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Ask Joan
Joan Leach is a local historian, a volunteer at the Heritage Centre, a founder of The Gaskell Society, and much more besides.


Can you give me any information about Bentley Hurst Farm farm? I had understood that the Bentley family lived there for many years until it's lands were sold by Joseph Bentley who later invested this money by buying most of the shops and houses in Canute Square Knutsford. I have since learnt that the Bloor family have lived in Bentley Hurst farmhouse for over 400 years. This makes me wonder if Joseph owned a farm on the main Bentley Hurst estate and in fact it was this farm he sold, and not Bentley Hurst?
click on image for full size (100k)Joan answers:
I was asked about the Bentley's owning Bentley Hurst Farm and later Canute Place. Bentley Hurst is in Mere, off the Chester road, just past Tabley Church travelling towards the Mere traffic lights.
The Place Names Of Cheshire vol 2 by J McN Dodgson gives the meaning as 'grassy wood' from the Anglo-Saxon words beonet, leah, hyrst. So does not ascribe the name as of family origin. Bentley Hurst is marked on Bryants 1831 map.
Nor does it seem that Joseph Bentley had any connection with it, for in the 1891 census he is listed as being born in Mobberley. He was then running a grocers shop in Canute Place, (then listed as Heathside) with wife, 5 children and a servant. I do not know whether he rented or owned this shop.

Bently Grocers ShopLeft: Bentley Grocers (probably where the advert is on the shop on the right & possibly with the van for deliveries)

Until the 1950's all one side of Canute Place was owned by the Egertons and only changed from houses to shops after the sale of Egerton property following the death of the last owner in 1956. Some of us can remember furtively sheltering in the porches of these houses while we waited for a bus!
At Bentley Hurst Farm in 1891 was Thomas Burgess, farmer, wife, daughter, 3 servants and 2 Irish labourers.

Quite by chance I noticed a list of charterers in Mere in 1666, they would be land owners. Twelve are listed and include: John Bentley of the Hole in Mere & George Bentley of Mere-Heys. Both are marked on quite recent maps, "The Hole" as Hole Houses.
(click on the image for full size view - 100k)

I have been asked whether anything is known about the name Camp Green which is marked on the same 1843 map showing Bentley Hurst.

click on image for full size (100k)It is between Tatton and Rostherne. On the tithe map (c. 1842) it is described as 'a small circular plot of ground'. Place Names of Cheshire Pt 2, p.58 suggests it might have been earthworks referred to in a document of 1345 as 'Grymmsdiche Juxta (near) Rauthesthorn. Grimsditch was later a field name. Burdett's 1777 map of Cheshire shows a road from Bucklow Hill through Camp Green to Rostherne.

Camp GreenIn the wall of the Swan Hotel, as one approaches the traffic lights (please don't look for it when you are driving!) there is an ancient piece of sandstone, believed to be a Roman milestone. The road connected Chester with Manchester so I think it is not beyond possibility that Roman soldiers camped at Camp Green.
(click on the above image for full size view - 100k)

Above: Burdett's 1777 map