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Macclesfield Express

Extract from the Macclesfield Express December 2nd 1965

Pennsylvanian descendant of the Hulley family


An 89-year-old woman in Pennsylvania, a descendant of the Hulley family three members of which were Mayors of Macclesfield, has written to the Mayor of Macclesfield (Councillor J. V. G. Hope, J.P.,) asking for a colour photograph of her family’s ancient home, The One House, Buxton Road.

She is Eva Hulley Weihenmayer, of Philadelphia, and she writes:-

“I wonder if you could help me out. I am a Hulley descendant and I have a picture of the house in black and white. I am hoping that you have a coloured postcard of the window with the 216 oblong panes of glass. Also of the ceiling which they say is so beautiful. It is called One House, solitary or lonely house. It is located in Rainow, Cheshire. I have never been able to come over to see it and I am almost 90. I would love to have the picture.”


She addressed her letter to “Mayor of Macclesfield,, Rainow, Cheshire, England.” But how was she to know that the One House was on the far boundary of Rainow?

Unfortunately, Mrs Weihenmayer, your family’s ancestral home is no more. It was demolished many years ago, but it must surely had been a wonderful place judging from what older inhabitants of Rainow have told me. The Hulley’s owned the One House and its small estate from 1490 until shortly after the Great War, when it was purchased by the then Brocklehursts, silk manufacturers, of Hurdsfield, in order to secure the water rights. Mr. Jasper Hulley was Mayor in 1709; a John Hulley occupied the office in 1741, then Joseph Hulley wore the mayoral chain in 1794. Jasper Hulley raised a regiment of Volunteers in the days of Bonaparte when the country was threatened by a French invasion.

The One House apparently had its ghost. Writing in 1936, Mr. Richard E. Knowles had this to say:- “it is nearly 40 year ago since I was told by the then tenant of The One House, an ancient building situate some two or three miles from Macclesfield, at a hairpin bend in the New Road to Buxton, that a ‘ghost ‘ roamed the grounds.

“Even in those days, before the coming of the motor cars and buses, it was a quiet, secluded spot, fit for such a tradition, but its position must have been remote before the New Road was made, when the stage coaches ran straight ahead at Shakespeare’s Corner. A stone above the front entrance bears the date 1703, but this merely records its renovation. Shortly after the death of his father, Mr. Ardern Hulley vacated the old home and a succession of tenants lived there, the last of whom, before the return of the Hulley family early in the 20th century for a few years, I frequently visited and sometimes spent a night.


“It was during these years that I was told by my hostess that the place was haunted, and that it was difficult to keep domestic servants, for they left, one after another, giving the excuse that they were too frightened to stop on account of the ‘ghost’. It is possible that their minds were prepared for such manifestations by the cabman who drove them from the railway station in an old four-wheeler, as it came out in conversation with their mistress when some of them left that the jarvey had said when instructed where to drive: ‘Humph! You’ll not stop there long. The place is haunted’. This difficulty was eventually got over by employing local maids who either did not know of, or were used to the old tradition and did not mind. The ‘ghost’ in question was by no means offensive and took the form of a little old gentleman dressed in Court clothes, short breeches, silk stockings and shoes with large buckles, who was to be met with one on the drive in front of the house or near the stables and outbuildings, wandering harmlessly at night.

“On the occasions when I visited Mr. Ardern Hulley after his return I never questioned him concerning the apparition, but I well remember meeting his daughters at a dance at Eddisbury Hall nearby, when during an interval one of the guests rather scoffingly asked some questions relative to “The One House ghost” and the elderly Miss Hulley was apparently quite annoyed that their ‘ghost’ should be doubted, and held forth at length as to its authenticity and appearances. The fact remains that when again the One House became empty no tenant was found. From 1903 onwards I often paused to have a yarn about local history with an ancient farmer names John Oakes, who lived with his son-in-law at Kerridge. For 16 years he had been coachman to Mr. Jasper Hulley, whose son I have named above. When I asked him about the ‘ghost’ he answered that he knew about the tradition but, though he was often out and about the place late at night, he had never seen it. I am bound to say I have many times saddled my horse in the old stables, both in summer and win ter, prior to riding home, at an hour when the groom had long gone home, but never saw any manifestation of ther ‘ghost’.

Sorry, Mrs, Weihenmayer, that we have no coloured picture of your old family home, but perhaps the above will bring some joy.

By the way, Mrs Weihenmayer’s letter was sealed with a slip on which was the following delightful verse:-

Fly away little letter - keep the bonds of friendship strong.

May our dear Lord bless each one who speeds and carries you along.

And bless, O Lord, the home to which my letter finds its way;

Keep it strong and warm and safe, a haven night and day.

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