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Barley Grange

Formerly a farmhouse and farm building, Barley Grange on Bollington Road is set back from the road at the brow of the hill behind a fine stone wall. At one time this was the Barley Mow pub (the licence is thought to have been given up in the late 1860s). These days it is a private dwelling, and is Grade II listed. https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1138993

Click on the photo (1910) to enlarge.

It was first constructed in the early 17th century, with alterations made in the late 18th century. Major additions were made in the late 19th century.

It is built in sandstone and has a roof in Kerridge stone-slate with a stone ridge. The house has a rectangular plan, is in ​two and a half storeys and has a six-bay front. Some windows are mullioned, others are sashes or casements. To the left of the house are 19th-century stables and a former steam-driven electric generator house.


 Barley Grange February 2019.


1851: Thomas Welch aged fifty seven years and from Edgewood in Lancashire was living at Barley Mow Inn as a publican. He lived with his wife Deborah from Middlesex aged sixty two years and Thomas aged fifty eight years who was her brother-in-law. Also two grandchildren aged five and ten years, and a servant from Derbyshire.

1861: Listed again as the Barley Mow Inn see Old Pubs and Breweries, it was now occupied by John Pownall aged fifty years and described as a ‘farmer of six acres and Inn keeper’ from Bollington, with his wife Margaret aged fifty five years and from Adlington Cheshire, and their family.

1871: Margaret Hammond was resident as a ‘companion’, also Lydia, Ellen and Mary Hammond listed as boarders yet only aged nine,eleven and twelve years. There were also four servants.

1878: Miss Sarah Greg (a spinster and farmer) lived at Barley Grange. She was a daughter of Samuel Greg –Greg family of Lowerhouse Mill She died in 1879 whilst living at Barley Grange.

1881: The occupants at this time were Isabel and Rosamund Hervey aged forty seven and forty two years respectively, they were from a very wealthy family. The occupation of Isabel and Rosamund was `Dividend Of Rents`. Their father Robert Hervey, born in Scotland, was a merchant manufacturing chemist. Although the two sisters surnames were Hervey they both were listed as being married on the 1881 census when they were at Barley Grange. They had three servants from Middlesex, Shropshire and Flintshire and a visitor from Middlesex. Before the sisters moved to Barley Grange they lived at Lee Hall in Mottram and Collar House in Prestbury. They weren’t at Barley Grange in 1891 but were both living down south separately, widowed and living on their own means with servants.

1891: Frank Railton aged thirty two years and from Manchester lived at Barley Grange and was described as living on his own means. His wife Maud aged twenty three years was originally from Alderley Edge. They had no children at this point. Three servants lived there and all were from Cheshire.

1901: Francis Frederick Grafton aged forty one years was a retired calico printer from Manchester living at Barley Grange with his wife Lilian Susanna Garnett Grafton aged thirty four years from Skipton. They had one daughter, Alison, aged six years and one son, Richard, aged five months, along with four servants. The Grafton`s were definitely living at Barley Grange in 1894 as there marriage certificate states this, as does the birth announcement of Alison, their first child, made in a London Newspaper. Francis provided the rustic bridge at Gnathole in 1903, sadly this bridge is no longer there.

Rustic Bridge at Gnathole (recreation ground) built by Francis Frederick Grafton in 1903

1911: Francis Frederick Grafton still lived at Barley Grange. He is still listed as married but his wife was not present at the time of the census and nor were his children. He had three servants who came from Lancashire, Derbyshire and Rutland.

1914: Richard Knowles was resident at Barley Grange. He was a Calico Merchant from Lancashire and was aged thirty nine years. His wife Dorothy was thirty one years old and from Shepherds Bush. They had three daughters at this point aged between one and six years, all were born in Bollington. They also had two servants living with them and a year later a Red Cross nurse Edith Sweet was residing with them whilst working at Rock Bank House which was being used as a military hospital at this time.

In 1914 and 1926:  Miss Charlton is also listed as living at Barley Grange, perhaps she was a servant to Richard Knowles above.

1934: Stafford Taylor was resident in this year according to the Electoral Role.

In 1939: Major Thomas Norman Skelmerdine aged around forty two years lived at Barley Grange with his forty four year old wife Helen Boyd (nee Kelly) and his parents George Skelmerdine aged eighty five years and Edith (nee Dickens) aged seventy three years. Although on the 1939 census it describes Thomas`s parents as both widowed?

During the second world war Barley Grange was supposedly used as a rest home for pilots. Hidden behind a mirror apparently were signatures of some of those who stayed there, among which was Wing Commander Guy Gibson`s who led the 617 (Dam Buster) squadron of The Royal Air Force. Here is the story….

Garfield Weston the conservative MP for Macclesfield, was due to retire and was looking for a replacement. In February 1944 he approached Guy Gibson to suggest he consider standing for Parliament, Gibson agreed, but first he had to be selected by the local party. Gibson made visits to Macclesfield to campaign for selection. On one occasion he shared a platform with Lord Vansittart, who gave his name -Vantsittartism- to a form of collective German guilt of war. A short list of candidates was drawn up, which included Air Vice Marshall Don Bennett. Gibson was selected by a narrow margin and became the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency despite the constituency party`s having taken him on knowing his circumstances as a serving officer. Gibson resigned as their candidate in August 1944 citing the demands of his service career. Gibson died in a mysterious plane crash (friendly fire) on his way back from another mission over Germany on September 19th of that year. This information has been included here to suggest there is a strong possibility Guy Gibson did go to Barley Grange to visit the resting pilots as part of his campaign to be selected as a prospective parliamentary candidate. And who knows, perhaps he did actually stay there himself and leave his signature. Watch this space….

Mid 1900s: The Ritson family lived at Barley Grange.

More recently the Hobsons were at Barley Grange followed by the Dysons.

The present owners have been at Barley Grange for eighteen years as of 2021.


The historical information on this page about the construction of the house is taken from the Historic England website. Our thanks go to Linda Stewart who has researched census information to present an interesting history of the house’s residents.

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