The Atcherleys of All Stretton

After retiring from business in Manchester, Roger Atcherley returned to his native county of Shropshire, with his wife Mary Ann and their daughters Marian, Ethel, Kate Mary and Olive Maude. Taking up residence at the Hall in All Stretton, this Atcherley family was soon involved in the welfare and wellbeing of its local community.

All Stretton from Nover’s Hill

The earliest evidence I have found showing the Atcherleys in All Stretton takes the form of an advertisement in the Wellington Journal of 11 Feb 1905, in which Mrs Atcherley of All Stretton Hall sought an experienced cook-general servant (she would later place similar adverts in the same newspaper in 1909). However, it appears that the family had actually moved to their new home in Shropshire in the Autumn of 1904. This information comes from an obituary published in October 1905, following the death of Ethel Atcherley (see The art and soul of Ethel Atcherley).

Prior to her untimely demise, Ethel almost certainly took part in some of the local events supported by her mother and sisters, including the parochial garden party organised for a visit to the parish of Church Stretton by the Bishop of Hereford in August 1905. “The Misses Atcherley” were among the 170+ people who attended, and Mrs Atcherley was one of several ladies who provided tea tables at the function.

As with the Misses Atcherley of Shrewsbury, it is difficult to be certain whether such references to the Atcherley sisters of All Stretton refer to all of them (three in number following Ethel’s passing) or only two – in which case, which two? There is also scope for confusion when local newspaper reports mention a “Miss Atcherley”. Typically, in my experience, this term is used for the eldest of two or more sisters, the younger sister(s) being differentiated by the addition of their forename or initials. But there is no guarantee that this was always the case.

In November 1906, when a “very successful sale of work was held in the Town Hall […]; organised by Mrs. Stevens in aid of the additional lighting of the church”, the Ludlow Advertiser included the following ladies in the list of those who took charge of the stalls: “the Misses Worthington, Pearson, Atcherley, Jones, Miss Dunn, Miss Ethel Dunn, Miss Jones, Dudgely, and Miss Jukes.” I take this to mean that there were three each of the sisters Worthington, Pearson, Atcherley and Jones, along with a Miss Dunn and her younger sister Ethel, another Miss Jones (from Dudgeley, just to the north of All Stretton), and a Miss Jukes. Between them, these and the other women who assisted on the day raised about £20 for their cause.

Amongst the ladies presiding over the tables at another event, held on Thursday 2 August 1906, was a Miss Atcherley. The occasion was the annual treat given to the children who attended the Parish Church Sunday School, who were accompanied by pupils from the All Stretton and Little Stretton Schools – in total about 120 youngsters. After listening to a short address from the Rector at Church Stretton St Laurence, the kids had two sessions of playing games in the Rectory grounds, broken by a tea served in the schools. This is where Miss Atcherley came in – Marian, I presume, as she was the eldest, but I cannot be sure of this.

What a relief to find “Miss Olive Atcherley (All Stretton Hall)” clearly identified in the Wellington Journal’s piece about a Cake Fair and Cycle Gymkhana held at Church Stretton the day before the above event (1 August 1906). Organised by the Barn Owls of Church Stretton (a theatre group operating out of the recently opened Barn Theatre), this creative combination of calorie-consuming and calorie-burning activities was held with a view to “increasing the fund for providing a recreation room for that beautiful and rapidly-extending locality”. Olive Maude Atcherley took first prize in Class C of the cake exhibition.

Was Olive the Miss Atcherley who also won a first prize in the amateur classes at the Cake Fair which took place at Church Stretton in August 1907? Maybe, maybe not. We can however be much more certain that she was involved in another cake-centred event held earlier that summer, on 12 June:

Cake and Apron Sale.—On Wednesday afternoon a very successful, and well-patronised cake, apron, and rummage sale was held at All Stretton Hall. The movement was organised by the Misses Atcherley, Mrs. Tudor Owen, Mrs. Wood-Acton, Mrs. Sparrow (Hillside), and other well-known ladies. The movement was in aid of the invalid and sick fund of the Girls’ Friendly Society. The weather was dull and torrential showers descended throughout the day. A rummage sale took place in the grounds, whilst the cake and apron sale was held in the house. At the top of the Hall staircase Mr. Cobourn manipulated his powerful gramaphone. Tea was afterwards served in the Hall. Owing to the bad weather tennis, bowls, and other outdoor games had to be abandoned, and indoor games were substituted during the evening. The following ladies kindly assisted at the stalls: The Misses Atcherley, Mrs. Wood-Acton, Mrs. Tudor Owen, Miss Higginson, Mrs. Blower, Mrs. Harding, Mrs. Butler, the Misses Pryce (Helmeth), Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Sherratt, Mrs. Lowe, Miss Lowe, Miss Wooley, Mrs. Jones, Miss Davies.

The Girls’ Friendly Society was established in 1875 by Mrs Mary Elizabeth Townsend, daughter of an Irish clergyman. Girls who found themselves “cut off from the support of friends and family” were encouraged to become members, so that they could be given friendship and guidance from the society’s female associates. By 1900, membership of the GFS exceeded 150,000 and support was provided by nearly 33,000 associates in 1,361 branches. As the following report in the Shrewsbury Chronicle of 26 October 1906 shows, the secretary of the branch covering Church Stretton was Miss (Marian?) Atcherley:

G.F.S.—At the Church Stretton Hotel, on Thursday afternoon, the 18th inst., Mrs. Wood-Acton, the presiding associate, and Miss Atcherley, branch secretary, held an “At Home” for parents and others interested in the work of the Girls’ Friendly Society. Miss Whitley, organising worker for the society, gave an address. She dealt first with the foundation of the society 31 years ago, for the purpose of befriending servants. Noting its spread over the world, she showed how the Queen’s interest and patronage had brought all classes of people in, till at the present time only one quarter of the members were domestic servants.

Amongst other useful work taken up by the society she mentioned the care of girls going out to the Colonies, clubs for shop assistants in towns; lodges in Paris and other Continental cities as homes and enquiry offices for girls answering Continental advertisements, homes of rest, &c. In conclusion she asked for the interest and support of those assembled in raising during the next three years £20,000 for an emergency fund.—Tea was afterwards served.

Preb. Fletcher expressed the thanks of all present to Mrs. Wood-Acton, Miss Atcherley, and Miss Whitley.—There were about 50 present.—A tea for G.F.S. members and their friends was held in the National Schools the same evening, when Miss Whitley again delivered an address. Her subject was the work of the society and the duty of its members.—A hearty vote of thanks was accorded the speaker at the instance of Mrs. Tudor Owen, seconded by Miss Atcherley.—It was proposed that a G.F.S. Committee be formed to brighten up the interest of the members and secure recruits.

Girls and young women striking out on their own were not the only vulnerable people who were the subject of the Atcherley family’s interest and benevolence. A good proportion of the newspaper reports I have found mentioning the Atcherleys of All Stretton relate to their support for the inmates of the local workhouse (which can be seen on the map extract here, on the between Church Stretton and All Stretton). Gifts sent by members of the family included illustrated papers (by Roger in March 1906, and by Miss Atcherley in January 1907); “Flowers, fruit, and vegetables […] from the All Stretton harvest festival, per Mr. Atcherley” (in September 1906 – the Misses Atcherley were among the “willing helpers” who assisted with the “very effective” decorations at All Stretton St Michael); “Miss Atcherley fruit and vegetables, Mrs. Atcherley tobacco for the men” (in October 1907); flowers (from Miss Atcherley in August 1908); and “flowers and fruit from All Stretton Harvest festival” (again from Miss Atcherley, in October 1909).

In addition to sending gifts for the guests of the workhouse, it appears that in 1907 Miss Atcherley also took on a more active role in watching out for their welfare. Relaying details of a meeting of the Church Stretton Board of Guardians, which took place on 31 January that year, the Shrewsbury Chronicle reported that: “A letter was read from Miss Massey stating that Mrs. J. Hill had resigned her membership of the Ladies’ Visiting Committee, and they recommended that Miss Atcherley take her place.—The recommendation was approved.”

Assuming that Miss Atcherley herself was in agreement with this, she would have joined a group of middle class ladies who visited the workhouse to assess the conditions there and report to the Board of Guardians any matters which they thought needed attention; most likely the committee members would also have arranged for gifts to be provided and activities organised to brighten the lives of those unfortunate enough to be ensconced within the workhouse walls (particularly the children).

In March 1908, Roger Atcherley Esq. of All Stretton donated five guineas towards a cause a little further afield: the Nurses’ Home Building and Improvement Fund of the Salop Infirmary (which was making good progress towards its target of £14,000). Sadly, this was one of Roger’s last philanthropic acts. Nearly four years after the death of his daughter Ethel, Roger Atcherley passed away on 12 June 1909 at the age of 78, leaving effects valued at a staggering £38946 12s. 6d.

The Ludlow Advertiser (which referred to Roger as Robert) said that he “was well-known and liked by everybody”. The Wellington Journal (which noted that Roger’s death followed “an illness of a few days”) stated: “During the time the family have taken up their residence in the district they have endeared themselves to all by their kindness. Much sympathy is felt for Mrs. Atcherley and the members of the bereaved family.” Roger’s funeral took place at Church Stretton St Laurence on Tuesday 15 June, and was “largely attended”, “all classes of the community being present to pay their last tribute of respect”.

Roger’s widow and daughters remained at All Stretton Hall for a while after his death, and were enumerated there when the 1911 census was taken. By 1913 however, a directory covering Shropshire named Henry Meeson Morris as the occupant of The Hall (which can be seen on the map of All Stretton above). The movements of Mrs and the Misses Atcherley between 1911 and 1920 are a mystery to me, although I do know that in 1915 Mary Ann made a donation of five guineas towards the cost of the Manchester Royal Infirmary’s “New Central Branch for Accident Cases and Out-patients”.

Mary Ann Atcherley died at The Beeches, in the Derbyshire village of Hathersage, on 5 December 1920. She was 88. I think it likely that Mary had been living at that address with her daughters Marian, Kate and Olive, and that the three Misses Atcherley continued to reside there after her passing. Sheffield Area telephone directories dating from 1921 to 1925 show a Miss M Atcherley (Marian), telephone number Hathersage 31, at The Beeches.

Marian was most likely also the Miss Atcherley who placed notices in the Domestic Servants Wanted columns of the Sheffield Daily Telegraph in October 1920 and March 1922 – and, I suspect, this Miss Atcherley named as one of the stallholders at a jumble sale in aid of the Hathersage Unionist League in 1922. Was she also the Miss Atcherley included in a list of members of the Ladies’ Visiting Committee of the Bakewell Guardians in 1924? I think she was, in which case it would seem that she reprised the role she undertook at Church Stretton back in 1907.

The Atcherley sisters (two of them at least) had moved to Templewood, Aldenham Avenue in Radlett, Hertfordshire by 1927, which is where Olive died on 2 November 1938 at the age of 65. Marian and Kate were recorded there, living on private means, on the 1939 National Identity Register, along with Ethel Bain, a domestic worker. After Marian’s death on 11 March 1943, it appears that Kate moved in with her niece Kathleen at Lowther Newtown in Westmorland. She was of that address when she died, aged 81, at a Carlisle nursing home, on 13 January 1949. The Penrith Observer described her as a “member of an old Shropshire family,” and “the last surviving daughter of the late Mr Roger Atcherley, of All Stretton”.


Footnote: The Girls Friendly Society, of which Miss Atcherley was a branch secretary in 1906, survives to this day. Although now much reduced in size and scope, the society has moved with the times and currently works to “support girls and young women through the difficult transition from childhood and adolescence to young adulthood by providing opportunities for enjoyment and developing confidence, self-esteem, emotional wellbeing and resilience to enable them to fulfil their potential and live as independent women.”


Picture credits. All Stretton from Nover’s Hill: Photo by Wikimedia Commons contributor Dpaajones; taken from Wikimedia Commons and modified, used, and made available for re-use under a Creative Commons licence. View of Church Stretton: Adapted from an image on page 146 of An illustrated and descriptive guide to the great railways of England and their connections with the Continent, published 1885; taken from the Internet Archive Book Images Flickr photostream – no known copyright restrictions. Map of All Stretton and Map of Church Stretton Union Workhouse: Extracts from Ordnance Survey six-inch map LVI.NW published 1903, Crown Copyright expired; reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under a Creative Commons licence.


References

[1] Wellington Journal (Shropshire), 11 Feb 1905, page 4. “Situations Vacant.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[2] Wellington Journal (Shropshire), 20 Feb 1909, page 4. “Situations Vacant.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[3] Wellington Journal (Shropshire), 1 May 1909, page 4. “Situations Vacant.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[4] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 31 Oct 1905, page 9. “Art and Artists.” Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[5] Shrewsbury Chronicle, 11 Aug 1905, page 7. “The Bishop of Hereford at Church Stretton.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[6] Ludlow Advertiser, 10 Nov 1906, page 5. “Sale of Work.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[7] Ludlow Advertiser, 4 Aug 1906, page 8. “Accompanied by the scholars from the All Stretton and Little Stretton Schools, the children attending the Parish Church Sunday School were on Thursday given their annual treat. […]” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[8] Wellington Journal, 4 Aug 1906, page 10. “Fair and Cycle Gymkhana.” Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[9] A P Baggs, G C Baugh, D C Cox, Jessie McFall and P A Stamper (1998), Church Stretton. In: A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 10, Munslow Hundred (Part), the Liberty and Borough of Wenlock, ed. G C Baugh, pp. 72-120. Electronic version viewed at British History Online.
[10] Ludlow Advertiser, 24 Aug 1907, page 5. “Church Stretton. Cake Fair.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[11] Ludlow Advertiser, 15 Jun 1907, page 5. “All Stretton. […] Cake and Apron Sale.” Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[12] Mary Elizabeth Townsend (undated), The Girls’ Friendly Society. Copy viewed at Google Books.
[13] Our History. At: The Girls Friendly Society website, accessed 19 May 2019.
[14] Shrewsbury Chronicle, 26 Oct 1906, page 5. “Church Stretton. G.F.S.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[15] Wellington Journal, 31 Mar 1906, page 12. “Church Stretton Guardians.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[16] Ludlow Advertiser, 26 Jan 1907, page 5. “The House.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[17] Wellington Journal, 29 Sep 1906, page 11. “Church Stretton. … Board of Guardians.” Copy viewed at Findmypast (search term Atcherlcy or Afcherley).
[18] Shrewsbury Chronicle, 28 Sep 1906, page 7. “Harvest Festivals.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[19] Shrewsbury Chronicle, 1 Nov 1907, page 8. “Church Stretton. … Board of Guardians.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[20] Wellington Journal, 15 Aug 1908, page 11. “Church Stretton. … Board of Guardians.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[21] Ludlow Advertiser, 30 Oct 1909, page 5. “Board of Guardians.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive (search term atcher).
[22] Shrewsbury Chronicle, 1 Feb 1907, page 8. “Church Stretton. … Board of Guardians.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[23] Lesley Hulonce (2014), Women of the Workhouse, Part 2: Ladies to the Rescue? At: Workhouse Tales (blog, accessed 19 May 2019).
[24] Shrewsbury Chronicle, 13 Mar 1908, page 5. “Salop Infirmary.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[25] Death of Roger Atcherley registered at Church Stretton, June quarter 1909; volume 6a, page362 ; age given as 78.
[26] Shropshire Family History Society (date unknown), Church Stretton – St. Laurence – Monumental Inscriptions – Burial Ground 1701-1982. Copy viewed at Shropshire Archives.
[27] Wilkinson, Henry Broadhurst (1910), Old Hanging Ditch: Its Trades, Its Traders and Its Renaissance. Page 95. Snippet viewed at Google Books.
[28] National Probate Calendar (1909) shows: ATCHERLEY Roger of All Stretton Hall Church Stretton Shropshire died 12 June 1909 Probate London 19 July to Marian Atcherley and Kate Mary Atcherley spinsters. Effects £38946 12s. 6d. Copy viewed at Ancestry.
[29] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 3 Aug 1909, page 10. “Latest Wills.” Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[30] London Gazette, issue 28280, 17 Aug 1909, page 6312.
[31] Wellington Journal, 19 Jun 1909, page 11. “Church Stretton. Death of Mr. R. Atcherley.” Copy viewed at Findmypast (search term Atcherlry or Atchcrley).
[32] Ludlow Advertiser, 19 Jun 1909, page 5. “Church Stretton […] The Late Mr. R. Atcherley.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive (manual search conducted; text corrected).
[33] 1911 census of England and Wales. Piece 15927, Schedule 50. All Stretton Hall, Church Stretton, Shropshire. Head: Mary Ann Atcherley, 78, widow [crossed out: married 52 years, 8 children, 6 living), born Birmingham, Warwickshire. Daughter: Marian Atcherley, 50, single, born Salford, Lancashire. Daughter: Kate Mary Atcherley, 43, single, born Eccles, Lancashire. Daughter: Olive Maude Atcherley, 37, single, born Eccles, Lancashire. Plus a cook and a housemaid.
[34] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 21 Nov 1913, page 1. Manchester Royal Infirmary. Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[35] Death of Mary A Atcherley registered at Bakewell, December quarter 1920; volume 7b, page 806; age given as 88.
[36] The Guardian, 8 Dec 1920, page 16. “Deaths.” Copy viewed at Newspapers.com.
[37] National Probate Calendar (1921) shows: ATCHERLEY Mary Ann of The Beeches Hathersage Derbyshire widow died 5 December 1920 Probate London 9 February to Marian Atcherley and Kate Mary Atcherley spinsters. Effects £5111 3s. 7d. Copy viewed at Ancestry.
[38] Sheffield Area telephone directories dating from 1921 – 1925 show: Miss M Atcherley, address The Beeches, telephone number Hathersage 31. Source: Ancestry – British Phone Books, 1880-1984.
[39] Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 15 Oct 1920, page 1. “Domestic Servants Wanted.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive. Note: Advert also printed 16 Oct 1920, page 2.
[40] Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 11 Mar 1922, page 2. “Domestic Servants Wanted.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[41] Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 12 May 1922, page 5. “Organised by the Hathersage Unionist League […]”. Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[42] Derbyshire Times, 3 May 1924, page 11. “No Change.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
[43] Watford Group and then London Telephone Exchange telephone directories dating from 1927 – 1946 show: Miss Marian Atcherley (1927 – 1928) / Miss M Atcherley (1929 – 1946), address Templewood Aldenham av (1927 – 1938) / 35 Aldenham av (1939 – 1946), telephone number Radlett 355 (1927 – 1938) / Radlett 6355 (1939 – 1946). Copies viewed at Ancestry – British Phone Books, 1880-1984.
[44] Register of Electors, 1927, Watford Parliamentary Division of the County of Hertford, Polling District of Radlett, Parish of Aldenham. Copy viewed at Findmypast – England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1920-1932.
[45] Register of Electors, 1928, Watford Parliamentary Division of the County of Hertford, Polling District of Radlett, Parish of Aldenham. Copy viewed at Findmypast – England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1920-1932.
[46] Register of Electors, 1929, Watford Parliamentary Division of the County of Hertford, Polling District of Radlett, Parish of Aldenham. Copy viewed at Findmypast – England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1920-1932.
[47] Register of Electors, 1930, Watford Parliamentary Division of the County of Hertford, Polling District of Radlett, Parish of Aldenham. Copy viewed at Findmypast – England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1920-1932.
[48] Death of Olive M Atcherley registered at Watford, December quarter 1938; volume 3a, page 1133; age given as 65.
[49] National Probate Calendar (1938) shows: ATCHERLEY Olive Maude of Templewood 35 Aldernham-avenue Radlett Hertfordshire spinster died 2 November 1938 Probate Manchester 16 December to Marian Atcherley and Kate Mary Atcherley spinsters. Effects £7827 7s. 2d. Copy viewed at Ancestry.
[50] The National Archives, Kew, Series RG101: 1939 National Identity Register. Piece 1202H, Item 002, Lines 25 – 27.
[51] Death of Marian Atcherley registered at Watford, March quarter 1943; volume 3a, page 1509; age given as 82.
[52] National Probate Calendar (1943) shows: ATCHERLEY Marian of Templewood 35 Aldenham-avenue Radlett Hertfordshire spinster died 11 March 1943 Probate Manchester 16 April to Kate Mary Atcherley spinster. Effects £10216 11s. 1d. Copy viewed at Ancestry.
[53] Death of Kate M Atcherley registered at Carlisle, March quarter 1949; volume 1a, page 38; age given as 81.
[55] The Times, 15 Jan 1949, page 1. “Deaths.” Copy viewed at Times Digital Archive.
[56] Penrith Observer, 18 Jan 1949, page 3. “Miss Kate Atcherley”. Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.

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