William Inman came to Upton in 1854, he rented Upton Hall from the Websters while he had a house built on land on Moreton Road between Upton and Moreton. The House was called Harefield House after the Inman's family seat in Harrogate and it was ready by 1860. When William Inman bought the lordship of the manor of Upton from Thomas Webster he renamed the house Upton Manor.
William Inman was born 6th April 1825, and by the time he was 21 he was managing the Richardson ships trading between Liverpool and Philadelphia. On 20 December 1849, he married Anne Brewis, they had nine sons and three daughters.
In 1850 Inman and his partners bought the City of Glasgow, an iron screw steamship recently built at Glasgow, and set up the Liverpool and Philadelphia Steam Ship Company. By 1854 Inman had three steamers, with two others under construction. In 1857 he shifted the American terminus for most of his sailings to New York and changed the name of his firm to the Liverpool, New York and Philadelphia Steam Ship Company, although it was always popularly known as the Inman Line.
The Inman Line reached its peak in 1870 when its eighteen ships carried 44,000 passengers, mostly emigrants, to New York.
In 1875 he had the house extended, including the viewing tower, this enabled him to look out over the Mersey to see when one of his ships was coming in. William lived in the Manor House until his death on 3rd July 1881.
William's widow, Anne, lived in the house for a short time before moving to Liverpool. The estate, including the house was sold to 'The Upton Land Company' on 31st October 1883.
The house and some of the land was sold to another ship owner, Ralph Watts Leyland, in 1884. Ralph Leyland, with his younger brother, had been insurance brokers in Liverpool and in 1875 they bought their first vessel, the Doxford, an iron sailing ship of 682tons. By 1881 they owned six second hand sailing ships, and in that year they ordered their first new vessel, the Grassendale, an iron sailing ship of 1760tons.
In 1893 Mr Leyland discovered that all was not well with his shipping business. In order to save money he moved to the family home in Grassendale, and the Manor was let to Colonel Herbert J Robinson for three years at a rent of £400 per year. Colonel Robinson was commander of the 6th Lancashire Volunteer Artillery based in Altcar.
Following Colonel Robinson's departure, the house was again empty for four years, during this time Mr Leyland tried to sell the house. An advert placed by Waterhouse, Sons & Co in the Liverpool Courier on 29th March 1897 described the house as follows:
...a handsome stone-built mansion with stabling for five horses, harness room, coachhouse with coachman's rooms over, extensive and well stocked fruit, flower and vegetable gardens, pleasure grounds, Italian garden with fountain, conservatory, range of glass houses, pine plantation and paddock, comprising in all between twelve and thirteen acres. The house, which is approached by a handsome well planted carriage drive, stands on high ground and commands beautiful views over Wirral. It contains on the ground floor a square entrance hall lighted by a dome, noble dining room (30ft x 22ft), drawing room (42ft x 30ft), billiard room, library and morning room, servants hall, lavatory, kitchen scullery and other domestic offices. On the first floor are nine bedrooms, boudoir, three bathrooms, two dressing rooms, linen closet etc. Above are nine bedrooms and several store rooms...
Ralph Leyland's attempts to sell the house were unsuccessful, the highest offer he received was £10,200, so in 1902 he returned to live in the house.
In June 1908 the Manor was put up for auction, but it did not reach its reserve price. Latter in the same year Ralph retired from the shipping company due to ill health. The following year the Leyland Shipping Company was taken over.
Mr Leyland remained in the house untill 1911 when he managed to sell it to Mr Stern for just over £3,000. During the time he owned the house, Mr Leyland sold off most of the extensive land to pay his debts.
Ralph and Letitia, his wife, moved to Kenmuir Lodge, a semi-detached house in Mount Road. He died in 1921 at the age of 79
Mr Maurice Stern was a Cotton Merchant, and shortly after buying the Manor, he further extended it. Mr Stern lived at the Manor house until his death in 1950.
In 1951 the FCJ sisters (from Upton Hall) bought the house and it was used first to provide additional boarding space and then, from 1959, it housed the junior school. For more information on Upton Manor during the time it was owned by the FCJ sisters, see the entry in the Schools section.
In 1984, due to the cost of upkeep of the building, the sisters closed the junior school and the house once again was empty for the next three years.
In 1987 McCarthy Stone bought the house and converted it into a nursing home, they added a new wing to the building and built sheltered housing in the grounds. The building was renamed 'The Manor House'.
In March 1974 Upton Manor was given Grade II listed status, the official description, taken from 'The Buildings of England - Cheshire' by N Pevsner and E Hubbard, is as follows:
… House, now in use as nursing home. c1857. Probably by John Cunningham. Ashlar with Welsh slate roof. 2 storeys, 4 window range, with later taller rear block with attic storey. Central entrance in porch with paired Doric columns, flanking sash windows and full height bay window. 3 window return elevation with central full height canted bay. Windows throughout in stressed architraves with pedimented hoods to ground floor. Modillion cornice to eaves, angle quoins. Rear block added later but in similar style. 5 window range to garden front, with outer canted bay windows to ground floor with balustraded parapets. 16 pane sash windows above. Ground floor windows have pedimented hoods, and all are in stressed architraves. Attic storey with segmentally arched dormers breaking the eaves line. Belvedere tower with triple round arched windows and low pyramidal door to rear. Axial stacks. ….
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