Image of Hankelow Crest
Image of Sparrrowhawk

Hankelow Online Noticeboard

Information about the South Cheshire village of Hankelow

Village History

The purpose of this page is to publish historical articles contributed by readers

The information in this section is believed to be correct, but may contain errors and omissions. Please don't hesitate to contact us should you wish to correct us, or contribute information to this section in written, oral (e.g. on tape) or visual (i.e. old photographs) form. All information will be copied and returned in the original condition.

This page contains the following articles :-

Help needed

Are there any former Hankelow residents out there ? If so, why not email us with your Hankelow memories, and let us know what you are doing now.

Extracts, for Hankelow, Audlem and Buerton, from the 1860 edition of "History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cheshire

This sequence of images are taken from the 1860 edition of the book "History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cheshire".

My grateful thanks to Ian Jones who permitted me to scan the relevant pages of his copy of the book

Memories of Hankelow and district in the 1960s by Philip Minshall

Philip Minshall writes :-

I was born at brookes farm in 1959 with my mum and dad they were called john and Brenda scholes also my brother Christopher my brother was friends with dereck jones and the hassells I think one of them was named tom jones I can remember mr and mrs timmis at the shop my mum always said they was very helpful, when I was older we used to go the old mill swimming in like a lock with lads from longhill the broadhurst and wrenches family and a lad called magiuness I think he was called Terence I went to buerton school in 1964 teachers was ma smith and mrs sedgely my other dads name was keith minshall from audlem his family worked in duttons shop and one married a roycroft when I was young I went to the cricket club it belong to mr and mrs Sutton they had two sons Donald and peter I think peter took over the farm ,I left audlem in 1969 and moved to the Staffordshire area my parents passed away many years ago

When I moved to kettle lane where the old garages was that's where my dad had concrete mixers ithe land at the time was dick manleys he lived in the big house on the corner of kettle lane then my dad drove lorrys for frank caulkins transport from the same place but next to the garage was a corn store bags etc the man that looked after it was a man called aurther Devonport then it was taken over by some people from drayton called bournes to do with linen materials etc.i can remember jack healey we see him coming down the road and walk with him my parents would offer him a cup of tea but he was one of the gentlemen didn't ask for anything I can remember when the foot and mouth hit round audlem bad I can remember don ryder in the farm next to the garages I think he had pigs as well this was round about 1967 or 68 I think .we would walk to school most of the times even as I was young you might have got alift I can remember albert peter nadens grandad having a big posh black car they ran the public house in audlem the bridge I have a good memory of things names etc

Should you wish to get in touch with Philip, his email address is Philip Minshall's email address

Top of Page

A map of the Hankelow area in the 1830s

The following map of the Hankelow area in the 1830s is ©Cassini Publishing Ltd., and is used with their kind permission.

The map is taken from their "Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield" Cassini Historical Map Old Series 1833-1842.

Cassini products can be purchased from their website or from bookshops.

Map of the Hankelow area in the 1830s
Image ©Cassini Publishing Ltd.

Top of Page

Memories of Hankelow and district in the 1940s and 1950s by Alan Holdcroft

Oak View

I lived at Oak View from the early 1940s up to 1962.

The house consisted of a general room where we cooked on a range, ate and sat in the evenings. We had a lounge but this was used on odd occasions as it was damp. The kitchen was to the rear with a stone sink. In the corner was a brick arrangement which had a steel washing boiler with a small fire under which was used on washday (Monday) to heat the water.

Upstairs was accessed via a strange staircase consisting of tapered steps, the second bedroom only accessed by walking through the first one.

There was no electricity supply so lighting was from paraffin lamps. Some were pressurised Calley "Tilly" lamps. The radio ran off two batteries, one "dry" and one "wet", which had to be charged up at Cliff Leigh's garage.

The toilet was down the garden. The contents were collected by the council and taken to the moss at Longhill.

I remember some men from Moseley's working on the house bringing it up to standard, putting in a new fireplace with a back boiler connected to a cylinder to give us hot water. They improved the drains, constructed concrete paths, but still no electricity or water toilet.

Oak View was owned by a Mrs.Ockle to whom we paid rent. She lived away and only visited on the odd occasion. In all, I think she owned eight properties.

In the days I lived here, there was no such thing as double glazing or central heating so I remember the inside of our windows covered in frost. The patterns were most interesting but the rooms were generally very cold.

From memory I would think the original house was very old, being one room up and down. Later on it had a lean-to built to accommodate a kitchen and pantry and then at a later date another extension was added to give a front room and another bedroom.

Oak View had a sizeable garden. We used to keep a few hens and grow vegetables. There were also some damson trees in the hedge to Monks Lane.

In the early days water was obtained from a well at the top of the garden on the corner of Longhill Lane and Monks Lane.

Oak View - occupation history

Prior to 1930 :- Bill Foster and Bill Parker lived here
1930 to 1942 :- Mrs (Molly?) Fearon
1942 to 1958 :- Ken and Rita Holdcroft
1958 :- Sold to Revd. Jones

Top of Page


Mr. and Mrs. Timmis owned the local shop and what you could not get there meant a trip to Audlem or on the Crossville bus to Nantwich.

Butter and cheese came in bulk supply, and Mrs Timmis used to cut off the amount you required and wrap it in greaseproof paper always in a neat fashion.

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Evans lived next door to us and Fred worked at Rolls Royce in Crewe. He travelled to work on a small motorcycle. Mrs. Evans used to watch for him to come along the main road and she would nip out and open the front gate. Fred shut off his engine as he turned into Longhill Lane and coasted home, always managing to get the top of his driveway.

Ethel and Ernest Bate (sister and brother) lived next door to Fred Evans, and Ernest did casual work on farms i.e. hedge cutting, cleaning out ditches, helping with harvest, etc. He always went to work in the morning on two raw eggs.

Down Monks Lane towards Audlem lived the Joneses, the Pudneys and the Mottrams. These were very small cottages for a family.

The land opposite Oak View was owned by Williamson at Woolfall Farm where I spent many hours with the labourers and animals, collecting eggs and getting a ride on their machinery when possible.

I remember some four or five farm labourers coming down the drive on their cycles with milk cans on the handlebars. This was a perk to supplement the low farm wages at that time.

Papers were delivered by Henage Parker and pushed into a drainpipe located in the hedge.

Roy Pudney cycled round collecting insurance money which was a few old pence from each household.

Tony Walker live down the road at Bunsley Bank and was a model plane enthusiast. I spent many hours watching, helping and flying the model plane he painstakingly constructed.

My father's first car was an Austin Seven which he purchased from Wesley Timmis who used it to take paraffin around to customers.

Syd Stone from Monks Lane got it going as the engine was worn out. It had a six volt battery and a torch would have given better lighting.

Top of Page

The White Lion

The White Lion was a pub for all occasions. In the week it was used mostly by locals. It supported teams of dominoes and darts in local leagues. At weekends people attended for a sing-along.

On Sunday evening you would see two or three PMT buses parked on the green. The PMT ran these as mystery trips from the Stoke area, but they always seemed to finish at Hankelow every week.

The visitors and locals always seem to have a wonderful time singing all evening to someone on the piano.

Joe Basford used to take his teeth out and whistle tunes. He also played the spoons.

The pub was run by Mr. and Mrs. Alex Long. It was very different from today's pubs as no food was available and opening times were strict.

Top of Page

School years

From 5 to 11, I attended Hankelow school where Miss Etches was our teacher. The attendance was around 30 and she worked really hard to keep all age groups interested at the same time.

Miss Etches had a car to travel from her Nantwich home, and she used to garage it in a lean-to on the left-hand-side of the White Lion pub. This lean-to has now been demolished.

I remember the nativity players we had at Christmas when all our parents attended. It was a traumatic time for us youngsters trying to remember our lines and even harder to remember when to say them.

School meals were brought in each day from Nantwich. The were awful, but hunger ensured you ate them.

Coming up to the age of 11, we sat exams to see where you went to next, the Grammar school at Nantwich (now Malbank School and Sixth Form College) or the Secondary Modern at Audlem (called Audlem Grammar School). Apparently I had the brains two go to the (Nantwich) Grammar school but had no desire to do so.

At the age of 11, I used to cycle to Audlem Grammar School, then under the headship of Mr. Coffin (but that's another story).

I left school in December 1956 and started in the building trade as an apprentice Joiner.

Top of Page

Hankelow Green

Hankelow is blessed with having a flat grass area known as the green, and we as youngsters mixed with the older ones to play sports and games. The main game played was football, and we played long hours until the one who owned the football had to go home, usually at bedtime. This curtailed the game with immediate effect.

Goal posts were inevitably coats and jackets placed at a strategic distance apart, but with no proper posts disputes arose whether it was a goal or not. Fed up with this, several of us decided proper posts were a must, and we set out to find four straight pieces of wood with a "V shape" at one end in which to place the cross bar. The other challenge was to find a long straight branch to act as a crossbar. This seemed to take ages but in the end we succeeded.

We still had disputes due to the fact we had no nets and this never did get resolved.

We never had replica shirts like present days but always had a favourite player whom we insisted on being called.

Cricket was played using a cork ball with sticks as stumps. The bat and ball were owned by someone and when he went home the game had to finish.

During the Queen's coronation in 1953, I along with other children from school planted two oak trees which are still alive and growing strong for future generations to see and enjoy.

Top of Page

Hankelow Mill

Although the mill had not been a working mill for a considerable period of time, it provided a centre for pleasure.

When the sluice gate was open, there was a considerable area of water which was used for swimming, and many used to drive off the wall into the water.

Serious fishing also took place, and sizeable fish were caught in the mill pool. As the youngsters we were happy to fish for jacksharpes in the shallow area leading to the mill.

We also played football and cricket, usually in the area between the main (river) Weaver flow and the small diversion of this once used to drive the mill machinery.

We also played on the hardstanding adjacent to the mill outbuildings when the field was too wet.

Top of Page

Chapels in Hankelow

In the mid nineteenth century there were two Chapels in Hankelow. One was situated on the right of the main road leading from the village towards Hatherton as the road begins to descend the hill. This chapel was erected in 1838 and the 1851 Ecclesiastical Census indicates that it had 48 free seats and 40 others. The Chapel was built at a cost of £240 and remained in use until 1935 when it was demolished to permit the widening and re-aligning of the road. It was replaced by the present modern structure which stands at the edge of the village green. We have photographs of the original chapel, and of the current chapel.

The other Chapel was known as William Green's Chapel and was situated near to the Hankelow/Long Hill road and was registered for worship on 26th April 1825. Once closed as a place of worship, this latter building became known as `Chapel House' and later still as `Fields View'.

Top of Page

Excerpts from "The Audlem Scrapbook of 1951"

heraldic shield associated with Hankelow

Hankelow is a township within the township of Audlem, one mile from Audlem on the Nantwich Road. At the time of Domesday, the estate was part of the Barony of Wich Malbank (i.e. Nantwich), and was owned by Richard de Vernon. It was held under the Vernons, as early as Edward I's Reign, by a family who acquired the local name of Hunkelowe - William, son of Richard of Hunkelowe, was bailiff to the Hundred of Nantwich in the reign of Richard II, and again in Henry IV's reign. He appears to have spent some of the time between these two periods of office imprisoned in Chester Castle as a King's Debtor.

In the reign of Edward III, the Hassalls appear to have had considerable estates in "Honkelowe", which they held until the 17th Century. These were no doubt acquired through marriage or sale from Richard Hunkelowe.

In the reign of Henry VI, the main part of the estate passed, through the marriage of an heiress of Richard de Hunkelowe, to one of the Wettenhalls of Wettenhall, who settled in Hankelow, where they remained until the latter part of the 18th Century. After this the estate passed to the family of Bayley, then to the Greaves. The estate is now split up and owned by various people.

During the Civil Wars, the Parliamentarians and the King's Men met at Hankelow, and the place was ravaged.

In the centre of the village is Hankelow Green, where there is a good sized pond, on which swans are often to be seen. When there is a frost, this is the favourite place for children to slide and skate. The Cheshire Hounds used to meet on Hankelow Green twice a Season, but this part of the country has now been handed over to the North Staffordshire Hunt. The Meet is always a popular affair, people following on foot and on bicycles.

At the corner of the Green there stands a house that is said to have been built (that is to say, far enough to raise smoke up the chimney) in a single night, on stolen ground - the tradition being that in such circumstances the builder could claim the land on which the house was built. In those days the house had no deeds, but some have since been drawn up.

Close to Hankelow Green there is a very old house known as the Ball Farm, built in 1510. Richard Hassall occupied it, and he was made a Sergeant-in-Law in 1511, and Justice of Chester in 1540. It is probable that the Ball Farm was used as a Court of Justice for the district. There are two large balls on the front gate-posts, and these were a symbol of authority. Some parts of the old house still remain, but a new part has been added. There is some very old wood panelling, oak beams, and oak stairs, and all the floors in the old part are very uneven There is one very small room called the Powder Closet, where the ladies went to have their hair dusted when powdered hair was the fashion.

Hankelow Hall is a handsome 18th Century brick house situated in a park containing some very fine trees. It was at one time the home of the Wettenhalls, who disposed of it to the Richardsons; in 1817 it was sold to Thomas Cooper. Since then it has had various owners.

The lectern in the Church was Given in memory of George William Cooper, his wife, and all his children, except one, who were drowned in Lake Windermere 1873.

The estate passed to T.G.Bellyse Cooper , who accidentally shot himself just prior to his marriage.

Birchall Moss Farm is among the oldest houses in Cheshire. The hidden cupboard (most likely a priest-hole) which was discovered, reveals its antiquity,

When the present owner went to live in it in 1911, all the lovely oak beams and rafters, which are such a feature of the farmhouse, were covered with plaster and whitewash, and countless coats of paint had to be removed from the beautiful oak doors,

Top of Page

Memories of Hankelow and district in the 1930s by Barry Hawkins

Personal Background and memories

I lived with my parents at Gorsecroft Cottage, Bunsley Bank (this house had no electricity, no mains sewage, no bathroom, no hot water and no central heating). The W.C. was about 50 yards from the house and in winter it was an unfortunate experience to have to visit it. The contents (night soil) of the W.C. container were collected in the middle of the night by a man named Reg Booth, who had a metal horse cart. When the cart was full, it was emptied into a large pit dug in the farmer's field opposite where I lived. This particular pit was nearly my fatal downfall - in those days one of my many pursuits was to bowl a car tyre with a stick and on this particular day I chose to do so in the field where the pit was situated. There was I bowling along when suddenly the tyre went into the pit and I followed, up to my neck in .......... I slunk home knowing I was in big trouble from my mother, who, after giving me a good scolding, proceeded to burn all my clothes and shoes.

It is sad to see that Gorsecroft Cottage is now in disrepair, no roof, some of the walls have gone and the land has become very overgrown with plants and vegetation.

Not many houses in the area had central heating. Most had coal fires and it was a common sight to see the coalman's lorry delivering coal. Not only was coal used for the fires inside the house but it was also used to heat water in the cast iron boiler that was used on wash days (usually Monday).

It was from this house that I attended Hankelow School in the late 1930s. In my first year at school, I was transported to and from school sitting on a metal carrier on the back of my mother's bicycle. There were no such things then as comfortable bicycle seats for children, just a hard metal carrier and no foot rests either. For my second year at school, the transport arrangements became a lot easier as my parents bought me a three wheeled tricycle. The tricycle's pedals were attached to the front wheel, so you can imagine that if you turned the handles too severely, you ended up with serious tyre burns or lacerations to your legs. This happened quite often because I was then an impetuous 6 year old who thought the way to ride the tricycle was as fast as possible.

In those days the winters were always blessed with severe snow and frosts and I can still remember walking to Hankelow School with my mother on the top of 6 ft high snow drifts that had frozen. Sometimes one had to take to the fields to make the journey and sometimes we stopped at home - lucky me.

Most houses between my home and the school had large gardens which were extensively cultivated, giving us all a daily diet of fresh vegetables. Many houses had fruit trees - apple, pear, damson and plum - and fruit shrubs such as blackcurrant and gooseberry. In many cases the fruit was made into pies and served with custard as a dessert. Having thus been reared on fruit pie and custard as my daily pud, I now find it very difficult to have a cooked dinner and not have a dessert to follow.

Another sight I remember quite clearly is the farmers harvesting the corn (usually wheat or oats) in August. In those days there were no such things as combine harvesters. The corn was cut by a machine called a binder, A modern photograph of an old binder A modern photograph of stook building which cut the corn and dropped it onto a moving canvas platform. When the corn reached the top of the machine, a pre-calculated amount of corn was tied in the middle and then thrown out of the side of the binder. This was called a sheave. There was a seat on the binder where the operator sat controlling the various controls and at the same time driving 2 horses. Sometimes this was a dangerous position to be in when there were one or two persons with shotguns standing at the corners of the corn shooting at the rabbits that fled from the standing corn. Farm workers followed, collecting the sheaves and stacking them together to form a stook (8 sheaves), which looked like a tent . After a week or so, all the sheaves were collected by horse and cart and transported to the farm yard, where they were stacked, awaiting the visit of the threshing machine. Where the sheaves were stacked in the open they were usually thatched.

Threshing machine driven by a steam engine A company called Bonells situated at Littleheath provided a corn threshing service to the farming community. There were two machines used, one called "The Box" and the other known as "The Baler". Both were pulled by a large traction steam engine. The Box (driven by a belt from the steam engine) received the stacked sheaves and separated the grain from the stalks, and the baler received the stalks and made them into bales. When the work was completed at one farm they moved onto the next. During the winter months you would see this monster travelling through the country lanes - the steam engine, the box, and the baler.

Road transport in the 1930s was completely different to what it is today. It was quite a common sight to see a Sentinel steam wagon from Bonells driving along the roads, smoke coming from its chimney as it slowly chugged along. Tractors were not often seen and road re-surfacing was always carried out using a steam roller. I remember one year the steamroller, together with the driver's caravan, being stationed on a large area of highway verge outside my home and a 6 year old boy had his dream realised when the driver lifted me onto the roller and took me for a drive down the road - what a thrill, seeing the fire burning fiercely, smoke coming from the chimney, and the large fly wheel going round incredibly fast and, of course, the grating sounds of the metal roller going over the chipping road surface.

Just across the field from my home was Birchall's cheese factory. Each day a lorry went from the factory to Manchester delivering milk to a central depot. One of the drivers was a Mr. Walter Lee, who lived at Bunsley Bank and one day he asked my mother if I would like to go with him. The journey in those days took a complete day. To me it seemed I was going to visit another world. My mother made up a packed lunch of sandwiches, cake and a drink and handed them to me as I climbed up into the passenger seat of the lorry. For the next 8 hours I looked in wonderment at the ever changing scenery, countryside one minute and rows of houses the next.

When I reached the advanced age of 7, my parents thought that I could become a "concert pianist" and with this in my mind they arranged for me to have piano lessons. My piano tutor was a Miss May Cliffe, who lived in Hankelow House. Whilst I did not become the concert pianist, I became competent enough to be appointed as Church Organist and Choirmaster at a church in Hertforshire and much later in life I became a semi-pro musician.

Top of Page

Hankelow Church School. (built in 1875)

In 1937 there were no dwellings between the school and the chapel - it was just a field with hens and small cows in it.

The pupils who were at the school at the same time as myself are shown on this photograph, and it would be most welcome to receive comments from any of those persons via the Hankelow website.

The headmistress was a Miss Etches who lived at Kynsal Heath. She was also the cub mistress for the Audlem Cubs. She had a shiny black car and at 6 years of age, we thought she must be rich to own a car, as not many people in those days did.

Tortoise stove The main room of the school stretched the full width of the school (as you look at it from the road) and was heated by a stove (called a tortoise stove). For those not familiar with a tortoise stove, it was a cast iron cylindrical stove and fuel was fed through the top. No central heating in those days. There was a second room at the rear, used mainly for catering purposes and off this room was the cloakroom. The toilets were outside, which again were not of the flushing type.

The school was surrounded by grassed areas and paths that were formed from the burnt coke originating from the tortoise stove, which made for painful landings should you be unfortunate enough to fall over whilst running - it was better to restrict one's energetic antics to the grassed areas.

I can remember the pupils making table mats for their parents. One type of mat was made from a rectangular piece of card with serrated edges and a slot cut out in the middle of the card. Raffia was wound through the slot and then passed around the serrated edges so eventually all the card was covered. Another type of mat that was made was a circular cork mat to which you attached coloured beads around the edge.

At the east end of the main room was the nave complete with altar (school was used for church services on Sundays and Holy days). On special occasions this area was adapted so that the children could put on a Nativity Play or other forms of entertainment with, of course, a room full of parents and other visitors. We were very nervous before these occasions.

During the school year, there were occasions when the pupils spent some of their time away from the school building and these were among the more pleasant moments of our school year. Dancing formed part of our learning curriculum. One year we danced around the Maypole and also danced some English Country Dances in the grounds of Hankelow Court. Each summer term Miss Etches took us on a couple of nature walks. One was usually in Hankelow Hall Park and the other was down Mill Lane. In winter, when the ice was thick enough on the village pond, we were allowed to go and slide on it. The bravest pupils used to take a long run up so that they could slide right across the pond.

In my school days at Hankelow there were no such things as school dinners, you had to bring your own packed lunches and I can vividly remember one day my mother accidently had given me my father's packed lunch and he had gone to work with mine. When lunch time came I opened up my sandwich box and to my utter despair I found that my sandwiches contained marmalade, which I detested and never ate. Miss Etches did not accept my excuse for not eating my sandwiches and made me eat them all, which I found very distasteful. It took me many years before I could face any food which contained marmalade.

Top of Page


There were 2 shops in the village - one was a general grocers shop (very popular with the children when they left school to buy sweets and ice creams), owned by the Timmis family and situated on the left hand side of Longhill Lane, opposite the White Lion public house. The other was a post office and general shop, situated on the Audlem side of the pub. This house and shop have been extensively altered since my school days. Adjoining this shop was a car repair garage and petrol pumps. Now this site is occupied by 2 houses.

Opposite Timmis's shop and right behind the White Lion were 2 Cottages, which have now been demolished to make way for a car park to serve the pub.

Top of Page

Hankelow Chapel

The new Methodist Chapel was built in 1935. The old chapel, which was sited at the top of Birchall Brook Bank, was demolished for the widening and re-aligning of the original road.

Hankelow Court.

During the 2nd world war, American soldiers were billeted there.

Occasionally fetes were held in the gardens of the court; they included side stalls, bowling for the pig, hoop-la and many other attractions.

Top of Page

Hankelow Tennis Club.

The tennis courts were sited adjacent to Court Cottage and nearly opposite Hankelow Court and during the thirties had a very healthy membership. My parents were members of the club, so I spent many evenings there.

The Grey House, Nantwich Road.

This house used to be an old inn named The Greyhound.

To the left of this house was a two-storey agricultural building; the lower floor being used for agricultural purposes while the top floor was used for whist drives. Like the school, it was heated with a tortoise stove.

Opposite this house were 2 thatched cottages which have since been demolished.

Top of Page

The Smithy, Longhill Lane

The smithy was owned by a Mr. Bert Malkin and served the local farmers who, in the 1930s, relied heavily on horses to carry out various tasks on the farm, such as ploughing, harvesting corn and general haulage. All the horses had to have their metal horseshoes replaced periodically, so it was a common site to see at least 2 of them at the smithy at any one time. As well as this smithy, there were 2 more in Audlem and one at Chapel End, which gives an indication of how many horses were being used on farms around the area. Some farmers and Their horses had to travel quite a distance to the smithy. Opposite the smithy was a small pond which was open to the road and often I would see horses from the smithy drinking there.

Top of Page

Hankelow Hall and Squire Cooper

My interest in Squire Cooper began in the mid 1950s when, following the death of an aunt, I was given an old photograph album. Fortunately I had the foresight to ask my mother the names of the people in the photographs but all she could tell me about three of them was that they were Squire Cooper, his wife and son. Over the years I have always wondered about them. Who were they? Where did they come from? How did they fit into the family? Cooper was not a name associated with the family.

In 1999 I was able to start researching my family history. I constantly looked out for a Squire Cooper but, with such a common name, it was difficult, and the photographs did not help as they were taken in various parts of the country.

My maternal grandmother was Minnie Louisa Mary Kent and her grandfather was John Kent. John Kent had a sister Ann and this year (2007) I discovered that Ann Kent (my great, great, great aunt) married Frederick Chetwode Hoskin Bellyse. Their only daughter Louisa Bellyse, born in 1843, married George William Cooper on 9 July 1867 in the Parish Church in Audlem. Ann Kent's mother, Martha Kent nee Williams, was Publican of the Red Cow Inn in Pepper Street, Whitchurch from before 1841 until she died in 1866. Martha's husband, Thomas Kent, was a Tanner in Malpas who died in 1825.

George William Cooper was born about 1846, the son of Thomas Cooper of Hankelow Hall. Thomas Cooper died on 9 February 1848. George William is the only child mentioned in Thomas's will.

In 1871 Census George William and Louisa are living in Church Street, Applethwaite. The deaths of George and Louisa Cooper are registered in the September quarter of 1873. The only other Cooper death registered in Kendal for that quarter is Anthony Cooper age 0. I have ascertained that he is not their son. It would seem that George and Louisa were the only Coopers drowned when the yacht capsized on Lake Windermere on the 16 August. The Inquest was held on 18 August.

Their son, George Thomas Bellyse Cooper, was born on 19 July 1872 at The Cottage, Applethwaite. When Probate of George William's Will was granted to Frederick C H Bellyse of Audlem, he became the Curator or Guardian lawfully assigned to Thomas George Bellyse Cooper an infant the natural and lawful and only Child of the Testator.

By 1891 George is an Agricultural Pupil with Joseph Gouldbourn of Moreton House, Colwich, Stafford. According to his death certificate, he died on 23 December 1893 in South Cliff Street, Tenby, Pembrokeshire. It states that he died from the wound inflicted by a revolver accidentally fired by himself. The Inquest was held on 26 December 1893 by S A Lloyd, Deputy Coroner for Lower Division of Pembrokeshire. Following his death, Letters of Administration were granted to Frederick Bellyse of Sutton Courtney, Berkshire, lawful Uncle and only next of kin. George is described as of Warburton House, Tenby, formerly of Hankelow Hall, in the Parish of Audlem. I believe Warburton House is in South Cliff Gardens, off South Cliff Street in Tenby. Frederick's father, Frederick C H Bellyse, Guardian, had died in 1887, which would have left Frederick the only next of kin.

I have a photograph of Louisa and their son taken by Geo Waters of Bowness on Windermere. Another photograph is taken by A Manson of Bridge of Allen. Her Aunt, Hannah Baildon, sister of Frederick C H Bellyse lived in Scotland. Her cousin, Frances Baildon, was visiting her in the 1871 Census.

A tale told in the family tells of the tragic accident on Lake Windermere and how the baby was being looked after by the Nanny on the shore. If it were true, we had always thought that perhaps it related to an incident circa 1910-1920 never dreaming that it went back so far.

Frederick Chetwode Hoskin Bellyse is a brother of Richard Baker Bellyse to whom there is a memorial in Audlem. Frederick Bellyse of Sutton Courtney is the son of Frederick C H Bellyse and brother of Louisa Bellyse.

All this leaves me wondering about their lives. One hopes that Louisa and George William and their son, enjoyed their short lives and were happy, but what tragic accidents.

Top of Page

Request for help in tracing the ancestors of Andrew Lea

I have recently been tracing my ancestors on my Mother's side and it has led back to Ravens Bank and Long Hill Lane. I have discovered my Great Grandmother, Great Great Grandmother and my Great Great Great Grandmother came from the area. The latter, Mary Sandland, Sandlance or Sandylmow (maiden name Vickers) is buried in Audlem Church. Selina (sometimes spelt Selener), her eldest daughter lived at Ravens Bank. She was born in 1843 at a house on Longhill Lane, moving to Ravens Bank when she got married to a William Shenton, a brick maker by trade.

I visited Ravens bank on New Years Day 2009, and best as I can reckon from the 1881 census she lived at the small cottage near where Monk's Lane and Longhill Lane meet (the one with the pigs in the garden). She had one daughter, Martha Ellen (1871-1953), who left the area in around 1890 when she got married to a George Barnett. He died very soon after, though there was a child from that relationship, Albert. Martha Ellen returned (to Longhill Lane, the house before Woolfall according to the 1891 census) and married again shortly after. This time to a policeman based at Audlem (we think), a James Garner born about 1867 in Timperley. That part of the family left Audlem for Timperley around 1900. My Grandmother was born in Timperley in 1904. Whether there is any family left around Audlem I do not know, but I suspect there probably is somewhere.

I would love to hear from you if there is any light you can shed on Sandlands, Shentons, Garners, or on Gorsecroft Cottage.

Top of Page

Request for help in tracing the ancestors of Lynda Burke (nee Chetwood)

I was born in Nantwich (now living in Lancaster) and am researching my late mother's family, the Birchalls, several of whom farmed in the Hankelow area.

My great-great-grandfather George Birchall was in Buerton, possibly on what is now called Smithy House Farm, where he made his Will (he died in 1831, at Crab Mill Baddiley). Shortly after that the tithe maps list Elizabeth Birchall in Buerton - I don't know who she is. George was married to Mary Austin of Baddiley.

Later, descendants of George's older brother Charles also farmed in Buerton: Ted (William Edward) and Thomas Pedley Birchall.

Samuel Birchall farmed at Checkley - he was a grandson of Samuel Birchall of Brassey Hall, Willaston.

Samuel Birchall (1891-1970), son of George Birchall and Hannah Maria Dutton, both of Baddiley, married May Bennion (1896-1983) daughter of James Bennion and Mary Ann Hobson. They farmed at Gorse Croft, lived at Stapeley Manor for a time and retired to Gorse Croft Villa. James, my grandfather's brother-in-law and good friend, was son of James Bennion and Ellen Hewitt of Cross Banks, Cholmondeston.

We think our Birchalls are probably descended from Robert Birchall of Audlem, who owned land in Hankelow and other places including Walgherton but are not sure of the three generations in between! I think our Birchalls must be related to the Birchalls of Hatherton - Thomas held a good deal of land locally, then our branch moved to Willaston.

Looking at more modern times, do you know who the Birchalls were who operated the cheese factory, please?

I was in the area in 2008 for a Grammar School reunion at the golf club by Birchall Moss Farm, and again in April 2009, visiting Wybunbury and Dagfields.

Bill and Florrie Davenport were licensees of the White Lion, in the early 1950s, I think, where I once stayed. They later went to the Hop Pole in Crewe.

I hope someone can help. If anyone is interested in the Birchalls, I would be happy to share the information I have.

************************ Update ************************

Shortly after posting my request for information about the Birchall's Cheese Factory on the Hankelow website, I received a phone call from Barry Hawkins about the Birchall Cheese Factory. He told me it was owned by my mother's paternal cousin Samuel Birchall, who married her maternal cousin, May Bennion. Small world!

Barry told me about the lifts he had in the lorry taking milk every day to Manchester, and that my uncle Roland Birchall (1899-1966), helped his cousin Sam on the farm at Gorse Croft. I had known that they worked together for a time, but not exactly where. Roland's one surviving child now lives and works in Madrid, two of my sons are in Melbourne. Although some of the family is scattered, we still love our Cheshire roots. Many thanks to Barry, Charlie and all contributors to the website.

Currently my main research interests are my mother's family, the Birchalls,and my father's, the Chetwoods. I would be happy to share information with anyone who may be interested.

By the way, did you know that the Royal Navy bought Cheshire cheese for its ships (after the quality of Suffolk cheese declined) from 1739? This, and more, in Charles E Foster's book, 'Cheshire Cheese and Farming in the North West in the 17th and 18th Centuries'.

Top of Page

Florence Ada Walker, of Hankelow

Florence Walker was born at Manor Cottages Hankelow in April 1924, she was one of seven children, she had 3 brothers and 3 sisters.

Flo's mother and father were both hard working people, they both undertook  general farm work and helping out at the local Hankelow Hall and Flo used to tell us all about the fancy parties they had there and described all the old cars and carriages that she saw, she also told us of how frightened she was of the huge shire horses her dad used to work.

Flo went to school at Hankelow school which also doubled up as a chapel, then she attended to Audlem Grammar school.

She often talked about her and her siblings walking to and from school every day in all weathers.

On leaving school Flo got a job at P H Chesters in Pepper Street Nantwich which was an old fashioned grocery shop, which in those days sold almost everything, but not in pre-packed  packets, everything was sold by weight, the tea, coffee and sugar all came in big chests and had to be weighed out, she loved working there and again used to cycle from Hankelow to Nantwich in all weathers .

The second world war came along and at the age of 17 she went to help out the war effort by working at the Munitions factory at Swynnerton, Staffordshire where she was employed loading the bullets, detonators and bombs with explosives.

A coach would pick the workers up at 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning, she would describe how they used to have to dig through snow drifts to get to work and how they could not wear anything that could possibly produce sparks and how some of the peoples skin turned yellow because of the explosive powder they were handling.

Later on in life she discovered that the ladies who worked at Swynnerton were recognised for the work they had done and they were christened the Swynnerton Roses, they were given a badge and a commemorative garden was created in their memory. She was very proud of what she did but later in life she reflected about the human loss that the work there must have caused.

Flo loved gardening and spent hours in the garden, she told me that the love of gardening came from her dad who grew lots of vegetables and flowers and she described how they used to sell the flowers in the summer to the people off the charabancs who had called at the White Lion at Hankelow for a drink on their way home. 

Flo had an incredible memory and could recall many things that much younger people had forgotten about in their lives, she even remembered the huge air ship R101 passing over their house in the late 1920’s when she couldn’t have been much older than 5 years old.

Top of Page