The Big Houses Of The Heatons: Priestnall Hey – Part Six Cephas John Howard

We last met the Howard family when Captain John Howard and his sister Anne lived at Heaton Villa in the 1830s. It appears that the Howards retained ownership of Heaton Villa.

Andrew Howard, Captain John’s father had four children. Anne and John we have already met. William was a member of the family cotton spinning firm, but he left the partnership on the end of 1833. By the end of the 1830s the sole remaining partner was Cephas Edward Howard , who was born in 1791 in Brinnington.

In 1829 he married Mary Carrington at St Mary in Stockport. They went to live in Heaton Norris and had three children together, Edward Carrington Howard (1830-1886), Mary Elizabeth Howard (1832-1894) and Cephas John Howard (1834-1914). Mary Carrington died some time after the birth of Cephas, and on 19 May 1837 he married once more to Mary Kidd at Manchester Cathedral, however the Carringtons were still closely linked with the Howards as we shall see.

Cephas is by now a successful man.  In 1841 he is living at Brinnington Lodge  along with Mary, his son Cephas John, and his sister in law Lucy Carrington (1810-1884) , who has the perhaps ignominous title of Housekeeper. By 1851 his father has died and he inherits Brinnington Hall.

Brinnington Hall, Lodge and House on the 1848 OS Map, and Brinnington Hall c 1891 Copyright Julia Ann Bott

Portwood Cut on the map was a millrace developed by the previous owner of Brinnington Hall in the 1780s. It was built around 1796 by James Harrison a cotton merchant when he acquired Reddish House to provide waterpower to drive his three factories in Portwood. Traces can still be seen of it in Reddish Vale Country Park, as either a shallow depression or an overgrown silted channel.

In 1841 Cephas Edward Howard became mayor of Stockport, he was disqualified the following year for not accepting his nomination in time, due to illness, but in 1844 he served again.

In November 1844 there was a major mill strike in Stockport, with the workers asking for increases of 10-20%. There had been great increases in productivity resulting in unemployment, but the expansion of markets had meant that Stockport had relatively full employment. Cephas and the other millowners refused the demands, and at a meeting at the Warren Bulkley, they countered with an offer of 5% which the workers ended up accepting in early December.

He suffered a burglary of a gold watch, telescope, a great coat  his spectacles and shoes on 16 October 1851, one Patrick Harrison and Denis Meehan were charged with the theft, along with others who handled the stolen goods. At the Cheshire Assizes the following March, Harrison was transported for ten years (he had extensive form) and Meehan and others were sentenced to three months hard labour.

Cephas Edward Howard died on 31 October 1865 at Brinnington Hall, and is buried at Hanover Congregational Church.

Of his three children, Edward Carrington Howard was the eldest and inherited Brinnington Hall. He also entered his father’s business as a Cotton Merchant, marrying Margaret Gill, the daughter of a wealthy Liverpool merchant in 1863. He had one child with her, Captain John Cephas Howard. Margaret Howard died in 1870 and he married once more to Caroline Waterhouse. They set up home at Beaconsfield at 269 Bramhall Lane in Davenport. This was one of the first houses to be built in Davenport as the settlement around the railway developed. It stood where the Church of The Latter Day Saints stands now.



On retirement they moved to the Birches in Poynton, Edward died in 1886 and Caroline in 1902.


Edward Carrington Howard – Stockport Leisure Services

Captain John Cephas Howard, Edward’s son, was born in 1868 at Brinnington Hall, he joined the 4th Militia Batallion of the Cheshire Regiment and rose to the rank of Captain of the 20th and 22nd regiments. He married a Yorkshire girl,  Ethel Raine in Sheffield in 1895, and went to live in Minehead. He was obviously enamoured of his Stockport roots, as he named his house there Brinnington. He retired from the army in 1902 and died in Minehead on 21 April 1907. The house name lasted a while after that, and up to the 1950s it was operating as the Brinnington Private Hotel.

Cephas Edward Howard’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth was born in Brinnington in 1832 and she married Edward Bousefeld Dawson, a barrister, of Aldcliffe Hall in Lancaster. Aldcliffe Hall was originally owned by the Catholic Dalton Family, and the son of the original owner, Robert Dalton, also called Robert, had ten devout catholic daughters, causing the Hall to be dubbed the “Hall of the Catholic Virgins”. After the English Civil War in 1716 the land was confiscated because of its Popish allegiances and it was bought by Richard Leigh, the property eventually settling on his granddaughter, Elizabeth who married Edward Bousefield Dawson senior, Edward Bousefield Dawson’s father.

The younger Edward (1831-1916) made extensive modernisations to the property, installing electricity, and allowed the Glasson Dock Branch railway line to cross his land. Edward became Constable of Lancaster Castle in 1904.

Mary Howard died in 1894 in Attercliffe Hall, and Edward lived on there with his daughter, Mary Philadelphia, who inherited the Hall. Edward had two sons, both of whom predeceased him, Edward Cephas Howard Dawson and Alfred Cephas Howard Dawson, and one daughter Helen Margaret Dawson. The Hall was demolished in 1960, after serving as a hostel for displaced foreign workers in 1950.

Clearly the name Cephas was important in the Howard family, as Cephas Edward Howard’s youngest child was named Cephas John Howard, and he is the one who resided at Priestnall Hey.

He was born at Brinnington Lodge in 1834, and by 1861 was a Cotton Manufacturer living at Brinnington Hall. In 1874 he took advantage of the new joint stock laws and raised £120,000 (£13.5m in 2019) to form Cephas Howard & Co, a business carried on by him and his brother Edward Carrington Howard.

Around 1875, when his brother Edward married for the second time, he moved to Priestnall Hey. and he was living there in 1877 when he sat on the Jury of the Chester Assizes. In 1878 he became a Captain in the 2nd Cheshire Militia and by 1884 he had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Commanding Officer. He resigned his commission March 1888 and lived on at Priestnall Hey until 1895 when he put the house and contents up for sale, he was clearly downsizing


Manchester Courier & Lancashire General Advertiser 23 February 1895

And a month later the house itself was put up for sale, at that time it covered 76 acres, including cottages, and the house was offered as is, or as a potential residential development. In best estate agent style, its proximity to the Midland Railway at Heaton Mersey was highlighted.


Manchester Courier & Lancashire General Advertiser 9 March 1895

After selling up, Cephas John Howard, ended the family connections to Priestnall Hey, which had lasted since his Uncle, Captain John Howard bought the property from the Jepsons / Robinsons in the about eighty years earlier. In 1896 he moved to Devonshire Lodge in Buxton, where he remained until his death in September 1914, and was buried at Hanover Congregational Church in Stockport. Like his uncle before him, he joined the militia, but never married nor had any children.

He left £5,554 11s 9d in his will (approximately £636,000 in 2019) granting probate to Edward Carrington and Robert Edward Howard.

The house was called Priestnall Hey when Captain John Howard moved in, and Priestnall Hey when Cephas John Howard left. It was only Heaton Villa for a short time, perhaps to satisfy the nouveau riche leanings of the Howards, however, the fact that it reverted to Priestnall Hey shows a longer history for the house, and the power of names. The inhabitants of the Heatons knew of its older name, and obviously that name stayed in their minds.

Just before we finish, we will go and revisit the Carrington family. Mary Carrington, who was married to Cephas Edward Howard, and lived at Brinnington Hall had two siblings. We have already met Lucy, who was housekeeper to Cephas in Brinnington. There was also a son, William (1770-1835) who married Ellen Ratcliffe in 1803, and together they had four children. Thomas (1813-1873) Elizabeth (born  1819) and Ellen (born 1818) both of whom lived at Cale Green, and Samuel Ratcliffe Carrington (1811-1883).

Samuel Ratcliffe Carrington was a partner in the Hatworks of S&T Carrington. He lived on Cale Green and around 1848, he had Heathfield built there, in the same year that he married Christiana Thompson in Taunton, who was the daughter of a wealthy London stockbroker.


Heathfield – Copyright Lynn Oversby –

The house was described as a “house and pleasure garden” and he had a comfortable life there with his wife,  eight children and five servants. It still stands today.

He maintained his close links to the Howards as he was living at Priestnall Hey in November 1883 when he died on the 12th of that month, as did his sister, Lucy Carrington, who was the housekeeper at Brinnington Hall, she too died at Priestnall Hey on the 23 March 1884.

Of Samuel’s children, Walter Thomas Carrington married into the Battersby family, strenghthening the hatmaking ties. They also strived to keep the Howard ties, another son was named Cephas Howard Carrington (1865-1896) he had artistic leanings, styling himself as a “Superintendent, Decorative Arts Guild” but sadly died young, aged 31.

Finally there was James Yates Carrington (1857-1892). He became an artist in London, specialising in pictures of Teufel, his dog, but he also died young at the age of 35.


James Yates Carrington & Teufel

These became immensely popular with the Victorians, and diverted him from his true ambition of landscape painting, however, he did know a moneyspinner when he saw one.

One night as I was smoking my pipe I reflected as follows, addressing my remarks to Teufel: “Why should I waste my substance any longer in painting umbrageous landscapes, and bosky dells, and golden commons? The public don’t want them—that is very evident—and there are hundreds of fellows who are attending to the same departments of Nature. I will go in for dogs; and Teufel, my lad, thou shalt earn thy living

From Teufel the Terrier, 1891, by James Yates Carrington.

A note on those who may be wondering about the name Cephas, it derives from the Aramaic for Stone or Rock, and therefore is the same as Peter. It is still a name in use today, and for those old enough to remember them, there was a Romiley born Cephas Howard in The Temperance Seven in the 1960s, they had a hit with You’re Driving Me Crazy, he was also in a long line of Cephas Howards, but is no relation, he even styled himself “Captain Cephas Howard (Cashiered)” and of course more recently it has turned up in the character Seth Armstrong in Emmerdale.

Copyright 2019 Allan Russell

Author: allanprussell

Big houses in the Heatons and others that take my interest.

8 thoughts on “The Big Houses Of The Heatons: Priestnall Hey – Part Six Cephas John Howard”

  1. The Big Houses Of The Heatons: Priestnall Hey – Part Six Cephas John Howard
    The Big Houses Of The Heatons: Priestnall Hey – Part Six Cephas John Howard. You should have checked your facts Mr. Russell. Cephas Howard born in Romiley in 1934., son of Cephas Howard from Stockport Cheshire never played with the New Vaudelville Band. He was a founder member and played trumpet and euphonium, in the Temperance Seven Jazz Band, who had several hits in the 1960’s including two No. 1 records, Pasadena and You’re Driving Me Crazy. This Cephas was a student at the Royal College of Art and later Perseus a career as a designer for television. He was a very fine Artist and painted landscapes and portraits throughout his long life. He died at our home in France in September 2021 aged 86. We have a son Cephas Edgar Howard who is also an artist and Cephas had an older son, Cephas Alexander Howard . The name lives on!


  2. Thank you so much for the information on Brinnington Hall. I am a descendant of William Briggs and had no idea about his life until I started researching last week!!


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