Recent History

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History 1

Until after the Second World War, Henbury was not a village in the conventional sense of a compact group of houses. Its main feature was Henbury Hall and its estate, including the park and farmland. Throughout the remainder of the parish were scattered farms, of which the closest concentration was the group of farms at Henbury Moss, on what is now Fanshawe Lane. This may perhaps be considered to have been the centre of Henbury as it existed before 1914. In the northern part of the present parish were Birtles Old Hall and Whirley Hall, and The Mount on Andertons Lane, substantial gentlemen's houses, each with its own farm.

Henbury lies on both sides of (and is now divided by) the A537 Macclesfield to Chester road, which was constructed as a turnpike road in 1808. Henbury stretches eastwards almost from Monks Heath to the brook near the Cock Inn. From north to south it stretches from Whirley Road to Bearhurst Lane at Pexhill. Most of the parish is rural land used for dairy, arable and equestrian purposes. Approximately 90% of the population lives in the area bounded by Church Lane, Andertons Lane, Hightree Drive and Henbury Rise sometimes referred to as 'The Village'. About 4/5ths of the land area of the parish lies to the south of the road, and until 1914 about 2/3rds of the total population of about 360 lived there. Between the two wars only about a dozen houses were built in the parish, most of them on the north frontage of the main road itself, at Cock Bank, east of Church Lane. By 1950 the population had risen to about 400.

After 1950 there was a considerable change. Firstly in the 1950s council houses were built on the north side of Church Lane. Then private houses were built on the remainder of the north side of Church Lane and on the southern part of Andertons Lane. Then, in the 1960s and into the 1970s, the houses on Henbury Rise and Hightree Drive and the roads leading off them were built. There is thus now a compact area of housing from Church Lane to the north side of Hightree Drive and from Andertons Lane to Henbury Rise, containing in total some 155 houses. Lying as it does immediately opposite the Church and Parish Hall, and not far from the main road, this can properly be considered to be the modern village of Henbury. The 2001 census showed that the population of the parish had increased to almost 600, of whom the substantial majority lived north of the A537.

So, Henbury has moved in the past 50 years. On School Lane, by Henbury Smithy, there is a signpost saying "Henbury 1¼" which points north-east. If it had existed 100 years ago, that sign would probably have pointed south.