WHENEVER a visitor to the website asks a
question about Nantwich, I usually know something about the subject, but
find myself passing it to a man who I am sure will know much more about
it, Andrew Lamberton. And if he doesn't know all about something, he
knows where to find the details.
So here is your a chance to tap
into that fount of knowledge. If there is something you have always
wondered about, now you can learn more.
E-mail your question to
firstname.lastname@example.org and the answer will appear on this
page. Please note that any question that is sent directly to Ask Andrew,
or "A Dabber's Nantwich", together with the subsequent replies, will be
used for the benefit of other website users as well as yourself. Replies
cannot be sent just to the person asking the question.
If you send in a question it will
be assumed that you are happy with it being posted on the website; no permission
will be sought to use it.
Andrew has answered many
questions - on the This and That page, the
Old Nantwich Pictures pages and the
pages - and so he won't be repeating those here. But those pages will
remain on the website and you can still find those facts there.
Andrew is a published author -
along with his colleague, the late Robin Gray - with books on
lost buildings in and around Nantwich.
also appear in Family Lines - as well as the information on family trees
| Further pages
OXYGEN THEORY IN WARTIME AIR CRASH - see
Are there photos of the
Crofts before houses?
Andrew's wife's grandmother outside
9 South Crofts
I HOPE you don't mind me writing to you, but I have been trying to do
some research about Nantwich and have been getting absolutely nowhere. I
recently found your excellent Dabber's Nantwich pages and, if you don't
mind me saying, you seem like a fountain of knowledge on the history of
I moved to Nantwich in the early '90s, first living at Thomas
Row behind the Red Cow, before moving to the (then) new development in
Stapeley. However, I have recently moved back into Nantwich and am
currently living on South Crofts (No 17).
I have been trying to find some history about South Crofts, and
specifically the block of houses we live in (Leah Terraces), but have
unfortunately not been able to find any. Talking to the neighbours, I
find the year of build varies wildly from 1880 to 1910 but it would be
nice to find out for sure.
Do you have any information on this part of Nantwich or do you have
any suggestions of where I would be best looking? It would be lovely to
find an old photo of South Crofts before the houses where built (if one
exists) and maybe one when the houses where new. It would be nice to
have them on the wall.
All the research into our
current house has got me thinking about Thomas Row. Maybe when I have
satisfied my curiosity for South Crofts, I will move onto my previous
residences. I also lived for a while at 11 London Road. It is a funny,
double-fronted, but ultimately triangular, house opposite Churche's
Mansion. A great house full of character.
MARK NICKSON, Nantwich
I HAVE done some research and come up
with the following. Unfortunately there are no photos of the Crofts
before the houses were built. I do have one photo of my wife's
grandmother outside 9 South Crofts (above).
There is no sign of
building on the Crofts in the 1875 1st Edition O.S.Map but by the
1881 Census we have many people living there. So your date of 1880
(or possibly slightly earlier) is not far off the mark.
At 17 South Crofts I have
found the following people: 1881, William Lee, pawnbroker's
assistant; 1891, Levi Jervis, letterpress printer; 1901, Mary Louisa
Chesters, living on own means; 1911, Agnes McDonald, certified
assistant teacher (Cheshire County Council)
I hope you find this
Mark did. He replied:
Thanks so much for getting back so
quickly. I can't begin to explain how much of a smile this has
put on my face. To be able to see the names of the people living
in our house over 100 years ago really does give you an almost
tangible link to the past.
The photo is amazing.
It is incredible to see how little the houses have changed and
comprehend how much they have seen since they were built.
Were there two pubs on the same
The two public houses stand next to
each other in this 1875 Ordnance Survey map of Beam Street.
I HAVE been looking at your references
to two former pubs, which are a little confusing. I remember the
Nag's Head pub being in Beam Street, on the corner of Manor Road.
But you also seem to say that the Lingard Arms was on the same site.
You have a picture of the
Lingard Arms still standing in 1937. The Nag's Head was demolished
in the early 1960s. If the Lingard Arms was demolished in the same
year as the photo and say the Nag's Head was built to replace it and
it took 12 months to build, it would make it only approximately 23
or 24 years old when it was demolished.
As I recall the building it
seemed to be a lot older than that. Are you sure that the Lingard
Arms was on that site?
THE two public houses stood next door to each other in Beam
Street and not one replacing the other.
The Lingard Arms was called the Modern Druidís Arms in 1851
and the Old Red Cow in 1875, later becoming the Lingard
The map above - a copy from the 1875 OS 1st edition map of
Nantwich - shows them side by side. To the left hand side of
the two public houses is the garden of Manor House which
became the opening for Manor Road around 1910.
The two public houses faced the end of Pepper Street and the
black and white building still standing (now Talbotís
shoeshop) as shown on the map.
The original question and answer
Is my ancestor mentioned in pubs book?
The Old Barn in
Hospital Street. Is this the Bear's Paw
public house where Ann's ancestor was the licensee?
I HAVE just come across this very
interesting website about Nantwich, and am hoping you may be able to
My five-times great
grandfather was probably Thomas Newton of Nantwich. He was listed as a
victualler on his son Johnís baptism record in 1760, and an innkeeper on
his own burial record in 1779. I am wondering if there is any
information about him in Dr MacGregorís book, "Inns and Innkeepers of
Nantwich"? I would be most grateful for any details that may be
ANN BRABEN, Australia
This is a most interesting request and Iím
pleased to be able to give you some information
about Thomas Newton. Dr McGregor lists him as
being licensee at the Bearís Paw in High Street,
To quote him: "The exact location of the Bearís
Paw is unknown. The house closed in 1791 or
1792. Its keepers were Thomas Newton 1765-78;
Ann Newton 1779-83; Charles Wild 1784-88; and
Elizabeth Wild 1789-91.Ē
Nantwich Parish Church Registers have a record
of Thomasís burial on February 2, 1778, in which
he is listed as innkeeper. He must have kept an
inn and provided lodgings as well as ale.
On doing some ferreting around to find the
location of the Bearís Paw I was unable to find
it in High Street but, casting the net a little
further afield, I did come across a strong
possibility. I have a rare copy of a Nantwich
Rate Book of 1781 and found that Widow Newton is
mentioned at the end of Hospital Street, just on
the corner with High Street.
I think that is Ann (obviously Thomasís widow).
We know which side of the street it was as it
was only two doors down from the Lamb Inn. It
could be the site of ďThe Old BarnĒ (pictured
above). It is certainly there or thereabouts.
a reply from Ann:
Thank you so
much for finding this information Ė thatís
would almost certainly be the same Thomas
Newton Ė he married Ann Tearwood in April
1757. So she took over as innkeeper when he
is interesting that the burial date I found
for Thomas in the Cheshire Parish Records
database is February 2, 1779, compared to
the Nantwich church registers of February 2,
1778. I have come across a couple of similar
examples in my family history, where the
date is one year out. I wonder if you have
any idea how this might have happened?
old photo is fascinating. Is this building
still standing? Do you think that the Bearís
Paw could possibly have been this particular
Nantwich looks like a lovely town. I grew up
in a different part of Cheshire, in Wirral,
and vaguely remember passing through the
town as a child. Now I live in Australia and
donít often get the chance to explore, but
next time I come over to England, Nantwich
will definitely be high on my list of places
Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks
Iím glad you like
the information I
sent to you. Iím
pretty sure that
there has been a
transcription on the
Records database. I
think that the date
should read 1778 and
it ties in with the
dates in MacGregor.
Regarding the photo,
the building was
demolished in 1883.
It was known as the
Old Barn and
were sometimes held
there in the upper
room around the
beginning of the
I canít be certain
that this was the
Bearís Paw but I
think it highly
The corner plot is
now occupied by HSBC
bank and the next
one in Hospital
Street by the AGA
kitchen shop. You
should be able to
find them on Google
Streetview if you
wish to search.
There is also a good
website of early
maps. If you Google
Tithe Maps and
Cheshire you should
be able to find the
Plane crash near
DO you have any information regarding an
aeroplane crash which occurred on the
Dorfold Estate, at Acton, Nantwich, in
I was cycling in Nantwich
when my friend, Clive, and I heard that there had been a plane crash
the other side of the Shropshire Union Canal just off Marsh Lane.
When we got to the other
side of the Marsh Lane Bridge we could see a lot of activity going
on across the fields but we were not allowed to go any
In the quest of satisfying
my curiosity, I have found the following details on the
Flight Safety Foundation
The aircraft, an Auster AOP6,
operating as part of 663 Squadron, RAF, lost its outer wing in the
air and dived into the ground at Dorfold
Farm, one mile west-south-west of Nantwich,
on Sunday, January 6, 1957.
There were two occupants and sadly both were killed. The aircraft
was damaged beyond repair and declared "written off".
Do you know any more about
this incident ?
BOB HUMPHREYS, Nantwich
Perhaps for the purposes of this question, the feature should be
renamed Ask Alan. I am indebted to Alan Clark of the Peak District
Air Accident Research website (www.peakdistrictcrashes.co.uk)
who provided the answer to Bob's question.
Alan told me:
"The two crew of VF546 were Captain John
Leslie Pollitt, Royal Artillery (pilot) and Pilot Officer John
George Sidlower, RAF (passenger). The Air Observation Post (AOP)
Squadrons, this aircraft being from No.663 Sqn stationed at RAF Hooton
near Chester, were often staffed jointly by the RAF and artillery regiments
as they were spotters for the Royal Artillery and directed fire.
"Captain Pollitt is
recorded as being from Blackpool by the Chester Chronicle, though I
am fairly certain that he was actually from Warrington. His birth
was recorded in the Warrington area (date of birth, September 15,
1930). I'm fairly sure he married in Warrington in 1953 to Celia
Rooke and they had two
children. One was born in Blackpool in 1954, though their second was
born, after the accident, in Warrington. The Armed Forces Memorial
doesn't record any details of where he is buried / commemorated.
"I've not found much information about P/O Sidlower. The
Armed Forces Memorial gives his date of birth as January 27, 1934,
and records him as being buried at Weybridge Cemetery, Surrey (Grave
"From what was in the paper, part of one wing detached
causing an immediate loss of control. The aircraft went into a spin
and continued spinning until it struck the ground. There was no post
crash fire. The detached section of wing fell within a few hundred
yards of the main crash site. At the time of
the inquest the AAIB had not determined the cause of the failure
within the wing."
AS reported in The Chester
Chronicle of January 12,
people in Nantwich and Acton
areas watched horrified at
lunchtime on Sunday as an
RAF Auster light aircraft
nose dived into a ploughed
field at Acton, killing the
pilot and passenger, both
witnesses said the plane had
been flying apparently
normally in a clear sky when
one section of a wing broke
away. Seconds later the
plane plunged to earth."
The report also tells of the
heroism of a local master
baker and confectioner, Mr
Wilf Whitlow, who, with his
wife, raised the alarm. It
said that Mr and Mrs Whitlow
lived in Dig Lane, Acton, a
few hundred yards from where
the plane crashed in a field
farmed by Mr J.A. Sadler, of
Dorfield Dairy House, Acton.
The report continued: "Mr
Whitlow drove his car down
the lane to the scene while
his wife dialled 999. When
Mr Whitlow arrived the plane
was a tangled heap of
wreckage in the field about
a hundred yards from the
road. Although there was a
heavy smell of petrol in the
air and the possible danger
of fire, Mr Whitlow raced to
the plane to look for
survivors. He saw one of the
men trapped in the wreckage,
already dead. It was not
until later that the body of
the second man was found."
After a short time an
ambulance and fire engine
from Nantwich arrived. The
wreckage didn't catch fire.
The crumpled section of the
wing was found several
fields away from the main
This report was
researched by Alan Clark in the Cheshire County Records Office in
AND ON THE SUBJECT OF DISASTERS
INVOLVING PLANES IN JANUARY . . .
Mid-air collision in
TWO single-seater GR3
Harriers were involved in a peacetime mid-air collision over Wettenhall,
Nantwich, which killed both pilots instantly.
happened at around 12.15 pm, on Monday, January 19, 1976. One pilot was
found still strapped in his ejector seat. The other had tried to eject,
a parachute being found near the Little Man public house at Wettenhall.
The pilots of
planes XV 745 and XV 754 were taking part in a four-aeroplane low-level
exercise from their base at RAF Wittering, in Cambridgeshire, and were
about to clear the low-level area when the accident occurred.
reported to a Nantwich Chronicle reporter shortly afterwards that he had
seen ďfour aircraft flying very low and fast. They peeled off in twos
and as they were coming back into formation, one of them seemed to
misjudge his timing and a plane from the other pair hit him underneath.
There was a great ball of fire in the air followed by a terrific
reported that wreckage ďcame down like confettiĒ and aircraft parts were
spread over a wide area. Several fell near the Little Man and others in
the fields of Elms Farm, Calveley. An 11,000-volt power cable was
brought down and some homes were without power for three hours.
The two pilots were
identified as 29-year-old Flight Lieutenant James Edward Downey and
30-year-old Flight Lieutenant John Keith Roberts. Both were married with
two children and from Wittering.
Three weeks later,
on Sunday, February 8, the tiny church of St. Davidís, Wettenhall, was
filled to capacity with local residents and military personnel, with a
sermon given by Canon A.D.James, vicar of Wettenhall, an ex-public
school headmaster who had, many years before, taught Douglas Bader. After the service,
a reception was held at a local farm
One year later,
both sides came together again when on Saturday, April 16,1977, a plaque
in memory of the two pilots was dedicated at St. Davidís church by the
Rev T.I. Wilson, Assistant Chaplain-in-Chief to the RAF.
The names of the
two pilots are recorded on the National Armed Forces Memorial at Alrewas,
Gerald Newbrook writes:
I read the account of the crash of the two
Harriers and recalled my memory of that accident.
At the time I was working
for Manweb and that day my team were installing equipment in a sub-
station at Worleston sewage works. We heard a terrific noise, so loud
that it made us all run out of the small brick building. I don't
remember seeing any of the planes, I guess they had passed so
The surprising thing was
that we never heard the bang when they crashed! In fact we did not know
anything about the crash until we arrived back at the depot in Crewe.
They had heard the noise from
the crash but our ears must have been ringing from the noise of the
engines, we heard nothing, close as we were to the crash site.
There was plenty of activity at
the depot as by then, with people off supply, it was discovered that one
of the planes had hit an 11kv overhead power line, bringing down the
conductors. When this happens
it is not just a case of 'replacing the wires' because, as the
whole line is under considerable tension, the wooden poles on either
side of the break had lurched backwards and for several spans, leaving
poles leaning at awkward angles. All needing plumbing up to make the
line safe again.
The police were busy keeping
sightseers away from the scene but Manweb staff had to be allowed
through to carry out repairs.
As mentioned in the article,
bits of plane were scattered over a wide area and the linesmen reported
seeing all kind of metal parts in the fields.
The questions continue >>
Part 2, Part 3,
Part 4, Part 5,