Home Lords Saints Places People Contact

The Roost

Home to the Postmaster of Manchester (article by Allan Jennings Facebook ) and the owners of Britannia Mill & Cleggs Warehouse.

Prior to the census of 1861, the property now known as The Roost, on Rectory Lane, was built on the plot of land marked as Springfield Cottage, on Back Lane.

Jumping to the map of 1891 we see that Springfield Cottage had been rebuilt/renamed to The Roost. Checking back to the census, we see that in 1861, John St Lawrence Beafort had taken up residence at the Roost.

1891 Springfield Cottage has been renamed The Roost

[Back Lane was also renamed to Rectory Lane]

John St. Lawrence Beaufort had been born in Ireland in 1818, his late father was the Reverend W.L. Beaufort at Glanmore, Cork and John was his 4th son, he graduated from Dublin University with a B.A., he was preparing to study for the Bar, when a stroke of fate changed the course of his life.

In 1839 he was offered a position in the Postal Service , just as Rowland Hills grand scheme of Postal Improvement was initiated, and so John was in at the birth of the new service, he worked in various parts of England, first in the far north and then North Wales, the Midlands, and London, in 1860 he accepted the position of Postmaster of Manchester when the previous Postmaster Mr. Willock retired.

John St. Lawrence lived the Roost on Rectory Lane in Prestwich, close by to where a property of the same name stands today. John remained a bachelor but lived in his villa with a Housekeeper, Cook, Housemaid, and Gardener.

The Roost, Rectory Lane.

He was elected to be a Guardian of the Prestwich Union and in time, its chairman.
He died on the 1st December 1887 and on the day of his internment (6th) at St Mary's Prestwich, the weather was the most miserable that it could be.

The rain was coming down in torrents nearly all the time. His body was taken to his house, the cortege set off in a heavy shower of rain and sleet, notwithstanding this the route was lined with people, far too many to list here.

To give you some idea of those attending, there were 40 messengers and 50 postmen in full uniform, 50 female clerks ( he had been one of the earliest to employ female labour in the Telegraph service)and 100 telegraph clerks and 15 surveyors assistants, there were family and friends and the local Conservative club, The M.P. Mr. R.J. Mobray was there and many others they formed a procession at the station.

They went to the Roost and preceded the coffin to the church, the coffin was borne through lines of Telegraph boys into the quaint old church, which was filled to capacity. He was a man held in very high regard.

A fund of £500 raised in 1890 to commemorate John St. Lawrance Beaufort, was invested in exhibitions for the scholars of Bury New Road National School (of which he was a manager).

John's monument in St Mary's

"The Roost" house was rebuilt in 1895 by the Manchester architect, J.L. Langham, and Walter Hetherington Barratt took up residence. Walter was a son of Peter and Sarah Barratt of Hawthorn Cottage, Prestwich. Walter was Governing Director of Barratt & Bradbury, Smallwares manufacturers which had been established by his grand father, Allen Barratt in 1870. The original partnership ended upon the death of William Bradbury (1882, of Poppythorn Cottage) but continued under sole ownership of Peter Barrat. Both Peter and William had been members of the Grand Jury of Salford(1878), alongside William Grimshaw the Gramophone King.

1906 The Roost - rebuilt to the side of where Springfield Cottage stood

Barratt & Bradbury Advert

Barratt & Bradbury owned the Britannia Mill on Sherbourne Street, Prestwich (130 looms), specialising in Ribbons, Tapes, Stitching Floss (Silk Cotton and Worsted), Twines, and Bronze Colours.

Britannia Mill (White roofs) to the left of the co-op yard

[see also Britain from above ]

Barratt Family Plot St Mary's SOUTH section

Walter Barratt died in 1936, his father Peter Barratt lived at Hawthorn Cottages (Wash Lane - now Clifton Lane) in Prestwich and had died in 1885.They lie in St Mary's churchyard along with Peter's wife Sarah (d:1907), and their other children Herbert and Florence.

Florence Kirby Barratt married James Walker (b:1845), head of Messrs. Richard Pendlebury & Sons of Manchester & Radcliffe. James Walker's business ran the Irwell Mill of 400 looms, now the Asda carpark in Radcliffe (along with Nathan, Richard & William Walker). James was a member of the Parish Church Council, and a founder of The Victoria Club (the impressive building on Sherbourne street opposite the Longfield Precinct), and lived at Beech Tree Bank, just up the road from The Roost in Prestwich. James was born and formerly lived in Radcliffe.

Barratt Family Tree

Sign up for a free FindMyPast Account (no subscription required) and you can see the Barratt family tree

[James Walker's father Samuel, had in 1828 married Jane the daughter of Richard Pendlebury. Samuel Walker & Richard Pendlebury ran Irwell Mills as a partnership until Samuel had died in 1858.]
[Some connection to the Walkers of Chesham, Bury?]

Architectural sketch of the 1895 Roost.

By 1938 the garden had been sold so become Rectory Drive (today's "The Drive"), and the property had been purchased by Sidney Bradshaw before 1939. Sidney's father lived on the opposite side of Rectory Lane from The Roost.

Rectory Drive 1938

After World War II the Bassnett family moved into the right hand side of the house, which was believed to have been vacant for 10 years, and completed the split into two dwellings in 1948. Their child recalls that there was a ballroom with a springed floor constructed in the basement of one of the properties. It is also reported that a member of the Grimshaw family lived in one half of the house. The Roost still stands on Rectory Lane.

Donate to the upkeep of the St Mary's Churchyard

Your kind donation will go towards tools, or employing professional stone masons to reinstate stonework damaged by time, trees, animals or humans.

what's that all about?

Take a tour of St Mary's Graveyard