Nether Alderley 1

Nether Alderley

This is the picture that brought us to Alderley – and started us on the long search for our family histories. My grandfather, Jim Salthouse, who was born in Liverpool, always said that he “loved to visit Alderley – the estate was lovely”.It was only when we found Jim Salthouse on the (then) newly-released 1901 census (he was born in 1897) that we discovered that his father, William Salthouse, had been born in Nether Alderley and that a relative, Annie Salthouse, kept the village shop there. We wondered if this picture of my grandfather was taken at Alderley, perhaps with Annie Salthouse?

Jim Salthouse, possibly with Annie Salthouse c1901

I first posted this picture in 2008. Now, ten years later, 2018, I am not so sure that this picture was taken in Nether Alderley yet I still think, comparing faces on old photographs, that the lady is Annie Salthouse of Nether Alderley. Uncle Frank (Francis Walters Salthouse) took the picture and only wrote on the back ‘Jim the Boatman’. We can see from the names of witnesses on marriage certificates that the Liverpool and Nether Alderley families visited each other and it now looks like the photograph was taken in Liverpool or in Ditton (by Widnes).

Nether Alderley

A lovely village just south of Alderley Edge in Cheshire. This is the home of Nether Alderley Mill and St Mary’s Church – both are essential places to visit, not just for their own value, but because the people who work or volunteer there are so friendly, helpful and full of information. Of course, times change, you would meet different people, but the story is this: Mum and I visited the Old Mill at Nether Alderley, hoping to find where her grandfather’s sister, Annie, had lived and kept a shop in 1901 as the address on the census was quite vague.  We met Craig, then the curator, who showed us some literature prepared for visiting school groups and there was the evidence that mum’s grandfather’s sister was a shopkeeper in the village. Craig pointed out the old shop, directly opposite the mill. On subsequent visits both Craig and David and other volunteers at the Mill were very kind and helpful to us.

The water mill at Nether Alderley in the autumn

Also at the Mill was David, who kindly lent us a copy of the Sale Catalogue of the Stanley Estate which contained pictures and details relevant to our search. We made a database of the contents and returned the catalogue to him together with a printout of the database at our next visit.

Craig also pointed us to the Parish Hall and the Church, both hidden from passing traffic at the end of Church Lane. There we met Brian Hobson who adopted our quest for information and provided marriage certificates from the Parish Records, a plan of the graveyard and burial records, details from the 1821 and 1831 census (yes – Alderley has these and they contain names and addresses!) and, amazingly, he remembered seeing Annie’s shop sign in a friend’s garage and brought it to the church for us. We were invited to open days and met people who remembered the shop in later times when Annie’s sister Lucy and her husband Edward Potts were the proprietors.

The Church of St Mary, Alderley

Nether Alderley attracted the early photographers and there are quite a few postcard pictures of the village available, on one postcard picture you can just see that the shop had evolved with the times and was selling postcards as well as provisions. We were introduced to Brian, the owner of the building, and talked about how the building looks today and what remained of the old shop.

An old picture postcard of the village cottages and shop at Nether Alderley. The entrance to the shop is at the side, on Church Lane; the letter box is on the front, next to the shutter which is used as a notice board to advertise the Harvest celebrations. After Annie Salthouse died (in 1906) her sister Lucy and Lucy’s husband Ted Potts took over the shop and cottage. Some of the later postcards show Edward Pott’s name on the signboard.

Ted Potts, husband of Annie’s younger sister, Lucy. Lucy and Ted took over the running of the shop after Annie died in 1906. Ted Potts was well known as he had been the bellringer at the Church for many years and also the water bailiff for the Stanley Estate, collecting fees from the lads who fished at the mere.

Another old postcard showing the shop entrance at the beginning of Church Lane. The shop never housed a Post Office, but the presence of the letter box (or bar) on the front of the shop probably gave the Sunday-photographer that impression.

The Church of St Mary, Alderley, where Lucy Salthouse and Edward Potts were married. Many years earlier, before extensions were made to the church, Lucy’s parents John Salthouse and Lucy Walters were also married here.















© B Hilary Hartigan 2008

Opposite: Ted Potts



Church Lane, Nether Alderley, showing the door of the shop on the right; the shop window and letter box, or bar, were on the front of the cottages.  

Many years later, after John and Lucy had died, one of the daughters, Annie Salthouse, took over the small grocer’s and provisions shop opposite the mill; this afforded a home and a living for Annie and her younger sister, Lucy, but Annie also described herself as a dressmaker (and had an apprentice), suggesting that the shop alone did not provide a sufficient income.


(Contrary to the description on the postcard, there was never a Post Office in the village of Nether Alderley. There was a letter box, or bar, on the front elevation, but the nearest Post Office – called Alderley – was at Monks Heath).


The beautiful, old, Church of St Mary, Alderley, where Lucy Salthouse and Edward Potts married.

© B Hilary Hartigan 2008

Lucy Salthouse married Edward Potts at St Mary’s, Alderley, in 1895.

I imagine that the Church was busy that day, Lucy and Teds’ friends would have filled the Church or were waiting to wish them well at the Church gates, Annie would have been there together with their elder sister, Sophia Worth and her family.

Perhaps Lucy’s surviving brothers also travelled to Alderley for the wedding – William Salthouse from Liverpool with his wife, Janet, and some of their children (including my grandfather, Jim, who would have been about two years old) and James Salthouse, who had moved to Salford to work on the railways, with his wife, Fanny, and their children.

© B Hilary Hartigan 2008


25th September 2004 – the open day at St Mary’s Church. Throughout  the summer we  had a lot of help from the members of St Mary’s Church. Brian Hobson, in particular, had made copies of the marriage records and posted them to us and, amazingly, recalled seeing an old shop sign somewhere. Brian tracked down the sign, still in good condition, and brought it to the Church on the open day.

Annie Salthouse’s shop sign is now kept with other archive material at the Church and will be on display at the Open Weekend in September.

Generations of mill owners and mill workers have carved their names into the fabric of the mill; this is the “signature” of Ernest Rawlins, son of the last miller. We visit St Mary’s Church and Alderley Mill as often as possible and are always warmly welcomed. At the mill (a National Trust property) there have been many new discoveries about the fabric of the mill, how it was built and how it has changed; the curator and volunteers have also found more names carved into the walls and wooden beams including the name of James Brindley – leading, of course, to speculation that Brindley worked on the fabric or machinery of the mill at some time. A short book has been written about the mill and how it has changed over the centuries, the book is well illustrated throughout and has been available at Alderley Mill.
We have met Brian Trafford and his family who now own Millbrook Cottage, formerly Annie Salthouse’s cottage and shop and have been invited to see where the shop used to be and where Annie and Lucy lived. Although the cottage has been altered several times since the shop closed, it is still possible to identify the original layout of the building and the room where the provisions – probably sides of ham – were kept. The cottage is now an extremely attractive comfortable Bed & Breakfast establishment, directly opposite Alderley Mill and on the corner of Church Lane.

© B Hilary Hartigan 2008

In 1901 Lucy and Ted Potts are recorded as living at Welsh Row (Gatley Green Farm) where Ted is described as a farmer. Their son, Herbert Edward Potts, is three years old and they are looking forward to the arrival of their daughter, Winifred Annie Potts, who was born a few months later.

Opposite: Gatley Green Farm on Welsh Row, Nether Alderley, before its recent redevelopment


Annie Salthouse remained at the village shop, she died in 1906 after an illness of a few months duration, and we can only surmise that Lucy and Edward moved into the shop at that time and lived there with their young son, Herbert, and daughter, Winifred Annie Potts.

After Annie died, Lucy and Ted Potts took over the shop. Sadly their first child, Herbert Potts, was killed in France in WW1. Herbert’s name is recorded on the memorial inside the church and also on the beautifully illuminated and scripted roll of honour in the Old Schoolhouse.

For a clearer picture of the memorial, I suggest you visit Carl’s Cam website at

© B Hilary Hartigan 2008
By 1938, when the Stanley Estate Sale papers were prepared, Edward was named as the tenant and shopkeeper, although by this time Lucy had died and Edward had married Alice Simpson.

Opposite: The village shop in Nether Alderley, sometime after 1906 (when Edward Potts had taken over the shop). Picture from an old postcard,



The Mill at Nether Alderley

A National Trust Property

© B Hilary Hartigan 2008


We were also very fortunate to meet some lovely ladies; one lady was related to Francis Worth, the husband of Annie’s older sister, Sophia; another lady other lady was related to Ted Potts’ second wife, Alice, and we chatted with the granddaughter of the last miller, John Rawlins, who confirmed that her Uncle Ernest was the same person who witnessed the wedding of Lucy and Ted Potts’ daughter, Winifred Annie Potts to Charles Frederick Dutton. We also learned  that Ted Potts was very friendly with her father, the miller, and that she was named Winifred after Ted and Lucy’s daughter. The ladies remember calling at the shop on the way home from school and being sent to the shop on errands to buy chicken feed, amongst other things!
© B Hilary Hartigan 2008 Later on that afternoon we searched through the church records and found the graves of all the Salthouses (except John, that’s another story), of Sophia Worth and her husband and of Lucy’s family, William and Ann Walters and some of their children.

There are some very interesting inscriptions to be discovered in this churchyard. some connected with the Stanley family. 

The old entrance to Church Lodge, as seen when leaving Nether Alderley and travelling towards Monks Heath. Sophia Worth (nee Salthouse) lived further down the road, at Park Lodge. Now, at least, we know why my grandfather might have visited Nether Alderley.

Annie, his aunt, kept the village shop and she seems to have become the matriarch of the family.

Aunt Lucy lived on Welsh Row, just a short walk across the Church Fields; his cousin, Herbert was the same age as him and would have been a good playmate.

Aunt Sophia lived close by at Park Lodge with her family who, although older, would surely have made a fuss of this young boy.

© B Hilary Hartigan 2008 My grandfather, Jim Salthouse, said that he “loved to visit Alderley – the estate was lovely”.

If Jim and his father, William, decided to walk to see Aunt Lucy at Gatley Green Farm, they might have walked down leafy Church Lane until they came to the old school which stands at the entrance to the churchyard. This must have held some memories for William, as he and his brothers, John, Samuel and James could all have attended this school between about 1845 and 1865.

© B Hilary Hartigan 2008


Before walking through the churchyard and across the fields to Gatley farm they might have stopped to look at Church Fields, if they were lucky they may have spotted some pheasants in the longer grass – or perhaps the children would play on the swing that hung from the lower branches of this stately tree.


© B Hilary Hartigan 2008 The mausoleum, however, built by the Stanley family, (in the middle distance of this picture), might not have looked so friendly to Jim, but fortunately the path goes nearer to the Church tower and through a gate leading into the meadows.
© B Hilary Hartigan 2008 Once through the gates and into the churchyard, Jim would have walked past the ancient yew tree – probably looking just as gnarled and ancient as it does today.

© B Hilary Hartigan 2008

Since then we have discovered more about the Salthouse family of Nether Alderley. John Salthouse, originally from Didsbury, had just completed his apprenticeship as a shoemaker when he married Lucy Walters at St Mary’s, Nether Alderley. He rented the small farmhouse at Soss Moss from the Stanley Estate and worked as a master shoemaker and smallholder.


Please remember that the information on this website is only accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief. If any of the information is relevant to your own research, please double-check the sources.