The Linley Wood Estate
The Caldwell family lived in Talke from the 1789 untill 1949. Their home, Linley Hall, was a large rambling mansion house, built up on a hill overlooking Linley Road. The estate itself was known as Linley Wood. The hill sits by itself and appears to have been formed a long time ago by the intersection of two faults and the land subsequently having been pushed upwards at this point. A ring of concentric earthworks or terraces circling the hill indicate that it may have had some sort of settlement in pre-Roman times.
There appears to have been a house on the site in the early 1700s, owned by William Rowley (Romley?) There still exists today in the grounds of the present house a grave stone which reads as follows:
"Here Lieth William Rowley who departed this life Dec 22, 1745 and desired to be intered here in his own garden rather than in the church lest he who had studied to promote men's health while alive should be detrimental to it when dead as well as defile the house of God. Aged 66."
In his will written in 1737 William Rowley mentions his address as being called "New House, Montpelier, Talk o'the Hill". Perhaps the name "Linley Wood" originally just refered to the wooded area above the house.
James Caldwell bought the main part of the Linley Wood estate in March 1789 from the executors of the late Edward Salmon for the sum of £4,750. The title deeds, which are in the Stafford Record Office (4229/6/2/1), state that in 1789 the estate consisted of 211 acres and had 6 houses on it. James Caldwell set about building himself a large Georgian mansion presumably on or around the site of the existing house.
I understand that as time went on James Caldwell and later his son James Stamford Caldwell enlarged the estate by buying more land as opportunities arose. A full record of the estate was made on the death of James Stamford Caldwell in 1858 (Staffordshire Record Office 4229/1-5).
Ann Marsh-Caldwell is recorded as buying Bank Farm with 73 acres, for £4,700, 12 September 1869. The farm was previously owned by Richard Howard Haywood of Odd Rode in Cheshire. The farm was recorded as being in the occupation of Thomas Cotterill (Staffordshire Record Office 4229/6/5/1).
A record of the rents for 1908 exists and lists 16 tenants paying a total of £444 in annual rent. A list was also drawn up in 1913 as a "Provisional Valuation" when Maj Gen Frederick Crofton Heath-Caldwell took possession and at this time the estate appears to have totalled at least 400 acres and extended from Talke to Alsager.
From the early 1900s onwards small parcels of land were sold off one by one to raise money but the majority of the estate did stay intact until the estate was vacated and sold by auction in 9 lots on 25th October 1949.
I understand that Linley Hall was used for a while as a rest home for the elderly, however, the building was in a poor state of repair and was suffering from subsidence with large cracks opening up in the walls and ceilings.
Back in the 1800s coal mining was a good business if you wanted to make lots of money. In the Staffordshire area coal mines were dug out all over the county. Unfortunately over the years lots of these coal mines have been collapsing internally and in some cases this causes movement in the land above. Many old houses like Linley Wood started to suffer from subsidence as the foundations moved unevenly and the building then developed large cracks as different parts of the building moved in different directions. Price comparisons for Structural Inspections. In some cases minor subsidence can be ignored but in other cases the building will need to be underpinned with extra foundations. In very bad cases the building will need to be demolished and rebuilt on more extensive foundations.
In about 1960 Linley Hall was demolished and shortly afterwards a new smaller house was built over the existing cellars. I understand that this new house is also called Linley Hall.
Further along Linley Road is a pub, which at one time was called the Caldwell Arms, then the Oasis, and was then changed to the Caldwell Tavern.
The Caldwells resident at Linley Wood were as follows:
James Caldwell 1789-1838
James Stamford Caldwell 1838-1858
Anne Marsh-Caldwell 1858-1874
The Miss Marsh-Caldwells (Elisa, Georgina & Rosamond) 1874-1913
Maj. Gen. Frederick Crofton Heath-Caldwell 1913-1945
Maj Gen Frederick Crofton Heath-Caldwell died in 1945 and a few years later in 1949 his wife Constance Mary Helsham Heath-Caldwell moved out of Linley Wood, bringing to an end a period of more than 150 years during which the Caldwell family had lived there. Her son Captain Cuthbert Helsham Heath-Caldwell arranged the final clear out. I understand that very little was kept, as in a letter that he wrote at the time to one of his cousins, Cuthbert commented that he only took home two car trailer loads, mainly consisting of a few portraits of family interest. The majority of the contents were auctioned by the local firm of Louis Taylor & Son, in Hanley but in his letter Cuthbert briefly noted the following items going to Sotheby's:
- An Italian (15th century) head and shoulders of two women and a man.
- A portrait of an Elizabethan Lady.
- All the Queens and Duchesses.
- Portrait of Thomas Bentley.
- Some old books, rather mouldy.
- A painting thought to be by Van Dyke but sold as school of Van Dyke.
In fact 17 pictures were sent to Sotheby's and 12 of these were put up for sale. These 12 were listed as the property of CH Heath-Caldwell in the Sotheby's catalogue for the auction of paintings in London on 2 November 1949. The other 5 lesser pictures were sent to Phillips Son & Neale for auction. The books were listed in a separate Sotheby's catalogue , 23 & 24 January 1950.
The Sotheby catalogue gives an indication of some of the major artworks which had been at Linley Wood. In addition we also have a very comprehensive list made by Maj Gen Fredereck Crofton Heath-Caldwell in 1925. Also a list of the contents of the library. With this detailed record we are able to look back at an example of an English family's country house, full of furniture, paintings and effects collected by a diverse number of ancestors and relatives steadily over a 150 year period.
The auction catalogue for the actual land and buildings reads as follows:
15 October 1949. Linley Wood Auction catalogue.
Staffordshire and Cheshire Borders, Linley Wood Estate
For Sale by Auction. 25th October 1949.
Messra Knight & Sons, Ironmarket,
Joint Auctioneers - Louis Taylor & Sons, F.A.I.
Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Congleton
Henry Manley & Sons, Ltd
Crewe, Nantwich, Market Drayton, Whitchurch
By order of the Personal Representatives of the late Major-General F.C. Heath-Caldwell, C.B.
Staffordshire – Cheshire Borders
Between Alsager and the Potteries
Particulars, Plans and Conditions of Sale of important freehold
Agricultural and Residential Property
The Linley Wood Estate
The Mansion House with Grounds, Two excellent farms – Oak Farm, 182 acres; Home Farm, 83 Acres. Swallowmoor Wood of 20 Acres, Accommodation land, including part of the Alsager Golf Course, Cottages. Part of Bunker’s Hill. Allotment Garden . In all approximately 362 Acres.
With possession of the Mansion House, Woodlands and Allotment Garden , the remainder as Let and Producing an approximate Rental of £566 18s 0d per annum
Louis Taylor & Sons, F.A.I. in conjunction with Henry Manley & Sons Ltd will offer the above for Sale by Auction in One of Nine Lots or as may be declared at the time of sale at the Property Sale Rooms, Percy Street, Hanley, on Tuesday, 25th October, 1949 at 3pm.
(which shall be deemed to form part of the Conditions of Sale, but should any inconsistency arise, the latter shall prevail.)
Tenure – The Property is Freehold
Situation – The Estate lies between Alsager and the Potteries and is intersected by good roads, including the A.5011 arterial road. Bordering Cheshire the farmland is of excellent quality, and the market towns of Crewe, Newcastle and Sandbach are within easy reach.
Viewing – These Particulars will admit to view (except Lot 3) by permission of the respective Tenants and prospective purchasers are asked to meet the convenience of Tenants and make previous arrangements for viewing where possible. Permits to view Lot 3 only, by appointment through the Auctioneers.
Wayleaves – Receivable by the Vendor:-
(a) £1 per annum from the Alsager Urban District Council for Water pipeline, over Lot 1.
(b) 7/- per annum for Electric Light Poles over Lot 1
Timber – There is a wealth of Growing Timber which is included with the respective Lots.
Tenancies – The tenanted Lots are sold subject to the existing tenancies and all tenant’s rights and claims. Tenants Fixtures, Fittings, and Erections and Improvements, whether mentioned in the Particulars or not, are expressly excluded from the Sale . A list of tenants fixtures, fittings and erections may be inspected on application.
Possession – Possession of Lots 3, 4 and 9 will be given upon completion.
Lotting – The Estate will first be offered as a Whole and if not sold, then as catalogued or in such other manner as may be decided upon at the time of Sale.
Summary of Lots
Lot No. Acreage
The Oak Farm 182.172
Accommodation Land (including pt. Alsager Golf Course) 40.732
Linley Wood (Mansion House) 10.316
Swallowmoor Wood 20.803
The Home Farm 83.636
Accommodation Land at Linley 15.764
Linley Cottages 0.230
Accommodation Land at Talke 7.988 estimated
Allotment Garden 0.521
Total Area 362.162
(Coloured Brown on Plan)
One mile from Alsager
The Highly Productive Mixed Husbandry Farm
On the Cheshire-North Staffordshire Borders known as
Oak Farm, Alsager
This Lot is let to Mr.E.J. Morris with Lot 2 on a Lady Day Tenancy. The apportioned rent of this Lot is £302.2s 0d. per annum.
182 Acres, 0 Roods 27 perches or thereabouts, and comprises
A commodious residence built of brick and tile and slated roof and fronted by a well kept lawn and flower borders.
The Accommodation comprises – Porch, Parlour with well grate and China Closet; Dining Room; “Snug” with tiled floor and modern tiled grate; Main and Secondary Staircases to Landing off which are 3 Bedrooms and Store Room; On the Second Floor are two large Bedrooms; Kitchen with red tiled Floor; Scullery; Larder; Press House and Store Room; Good Cellar; Blue paved House-yard; Brick and tiled Wash House and Vessel Shed; Earth Closet; Small Garden
Mains water supply (by meter) Rateable Value £30
Extensive Farm Buildings are arranged in three Main Ranges .
No.1 Range Brick built with asbestos and tiled roof comprises:-Cart House; 2 Stall and 4 Stall Stables; Loose Box and Mixing House with Lofts over all.
No.2 Range built of brick with tiled roof forms Meal Store; Shippon for 24 Cows and a Calf Cote
No.3 Range brick built with tiled roof comprise:- Shippon with tying for 12 Cow; Fodder Bing; Shippon with Heifer tying for 6; Loose Box with Loft over all; Bull Box and Trap House. Brick and Corrugated Iron Range of Piggeries.
5 Bay Dutch Barn on Wooden Supports and a 5 Bay Dutch Barn on Steel Supports.
Consists of Grass and Tillage in good heart and lies well for mechanical working, and the productivity is reflected in the harvested crops now on the Farm.
Two Good Glass Cottages, Brick built with tiled roofs and gables known as
Let with the Farm on Service Tenancies
Each Cottage contains:- Entrance Porch; Parlour; 3Bedrooms; Kitchen Pantry, Brick and tiled Wash House with Brick Built Wash Boiler and Tap, and an Earth Closet. Good Gardens.
Mains water laid on.
No. on Plan Description Acreage
List of acreages of each field
Tithe Redemption Annuities (estimated) £20 3s 10d
Note – This Lot is sold subject to the Right of Way A-B on the plan, and continuing over adjoining Property B-C, and thence over Lot 2 (No.548) C-D on plan is now enjoyed and this Lot is sold subject to such rights.
This Lot is sold subject to the Right of Way A-B on the Plan, and with the benefit of a Right of Way as now used over the adjoining property B-C and thence over Lot 2 (No.548 Pt.) C-D on the Plan as now used.
(coloured pink on plan)
A Block of Valuable Accommodation Land .
Adjoining the Main Road between Alsager and the Potteries (A.5011) now forming part of Oak Farm ( Lot 1). This Lot is let to Mr. E. J. Morris with Lot 1 on a Lady Day tenancy. The apportioned rent to this Lot is £80 0s 0d.per annum.
Extending to an Area of 40 Acres 2 Roods 36 Perches or thereabouts
Mainly used for part of a 9 hole Gold Course by Alsager Gold Club, Ltd., who pay an annual Rent of £54 17s 6d to the Vendors, under an agreement which terminates on 8th May, 1952.
Part grazing and part Arable, is interspersed with Timber Trees and the whole occupies a good elevated site, with a long Road Frontage.
Notes – The Club House, Green and Tee Equipment are the Property of the Alsager Golf Club, Ltd and are excluded from the sale.
A Right of Way is reserved in favour of Lot 5 over Field No. 542 Pt. (Points F-G on Plan) to Field No. 541,and this Lot is sold subject to such right.
A Right of Way is reserved in favour of Lot 1 over Field no.548 Pt. (Points C-D on Plan), and this Lot is sold subject to such right.
The owner of the adjoining Property known as Long Style has the right to take water though a pipe line from a well in field No.548 Pt.
(coloured blue on the plan)
The Noted and Finely Situated Detached
“Linley Wood,” Talke, Stoke-on-Trent
Situated on the Staffordshire-Cheshire border and occupying a very fine and enviable elevated situation with panoramic Westerly view across the Cheshire Plain.
The property which is extensive is eminently suitable for a Private Residence, Hotel, School or other institutional purposes.
The Property stands in its own grounds well protected from the North and East by an extensive wood which contains a quantity of valuable timber.
The Accommodation of the Residence comprises:-
Fine Open Entrance Hall rectangular in shape.
Drawing Room (27’4” x 19’3”0 facing West with pleasant open views. There is a blue tiled fireplace with a marble surround.
Lounge (21’4” x 15’3”) also facing West with a copper and tiled fireplace.
Spacious Dining Room (22’3” x 18’0”) by window with a single casement french window, antique iron and brass firegrate with a marble surround, tiled hearth. There is a separate door leading to the Kitchen.
Library (17’0” x 15’0”) lined with bookshelves and having a firegrate with a dutch blue tiled surround.
Cloakroom with a lavatory basin and a separate half tiled W.C.
The Upstairs Accommodation which is grouped on two floors comprises:-
The Principal Suite of one Pleasant Bedroom (19’0” x 14’6”) with Dressing room attached.
Five Principal Bedrooms-
Bedroom 1 (23’0” x 15’4”) with a firegrate
Bedroom 2 (13’6” x 12’0”) with a firegrate
Bedroom 3 (19’9” x 12’9”) with a firegrate
Bedroom 4 (21’0” x 15’6”) with a firegrate
Bedroom 5 (16’0” x 15’6”) with a firegrate
Bathroom 1 Part tiled with usual fittings
Separate W.C. with low flushing suite.
Bathroom 2 with usual fittings and W.C.
Two additional Bedrooms with firegrates, one having a Dressing Room attached.
Useful Linen Room fitted with white enameled cupboards and shelves.
Housemaid’s Pantry fitted with sink and lead lined draining board.
The Second Floor contains:-
Landing fitted with most useful linen cupboards.
6 Secondary Bedrooms (12’6” x 12’4”) (19’0” x 14’6”) (18’5” x 13’0”) ( 18’2” x 12’9”) ( 11’0” x 7’9”).
There are also 3 Staff Bedrooms and a Boxroom on second floor level approached by a Secondary Staircase.
The Domestic Accommodation contains:-
Main Kitchen (21’9” x 16’3”) with a porcelain sink. “Aga” Cooker, “Briffault” Range, independent domestic hot water boiler, serving hatch to the diningroom, fitted cream enameled cupboards and dresser.
Servant’s Hall (19’0” x 14’3”) with a firegrate.
Butler’s Pantry with a firegrate
Scullery part tiled with a porcelain sink.
2 Large Store Pantries. Useful Storeroom.
Servants Bathroom and separate W.C. Good Cellarage
Coalhouse under cover.
There is an Enclosed Yard which contains:-
4 Stall Stable, with loft over. Storehouse. Engine House.
Detached Brick and Tile Garage (27’0” x 23’9”) with accommodation for 3 cars.
Large Coalhouse adjoining.
Detached Brick and Tile Workshop suitable for a Laundry.
Also a pair of Semi-detached Brick and Tile Cottages each containing Parlour, Kitchen and 2 Bedrooms. One of the cottages has an additional Scullery. Both are sold with the benefit of Vacant Possession.
Have the advantage of well matured trees which surround the North of the property. There is a wealth of selected trees, shrubs and azaleas. Lawns, kitchen garden, sites of two tennis courts and rose gardens, etc.
Also there are –
3 Greenhouses (18’0” x 12’0”) (11’6” x 8’0”) (24’0” x 15’6”).
A potting shed.
Included in this lot is also the extensive Wood known as
Situated on the North and East sides, containing a quantity of valuable timber, Chestnut, Oak, Fir, Birch, and Holly. Also Azaleas and Rhododendrons. This Woodland is important both from the value of its timber and also the fact that it acts as a protective screen to the whole property.
Main Water Supply
Drainage to a septic tank in field No.22
Electricity by a private generating plant supplied by a Ruston Hornsby Paraffin Engine and Batteries.
Central Heating supplied by an independent Robin Hood Boiler.
Assessment Rateable Value £94 (including the two cottages at £6 each)
The whole of this lot is sold with Possession on Completion.
No. on Plan Description Acreage
18 Residence and Garden 2.773
17 Woodland 3.937
149 Woodland 0.234
151 Woodland 3.372
Or 10 acres 1 rood 10 perches approximately
Tithe Redemption Annuities (estimated) 1ls. 4d. per annum
(Coloured green on plan)
A very Valuable Plantation and Game Covert situated on the Newcastle Road (A.5011 Linley forming the well-known,
Swallowmoor Wood (Adjoining Lot 2)
Extending to an Area of 20 acres 3 roods 8 perches or thereabouts. It contains a varied selection of Trees including Oak, Beech, Birch, etc.
The catalogue continues detailing remaining Lots.