A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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The township of Moston lies on the north side of the Morris Brook, which flows west to the Irk; it measures over 2 miles from east to west and has an area of 1,297 acres. (fn. 1) The surface is hilly, a height of 335 ft. being attained near the centre. Moston village lies to the south of this, Nuthurst to the north-east, and Streetfold to the west. On the northern boundary lie White Moss (fn. 2) and the district formerly known as Theale Moor, which are partly in Chadderton. The residential hamlet of New Moston is in the extreme east of the township. The population in 1901 numbered 11,897.
Roads from Newton Heath lead north-east and north-west to Moston Church and to Streetfold, to join another road going eastward from Harpurhey to Hollinwood in Oldham. Ashley Lane is in the south-west portion. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's railway from Manchester to Rochdale crosses the eastern part of the township and has a station called Moston near the northern boundary.
A Roman pavement was found near Lightbowne Hall. (fn. 3)
There are various works, including a wire manufactory. In 1832 the place was 'inhabited by farmers and silk weavers.' (fn. 4) There are collieries at Shakerley Green.
In 1666 the hearth tax return shows that there were eighty-nine hearths liable. (fn. 5)
Accounts of the people and folk-lore of the place have been issued by Mr. John Ward and others. (fn. 6)
Although in 1320 Moston and Nuthurst are called hamlets of Manchester, (fn. 7) the tenants there being obliged to grind at the lord's mill, in some deeds they are spoken of as lying within the township and parish of Ashton-under-Lyne. (fn. 8) It may be that the plough-land in Ashton given by Albert Grelley senior to Orm son of Ailward, in marriage with Emma his daughter, and held by a rent of 10s. yearly, was Moston. (fn. 9)
That the lords of Ashton had in early times rights in Moston also is shown by a fine of 1195, from which it appears that on a division Robert son of Bernard had Moston. (fn. 10)
Early in the 13th century the whole was in the possession of Henry de Chetham; (fn. 11) he transferred NUTHURST to the Eccles family, who, about 1260, granted it to Geoffrey son of Richard de Trafford, Sir Geoffrey de Chetham being at that time chief lord. (fn. 12) The recipient, also known as Geoffrey de Chadderton, had a son Geoffrey, who in 1340 granted to his sons Roger and Alexander all his lands in Moston with the homage and service of Richard de Moston, including a rent of 3s. payable by him. The lands were then divided between the brothers. (fn. 13) There is, however, a missing link, for as early as 1320 Alexander and Roger de Chadderton held Moston and Nuthurst of the lord of Manchester by homage and fealty and a rent of 10s. (fn. 14) The moieties descended to the Chetham and Chadderton families, who resided at the two halls in Nuthurst.
Alexander de Chadderton in 1356 granted to John de Chetham and Alice his wife all his messuages and lands in the hamlet of Moston in the town of Ashton, together with the rent of 3s. due from the lord of Moston. (fn. 15) There is little to record of the Chethams' long residence at Nuthurst; they prospered, their estate, including other lands in Crompton and Butterworth, gradually increasing. (fn. 16) Thomas Chetham, who died in 1503, was found to have held his share of Nuthurst of the Earl of Derby as of his manor of Pilkington by services unknown. (fn. 17) This statement of the tenure is repeated in the inquisitions taken after the deaths of his descendants—John, 1515, (fn. 18) Thomas, 1546, (fn. 19) John, 1573, (fn. 20) Henry, 1577, (fn. 21) and James, 1614. (fn. 22) In practice the mesne lordship was ignored and the Chethams paid their quit-rent directly to the lord of Manchester. (fn. 23)
James Chetham was succeeded by his son Thomas, then a minor. During the Civil War Thomas espoused the Parliamentary side and was a captain of infantry, taking part in the defence of Manchester in 1642 and being appointed a commissioner two years later. (fn. 24) He died in 1657. His son Francis (fn. 25) quickly mortgaged Nuthurst; dying without issue in 1678, he was succeeded by a younger brother, John Chetham of Linton in Cambridgeshire, who, after encumbering the estate still further, sold it in 1692 to Edward Chetham of Manchester, son of Edward Chetham of Smedley. (fn. 26) The purchaser's son and heir, also named Edward, ultimately inherited not only Nuthurst, but the estates of various branches of the family, and dying unmarried in 1769 his heirs were his sisters—Alice widow of Adam Bland, (fn. 27) and Mary wife of Samuel Clowes the younger. (fn. 28)
On a division Moston and Nuthurst were part of the latter's portion. She died in 1775. Nuthurst was by her will given to James Hilton, son of her daughter Mary, who married Samuel Hilton of Pennington. The trustees of his son Samuel Chetham Hilton were in possession in 1851. (fn. 29)
Roger son of Geoffrey de Chadderton in 1340 settled his lands in Moston upon his son Roger, with remainders to younger sons. (fn. 30) The family remained in possession until the beginning of the 17th century, (fn. 31) producing one noteworthy man, William Chadderton, warden of Manchester and Bishop of Chester in 1579, afterwards translated to Lincoln. (fn. 32) In 1623 Edmund Chadderton sold his estate to John Holcroft of Lymehurst, (fn. 33) and he, a few years later, sold Little Nuthurst Hall to Nathan and Samuel Jenkinson. (fn. 34) The new owners were followed by the Sandfords, (fn. 35) who sold their estate to the Chethams, so that Nuthurst was in time united in one ownership. (fn. 36)
The manor of MOSTON has already been mentioned as held of the lord of Nuthurst by a rent of 3s. The tenants took the local surname, (fn. 39) and about 1400 they were succeeded by the Radcliffes of Radcliffe, (fn. 40) who continued to hold the manor until 1547, when John Reddish, who had purchased from Henry, Earl of Sussex, (fn. 41) sold Moston Hall to Robert and Thomas Shacklock, (fn. 42) and another part of the estate to the Bowkers. (fn. 43) The Shacklocks held possession of the hall for more than a century; (fn. 44) in 1664 it was sold to Edward Chetham. (fn. 45) The family name is commemorated by Shacklock or Shakerley Green. The Bowkers' name is preserved in Bowker Hall on the border of Blackley. (fn. 46) Another family, the Lightbownes, have a similar memorial; (fn. 47) they succeeded the Jepsons.
HOUGH HALL was long the residence of a family named Halgh or Hough; (fn. 48) the last of the line, Captain Robert Hough, took the king's side in the Civil War and had his estate sequestered. (fn. 49) It was purchased in 1685 by James Lightbowne, and soon afterwards passed to the Minshulls of Chorlton. In or soon after 1774 it was purchased by Samuel Taylor, (fn. 50) by whose representative it was sold about 1880 to the late Robert Ward, whose widow is the present owner and occupier.
Hough Hall is a picturesque timber and plaster house two stories high standing on the south side of Moston Lane a little way back from the road, and amid a wilderness of modern brick and mortar. The building has been much restored and the interior is wholly modernized, but the outside retains a good deal of its ancient appearance, though all the windows are new and some of its original features have been lost. The house appears to belong to the end of the 16th or beginning of the 17th century, but in the absence of any date or inscription on the building it is impossible to determine the date of its erection. The plan, as far as can be gathered, seems to follow no recognized type, and if the house is now of its original extent is probably of late date. It may, however, be a fragment of a larger building. The principal front faces south and consists of a block about 48 ft. long and 19 ft. deep running east and west, with an eastern wing 18 ft. 6 in. wide projecting 8 ft. 6 in. and with a gable north and south. With the exception of the south part of the east wing the building is constructed entirely of timber on a stone base, but the timbers are severely constructional on the elevations and any decorative fillings, if they ever existed, have entirely disappeared, the spaces having been filled with brick and cemented or plastered over. The old north front had two gables of unequal size side by side at the east end, but a third was added about 1885, when a low lean-to building formerly in the north-west of the house was raised and a room built over it. These three plain gables without barge boards now form the most picturesque feature of the house. On the east side is a large stone and brick chimney originally terminating in diagonally placed brick shafts, but these have given place to a modern stack, and the lower part has been entirely covered with rough-cast. The entrance is in the principal or south front and part of an original timber porch remains, but a modern front in brick and plaster has been erected in front of it. The south side of the east wing is faced in brick and has a modern bay window on the ground floor. The stone plinth, which on the north side is 3 ft. high, is here very low, the timbers coming almost to the ground. The roofs are covered with stone slates and the whole appearance of the building, which has a garden on the south side, is in somewhat strong contrast to its surroundings. Internally the roof principals show in the divisions between the bedrooms, the wall posts being 17 ft. 9 in. apart, and the roof ceiled at half its height. The entrance hall is centrally placed, and has a flagged floor, but the staircase is entirely modern. The outer door, however, is the ancient one of thick oak, nail studded and with ornamental hinges and ring handle. There is some oak panelling 3 ft. 3 in. high in the dining-room, but otherwise the interior is without interest. A second entrance has been made on the east side, a lobby being taken out of one of the rooms, but this is no part of the original arrangement. (fn. 51)
Thomas Greenhalgh of Brandlesholme died in 1576, holding messuages and lands in Moston and 'Blakelowe' of Lord La Warre in socage. (fn. 52) Among the old families may be mentioned those of Street, (fn. 53) Rodley, (fn. 54) and Nugent. (fn. 55)
The land tax returns of 1787 show that James Hilton of Pennington was the chief landowner, he paying £22 out of £39; smaller owners were Matthias, Boulton, and Wainman. (fn. 56) In 1854 there were fifteen landowners in the township. (fn. 57)
For about a century there was constant disputing regarding Theale Moor on the border of Moston, Chadderton, and Alkrington. The Chethams were intimately concerned in the matter, not only as owners of Nuthurst but also as farmers of the tithes of Moston. At last, about 1600, a settlement was made and a division arranged. (fn. 58)
In 1850 a building society was formed which purchased 57 acres and laid out the land, the district being called New Moston. (fn. 59)
For the Established Church St. Mary's was built in 1869; (fn. 60) a school had been built in 1844. (fn. 61) The dean and canons of Manchester present. St. Luke's mission district has been formed at Lightbowne.
The Wesleyan Methodists had a school chapel in 1854. (fn. 62) There are also chapels of the Methodist New Connexion and United Free Church.