Above: This 1890 map (click to enlarge) shows how close the farm was to the gunpowder mill. The ruins of both now lie under the waters of Fernilee Reservoir (the blue shaded line area).

Above: The Lowe family pictured outside Masters Farmhouse; Richard, John, Elizabeth and Mary. John was four at the time of the 1911 census. So I’d guess the photo was taken shortly after.

Gerald Hancock mentions a Johnny Lowe in his ‘Goyt Valley Romance’ as one of the miners at the Castedge coal pit. It’s likely he’s the boy in the photo.

Above: This view of Masters Farm is taken from the old road which once ran from Goyt’s Bridge to Fernilee, via the Gunpowder Mill, and then north to Whaley Bridge or south to Buxton. Today, sections of the same road form the path which runs along the western shore of the reservoir.

Masters Farm

A newspaper report of a fatal accident at the Gunpowder Mills in 1836 mentions Masters Farm;

On Thursday week, about six o’clock in the morning, one of the most dreadful accidents which we have ever had to record, occurred at Shallcross, in the County of Derby, about eight miles from Macclesfield. The powder mills of Messrs Williamson, which contained at the time a ton and a half of gunpowder, blew up with a tremendous explosion.

George Heaps, a married man, with a wife and four children, who was in the mill at the time, was blown a distance of six hundred yards, to his master’s farm at Taxal, in this county, Shallcross being on the border of Cheshire and Derbyshire. He was, of course, quite dead when found.

It’s likely the reporter got his facts wrong (nothing new there!). Rather than “his master’s farm”, it would have been Masters Farm. Click here for more information about the Gunpowder Mills and the accidents which often occurred there.

This photo (click to enlarge) shows the view over Masters Farm towards Shawstyle Farm top left. It’s just possible to make out some of the Gunpowder Mill buildings in the valley below.

Surname First name Born Relationship Occupation Birth place
1841 Census
Wilson Ann 1806 Farmer
Wilson George 1801 Ag. labourer
Wilson Mathew 1811 Ag. labourer
Wilson Edward 1816 Engineer
Wilson William 1816 Ag. labourer
Wilson Jane 1821
1861 Census
Lomas George c1801 Head Farmer of 7 acres Fernilee
Lomas Ann c1836 Wife Fernilee
Wilson George c1821 Uncle Agric. labourer Taxal
Lomas Isaac c1847 Cousin Cotton factory worker Hayfield
Lomas James c1849 Cousin Cotton factory worker Hayfield
1871 Census
Wilson George 1801 Head Farmer of 7 acres Taxal
Lomas John 1816 Nephew Labourer Fernilee
Lomas Ann 1835 Wife Fernilee
Lomas George 1862 Son Scholar Taxal
Lomas Elizabeth 1864 Daughter Scholar Taxal
Lomas Mary 1870 Daughter Taxal
Sepledge Thomas 1811 Lodger Cooper Stockport
1881 Census
Lomas John 1815 Head Farmer 28 acres Fernilee
Lomas Ann 1834 Wife Fernilee
Lomas George 1862 Son Farmer Taxal
Lomas Elizabeth 1864 Daughter Scholar Taxal
Lomas Mary 1870 Daughter Scholar Taxal
Lomas William 1874 Son Scholar Taxal
Lomas Peter 1874 Visitor Scholar Taxal
1891 Census
Lomas John c.1815 Head Farmer Fernilee
Lomas Ann c.1834 Wife Taxal
Lomas Mary Ellen c.1868 Daughter Cartridge lapper at gunpowder mill Taxal
Lomas William c.1875 Son Taxal
Bennet Robert E c.1858 Son in law Farmer Fernilee
Bennet John c.1891 Grandson Taxal
1901 Census
Lomas Ann c.1834 Head Farmer Taxal
Lomas William c.1875 Son Labourer at gunpowder mills Taxal
Bennet John c.1891 Grandson Taxal
Simpson William c.1871 Lodger Labourer at gunpowder mills Chapel en le Frith
1911 census
Lowe Richard c.1866 Head Carter on farm Kettleshulme
Lowe Mary Ellen c.1869 Wife Masters Farm Taxal
Lowe Elizabeth Ann c.1898 Daughter Fernilee
Lowe John Charles c.1907 Son Masters Farm Taxal