Local History

A Thousand Years of History

Extract from Bagshaw’s Directory 1850

‘POYNTON, township, chapelry, and compact village, situated 5 miles S.S.E. from Stockport, near the Macclesfield branch of the London and North Western Railway, in 1841, contained 152 houses, and 854 inhabitants. Population in 1801, 432 : in 1731, 747. The township comprises upwards of £2,400 acres of good land, and mostly well drained, but its subterranean wealth far exceeds that on the surface. Lord Vernon is the owner and lord of the manor.

The Poynton and Worth Coal Mines, the property of, and worked by the Right Hon. George Warren Lord Vernon, are numerous, and spread over a compass of two miles. The coal is of good quality, and the mines are very prolific, having seams of coal varying from 2 to 7 feet in thickness. A railway about a mile in length, on a self acting incline, worked by a wire rope, conveys the coal to the Macclesfield branch railway, which is thence forwarded to Macclesfield and Stockport in very considerable quantities. It is said that the mines were thus discovered :- “An old tenant of one of the farms was obliged to procure his water from a considerable distance, and frequently petitioned sir George Warren to sink a well for him; but his request not being attended to, he gave notice to quit the premises. This induced Sir George to pay more deference to the man’s desire, and the well was begun. The spring lay at a great depth : but before they found the water, they discovered a large vein of superior coal.”

The Chapel is a small stuccoed fabric, dedicated to St. Mary. There appears to have been a chapel here in 1312, at which period the Abbot of Chester granted to Nicholas de Eaton and Joan his wife, that he should find a chaplain in the chapel of Poynton for ever. The living is a perpetual curacy, returned at £85 in the gift of Lord Vernon, and enjoyed by the Rev. Robert Littler. The Methodist Association have a spacious school, erected by subscriptions among the colliers, in 1846, in which divine service is performed. Lord Vernon gives £20 per annum towards the support of the school. The free school, a substantial building, a little east of the church, is supported by Lord Vernon.

Poynton Hall, 1/2 mile N.E. from the church, a handsome stuccoed mansion, situated in a beautiful park, ornamented with a fine sheet of water, is the seat of Samuel Christy Esq., M.P. Poynton Towers is a castellated residence, the seat of Isaac Hawden Esq.

Poynton Green is a hamlet 1/4 mile East from the church. Midway is a hamlet partly in Worth and partly in Poynton. Here is a railway station, and the Primitive Methodists have a Sunday School which is also used for a preaching room.

The poor of Poynton are entitled to yearly sum of 5s left by Roger Holland in 1604. They also participate in the benefit of Warren Bulkeley’s charity noticed with Worth.’

Churches and Charities

The ancient Chapel of St, Mary formerly stood near the Hall. A new Church was erected in 1787 by Sir George Warren and was Rebuilt in 1859; the church is dedicated to St. George. It is an edifice of stone in the Early English style, from designs by Mr. Crowther, architect, of Manchester. The tower with spire was erected in 1885 by public subscription as a memorial to the late Lord Vernon. It contained a clock with chimes and 6 bells. In the chancel is a marble reredos presented in 1891 by Lady Vernon, with a carved panel, representing “the Lord’s Supper”. There is a memorial window to William Alfred Turner esq. who died in 1886.

There was a Baptist chapel erected in 1867, and a Primitive Methodist chapel, built in 1846. There was also a Methodist Free Church.

There was a Poynton with Worth news room near the church , a red brick building, erected by Lord Vernon, and contains a spacious reading room and a library of 4,000 volumes.

In the 1892 Kelly’s directory, mention is made of Lady Warren Bulkeley’s charity of £50 yearly as interest on about £1,889. This was applied to the general use of the poor of Poynton with Worth and to educational purposes.

In 1914 there was also a charity of about £5 annually called the “Merttens Funs” in the hands of the Parish Council. This fund provided a holiday for sickly and delicate poor children residing in the village.

Extract from Kelly’s Directory 1892

‘ The Poynton with Worth collieries, belonging to and worked by Lord Vernon, extend over a large area: Lord Vernon is lord of the manor and sole landowner. The soil is clayey; subsoil gravel. The chief crops are wheat, oats and potatoes. The area is 2,966 acres; rateable value £14,324 ; the population in 1891 was 2,166. The National school was built in 1856 and since enlarged for 550 children. Average attendance, 156 boys, 145 girls and 117 infants.’

Donated Pictures

‘Attached is an old postcard with a picture of Newtown Poynton. The postcard is from my grandfather’s family who emigrated to the United States in 1915. It does not have a date on it, or price. It is most likely from the time period of 1913-1915. ‘ ‘Our family worked in cotton mills and as general labourers around Stockport, prior to their emigration to the U.S. It is possible that one or more of them worked for some period in the coal mines. In the information we have obtained thus far, none have lived in Poynton. Perhaps Connie’s grandfather, my G-grandfather, worked on a short term basis there ( or one of his older sons ).’

Shawn Worsencroft (many thanks) – And as it was taken by Poynton Webmaster in 2003

coppice-road-1914
coppice-road-2003
 Photo 2003 © Colin Eyre Poynton Web Master – All Rights Reserved

 

Family History and Manor House

Poynton anciently called Ponynton or/and Ponyngton was passed to the ‘Stokeports’ and then to John de Warren, knight during the reign of Edward III in the 14th century.

At the time of the civil war the then Edward Warren was a royalist.

The lands of Poynton were passed down the Warren family for many years until Sir George Warren who was the end of the Warren line. The manor passed to his daughter the viscountness Bulkeley at the beginning of the 19th century .

In 1823 Lady Bulkeley gave the estates at Poynton to her friend Frances Maria (also believed to be a Warren from Stapleford, Notts) who married George Charles Venables Vernon esq. who became the 4th Lord Vernon. In 1826 this lady took the name and arms of the Warren and was succeeded on her death by George John Venables Vernon, 5th Lord Vernon, who also assumed for himself the name and arms of Warren. He died in 1866 and was succeeded by Augustus Henry Venables Vernon, 6th Lord Vernon.

The Manor House

It appears there had been a manor house in Poynton since medievil times. In 1548 Sir Edward Warren built a new house in the park of Poynton in the Tudor black and white style using local oak.

Sir George Warren pulled down the house in the 18th century and built a (modern) house and office on a large scale , park like in appearance and extent. He also formed ‘Poynton Pool’ as part of his gardens.

There were also manor houses in Lostock and Stanley (also in poynton).
This house was also pulled down, with the exception of the central towers, and many years later, a new house called ‘Poynton Towers’ was built.

Poynton Towers

poynton-towers
In 1914 Poynton Towers was the residence of Walter Bright Hodgkinson esq.

Worth

The Worth estate was originally owned by the Worth family who built the woerthig long before 1208 when written history of the Worth family begins.

Benedict and Jordan de Woorthe were well established by that date and owned those lands down through Henry, Robert, Thomas and then Henry de Woorthe whose daughter Matilda became the heiress.

She married William de Hulme and their daughter Agnes became the heiress. She married Robert Downes and they apparently had no living children and the Worth estate went to the Downes family.

Meanwhile, the Worth line continued through Robert de Worth who was Henry de Worth’s brother. Robert married the heiress of Tytherington and he exchanged some of his Worth holdings for several properties belonging to the Tytheringtons and acquired the estate of Tytherington as well as several other properties.

The Worth family thrived during this period and married into most of the powerful families of the area including the Wheelocks, newtons of Pownall, Beresfords Suttons, Draycotts, Downes, Vernons and the Davenports.

The Worths were ruined economically by the war between the King and parliament, their estates were taken away and the head of the family was hanged for debt in spite of the fact that they had fought so valiantly for their sovereign.

Many thanks to Susan Elizabeth (Worth) Tilsley for supplying this information.

 

Industrial History of Poynton

Early industry (agriculture) in Poynton and Worth (and Norbury) consisted of Forestry (Timber) and farming of wheat, oats and corn crops. There was a corn mill sited at the lowest part of Norbury brook just before it passes under the Hazel Grove-Woodford road on a site now occupied by Tanglewood Cottage which was probably itself reconstructed from the original mill buildings. It was driven by a water wheel but unfortunately there is now no trace of the mill. There were also corn mills driven by water wheels at Norbury and Worth. By the 1840’s the Norbury mill had a wheel which reached 30 feet in diameter and was 5 feet wide. In the 17th century, the needs of coalmining overtook those of corn milling.

Timber was used for building and for making tubs, crates, bobbins, fencing etc. In 1824 there was a sale of 819 trees held at the Crescent Inn in Poynton – the trees being in Lower Park, Lostock, Worth and Poynton Coppice.

There were also stone quarries with local stone masons and later brickmaking. Brick was used extensively in colliery building.

Pickford headquarters and stables were in Poynton which brought in work for local blacksmiths, wheelwrights and sadlers.

Poynton is situated almost half way between Macclesfield and Stockport. In the 18th century the silk industry became established in Macclesfield while the Stockport had its cotton industry. This provided spinning work, landlooming etc for the people of Poynton. In 1783-1812 there were 14 spinners of cotton in Poynton and 2 in Worth. In 1851 3 men and 7 women worked in silk.

The industry that has had by far the most profound effect on Poynton is coalmining. most of the coal seams that were worked in Poynton outcropped in the district and so must have been worked from a very early date. The earliest record found was in 1589, but it is likely that coal was used in the area many years before this. The advent of steam in the early a8th century enabled deeper pits to be worked. These engines were very expensive but were used widely indicating the worth of coalmining in the area.

In 1765 when the Macclesfield canal was proposed it was estimated that the Norbury pits alone with their new engine could provide 10,000 tons of coal a year to Macclesfield (at 4d per cwt) which was considerably more than the 700 tons of 1707. The canal provided cheap transport to Macclesfield, Marple and Bollington and in 1836 production had risen to 180,184 tons and profits were £30,049. Stockport was still the largest market and transport problems to there were eased with the coming of the tramways and a new coal yard was built at the end of Towers Road.

In 1897 Poynton produces 244,516 tons of coal or about 1/3 of all coal produced in Cheshire with over 400 men working underground. After being Poynton’s main industry for 150 years the last Poynton pits were closed in 1935. There were over 60 mine shafts dotted around Poynton. Railways were built to move the coal and the remains of the industry can still be seen.

poynton-bus
The No. 32 Bus
poynton-colliery
Photographer unknown (commercial postcard) Lady Pit Colliery, Poynton.
poynton-engine-4
(double exposure) Poynton Colliery Railway Loco. ‘Lady Bulkeley’ (Kitson 1889) c.1890? Photographer unknown.
poynton-engine-3
Poynton Colliery Railway Loco No 4 ‘Sir William Anson’ c. 1933 Photographer – The late Henry Downes
poynton-engine-1
Poynton Colliery Railway Un-numbered loco (called No. 6) c. 1933 Photographer – The late Henry Downes
poynton-engine-2
Poynton Colliery Railway. Loco No 5 c.1933 Photograper The late Henry Downes

 

Domesday Book 1086

Poynton does not appear in the Domesday Book. It may possibly have been included in Earl Hugh’s demesne manor of Adlington.

Translation

Adlington:

The same Earl holds EDULVINTONE. Earl EDWIN held it. There are iv. hides and a half rateable to the gelt. The land is x. carucates. There are ii. radmans and vi. vileins and iii. bordars with iii. carucates. There are xxi. areas of meadow. A wood xi. leagues long and ii. broad, and there are vii. hays and iv. aeries of hawks.

In King Edwards time it was worth vii. pounds, now xx. shillings. (The Earl) found it waste.

Poynton and Worth villages or settlements were originally part of Macclesfield Forest and gradually became centres of agricultural and forestry activities and consisted of several small hamlets such as Poynton Village, Poynton Green, Midway and Hepley. There were also isolated farms or folds, for example Lostock Hall, Mill Bank and Barlow.

Doomsday Book Entry for Adlington and Explanation

The same Earl [i.e. Hugh, Earl of Chester] holds EDULVINTONE [Adlington]. Earl EDWIN [Edwin, Earl of Mercia Son of Earl Algar of East Anglia. Rebellious earl, killed by his own men, 1071] held it. There are iv. hides and a half [4½ hides = 540 acres – probably ] rateable to the geld [Periodic tax, first raised for the Danish wars, at a number of pence per hide] The land is x.carucates [10 Carucates Measurement of land in Danish counties, the equivalent of a hide. So, 10 Carucates = 1,200 acres.] There are ii. radmans [2 Riders, Riding-men – Riding escort for a lord, chiefly recorded in the Welsh Marches] and vi. villeins [6 Villagers = Members of the peasant class with most land] and iii. Bordars [3 bordars = smallholders] with iii. Carucates [360 acres]. There are xxi. acres [21 acres] of meadow. A wood xi. Leagues [11 leagues] long and ii. [2 leagues] broad, and there are vii. hays [7 hays = enclosures for trapping deer] and iv. [4] aeries of hawks. In King Edward [the Confessor]’s time it was worth vii. Pounds [£7], now xx. shillings [20/-]. (The Earl) found it waste. [Probably because of the “Harrying of the North”. Cheshire, along with much of the North resisted the Conquest and was punished with a “scorched earth policy”.]

Hugh, Earl of Chester, also Earl of Avaranches. Also called Hugh Lupus (The Wolf) and Hugh the Fat. Nephew of William I, sister married Count William d’Eu; daughter, Matilda, married Count Robert of Mortain. Virtual sovereign of Cheshire. Captured Anglesea from the Welsh, 1098; became so fat he could barely crawl; died 1101. Holdings in 20 counties.

Hide Latin, hida. The hide was both a unit of assessment and a peasant holding unit found in most counties outside the Danelaw. The word hide ultimately derives from the Old English hid, meaning the amount of land which would support one household, notionally 120 acres in most counties, though hides of 40, 48 and 60 acres have been identified elsewhere, particularly in the south-west. However many fiscal acres a hide contained, these would bear a variable relationship to the customary acres on the ground. Since customary acres were normally composed of scattered furlong strips whose size varied according to the nature of the soils and the shape of the fields, hides could vary in size from area to area, or even within the same manor, however many acres they contained. Although the original meaning of the hide was the amount of land needed to support one peasant household, by the eleventh century peasant holdings of this size were uncommon, the virgate being the norm for villagers. The detailed evidence of the Domesday text for Middlesex does, however, show that individual peasants still occasionally had holdings of this size. Despite variations in size, however, individual hides could, like other peasant holdings, remain fixed in size over generations, even centuries, their integrity maintained by the power of the lord or the customs of the manor. They provided the stable base for both the manorial and the assessment systems.

Geld Latin, geldum. Geldum, translated as tax in the Phillimore edition, is more commonly (if inaccurately) known as the Danegeld. References to tax occur in the great majority of Domesday entries; the word Danegeld occurs only once (LIN S1). The geld originated as an ‘army-tax’, instituted by Aethelred the Unready to pay Scandinavian mercenaries employed against the Vikings. Later it became an annual tax to finance the army and navy of the Anglo-Danish kings, levied on the hides (or carucates) at which estates were assessed for military and other services. It is often confused with the tributes levied to buy off Viking invaders, payments which, if the chroniclers were to be believed, were far more onerous than the geld and on one occasion exceeded the total value assigned by Domesday Book to the whole of England. As Maitland aptly observed in Domesday Book and beyond (1897): Unless we are prepared to bring against the fathers of English history a charge of repeated, wanton, and circumstantial lying, we shall think of the Danegeld of Aethelred [the Unready]’s reign and of Canute’s as of an impost so heavy that it was fully capable of transmuting a whole nation. He then added: William [the Conqueror] might well regard the right to levy a geld as the most precious jewel in his English crown. To secure a due and punctual payment of it was worth a gigantic effort, a survey such as had never been made and a record such as had never been penned since the grandest days of the old Roman Empire. For … the assessment of the geld sadly needed reform

Carucate Latin, carucata. The carucate was both a unit of assessment and a peasant landholding unit found in most of the Danelaw counties. The word carucate is derived from caruca, Latin for a plough. Since the standard Domesday plough team could notionally plough 120 acres in an agricultural year, the carucate was a nominal 120 acres. These, of course, were fiscal acres which could bear a variable relationship to the customary acres on the ground. Since customary acres were normally composed of scattered furlong strips whose size varied according to the nature of the soils and the shape of the fields, carucates could vary in size from area to area, or even within the same manor. Despite variations in size, however, individual carucates could, like other peasant holdings, remain fixed in size over generations, even centuries, their integrity maintained by the power of the lord or the customs of the manor. They provided the stable base for both the manorial and the assessment systems.

Riding Man Latin, radman. There appears to be no essential difference between a rider and a riding man (radchenistre). With four exceptions, all riders and riding men are found in the five counties of circuit 5, along the Welsh border. Their riding duties as escorts or messengers were analogous to those performed by freemen in Cambridgeshire and it seems probable that radmen were a class of freemen as, indeed, they were described in one entry in Gloucestershire (GLS19,2). Their resources in land and teams were comparable. There was also a marked resemblance between their duties and the customary services due from the drengs in circuit 6 and from a class of free men in Wessex described in a late Anglo-Saxon estate survey

Villein Latin, villanus. Villanus, translated as villager in the Phillimore edition, is sometimes rendered as villein. Villagers formed the largest group among the peasantry, over 40% of the recorded population. They were found in every county and never form less than 30% of the population in the counties of Great Domesday, even in those counties with substantial numbers of free peasants. In many counties, they constitute a half, two-thirds, or an even higher proportion of the total. In economic terms, the villagers were distinguishable from Freemen or freemen. They were the most substantial group among the unfree peasantry, possessing on average 30 acres of land and two plough oxen.

Bordar Latin Bordarius, translated as smallholder in the Phillimore edition, is sometimes rendered as bordar. Smallholders formed the second largest group among the peasantry, constituting almost a third of the recorded population. They were recorded in every county. On average, they possessed 5 acres of land and might have a share in the villagers’ plough teams, though their holdings could be more meagre. In some counties, they are difficult to distinguish from Cottagers or cottars, who normally possessed no more than a garden. It has been suggested that high concentrations of bordars among the population might indicate areas of economic opportunity and expansion either in land clearance or urban development.

Acre Measurement of land used in Domesday mainly for pasture, meadowland and woodland, which varied from region to region

League Latin, leuca. Like many Domesday measures, there is no certainly about the extent of the league, or even whether it was a linear or areal unit. Though there may normally have been 12 furlongs to the league, for instance, it has been argued that the Wiltshire league was 15 furlongs long, that of Worcestershire only four. The league also appears sometimes to have been used as a synonym for the mile (which does not occur in Great Domesday), and vice versa. Many Domesday statements imply that the league, like the furlong, could be a measure of area.

Hay Latin, haia. Haia, sometimes rendered as hay, is translated as both ‘enclosure’ and ‘hedged enclosure’ in the Phillimore edition. The term is first recorded in Domesday Book The haia was an enclosure formed by a hedge of trees, designed to trap or corral wild animals, usually deer, during the hunt. A number of Domesday entries refer to the enclosures ‘where wild animals were caught’ (eg, WOR 18,4), others to enclosures where the animals were kept (HEF29,11). Large numbers of enclosures are recorded in Domesday Book, all but one (which may be an error) in circuit 5, the majority of these in Cheshire and Shropshire. In part, this is no doubt another example of the eccentricities of the Domesday commissioners since hunting enclosures certainly existed elsewhere. However, it is noticeable that a high proportion of enclosures are associated with Domesday waste, which was extensive along the Welsh march. It may be that this waste had encouraged the creation of disproportionate numbers of enclosures.

Waste Latin vasta, Holdings described as waste paid no tax though their tax assessment was often the only piece of information recorded about them. Domesday Book records large numbers of such manors, the great majority of which had no recorded value or human or animal resources. If these manors were, in fact, untaxed because they were uninhabited and uncultivated, then the destruction wrought by the Norman Conquest, particularly in the infamous ‘harrying of the North’ in 1069, was on a scale that almost defies belief. Indeed, many medieval historians cannot credit that mediaeval armies could wreak such destruction and have sought alternative explanations of the term waste. It has been variously argued that waste signified manorial re-organisation, some form of tax break, or merely a confession of ignorance by the Domesday commissioners when unable to determine details of population and other manorial resources. Despite these doubts, however, the commmon-sense interpretation that waste means what it says is the most plausible. The distribution of waste both before and after the Conquest matches almost exactly the areas known to have been those of greatest military activity in those periods; and all the chronicle sources agree upon the savagery of the punishment inflicted on Yorkshire and adjacent counties after the rebellion of 1069. The most vivid description of the destruction of Yorkshire is recorded by Ordericus Vitalis. Though a late source, Ordericus based his account on a lost portion of the contemporary biography of the Conqueror by William of Poitiers. Ordericus felt so strongly about the evil of what William had done that he told the story twice. On the first occasion, he reported: He cut down many in his vengeance; destroyed the lairs of others; harried the land, and burnt homes to ashes. Nowhere else had William shown such cruelty … In his anger he commanded that all crops and herds, chattels and food of every kind should be brought together and burned to ashes with consuming fire, so that the whole region north of the Humber might be stripped of all means of sustenance. In consequence so serious a scarcity was felt in England, and so terrible a famine fell upon the humble and defenceless populace, that more than 100,000 Christian folk of both sexes, young and old, perished of hunger (Ecclesiastical history, ed. Marjorie Chibnall, vol. 2, pp 230-33) The second story portrayed the Conqueror on his death-bed, haunted by the memory of his savagery: I … caused the death of thousands by starvation and war, especially in Yorkshire … In a mad fury I descended on the English of the North like a raging lion, and ordered that their homes and crops and all their equipment and furnishings should be burnt at once and their great flocks and herds of sheep and cattle slaughtered everywhere. So I chastised a great multitude of men and women with the lash of starvation and, alas! was the cruel murderer of many thousands, both young and old (Ecclesiastical history, vol. 4, pp 94-95) The distribution of waste in Yorkshire in 1086 tells the same story. Sixteen years after the harrying, Yorkshire may still have contained only 25% of the population and plough teams of 1066, some 80,000 oxen and 150,000 people fewer than had been there on the day that King Edward ‘was alive and dead’.

Thank you Howard J.Green of the Local History Society