The Big Houses Of The Heatons: West Bank – Part One: John Stanway Jackson

Of the houses we have looked at so far, West Bank, I knew. Well at least as a child my house stood on Lodge Court, and my bedroom window looked out on West Bank. Little remains of it now, only the wall which divided it from Heaton Lodge, and the entrance gates.

It’s also a request I received from a reader to cover the house. As we progress through the inhabitants we shall see what a close knit community Heaton Mersey was as we meet people who were related to the residents of Priestnall Hey and Heaton Lodge.

The Entrance to West Bank

The house was probably built in the 1830s it does not appear on the 1819 map of Manchester, and John Stanway Jackson is living there in 1841, but is still at Canal Street in Stockport in 1829. Its name probably derives from the fact that it was west of the forgotten hamlet of Bank, which was where Bank Hall was built (it is on the north bank of the Mersey).

Confusingly, there is not only a West Bank, but a West Bank House next door. This makes research a little difficult as the names seem to be used interchangeably on census returns. West Bank House appears around 1851, it is not there for the 1841 census, nor is it on the 1848 OS map.

With those caveats in place, let’s meet John Stanway Jackson. The Jackson family hailed from Middlewich in Cheshire. James Jackson (1730-1783) was married to Martha Pickmore. James was part owner of local salt mines, a publican who ran the Queens Head, a butcher and the owner of several properties. His son, John Jackson (1770-1840) married Mary Stanway in 1796 and they settled in Gatley, having eight children.

The eldest of those was John Stanway Jackson, born on 1 September 1797 in Lancashire. He married Rebecca Maurice in 1821, but she died shortly after that, and on 27 May 1824 he married Harriet Sing in Bridgenorth, and they went to live on Canal Street in Stockport.

The family appear on the 1841 census as living at West Bank.

John was an accountant by profession, and in that role by 1834 he was the registered officer of the Stockport Banking Company, and the General Manager of the Manchester and Liverpool District Banking company. In 1839 there is a whiff of scandal around his resignation from that bank after it suffered heavy losses. Whatever happened, the directors of the Manchester and Liverpool felt that the welfare of the bank might possibly be promoted by his retirement. He strenously denied any responsiblity for these losses in a letter to the Atlas on 7 December 1839.

It is somewhat fortunate for him then that whilst on a summer visit to the Isle of Man he bought a ticket in the lottery for the disposal of the Earl of Athol’s estate at Falcon Cliff near Conchan. If we are to be believed, he bought the ticket,numbered lot 1, placed it in his wallet, and thought no more about it until his father was reading the newspaper and remarked he wished he had bought the winning ticket. At which John remembered he had bought the ticket, and sent his father to Conchan to take possession of the property.

Somewhat incredibly, by coincidence or not, the second and third prizes were difficult to dispose of, until a number of wealthy gentlemen happened upon buying a bulk of tickets, making a 50% profit on their investment.

Whether John was extremely lucky (with lotteries) unlucky (with banking) comes again into play when in 1840, he is called to give evidence in the trial of John Kenyon Winterbottom (twice mayor of Stockport solicitor and banker) who presented a forged bill of Exchange to The Bank Of Stockport, managed by one John Stanway Jackson, to the value of £5,000 (2019 £500,000) and promptly absconded to France. He was appreheded and tried in 1844, where he was sentenced to transportation for life.

A scandal erupted over this sentence – Winterbottom had many pleas for clemency submitted on his behalf (including the one from the widow he swindled) but despite this he ended up in Tasmania, where diligent work and good conduct allowed him to obtain the rarity of a ticket to leave. He took employment in Hobart as a town clerk, but once more questions were raised about his conduct in 1867 when it transpired he had sold council debentures for £400 and retained the proceeds. Two further years in jail ensued.

It probably was a good time for John to start afresh somewhere, and as luck would have it he had just won an estate in the Isle of Man, and The City of Glasgow Banking Company were in the process of establishing the Bank of Mona, therefore he moved to the Isle and commissioned John Robinson, a local architect to design and build Falcon Cliff.

Consequently in July 1842 the Stockport Advertiser carries this sale notice

We will return to Auburn Street later. In 1842 John Stanway Jackson severed his last link with Stockport, by dissolving the business partnership he had with Samuel Stocks, Bleachers and Dyers of Heaton Mersey and moved to the Isle of Man. He departed for the Isle of Man to run the Bank Of Mona.

Falcon Cliff – Mona’s Isle Album of Views 1890

John and Harriet lived at Falcon Cliff until 1855 when they moved into the newly constructed Bank of Mona building on Prospect Hill nearby. By 1871 he is retired and is living on Windsor Terrace in Lezayre on the Isle of Man. John died on 13 October 1881 at his son’s house in Glasgow and was buried at Kirk Malew on the Isle of Man, Harriet had died a few years earlier on 29 December 1878.

Falcon Cliff passed into private hands, then became a hotel, and is now an office complex. John Stanway Jackson’s affairs were complex even in death, and it was not until 1895 that parts were sold, and up to 1899 there were claims in court to settle debts owed on legacies.

Returning to John Jackson and Mary Stanway, their second child was James Pickmore Jackson (1798-1852), who was a wool dealer and furrier on Auburn Street, Manchester, and became bankrupt in 1840, the same place John Stanway Jackson gave as a business address when selling West Bank.

Samuel Somerville Jackson was born in 1802 and married Mary Ann Girling in 1822 and emigrated to the Australian colonies where he became a farmer and innkeeper in Macclesfield, South Australia. He died there at his farm, Woodside in October 1854. For the curious, Macclesfield was named for the Earl of Macclesfield (whose estate was in Oxfordshire) by the Davenport brothers of London, so has few if any connections to the Macclesfield and Davenports we would expect.

Peter Jackson (1804-1848) was a furrier in business with his brother James, and died in Gloucestershire, like James he had moved there to carry on in the wool business after bankruptcy.

William (1805-1806) and Joseph Jackson (1807-1808) both died in infancy.

Mary Elizabeth Jackson (1800-1871) married Arthur Levett, a solicitor, and they moved to Kingston Upon Hull and Martha Evans Jackson (1812-1901) married John Wilton Shelly, a Russia Merchant, and went to live in Great Yarmouth, before moving to Plymouth, where they both died.

The children of John Stanway Jackson and Harriet Sing had varied futures. Stewart Levett Jackson (1838-1881) became a manager in the Bank Of Mona like his father, and died in Knutsford in 1881.

Louisa Sing Jackson (1825-1917) married James MacLehose, a Glasgow publisher. They begat a family of academics and book publishers, Sophia Harriet MacLehose wrote The Last Days Of The French Monarchy, and Tales from Spenser , chosen from the Faerie Queen. Louisa Sing MacLehose published an academic translation of Vasari, the painter and architect of Arezzo. Norman MacMillan MacLehose became a surgeon ,and James John Maclehose married Mary MacMillan, the daughter of Alexander MacMillan, and niece of Daniel Macmillan, the founders of MacMillan publishing, and the first cousin, once removed of Harold MacMillan (1894-1986), Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963 and Earl of Stockton.

Harriett Millington Jackson (1826-1871) married an artist Jasper John Capper, who had exhibited at the Royal Academy summer exhibition, although his marriage may have shaken him to his responsibilities as he takes a job as an engineer shortly after that. Their first son, John Brainerd Capper became assistant editor for The Times as well as an author – 25 Trifles in Verse and Stories of Naples and the Comorra, (Professor) Stuart Henbest Capper became Professor of Architecture at McGill University and subsequently Manchester University and (Professor) David Sing Capper, Professor of Engineering at King’s College, London.

Charles Edwin Jackson (born 1829) married Phebe Baker, and became a farmer, and possibly around 1861 he sold up and retired to Canada, where he died in 1906 in British Columbia.

Frederick Stanway Jackson (1832-1886) was born in Chesham Buckinghamshire (quite why Harriet was there I have not discovered). He followed in his father’s footsteps and became a banker, but also like John Stanway Jackson an accountant, and practiced as a public accountant, auditor and insurance agent, as well as owning some ships. He married Mary Bradley in Edinburgh in 1855 and they settled on Marian Terrace in Conchan (now Onchan).

Frederick died of typhoid on 25 November 1886, whilst in England recovering from another ailment in England. If scandal had overshadowed his father’s life, Frederick appears to have made amends for it. The obituary published for him is over effusive in its praise, calling him the most estimable and upright of our citizens and a sterling man, his word was as good as his bond. They conjured Solomon and Wordsworth to highlight his qualities, concluding that whilst we all must at one point die, few such removals have come home with such unavailing regret as that of the deceased. The one hope for humanity they could pinpoint was that his son had stepped in to carry on the family business (Isle of Man Times 4 December 1886).

Sophia Hopkins Jackson, born 1835, died aged 9 in 1845, and John Hall Jackson (1839-1917) married Maria Macnamara and emigrated to the USA and settled in California.

Next time at West Bank we will meet the man who commissioned Abney Hall in Cheadle.

Copyright Allan Russell 2019.

Author: allanprussell

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

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