 

A terrible fatality occurred on Monday morning last at the Furness Vale Station of the London and North Western Railway Company, mid-way between New Mills and Whaley Bridge. The victim was Sidney Allen, a native of Tissington, who during the previous week was in charge at Furness Vale in the absence of Mr Green, the Station Master, and had begun the second and last week of his duties there. Allen was crossing the line,where there is a level crossing, when he was knocked down by the express which leaves Buxton at 9-5 for Manchester, and was killed on the spot.
Mr Allen, who was asingle man of not quite 21 years of age, commenced as a porter at  Alsop-en-le-Dale Station, under Mr Cope (now stationmaster at Tissington) and was engaged there for upwards of three years. Since leaving Alsop about 15 months ago he had been at Weaste, Furness Vale and Ordsall Lane in succession, and as already stated had returned to Furness Vale for a fortnight on relief duty. Mr Allen was a very steady and trustworthy servant of the company, and the fact that he had risen so rapidly gave every promise of his attaining a high position in the service.  He was highly respected by all with whom he came in contact, and great regret is felt that such a promising career should have been so tragically ended.
The funeral took place on Thursday at Tissington amid many signs of sympathy with the bereaved relatives.

        The station at Alsop Le Dale. Photograph from the J. W. Sutherland collection

Alsop Le Dale was on the line between Buxton and Ashbourne, Tissington was the next station. The line through sparsely populated country was little used and trains few and far between. As a young porter, Allen wouldn't have been kept very busy.  The line closed in 1954. 

The level crossing at Furness Vale had been the scene of a number of accidents and it was for that reason that the footbridge was eventually provided.

St. Mary's Church, Tissington

Sunday, 27 February 2022

History Society Meeting 6th April


It is over two years since Pete Goddard visited the History Society and treated us to a selection from his excellent photographic collection. Pete returns on the 6th April when he will tell us about Chapel-en-le-Frith and the town's role in the First World War.

The Four Ages of the Canals

 Our neighbouring society in Buxton has a presentation that will be of particular interest to transport enthusiasts.

Bowling for Furness

 Our village bowling green dates from 1931.  It's opening in August of that year was marked by a game between Mr. R. E. Knowles, owner of the brickyard and Mr. John Rumney Remer, the M P for Macclesfield.

Mr Knowles sends down the first wood.

The next photograph shows a group of members from 1950. They are as follows:

Front row, left to right - Tom Froggatt, Bill Clayson, Harry Hall, Joe Galton, Bill Fidler, Adam Hill, Ephriam Foster, Frank Illingworth, Ted Shuttleworth.

Back row, left to right - Jack Coverley, David McCarthey, Joe Jenison, Harold Gough, Ezra Hill (Tez), Frank Howe, Jim Lofthouse, Hedley Bradley, Eric Wain, Frank Alexander, Larry Derbyshire, Jim Bowden, George Pearson, Harry Burton Jack Ashton.

Adrian Wilson photographed Eric Hinde and Mr Rowley in the late 1970s

This painting was one of several commissioned by Eric Hinde from local artst, Hedley Bradley and shows the floodlights being erected. (picture courtesy of Stuart Peel)

By the early 1970s the bowling green had fallen into disuse and the Scouts, having to meet at St.John's Church were offered the use of the bowling hut by Councillor Harold Littlewood. They were told that they could erect their flag in the middle of the green.  This did not happen and the Bowling Club was re-formed in 1976.

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Furness Lodge

 Furness Lodge had been the home of Charles Saxby, owner of Furness Vale Printworks.  After the business became part of the Calico Printers Association, the house formed part of their estate and became a tenanted property. 

After the Saxby's, residents were Mr and Mrs Ernest Clegg (Printworks Manager) ; Mr and Mrs Dixon Davis; The Rosenbergs, and the Bellamy sisters.

Unoccupied and in poor order, the house was demolished in the 1970s.

There are few photographs of Furness Lodge and those that are known of, all show the south facing elevation. 

 We have attempted to re-create the house in this 3D computer model. As much of the detail us unrecorded much has depended upon the layout shown on the large scale Ordnance Survey Map. There appears to be a glazed extension to the left side of the house and our interpretaion of this is speculative.



1911 Manchester Guardian Advertisement

1929 Manchester Guardian Advertisement

Friday, 21 January 2022

The Toddbrook Reservoir Incident

 It's nearly two and a half years now since we had our own lockdown in FurnessVale and Whaley Bridge.  For a week, we were under movement restrictions until the reservoir was secured. The emergency had been declared on 1st August 2019.

Here are a few images showing  the police presence in the centre of the village. Emergency vehicles included Mountain Rescue.

The A6 through Furness Vale has never been so deserted.

Meanwhile, in Whaley Bridge:

A BBC outside broadcast van and emergency supplies