The Cheshire Carswells



Allan Carswell who was born in 1814 at Lonefoot farm in Neilston Parish, Renfrewshire, Scotland was the eldest of the 10 children of Allan Carswell & Jean Stevenson. As a 20 year old, Allan was the tenant at Thorterburn farm. In 1837 he is recorded in the old Neilston Parish birth registers as having an illegitimate child named William Carswell with Elizabeth Sproul of a neighbouring farm Jaapston.It is not known what became of Elizabeth as William was brought up by his uncles & aunts. William grew up to be a scaleboard cutter in Govan , married & had 4 children, two of whom (Jeanie & Jessie) emigrated the USA.

In 1839 Allan married Jean Gemmell of Commore farm. The Gemmells are a very old Neilston farming family. Their first four children Allan, John, Margaret & Janet were born at Thorterburn farm.

Thorterburn Farm

It is not been recorded why the family moved to Cheshire in 1845 but I there is little doubt that it was for economic reasons. Good quality farming land had become available to rent in Cheshire & it is possible that farming land in Neilston Parish had become expensive to rent because of the demand from large farming families placing their children onto farms. It is known that farm labourers wages had risen because of the demand for labour at the Neilston cotton mills & bleaching fields.


Allan Carswell (b1814) Cheshire .  

Allan Carswell & his family arrived in Prestbury Cheshire in 1845. The 1851 census shows them at Park House Farm which was owned by CDB Leigh of Adlington Hall. The farm was of 171 acres, employed 7 labourers & was located at Park House Lane just outside of the pleasant village of Prestbury.

Park House Farm, Prestbury


Allan & Jean had a further 6 children at Park House. The 1861 & 1871 census show Allan & the family farming here although he had also the role of Estate Agent to CRB Legh of Adlington Hall from the year 1868/9 until his untimely death in 1879. After 1871 Allan & some of the family lived at Redbrook, another farm of the Adlington estate as his eldest son Allan (b.1840) had taken over the tenancy of Park House farm.


Redbrook Farm

Whilst shooting rabbits in the garden at Redbrook farm Allan accidentally shot himself in the side of the head & died 4 days later aged 65. Allan was a public figure in the district being the Prestbury Highway Board Surveyor from 1863 to 1869 when his son Thomas took over the position. Allan remained on the Highway board until his death. He was also Surveyor to the Sandon Road Trustees to 1878 & a member of the local Board of Guardians (administered poor workhouses) from 1855 & was appointed to the assessment committee in 1865.

A description of his character appeared in the Macclesfield Courier & Herald on his death in 1879 “ well known for his sturdy straightforwardness & for his deep interest in all that concerned farming & agricultural pursuits, highway & poor-law administration, & the general well being of the neighbourhood. Mr. Carswell was a good type of shrewd, hard-headed & thoroughly practical Scotchman; a man whose opinion was of value, who during many years past had successfully devoted himself to the improvement of the Adlington Estate, & who has left behind him sons well qualified to perpetuate their fathers good qualities.”

Also reported in the Courier & Herald was the minutes of the Board of Guardians meeting “His upright character & high principal were recognized by all, & he attained a position in this district such as few men can hope to attain by having connected himself with various public duties. We all think Mr. Carswell has been a most worthy citizen; he has performed all his duties in a most admiral manner, & though on some occasions he was very brusque & energetic in the mode in which he expressed his feelings, every one knew they were honestly expressed & that there was nothing underneath the surface.”

It is interesting to note that other members of Allan’s family moved from Renfrewshire to farm in Cheshire. These included his cousins John, Allan, Agnes, Robert & Isabella Stevenson who farmed at Sandholes Farm Adlington, & his brother John who farmed at Whitely Green Adlington & later in Burntwood, Staffordshire.


Allan’s Children .

Allan’s eldest son Allan ( b.1840) who left Scotland aged 5 was brought up on Park House farm & was the 20-year-old ploughman in the 1861 census. He married Eliza McLucky daughter of Scotsman & local farmer John McLuckie in 1872.The couple had all their 9 surviving children at Park House.

Allan & Eliza Carswell

It is thought that Allan moved to Plattwood home farm on the Lyme Hall Estate at Disley to become bailiff (farm manager) in1886.

Lyme Hall Estate, Disley


Bailiff's Home, Plattwood, Lyme Estate, Disley


Park House was leased to James Bostock in Jan 1886 although a silver cup has been passed down “Best Beast in the Yard” dated 1884 from the Lyme Estate so it is possible that they were at Lyme then. Allan continued to be farm bailiff at Plattwood until his son John took over from his father between 1901 & 1904. John Carswell married Eleanor Smallman from Enville Staffordshire in 1904 & was farm bailiff at Lyme Park Disley until just before his death aged 44 in 1921. He had leased the farm for 12 months before his death.

John Carswell, Bailiff, Lyme Park, Disley


Allan’s ( b.1814) second son John, a bachelor farmed at Cannock Chase Staffordshire & Light Alders farm Disley.

Daughters Margaret & Agnes were spinsters, Janet married tea dealer Joseph Handford of Stockport, Jean married commercial traveller George Mottershead who was killed by a train at Cheadle Hulme Station a few days after his son George was born. Thomas married Anne Bradley & as previously stated was the Prestbury Highway Board surveyor. Robert, a bachelor, continued on at Redbrook farm after his father’s accident & was a farm labourer in the 1891 census. William married Bertha Cartright & became Estate Agent (estate manager) for the Leghs of Adlington & then for the Davenport family at their Capesthorns estate. Youngest son Fred married Carrie who was a court dressmaker. They became grocers in Manchester & had no children.

The only known Carswell named living descendants are from Allan’s (b.1840) sons Allan (b.1875) & John (b.1877). Allan emigrated to Wisconsin USA around 1897 & was a dairy factory manager. John’s two children Colin & Winifred emigrated to Australia in 1931 to become citrus orchardists.

Allan Carswell, of Stuarts River, NSW, Australia, is the son of Colin and Marion Carswell. Colin was a Cheshire Carswell for 21 years and was born in the Plattwood farm house in 1909.

Marion, Colin & Isla Carswell 1963



John Carswell & his mother Marion - Stuarts River NSW Australia