To the casual eye, Henbury might appear to be like many modern dormitory suburbs, but it has a history which goes back at least to the Domesday Book (1086) which described it as largely waste land. Much of Cheshire was laid waste by William I after rebellion in the north of England.
The ancient village was sited in Henbury Moss, to the south of the main Macclesfield to Chester Road (A537), and is now occupied by cottages and farms. Pale Farm, a timber framed building on the A537 has a tentative dendrochronology date of 1360. Many of the farms have 18th or 17th century dates.
The present day Henbury Hall was built by Sebastian Ferranti in 1984-86 to replace an earlier dwelling, built around 1740, which became no longer habitable because of extensive dry rot. This hall too replaced an earlier one. A hall stood in Henbury at least from the eleventh century when it was held by the Mainwaring family. The Davenport family lived there for over 300 years, until Sir Fulk Lucy married Isabella, the last of this line of the Davenports, and he took over the estate in 1657. Lucy came from Charlecote in Warwickshire, from the estate where Shakespeare was caught poaching.
Before St Thomas' Church was built by Major Thomas Marshall of Henbury Hall in 1843, Henbury was within the Parish of Prestbury. The Church School, opened at the same time as the church, was closed in 1976, and the new Church Hall, built from the proceeds from the sale of the school was opened in 1980 and extended in 1992. Beech Cottage, which was located next to the Church Hall site, now demolished, was established as the Henbury Poor House in 1734.
The Henbury Society published in 2003 Henbury – History of a Village, fully illustrated, which is available to those interested in exploring the history of your village further. It can be obtained from Dr Peter Wells (420872) or from The Old School House, Henbury (612657).
The Henbury Society has appointed two archivists, Dr Peter Wells and Roger Bowling to build up a repository of documents, such as Wills, censuses, Hearth Tax records, family histories, maps and historical photographs, many of which are copies of originals held at the Cheshire County Record Office. We would greatly appreciate the loan or donation of photos and other material, for copying or deposit. The records, for which an Index is available, may be accessed by application to Dr Wells or Roger Bowling (426422).
Dr Peter Wells transcribed material from a large number of Deeds relating to the Henbury Estate and other premises in the village, going back to the 17th century. An index of over 1100 individuals who lived here during the past 350 years will be of interest to those researching their family history in this area. A CD of these Deeds is available from Cheshire Family History Society (contact Len Davenport; 0161 766 5997).