We have lived at our home since 1999. We refurbished this beautuful Edwardian Manor house which is located five miles from Manchester city centre and one mile from the motorway but you would not think it! The area is extremely quiet and located on a leafy road where the trees meet overhead. Our home is situated within half an acre of beautiful grounds with a fountain.
Our home was built in 1903 by local architect Mathew Owen as a residence for rich cotton merchant Thomas Halliwell. The architect’s brief from the wealthy businessman was that "everything had to be in finest detail and no savings should be met." And they have certainly not!
The house was finally completed on June 22 1903 and its leafy gardens provided the ideal ‘rural’ retreat for a man of commerce who needed to remain close to Manchester, at that time the world centre of the cotton industry.
Following Thomas’s death in 1917, his widow continued to live alone in the house until her death, aged 74, in 1940.
The house was commandeered by the Army during World War II and used as offices.
The house was then sold to the Gentlewomen’s Housing Association; an organisation founded on the combined wealth of a group of widows, and it then became a residential home. It remained a residential home for the next 50 years, providing comfortable and peaceful surroundings for elderly women until, in 1997, the Association decided it was no longer viable and it was once again left vacant.
Over the next six years, while the building remained vacant, it was left to fall into a state of disrepair and was broken into and vandalised, making the general decay even worse. Eventually, the building was secured to keep out thieves and vandals, but by this time it was derelict.
The gradual decay of the building had been a fear of the many women who had lived at Rowsley Manor during its years as a residential home and had been reluctant to leave. Amongst these ladies was Joyce Moody, who had lived at the home for over ten years. It was Joyce who, with her long term vision, suggested to her daughter Clare that the house would provide the ideal location for both a home and her business.
Clare took up the challenge of preserving the house’s heritage by restoring the house to its turn-of-the-century grandeur and she purchased the property in December 1999. The refurbishment was completed in just 18 months.
All the rooms have been refurbished in keeping with the period. Some have also been christened anew to reflect the house's proud history. The late King Edward VII, who was on the throne when the house was built, would particularly approve of the Alexandra Suite, The Daisy Brooke and The Keppel Suite - named after his wife and various lovers. The Keppel Suite is of course named after Alice Keppel, who enjoyed favours as the King's mistress long before her even more famous descendant, Camilla Parker Bowles!
In June 2010, Clare met Keith and they got married in 2012 and had their reception in a marquee within the grounds of Rowsley. It is now both Clare and Keith’s home.