Cheadle's Background

Taken from the Cheadle Heritage Trail by Christine Hession

with additional material by Ian O'Brien (March 2018)

It is believed that prehistoric man lived in the area judging by the finds which have been made locally and the burial mounds of the ancient Britons which have been found here. It is possible that Cheadle was one of the nine hill forts in Cheshire during the Mid Bronze Age and fragments of Brigantes axes have been found to support this.

It is also thought that two Roman Roads crossed in the village. These were the roads from Manchester to Bramhall and Wilmslow and also from Stockport to Altrincham and Chester. This meant that Cheadle would have been one of the oldest settlements in the area.


Cheadle appears in the Domesday book as Cedde, where it was recorded as a prosperous manor with its own church, woodland and an enclosed area for deer and hawks. Its old name is the root of its current name ('Ced' was the Celtic name for a wood and 'legh' later written as ley was Old English for wood).


Cheadle used to be a lot bigger until it was divided into two Manors in 1326 when Robert de Chedle (sic) died leaving no male heir. The two Manors were given to his two daughters, Clemence and Agnes. The elder daughter, Clemence, who married William de Bagulegh was given the largest part, Cheadle Moseley which now forms Cheadle Hulme. The younger daughter had married Richard de Bulkeley and they were given the area around the parish church which became known as Cheadle Bulkeley, now just Cheadle.


Cheadle Moseley was held by Clemence's descendants, the Savages, for 250 years and then was then sold to the Moseleys. The Bulkeley Manor was handed down in succession until 1756 when it was sold to Reverend Thomas Egerton, the rector of Cheadle, who built Cheadle Hall.


In 1644, during the Civil War, Prince Rupert came through Cheadle on his way to attack Stockport as did Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 on his way to stay at Handforth Hall.


Farming and corn milling were the main activities around Cheadle, although some industries such as handloom weaving, brick production and printing were becoming established by the 18th Century. In a directory dated 1771, reference was made to silk manufacture in Cheadle and this mill was situated near the Standard Chemical Works, off Mill Lane. The water-powered mill at the side of the Micker Brook where it crosses Demmings Road was a Print Works.


In 1753 when the Turnpike Trust was established in the village to maintain the road between Cheadle and Didsbury and the road between Cheadle and Wilmslow, stone bridges were built over the River Mersey and Micker Brook and two coaching inns were built, which were the White Hart and George and Dragon. The toll was one halfpenny (a quarter or .25 of a modern penny) for a horse and two shillings (10p) for a 4-wheel coach.


The first bridge was built roughly of tree trunks by Bonnie Prince Charlie's men and this lasted until 1756 when it collapsed, killing one man. A second wooden bridge was washed away, killing Mary Astle in the process. The first stone bridge was built in 1777 by Chandley of Gatley, he died as the scaffolding was taken down. The present bridge, the 4th on the site, was built in 1861.


Cheadle began to grow in the 18th Century as businessmen moved out of Manchester and Stockport to the countryside. In 1851, White's Cheshire Directory described Cheadle as "a thriving and well-built village and in consequence of its proximity to Manchester" the neighbourhood contains several handsome villa residences, the property of merchants and other gentlemen of the city. By 1901, it was described in a Manchester directory as a "prosperous town, township and parish".


In 1892 Heginbottam writes of a small stream flowing down the centre of the High Street with stepping stones being used to cross the stream. There were toll bars at Parrs Wood (where there was a wood), Farmers Arms in Cheadle Heath, the White Hart in Cheadle and Schools Hill. These were demolished in 1886.


In 1866 the railway came to Cheadle with two stations which both opened in the same year. The first one to open, owned by the Cheshire line Committee, was further down Manchester Road. This line was always known as 'the bottom line' but its real name was Cheadle (North). the station closed in 1964 and is now the Cheshire Line pun and restaurant, near to the Golden days Garden Centre. The Station House became the pub and the Victorian offices became the brewery. The beer was brewed on site by Mr David Pollard, who used to produce Pollards Best Bitter in a former print works in Reddish. The old coal yard became the Garden Centre.


The second station to open that year was just behind the black and white manor house and this station closed in 1917 as it was unable to compete with the tram service from Gatley to Mersey Square which ran the High Street. The line, originally opened by the London and North West Railway, stayed open and is still in use for modern trains but they no longer sop at Cheadle Station.


Judging from the 1897 map, Cheadle would have been largely self-sufficient if the range of shops shown is anything to go by. These shops include: bakers, boot and shoemakers (4) photographer, carrier, milliner, carriage builder, decorators (4) watch-maker (2) tailor, cattle dealer, coal merchant, plumber (3) wine merchant, hairdresser, laundry, stationer (2) chemist, servant registry, butchers (5) grocers (5) solicitor, china dealer, ironmonger, and there were others.


The areas of Cheadle Bulkeley, Cheadle Moseley, and Cheadle Heath were joined again in 1879 and became the Cheadle Board of health in 1886. Stockport Etchells was also included (Gatley and Sharston). This Board became Cheadle & Gatley UDC in 1894. The Sharston area was taken over by Manchester in 1931 and Cheadle Heath by Stockport in the mid-1930s (amidst strong opposition) and then in 1974, Cheadle and Gatley were taken into the Stockport Metropolitan Borough.


In February 1974 the area around the parish church was confirmed as a Conservation Area with the Micker Brook and the railway forming two boundaries and Gatley Road and High Street forming the southern boundary. A second small area was also confirmed as a Conservation Area around Cheadle Green.  The Cheshire County Council Planning Department then decided that rather than have two small areas they would make it all one. A further Conservation Area was created around Brooklyn Crescent.