Cote Bank Through The Ages
There has been a settlement at Cote Bank since the stone age, as stone arrow heads were found in the spring field during the war when that field was ploughed for the first time.
It is a very sheltered place with a marvellous natural spring water supply, which has never run dry in living memory, although during the drought of 1976 the overflow in the farmyard only dripped. Before the land enclosures the hill would have been heavily wooded right up to Cracken Edge.
There have only been 3 owners of Cote Bank – probably like us they thought it was the best place in the world to live!
The Old House at Cote Bank
The Bowdens built the original dwelling house in about 1560; the Kirks then came here in the middle 1600s, and for a time rented it out as a Moravian settlement/commune when old Mrs Kirk had no male heirs, and finally in 1805 William Broadhurst bought it for the equivalent modern sum of one million pounds!
At some stage in the 1760s the separate farm comprising Cote Bank Cottage and barn (now Cherry Tree Cottage) with a few fields above the farm yard had been amalgamated to make the Cote Bank we farm today.
William Broadhurst the 1st’s family had rented the Andrews Farm under South Head and he married Anne Gee from the Ashes Farm up on Kinder, so Cote Bank must have seemed very good land in comparison. He’d made his money by owning a cotton warehouse in Manchester during the cotton boom time and came back to his roots in this valley to farm.
The earliest record we have of any proper house here was from an old will of one of the Bowdens where Cote Bank is mentioned and that was in the 1400s - but it would have been a very humble primitive type of dwelling.
The Old House in its present form was built in the 1560s and the leaking wing was demolished in 1885 by Nic’s grandfather and great-grandfather. Nic’s grandfather as a young lad slept in the dormer bedroom with buckets round his bed to catch the drips from the leaking roof!
Our farmhouse was built up against the remaining wing – now the Old House – and grandmother Mary Braddock Broadhurst’s father sent his builders over to build our house after he had built a much larger and grander version on his own farm – the Haugh above Buxworth.
He was a real force to be reckoned with and there is a feeling that Joseph Broadhurst wasn’t considered quite good enough for a Braddock, as the Braddocks had a large farm and were rich and well educated. Joseph Broadhurst had to wait a long time before Mary married him and he went over to her fathers’ farm to help at haytime, probably to make a good impression?
They knew how to be green in those days as they re-used the original wings’ beams, stone and even the original cellar. Extra stone from our quarry was used as well.
The Old Houses’ remaining four rooms were left for storage i.e. junk – although the kitchen and bathroom, which was one big room, was used as a workshop and the occasional calf was housed in there as well.
There was no access to downstairs except through our pantry which is now part of our big sitting room.
Our Holy History!
The Old House, even when damp, sad and unlived in, had a good feel to it which might be put down to the strong Christian faith of its owners over the years.
Charles Wesley, the great Methodist hymn writer, hid in our cellar when the local C of Es hounded the Wesleyans for rocking the established church. He and brother John were frequent visitors to Chinley as Mr Bennett of Chinley End Farm was one of their staunch disciples. Chinley at that time consisted of only a few houses before the railway came through and made it the large village it is now.
In 1730 the Moravians rented the farm and the unmarried women kept school in what is now Cote Bank Cottage, while the married couples lived in the larger Old House and they farmed as an early commune. During this time the itinerant preacher James Clegg came often to Cote Bank and held services in the Old House sitting room where the half moon table would have been used for giving communion – it is called a credence table (for the Latin scholars from credo meaning I believe).
Cote Bank is mentioned in several of James Cleggs’ volumes documenting his ministry, during which he covered a huge area on horseback from Manchester through the Peak District.
The early Bowdens and Kirks were non-conformists whereas Grandfather Broadhurst belonged to the Church of England, which might have been another reason for his father-in-law Braddock, another non-Conformist, being uneasy about him marrying his daughter.
However,great-grandfather Braddocks’ nephew, William Braddock, left £500 to have a church built at Buxworth and his unmarried daughter, Martha, left a similar legacy for the vicarage to be built, so at some stage they all became C of Es!
His grandson was a churchwarden at St James’ Buxworth, just as his great-grandson Nic was for 17 years and we are all very involved with the Churches Together in Chinley and laugh about the ancestors hating and fearing each other.