Stockport, Cheshire. Heritage Walk

by Veronica

We never appreciate what is on our own doorstep do we? I visit Cheshire places for days out frequently but yesterday I looked at my home town, Stockport.

Visit Stockport
Celebrating my 40th wedding anniversary this week made me realise that although I have lived here for 40 years, I have never looked at my home town of Stockport, 4 miles away. How shameful is that! :)

Where is Stockport?
Stockport is traditionally in Cheshire but was taken over by Manchester in the North West of England in the 1960's. Locals still regard ourselves as Cheshire though as we are south of the River Mersey.
It is about 7 miles East of Manchester airport.

The name is believed to derive from Stop ford, when there was a crossing of the River Mersey at this point.

Although Roman and Saxon coins have been found in the area, Stockport did not develop fully as a settlement until hundreds of years later.

Yesterday, I did a Heritage walk around Stockport Town Centre and I learned a lot about what was on my own door step. The walk was a free walk which I collected from Stockport Library. There are several trails but I chose the one which weaves around the Loyalist and Radical sites of the town.

Source Material ; Stockport Libraries
Photos are my own .

Useful terms and definitions

Loyalists and Radicals 

This era, early 19th Century was a time of huge social unrest. People wanted cheaper corn and they also wanted an education and a vote. 

Sandy Brow... a place in Stockport where there was a riot prior to the Peterloo Massacre which took place in Manchester in 1819.

The start

The trail starts at Lancashire Bridge in the town centre. This was the crossing place between Cheshire and Lancashire. This of course is a rebuilt bridge not the one from 13th Century! The bridge is most famous because this is where the "Blanketeers” were stopped on their march to London to ask the King to help them in their request for rights in March 1817. They were called “Blanketeers" because they marched along with a blanket on their shoulders so they could stop by a roadside and sleep along the 200 mile walk to London. 

Most of the "Blanketeers" were arrested or dispersed here at Stockport. 

Lancashire Bridge

Lancashire Bridge with my best boy
Lancashire Bridge with my best boy

Underbank Hall

The walk continues round past the old Underbank Hall which is now a bank. It dates from 15th Century and is a traditional medieval “black and white " building. It was the home to the Mayor of Stockport. 

Underbank Hall
Underbank Hall

Stairs everywhere

All over Stockport centre, there are stone steps to give access to the town. This reflects Stockport's hilly nature. It is on the edge of the Pennine Mountains, the backbone of England. 

Stone stair cases

Stockport, Cheshire. Heritage Walk
Stockport, Cheshire. Heritage Walk

St Mary's

St Mary's church stands in Stockport centre and was added to around about the time of the social reformer activity upto 1819. The grave of a police constable shot and injured at Sandy Brow lies in the churchyard.

St Mary's

ST Mary's Parish Church Stockport
ST Mary's Parish Church Stockport

Stockport Sunday school site

Stockport Sunday school was the biggest Sunday school in the world. In 1819 the governors expelled older children who were radical reformers. These steps are all that is left of the building.

Stockport Sunday School

Steps remain
Steps remain

Produce Hall

The Produce Hall is still in use as an indoor market today. I like these links to the past. In 1819, the local post office was here and the postmaster used to intercept and read mail of people who were known to be reformers and inform the local magistrates.  

Produce Hall

Produce Hall
Produce Hall

Corn Dealers building

This is the old Corn Dealers' building.

Benjamin Brownhill in 1818, a gun Dealer had been acquitted for firing his gun into the front doors of the homes of radical reformers. He was a Yeoman soldier and friends with magistrates. 

The Corn Dealers' building

Corn Dealers' building
Corn Dealers' building

Sandy Brow 1819

Sandy Brow was a very important site in Stockport and played a huge part in the consequences of the Peterloo Massacre in August 1819.

A few months earlier at Sandy Brow in Stockport, there as a reform meeting where the reformers had turned on the militia and beaten them and shot some of them. Therefore, when there was a meeting at St Peter's Fields, Manchester, the militia took revenge and several people were killed. The event was known as Peterloo after the famous battle of Waterloo some 4 years previously. 

Sandy Brow site 1819

Sandy Brow
Sandy Brow

A free day out

This was a free trail a few miles away from home on an unusually beautiful October day. Taking our grandson helped us to introduce him into his local heritage. 

Once again, this helps to appreciate our own locality and take stock of where, what and who we are. 

There is so much to see and visit in Stockport- great restaurants, a hotel, a train station, cinema, great shops and events. Please do come to see us. 

Updated: 10/29/2019, Veronica
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Veronica on 08/24/2022

Yes indeed, Stockport people are known as Stopfordians.

Veronica on 08/24/2022

Writer Artist
It is lovely isn't it. I would like to go inside sometime.

frankbeswick on 08/22/2022

Stockport was originally known as Stopford,but the sounds transmuted.The word ford indicates that the town was centred on a river crossing,where a river was shallow.

WriterArtist on 08/22/2022

Veronica - It is interesting to note that so much history is present in your hometown Stockport.I am fond of ancient civilizations, although this doesn't look old. I also love the ruins and old heritage buildings. They have a story to convey. The Stockport church stands tall and beautiful undergoing more than a century's impact. The structure and architecture looks robust.

frankbeswick on 10/31/2019

Certain Saxon families appended de to an English name to seem classy. For example,Spensers were Danish, but retained their lands and rose upwards over the centuries. By the time of the Peasant's revolt De Spencer was riding down Wat Tyler and running him through with a lance as he fought the peasants.

Something similar occurred in Ireland,where Irish families dropped Mc in favour of the Norman Fitz to seem classier

Veronica on 10/31/2019

And in the course of your extensive research I hoped you found that the Stockport family of Arderns who owned Bredbury Hall are descended from the medieval de Arderne family.? Note the de. And neither Warwickshire nor Saxon. Most Saxon lords had had their lands stolen by Normans .

frankbeswick on 10/31/2019

I have done some research and discovered that there is an Ardern in Warwickshire, in the Midlands, but the Ardern family descend from the Saxon earls of Warwick. It is therefore an ancient Saxon lineage, not Norman.

Veronica on 10/31/2019

The beauty of Wizzley for me, is how a page develops because of facts and comments. Each is welcome and developmental.

Veronica on 10/31/2019

This Arden I think is a Norman name.

Veronica on 10/31/2019

We are especially fortunate in Cheshire which has the most elaborately decorated black and white buildings. I am astonished with myself that I never took the time to explore the history of my hometown. It's beautiful, as you see.

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