Post Office (The Beehive)
There were houses here before 1846, but it is thought that the post office was originally located at Primrose Hill. In the 1841 census Phoebe Hatton was a grocer recorded at living at The Beehive. The tithes map of 1846 show that the building was owned by Thomas Lyon. Phoebe Hatton ran the post office with her sister until her death in 1857 aged 63. Her sister, Elizabeth, died two years later and both are buried in the church yard.
Joseph Eustance followed and by 1861 had moved into the post office from Lower Stretton where he had been living with his family. Joseph was still running the post office in 1871 despite the death of his wife in 1866 at the young age of 45. Joseph died in 1878 aged 60, and the family are all buried in the churchyard.
By the time of the 1881 census it was administered by Mr. and Mrs. John Bennet. The building was long and narrow, constructed of sandstone with a thatched roof. There was a thorn tree outside with stocks underneath, although both have long since gone. John Bennet was a joiner, and his wife, Frances, a provision dealer. In 1891, John and Frances were still living at the post office along with eleven others, including several grandchildren.
By 1901 John and Frances Bennett had moved down the hill to Stockton Heath and Oswald Willett and his wife were running the post office. Oswald was the son of William Willett, veterinary surgeon, and had grown up in Lower Stretton. He played an active role in village life being church warden from 1902 until 1909, and a licenced lay reader. He and his wife Emma were still there in 1911, but less than a year later had arrived in British Columbia where they remained. Oswald died in March 1929, and his wife in 1941. A forward by the then vicar, C. F. Cross, in the April 1930 edition of the church magazine paid tribute to his life. In 1914, Miss Margaret Campbell was the sub-postmistress but died a year later in May 1915.
George Mounfield ran the post office then until around 1939 when Percy Mounfield took over. Percy Mounfield lived at Beehive Stores with his wife Nora until the 1960s. He was born in 1905, married his cousin Nora Mounfield in 1931 and became mayor of Warrington in 1985-6. Percy died in November 1987 and his ashes are interred in the church yard. Following the Mounfields, the shop was sold to Kenneth Astley and the family were still there in 1974.
This photograph of the Beehive Stores was taken from a post card around the late 1950s. Whilst the tree has disappeared from the earlier photograph above, the store and adjoining house have barely changed.
Next to Post Office (Cheshire Health)
This has the date and monogram on the building of THL on them. Thomas Henry Lyon was the owner of Appleton Hall and Lord of the Manor.
Cat and Lion/The White Lion
This old coaching inn was built around three sides of a yard. On the left side facing the doorway were cottages and on the right were stables. It is one of the oldest buildings in the village. In 1636, Richard Braithwaite, an English poet called in here on his journey to Lancashire.
According to the Land Tax Assessments from 1780 until 1830, the Gleave family owned the Cat and Lion, with it being occupied by a succession of tenants. In 1785, Ellis Gleave lived there himself, but upon his death two years later it was occupied by Thomas Horton. A notice to let the White Lion, as it was then known, was made in August 1796 as Thomas Horton was moving on. The owner was given as George Gleave (son of Ellis), and with the public house came:
….thirteen acres of large Cheshire measure or thereabouts, together with the gardens well stocked with excellent fruit trees, malt kiln, stabling for fifteen horses, cow- houses, barn, cart houses, & c….
Peter Woodward took over and was publican in 1819 when the sale of Old Farm took place. John Robinson followed from 1825 where in 1831 he hosted the auction of Lower Hall. The 1841 census recorded that John Robinson was still the publican.
By the time of the 1846 tithes map, the Cat and Lion had been sold to Thomas Lyon and was then occupied by James Cliffe whose father was farming at Whitley Hall, Lower Whitley. He was still there in 1851 where the census records him as an inn keeper and farmer aged 43. In 1861 census James Done was recorded as an innkeeper and farmer of 56 acres. James Cliffe, farmer, lived next door.
The Cheshire Trade Directory for 1861 shows that Zenas Swinton was the landlord having moved from Great Broughton, near Chester. Zenas Swinton died on 26 May 1870 and the probate record of 19 November 1870 shows he was an innkeeper at Stretton. His wife Eliza Swinton (née Sutton) carried on as the landlord as shown in the 1871 census. By 1881 Thomas Hindley was in charge and by 1892 William Ostler boasted “first class accommodation for picnic and other parties; good stabling.” In 1901 Joseph Broady was the publican until 1907 when the licence was transferred to Robert Walker who had previously kept the Talbot Hotel in Sankey Street, Warrington for seven years. By 1939 Fras (Francis) Gardner was the publican.
It’s also worth remembering that the Cat & Lion played a key role as the centre of village life for farm sales, meeting places, and as a repository of the draft Apportionment of Tithes in 1846. It was the place for the celebration dinner following the installation of six new bells at St. Matthews in December 1850, as well as the venue for the half-yearly meetings of the grandly titled Frodsham Deanery Schoolmasters Association.
Thanks to Alan Barton for supplying the photograph above
Both the Cat and Lion and The Ring of Bells ran tontine saving schemes for the Irish labourers who worked on the farms in the 1860s.
Until around 2011 there used to be a sign in a ring above the front door and was mentioned in the Chester Courant in 1854:
At the little village of Stretton, in Cheshire, is a well known and long established inn, called the Cat and Lion; having over the doorway a painted sign depicting a cat and lion in anything but good humour towards each other with these lines: The Lion is strong, the cat is vicious – My ale is good and so is my liquor.”
The photograph above was taken on Walking Day in the 1980s but is clearly see in the images above.
It was replaced by this in 2008 when the original sign was removed unopposed by Stretton Parish Council.
Cottages near Cat and Lion
The 1841 census shows Jeremiah Bennett as a blacksmith living next door to Frances Rowlinson, a grocer. In the tithes map of 1846 these three cottages were owned by Thomas Lyon and still occupied by Jeremiah Bennett and Fanny Rowlinson. One of the three cottages was left unoccupied.
The photograph below, kindly supplied by Mary Rowland, shows the cottages from another direction, looking north towards the Cat & Lion.
The electoral register from 1947 clearly shows the numbers of the cottages, sometimes called the Cat and Lion Cottages, and the occupants over 21, and then over 18 after 1969 following the Representation of the People Act of that year.
1, Tarporley Road (Cat and Lion Cottages)
In 1871, Stretton born Thomas Highfield and his wife Mary were living at 1, Tarporley Road with their two daughters and two lodgers. Thomas was an agricultural labourer born in 1836, but by 1881 the family had moved to Aston by Sutton. By 1891 William and Margaret Cooper had moved in. William was born in Stretton, and was working as a labourer for the Manchester Ship Canal. He died at 56 in 1891, and two years later, Margaret was recorded as a widow living with daughter Alice who was working as a telegraph assistant. Margaret died in 1903, and Walter and Annie Lafferty moved in. The 1939 Register shows that William and Mary Annie Trevor were living at No. 1 Cat and Lion Cottages with two boarders: Jack Riley and Frank Moss. There followed a series of tenants: in 1947: Norman Clare and Arthur Lloyd; 1951, Doris and David Fellows, in 1962, Mr and Mrs George and Valerie Sharrock and in 1971: Kenneth Waters and his wife. In 1974 the occupancy had changed again, and Deric Kennedy was living there.
2, Tarporley Road (Cat and Lion Cottages)
In 1871 John and his sister Mary Taylor were living in the cottage. They were both unmarried labourers born in Latchford, and were still there in 1881. They had gone by 1887 when Ann Witter, a widow with her children were in residence. Ann stayed in the cottage until her death in November 1893. William Holland followed.
In 1911 Gilbert Vernon, chauffeur, was living with mother and siblings. Also in the house was his aunt Mary Powell, who had retired from the Wheatsheaf Inn in Antrobus. Gilbert died in 1916. By 1939 Jessie Bradburn was living at the cottage. Jessie was 64 years old and supported through private means. Ivy Washer 1971 until after 1974.
3, Tarporley Road (Cat and Lion Cottages)
1871 – 1881 Thomas and Ann Savage and family. 1891 Robert Wrench. In 1911 James Lafferty and wife Sarah Ann had moved in. James was a waggoner on a farm, but by 1920 had moved to Dorothy Cottages. Harry and Mary Simpson lived in this cottage from before 1939 until after 1974. Harry was born in 1899 and worked for the GPO. Mary died in 1971 and Harry in 1976; the couple are both buried in the churchyard.
East View, Tarporley Road
The tithe maps of 1846 show that these two cottages, both called Eastview, were owned by Thomas Lyon and occupied by Joseph Horrabin and William Webster. Both of whom were previously there in 1841 census. These houses also show THL 1871 clearly on the front, with Thomas Henry Lyon owning Appleton Hall.
The southern cottage was occupied by Joseph Horrabin. From 1871 Joseph Horrabin and his family were living in the cottage until his death in 1892 aged 80. May Bower (née Whitley), who lived next door at View Field, remembered him in her Memories of Stretton as a great figure in church, though small in stature. He possessed a great personality. Clad in the Verger’s coat, with red collar – which still exists, but is not worn – he would lead out those who behaved badly and talked in church. Nevertheless, he was beloved in Stretton. Often, one saw him seated on the vinegar barrel inside the shop, having a gossip. He knew everything and, everybody. Just before he died, my father thought that, his having such a knowledge of the churchyard – he was sexton as well as verger and dug nearly all the graves himself – it would be prudent to make a plan of the graves, stating which were full, the names, and so on. The plan is now in the vestry, and has been revised.
By 1901 Peter Hammersley had moved in. He was the County Police Constable. In 1911 census, Richard Bostock was recorded as the Acting Sergeant, and the house named accordingly. In 1935 a new police house was built on London Road, however in 1939 there were two police constables. Walter Herrity at the new police house and William Windsor at “police cottage”. William was married to Hetty Leah and they had a daughter, Dorothy.
The 1920 electoral register shows Joseph and Hilda Berry living in Eastview. Joseph was working as a gamekeeper at Appleton Hall in 1911, so the house would have been a tied cottage. Joseph married Hilda Maddock in 1914 and died in 1956, but Hilda remained at the cottage until her death in 1967 with her daughter and son in law, Joan and Arthur Baines. Their son Arthur Charles Berry is recorded on the the Service Register 1945. Charles, Joan and Arthur Baines continued living at East View until their deaths in 1987.
East View /View Field Cottage
Next door, also called East View, was occupied in 1851 by William Webster. In 1861 it was James Wilkinson, followed by Joseph Holland in 1881. By 1891 census Joseph Holland had been replaced by Peter Savage. Peter was a gardener at Appleton Hall and lived there with his wife Sarah Ann until her death in 1911, and then alone until his death in 1927. The 1939 electoral register records Samuel and Olive Hamilton living at View Field Cottage. Samuel was a wagon driver. Also in the cottage were their two daughters and Violet and Bertram Mather. In the 1950s this housed the second village shop. The shop was run by Mr & Mrs Brown, who lived there with their sons Richard and Alan. Later they had the Hatton Lane shop built, and they moved the business there and ran it for some years until retiring. In 1962 the electoral register shows Samuel and Olive Hamilton living at East View.
View Field (Stretton Day Nursery)
This Victorian house was the home of the village doctor. It was thought that is was built by Dr Adam Argo, who was living there in 1891 as a retired medical practitioner. He moved down to Hitchin where he died by suicide in October 1901. By April 1901 Dr Harry Bower lived there with his wife May and family. May’s parents were Charles and Amey Whitley who lived at Walls Pit House (now the Hollow Tree).
Bower Crescent, off Hatton Lane, was named after Harry Bower. Harry and his wife, May, were still living at View Field, as were their daughter Penelope and Sheila Carmichael, assistant medical practitioner. May’s Memories of Stretton provides a valuable insight into life in Stretton around the turn of the 20th century. Their son, Charles Bower also qualified as a doctor and became the village GP until he retired and moved to Cuddington during the 1970s. He died in 1985 aged 83 and was buried at St. Matthews along with his parents.
After May left Viewfield in the 1950s, Henry and Winifred Barber moved in and were still living there in 1974. Henry was the great nephew of George Barber from Stockley Farm.
White House Lodge
The 1939 Register shows Frank and Mary Johnson at the cottage. Frank was a 27 year old gardener.
The White House (Spire Hospital)
This was built in 1904 for industrialist Peter Stubs who ran the Warrington file cutting firm. It covered four acres and until 1986 remained a private property when it was removed and the land used to build the current private hospital. In 1911 Thomas Fletcher and his family were living at the White House. Fletcher was a gas appliance manufacturer born in Warrington. From 1939 until after 1972 The White House was occupied by George and Etty Parton, after which it was owned by Jim Jenkins, a local estate agent.
John Twanbrook was the owner and occupier of this farm, having moved from Agden to Stretton around 1728. The family were Quakers and connected with other farming families in the village. John died at the young age of 46 in 1736 leaving his wife Mary with one son and six daughters. Less than a year later Mary’s eldest daughter died aged 19. John the son took over the farm but a year after his mother’s death, he died in 1758 aged just 27 without marrying, and the farm passed to new owners.
Fir Tree Farm was built in the late 18th century and is now classified as a Grade II listed building. The tithe map of 1846 shows the farm owned and occupied by three brothers: John, William and Thomas Forrest. In 1851 John and his unmarried brother William were living at the farm, along with John’s wife Harriet and their two daughters. Ten years later, John and William were farming 85 acres and employing five labourers. The two brothers were well known in the Cheshire Agricultural Society and regularly won prizes for their pedigree cattle. In 1859 the brothers decided to get out of dairy cattle and put the stock on the market. In 1862 both bothers appeared before the overseers at the Daresbury Petty Sessions for non payment of poor and highway rates, however by the time they were next due they had settled their debts.
John died at the young age of 54 on 23 August 1863, and William his younger brother followed just three weeks later on 22 September 1863. Within a month the 81 acre freehold farm estate was on the market. John’s widow Harriet moved to Bunbury, Cheshire shortly afterwards with her daughters.
By 1871 William Tickle and his young family had arrived from Keckwick. He was recorded as farming 65 acres, but had left by 1874 when Thomas Hewitt took over the tenancy. In 1891 Thomas Hewitt moved down to the Chetwode Arms with his wife and family; and his eldest son, Joseph took over the farm. He married Mary Kinder from Whitley and farmed there with his wife until 1931 when the couple left Stretton and moved down the hill to opposite the golf club. Joseph died in 1944 and Mary in 1948, the couple are buried in the churchyard.
Arthur Hough and his family moved into Fir Tree Farm in 1931, and remained there prior to moving to Sunnyside in Hatton Lane in 1945 where Arthur and Clara his wife died in the 1960s.
Fir Tree Cottage
The cottage was built after 1846 as it does not appear on the tithe maps of that year. In 1861 Rev Charles Cutler, unmarried curate. 1871 Samuel Cooper and his wife Alice, a dressmaker.
1891 Emily Walter and her widowed sister. 1893: Richard Newton Carter. In 1901 widow Annie Parr and her children: James and Beatrice Parr. In 1902 Annie Parr married William Tipping who died in May 1933. The Tipping/Parr family later moved to Sunny Bank, Stretton Road where they lived until the 1950s.
Between 1923 and 1927 Alan Hatton and his wife Millicent (née Bower) daughter of May Bower from Walls Pit House were living at Fir Tree Cottage prior to moving back to Walls Pit House in 1945 and then to Black Jane Farm, Newton. They were followed by Herbert Green and his family who were living at Fir Tree Cottage in 1939. Herbert was a manager of an iron works.
In the late 1940s Jim and Phyllis Warbrick moved in. Jim owned Warbrick Engineering Specialties based in Warrington and when the family moved to Brighton in 1957, Fir Tree Cottage was sold to Bill Wilson. They were followed by hospital consultant Dr Wilson, wife Vera and family. William died in 1989 and Vera in 2003; they are both buried in the churchyard.
End House was probably built in 1937/7 and the 1939 Register records bank manager Stewart and Annie Savill living there with one of their children. Their son, Leonard Savill married Betty Holt from Antrobus in 1949. Stewart and Annie Savill were still living there in 1951 but later moved to Llandudno where he died in 1961. By 1962 Major George Chapman Rylands and his widowed mother Nora were living at the newly named ‘Woodstock’ and were still there in 1974. George was a county councillor at Cheshire County Council, and ministers warden at St. Matthews church from 1978 – 1982. He was born in 1924 and died in 1989, and a member of the well-known Rylands family of Warrington which goes back to 1720. Both of his elder brothers, Harry and Geoffrey, were killed in the Second World War and their names are inscribed on the War Memorial.
The house was built in 1935 on land owned by Frank Blackshaw, and the first occupants were Charles and Kathleen Brown. Charles was the managing director of a jewellers shop and died in 1955 aged 69, but Kathleen remained at Mendreath until the late 1960s. Joseph and Edith Billington moved in to Mendreath from Brookside Farm, Tarporley Road in November 1967. Joseph died in 1987 aged 82 and is buried in the church yard alongside his wife who died a few years later.
The first occupants at Greenway were George and Dorothy Goodwin. In 1939, George gave his occupation as a bank inspector. By 1947 George had died although Dorothy remained there along with John and Nellie Griffiths. By 1951 Dorothy had also died but the Griffiths family remained until around the late 1960s. By 1971 David and Margaret Dawson had moved in and were still there three years later in 1974.
The first record of the occupants of Polworth were Robert and Ethel Ogden. Robert was an engineer in a soap and chemical works. They remained through the 1940s and 1950s. Jean and Alan Pratt followed and were living there in 1971. By 1974 Christopher Pratt was also included on the electoral register.