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We have listed below some local notable people who have lived or worked in the Neston area in the past. Some of these have further details and can be read by clicking the title links. If there is someone we have missed from this list then please do let us know:

Local VC Holders

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy” to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories.

  • Local holders of the VC were:
  • George Ward Gunn VC MC (26 July 1912 – 21 November 1941)
  • Major William “Billy” La Touche Congreve VC, DSO, MC (12 March 1891 – 20 July 1916)
  • Christopher Bushell, V.C., D.S.O.

For more information please see the dedicated Local VC Holders page.

Joseph Norman Bond (1758 – 1830)

Joseph Bond was born in Neston to James and Mary Bond. After receiving his medical training in London, he travelled to New York, where he joined the British army. He was at the surrender at the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781. For some time he administered medicine to troops made prisoner with John Burgoyne and Lord Cornwallis

In 1783 he went to Nova Scotia and in 1802 received a small packet of cowpox vaccine from his brother Norman, a doctor in Bath, and vaccinated an infant against smallpox. This treatment is reputed to be the first use of cowpox vaccine in Canada.

Robert Bridson (1837 – 1911)

A mechanic, miller, shop keeper, timber merchant and traction engine owner. He is mainly remembered for his Neston based steam engines which were used for transport and industry but also hired out to farmers for threshing and tree pulling. For more information please see the article on the Neston Past website.

Albin Roberts Burt (1 December 1783 – 16 March 1842)

An English engraver and portrait-painter.. He knew and admired Emma Lady Hamilton, and named his two children Emma Hamilton Burt and Nelson Burt. He spent his summers in Parkgate and in 1822 while crossing the Mersey, his son was tragically drowned. He is remembered, by his name, spelt out in black stones, outside the cottage the family stayed in, now known as Nelson Cottage.

He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1830. A print of his represented Lady Hamilton as Britannia unveiling the bust of Nelson.

Reginald Bushell (1842 – 1904)

His father was Christopher Bushell, and mother Margaret Smith., and he was born in Aigburth, Liverpool, moving to Hinderton Hall, Neston, when his father built it in 1855.

He was a wine merchant in the family firm, a director of the Liverpool Overhead Railway and of Sea Insurance Company, He was closely connected with Liverpool University from it’s foundation and was a member of the Liverpool Council of Education foundation and other educational bodies in Lancashire and Cheshire and a Justice of the Peace for Cheshire.

Through his interest in clocks he designed and built several turret clocks, which performed extremely well. In order to determine time he made himself a practical meridian observer and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1871.

When he died suddenly in 1904, he left a wife, Caroline, two sons, the younger being Christopher Bushell VC, and a daughter. He is commemorated in Neston Parish Church with a window (designed by Edward Burne-Jones and made by Morris & Co. 1906) and elaborate wrought iron gates.

Thomas Cottingham, c.1746 – 1825

Owner of Little Neston Colliery, opened in 1819, on land in Little Neston, next to the mine at Ness, owned by the Stanley family This was in direct competition with the Ness Colliery and gave rise to trespass on, and then sabotage of, the Cottingham mine by Thomas Stanley; this led to acrimonious court cases. See the Thomas Cottingham vs. Sir Thomas Stanley page.

Thomas Cottingham’s son, also Thomas, took over Little Neston Colliery in 1825 but the subsequent years were very troubled ones with disputes between Cottingham jnr. and his brother, and between Cottingham and the Earl of Shrewsbury. The mine was never very successful and probably closed in about 1845.

Duncan Graham (1826 – 6 Jan 1901)

Born in Glasgow, Scotland. A career as a South America Merchant, he built The Lydiate, in Willaston, in 1857, as the family home.

He was a local benefactor and provided the village of Willaston with running water. The Vicarage, a new reredos, enlarged Chancel and vestry in the Parish Church were gifted by him. He paid for the building of Willaston Village School and Village Public Hall.

Along with Christopher Bushell he provided entertainment and parties for the local villagers. For more information please see the article on the Neston Past website.

He provided school treats and outings for the children of the Clatterbridge Workhouse. He was a Magistrate and first Chairman of Cheshire County Council.

In 1899 when the new telephone exchange was opened, his number was No1!

The Grenfell Family – Head Teachers

The Grenfell Family were Head Teachers of Mostyn House School from 1863 to 2010.

The first Headteacher in the family was Algernon Sidney Grenfell (ASG), who took over the existing school from Edward Price. He was followed by his son, Algenon George Grenfell (AGG), who carried out extensive building be followed by his son, A. D. Julian Grenfell. His daughter, Suzanna Grenfell succeeded him. She was the fifth generation of the family to be head of the school.

For more information about the Grenfell family, see Mostyn House School – A Time Line.

Emma, Lady Hamilton (26 April 1765 – 15 January 1815)

Baptised in Neston Parish Church, she was born into extreme poverty in Ness, the daughter of a blacksmith, Henry Lyon, who worked in the newly-opened coalmines in Denhall, and who died soon after her birth.

Her beauty and natural health (uncommon amongst the poor) brought her to the attention of several aristocrats, one of whom, Charles Greville decided to educate her and encouraged a relationship between her and the much older Sir William Hamilton, whom she eventually married. During this time she sat as model for several distinguished artists, including George Romney, whose portraits made her beauty famous throughout wealthy society.

Principal among these was Horatio Nelson, with whom she formed a famous menage-a-trois after the Battle of the Nile in 1798.

To read our full history please visit the dedicated Emma, Lady Hamilton page.

Sir Tim Hunt FRS (born 19 February 1943)

Born in Neston during World War 2, Tim Hunt was the son of Richard Hunt, a lecturer at Liverpool University. In 1945, Richard became Keeper of the Western Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library and the family moved to Oxford. His mother was Kit Rowland, daughter of a timber merchant.

In 1961 Tim Hunt was accepted at Cambridge University to study Natural Sciences, where he obtained his B.A. and Ph.D. His field was biology and his research (mostly in USA) involved study of haemaglobin and later the proteins involved in cell division. In 1982, while studying the eggs of sea urchins, he discovered cyclin, which proved to be a critical protein in the cell-division of vertebates and indeed all living organisms (including tumors).

From 1990 he worked at the Cancer Research UK London Institute and now sits on numerous councils and advisory committees.

In his cell reproduction research he worked with Sir Paul Nurse and in 2001 they were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine.

Ryley, Samuel William (1759–1837)

An actor and author, the son and only child of Samuel Romney. He moved to Chester with his parents and after finishing his schooling he was apprenticed in the woollen industry, in Yorkshire, where he ran away with his master’s daughter Ann, and married her at Gretna Green on 15 Sept. 1776. In 1797 he changed his name to Ryley.

He was in debt frequently and survived by following the life of a strolling actor. On a number of occasions he tried his hand at theatre management, with disastrous results.

He is known to have acted in Parkgate in 1812 and 1815, as he wandered around the country, in various roles and productions. He wrote a nine volume semi-autobiographical work, two plays and songs.

After forty years residence in Chester and Parkgate, he died in 1837 at his home in Parkgate, known as Ryley’s Castle. He is buried in the Neston Parish church churchyard.

Richard Felix Summers (1902 – 1977)

Chairman of John Summers Steelworks at Shotton. He was a grandson of John Summers, who founded the firm in 1852, in Stalybridge.

Richard lived in Denna Hall, Little Neston and was appointed High Sheriff of Flint in 1944. A very keen motorist, he learnt to drive at the age of 11 in his grandfather’s Silver-Ghost Rolls-Royce!

Lady Evelyn Summers (1901 – 1978), the wife of Sir Richard, was the sister of Sandy Irvine, who, together with George Mallory, died attempting to climb Mt Everest in 1924. His body has never been found, and it is not impossible that he and Mallory did in fact conquer Everest.

The Reverend Thomas Ward, 1757 – 1827

The Reverend Thomas Ward, 1757 – 1827, Vicar of Neston, with both his daughters, was largely responsible for setting up Neston Female Friendly Society in 1814. Frances Mary Ward and Anne Elizabeth Ward were members (Frances Mary was one of the Honorary Stewardesses of the Society) and his mother-in-law, Eliza Bayley, was the first Lady Patroness.

Sarah Pennington (nee Pyke) and her sister, Eleanor ‘Ellen’ Pyke, were founder members.

For more information see the Neston Past website for the articles on the Neston Female Friendly Society and Sarah Pinnington and Her Descendants.

Samuel Charles Abel (1908 – 1959)

An English footballer, born in Neston, who played in the Football League for Accrington Stanley, Chesterfield, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers. After World War II he became a groundsman at Wembley Stadium.

Norman Angel (1923 – 2010)

Born in Liverpool, graduated BSc from Durham University and worked as a scientist with Shell at Thornton Research Centre.

He was a councillor for over 45 years, first on Neston Urban District Council (of which he was twice Chairman) and on Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council, representing Neston ward 1974 – 2003 (where he was Mayor 1983 – 1984).

He was made an Honorary Alderman for outstanding contributions to local government. Neston had no secondary school, and Norman Angel led the campaign that resulted in a secondary modern school in 1958, which became a comprehensive in 1974.

He was for 20 years Secretary of the Neston Female Friendly Society, and for his work with the Annual Fair was made a Life Member of the Lancashire and Cheshire Showman’s Guild.

Arthur Kilpin Bulley (10 January 1861 – 3 May 1942)

Born in New Brighton, he joined the family cotton trading business, after leaving school. Whilst travelling overseas on business he developed an interest in uncommon plants.

He built a house and developed a plant nursery on 60 acres of land, which he purchased near Ness in 1898, and parts of the garden were open free to local villagers

He sponsored plant collectors, such as George Forrest and Frank Kingdon-Ward, to travel to countries around the world, including China, South America and Africa, to bring back specimens to the gardens. Notable plants from those collections are many species of rhododendrons, magnolias, azaleas, sorbus (National Collection), birches and others.

In 1903 he opened a nursery, Bees Nursery, at Ness where he sold plants grown from seed. This was later to become Bees Ltd. His daughter Lois Bulley gave the gardens to Liverpool University in 1948. Today Ness Gardens are a major tourist attraction and botanical research centre.

Christopher Bushell (1811 – 1887)

Christopher Bushell was a Liverpool wine merchant who built Hinderton Hall in 1855. He took a great interest in Neston local activities and gave generously for the building of local schools and churches.

In 1865 Bushell provided funds for sinking a well in the market place because the poorer people had problems in getting clean water. A simple wheel well was constructed despite opposition from some local people.

However the water very soon became polluted because of the poor sanitary conditions that prevailed and the well was closed down. A cholera epidemic in 1866 persuaded the town to form a Local Board of Health, of which Bushell was, for a time, Chairman, to raise a rate and deal with the poor condition of the town and initiate a proper water supply.

In 1882 the townspeople paid for the erection of the Fountain as an acknowledgement of their gratitude for what Christopher Bushell had done for the town.

In addition to his interests in Neston he was President of Liverpool Council of Education. The Poor Law Guardians formed a committee, including Christopher Bushell and Rev.

Richard Gleadowe, which met with Dr David Russell, the Medical Officer. Christopher Bushell is buried in Neston Parish Church graveyard and there is a memorial window, in the church, designed and made by C.E.Kempe & Co.

He was the grandfather of Christopher Bushell VC, who died in the First World War. The Bushell Fountain, in the centre of Neston, commemorates Christopher Bushell.

Another ‘commemoration’ to him is Bushell Road. He paid £400 for it to be built, as a short cut from Hinderton Hall to Neston South railway station.

Henry Neville Gladstone, 1st Baron Gladstone of Hawarden (1852 – 1935)

Henry Neville Gladstone, was a British businessman and politician. He was the third son of four times Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.

From 1871 he worked for two family firms in London and India. He was Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, his father, and a director of P&O, and of the B.I. Steamship Company.

In 1903 he bought Burton Manor from the Congreve family. He commissioned the famous landscape designer Thomas Mawson to layout the gardens, 1906. The Gladstones sold the manor in 1924.

In 1921 he had moved to Hawarden Castle following the death of his nephew, William Glynne Charles Gladstone, killed in action in 1915, and became Lord of the Manor. He succeeded his late nephew as Lord Lieutenant of Flintshire (1915 – 1935), and President of the University College of North Wales at Bangor, a Justice of the Peace (JP) for both Flintshire and Cheshire and an Alderman of the Flint County Council in 1916.

He was awarded the honorary degree of LL.D., and was raised to the peerage as Baron Gladstone of Hawarden, in the County of Flint, in 1932. He was the Constable of Flint Castle in 1934.

Lord Gladstone of Hawarden married the Hon. Maud Ernestine Rendel, in 1890. They had no children from the marriage. When he died in 1935, aged 83, the barony became extinct.

In 1906 Henry Neville Gladstone, who owned the village of Burton, built the Village Hall for the residents of Burton and Puddington and gave them a considerable amount of the surrounding land.

Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, KCMG (28 February 1865 – 9 October 1940)

The son of Algernon Grenfell and Jane Hutchinson, he was born in Parkgate, where his father was headmaster of Mostyn House School.

Following his education at the school and at Marlborough College, he moved to London to study medicine at the London Hospital Medical College. In 1892 he was sent by The Royal National Mission To Deep Sea Fishermen to Newfoundland, to improve the plight of coastal inhabitants and fishermen.

Two doctors and two nurses were recruited in 1893 and cottage hospitals were opened along the coast. Schools, an orphanage, and social work were developed. The area served eventually included the coasts of Labrador as well as Newfoundland. In all there were six hospitals, four hospital ships, seven nursing stations, two orphanages, two large schools, 14 industrial centres, and a cooperative lumber mill.

He developed Grenfell Cloth, a woven Egyptian cotton material, made by Walter Haythornthwaite. The cloth is a close-woven cotton twill material (600 threads per inch) used to make outdoor clothing, to protect the wearer from wet and cold.

On a mercy dash to a very sick patient, he encountered his near demise on an ice floe. He was travelling on a sled pulled by eight dogs, when he took a short cut across a bay of salt-water ice. The ice began to break up and, with the sled sinking, he and the dogs managed to reach an ice floe 10ft by 12ft. To keep warm in the freezing night, he was forced to kill three of his dogs, and wrapped their skins around himself. The following morning he was spotted by local fishermen and rescued. A memorial to the dogs is in the Mostyn House School Chapel.

He was knighted in 1927 in recognition of his medical, educational and social work.

He is commemorated on a bronze plaque installed by the Parkgate Society on Mostyn House. A picture can be seen on the Society’s Website.

Lord Kevin 64th Lord of The Manor of Little Neston-cum-Hargreave

Kevin Couling, the latest Lord of The Manor of Little Neston-cum-Hargreave, was born and lives in New Zealand. He bought the title in 2011, from the Earl of Shrewsbury.

(A Lord of the Manor of each area predates the Norman conquest; many of our current laws are based on the feudal system which existed at that time.)

Further details can be found in the following links:
Cheshire Life Magazine
Manorial Guild Website
Armorial Register Website
The Heraldry Society Website

Commander William Snell (1790 – 1860)

He joined the Navy on 13 August 1799 as a Midshipman on the Britannia 100, and fought at the battle of Trafalgar, in October 1805.

He lived in Windle Hill, where he died, and was buried on 11 June 1860 in St Mary and St Helen’s churchyard, Neston, by the Revd. Gleadowe.

Sir Thomas Massey Stanley 1782 – 1841

Co-owner, with his brother Charles, of Ness Colliery, opened 1759 by his father Sir John Stanley and four others.

The mine was in direct competition with the Cottingham mine at Little Neston. Sir Thomas trespassed on, and then sabotaged the Cottingham mine which led to acrimonious court cases. See the Thomas Cottingham vs. Sir Thomas Stanley page.

In the final few years of the mine it was run by Thomas’s son Rowland Errington. It closed in 1855.

Walter Aubrey Thomas (1859 – 1934)

Born in 1864, of Scottish ancestry, in Tranmere, Birkenhead, he married Maud Parris in 1886. They had seven children. He died 1934 Moorside, Neston.

He was apprenticed/articled to Liverpool architect Francis Doyle. Thomas set up his own practice with an office in Dale Street, Liverpool c 1876 and specialized in designing commercial buildings.

To read our full history please visit the dedicated Walter Aubrey Thomas page.

Charles Patrick Wormald (1947 – 2004)

Patrick Wormald was a British historian born in Neston, son of historian Brian Wormald. He carried out research and lectured at a number of Oxford colleges and the British Academy, and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Wormald taught early medieval history at the University of Glasgow from 1974 to 1988, where his lectures were very popular with the students.

His greatest work, which took many years to produce, was The Making of English Law, the first volume of which was published in 1999. Volume II was unfinished at the time of his death.

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