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by Cheadle Historians Pat and Derek Seddon
Following our article about Moseley Old Hall, several people expressed
an interest in reading about the 'other' Moseley Hall which used to
stand near the bottom of Schools Hill and will be remembered by many as
the Boys' Grammar School.
Today the lively Village Hotel and Leisure Centre stands in it's place, catering for varied social functions and providing a whole range of activities for health enthusiasts.
The scene at the end of the 18th century was considerably quieter, Cheadle was a peaceful rural village when Joseph Fowden of Alderley took a fancy to living near his brother Reginald, who lived at Brookside, a picturesque black and white farmhouse, approached across the brook which ran alongside Wilmslow Road.
Joseph bought the Schools Hill estate across the road. It consisted of an old farm and several acres of land, along with six tenanted cottages and a pew at the parish church.
The Fowden family had been settled in the Cheadle area for several generations, there occupations changing from yeoman farmers and tanners to traders and shipping merchants, with a rise in their fortunes.
Both Reginald and Joseph had strong links with Liverpool and the sugar / slave trade. There are memorial plaques to them on the inside wall of the church tower. There is also one to their grandfather, William Fowden, who as Constable of Manchester during the 1745 rebellion, was tried for treason for attempting to procure food and lodging for the rebels. He was aquitted for lack of evidence.
Around 1800 either Joseph Fowden, who died in 1808, or his son Reginald, built a large house on the Schools Hill estate, which was named Schools Hill.
In 1857 Reginald sold the house, farm and cottages to James Henry Deakin, a Manchester wine and spirit merchant who took an active interest in local affairs, particularly the volunteer rifle corps, who drilled on his land. The lych-gate in the churchyard bears the legend “erected to the memory of Col. J.H. Deakin”.
It was to fulfil a promise that John Henry Davies bought the estate for his wife in 1904. He was a wealthy property dealer and brewer who had started working life in a more lowly situation.
When he aspired to marrying Amy Catterall, niece and ward of the sugar magnate Sir Henry Tate, he was not welcomed. Amy decided to marry him despite her guardian's disapproval, and John Henry vowed to provide her with her accustomed lifestyle, including a house as big as the one she was leaving. He later owned Bramall Hall.
As a keen antiquarian and lover of old buildings, it was probably Davies who added the half-timbered cladding to Moseley Hall and was responsible for it's re-naming.
During his time there he injected money into the Newton Heath Football Club known as the “Heathens” in return for a St Bernard Dog owned by captain, Harry Stafford.
The club went on to become Manchester United and John Davies became it's president. In 1927 he died and his wife lived at Bramall Hall for some years until she had the opportunity to re-purchase Moseley Hall.
During the Second World War it was used by the Fire Service, and in 1946 acquired by Cheshire County Council and became Cheadle's first Grammar School until larger premises were purpose built, and the old hall was eventually demolished. The Village Hotel was built in 1988.”
We started our life at Moseley Hall Grammar School in the Michaelmas Term of 1948 when the school had already been open for two years. Our first year was spent keeping fit by regularly doing a long crocodile walk from the school up and down the Wilmslow Road to the National School in Cheadle as at that time there were not enough classrooms for us. They came later in 1949 with the erection of the first 'huts'.
The National (Sunday) School had been built in 1837 and after it had served its purpose in housing us, I believe it was then used as an overspill for Broadway Secondary School (Kingsway). It was demolished in 1969 and Somerfields supermarket now stands there, but I believe the Church still has use of the Upper Room meeting place above the store.
The School Houses of Moseley (Green), Bulkeley (Red), Hulme (Yellow) and Etchells (Blue) were introduced in 1949. These names were associated with the ancient manors of Cheadle.
The Parish of Cheadle Moseley covered Cheadle Hulme.
The Parish of Cheadle Bulkeley covered Cheadle and Adswood.
Cheadle & Gatley was a civil parish created in 1930 by uniting Cheadle and Stockport Etchells. The portion of Gatley that came under Manchester was really part of the old Parish of Northen Etchells.
Hulme House's name might have originated from Hulme Hall in Cheadle Hulme which was once a manor house and dates in part from the 16th Century. It has been a private school for many years.Cheadle was mentioned in the Domesday Book as Cedde and about a century later the Manor was held by Roger de Chedle . He died in 1321 and left the whole of Cheadle (worth £30 per annum) to his widow Margaret. She died in 1326 and the manor was divided into two portions subsequently known as the townships of Cheadle Bulkeley and Cheadle Moseley. The elder of the two daughters Clemence, who married William De Bagulegh, inherited the greater part of the manor Cheadle Moseley, and the other daughter, Egnes, the wife of Richard de Bulkeley, had Cheadle Bulkeley. The manor of Cheadle Moseley was held by Clemence's descendants, the Savages, for about 250 years and was then sold to the Moseleys. Cheadle Moseley Old Hall used to stand on the north side of the Stockport Road.
The Bulkeley estates were handed down in succession until 1756 when they were sold to the Rector of Cheadle. Mr. James Watts purchased the manorial rights of Cheadle Bulkeley in 1875 when he lived in Abney Hall. There he had entertained Prince Albert in his capacity as Mayor of Manchester in 1857.
It is a matter of interest that the Chancel of Cheadle Parish Church was rebuilt in 1556 and dedicated to Lady Katherine Bulkeley, formerly the Abbess of Godstow. She had been forced to return to her home in Cheadle when her convent was closed by Henry VIII. After her death in 1559 her remains were buried beneath the east window.
It is interesting to note that some of the House names have been used for the Conference Suites at the Village Hotel, which now stands on the site of our lovely old School.
Ann N Chilvers née Cowburn, 7 March 2002
The first edition of “Chedleian” appeared in December, 1946. Although, it had only sixteen pages its publication at the end of the school’s first term was something of an achievement. Today, “Vol. 1, No. 1” may justly be regarded as a collector’s item by anyone interested in the origin and development of our school.
This edition is the thirty-fifth, for in the early days two or three issues were produced every year, but the 1970 “Chedleian” is exceptional in that it will be the last published from our present premises. It is this which is our excuse (if, indeed, an excuse be necessary) for taking a brief look at the last, eventful twenty-four years.
In the County Record office is a transaction dated 24th March, 1857; James Henry Deakin of Manchester, wine and spirit merchant purchased from Reginald Fowden of Arthog, Merioneth part of what was described as the “School’s Hill Estate”. Mr. Deakin paid £6,550 for 47 acres, which included both Moseley Lodge and Moseley Hall. This document is the earliest record of the Hall which has so far come to light. During the next ninety years the building was owned by a number of families, and it was requisitioned by the National Fire Service during the Second World War. In 1946, Cheshire County Council bought the Hall from its last private owner for the sum of £6,500.
Moseley Hall Grammar School was the first county grammar school to be opened in Cheshire under the 1944 Education Act. The inaugural ceremony was held on Monday, 16th September, 1946, and the school opened the following morning. There were seven members of staff, including the Headmaster, Mr. W.B. Simms, and during the first academic year a total of 124 boys and girls was admitted. Improvisation was everything at the beginning: the only accommodation was that provided by the Hall itself, and equipment of all kinds was scarce. Mr. Simms wrote enthusiastically about “the advantage of working in an old Manorial Hall, set in a pleasant garden of lawns, flowers and trees”, but he had to admit “the rigours of our Spartan existence”. In sport also there were hard lessons to be learnt: both the Association Football teams which the school fielded in its first season were reasonably successful, but on one occasion during the glorious summer of 1947 the Cricket XI suffered the indignity of being dismissed for five runs – a total which the master-in-charge, Mr. Bailey, hoped would be “the lowest we shall ever score”.
In the years which followed, however, rapid progress was made. “Tall oaks from little acorns grow”, and successive achievements are recorded conscientiously and with justifiable pride by the editors of the School magazine. At the start of the academic year 1951-52, during which Mr. Armishaw became our Headmaster, there were 539 pupils, about 40 being in the Sixth Form, and 26 staff. It was a time of extensive building; lawns, shrubberies and flower beds were inexorably destroyed as essential rooms were added – Blocks I-III, the Dining Hall, the Gymnasium and Block IV, the “New Block” and so on. In many ways the 1950s saw an increasing number of “firsts”: the first pupils to sit the new G.C.E. examinations, the first full Sixth Form, the first leavers to go to training colleges and universities, the first to take their degrees.
One change was more fundamental. Early in 1956 our sister school opened, and Moseley Hall ceased to be fully co-educational. The girls in Forms I-III left immediately, and within a few years we had become wholly a boys’ school. More recently we have “lost” other pupils to the new grammar schools in Wilmslow, Marple and Bramhall. Yet our numbers have not decreased, for the population of the Cheadle area has continued to rise, and more and more boys have been staying to enter the Sixth Form. Last September there were 877 boys on the roll, of whom 250 were in the Sixth. We have in the past exceeded 900 pupils and appear likely to do so again next year.
Our new premises are now nearing completion and should be ready within a matter of months. Among the most notable features of the new school are a Sports Hall five times the size of our present Gymnasium and special Sixth Form accommodation, which includes a large common room. Plans for reorganisation are also well advanced, and there will inevitably be many changes ahead. Yet in charge there must be continuity. Since 1946 nearly 4,200 boys and girls have been educated here. They and the staff have combined their energies to set high standards and build sound traditions, both inside the classroom and on the games field. It is worth remembering that, although even the oldest of our ex-pupils are only in their mid-thirties, many of them have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers and have attained positions of high responsibility. There is every reason to believe that these well laid foundations will prove the basis for continued development, and that our success and progress will outstrip even those already achieved. Moseley Hall has become in every way a thriving and enjoyable school community. It must continue to be so.
“A school is something more than an institution
or organisation; it is a community and I think I
can see the beginnings of such a community at
Moseley Hall……” - (Mr. Simms, 1946)
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