This and that

Visit Things You Say for more comments.   Other pages that may be of interest are Ask Andrew and Family Lines (family tree matters).

Lovatt's shopNantwich Book Shop through the ages

I'VE just discovered your website, and spenFrank Clayton's shopt far too much time enjoying it when I should be working.

   So, in haste . . . I hope the enclosed pictures are of interest.

   They show what is now Nantwich Book Shop at various times.

   On the left is the building when it was Lovatt's and the drawing is, as can be seen, when it was Frank Clayton Ltd.

   Frank Clayton was my paternal grandfather, and I believe that the motorbus on Nantwich Old Pictures No 7 belonged to an ancestor on my mother's side.

   I know that the shop was George Bros when my grandfather bought it as an ironmongers and re-named it Frank Clayton Ltd. I think that before that it was Lovatt's and before that a saddler called Lightfoot had it.

   Thanks for all the work you have put into your website.

Alan Clayton, Blakenhall, Nantwich.                       MARCH 2010

Thanks for the pictures and information, Alan. Very interesting. [In fact, Alan sent these last October and while I set up the item as here, it all dropped off the page somehow - a fact I have only just become aware of. The pictures stayed in my images files, but it took a search of his e-mails for Alan to provide the text again.]                                                                                                

The joint owner of Stapeley Manor -

and a question about Wayside School

THE Mr Birchall mentioned on one of the website pages about Stapeley Manor, as the owner of the building, was Samuel Birchall, 1891-1970.  He was the eldest son of George Birchall and Hannah Maria Dutton, both of Baddiley, and farmed at Gorse Croft, Audlem, where he ran a cheese factory.

   His cousin, Roland Birchall, worked with him there for some time.  Samuel married Elizabeth May Bennion, daughter of James Bennion and Sarah Ann Hobson; they had no children and moved to Rhos-on-Sea on retirement.

   How do I know all this?  My mother, Olive Chetwood, nee Birchall, was cousin to Sam, sister to Roland and first cousin to May Bennion. 


NOW I have a question. Can anyone tell me when Wayside School (pictured) in Hospital Street - formerly part of Sweetbriar Hall - was founded?  It was, I believe, established by Miss Dorothy Baker, a daughter of William Baker of Highfields, Audlem, sometime before the Second World War.

   Miss Baker lived on the premises with her sister, Charity – perhaps the Bakers were a Quaker family. This excellent school closed in 1972 on the retirement of Miss Baker’s successor, Mrs Doris Johnson.

   Apparently the cost of "improvements", made compulsory by new regulations, ruled out continuing the school in the same premises. It certainly gave me an excellent start.

   I really like your website. The old pictures of Beam Street are especially interesting as they’re not so often seen.

Lynda Burke, nee Chetwood (another Dabber), Lancaster 


I don't have the information myself, Lynda, but I know a man who will have. Mr Birchall and a local solicitor, Mr Norman Afford, bought Stapeley Manor and divided it into two. In 1957, Mr Birchall sold his half to a Mr and Mrs White. Now read on. The pictures of Beam Street are down to Andrew Lamberton.                                              

  Wayside School, Hospital Street

Mutiny on Bounty sailor educated in Nantwich

I HAVE been trying to find out what school Captain Peter Heywood was educated at during his early years. He was one of the mutineers on the Bounty and only just escaped execution in 1792.

   A piece in a book about him says: "Captain Peter Heywood was the fourth son of one of the deemsters of the Isle of Man, who held the office of seneschal to his Grace the Duke of Athol.  He was a member of a family resident in Lancashire for many centuries, and was connected by marriage with the Asheton-Penkeths of Penketh, the Worsleys of Platt, the Holmes of Holme, the Chadwicks of Chadwick, the Kenyons of Kenyon, and many other local families. He was born at the Nunnery, Douglas, on the 6th of June, 1773, and educated by the Reverend Mr Hunter, at Nantwich, Cheshire."


I WAS born at the Cliffe Maternity home, Wybunbury, in 1958 and then lived in South Crofts, Nantwich, until 1979. My mother, who still lives at this address, is a Dabber born and bred. As a girl, she lived in Malbank, off Manor Road. My father died in 1976. His name was Raymond (Ray) and he played professional football for Crewe and cricket for Nantwich. Our house backed on to Harvey's Tannery. As a boy, I would watch the men working the leather. Boy, did it stink!


Ashley Bedson, Talke, Staffordshire                             NOVEMBER 2009



Thanks for that, Ashley. Andrew Lamberton, local historian, writes: "This is very intriguing and is all new to me. After some fairly extensive research I could at frst

find no reference anywhere to the Reverend Mr Hunter. The only schools that I am aware of at this time were the Grammar School (the Rev. John Kent)  the Blue Cap School (the Rev. Joseph Partridge) and the Unitarian School (the Rev. Richard Hodgson). I don't think there were any schools at that time connected to other religions. There is no mention of a Reverend Mr Hunter in Hall ("Hall's History of Nantwich".)

   But it looks like the information is correct. On the website Lareau Web Parlour in the USA, it says: "In his 11th year, Peter Heywod was sent to school in Nantwich in Cheshire, remanded to the care of the Rev.Mr Hunter."

   He had joined the Navy when he was 15 so was only in Nantwich for four years. I have read some background on the family and they seem well-to-do. There is no mention of non-conformism, therefore I think we can rule out Unitarian and the Blue Cap schools. I think he was educated privately.

   The Rev Thomas Hunter died in 1809, described as clerk and of Broxton Hall. Apparently he had leased the hall from the Egerton family and his widow is listed as living there in 1810.

   So, I think we may have the man but as yet no connection with Nantwich. I have looked in the Nantwich Parish Registers but drawn a blank. I did find a John Wood, schoolmaster, though.

Memories of the Heath Keeper's cottage
Beam Heath Trust members















Nantwich Beam Heath Trust members in 1946. Standing, left to right: S. Barlow (Distributor), S. Speed (Heath Keeper), W. T. Maybury, S. Davies, Dr J. R. T. Turner, Cllr J. Blagg, N. Hilditch (Treasurer), A. R. Whittingham (Clerk).

   Seated: E. Moulton, H. T. Johnson, E. Steventon, J. Bowyer (Chairman), L. Vaughan, H. Whittaker, W. H. Owen.

I DISCOVERED this website a few days ago and spotted the writings regarding the Beam Heath Trust. I was particularly interested in the picture of the trust which showed my father, Sam Barlow, falling off the left hand side. As the picture seemed familiar I checked to see if I had brought a copy home with me after I had cleared the family home in Birchin Lane in the early 1980s after my mother had died.

   Luckily, I went to the right box - sheer luck - and the picture was the second that I looked at. I think you will agree that it is a better copy than the one you have, even though it needs a bit of touching up. I did nothing to it apart from lightening it slightly after scanning.
   My father is described as the distributor, and this is how I like to remember him. He used to take time off from his regular job in order to distribute the "divi". Looking back, I am sure he must have walked miles but I do not recall him complaining.


MY personal memory of him in connection with the trust was one occasion when he took me up to see the Beam Heath ley which I think was in Alvaston. I seem to remember the heath keeper's cottage near the gate to the ley.

   Beam Heath trustees used to meet occasionally at the heath keeper's cottage, and it is possible the picture was taken in front of it. The cottage was close to the entrance to the ley and on the right-hand side.

   My father could have taken me there during my later years at the prep department at the Grammar School, or even within the first year in the senior school. I have an old 2.5 inch Ordnance Survey map from about that time and there is no building which fits the bill unless it is one of those that are shown almost opposite Alvaston Hall.



   Sam Speed, the Heath Keeper. certainly lived in that area. I certainly remember him as he came to our house in Birchin Lane on a number of occasions.   My recent interest was aroused when my wife and I were talking on the phone to Brian Moore's daughter, Carolyn, and she said that her father, who does voluntary work at Nantwich Museum, had told her they were trying to find out where the racecourse had been situated.

   Alvaston, came to mind immediately. I must have been told that years ago by my father. I wondered if it had been on or near the ley. I also seem to remember stories of aristocracy by the name of Schroeder who lived in that area and wondered if the toffs had anything to do with the racecourse. This is all guess work, though the name of Alvaston came from somewhere in the past. I certainly remember Sam Speed as he came to our house in Birchin Lane on a number of occasions.
  All the names mean something to me, with the exception of one - N Hilditch.

  Clifford V. Kendall's signature

  The photograph appears to be signed in pencil (right) at the bottom right-hand corner by Clifford V. Kendall, the Nantwich photographer, who took the picture.

  Dorothy Vaughan used to write about Nantwich history. Her father-in-law, L Vaughan - front row in the picture, was a trustee. H.T. (Harry) Johnson was the local printer and wrote pieces on Nantwich history in the red almanacs he produced.


  Another memory came from my maternal grandfather who lived in Park View and was a traveller for the Baronia clothing factory. He remembered the Schroeder family travelling by horse and carriage along the Barony from their home in Alvaston to Nantwich.

John Barlow, Inverness                                               NOVEMBER 2009

Thanks for all that, John. The fact of your father "falling off the left-hand side" of the photo (on this page) is due, as you may realise, to the fact that it is a photograph of a page of the Nantwich Chronicle in a bound file (held by Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies). The centre of what is, in effect, a large book, bends in towards the binding. So I am pleased to see a "straight" copy of Clifford Kendall's actual photograph (Nantwich Racecourse mapabove).

   The head of the von Schroeder family of Nantwich in the late nineteenth century was Baron von Shroeder who lived at Rookery Hall on the  road from Nantwich to Worleston. It was the baron who had a road created across fields from the hall to a point near to the Rising Sun public house on Middlewich Road. This gave him a short cut to Crewe railway station.

   This fact is included in "Lost Houses Around Nantwich" which also includes part of the Greenwood map of 1819 showing Nantwich racecourse (top left of the image on the left). 


Nantwich races were held on Beam Heath land on a few days in June   between 1729 and 1824. The course, of which no trace exists, was on the vicinity of Alvaston Hall and crossed Middlewich Road twice on its circuit.  Andrew Lamberton told me: "When they were running the races there was little or no traffic along Middlewich Road. It wasn't until after the racecourse was ploughed up c1824 that the road became a thoroughfare. I came across a reference in a Crewe history book about Coppenhall and it said that the state of the road over Beam Heath was so bad and muddy around, I think, 1830-40 that it was advisable to go to Nantwich via Nantwich / Crewe Road from Coppenhall. I'm not sure when the road was turnpiked but I know it was quite late."


l "Lost Buildings Around Nantwich" was written by Andrew Lamberton and the late Robin Gray and published by Landmark Collector's Library. Andrew Lamberton e-mailed me to say: "I've just had information that the publishers of the two books have gone into liquidation."

   However, regular website visitor, Eileen Jones, told me: " 'Lost Buildings Around Nantwich' can still be bought on, price £9.98. I was looking at my copy only last night. What a pity I wasn't full of all this knowledge when at school. I'd be a millionairess now!


lNantwich Museum has a painting of a racehorse, Perdita, on Nantwich Racecourse.      


This item continues as Old Nantwich Pictures 13 on this website


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