Leigh's Farm (Hunts Tenements)

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William S Harrison            Hale Road

1901 census
Simon Heathcote            Head            32            Farmer                         Derby, Mellor

Ralph Leigh                      Head            77            Farmer                         Lancs, Lancaster
Mary Leigh                        Wife             76                                                   Lancs, Childwall
Mary Mason                     Serv              20             Serv Domestic          Lancs, Childwall
Ellen Parr                          Serv              17            Serv Domestic           Lancs, Childwall
John M Tye                       Serv               44            Ag Lab                         Ireland
Thomas Tye                     Serv               17            Ag Lab                         Ireland

1881 census
Dwelling:Farm House
Ralph LEIGH                     Head            67             Farmer 122 Acres            Cadishead, Lanc,
Mary LEIGH                       Wife             65             Farmers Wife                    Prescot, Lancashire,
Sarah ASHCROFT            Serv             19             General Servant                Liverpool, Lancashire,
Ellen SILCOCK                  Serv            16              General Servant                Childwall, Lancashire,
Martin CANNON            Serv             23              Farm Servant (Indoors)   Ireland
Patsy CANNON                Serv             19              Farm Servant (Indoors)   Ireland 
Michel BROWN                 Serv             22              Farm Servant (Indoors)   Ireland
Patsy CANNON                Serv             21             Farm Servant (Indoors)   Ireland

Ralph LEIGH                         Head           57             Farmer 122 Acres                Hollingfare, Lanc,
Mary LEIGH                           Wife              55                                                                Rainhill, Lancashire,
Elizabeth THOMPSON       Serv               18             Farm Servant (Indoors)       Liverpool, Lancashire,
Elizabeth HICKSON             Serv              15             General Servant                    Hale, Lancashire,
Thomas PARR                        Serv              23             Farm Servant                         Hale, Lancashire
William ROBINSON            Serv              15              Farm Servant                         Hale, Lancashire
Thomas HYLAND                Serv              22             Ag Lab                                     Ireland

Ralph Leigh named in Miss Watt’s birthday book 1878

Extract from letter 3/1/1867 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s farm

            I send Mr. Shelmerdine’s further report, the outbuildings would certainly serve for a layer holding but it is probable that in a short time the land (he has no buildings of the least consequence) held by James Ashcroft will become vacant and would have to be apportioned between Leigh’s and one of the adjoining farms.

Extract from letter from 29/3/1867 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s farm

            Mr. Shelmerdine will be ready immediately with the estimates; there has been an alteration requisite in consequence of bricks being obliged to be substituted for stone, the quarry at Speke being so difficult of access that the latter cannot be procured without great additional expense.

Extract from letter from 7/8/1867 from Geo Whitley

            I have deferred writing to you as I wished first to be able to report from personal inspection how the works at Speke were proceeding. I have been over there and find that both at Leigh’s & Richard Atherton’s farms the Contractors are going on very well. At the former the large block of buildings is covered in and the other portions progressing satisfactorily. At the latter the window frames in the front have been found in a state of decay and must be renewed. You will recollect that Atherton wished the windows in the lower front rooms to be lengthened and he now urges that certain repairs, which will cost about £5 being necessary, we may be induced to lay out a further sum of £5 which would accomplish what he desires. The improvement as far as appearance goes would no doubt be great.

Extract from letter from 27/8/1867 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s farm

            Mr. Laurie says he thinks he shall finish in a fortnight or three weeks.

Extract from letter from 30/10/1867 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s farm

            Both Mr. Shelmerdine & Mr. Laurie think the proposed alterations had better not be carried out but rather a new erection raised as shewn in the enclosed tracing & coloured red, which will be a much greater improvement and as the new privy has been completed it will have to be taken down again and the difference in the new arrangement will not incur a greater outlay than £15 between the two plans, will you give me your opinion?

Extract from letter 6/1/1868 from Geo Whitley

Byron’s, Atherton’s & Leigh’s farms

            In another fortnight all these works will be completed and measured up and we shall not have any further improvements on hand for the present.

Extract from letter 10/3/1868 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s farm

            The original contract was completed when I was informed that there was still a little paving wanting and also a wall across a portion of the yard which were essential and would not cost above £15. Under the impression therefore that you were from home I ordered them to be done with as little delay as possible. The weather has certainly retarded the work but I am now promised that on Monday or Tuesday next all the accounts shall be settled and I shall then be enabled to write to you more fully.

Extract from letter 25/9/1868 from Geo Whitley

The Lancashire Election

            I spent last Monday at Speke and saw all the tenants who have votes and they were all desirous and prepared to support the Conservative candidate with the exception of Mr. Byron, Mr. Leigh & Mr. Holme, the two former did not make any promise but I have no hope they will vote for us, the latter acted very properly for being a Catholic he had been hard pressed on the other side & could not have been expected to fight against them, he however said he would not vote at all which is a point gained. His house is still very damp even in the bedrooms but they are progressing with the drain which it is hoped will cure the defect.

Extract from letter 16/6/1870 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s farm

Mr. Leigh a short time since explained to me that he required for the improvements which he has made in the back lane and they are great ones as they led down to his house, and he has filled up a very large ditch, tiles and rails and I enclose his application to Meredith, the tiles he wants are 4 inch & the price is 6/- per hundred

                  I have arranged with Meredith that for the future all orders to be given by him shall in the first instance be submitted to me and then I can consult you on the priority of them

Extract from letter 20/6/1870

Leigh’s improvements

for such they really are. I do not know by whom they were sanctioned but will enquire and report

Extract from letter 27/8/1870 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s farm

            Mr. Leigh called on me this morning to ask for the draining tiles for the portions of the land exchanged between him and Mr. Boyes, they are no doubt essential and the time of year for the work, the harvest being entirely concluded, and the ground cleared, could not be better chosen, the tenants here are never called upon to pay for the tiles but only to cart them and do the work. No. of 4½ inch tiles required 1300. Must I order them?

Extract from letter 26/9/1870 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s farm – alteration of fences

with Boyes and Langshaw’s

            I have seen Meredith this morning who is going over to Belfast for a few days having been appointed one of the judges in a Horticultural Exhibition who says he cannot possibly find a supply of stoops and rails for though he might pick up a few in the woods he could not venture there as it would effectually disturb the game. An opportunity now occurs for the purchase of any quantity of the required material as the Cheshire lines committee have commenced pulling down some very extensive buildings near this office for the formation of the terminus & station of their new line from Liverpool to Manchester and the rafters are well adapted for rails and are selling cheap in consequence of a quick removal being necessary the price is 1½d p.yard, the time for the work is also propitious the harvest being over and the tenants more disengaged.

The quantity wanted would be for

                        Leigh’s farm -----------1860 yards
                 Boyes. --------------------480
  2340  say 2500
               Posts ……..………………...…400
tiles – say. ………………..…2000
             Thorns (x) – say ……………5250

(x) These you know may be obtained in Scotland at a much lower rate than here and I was this morning informed by a Gent who has a large farm in this County that he has purchased them in Dumfriesshire at half the price he could do here & has promised to let me have the name of the Nurseryman from whom he obtained them I fear you will think the job a costly one but I do not know how it is to be avoided.

Extract from letter 12/11/1870 from Geo Whitley

Rails for the new fences between Langshaw’s,

Boyes & Leigh’s farms

            These posts and rails were some time since purchased and paid for, and have been carted by the Tenants to Langshaw’s yard where they now lie and only wait the decision of the parties themselves as to the expense of putting them up about which they have been so stupid as to not agree.

Extract from letter 23/11/1870 from Geo Whitley

Rails and Posts

            I was mistaken in saying that the bill (£18.3.11.) for those ordered in Liverpool for Leigh’s Langshaw’s & Boyes farms had been paid which was not the case. I enclose it with a calculation of the charges in order that you may compare them with those for the timber you ordered from J & W Helme of Dalbeatie which duly arrived and are in store for any occasion which may be wanted, the following is a copy of Helme’s bill

                        250 larch posts @ 7d            7. 5. 10.
                250 Oak   do     @ 6¾          7. 0. 7½
                                                 £14. 6. 5½

To this should be added charge for carriage to Liverpool

Extract from letter 3/6/1871 from Geo Whitley

Mr. Ralph Leigh’s house

is still so damp as to be scarcely habitable & wants repairs. The house is not cellared & I fancy if Ventilators were put under the rooms the dry rot would disappear.

Extract from letter 6/9/1871 from Geo Whitley

Posts for Leigh’s farm

            Your directions have been attended to.

Extract from letter from 21/9/1871 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s farm posts and rails

            Meredith told me a few days since that he had notice of the arrival of the former and he would attend to your orders.

Extract from letter from 15/2/1872 from Geo Whitley


Meredith gave me the

following report –

            4700 Thorns (poor and weakly) in stock
      472 Posts
        No rails.
       Jos. Boyes wants 400 yards of fencing.
       Richd. Atherton wants 800 (5 inch) draining tiles and 1000 thorns.
        R. Leigh wants 9710 Thorns for the back lane &c by his house.
        None used since Mr. Sprot was over here No lack of wants

Extract from letter from 18/1/1873 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s farm

            I went on Thursday with Mr. Ralph Leigh to see the state of a large watercourse from the Dam Wood (a public one) through a corner of one of his fields, late part of Ashcroft’s for about 100 yards, then crossing the public road and running through Boyes’s farm to the shore. Owing to the great pressure of water it has burst in several places and must be repaired as well as the mouth of it, the remainder is an open cutting and would be greatly improved by putting in large earthenware pipes but as it is a great distance to the shore and the expense would be large I think on the watercourse being well scoured out it might be kept so & left open.

Extract from letter from 1/4/1873 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s farm

            Part of the well, which is an open one, has fallen in and I have desired Ball to give me a report upon it.


 Liverpool, 5, Clayton Square,

                                                                                  8th June 1874

To the representatives of the late Richd. Watt Esqre.


            I have surveyed the farm house at Speke called Hunts Tenement, in the occupation of Mr. Ralph Leigh & beg to report as follows.

            The site of this house is very flat, the subsoil consisting of dark sand and shelly rock the nature of which is to hold water some what like a sponge, & no precaution having been taken to prevent it the damp arises in the walls causing any timbers that are in contact with them to become rotten.
     I likewise find the earth under the drawing room floor is only 6 or 8 inches from the boards, the consequence of the above is that part of the flooring & timbers of lobby & drawing room are decayed & likewise part of the skirting boards of same.
     Although not absolutely necessary it would be a great improvement if the floor of the drawing room was taken up & relaid, the earth being taken out to a depth of 18 ins or 2 feet to afford proper ventilation underneath.
       I would likewise suggest that as new skirting will have to be fixed in lobby & part of drawing room the same might be formed in cement run solid to the walls. I recommend that a 9 in area be formed round the front and two ends of house down to the footings of the walls, along the bottom of which an agricultural drain pipe may be laid & connected with the sewers to keep the area dry, the area to be covered with flags with proper gratings for air.
     The timbers of bedroom floor over drawing room are perfectly sound the vibration or shaking state of the floor being a fault of the original construction but the boarding of this floor is decidedly bad being composed of 3 or 4 different kinds of timber and is very uneven, this floor ought to be reboarded the joins to being thicknessed out on the upper side as required to make the floor level throughout. Some of the floors in attics require patching as they are worm eaten and decayed in places.
     One or two of the wooden window cills at back are partially decayed through not being kept properly pointed and some of the wood spouting to house is rotten and leaky, there is likewise a leak in the roof and a few loose & broken slates.
     The wooden paling adjoining wicket gate is rotten and wants replacing.
The front door of house looks very bad it being one mass of old paint & blisters it requires burning off scraping and repainting.
        My attention was called by the tenant to the iron spouting of the new outbuildings which are corroding and require to be repainted, likewise to oak bottom rail of division between stable and loose box which is rotted away in consequence of it being laid on the floor and always wet.

                                                            I am Gentlemen
                                                        Yours most respectfully
                                                                 Wm. Joynson
                                                                       Archt. & Surveyor

Extract from letter from 23/6/1874 from Geo Whitley

Hunt’s tenement is Mr. R. Leigh’s house

            I went down to see this and it is really in a wretched condition, the dry rot is quite prevalent, the skirting boards are falling to pieces and the feet of several of the articles of furniture are also affected. Mr. Joynson is making out an estimate of the cost of the repairs.

                                                                        Garston, July 2nd 1874

To Mr. Joynson,


                                    My estimate for the repairs, painting &c to Mr. Leigh’s house and outbuildings (Speke Estate) according to specification &c furnished by you is One hundred & ten pounds.

£110.0.0.                                             Yours obediently

                                                                        John Lunt

P.S.      The attic occupied as a sleeping room the floor of which you specify repaired where rotten &c I find on close examination that it is worm eaten all over I have therefore included in this estimate to lay this floor & attic landing with new spruce boards stoved jointed &c. should the laying of this floor & chamber floor over the drawing room damage the ceilings underneath the cost of two new ceilings would be five pounds in addition to this estimate

£5.0.0.                                                 J Lunt. 

Extract from letter from 3/10/1874 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s house

            Is found to be in a worse condition than anticipated and we shall be obliged to have a fresh estimate, there is positively no foundation and it is feared ventilation, so highly necessary, underneath the lower rooms, cannot be obtained

Extract from letter from 10/10/1874 from Geo Whitley

Leigh’s house

            Mr. Joynson states that his instructions were to proceed with these alterations at once & therefore previous to the receipt of your letter the works had commenced and cannot now be stopped, he has arranged with the contractor to underpin the walls in lieu of continuing the outside area along the kitchen and pantry so that the cost will remain the same.

            I saw Mr. Lunt this morning and he says Mr. Woodyer (Boyes farm ) has fallen several Oak Trees for repairs in the stable but they will not serve the purpose as they are too small and in fact nothing but the heart could be used and this would be undesirable as it would be unseasoned.