Philip Antrobus was the builder of Lowerhouse mill (1818/19) and more than fifty cottages, possibly some additional houses. It is not certain that Antrobus actually got the mill into operation before he died (4 October 1830), but probable that he did. It was, however, unused at the time of his death.
He married Mary Brooke on 17th May 1815. Philip died on [disputed: 11th December 1829 most likely, or 4 October 1830]. He left a comprehensive Will dated 13th November 1829 which was proved on 20th March 1830 at Chester. The short time between the date of his Will and that of his death suggests that he was not in good health and that he was facing the possibility of his early demise.
His Will was most comprehensive but nevertheless omitted one most important, indeed, essential, instruction. The Will provided for annuities to his wife Mary for her keep and the upbringing of his large family of young children, five boys, John, Peter, Philip, George, and Thomas, and three daughters, Margaret Jane, Mary Elizabeth, and Frances, and to his sister, Mary Chetham, and specified where this money was to come from – the income from his Cheshire properties (as distinct from his Staffordshire properties). However, he omitted to give his Executors, Peter Brooke and John Brooke, the necessary authority to lease the properties in order to obtain income! The private Act of Parliament obtained that authority (full text).
From the Act we can see that Philip Antrobus owned estates in Staffordshire and Cheshire. It details only the Cheshire estates which were all in Bollington and Prestbury. The Act ends with a Schedule of these properties and each is listed with more or less detail, the tenant’s name, the size of the property and the annual (rental) value.
One of the tenants is someone of interest in a different context. Philip Antrobus owned (built?) and lived in the house known now as The Rookery, but then just Rookery. The schedule shows that in 1832 it was let to William Crossley. It is thought that this was William Crosley (he himself spelt his name both with one and two eses) the engineer of the Macclesfield Canal who would at this time have recently completed construction of the canal at Bollington. He continued as engineer through the early years of operation.
Father of Philip Antrobus. The house next door to Rookery is Turner Heath House and that is where George Antrobus lived while he developed various mills in Bollington. ‘Bollington in old picture postcards’, p.14, records that “George and his sons were also in business as ‘check merchants’ and weavers (probably employing domestic workers). The sons, Philip and George, built cotton mills at the eastern end of the village in the late eighteenth century, but a business was also carried on adjacent to Turner Heath House. When Philip Antrobus junior died in 1829 he left a small works at Turner Heath consisting of a warehouse, dyehouse, weaving shop, and steam engine (valued at £47) as well as his new mill at Lowerhouse (valued at £704).“
Son of Philip Antrobus, George grew up to be a mill operator like his father. After his father’s death, while George was still a child, the Lowerhouse estate was leased to Samuel Greg jnr, so George took other mills in Bollington.
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