2. Poynton in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries: The Older Established Occupations

General description

In the early eighteenth century Poynton manor was held successively by John Warren who resided mainly in Stockport, Edward Warren and his son John Warren who lived near Blackburn, and Edward Warren who died in 1737. He was succeeded by Sir George Warren who took very much more interest in the Poynton estate, rebuilding Poynton Hall in the 1750s and laying out Poynton Park with its trees and new roads. He also created Poynton Pool at the same time that the main London Road was improved in the 1760s (see Chapter 7). He was keen to manage both the agricultural activities of his estates and later the extraction of coal on a much larger scale. In neighbouring Worth the main seat of the Domes family for many generations was at Worth Hall. The Downes family also attempted to improve agriculture and promote the extraction of coal on a small scale. In the second half of the century, Peter Downes who lived at Butley Hall inherited the manors at Shrigley and Worth and was succeeded by his eldest son Edward who died unmarried in 1819, thus ending the direct male line and leading to the sale of the Downes estates. In 1791 Worth ceased to be a separate manor after its purchase by the ambitious Sir George, and from then onwards the Poynton estate included Worth's farms, collieries and tenants.

Surviving rentals of the eighteenth century show an almost entirely rural community. For instance, in 1731, 43 tenants are listed.1 15 of these paid only small rents and probably lived in cottages. The rest, for example, John Barton, paid a yearly rent (11s 8d) and further payments in money which had taken the place of the old manorial services, i.e. 6s for ploughing for the lord, 1s for harrowing, 2s 6d for "mucking", 1s 6d instead of a gift of hens. We also have the Parish Registers of Poynton Chapel from 1723 with entries for baptisms throughout the period to the present day, and marriage entries 1723-54. These fortunately give the occupations of the fathers or husbands, and from the number of births some very rough estimate of the population of Poynton and Worth can be deduced. The table on page 2 shows the relatively high number of working males in agriculture, the fact that work in textiles such as domestic weaving of cotton and silk was important, some of it no doubt part-time alongside agricultural labour, and the fairly constant proportion of men engaged in the traditional village crafts which supported agriculture and the daily needs of the villagers. The growth in importance of mining is illustrated at the bottom of the table. The growth in the colliery labour force is described in Chapter 10. Fathers who record the birth of children in the register of baptisms 1723-1841 or are husbands getting married 1723-53 and who reside in Poynton or Worth are arranged according to the percentage each occupational group contributes to the total number recorded. Labourers could have worked either on the land or in the mines - mostly the latter. The population of Poynton and Worth was probably between 350 and 450 up to the 1780s and 90s when it rapidly increased, as mining became more important, to 620 by 1801, 746 in 1811, 946 in 1821, 1237 in 1831 and 1509 in 1841.

A further very comprehensive picture, of the manor of Poynton only, is given in an estate survey of 1770 of its 2276 acres2 with beautiful maps drawn by William Tunnicliff His map of Poynton Park amounting to 247 acres is reproduced, which shows the pool, plantations, roads and chief buildings. The building known as the Towers is shown south of the Hall with an avenue pointing towards the pool to give a fine vista. Some of the trees shown may still be seen, many of them limes. Unfortunately, the little bridges shown have now been pulled down. A further view of this rural area dated 1789 is given in Watson's book. 3 The survey lists 22 farms of 20 acres or more and their tenants, many of which can still be found on today's maps, for example Hill Top, Poolsteads and Barlow Fold Farms. There was a large common or moor of 72 acres just to the west of Poynton Brook on either side of Chester Road. The survey also lists 11 smallholders who had cottages and fields amounting to less than 20 acres and 27 cottages which sometimes included a shop or smithy, e.g. at Lane Ends or the Village where 12 are listed. Thus Poynton had a mixture of small hamlets housing smallholders and cottagers, isolated farms and four communal buildings, the House of Correction above Middlewood Road, two cottages for the poor at Poynton Green and Duck Green, where the Fleetbank estate is now, and the water corn mill soon to be described. There were 98 houses in Poynton and Worth in 1778.

A further beautiful survey of the Estate in 1793 by George Nuttall4 shows that most of the area to the west of London Road including Lostock Hall Farm had been taken into the Park along with an area called Clumber Park between Park Lane and Dickens Lane, making it amount to 52% of the total estate. This robbed several farmers and smallholders of their land and abolished most of the common with its ancient rights of pasture and turf for fuel, leading to a drop in population and considerable resentment. The farms on the fringe of Poynton and Worth at Doghill and Mill Hill continued, but Matthew Pickford enlarged his holding - see Poynton Local History Society Newsletter for full details.5 As the collieries developed in the nineteenth century farms lost some of their land and some were compensated for "colliery trespass". A mid-nineteenth century survey of Lord Vernon's estates in both Poynton and Worth again accompanied by a map dated 1849 forms a valuable comparison with the 1851 census.6 Details and evidence from this is much used in later chapters. Many tenants increased their number of carts and horses and supplemented their income by carting coal7 G.Y. Osborne in his sketch of the Parish of Prestbury in l8408 regrets the change from rural to industrial activity thus "The honest pride in tilling the land which our fathers inherited is now no more - the coal wharf (built in 1789), or the hateful railroad (Manchester to Birmingham 1839, Poynton branch and colliery line 1845) pollutes the groves." The farm income came mainly from the production of milk, cheese and butter and the rearing of stock for meat.

The corn mills

The agricultural community of the eighteenth century was supported both by the arrangements made by the lords of the estates and also by the private enterprise of craftsmen. Prominent in the lords' manorial arrangements were the corn mills powered originally by water from local brooks. The reader may be surprised that much corn was grown in an area where now almost all the fields which survive are pasture or meadow for hay. However, we have much evidence of field names, e.g. Big Wheat Field and Little Wheat Field (9 acres) on Yew Tree Farm (around present Yew Tree Lane), Wheat Fields also on Midway and Lostock Farms, and Corn Field at Colliery Farm, Hepley, in the 1849 survey. At this time 35% of the ground on the farms listed was devoted to wheat, oats and corn crops, there being twice as much oats as wheat grown. Field names in the 1770 survey reveal evidence of the growing in earlier times of barley, rye and beans.

Three corn mills at Poynton, Worth and Norbury had been established since medieval times to mill the corn of the lord and by ancient custom his tenant farmers who paid a fee at first in corn and later in money. Evidence of two of these can still be seen on the ground. The base plan shows the location of the lades or artificial water courses and actual sites of Poynton and Norbury Mills. Mills had to be provided with an adequate supply of water throughout the year which could be collected to give a sufficient head to drive an overshot or breast wheel. The Pennine foothills in our area readily provided this in the Poynton and Norbury Brooks which meet near Barlow Fold, so long as colliery operations did not interfere. They also had to be accessible by cart and were usually placed not too far from the manor house. The miller was an important man in the community and usually had a substantial house. Poynton and Norbury mills were probably operated by breast wheels i.e. the water from the pool and lade is released through a sluice to fall on the blades of a large water wheel when they are at the two o'clock position in their clockwise rotation. Examples of restored and working water corn mills may be visited at Bunbury, Nether Alderley and Stretton in Cheshire. Diana Smith has given a full description of the working of Bunbury mill9 and J.H. Norris has produced a full survey of all mills of which traces survive in Cheshire.10 We are grateful for his assistance in our investigations.

As the map shows Poynton Mill was sited on the lowest part of Norbury Brook just before it passes under the Hazel Grove- Woodford road on a site now occupied by Tanglewood Cottage, itself perhaps reconstructed from the original mill buildings. As the base map shows the water supply, however, came from a mill pool held up by a dam near Barlow Fold on Poynton Brook above its confluence with Norbury Brook. The original designer of the system no doubt preferred to use water entirely within the control of the manor and not subject to hold up from Norbury or other mills higher upstream or from disputes arising because Norbury Brook was the boundary between two manors. It is probable that the miller originally lived at Barlow Fold when it was a smaller house (the present building was much enlarged in 1844 when Thomas Ashworth, Lord Vernon's agent lived there). The mill lade of about 800 yards contoured round on a course which can be seen in the wood near the present lower dam from which the water was taken to turn a turbine to generate electricity until recently. Then it passed under an ancient cart road from Poynton Hall to the Woodford Road, then contoured round on the south of this track, now a footpath, being silted up in varying degrees until both path and lade reach a point above the site of the mill. Here it must have formed a pool and then been conducted under the track and over an elevated channel to operate a wheel - the difference in height being about 30 feet. This part of the valley was chosen for the mill, no doubt because the lade could easily gain the necessary height and emerge at a point near where a mill could be built at a lower level and from which water could discharge back into the brook.

Unfortunately no trace of the original mill buildings can now be found and records suggest it ceased operation in the 1820s or 30s at the time when Norbury Mill expanded, to which local people took their corn.

There are early references to this mill in a bond of 1500 concerning payment of tithes and in 1589 when John Stanley was miller, who married a daughter of Laurence Warren, the brother of John Warren, Lord of the Manor of Poynton from 1558, so the miller's post was of high esteem. In 1625 there was an agreement between William Downes of Worth Manor and Edward Warren of Poynton11 whereby Warren was allowed to drain his collieries into Worth Clough, thus making the pool which operated Worth Corn Mill useless, in return for granting the right of the inhabitants of Worth Hall and demesne to easy access and to grind their corn at Poynton Mill free. At this time the track therefore across Warren's land past Poynton Hall and Barlow Fold to Poynton Mill became very important, and the business of Poynton Mill was considerably increased. In the 1674 Hearth Tax returns Edward Warren's cottage and mill are listed with two hearths.12 It seems likely the Priestnall family living at Barlow Fold were tenants of the mill in the eighteenth century. In rentals of 1731 and 1733 Matthew and George Priestnall paid 50 rent for both mill and coal pits. The first mention of the miller in the Poynton Register of Baptisms is of Samuel Dean in 1746. John Willort had succeeded him by 1778 and John Turner by 1788, who later removed to Norbury.

By 1770 on the Poynton Estate Map we find Samuel Dean still listed as miller with house, garden and mill amounting to 393 square yards and additional fields in the vicinity of the brook reaching up to Barlow Fold (where William Priestnall then lived). Probably Dean was employed by Priestnall to run his mill. By the time of the first detailed census in 1841 the buildings of the mill are now no longer in use and had been converted in Poyntonian fashion to house an influx of 2 colliery labourers and a coalminer with their young families at a time when there was great pressure on accommodation. By 1851 only one of these families remained at Poynton Mill Hollow: perhaps part of the buildings were demolished. John Owen, the antiquary, whose notes are preserved in Manchester Central Library, noted the site of the old mill in 1887 and said "the water course could still be seen but the mill has long since disappeared and the pool where the water wheel discharged its motive power has been filled up from soil taken from the adjacent bank".13

There is not much that can be said about the Worth manorial corn mill. Records of it exist from as early as 1288 and 1320 when Roger Simon was miller. In 1553 it is referred to as "The Mylne of Worth" along with a field called the "Mylne Croft". As mentioned earlier the needs of coalmining took precedence over corn milling in 1625. For a royalty of 8 a year William Downes of Worth allowed Edward Warren to use "a water channel or colesough" in Worth for processing coal found on Warren land adjoining property owned by Downes. The latter undertook to keep down the water level of his "milne pool" a little below the sough (or drain) to maintain a flow of water through the sough and not to prevent its clearing a way thence through "the ancient water course or dam thereof'. Warren agreed to compensate Downes for the consequent idleness of the water mill in Worth, standing at the west end of the mill pool, at the rate of 20s per annum.

It is not possible to decide where the mill, the coal workings and the sough were. After 1791 Worth Hall became merely a farm.

As the map shows Norbury Mill was sited at the end of OLD Mill Lane which runs off Mill Lane, a very old medieval route from Bramhall via Norbury to High Lane. Its water supply derives from Norbury Brook just below the exit point of ochre coloured water from the former Norbury Colliery. It travelled from the small dam across the Norbury Brook, the relics of which can still be seen, underground at present, but probably open originally, for 145 yards, then contoured across a meadow and round the edge of the valley, its course now partly silted up with grass, soil and shrubs. It turned finally towards the mill in a wider area where there was a pool and was there held back by a sluice gate and pentrough; the concrete edges of the gate and pool can still be seen. It thus continued for a distance of over half a mile. The site of the mill itself lies between the source of water, now 30 feet or more above stream level, and the stream bed. The water operated the wheel high up its side and drained away in a large wheel pit below, then passed through a tunnel under the access road (still there) and so flowed back into the brook. The wheel by the 1840s had reached a size of 30 feet in diameter, and was 5 feet wide. The remains of the rectangular wheel pit which was inside the mill building can still be seen. In 1842 this wheel operated one pair of shelling stones, 5 feet in diameter (to get the husks off the corn), one pair of meal stones, 5 feet, one pair of French stones, 4 feet 6 inches (imported because of the special virtue of the stone for grinding), two pairs of French stones, 4 feet 4 inches with a bean mill, a malt mill, drying machine and drying kiln. At this time water power had been found to be inadequate and a steam engine of 12 horse power had been linked to the driving mechanism - hence the large chimney on the 1878 picture, which replaced or added to the chimney for the drying kiln. The mill was in operation until about 1900 and since then the buildings have been gradually demolished. They were probably originally of stone, then were added to in brick in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century, and had three storeys for part of their structure. The side nearest the road was used for loading and unloading corn from the first floor. There is evidence in the wheel pit that the wheel was widened from 3 feet to about 5 feet during the nineteenth century. A sketch survives showing the buildings as they were in 1878 with three storeys - the lowest floor having the water wheel, pit wheel and wallower, the middle floor the stones and miller's controls, the top floor the storage for corn to be ground after being fed through a chute.

The manor of Norbury was independent in the hands of the Hyde family from about 1220 until the late seventeenth century when Norbury became part of the estate of the Leghs of Lyme. The first records so far found"14 show the mill in operation under lease by the tenants at Norbury Hall - in 1694 for the sum of 15 yearly. Under the lease the tenants were required to maintain the mill in good order; records of Norbury Court show the old manorial customs still operating, e.g. Mary Priestnall incurred a stiff fine of 10s for not grinding malt and grain at the Lord's Mill. In mid eighteenth century there are several references to repairs to the mill and the kiln, which probably used Norbury coal to dry the grain (fragments of perforated bricks used in the drying area can still be found on the site), and a similar kiln can be seen at Bunbury Mill. William Colliar was miller there in 1734, a baptism of his child being recorded in Poynton Parish Register, and in 1796 John Turner was miller previously at Poynton Mill. In 1798 he was paying 2s land tax on his house near the mill.

By the time of the tithe map of 1852 and the census records 1841-1871 we have better records of the detailed arrangements and the personnel operating the mill. By the 1840s the mill was a commercial concern let on its own and the old manorial customs had ended. In 1841 it was operated by Robert Sutcliffe who lived in the miller's house on the opposite side of Mill Lane (still standing, but empty). In 1842 Robert's son succeeded him and later from 1861 Joseph H. Massey was miller. By 1890 the owners are listed as the Norbury Mill Company and the mill fell into a very dilapidated condition. A photograph survives of 1905.

Gradually vandals destroyed the mill and soon it is to disappear with its lade when a new motorway is constructed.

Forestry and timber

Timber was a valuable product both on the Warren/Vernon and Downes estates. From the earliest part of our period records survive of nurseries, plantations and sales. For example, in 1748 John Downes of Worth Hall sold 363 oak trees in various parts of Worth to John Leigh of Wilmslow, timber merchant. The local sturdy oaks were used for building according to the traditional Cheshire black and white timber frame construction (e.g. Brookhouse Farm) and their bark for the local tanners of leather who required very large quantities. There were tanners mentioned in the Poynton Parish Registers at Poynton, Norbury, Worth and at Hagg Farm in Lyme. The leather could be used for shoemaking or saddlery locally. Sales of timber continued in the nineteenth century - for instance a very large sale was held at the Crescent Inn, Poynton, in December 1824 of 585 oaks, 179 ash, 30 cyphers (cypress?), 11 poplar, 3 alder, 11 sycamore, 819 trees in all situated in Lower Park, Lostock, Worth, and Poynton Coppice (where a nursery to repopulate the woods was established). From further sale notices in 1825, 1863, 1875 and 1878 which included beech and other hardwoods, it appears that many different kinds of wood were used for making coal tubs, props, crates, bobbins, fencing rails and posts, and various structures such as gins and headgear. The 1826 lease of the collieries15 its inventory gives the following list of timber in stock at Waterloo Pit:

Oak 29 logs
Larch firs 5 logs
Scotch firs l68 logs
Alder 160 logs

There were also oak scantlings (i.e. beams of small cross-section), tub scantlings, boards and planks at many pits and 1 1 59 pieces of post wood, 794 of them at Worth Clough, then the main colliery workshop. Alder wood was valuable and advertised as suitable for cloggers, because of its softness for carving and resistance to water.

In his 1847 report16 Thomas Ashworth, the agent to Lord Vernon, describes his policy of using all the land profitably. 137 acres were planted with trees in 29 different places to offer shelter and bring profit from the rougher areas and corners of land. He spoke of planting 50 more acres in Norbury Hollow, Worth Clough, Elm Beds Wood and Coppice Wood with forest trees and underwood. In the 1849 survey 144 acres are listed as planted with timber, Coppice Wood being the largest with 44 acres. At a valuation of colliery property in 187517 there are listed an upright saw mill (at Towers Yard) worth 329 and a circular saw mill worth 388. Home grown timber was used in part at the yard, part was imported. Walton describes how in the days before steel was used, headgear was made of fine quality pitch pine. The sawyer when selecting a suitable log for an upright would place his watch at one end: if he could hear the tick at the other end the timber was sound. There is a plan of Towers Yard in Chapter 10. Some timber was sent out via the coalyard by rail as the photograph shows and at the station where the silk mill now is, Clayton Brothers builders had a saw mill as part of their plant. The production of timber continued as a profitable part of estate management down to the sale and splitting up of the estate into separate ownerships in 1920.


Poynton lies on the edge of the Pennines and has a good supply of gritstone available. Its buildings show an interesting mixture of stone, brick and the ancient Cheshire timber frame construction. Stone was quarried from early times here. The preliminary survey for the first 1:63360 O.S. map dated May 1840 shows a "Gritstone Quarry" near Hig Lane and in 1841 the Highway Rates assessment book18 shows a stone quarry in Worth belonging to Mr. Roscoe. There were stonemasons and stonecutters long before this in Poynton, for example Isaac Broadhurst is mentioned in the parish registers in the 1810s succeeded by Edward, John and James, and in all the censuses 1851-71 there is at least one experienced stonemason with assistants mentioned. Stone was used in many cases as a roofing material, that from the quarries at Kerridge near Macclesfield being particularly suitable and in 1793 Charles Bradley is described in the parish register as a slater. There are still some local buildings with this type of roof, e.g. Nos: 167, 169, 179 London Road South, but many, like the Worth Clough cottages, have been re-roofed with slate.

It is not certain how far Lord Vernon managed the quarry, though from the colliery annual reports in the 1860s some stone was being sold, e.g. 94 tons at 2s 2½d per ton and it is included in the valuation of colliery stock. Local stone was used in the building of some of the earliest farmhouses, e.g. Worth Hall and Dalehousefold, in part in some colliery construction, e.g. in the mounting of engines, early ventilation chimneys, bases of the gasholders, and in parts of gasworks and brickworks near the station and the offices and workshops in Towers Yard. The cottages erected by Lord Vernon in the 1840s, such as Long Row and at Poynton Green, have the characteristic wedge-shaped stone lintels, probably made in the local quarry. These are conspicuous now because they are painted white. The largest buildings made from Hig Lane Quarry stone are the church built in 1858, the original Co-op store at Hockley (now the Hockley Stores) and the Newtown cottages in Coppice Road, built 1872-75 and described more fully later. The walled gardens and porches of the latter show the pleasing shades of brown and grey which the stone acquires by weathering. Stone was also used for palings, posts and parapets in many parts of Poynton.

The quarry is shown in detail on the first edition of the 1:2500 O.S. Map in 1871 with its cart track joining Coppice Road (still visible but grown over); it measured about 104 yards from west to east and 52 yards from north to south. A diagonal line shows the route of the track with stone being taken out at the edge. The 1909 edition of the map shows the "Old Quarry"; it had become obsolete as the Estate no longer was erecting cottages or buildings and since then it has gradually been filled up, being levelled in 1955. Other extractive industries have existed in Poynton through the centuries. Gravel was extracted for the upkeep of the turnpike road in the 1840s on the site near Hallworth's shop at Poynton Place. There were paviers listed in the censuses who made stones suitable for the cart roads. Because of the large amount of building from 1840 onwards, sand became valuable. There was a large sandpit behind the Worth Clough cottages.

Early brickmaking

Bricks also were a well-used building material at least from the late eighteenth century. Excellent clay for brickmaking is available in many parts of the Cheshire plain and the surveys show many field names involving the words brick or kiln. The main area for early handmade bricks was near Lower Park Farm where on the 1840 O.S. survey a brickground is shown. The census of 1841 shows this being operated by Job and William Shipton and by 1861 and 71 by John Rhodes followed by his two sons, James and Edward. The clay was taken from deposits on either side of the present railway line near the station. There were several other small brickyards, e.g. at Poolhouse Farm and both the parish registers in the eighteenth century and the censuses from 1841 show several bricklayers or bricksetters at work. Brick was used extensively in colliery building and industrial housing - for this the colliery set up its own brickworks near the station, the story of which is told in Chapter 7.

Village craftsmen

The craftsmen in the agricultural community of the eighteenth century were needed to shoe and harness horses, repair farm vehicles and their wheels, maintain farm equipment and the village buildings, and provide shoes and clothing to measure for children, men and women. The presence of Pickfords' headquarters and stables in Poynton (see Chapter 8) from the 1750s to the 1820s no doubt brought maintenance work for vehicles and horses to local blacksmiths, wheelwrights and saddlers. Tailors, dressmakers and milliners are described in Chapter 3.

Village blacksmiths appear in the parish registers and census records, very often a succession of members of a family at the same location. At Poynton Green, at least from the 1740s, Peter Gaskell and his son John had a smithy and this was continued by members of the Broadhurst family until the 1840s after which they became more involved with joinery and building. At Poynton Village a smithy is mentioned in the 1770 survey where a succession of members of the Wood family worked and trained apprentices down to the 1870s. A third smithy described in the 1849 survey as "a hovel and two chambers above the shop" was situated in Midway next to the public house now the Vernon Arms. This was run by the Barber family until the 1880s and was probably used by Pickfords, then came to be tenanted by C. Hallworth. The photograph of about 1910 shows that as well as shoeing horses and repairing agricultural machinery, the smithy now sold and repaired bicycles which had by then become popular. It was pulled down eventually in the 1920s, the last tenant in 1921 being Emma Hallworth. As the centre of Poynton affairs transferred from the Village to Park Lane from the 1870s, it was decided to build a new forge and smithy in Park Lane. A plaque still survives on No. 34 (Greggs' Bakery) saying THE FORGE 1877 and traces of the former large doors remain on the right side of the building. A photograph has been preserved which shows horses, carts, and machinery. In 1891 the Forge advertised new and secondhand mowing machines, haymakers and horse rakes. It was for many years run by George Wood.

Many other blacksmiths are listed in the censuses 1841-71; some worked for the master blacksmiths already mentioned, but most were employed in the colliery workshops from the 1840s at Towers Yard. Here by 1875 a vertical engine and fan had been purchased to operate the forge at which major repairs were carried out to machinery and railway wagons and parts and fittings were made. Several blacksmiths started off independently and then moved with their skills to colliery work which provided greater security and a regular wage.

Eventually with the coming of the motor car and motor lorry in the 1920s, the need for blacksmiths rapidly declined, though in 1910-19 there were three farriers concerned with shoeing horses. To obtain a full idea of the daily work of a blacksmith, it is well worth visiting museums such as the Staffordshire County at Shugborough, Calderdale at Shibden Hall, Halifax, and Salford at Lark Hill Place where the tools of the trade and some of its products may be seen.

Akin to the work of the blacksmith was that of the wheelwright, especially important when horse-drawn vehicles had to be manufactured and maintained locally for use on farms and the rough roads. There were at least six different wheelwrights at work in the eighteenth century; in the 1810s Felix Hallworth and in the 1820s John Broadhurst and Robert Kemp are described as wheelwrights. John who was born in Levenshulme, Manchester, was succeeded by his son Thomas by 1851 when their workshop appears to have been in Midway at Broadhurst Cottages. The Broadhursts seem to have branched out into general carpentry and joinery so as to share in the general building boom in Poynton by 1871 when Thomas Broadhurst describes himself as a house carpenter. In a sale advertisement of 1885 the joiner's and wheelwright's shop at Midway was sold by auction along with three adjacent houses. In 1906 for the first time in directories Charles Poole is listed as a wheelwright in Park Lane. His shop was originally behind Shrigley's forge on Park Lane and the photograph shows the low building advertised on the doors as wheelwright and coffin maker. From 1921-1934 Charles Poole and Sons had a workshop higher up Park Lane, entrance past the butcher's shop. Restored wheelwrights' workshops may be seen at Beamish Hall, Durham, and Shibden Hall, Halifax.

Also connected with transport were the saddlers and harness makers needed first by farmers, later by the colliery and local gentlemen. The first recorded was Robert Hill in 1723 followed by three others in Poynton and one in Worth in the eighteenth century, probably sited on the main turnpike road in Midway. Samuel Barber is mentioned 1804-1825 and in 1841 John Hat followed by John Potts in Midway had his workshop in James Taylor's leasehold, the last group of buildings before the bridge over Poynton Brook on the east side. This business included harness and tarpaulin manufacture and employed an apprentice in 1864. William followed by John Smith worked from 1874-1939.

Shoeing people was also an ancient and essential craft before the days of footwear mass-produced in factories, and in a colliery area hardwearing and quickly maintained boots or clogs were vital. In the eighteenth century and up to 1841 there were 14 shoemakers, also called cordwainers, in Poynton and four in Worth; sons often succeeded fathers in the same trade. In the nineteenth century when the census records enable us to find where shoemakers lived, we find the original centres of population at the Village had members of the Needham family with their assistants and apprentices as shoemakers, while two others worked at Midway in 1841 and in 1851 and Joseph Burgess employed three men in his workshop near Birches Farm till 1871.

Others preferred to find their customers among the miners e.g. Thomas Lee in 1841 had a workshop in the Worth Clough cottages succeeded by John Clayton in 1851 and William Clayton at Dalehousefold in 1841. By 1851 two experienced cloggers had set up shop, Samuel Henshall aged 53 at Dalehousefold and Moses Jackson at Hockley. In the later censuses there were ten or 12 engaged in this craft, perhaps in three or four workshops and by 1871 there were three cloggers at work and one woman who bound the uppers. In the late 1850s machine-made uppers were being brought in and shoemakers struck in Nantwich because of this threat to their livelihood, but it was not till the early twentieth century that factory-made footwear superseded the local craftsmen. Clogmaking continued longer. Miners we interviewed spoke of its great importance. When miners came out of the pits, clogs had to be repaired or renewed before next morning. After the First World War there was only one boot and shoemaker left but four shoe repairers, one of whom worked with great skill in the middle Park Lane Co-op buildings where remnants of his workshop could still be seen in 1982. The Co-op besides selling shoes did repairs for which a long price list was published, showing the need for strong reinforcement that miners required, e.g. iron tips 5d, full sprigging 9d, toe pieces and side pieces 1s 6d, soled and heeled, riveted, 5s 3d.

A further group of craftsmen grew up in the nineteenth century to serve a wealthier and more sophisticated community. There had always been a small number of carpenters and joiners (who did the lighter work) in the eighteenth century, particularly the Marledge and Hall families. Then by 1815, James Broadhurst at Worth and later in Poynton started a line of Broadhursts who worked at Poynton Green. Henry Graham and John Jones were joiners and housebuilders during the 1840s and 50s when Lord Vernon built many cottages, and employed several men. At this time also the colliery workshops employed a considerable number of carpenters and joiners, but they also continued in private work throughout the period. The first painter is recorded in 1827 and in 1841 Mark Worsencroft is recorded and this family has continued in this trade to the present day branching out into plumbing from 1851 and glazing from 1861 in various premises on London Road North.

A copy of Bagshaw's 1850 Directory of Cheshire survives in the family which belonged to Mark, and has his signature in vernacular and signwriters' hand - the entry in the directory describes him as painter, gilder and plumber. As the colliery improved its piped water supply to reach more houses, more plumbers were added to the painters from the 1870s. In the 1920s and 1930s there was work for four decorators? The first electrician and the first watchmaker and repairer appeared in 1939. Some of the equipment used by these various craftsmen can be seen in the Poynton Social Centre and Folk Club. Application to view this should be made at the Centre.

Thus throughout the early and mid-nineteenth century from 30 to 60 independent and colliery-employed craftsmen made their skilled contribution to the village economy.

1. DVE 1893/10 Poynton Deeds. CRO.
2. A Survey with maps of the manor of Poynton and the town of Stockport and sundry farms and tenements in the County of Chester belonging to the Hon. Sir George Warren, K.B. 1770. Original at Sudbury Hall, photographic copy at DVE 3282 CRO.
3. Watson, John Memories of the ancient Earls of Warren and Surrey, 1782,
4. A terrier of the manors of Poynton and Worth surveyed in the year 1793 by Geo. Nuttall. DVE 3288 CRO.
5. Shercliff, W.H. Three surveys of Poynton, PLHSN. No.8 1983.
6. Survey and map of townships of Poynton and Worth, property of Rt. Honorable George John Warren, Lord Vernon (1849) DVE 10/7 & 8 CRO.
7. Dodd, J. Phillip. Farming in Poynton in the 1840s. PLHSN. No.4. 1981.
8. Osborne, G.Y. Sketch of the Parish of Prestbury. J. Swinnerton 1840.
9. Smith, Diana. Bunbury Mill, past and present. Available at the Mill.
10. Norris, J. Harold. The water-powered corn mills of Cheshire. Trans. Lancs & Ches. Antiquarian Society. Vol, 75, 1974.
11. Downes Papers. DDS/13/2 CRO.
12. Hearth Tax Return 1674. CRO. microfilm.
13. Owen, John. Manuscripts in Manchester Central Library. Vol.83, pages 190 and 191, 1889.
14. Legh Muniments at John Rylands Library. Boxes L, N and T.
15, 16 & 17. Vernon Papers. DVE.
18. Assessment for highway rates in Worth. PC20/3 CRO.
NB. The references to documents at CRO indicate the archive group number by means of letters, followed by individual document numbers.

This text taken from: Poynton A Coalmining Village; social history, transport and industry 1700 - 1939, by W.H.Shercliff, D.A.Kitching and J.M.Ryan, published by W.H.Shercliff, 1983. ISBN 0 9508761 0 0

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 3. Textile Work

Poynton A Coalmining Village Contents

© W.H. Shercliff, D.A. Kitching & J.M. Ryan 2005

Last updated 24.2.05