The Bayley-Worthingtons

In 1911 Bayley-Worthington bought Hungerfield Farm and closed the Boat Inn. It was probably at this point that it was renamed Town Thorns Farm. It is likely that Washington Jackson had made some arrangement with Bates, as Hungerfield does not appear on the 1881 Census. It reappears in 1891, housing a Bailiff Joseph Burditt, his family and a 13 year old servant.

 

Sharston Hall was bought by Manchester City Council in 1927. It was used for several purposes, but became dilapidated and was demolished in 1986.

 

In 1916, Marianne, probably widowed, transferred Town Thorns to her second son Alan Brocklehurst. Alan Brocklehurst attained the rank of Major and served in the Great War. He is known to have spent some time in the United States. He has been described as a big and powerful man, ramrod straight. His wife Phyllis called him Brock. She was a former showgirl and a colourful character. They had one daughter, Patricia.

 

The Major and his wife did not entertain much, but they were very keen on shooting, and held shooting parties to which all the local landowners eg Beech of Brandon Hall would be invited. Pheasant chicks were reared in Town Thorns Wood for the purpose. They removed to Scotland for the grouse-shooting season. Phyllis made frequent visits to London staying in their permanent suite at the Grosvenor Hotel.

 

Mr Harry Johnson from Brinklow, a member of the building family who did work on the Big House, related an occasion when Phyllis left orders for the walls of the stairwell to be papered. On her return she was displeased with the effect and demanded that it all be ripped off and redone.

 

Two residents of Brinklow recall memories of Alan Brocklehurst as squire of Town Thorns. The children and staff of Brinklow School were invited to an annual Christmas party. Arrangements had been made with local farmers to provide transport. They assembled at the school and boarded the horse-drawn carts. The carts went in through the gates at Railway Lodge and along Rookery Drive. A huge Christmas tree stood at the foot of the main staircase. A sit down tea was served, they played games and received a gift, usually a book.  A talking parrot that sat on a perch in the Conservatory fascinated the children.

 

Another resident of Easenhall recalled going to the Hall with a group of children to sing carols. One further memory was of summer ballroom dancing on the lawn in front of the Big House.

 

The Major owned three cars, a Rolls Royce, a Sunbeam Sports model and an upmarket French car. He did not keep horses. Phyllis kept Pekinese dogs as pets.

 

Washington Jackson had installed electricity. It was supplied by a bank of large batteries. Twice a week a representative from Truelove, the agricultural engineers from Rugby, came with a generator and charged up the huge batteries.

 

In September 1938 Alan Brocklehurst Bayley-Worthington sold Town Thorns. They moved to Berkshire and later to Firby Hall in Yorkshire. Phyllis played Lady of the Manor opening fetes and donating money to worthy causes. She was widowed and ended her days in a Nursing Home in Harrogate.

 

John Gray, a Coventry builder who had already bought Coombe Abbey, now bought the Town Thorns Estate. Gossip of the day suggested that John Gray intended to give the mansion to his son as a wedding present. Instead, Sir Alfred Herbert acquired the house and twenty-five surrounding acres. The rest of the lands including the farm passed to Mrs Walpole Browne, the daughter of J G Gray. Her three children inherited the property. It is still in their hands.

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