Common Lane

Common Lane was probably so called because it ran from Northwich Road alongside Stretton Common, an unenclosed waste which covered 1 acre, 3 roods and 24 perches in 1846. There are 40 squared perches to a rood, and four roods to an acre which means that the common was just less than two acres. It would have been an important lane linking Lower Hall to Moss Hall.

Nether Hall (Lower  Hall) 
Records suggest that ‘the materials of the demolished, moated Manor House, known as the Nether or Lower Hall of Stretton’ were used to build Stretton Hall in around 1664. According to the County Palatine of Cheshire Nether Hall was sold by the heirs of Philip Starkey in 1719 to Henry Wright of Mobberley. In 1790 Rev Henry Offley Wright exchanged his estate with Thomas Langford Brooke for lands in Mottram. Lower Hall was then sold in 1807 to Benjamin Whitelegg and Peter Leather, the former being was a tanner from Hale. The 1810 land tax returns show it being owned by the above gentlemen, as well as Peter Long who was the son-in-law of Benjamin Whitelegg.

A newspaper article of February 1810 indicates that the occupier was a Mr Richard Mills who was having to sell all his farm stock and implements, as well as his household furniture “owing to the owners taking part of it into their own occupation.” 

In 1814 Benjamin Whitelegg died and the 23 acre freehold estate was put up for auction in July 1815  but did not appear to sell. His unmarried daughter Sarah remained at the Hall until her death in 1827, after which is was put up for auction again. It does not appear to have sold this time either as George Whitelegg was still showing as the owner occupier in the land tax returns three years later.

The 1841 census records the hall occupied by Allen Done. In the tithe survey of 1846 it shows the ownership as James Davies who lived in Bridge Street, Warrington, and the occupation as Allen Done. Allen Done was a married farmer who was born in Whitley.

Lower Hall estate sale 1858 4 - Copy
Lower Hall estate sale 1858

In June 1858 the Lower Hall Estate was put up for auction by a Mr. Hill. It included a separate residence that had been “occupied as a summer residence by the late owner and his family.”  Allen Done was occupying Lower Hall as a year tenant but by the time of the 1861 census he had retired and moved to Whitley, and  Samuel Walker had moved in. He stayed with his wife and family of six children for nearly 40 years.

In 1897 Samuel Walker died, but the following year his daughter Catherine married Albert Woodward.  Albert was born in Stretton and had lived at Rooley Moors with his family for over 20 years.  Albert moved into Lower Hall upon his marriage to Catherine and stayed until after 1920, farming with their son Ernest. Following the death of Catherine in 1934, Albert Woodward married again at the age of 70. He married Augusta Willett, the daughter of James Willett veterinary surgeon of Stretton in 1944 and the couple moved down to Stockton House in Stockton Heath. Albert died in 1955 and Augusta in 1967. Albert was buried alongside his first wife, and Augusta with her brother Arthur Willet, in the graveyard at St. Matthews.

Albert and Catherine’s daughter, Isabella Woodward, married George Mounfield and the couple moved to Westbrook Farm, Dutton before returning to Hatton Lane in 1959.

In 1918 records show the conveyance of Lower Hall Farm from James Marson to Joseph Taylor. According to Tom Savage, the following lived at Lower Hall during the 20th century: Joe Pennington;  Charles Leech who married Alice Mounfield and had a daughter, Brenda. Alice was related to the Mounfields through George Mounfield whose son Percy ran the Beehive Stores. Alice died in 1936 aged 36, and a year later Charles married a distant relative, Eva Leech. In November 1956 a notice was posted in the local papers for the sale of the livestock of Lower Hall Farm. Following the Leech family from the mid-1950s were Mr and Mrs John Fowles who were still living at Lower Hall in 1974.

Smithy House
The tithes map of 1846 shows the cottage and gardens were owned by the Overseers of the Poor of Stretton and occupied by John Savage. John Savage was a pauper who had originally worked as an agricultural labourer. In 1841 he was aged 71 and living with his wife Sarah and a grandchild. The cottage and garden were surrounded by the Common. John Savage remained at Smithy House until his death in December 1855.

Smithy House taken around 1900The present house, pictured above, was built in 1861. The 1871 census shows John Gleave an implement maker living there with his wife. By 1881 James Howard and his family had moved in. James was a blacksmith who brought with him his nephew, Thomas, as his apprentice. The Howard family remained at Smithy House until at least 1901 when he had trained his son Thomas aged 19 as his apprentice.

This photo kindly supplied by Steve Hill shows Smithy House taken around 1900, looking down Common Lane with the smithy behind.

The 1911 census shows that the Howard family had moved to Higher Whitley and John Thomas (Jack) Savage had moved in with his wife and family. Jack Savage was born in Stretton and married to Mary; he was the great grandson of John who had been living at the property in 1841.  Commercial directories of 1914 show John Thomas Savage living at Smithy House.

Further information about the Savage family tree can be found on the People page, as well as school photographs. According to Tom Savage, the holly tree planted in the corner of the garden next to the lane was planted by John Thomas Savage to celebrate the birth of his twin sons, James and Frank, who were born in September 1909, making the tree now over a hundred years old.

In July 1921 Jack Savage purchased land next to the smithy from the church and built a pair of semi-detached houses for two of his sons in 1937. Two years later a further pair of houses, Birtley and Oaklea, were built next door for the younger sons. In the 1939 Register taken in September of that year, the two younger sons were still living at home, along with their parents and grandmother Alice Rowles.

Following the Savage family,  Wilfred Whitfield lived at Smithy House from the early 1960s until the late 1980s.

The Smithy (The Old Smithy)
As its name suggests, this house is built on the site of the smithy in the 1981. The building’s edge was against the edge of Common Lane, along the line of the present hedge and is clearly seen in the photograph of Smithy House further up this page and below:

The Smithy
The Smithy 1977 taken by Robin Marshall

This house was built  in 1939 for youngest son, Thomas Savage, wife Jane and son Colin. Tom Savage was born in 1912 and died yards from his birthplace in 2004, aged 92.

Birtley (Sarum)
Birtley was built for Harry Savage in 1939. He was the eldest son of Jack Savage but died in 1944 aged 40. In 1945 James and Margaret Johnson were living there, and their two sons Dennis and Kenneth were recorded on the 1945 Service Register.  Following the death of James Johnson in 1977 Susan Hennessey moved in and then the Riley family who remained until 1998.  It is not known exactly when after 1977 that the name changed to the current one.

Holcroft was built in 1937 and according to the Elector’s Register of 1939 Frank and Esme Savage were living in the house, as was Ivor Cliffe who was also recorded on the 1945 Service Register.  Ivor Cliffe was Esme’s brother. Frank Savage who was born in 1909 died in September 1982, aged 72 and like all his brothers is buried in St. Matthew’s churchyard. The family all attended Stretton School. Harry and Mary Johnson lived at Holcroft until 1999.

Next door, Frank’s twin brother, James Savage married Ada Birkenhead in March 1939, and lived at Savada until his death in 1981 aged 71. James was a horseman on a farm. Savada was named through a combination of Savage and Ada. Ada remained in the house until the late 1990s living with brother, Len.

Common Lane Cottages
Common Lane Cottages

This photo was taken in the 1960s and shows the cottages along Common Lane.

This was built during the late 1960s on land that was previously used for fruit and vegetable growing.  The 1846 tithes map shows the land was owned by Joseph Poole of Lane End Farm and used as gardens for five householders. These included John Barnes; James Moores; John Pearson; Joseph Poole and Henry Simpson. In the 1950s it was used by Thomas Greaves who lived next door on Well Lane. The first owners were Mr. and Mrs. Webster.

Health and Peace Cottage (Peace and Plenty /The Poplars/ Little House)
This cottage was built between 1846 and 1850 on church land known as Buckley’s Croft. In 1871 the cottage was occupied by John Smith and his family and he was still there twenty years later in 1891. John Smith was born in Antrobus in 1826 and married Sarah Byrom from Stretton. His parents were agricultural labourers but his brother Joseph had an entrepreneurial flair and eventually made enough money through farming to buy Stretton Hall. John Smith however remained a farm labourer all his life until he died in 1894. In the 1897 electoral register his widow Sarah Smith was recorded as living alone in ‘Peace and Plenty’.

By 1901 George Simpson was recorded as living there with his new wife Hannah, and her children. Hannah had moved to Tanners Row on the death of her first husband, James Millward. George Simpson was an agricultural labourer, also widowed; he was born in Stretton and died in 1908 aged 64.  In 1911 his widow Hannah Simpson was living alone on Poor Relief, and remained there past 1920. Hannah died in 1932 and according to the 1939 elector’s register in September of that year, Clara Morris and her seven year old son were living at the cottage, alongside Lucy Rope. At that time, the cottage was known as “The Poplars” or “Health and Peace” Later that year Thomas Parry was living at the cottage alongside Dennis and Mary Cook.  In 1962 it was owned by John and Dorothy Hebenton.

There is a suggestion that the house was owned by the church and was also used as a maternity house for the village.

9 thoughts on “Common Lane”

  1. Isabella Woodward from Lower Stretton Hall married George Mounfield from Dane Farm, Dutton. They farmed at Westbrook Farm, Dutton until 1959. They then retired to Overton (22, Hatton Lane, Stretton.) Percy Mounfield ran the Beehive Stores. – from Sheila Cox (nee Mounfield)- Isabella and George were my grandparents.

    1. We have recently moved into Westbrook Farm and would be very interested in hearing of any history or photographs you may have of it.

  2. Enquiry regarding Peter mounfield of West brook farm Dutton.i have an old vintage super dexta tractor that was registered to him in April 1963 .any info regarding thanks

    1. I am his daughter. I remember that tractor. We used a shire horse until the late 60’s. The Ford Dexta was my dad’s first tractor. I used to steer the tractor along the drills whilst my parents sowed seed potatoes. I would love to see that tractor again. x

      1. Hello Sheila,
        That’s amazing my granfather bought it in 1978 passed down to me and its still running good.if you can send me a an email ill forward few pictures my email
        Thanks for replying

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