Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Living on the edge of the village, part 3 of the story of our own one up one down cottages

It is another one of the buildings that has fascinated me and is now revealing some of its secrets and in doing so has a lot to say about how we lived in the township when we were still a rural community.

This picture was taken sometime around the first decade of the last century by which time the cottage was maybe a 100 years old. It was one of those one up one down properties I have been writing about which could be found all over the township. The front door opened directly into the downstairs room and usually at the back was a boxed staircase which led to the upstairs room.

It stood on the edge of the green, just past the parish church, close by what is now the car park to the meadows.

In the 1840s and 50s it was home to John and Mary Taylor. In the June of 1841 he had described himself as an agricultural labourer and a decade later aged 72 he was still working on the land while his wife took in laundry.

Now it is impossible to say which farm he worked for or whether he was part of the casual workforce which found work where they could, but there were three farms around the green and another along what is now Brookburn Road

They rented the house from John Renshaw who had owned properties around Chorlton and paid him 1/6d a week in rent. Now this was about the going rate for such a cottage although rents began at just over a shilling [5p].

The cottage stood on open land with fine views back across the green and out toward the Mersey. Like most homes of the day there was a small cottage garden.

In that summer of 1841 John and Mary were sharing their home with their married daughter Eliza and her husband and three children. John Bentley like his father inlaw was an agricultural laborouer and it maybe that this was a temporary expedient because ten years later John Eliza and the children were living at Lane End. Now given that there were few labourer’s cottages at Lane End it is just possible that they were living in one of the four one up one down properties.

But this is to over push the documentary evidence. So I shall stay with John and Mary Taylor who continued to live at our cottage well into the 1860s and there is more. We can track them across the baptism of their children and their grandchildren and to John’s death in 1868.

They were there at that cottage from 1841 and maybe even earlier. As for the cottage it was still inhabited in 1911 when it was home to William Travis who was 52 years old widower from Ireland who like John Taylor worked on the land. He may have still been there when it was demolished around 1928 when the British Legion Club was opened on the site.

Picture from the Lloyd collection

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