Thursday, 15 June 2017

Walking in the north of the township in to Martledge in the summer of 1847, part one

Barlow Moor Lane, north to Martledge, a journey which will take in some great houses, a shop, farms and a pub as well as cottages of wattle and daub and brick

Barlow Moor Lane is a long road.

Standing at the point where the Row joins Barlow Moor Lane we have a choice, turn north and journey on to Martledge and then out of the township by various routes to Hulme and
Manchester, or south to Hardy Lane and on to the Mersey, Withington and Didsbury.

Martledge is much overlooked in most histories of the township so north it is.

And we will start with the Holt estate again.  Leaving the Row and heading north up Barlow Moor Lane we follow the east wall of the Holts, all the way to Lane End.  Everything on this side of the road dates from after 1908 when the last of the Chorlton Holts died and the estate sold off.

It finished at Lane End.  Directly opposite where today Sandy Lane begins was the grocer’s shop of Jeremiah  Brundrett.  It was a large house at one time known as Lilly Cottage.

The Brundrett’s were there long enough for the spot to become known as Brundrett’s corner  Facing the shop roughly on the site of the church was the home of Caleb and Ann Jordril.   Here was one of the last wattle and daub cottages.

Continuing north along the lane our journey would pass open fields until we reached the edge of Martledge.

Here to our left was Clough Farm and on our right Oak Bank House.

The farm stood roughly between Groby Road and Silverwood Avenue.   In that summer of 1847 it was occupied by Margaret Taylor and it would have been her farm land we would have seen as we walked up Barlow Moor Lane towards her home.

Today all of the land from Silverwood Avenue back towards High Lane and right back to Lane End was rented by her from the Egerton Estate.  There were 10 acres in all and it was a mix of arable, meadow and clover and included part of Scotch Hill.

Margaret was forty-seven.   Hers was no easy life.  To make 10 acres of land work and bring in a living required hard work.

Over and above the big points in the agricultural year of sowing, planting and reaping, there were the constant demands of weeding, chasing off pests and the journeys to the markets in Manchester.

These were tasks usually carried out by the whole family, but during the 1840s, she lost both her parents and two sisters which left her with just her 11 year old nephew.   Now Margaret was not alone in facing such loss, or in bringing up the child of her a relative.

Easing the chronic overcrowding meant that at least one child might be farmed out to relatives and Edward her nephew had been at Clough Farm since he was five and would still be there when he was 15 by which time she had married John Stretch.

From their fields they would have been able to gaze across at Oak Bank, one time home of William Morton and later the Cope family.  Oak Bank was a substantial building standing in its own grounds close to the modern junction of Barlow Moor and Wilbraham Roads.

Nothing now exists of the house but the path leading to it is now Needham Avenue. The house was situated in a garden which covered the area running on either side of Needham Avenue as far as Barlow More Lane in one direction and Corkland Road in the other.

The estate also included a large meadow field and small wood stretching back from Needham along Barlow Moor Lane to Lane End.

It had belonged to William Morton who had been there since 1821, but on death his will stipulated that the house and land had to be sold within five years.  

When this happened is not known but in 1845 a Miss Crofton was there paying rent to the Executors of Mr Morton.  

By 1847 the house and land were in the possession of Frederick Cope who rented both to John.  This was a short term arrangement and by 1850 the Cope family were living at Oak Bank.

William Morton had described himself as a member of the gentry.   Frederick Cope was a wine merchant who ten years earlier had been living with his wife and children on Oxford Street, close to where the University now stands.  Elizabeth had died by 1851.


Pictures; map of Barlow Moor Lane, courtesy of Digital Archives,  picture of Jeremiah  Brundrett, Wesleyan Handbook, 1908, courtesy of Philip Lloyd, and gravestone of the Morton family in the parish churchyard, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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