New Hanley History

In June 2010 a new illustrated history of the parish of Hanley Castle was published by The Hanleys’ Village Society. The Hanleys: A History of Hanley Castle and Hanley Swan by Malcolm Fare contains 150 illustrations and many accounts of what life was like in the villages in the past. It traces the history of the manor and the castle, views the drama of the Civil War through the actions of the two leading families – the Lechmeres and the Hornyolds – who found themselves on opposing sides, looks at how estates were consolidated by the enclosure of common land at the end of the 18th century and identifies the changing occupations of villagers as seen through the census returns from 1841 to 1911.

As well as recording accounts of village life in the early 20th century, the book traces the development of the shops, pubs, churches and schools that have played an important part in the lives of local people. The changing appearance of one of Hanley Swan’s focal points – its much loved pond – is illustrated by many old photographs.

Published with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the book is available from Hanley Swan village stores, local bookshops and tourist offices at £10.

For further details about the Hanleys Village Society, please visit the main Village Society page.



  1. Posted Jan 28, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi Gail, it would be nice to hear from your Uncle Ted I remember him very well indeed. I wrote an E-mail in 2012 , I kept on looking to see if anyone contacted me but no, so in the end I gave up,thinking it would be a waste of time if you would like to contact me anytime my address is at the top of the page.
    Kind regards. M.A.Layton.( 1943- 1950)

  2. Beck Boucker
    Posted Jul 12, 2014 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Hello, my husband and I look after what was known as Shepherd House, but is now known as the Highball Centre, if you would like to visit and look around the old place you would be very welcome. Our email is Kind regards, Beck

  3. Michael Anthony Layton.7 Hazelwood Drive.Audenshaw.M34 5ED.
    Posted Sep 20, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I was there to from about 1943-1950 with my brother Terry.I remember Brian Kelly he was working at Morgan cars,he also had a brother called Ted,also remember Jimmy@Fred Gunning they went to Rhodesia,Colin Oliver went to Australia.Also i was in the choir Denis Pearce-Higgins was the priest then,also remember Nick johnston a guy called Ball who went to HCGS .i also went there with another boy cant remember his name though but he had a brother and they use to live in Blyth.
    Also remember Mr@Mrs Carr@ their daughter Margaret.use to drive a yellow Vauxhall(BUY 190).Some of us went to school at Welland the others went local Mr Pearson was the teacher there,he had two sons,also remember the Postman Mr Bush.PS.just remember the boy i went to school with at HCGS,Billy Watson he was living in Welland i believe as i went back there for a visit in 1986
    Hope these names jog your memory from all these years ago, there are so many more but i am going back 60 years.
    Regards Mike Layton.

    • Gail
      Posted Feb 17, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mike!

      I can’t believe I’ve just read your comment because I’ve just had tea with Ted Kelly! He’s my uncle. Ted and Bryan both remember their days at the home….. Please let me know if you want me to let them know I’ve found you, and I’ll pass your details on……


  4. Philip Crawford
    Posted May 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I would appreciate it if anyone has any ideas where I might locate any records for the Home of the Good Shepherd.

    I am researching a lady was born in the home in 1897, and sometime between 1901 and 1911 she was adopted by George and Hannah Williams on a farm in Longdon Heath, Upton.

    I would like to locate her adoption records.

    The lady died in 1996, and I do know her real mother and father. The record are required as her adopted family may be entitled to a portion of her estate.

    Many thanks and kind regards,

    Philip Crawford.

    • Malcolm Fare
      Posted May 28, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      If anyone has records for the Home of the Good Shepherd, it will be the Children’s Society ( As far as I know, it was exclusively a boys’ home.

      • Philip Crawford
        Posted May 28, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks Malcolm: I will contact them. The Home was originally a boys’ only home, but I understand they opened a girls’s home in Malvern with the same name. See
        Regards, Philip.

      • Posted Jan 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Hi Malcolm,
        It was nice to see a reference to the Home of the Good Shepherd. I have pleasant memories of my stay there during the war and all the attendant drama. I was resident there from about 1940 to 1944 and was a soloist in St Gabriels choir. The Master and Matron were very kind and looked after us very well….but very strictly.
        Seeing your notes has evoked great memories.

        Stan Whitehead

  5. Betty Jones
    Posted Nov 24, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    I am looking for any information about The Home of the Good Shepherd in Hanley Swan. My Husband, Ronald William Jones was in the Home from approx. 1938-1943. He was 11 when he left Hanley Swan & has very fond memories of the Village. If anyone has any memories of that time, especially during the war years. I would be very grateful. Also any information about St.Gabriels during that time. My Husband was a choirboy & has lovely memories of Miss Pitt. the Choirmistress, also Reverend Jones. Can anyone help? Thank You.

    • Malcolm Fare
      Posted Dec 12, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Hello Betty
      I have talked to a couple of people who remember the war years in Hanley Swan when your husband Ronald was at the Home of the Good Shepherd: Norman Brown, son of the owner of the village stores, and Ted Brooks, who lived at 1 Glanford, where his sister still lives. Ted remembers two boys from the Home particularly: Brian Kelly and Steve Ashby. Steve was later adopted by someone in Gilberts End and went on to become a mechanic in Malvern, but died of a heart attack in the 1970s. No one knows what happened to Brian.

      Other memories include Tummy’s sweet shop in a shed opposite the village stores, Alfie Wilks and his War Ag vehicles, playing 30-aside football on the village green and scrounging gum and chocolate from the Americans at Merebrook and Blackmore camps. Ted recalls a local lad called ‘Taffy’ Jones from Gilberts End who was in the Home Guard. One night on sentry duty outside the village stores he saw a white shape coming up the bank of the pond and believed he had seen a ghost, only to find out it was a swan flapping its wings.

      I would be interested to learn what happened to Ronald after he left in 1943. Does he know the names of any of the other boys at the Home and what happened to them? Do you have any photographs of people in the village?

      Malcolm Fare