The Hamlet of Simmondley.

This page is based on the notes of Robert Hamnett, originally published as an article in the Glossop Advertiser in 1913.
Illustrations are from my personal collection.

Simmondley is divided from Chunal by a small stream of water and from Whitfield by the Whitfield Brook which takes its rise in Bray Clough. The Hamlet of Simmondley contains 909 statute acres, two beerhouses, and one licensed house, the Commercial Inn, Charlestown, built in 1838 by one of the Shaws, of Bury-me-Wick Mill. John Shaw the occupier, married a Mrs. Seddon, of Marple. He died 13th January, 1873, aged 65.

The Lower Turn Lee Mill, better known as the Woollen or Tip Mill, was built in 1791 by John and Joseph Bennett, of Turn Lee House (see The Bennett Family of Turnlee). The Mill was enlarged in 1825, but has now entirely disappeared. One of the Turn Lee Paper Mills was built in 1805 by George Hadfield, Manchester; Thomas and Joseph Bennett, cotton manufacturers, of Simmondley. The Bennetts also rebuilt Bury-me-Wick Mill.
The Bennetts were an enterprising family, and resided at Turn Lee House; they farmed 10 acres of land, and took a great interest in botany. They planted some choice trees round their house. On the occasion of the visit of the Manchester Field Naturalists, Mr. Leo H. Grindon minutely examined these plants. Among the more remarkable were a fine specimen of the Wellingtonia Gigantea which from its vigorous growth, gives promise of becoming a noble tree; that singular and rare Japanese tree, Salaburia Adiantifolium, with leaves like the true maiden hair fern, a large species of Gentian, the Eringo or Sea Holly, with its rich blue tint, the Polyginum, with its spikes of bright crimson blossoms, and many other equally interesting to the botanical student. Are any of these still in existence?

The visits of societies to Glossop and the reports thereon are very interesting, as we get to know what strangers think of Glossop and its scenery. The following account was written on the occasion of the Manchester Field Naturalists visits on the 23rd August, 1863:-
Glossop-dale is that great cavity among the hills in the extreme north-west of Derbyshire, where they abut upon the edge of north-eastern Cheshire. It is reached by the Sheffield Railway, which shortly after its passage over the Dinting Viaduct sends a branch of about a mile long to Howard Town, the modern offspring of the adjacent and antiquated village of Glossop - Howard Town is the place really intended when Glossop is spoken of, at least by men of business. It has a thriving aspect, the streets are clean; two large cotton mills give employment, when times are good to over 6,000 hands; and the pleasant air that sweeps from the circling hills renders it easy to believe that the doctors have little to do except with contributions to the Census. The surrounding country is bold, picturesque, and remarkable varied. The walk laid out on this occasion for the Field Naturalists gives something new and different every ten minutes, yet much remains in store for future visits. No part is inaccessible to ladies, or in any way unsuitable for them.
Descending from the station we mount the opposite slope, then bear along the road as far as Charlestown Toll Bar, opposite which we take the paved path across the grass, and enter the fir plantation on the brow of the hill. Magnificent views are now obtained. Upon the left are vast moorlands, which in Autumn glow with the purple of the heather bloom and in Spring have their brown flanks, variegated with green patches of whinberry; here and there they are dotted with white shooting boxes, and upon the uppermost ridge, in bold relief against the sky, may be discerned the celebrated jutting rocks called the Worm Stones. Down in the hollow stands Gnat Hole Mill, grey and ivied, as befits the oldest in the district, the date of the erection being nearly a hundred years ago. The cloth manufactured at this mill is the peculiar drab which Quakers wear, and is reputed to be the best of its kind in England.
Pursuing our course up the hill we presently reach Lees Hall, the residence of Mrs. Hadfield. Here a steep lane turns down upon the left, leading to Lees Hall Dingle, a pretty little retreat, which yet is not a solitude, so full is it of life, with a babbling stream bound with tribute for the Etherow, and a waterfall emblossomed in rocks and trees. From the summit of the hill on a Summer morning may be seen Chester, Penrhyn Castle, and the sea. Retracing our steps, we cross the brook then along the field path into the road, Gnat Hole Mill reappearing in front, and almost immediately enter a beautiful beech wood, called Gnat Hole Dingle, dry and pleasant as beech woods always are, and with another stream and waterfall. These perpetually running and leaping waters give a charm to the walks in this district; such as we discover upon no other side of Manchester, and make them especially enjoyable after a visit to Rostherne or Tubley, the presence of meres usually implying the absence of water in motion. Emerging from the wood, a short walk past the mill brings us back to Howard Town. Those who desire new and still finer views should continue a little way up the road above Gnat Hole, and glance at Castle Hill - the latter a great tree covered pyramid that might have been tossed there in pastime by the Titans.

Lees Hall, 1890s
Lees Hall, 1890s
Lees Hall is a very old place, formerly surrounded by a moat. There is a well of pure cold water in the cellar, and a secret or priest's chamber, the entrance of which has not yet been discovered. It could soon be found by entering from the roof if the Lord of the Manor would only allow that to be done. It should be very interesting to know its history.
The Hadfield family (see Hadfields of Lees Hall) were resident here for a long period. In the Parish Church registers are many entries relating to this family:-
14th January, 1749, William, son of John Hadfield of Lees Hall, baptised.
20th October, 1757, John son of Charles Hadfield of Lees Hall, baptised. This Charles Hadfield was a Churchwarden in 1758.
11th January, 1801, Joseph Hadfield, of Lees Hall, married Mary Ellison, with the consent of her parents, being a minor (19 years old). They were married 53 years within 6 days.
20th June, 1838, married at Glossop Parish Church, after ceremony at the Roman Catholic Church, Eliza, daughter of Joseph Hadfield, Esq., of Lees Hall, to Henry, son of J. Williams Esq., of Thrumpton, near East Retford.
5th January, 1854, Joseph Hadfield, of Lees Hall, died, aged 74.
7th June, 1864, Mary, widow of Joseph Hadfield, died, aged 82.
Miss Winifred Hadfield, one of their daughters, died, 30th April, 1876, aged 73.
Matthew Ellison Hadfield, born 8th September, 1812, died 9th March, 1885. Hadfield's Court, Bernard Street was called after him. He was a well known architect of Sheffield, and was succeeded in business by his son Charles.
To the east of Lees Hall, separated from it by a road, is a small enclosure. At the birth of every child, Mr. Joseph Hadfield planted in this enclosure a sycamore tree. He evidently did not expect a large family. He planted them in one row, well apart, but had to plant between them until he had eleven in one row and then he had to plant two others at the side, he being the father of 13 children.
It would be a great pity if these trees were ever cut down, as they are certainly worth preserving owing to the interesting circumstances under which they were planted.
Mr. Joseph Hadfield was a lieutenant in the Glossop Volunteers in 1803. He farmed over 100 acres of land at Lees Hall. His father Charles, was one of the pioneers of the making of the turnpike road which went through part of his land. Charlestown takes its name from him.
The Lees Hall Hadfields have been a worthy family. One of them was schoolmaster and Curate of Mellor Church.

In Summer time a favourite walk with young people is by the footpath, entering at Bridgefield, through Hobroyd to Whitely Nab. Some go further, cross the plateau, and through the pass to Cown Edge, which well repays a visit. There are several interesting things to be noticed and remembered en route.

At Bridgefield the Rev. John Wesley once preached. In his journal is the following entry:-
Manchester, March 27th, 1761. - I rode to Bridgefield in the midst of the Derbyshire mountains, and cried to a large congregation. If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. And they did, indeed, drink in the Word as the thirsty earth the showers.

Amongst his audience would probably be some from the Hobroyd, then known as Hobrode. James Robinson was living here at the time and as early as 1748, we find an entry in the Parish Registers, 30th April, 1748, baptised Martha, the daughter of James Robinson, of Hobrode. Again 14th November, 1750, baptised John, the son of James Robinson. This son was apprenticed to Thomas Garlick of Dinting. The initials on the date stone of the farmhouse show that James and Mary Robinson built the house in 1753. It was long occupied by the Woods family.

A well known family living at Hobroyd were the Bradburys. Thomas Bradbury died 5th October, 1848, aged 85; his wife Mally, died 9th January, 1845, aged 75. Owing to her size she was known as the Big Ship. They had six sons, who were all well known men. Messrs. Walter Jackson and Sons carry on the business of rope making, and have recently extended their premises. The Jacksons have lived here nearly 100 years, their present residence was built about 1855.

The late Samuel Wood found what was supposed to be part of a Roman Road.
On the top of Whiteley Nab the County Council authorities, when getting stone to repair Monks Road, found some fine specimens of fossil trees.
At Plainsteads there used to be some 75 years ago a Bobbin Mill, worked by Wright Bowden, who supplied the local cotton masters with bobbins. The farm was afterwards occupied by Randle Bennett for many years.

On the Rocks Farm lies buried a dog which had such a funeral that no other dog probably ever had. It is talked about even today by older inhabitants. The dog was one belonging to George Scholes, landlord of the Pear Tree Inn. When it died it was resolved to give it a public funeral. Its body was conveyed in a solemn manner, followed by a large number of dogs that it was mother to, each with a black ribbon or crepe round its neck, and led by their owners. At the grave a kind of ceremony was gone through. Funeral cards were sold by hundreds, and the inscription was as follows:-
Sacred to the memory of GLORY SCHOLES,
Who died September 26th 1859,
In the 13th year of her age,
And was interred October 1st 1859, at
Cownedge, near Glossop.
She was the mother of 170 pups.

Farewell dear friends, a long farewell,
I've crost these hills when I could almost fly,
I've been at the death of many a hare
Though now I'm dead and lying here.

"Punch" had some very caustic comments on the dog's funeral.
I have its collar, and am only waiting until there is more case room in the Glossop Museum to deposit it there with a funeral card.

On top of Cown Edge, near the quarry, are several tumuli, ancient Celtic or British burial places, which have never been opened.

Simmondley and The Nab, 1933
Simmondley and The Nab from a photocard posted in 1933

A rough footpath from Monk's Road leads into the village of Simmondley, and those who are tired and not teetotal could spend a few minutes in the Hare and Hounds beerhouse, formerly kept by Big Sam of Simmondley, or properly, Samuel Dewsnap (see Dewsnap Family of Hargate Hill and Simmondley), a well know character in his lifetime. He always had oatcake and bacon hung up and was the owner of a celebrated dog called "Mounter."
During the dog's lifetime an account of its achievements in prose and rhyme was printed, and as I have been asked many times for particulars of this famous dog. I reprint its history.

Come all ye trail hunters and listen to me,
For a song I will sing, that will fill you with glee,
It's of a great trail dog that has won great fame,
It belongs to Sam Dewsnap, and “Mounter's” his name.

Young “Mounter's” a dog that is very well known,
To possess a fair share of muscle and bone,
He can stay any distance, and there's no dog I'm sure,
Can trip it with him over inland and moor.

He shall run any dog that ever was bred,
From Red Sign in Saddleworth to finish at Woodhead,
Or if that does not satisfy you, then I ween,
He shall run you from Snake Inn to Fidler's Green.

But if neither of these two races will do,
He shall run you from Buxton Racecourse to Millbrow;
Or he shall meet you at Buxton any morn the cock crows,
And he shall run you two hours the way the wind blows.

He is champion of England as everyone knows,
And his fame is exalted wherever he goes,
For speed and endurance, none can him excel,
As the prizes he's won for his master will tell.

It was in Whit-week, in eighteen eighty three,
They to Ulverston took him as brisk as a bee,
Where he won two first prizes, as is often the case,
And also two seconds he brought from that place.

Just fifty first prizes to his credit been told,
Although he has not yet attained four years old,
And his name as the champion through Yorkshire has spread,
When he beat Ben Hall's “Bounty” from Red Sign to Woodhead.

He shall run any dog, either snap, cur or hound,
From five miles to twenty for twenty five pounds,
But one in particular, whose name I will tell,
It is Uppermill “Dodger” and you know him full well.

Adam Clarke he owns “Dodger”, that great Yorkshire hound,
And he said he'd run “Mounter” for twenty five pound,
So a match it was made, and the articles read,
And these dogs should have run from Red Sign to Woodhead.

But when they'd each staked five pounds, and the day it drew near,
Why the Uppermill chaps they began for to fear,
That our “Mounter” would win, and they were filled with dismay,
And their five pounds they did forfeit, and they all ran away.

He to run that “Black Briton” that “Danter” and “Glent”,
Also “Lapper” and “Trueman” it is our intent,
If they only will run us on reasonable ground,
Our “Mounter” we will back for one hundred pound.

And if they will not spare the scent when these trails he does run,
It's a foregone conclusion that “Mounter” has won,
For there ne'er was a dog that e'er stood on four feet,
With our Simmondley “Mounter” that could ever compete.

He is trained by Jim Bennett, who is well known by you,
An old trail hunting veteran, who hails from Millbrow,
Many dogs he has trained, but no match has he lost,
As his opponents have always found out to their cost.

If these lines you dispute, and a match you would make,
Joe Lee or John Rolance some money will stake,
Or to Simmondley come with your shillings and pounds,
And a match can be made at the Hare and Hounds.

Here's a health to Sam Dewsnap, wherever he be,
And likewise young “Mounter”, for he's at the top of the tree,
And while we drink his good health, this great champion we'll praise,
And we hope he'll be champion to the ends of his days.

"Mounter" was of the harrier breed, out of Mr. Jim Bennett's “Bounty” of Simmondley, by Nathan Lee's “Lincoln” of Newton. His first appearance in the land of the living was on the 6th August, 1879, and he became the property of his present owner, Mr. Dewsnap, when he was six weeks old. He has been brought up to trail hunting, an exercise he is particularly fond of. He began to show signs of becoming something more than an ordinary dog when he was but a pup. He was entered and won a race among the old dogs at ten months old; at twelve he had gained two first prizes; at two years 18; at three years, 33; and up to the present date 50 first prizes are calendared to to his credit, second and third honours not counted. His last victories were achieved during Whit-week last at a place called Ulverston, near Barrow in Furness, where in four days he gained tow first and two second prizes, although the ground was quite strange to him, as he had never been in that part of the country before.

The following lines have been written in honour of this famous dog:-
With our famous young Mounter none like to encounter,
The reason is this (so I guess),
When he's slipped on a trail, he soon shows them his tail,
For he goes like a London Express.

When following the rag he runs like a stag,
If it leaves any scent on the ground;
And with speed and endurance, with perfect assurance,
His equal has not yet been found.

When he starts on a hunt he soon shows in the front,
And it's seldom it ever takes place,
That he's catch't any more at least not before
He reaches the end of the race.

Over inland or moor his footing is sure,
Up hill, down dale, or on flat,
And no dog in the race with him can keep pace,
You may venture to wager on that.

Over fences he flies, at nothing he shies,
Through hedges, o'er ditches and rivers,
Nothing hinders his course, for he goes with such force,
All in front of him trembles and shivers.<

He in Cheshire has run, where a first prize he won,
When he was only a pup.
And in Lancashire towns he has collared the browns,
And in Yorkshire he's made them sit up.

He is Derbyshire bred, and Simmondley fed,
A credit to the place he belongs;
His praise we will sing, and his name it shall ring,
In both recitations and songs.

He has won fifty races in different places,
And who knows but he will win fifty more?
For he's youth on his side, a good dog well tried,
And he always proves true to the core.

Simmondley Worthies.
Simmondley Hall is the old Manor Hall. Its age is not known, but according to the “Harleian m. s. s.” it was occupied by Raphe Broadhurst in 1579. It probably replaced a timber structured one.
Thomas Leicester, gent., was buried at Mottram Parish Church from here in 1692. He was succeeded by Booth Waterhouse, Esq., who was one of the overseers in 1708 and Constable in 1712. He died January, 1735. In 1734 Mr. Waterhouse gave £10 per annum for ever for the poor of the Parish. These amounts may seem insignificant these days, but it must be remembered that at that period the population of the Parish was not large, and there had been other donors before him.

The Hall was afterwards occupied by one of the Hadfields, who built Hadfield Old Hall. Thomas Hadfield, baptised 16th May, 1719 married Martha Cooper on the 21st July, 1768. They had five children; George, born 14th February, 1772; Samuel, born 1775; Moses, born 1776; Martha and Hannah. George died 28th September, 1831, unmarried; Samuel died 21st February, 1842, unmarried; Moses married Harriet Brook, they had no issue, he died 7th November, 1844. Martha married John Woodhead. They had issue, Bessie died unmarried, 12th June, 1861; Hannah, Thomas and George, who died unmarried 4th May, 1861. Hannah married John Wood. They had issue; George, Martha (she married Edwin Hugh Shellard), Jane, and John, of Ardern Hall and Mottram Old Hall. He died 2nd August, 1889, aged 74. He was County Magistrate and Deputy Chairman of the Stockport Quarter Sessions. At his death many local people looked up their pedigrees and went to considerable expense in proving their relationship to him, but as they were not mentioned in his will they got nothing.

The three brothers, George, Moses and Samuel were a remarkable trio. George took a great interest in the forming of a Volunteer Corps in 1803. He was the Captain commanding, and his brother Moses a lieutenant. Being a wealthy man he had a band in connexion with the Corps, and when the Corps was disbanded, after all fear of invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte had gone, he still supported the band, which regularly visited his house at Mottram Old Hall, where he had gone to reside, and where they were always sure of a hearty welcome and plenty to eat and drink.
The three brothers were the chief financial supporters of the Littlemoor Independent Chapel.

Captain Hadfield paid a visit to the Holy Land in 1819, and it took him three years. The hardships he endured left him a physical wreck, for he never properly regained his health. His monument has the following inscription:-
“Sacred to the memory of George Hadfield Esq., of Old Hall, Mottram, Cheshire. Descended from the ancient family of Hadfield, of Hadfield, in this Parish, whose ardent attachment to Nonconformity and support of constitutional liberty have distinguished them for more than two centuries. Uncompromising, yet bland in the maintenance of his religious principles, and munificent in his gifts for their diffusion, he sustained the honour of his old Independent family as to secure the cordial esteem of his own and of other Christian Communions; upright in all his transactions; generous in his friendships; he commended the respect of all who knew him; long will his extensive charities be remembered.”
“The blessing of Him that was ready to perish came upon him.”
“The determined enemy of slavery and oppression in every form, he united with Christian philanthropists in their efforts to emancipate the slave; and also expended large sums in assisting those who fought for the liberty of Greece, while his mansion was an asylum for the refugees of that nation. Inspired with profound reverence of the Holy Scriptures, and an ardent desire to witness the scenes of the Saviour's ministry and death, he visited the Holy Land in A.D. 1818 - 1820. The fatigue then endured and the emotions then excited, so injured his constitution that his health declined, and he died in peace, trusting the merits of the Saviour's atonement for acceptance with God and admission to the Mansions of Heaven.”
Born at Simmondley, March 11th 1772.
Died at Mottram Old Hall, September 28th, 1831, aged 59 years.
This stone was erected by Samuel and Moses Hadfield, Esquires, as a memorial of their affection for their departed brother.

There is also a monument to him in the Mottram Old Hall grounds. It is a square column of stone with four round pillars supporting a cupola:-
“A tribute of respect erected to the memory of George Hadfield Esq., who died at the Old Hall, and was buried at Glossop in the year of our Lord 1831.”
He was the proprietor of the Old Hall, Thorncliffe, and other estates, and by his superior abilities, taste, and persevering exertions, he improved, embellished and brought them to their present state of completeness. He is gone and will return no more to his home, but the remembrance of his kindness and acts of charity will dwell long upon the minds of all those who have known him.
During their residence at Simmondley Hall religious services were held there.

The Old Hall, Mottram, was purchased by Samuel Hadfield, uncle of the three brothers, in 1800. Moses left it to his nephew George Woodhead, who died 4th May, 1861. Thorncliffe Hall he left to his niece Martha, who married E. H. Shellard, Esq. Moses at one time lived at Shiloh, but removed to the Old Hall after his brother's death, and died there. All three brothers took an active part in parish work. Three worthy sons of Simmondley.

The present residence of Samuel Goddard Smith was formerly the Angel Inn owned and occupied 70 years ago by Samuel Ollerenshaw. The Ollerenshaws came originally from Mellor.

Storth House was built in 1781 by J. and E. Jackson; a descendant of theirs, Abraham Jackson, commenced working Shepley Mill in 1842.

An interesting old house is the one to the east of the Hare and Hounds Inn, built in 1706 by Laurence Rowbottom and his wife. He died in 1758. He was a Churchwarden in 1730, and overseer in 1738. He had a son George, who had a freehold estate in Whitfield.

Farmhouse at Simmondley, 1890s
A farmhouse and outbuildings just north of Simmondley Green in the 1890s, since demolished

The Lynes were once an important family in Simmondley. They built Simmondley Mill, and Joseph Lyne built in 1817 Dinting Mill. They do not seem to have been very successful in the cotton industry, but for a great number of years they carried on the business of Cotton Band Makers. The mill is now partly in ruins and partly a mineral water manufactory.

A rather humorous story is told of one Simmondleyite. It was at one time when nearly everyone was known by a nickname, and when letters were scarce. The postman had a letter addressed to Mr. James Booth Simmondley; he knew no one of that name, and enquired at every house with no result. At last he asked two men standing together, but they did not know at first who the letter was for, until one exclaimed “Why it's for me.” He was well known as “Jimmie o'Nancy's,” being the son of Nancy Booth.

Simmondley at one time could boast a band known as the “Potato Pie Band.” Once the members were all stopped owing to a strike, or some cause or other. It happened to be at the time of the Doncaster Races, so the band decided they would busk it to Doncaster. There were some good singers among them, and they could play one tune very well, “Oh Potato Pie!” and by singing and playing this tune en route they eventually arrived at the racecourse, having done very well on the road. Just as they arrived a gentleman with three thimbles and a pea challenged them to find under which thimble he had put the pea. As they were flush with money, and as they thought they saw him put it under a certain thimble, they accepted his challenge and put their money down. He lifted the thimble up, and lo, it was gone. They tried many times to locate it, but always failed, until all their money was gone. They thought then it was about time to start on the return journey, anticipating that they would pick up as much as they had done coming; but alas! the tune they played was the same, the songs ditto, and no one would give them anything only chaff. At last they arrived home, footsore, hungry, penniless, and still wondering over the mystery of the thimble and the pea.

The principal farms in Simmondley Township, seventy years ago. There were 28 different farms, the principal farmers being Joseph Hadfield, Lees Hall, 100 acres; Thomas Garside, Big Intake, 92 acres; Randle Bennett, Rocks Farm, 57 acres; John Wood, 54 acres (he also owned 15 houses), Woods gave up this farm in 1872; James Shaw, Charlesworth Cross, 47 acres, also 49 acres in Simmondley.

Simmondley contains 999 statute acres.

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Last updated: 4 October 2020