Part three of Andrew's column                   Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Where was Victoria Street in Nantwich?



The corner of Arnold Street and Cowfields. No 40 Cowfields is the house on the extreme right of the image.


Picture: Andrew Lamberton


I HAVE come across a death card for my great grandmother, Ann Critchley, who died in 1905. It gives her address as 40 Victoria Street, Nantwich.

   I have never come across a Victoria Street in Nantwich. However, during my searches, I came across another lady who died in 1886 and her address was given as 20 Victoria Street, The Barony, Nantwich.

    I wondered if you could help me with this matter.

SUE STOCKTON, Nantwich                                            AUGUST 2013


Andrew replies:

Sue, This is an interesting question and I think I can answer it.
   Victoria Street was named for a short time around 1896.The Nantwich


Directory for that year lists just four names there. The last one, Joseph Reade, grocer, we find on the 1901 census to be at No.2 Arnold Street on the corner of Cowfields and Arnold Street.

   The shop is still there on the corner (picture).
   I can confirm that Victoria Street became Cowfields in 1901 because on the 1901

census, next door to the above Joseph Reade, we find your great grandmother and family at No 40 Cowfields.
   The details are: Walter Critchley, head of household, married, age 33, boot finisher, born Nantwich.
   Ann Critchley, wife, married, age 39, tailoress, worker at home, born Nantwich.

   Ada Williamson, stepdaughter, age 17, tailoress, born Nantwich.

   Walter S. Critchley, son, age 1 month.

I have found that I have a lot of relatives in Nantwich


I HOPE that you will be able to help me. I have recently started to work on my family tree and have come across a number of Enoch Moultons, all from Nantwich and the surrounding area. Looking through this website I see that there was once a greengrocer called Enoch Moulton with a shop on Beam Street (?) and I was wondering if there was any further information on this guy or what happened to his business to see if he could be one of the Enoch's I have in the family tree.
   On a side note, I have now moved into Nantwich (without knowing that I've potentially got a lot of relatives buried here) and on the deeds to my house I notice that it had been converted into houses from some form of warehouse in the 1980s. I have been unofficially told that it was once a cheese factory and had been standing for at least 100 years.

   Do you have any more information or photographs to prove what it used to be. I am living in the block of three houses at the junction of Prince Edward Street and Cowfields, diagonally opposite from what was the Heap's Clothing Factory.
RICHARD MOULTON, Nantwich                    
JUNE 2013


Andrew replies:

I DO have some information about Enoch Moulton. Around 1900, his first greengrocerís shop was where the Railway Hotel is now. He later moved to No.9 Beam Street on the corner of Manor Road. I remember the shop well from my childhood but donít remember the family Iím afraid.

   I think the shop was demolished in the mid 1960s and I donít know what happened to the family. There is a picture of Enoch in a group of Beam Heath Trustees in the early 1950s on this website. A better version of the picture appears here. (Scroll down the pages to find them).

   Regarding your current Nantwich residence, I am intrigued with your information. I can categorically say that the building was never a cheese factory.

   As you rightly say, it is around 100 years old and was built between 1899 and 1910. On the 1910 Ordnance Survey map it looks like a warehouse and I suspect that it could have been a warehouse for Heapís Clothing Factory across the road, which as you know is now called Taylorís View. There are no old photos of the building that I know of.




The former warehouse for Heap's clothing factory, now

Taylor's View, on the corner of James Hall Street and Arnold Street

Then a further comment from Richard . . .
   Thanks for your help. I have done some further investigation of my own and have found that one of the Enochs in my family tree was a greengrocer according to the 1911 census, living in Barker Street.

    According to the birth year this would make him about 64 years old in the photo on the website so this does seem like I've got the right person. He turns out to be my great grandfather's brother (great grand uncle?). Obviously, finding this out has led to more questions but I think these are probably better directed to Paul Simpson with it being family related.

    According to the same census, Enoch has two daughters, Marjorie born 1908 and Mildred born 1909, and I believe I have found their marriage records although at this point I'm not 100% sure on them. I have got Marjorie marrying Stanley Davies and Mildred marrying Sidney Davies. This is about as much as I can find out with the information I've got access to.

   Now I know that Davies is a popular surname but I was wondering if there is any mention of these two guys in any local records and if they were actually brothers.

   Sorry if I'm being cheeky asking about all these different things but you guys know a lot more than I could find out on my own so any help is much appreciated.

lSee "Further thoughts on the Enoch Moulton item from website visitor" on this page.

Are there photos of the Crofts before there were houses?

I HOPE you don't mind me writing to you, but I have been trying to do some research about Nantwich and have been getting absolutely nowhere. I recently found your excellent Dabber's Nantwich pages and, if you don't mind me saying, you seem like a fountain of knowledge on the history of Nantwich.
    I moved to Nantwich in the early '90s, first living at Thomas Row behind the Red Cow, before moving to the (then) new development in Stapeley. However, I have recently moved back into Nantwich and am currently living on South Crofts (No 17).
   I have been trying to find some history about South Crofts, and specifically the block of houses we live in (Leah Terraces), but have unfortunately not been able to find any. Talking to the neighbours, I find the year of build varies wildly from 1880 to 1910 but it would be nice to find out for sure.
   Do you have any information on this part of Nantwich or do you have any suggestions of where I would be best looking? It would be lovely to find an old photo of South Crofts before the houses where built (if one exists) and maybe one when the houses where new. It would be nice to have them on the wall.

   All the research into our current house has got me thinking about Thomas Row. Maybe when I have satisfied my curiosity for South Crofts, I will move onto my previous residences. I also lived for a while at 11 London Road. It is a funny, double-fronted, but ultimately triangular, house opposite Churche's Mansion. A great house full of character.
MARK NICKSON, Nantwich                                                                                    
APRIL 2013


Andrew replied:

I HAVE done some research and come up with the following. Unfortunately there are no photos of the Crofts before the houses were built. I do have one photo of my wife's grandmother outside 9 South Crofts (right).

   There is no sign of building on the Crofts in the 1875 1st Edition O.S.Map but by the 1881 Census we have many people living there. So your date of 1880 (or possibly slightly earlier) is not far off the mark.

   At 17 South Crofts I have found the following people: 1881, William Lee, pawnbroker's assistant; 1891, Levi Jervis, letterpress printer; 1901, Mary Louisa Chesters, living on own means; 1911, Agnes McDonald, certified assistant teacher (Cheshire County Council)

   I hope you find this information useful.


Mark did. He replied:

Thanks so much for getting back so quickly. I can't begin to explain how much of a smile this has put on my face. To be able to see the names of the people living in our house over 100 years ago really does give you an almost tangible link to the past.

   The photo is amazing. It is incredible to see how little the houses have changed and comprehend how much they have seen since they were built.

Picture: Andrew's wife's grandmother outside 9 South Crofts

Were there two pubs on the same site?

I HAVE been looking at your references to two former pubs, which are a little confusing. I remember the Nag's Head pub being in Beam Street, on the


corner of Manor Road. But you also seem to say that the Lingard Arms was on the same site.

   You have a picture of the Lingard Arms still standing in 1937. The Nag's Head was demolished in the early 1960s. If the Lingard Arms was demolished in the

same year as the photo and say the Nag's Head was built to replace it and it took 12 months to build, it would make it only approximately 23 or 24 years old when it was demolished.

   As I recall the building it seemed to be a lot older than that. Are you sure that the Lingard Arms was on that site?

ANTHONY PLATT                                                                            FEBRUARY 2013


Andrew replied

THE two public houses stood next door to each other in Beam Street and not one replacing the other.

   The Lingard Arms was called the Modern Druidís Arms in 1851 and the Old Red Cow in 1875, later becoming the Lingard Arms.

   The map (left), a copy from the 1875 OS 1st edition map of Nantwich, shows them side by side. To the left hand side of the two public houses is the garden of Manor House which became the opening for Manor Road around 1910.

   The two public houses faced the end of Pepper Street and the black and white building still standing as shown on the map.

The original question and answer




The two public houses stand next to each other in this 1875 Ordnance Survey map of Beam Street.

Was my relative a licensee of town centre public house?







The Old Barn in Hospital Street. Is this the Bear's Paw public house where Ann's ancestor was

 the licensee?

I HAVE just come across this very interesting website about Nantwich, and am hoping you may be able to help.

    My five-times great grandfather was probably Thomas Newton of Nantwich. He was listed as a victualler on his son Johnís baptism record in 1760, and an innkeeper on his own burial record in 1779. I am wondering if there is any information about him in Dr MacGregorís book, "Inns and Innkeepers of Nantwich"? I would be most grateful for any details that may be available.

ANN BRABEN, Australia                                                         January 2013


Andrew replied:

This is a most interesting request and Iím pleased to be able to give you some information about Thomas Newton. Dr McGregor lists him as being licensee at the Bearís Paw in High Street, Nantwich.

   To quote him: "The exact location of the Bearís Paw is unknown. The house closed in 1791 or 1792. Its keepers were Thomas Newton 1765-78; Ann Newton 1779-83; Charles Wild 1784-88; and Elizabeth Wild 1789-91.Ē

   Nantwich Parish Church Registers have a record of Thomasís burial on February 2, 1778, in which he is listed as innkeeper. He must have kept an inn and provided lodgings as well as ale.

   On doing some ferreting around to find the location of the Bearís Paw I was unable to find it in High Street but, casting the net a little further afield, I did come across a strong possibility.

   I have a rare copy of a Nantwich Rate Book of 1781 and found that Widow Newton is mentioned at the end of Hospital Street, just on the corner with High Street.

   I think that is Ann (obviously Thomasís widow). We know which side of the street it was as it was only two doors down from the Lamb Inn. It could be the site of ďThe Old BarnĒ (pictured above). It is certainly there or thereabouts.


This brought a reply from Ann:

Thank you so much for finding this information Ė thatís wonderful!

   It would almost certainly be the same Thomas Newton Ė he married Ann Tearwood in April 1757. So she took over as innkeeper when he died.

   It is interesting that the burial date I found for Thomas in the Cheshire Parish Records database is February 2, 1779, compared to the Nantwich church registers of February 2, 1778. I have come across a couple of similar examples in my family history, where the date is one year out. I wonder if you have any idea how this might have happened?

   The old photo is fascinating. Is this building still standing? Do you think that the Bearís Paw could possibly have been this particular building?

   Nantwich looks like a lovely town. I grew up in a different part of Cheshire, in Wirral, and vaguely remember passing through the town as a child. Now I live in Australia and donít often get the chance to explore, but next time I come over to England, Nantwich will definitely be high on my list of places to visit.

   Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.


Andrew replied:

Iím glad you like the information I sent to you. Iím pretty sure that there has been a mistake in transcription on the Cheshire Parish Records database. I think that the date should read 1778 and it ties in with the dates in MacGregor.

   Regarding the photo, the building was demolished in 1883. It was known as the Old Barn and apparently plays were sometimes held there in the upper room around the beginning of the 1800s.

I canít be certain that this was the Bearís Paw but I think it highly likely.

   The corner plot is now occupied by HSBC bank and the next one in Hospital Street by the AGA kitchen shop. You should be able to find them on Google Streetview if you wish to search. There is also a good website of early maps. If you Google Tithe Maps and Cheshire you should be able to find the location.

Plane crash near Nantwich recalled

DO you have any information regarding an aeroplane crash which occurred on the Dorfold Estate, at Acton, Nantwich, in January 1957.
   I was cycling in Nantwich when my friend, Clive, and I heard that there had been a plane crash the other side of the Shropshire Union Canal just off Marsh Lane.

   When we got to the other side of the Marsh Lane Bridge we could see a lot of activity going on across the fields but we were not allowed to go any further.

   In the quest of satisfying my curiosity, I have found the following details on the Flight Safety Foundation website.

   The aircraft, an Auster AOP6, operating as part of 663 Squadron, RAF, lost its outer wing in the air and dived into the ground at Dorfold Farm, one mile west-south-west of Nantwich, on Sunday, January 6, 1957.

   There were two occupants and sadly both were killed. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair and declared "written off".

   Do you know any more about this incident ?

BOB HUMPHREYS, Nantwich                                            DECEMBER 2012


Andrew replies:
Perhaps for the purposes of this question, the feature should be renamed Ask Alan. I am indebted to Alan Clark of the Peak District Air Accident Research website ( who provided the answer to Bob's question.

   Alan told me:

"The two crew of VF546 were Captain John Leslie Pollitt, Royal Artillery (pilot) and Pilot Officer John George Sidlower, RAF (passenger). The Air Observation Post (AOP) Squadrons, this aircraft being from No.663 Sqn stationed at RAF Hooton near Chester, were often staffed jointly by the RAF and artillery regiments as they were spotters for the Royal Artillery and directed fire.   

   "Captain Pollitt is recorded as being from Blackpool by the Chester Chronicle, though I am fairly certain that he was actually from Warrington. His birth was recorded in the Warrington area (date of birth, September 15, 1930).



   I'm fairly sure he married in Warrington in 1953 to Celia Rooke and they had two children. One was born in Blackpool in 1954, though their second was born, after the accident, in Warrington. The Armed Forces Memorial doesn't record any details of where he is buried / commemorated.
    "I've not found much information about P/O Sidlower. The Armed Forces Memorial gives his date of birth as January 27, 1934, and records him as being buried at Weybridge Cemetery, Surrey (Grave 3, 3717). 

   "From what was in the paper, part of one wing detached causing an immediate loss of control. The aircraft went into a spin and continued spinning until it struck the ground. There was no post-crash fire. The detached section of wing fell within a few hundred yards of the main crash site. At the time of the inquest the AAIB had not determined the cause of the failure within the wing."


AS reported in The Chester Chronicle of January 12, 1957: "Many people in Nantwich and Acton areas watched horrified at lunchtime on Sunday as an RAF Auster light aircraft nose dived into a ploughed field at Acton, killing the pilot and passenger, both officers.

   "Eye witnesses said the plane had been flying apparently normally in a clear sky when one section of a wing broke away. Seconds later the plane plunged to earth."

   The report also tells of the heroism of a local master baker and confectioner, Mr Wilf Whitlow, who, with his wife, raised the alarm. It said that Mr and Mrs Whitlow lived in Dig Lane, Acton, a few hundred yards from where the plane crashed in a field farmed by Mr J.A. Sadler, of Dorfold Dairy House, Acton.

   The report continued: "Mr Whitlow drove his car down the lane to the scene while his wife dialled 999. When Mr Whitlow arrived the plane was a tangled heap of wreckage in the field about a hundred yards from the road. Although there was a heavy smell of petrol in the air and the possible danger of fire, Mr Whitlow raced to the plane to look for survivors. He saw one of the men trapped in the wreckage, already dead. It was not until later that the body of the second man was found."

    After a short time an ambulance and fire engine from Nantwich arrived. The wreckage didn't catch fire. The crumpled section of the wing was found several fields away from the main wreckage.

    This report was researched by Alan Clark in the Cheshire County Records Office, Chester.


A peacetime mid-air collision in countryside

TWO single-seater GR3 Harriers were involved in a peacetime mid-air collision over Wettenhall, Nantwich, which killed both pilots instantly.

    The accident happened at around 12.15 pm, on Monday, January 19, 1976. One pilot was found still strapped in his ejector seat. The other had tried to eject, a parachute being found near the Little Man public house at Wettenhall.

    The pilots of planes XV 745 and XV 754 were taking part in a four-aeroplane low-level exercise from their base at RAF Wittering, in Cambridgeshire, and were about to clear the low-level area when the accident occurred.

   An eye-witness reported to a Nantwich Chronicle reporter shortly afterwards that he had seen ďfour aircraft flying very low and fast. They peeled off in twos and as they were coming back into formation, one of them seemed to misjudge his timing and a plane from the other pair hit him underneath. There was a great ball of fire in the air followed by a terrific explosion.Ē

   Other eye-witnesses reported that wreckage ďcame down like confettiĒ and aircraft parts were spread over a wide area. Several fell near the Little Man and others in the fields of Elms Farm, Calveley. An 11,000-volt power cable was brought down and some homes were without power for three hours.

   The two pilots were identified as 29-year-old Flight Lieutenant James Edward Downey and 30-year-old Flight Lieutenant John Keith Roberts. Both were married with two children and from Wittering.

   Three weeks later, on Sunday, February 8, the tiny church of St. Davidís, Wettenhall, was filled to capacity with local residents and military personnel, with a sermon given by Canon A.D.James, vicar of Wettenhall, an ex-public school headmaster who had, many years before, taught Douglas Bader. After the service, a reception was held at a local farm.  

   One year later, both sides came together again when on Saturday, April 16,1977, 



a plaque in memory of the two pilots was dedicated at St. Davidís church by theRev T.I.Wilson, Assistant Chaplain-in-Chief to the RAF. The names of the two pilots are recorded on the National Armed Forces Memorial at Alrewas, Staffordshire.   


Gerald Newbrook writes:

I read the account of the crash of the two Harriers and recalled my memory of that accident.

    At the time I was working for Manweb and that day my team were installing equipment in a sub-station at Worleston sewage works. We heard a terrific noise, so loud that it made us all run out of the small brick building. I don't remember seeing any of the planes, I guess they had passed so quickly.

    The surprising thing was that we never heard the bang when they crashed! In fact we did not know anything about the crash until we arrived back at the depot in Crewe. They had heard the noise from the crash but our ears must have been ringing from the noise of the engines, we heard nothing, close as we were to the crash site.

   There was plenty of activity at the depot as by then, with people off supply, it was discovered that one of the planes had hit an 11kv overhead power line, bringing down the conductors.

   When this happens it is not just a case of  'replacing the wires' because, as the whole line is under considerable tension, the wooden poles on either side of the break had lurched backwards and for several spans, leaving the poles leaning at awkward angles. All needing plumbing up to make the line safe again.

   The police were busy keeping sightseers away from the scene but Manweb staff had to be allowed through to carry out repairs.

   As mentioned in the article, bits of plane were scattered over a wide area and the linesmen reported seeing all kind of metal parts in the fields.