Backford, Mollington & Lea Villages



North Lodge

Mollington is the biggest of the parish townships.

Before 1900, these were the acreages - Great Mollington 1069,   Backford 764,   Lea 697,  Chorlton 544,     Caughall 348.

In 1900 Great and Little Mollington were joined for administrative purposes and together renamed Mollington, while the Crabwall Hall area was added in 1936. These two changes added an extra 204 acres to the township. 

Today Mollington has a population of 680 with 237 households.

The two major houses, Mollington Hall and Mollington Banastre, and one just outside, Crabwall Hall, eventually succumbed to the shrinking demand for large country houses, due largely to difficulty in obtaining domestic staff.

Mollington Hall was the centre of an extensive estate for the Feilden family and had continued as such for Gibbons Frost, a Chester flour miller. With no male heir to the Frosts, the estate was broken up by 1930, and in 1938 the Hall was demolished by an Ellesmere Port builder, Cullin. His plans for house building on the site ran into financial difficulties and were only implemented much later.

Interesting features of the estate which have survived include the north and south lodges, and two artificially created lakes. There is also a remarkable brick lined icehouse, ovoid in shape, of which two thirds is below ground, with the top covered by soil and shrubs. Double doors at ground level allowed blocks of ice, cut from the lake in hard weather, to be packed with snow and used at the Hall for wine cooling etc. During the war the icehouse was used by the home guard to store ammunition. 

Surviving the loss of the Hall were its surrounding farms and a nucleus of original properties like the C of E School opened in 1896, and the Post Office. 

In the days when Mollington Hall was the centre of a busy estate, it would no doubt have seen great social activity. As far as the village was concerned that would have meant annual displays and fetes in the park for adults, and parties for children. The Hall might, therefore, have been sadly missed, except that others were ready to step in: of whom the best remembered is Mrs Nicholson of The Willows. Local residents remember her magnificent gardens and grounds with ripe peaches growing on the wall and tropical plants in the greenhouses.

In fact, the 1920s marked the end of the period when leadership in the parish was being provided by the landlords and owners of the great houses.