The Big Houses Of The Heatons: Parrs House – Part Four: Thomas Gore

That Parrs House saw wealthy people pass through is without doubt, yet many of them remain obscure, and it is hard to pluck a great deal of information about why they were in the Heatons.

Thomas Gore is one such person. He died at Parrs House in 1829 and his will gained probate the following year, describing him as Thomas Gore, Gentleman, Heaton Norris and Rochdale. However, why he ended his days in Heaton Mersey is a mystery.

Thomas was born to Richard Gore (1721-1795) and Esther Grindsell (1721-1789). on 4 February 1759 at Toad Lane in Rochdale.

Those with connections to the Cooperative Movement will immediately recognise that name, it is the site of the first shop established by the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844. These were not working class men as legend has it, but skilled tradesmen who had been forced into poverty at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

Toad Lane leads north from the original bridge over the Roch on the boundary between Wardleworth and Spotland, near the long established market place. John Wesley visited Rochdale in 1749 to a not too rapturous welcome, nevertheless a Chapel was built on Toad Lane in 1770, which the pious of the town sold in 1793 to be used as a theatre.

Whereas once it appears to have been a prosperous middle class merchants residence, the street deteriorated over time, as can be seen from the 1936 picture. However, in the 18th century we can assume it was a wealthy part of town.

Richard Gore was born in Manchester and baptised at the Collegiate Church on 9 July 1721. He married Esther on 3 February 1745 at Market Drayton in Shropshire. her father Thomas was a merchant of the town and also appears to have owned a number of properties in Market Drayton.

Richard was a tin merchant, he also appears to have accumulated a number of properties on the way from bankrupts. By his death he owned houses and shops along the waterside in Rochdale, 1,581 square yards (1321m²) of building land in Anchor Meadow (in an early grab at the green belt this was in use as gardens), cottages and houses on Packer Street including the Higher Anchor Inn, two properties on Church Lane, Cleggs Meadow at Mill Stone, which covered 2½ acres. All these properties where sublet from the church, for an annual rent of £41-6s and yielded £154-0s-6d , giving him a yield of £112.73 pa (about £14,000 today). He also had other properties scattered around giving him a further net annual rental income of £20-5s.

These were just the properties that he had not sold on by the time of his death, the newspapers of the time show a regular trade in property undertaken by him over the years.

His standing in the community is further enhanced when he becomes an active trustee in the Rochdale Free English School and on 7 October 1783 advertises for a master. The school has clearly been set up for the local merchants as the skills required by the master include teaching English, Writing, Accounts and Bookkeeping, for a salary of £25 pa. Applications were not required from those who could not bring good testimonials of…. ability and moral character, and interviews were to be held at the Roebuck on 16 October 1783, with a start date of 1 January 1784.

In 1791 Richard is involved with the initial meetings at the Roebuck Inn for the construction of the Rochdale canal from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge.

Richard died in November 1795 at Toad Lane, and was buried on 8 November at St Chad in Rochdale, Esther predeceased him in February 1789. They had at least three children, Thomas, Elizabeth and Richard.

Richard Gore junior was born in 1752 in Rochdale and married Hannah Lord on 3 August 1774. He died on 28 January 1799, his son Richard emigrated to the USA where he married Violetta Seabury Nicholl in 1821 in Stratford, Connecticut, the daughter of General Matthias Nicholl, who was the great grandson of Matthias Nicholl, the first English Secretary of the Colony of New York in 1672.

Richard and Esther’s second child was Elizabeth, born in 1755 on Toad Lane. She married Charles Frederick Brandt, an Accountant, on 10 July 1777 at St Chad in Rochdale, after which they moved to a country seat in Withington, Manchester.

Charles, like all accountants was on the right side of history and was a vocal supporter of William Wilberforce during his long campaign for the abolition of the slave trade up to the passing of the Slave Trade Act of 1807. His death, age 59, was much mourned in the Manchester Mercury of 22 March 1814.

The awful hand of death has lately spread his devastations in a most lamentable degree amongst our fellow townsmen….Charles Frederick Brandt who expired on Sunday afternoon, about 4 o’clock. We most sincerely lament the loss of such a worthy character – as a husband and father his relatives will experience an irreparable loss. Many can bear ample testimony of his being a trusted friend and valuable advisor… his attachment and support to our country have been manifested upon every occasion; his patronage to all charitable institutions ever exerted with zeal and his tender heart have been witnessed upon various occasions. His commercial character was highly esteemed and admired both at home and abroad. The writer of this paragraph laments his inablity to do ample justice to the character he wishes to portray.

His grieving widow ended her days in Aldford, with her son, the Rector, the Reverend Francis Brandt, who had previously been Rector of Gawsworth near Macclesfield. Amongst Francis Brandt’s children were Francis Frederick Brandt who was called to the Bar in 1847, and worked the Chester Sessions alongside working for the Times and writing books, and John Brandt who was engineer on the construction of the Seacombe, Hoylake and Deeside Railway as well as resident engineer on the Wirral Railway. He also built the Kingsland Bridge across the Severn in Shrewsbury.

Kingsland Bridge Shrewsbury © Structurae

Finally we come to Thomas Gore, born on 4 February 1759 at Toad Lane. He married Nancy and they had a son, Thomas. In 1805 he describes himself as a gentleman, living at Toad Lane. Nancy died sometime later, and on 13 October 1805 he married Mary Kershaw. Between 1822 and 1828 he inherited his fathers duties as trustee of the Free English School and then for unknown reasons moves to Parr’s House. We do not know when this was. However on 18 November 1829 he died at Parr’s House, and was buried that month at St Chad, Rochdale, where his roots were.

It is a mystery why he moved to Heaton Norris, there is no evidence of his father owning property in the area, and his metals background may have seen him move there to set up and service the growing industrial sector in the area. Mary was a Rochdale girl and his son Thomas set up as a machine maker in Manchester at Shorrocks & Gore, after marrying Elizabeth Allen in 1834. Parr’s House was still owned by the Gooldens, and his death notice and will refer to him as a gentleman of Heaton Norris and Toad Lane, suggesting he had only recently moved there.

Next time we meet James Reddish, a corn dealer.

Copyright Allan Russell 2020

Author: allanprussell

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

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