photo walk around Ash Hall, Werrington Stoke-on-Trent
Job Meigh & the Ash Hall Estate
location 3 on the map |tour map|
The abstract of title for the property shows that Job Meigh became the owner of the Ash Estate on 27th of March 1837. Construction of the house must have begun almost immediately because the date “1837” appears on the rainwater heads on the front of the building. Unfortunately there is no information on the architect or builder of the house.
John Ward, in his book The Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent, gives a contemporary account of the building c. 1840:
“JOB MEIGH, Esq., owner of the Ash estate, has erected, whilst we have been compiling this Work, a mansion called Ash Hall, on an elevated site, overlooking Bucknall and Hanley, with which, for the beauty of the architecture, and its perfect adaptation to every purpose of domestic comfort, very few modern houses will bear comparison. The exterior is of hard stone, (gotten on the estate,) of an Ash colour, giving the building an air of antiquity which harmonizes with the stile (sic.) of the architecture, being that of the manor house or Tudor era, with oriel windows, surmounted with pediments or pointed gables. An elegant portico, composed of three Gothic arches, turreted and embattled, adorns the front. The adjoining lawn is tastefully laid out and planted; and altogether, we must characterize Ash Hall as one of the most beautiful seats we have had occasion to notice.”
The view of Ash Hall from the entrance drive
Detail of the pediments
photos: July 2000
Ash Hall was the residence of Job Meigh from 1837 until his death in 1862.
In the 1851 census the household was returned as follows:
Marr | Age |
|Job Meigh||Married 68||Head||Staffs, Stoke||Landed Proprietor & J.P.|
|Elizabeth Meigh||Married 67||Wife||Staffs, Stoke|
|Dinah Chetwynd||Single 48||Srvnt||Staffs, Stoke||House Servant|
|Mira Beech||Single 27||Srvnt||Staffs, Stoke||House Servant|
|Harriet Jones||Single 25||Srvnt||Derbyshire||House Servant|
|Thomas Dunn||Widower 40||Srvnt||Staffs, Eccieshall||Farm Servant|
Ten years later the household consisted of Job Meigh, his wife, and three female servants.
The Meigh family regularly advertised for servants in the local press.
The following is an example from the Staffordshire Advertiser of the 1st of September 1860:
“WANTED, a good plain COOK, who can bring a good character from her last place. Also a respectable young woman, as HOUSEMAID, who perfectly understands her duties, and can bring a good character from her last situation. Apply at Ash Hall, Stokeon-Trent, Staffordshire.”
The reason for the rapid turnover of servants was that Job Meigh was a tyrannical ogre who terrorized his wife, family and servants with violent swings of mood. Family legend records that when he was returning home with his wife one day, a furious quarrel arose, and in a fit of temper he pitched her out of the dog-cart he was driving and on to the frozen road, causing her injuries from which she never recovered. Needless to say this aspect of his personality was not mentioned in his obituary and his plaque in Bucknall Parish Church refers to him as “a devoted husband”!
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