Clockhouse Farm Mottram St Andrew - a Memory of Alderley Edge.

My parents and grandparents bought Clockhouse Farm in 1938, following the break-up and sale by auction of the Stanley Estate.  A photograph of the farmhouse was shown on one of the pages of the brochure describing the property available at the auction sale.  I believe the farm, some 75 acres with the farmhouse and outbuildings, was bought for approximately £3,000.  We left Clockhouse Farm in 1950, to live at Croston in Tempest Road, Alderley Edge, and the farm was then let to tenants.

The Eley family bought Clockhouse Farm from my sister, Ann, and me in 1969 following the death of my grandfather; my father and grandmother having pre-deceased him.  

The Eley family had been tenants at the farm for many years prior to 1969, and it must have been quite a difficult farmhouse to have as a home.  It was dark and damp, and at the end of a very long farm road.

My grandfather had pulled down much of the old 'wattle-and-daub' parts of the farmhouse in about 1960, an act which would have been condemned these days as architectural vandalism.  However, all I remember of the old building is masses of woodworm and rotten timbers.  The entrance into the habitable part of the farmhouse was through the kitchen, and I can still remember the wheels of my tricycle making rings on the tiled floor as I pedalled around the kitchen table.  Even in those days an Aga was compulsory and provided the only method of heating in the house, as fires were rarely lit.

When my parents and grandparents bought the farm in 1938 the only vehicle entrance was at the Wizard Inn on Macclesfield Road, along the farm road to Edge House Farm, and along an ancient track to the back of Clockhouse Farm.  My father and grandfather built the brick road down to Mottram Road soon after arriving, but it was always in poor condition and provided an extemely bumpy ride home.

One of my family stories is when my sister, Ann, was at St Hilary's School.  My mother often collected Ann from school in a pony and trap with the farm dog, Sammy.  One day when my mother was talking in the school yard, Sammy got tired of waiting and jumped in the back of the trap, and Jock set off for the farm, leaving Ann and my mother to walk some 3 miles back home.  They found Sammy and Jock, with the trap, waiting patiently at the farm gate.  Seeing Sammy alone in the trap with Jock happily trotting along must have been a very strange sight to behold !

In the row of cottages on Mottram Road, next to the farm gate, Mr Grange had a small smithy which he used for making farm implements, shoeing horses, and general metalwork repairs.  I can still recollect swinging on the handle of Mr Grange's hand pumped bellows to get the coke fire up to heat and 'helping' him by holding horseshoes in the fire using long tongs.  The smithy is long gone, and was converted into a residential property some years ago.

 Comments & Feedback

Mon Oct 22nd 2018, at 11:07 am
Jill Moss commented:
I always took my ponies to Ernie Grange's smithy below Clockhouse Farm. As children we were told that should we venture on to the land we would be shot at by Mr Eley ! I met a decendant when walking my dog up through children's play area at Mottram St Andrew and he thought it hilarious.
Mon Oct 22nd 2018, at 2:26 pm
I remember good times at Mr Grange's smithy - as I often tried to use the bellows to heat his small forge. Problem was that I was too small and could not pull down the long handle powering the bellows unit. But I still remember all the noise and heat. It probably helped me get involved in mechanical engineering.

Mr Eley (now 80+ years) is still around as far as I am aware, but Clockhouse farmhouse is in a very poor state. My grandfather pulled down part of the medieval structure because he was afraid that it was going to become a protected building, and it has deteriorated further over the years since we left in about 1950. I still have photos of the house in various states of repair going back to 1900 or thereabouts.
Tue Oct 23rd 2018, at 8:48 am
Jill Moss commented:
I love the thoughts of your Mum's and siter's faces on discovering that Sammy and Jock going back home. Life was fun back in those days, wasn't it ?

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