Pulford and Poulton have buildings dating back to the early 17th century. The remains of an early motte and bailey castle from the Norman period only consist of a mound and vestiges of a ditch.
As part of the Eaton Estate there was a period from the 1870’s to the 1890’s under the first Duke of Westminster when a number of buildings were built or remodelled, many in the distinctive style of the Chester architect, John Douglas.
The Buildings in the Parish of Pulford and Poulton
The different architectural designs and periods of the buildings in the Parish are interesting. The property was built at roughly three different periods of time (apart from the more modern buildings built in the 1920’s and 1930’s and since) but some of the earlier buildings unfortunately have been demolished, in some cases to make way for newer buildings on the same site. The sites of many of those demolished are shown on the 1837 Tithe Map that can be viewed at Cheshire Tithe Maps Online.
Early 17th to Early 18th Centuries
From about 1470 to 1813 the Warburton family owned nearly all the property and land in the Parish and during the period from early 17th century to early 18th century four farmhouses and several cottages which still survive were built. Most of these early houses have the characteristic pretty metal-framed windows with arched tops and round shapes in the top corners. In some cases the windows have been replaced. Some have windows with plain small metal frames.
Lyndale Farmhouse – Wrexham Road, Pulford
Circa mid 17th Century. This house is a fine example of the period, being quite unaltered. The windows are outwardly as described above.
Chapel House Farmhouse – The Green, Poulton
Late 17th Century. Gable-fronted, attractive brickwork and windows. Later portion built on the end of original house in 1880’s.
Green Farmhouse – The Green, Poulton
Late 17th Century. The front of the house has attractive brickwork and windows. The top part of the house has been altered and could possibly have been of the same original design as Chapel House farmhouse. A new roof replaced the old in the 1800’s when the newer back portion of the house was built. Possibly the reason for altering the roof was in order to blend the old and new parts of the house. The newer part is dated 1889. There is evidence to suggest that Green Farm was the Home Farm for Poulton Hall situated on the site of the Black and White houses.
The Post Office and Pump Cottages, Pulford
These were originally a farmhouse, believed to be known as Greves Farm. It is known that in 1837 and 1850 it was farmed by a Thomas Saladine. This is the oldest property in the villages being early 17th Century.
Beechwood Cottage, Wrexham Road, Pulford
Possibly mid 18th Century with 2 storeys. Brown handmade brick. Original house has metal framed windows with interlaced bars at the heads with rounded panes. These have been replaced with wooden windows. It has wide eaves and an overhang at the gables.
The Cottage, Wrexham Road, Pulford (near Green Paddocks)
Possibly early 18th Century. Originally the house was a cottage and accommodation for animals combined and has the delightful characteristic of metal framed windows with interlaced bars at the heads with rounded panes as previously described.
Cottages at Cuckoo’s Nest
Known as Melting House and Cuckoo’s Nest Farm, originally known as “Cuckoo’s Nest Cottages”, dated 1859 and 1861. These are semi-detached cottages. Cuckoo’s Nest farmhouse still retains the characteristic windows described previously, but the windows of Melting House have been replaced by newer ones.
Willow Cabin, The Green, Poulton
Date rather uncertain but possibly early 18th Century. The house was originally known as “The Holding”. It was altered quite extensively in 1961. The original windows were retained.
The Acres, Old Lane, Pulford
Possibly early 18th Century. The house has recently been extensively altered. Originally it was a Girls’ School, later known as “Pulford Kennels” and “Keepers Cottage”. It is mentioned in the catalogue of Sale of Estate property in 1919 in the archive.
Oldfields Farmhouse, off Wrexham Road, Cuckoo’s Nest
Possibly 17th Century.
Mid 18th Century
During the period 1812-1813 the property and lands of the Parish passed from the Warburton family and were purchased by the 2nd Marquis of Westminster, under whose direction much building took place during the 1850’s and 1860’s.
This property also has its characteristic features. Handmade bricks were used and these are a lovely mellow colour. The windows of the cottages have small diamond shaped panes (in some houses they have been replaced with newer windows) and have sandstone copings above. The windows in the farmhouses of the same period have small plain panes. Owners of Woodbine Cottage (see below) say that their cottage was designed by Morrison as were other similar ones of the period.
Yew Tree Farmhouse, The Green Poulton
Dated 1865. Afine example of this period of farmhouse.
Poulton Hall Farmhouse, off Straight Mile
The Elms Farmhouse, Wrexham Road
Cottage Style Houses
Cottage and adjoining building originally known as St. Chad’s Mission Church, Straight Mile, Poulton
Dated 1866. This building was also used as a school but is not now in use. On the front part of the building there is a very attractive coat of arms in sandstone which includes the date of the building. It retains its diamond-shaped window panes.
Several Other Cottages, Straight Mile, Poulton
All examples of this period. Some still retain the original windows, others have had them replaced. There are four cottages built in 1859, two in 1862, two in 1863 and two in 1864.
Smithy Cottage and Woodbine Cottage, Old Lane, Pulford
Dated 1868. Also examples of this period. Original windows have been replaced. A very attractive feature which is of notice is the sandstone shield wheatsheaf including the date on the wall at the Poulton end of Smithy Cottage.
Manor Cottages, Glenwood and Oak Cottage (formerly the Police House), Wrexham Road, Pulford
These cottages are very fine examples of this period and style of architecture. Outwardly they are completely unaltered and all retain their attractive diamond-paned windows.
The Village Hall, Wrexham Road, Pulford
Little can be discovered about the history of the Village Hall, its original purpose and date. In 1891 a public meeting was held at the Pulford Schoolroom for the purpose of opening a Parish Reading Room and it is known that the Village Hall was used for this purpose and was called ‘The Reading Room’ until fairly recently. However the actual building existed before this date. From observation of the style of other buildings in the Parish presumably it was built in the 1850’s – 60’s with later additions. Other buildings of this period are all dated but perhaps a later portion of the building covers the date.
Later Estate Building, 1870's to 1890's
Built by the direction of the 1st Duke of Westminster. Much building took place at this time, as is evident as one tours the Parish by the particularly characteristic building materials used, red brick interspersed with blue bricks. Some buildings are of a plainer character than others. Some have plain gables and plain chimneys whilst others have Dutch gables and spiral chimneys, and others, black and white gables. Most of them have stoned framed mullioned windows.
Architects of this period
John Douglas (see below) was the principal Eaton Estate architect at this time. He was a Chester architect of great repute not only locally and in the country but abroad too. His work and influence is to be seen everywhere locally not only in this Parish but in all the Parishes owned by the Eaton Estate at this time, and in Chester.
A particularly fine example of his work in Pulford is “Green Paddocks” on the left hand side, off Wrexham Road, travelling towards Chester from the village itself.
Several other local architects were also employed by the Estate for various buildings at this period. Namely – Waterhouse, Fordham, Bodey, Robson, Lockwood and others, but John Douglas was entrusted with the majority of the Estate projects, and we know that it was he who designed the Dutch gables and spiral chimneys of the Parish. His firm practised as Douglas and Fordham from 1884 and from 1898 as Douglas and Minshull. Little was done on the Estate under the latter style as architects were employed only rarely after the death of the first Duke.
More can be found out about the work of John Douglas in Pulford and Poulton in our book, “Poulton and Poulton Through the Ages” as well as the section below.
Buildings of this late 19th Century Period
Dated 1884. Designed by John Douglas. Replaced two previous churches (see below).
Early 19th Century with later alterations. It is now used as a private residence. It is a brown brick house with a slate roof and sashed windows.
Remodelled in 1897 by Douglas, it was not completely rebuilt, with part of the older building being retained. The original old Grosvenor Arms (or Talbot Inn) is reputed to have been in style like Lyndate Farm, etc. The new building was built in front of the old inn.
Ironhouse Farmhouse, Dodleston Lane
Dated 1884. Designed by Douglas, a feature is a W with date on the house. The 1884 house replaced a much older building which presumably served as the Home Farm for Pulford Hall, The Park, Pulford (now demolished).
Brook House, Jasmine Cottage, Bank Cottage
A John Douglas style of building with spiral chimneys. Actual date unknown. Brook House was altered extensively a few years ago. The lower part of the houses appears to be of an earlier date – possibly built at the same time as the Village Hall.
Park House, Carden Cottage, Ivy Cottage
Dated 1887. Situated on Wrexham Road, Pulford opposite Old Lane End. Designed by John Douglas. A good example of Dutch gables, spiral chimneys and mullioned windows. These houses replaced a much older farmhouse, the farm buildings are still standing.
Woodside, Wrexham Road, Pulford
Dated 1889. A fine example of large Eaton Estate house of this period. Designed by John Douglas. Farm buildings also designed by him and built in 1871.
Green Paddocks, off Wrexham Road, Pulford
Dated 1872. This house, which was originally a farm house, is a very fine example of the work of John Douglas, and very worthy of note (see below).
Wallets Farmhouse, Straight Mile, Poulton
Dated 1892. This building replaced an earlier farmhouse (please see 1837 Tithe map). Wallets Farm was so called because of two fields of equal size separated by a brook, thus forming an open ‘wallet’.
Grange Farmhouse, The Green, Poulton
Dated 1896. An attractive example of a farmhouse of this period. An interesting feature is the W and date in stonework at the front of the house. The building replaced an older farmhouse known as Pear Tree Farm. See 1837 Tithe map.
Chapel House Farm Cottages, The Green, Poulton
Dated 1891-1894. A plain cottage style example of this period which was an adaptation and simplification made by the Eaton Estate office staff of the style for which John Douglas was responsible.
Springfield and Woodlands, Old Lane, Pulford
A cottage style example of this period, adapted in similar manner to above.
Brookside Farmhouse, off Old Lane, Pulford
Dated 1885. A fine example of a farmhouse of this period. Dutch gables, spiral chimneys and mullioned windows are its special features. Designed by John Douglas, it is interesting to know that when asking Douglas for designs for Brookside Farm, Cecil Parker, the Duke’s agent wrote, “we are building a Farm house on the Gorstella plan but the Duke wishes the elevation to be rather prettier. He likes the Wrexham Rd Farm design . . .” And, of course, the Gorstella farmhouse was repeated but with Dutch gables such as occur (on a smaller scale) at Wrexham Rd. Farm.
The Elms, Wrexham Road, Pulford
Dated 1871. The house was built at two different periods, the original building being much smaller and apparently the front of the house faced south towards the village of Pulford. In 1871 the house was remodelled by John Douglas for the use of the Duke’s secretary, Colonel David Scotland. Eccleston Hill was built in 1881 as a residence for his secretary and Colonel Scotland eventually moved from The Elms to Eccleston. David Scotland’s gravestone in Eccleston churchyard reads: “In loving memory of David Scotland b. Nov. 29th 1826 d. Oct. 21st 1891. ‘Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord’. Also, Ellen his wife b. Sept. 30th 1839 d. June 1st 1910.”
The farmhouse was originally the Racing Stables for the Eaton Estate and the training ground for horses. The Estate altered the stables slightly adding a staircase on which the date 1873 is written, and made it suitable for cheese-making, etc. Downstairs the room ceilings are very high and upstairs very low as the rooms were lofts. The farm buildings are attributed to Douglas. An old oak tree stood between the house and where the buildings were to be. The new buildings were being built rather near to the oak tree and when visiting the Duke asked what was to happen to the oak tree. He was told that it would be topped or perhaps felled. He then gave his instructions that the oak tree was to remain as it was and the partly built buildings built further away from the house than was originally planned. The oak tree was apparently hollow and for many years it was used as a coal-house. It was eventually felled about 1925. A new house would also have been built for the farm but the occupants at that time did not wish to be disturbed and the Duke respected their wishes.
John Douglas' Influence on Pulford and Poulton
by Derek Venables
The first Duke of Westminster provided the patronage for John Douglas to develop his architectural design within the North West region of England and Wales and particularly within the Eaton Grosvenor Estate during 1870 -1900 which at that time included Pulford and Poulton.
As an architect John Douglas (1830-1911) was recognised by the contemporary professional journal ‘The British Architect’ (1898): ‘there has been no practice in the art of architecture in this country more consistent in its general excellence of aim and attainment than that carried out for many years by John Douglas of Chester.’
In particular, in Pulford and Poulton, he was responsible for the complete rebuilding of Pulford Parish Church of St. Mary (1881 – 84), some large houses, the remodelling of several farm houses and out buildings, Pulford Grosvenor Arms, Pulford village school and the Schoolmaster’s House, and many of the distinctive cottages which enhance the two villages.
Pulford Church is built in traditional Cheshire sandstone with some ashlar stone coursing in lighter yellow both on the exterior and within the nave. The whole building is simply but elegantly proportioned having a northwest tower and spire which in height reflects the length of the nave, chancel and sanctuary. The typical John Douglas design is main aisle to the nave and cruciform transept to include a north chapel and south vestry under a red tile roof. The elegant wood shingled octagonal spire has Germanic influences with corner turrets and pinnacles and is broken on four sides by dormer covering for louvre ventilation. The general style is neo-Gothic with restrained Decorative elements. The east and west windows have inter-lacing mullions supporting a geometric rose design which incorporate the stained-glass Biblical reference windows. The nave windows are again elegantly designed with slim mullions under straight heads with delicate square lead work in the panes. The design structure within the church has a magnificent simplicity and lightness having no obstruction to sight lines and provides a superb acoustic support for musicians and choirs.
The larger houses in Pulford, ‘Green Paddocks, formerly ‘The Limes’ (1872), and ‘The Elms’(1871), reveal from every elevation many of the architectural characteristics of John Douglas. ‘Green Paddocks’ has intricate chimney stack brickwork although the chimneys are not ‘barley-sugar’ twist. The roof is in typical red tile with a characteristic hyp inclusion with west facing Germanic turret. Above the main door there is a pargeted gable including a decorative ‘Westminster’ monogram. The walls are architectural pressed brick incorporating decorative string courses and panels. The windows particularly also contain fine finished brick work in the round headings, mullions, and sills – each brick unit being perfectly crafted to fit the required position either on the round, the bevel, or the mullion base.
Farm houses and out buildings, Pulford village school (1879 additions), and several cottages usually reveal essential Douglas characteristics. Chimneys are often ‘barley-sugar’ twisted set on high stacks, roofs are often red tiled with half-timbered gable work sometimes as at ‘Brookside’ having Dutch gable with protective coping stone. At the ‘Black & White Cottages’ Poulton, (1885 –86), Douglas incorporates the traditional Elizabethan style of full-timbering typical of farm houses along the English/Welsh border in Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire. Brickwork in farmhouses often includes intricate colour mixes and lozenge design in blue- brick contrasts. String courses delineating upper and lower storey division are frequently displayed. Main doors are often impressively crafted with superb iron work and studding whilst windows provide a generous entry for light without compromising security.
John Douglas designs and their influence are found in over twenty houses in Pulford and Poulton improving to this day the architectural richness of both our villages. His classical architecture is timeless and should always inspire admiration.