Limefield is a late Georgian house, situated on a hill called Clarence Brow near to Clarence mill. It was built by Martin Swindells I in 1830 for his son in law, Joseph Brooke originally from Birstall Yorkshire and his first wife, Martin’s daughter, Anne Swindells. Joseph Brooke later became a business partner to Martin Swindells I, and both their names appear above a doorway to the mill on the canal side.
The house is constructed with Ashlar brown sandstone, with a Tuscan porch. It has a Welsh slate pyramidal roof and a large central stone chimney. In 2019 parts of the house are in a serious state of decay, but under new ownership whose objective is to undertake a full restoration.
In the 1841 census Limefield’s address is off Beeston Brow, possibly mistaken – the back entrance was just round the corner in Long Lane. It has been suggested that the gates that lead off Beeston Brow to Rock Bank House, may have provided access to Limefield, but there is no evidence for that.
The relevant census entries indicate the following:
1841: Joseph Brooke a cotton manufacturer is living at Limefield house aged thirty with his wife Anne also thirty and their four children (John, Joseph, Anne, and Henry), together with four servants.
1851: Joseph Brooke still lived here but with his second wife Sarah (Dalton). His first wife Anne died in 29 July 1849 aged just forty three, just two months after the birth of her youngest child Arthur on 27 May 1849. There are three children there at this time (John, Mary Eleanor, and Emma – all children from his first marriage to Anne). Emma Francis Brooke (1844-1926), the sixth child of Joseph and Anne, became notable for her writings – see the Brooke family page for more on this.
1861: Joseph Brooke is still here but with no wife. He has one child and two adult children living with him (the youngest is 9 year old Florence Dalton Brooke whose mother was Sarah Dalton, Joseph’s second wife), together with five servants.
1871: Joseph Brooke is still at Limefield with three adult offspring (Henry, aged 30, Mary Eleanor, aged 28, and Emma Frances, aged 26) and four servants. Joseph died in 1872. His second wife Sarah lived until 1891 but it is not known where she was on the 1861 and 1871 censuses.
1878: Alfred Higgins aged thirty five lived at Limefield with his brother Henry aged thirty seven who was the head of the house and a younger brother Arthur aged twenty nine, all three were cotton machine makers and all were unmarried. They had two servants.
1891: the Alcock family (farmers) now live at Limefield. Possibly named Erick (from Congleton), aged twenty seven, with wife Emily (from Newcastle-under-Lyme ), also aged twenty seven and their three year old son. The mother Mary Ann aged sixty six also lived there, (originally from Rushton). Finally one farm servant.
Alfred J. King lived at Limefield in 1892 to at least 1898. By the 1901 census he was living at nearby Rock Bank House. However, the Kelly’s Directory also has R.B.Martin living at Limefield in 1896. perhaps he had a business at the stables. He is still there in 1906. Alfred King was Member of Parliament for the Knutsford constituency (which included Macclesfield) from 1906-1910. He owned manufacturing businesses in Bollington.
1901: Walton Aston lived at Limefield, he was aged thirty nine years. He lived there with his wife Katherine and baby daughter (aged 3 weeks). He was an architect and surveyor who designed buildings in Macclesfield and Rainow. Walter Aston died on January 29, 1905 at Bollington at the age of 44.
1906: R.B.Martin lived there. Also farmer Solomon Barber.
Leonard Haigh lived at Limefield in 1914. Private Leonard Haigh Army Service Corps M2/194141 was born 19 October 1880 at Prestwich, the son of Charles Henry Haigh and Alice Clara (formerly Paley) and was baptised at Prestwich 10 December 1880. He lived at Wilton Terrace, Prestwich in 1881, was at boarding school in Southport in 1891, visiting a family at Burnage Lane, Burnage in 1901, and was a cotton spinner visiting another family at Wood Lane, Timperley in 1911. He married Eudora Mason on 6 June 1912 at Timperley. He was a former England International Rugby player but developed double pneumonia while undergoing officer training at Woolwich and died 6 August 1916 aged just thirty five. He was buried at Pott Shrigley and is named on the memorials at Bollington and St Oswald’s.
1914 and 1923: Samual Knight lived at Limefield, according to Kelly’s directory.
In 1939 Stephen Sheldon a cattle dealer and farmer lived at Limefield House. He was forty eight years old. His wife Daisy aged forty five years and their son Kenneth aged 9 years also lived here and later there were five more children. Ken’s son Stephen was born there and lived there to 1968. During this time a ‘prince’ also lived there, and an elderly spinster, Miss Bullock.
Later, at least during 1970-77, Drs John & Jean Coope and their children lived at Limefield. At one point they shared it with Stephen Sheldon who farmed land in that part of Bollington and Adlington parishes.
1981: John Raisley lived at Limefield.
He was followed in 1985 by John Broadhead (owner of Bridgend Garage) and his wife Margaret (architect). Following Margaret Broadhead’s death (c.2016) the house has been sold for restoration.
- The historical information on this page about the construction of the house is taken from the Historic England website.
- The above photos were taken by Tim Boddington.
- Our thanks go to Linda Stewart, who has researched census information to present an interesting history of the house’s residents.
- Our further thanks go to Barbara Tilley, who is researching Emma Francis Brooke for a book, who has identified many interesting and useful facts about the house.
- A gentleman, wishing for the time being to remain anonymous, has also unearthed much about the house and its occupants over the almost 200 years.