Oliver Cromwell's civil war HQ in Smithills wrecked by vandals

Ivy Cottage became a magnet for vandals

Oliver Cromwell

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , business editor

THIEVES and vandals have turned an historical cottage where Oliver Cromwell’s troops were based during the English Civil War into a crumbling ruin.

Ivy Cottage in Cunliffe Brow, Smithills, was the dream home of owner Stephen Turner, but it has been slowly stripped of anything of value and targeted by teenage vandals who have set fires after breaking in.

Mr Turner, bought the 500-year-old cottage in 1998 when he was manager of Bolton’s Moat House Hotel, but he left the property three years ago when his job in the hospitality industry took him to other parts of the country.

He initially rented the property out and travelled home whenever he could to keep on top of the maintenance.

But once it became known locally that the house was empty the vandalism and break-ins started. Mr Turner, aged 49, said: “It’s heartbreaking to see it in the dilapidated condition it is now in.

“It was a fantastic house and I loved living in Bolton. I lived there on my own, but it was really ideally suited to a family.

“To live in a cottage with such a connection to local history was amazing.”

Mr Turner said he would like to return to Bolton and renovate the house, but may also consider selling it.

The condition of the house has been a concern to neighbours in nearby Brentford Avenue which leads on to Cunliffe Brow.

Nigel Worrall who lives next door to the cottage said he had regularly challenged teenagers who were gaining access to the building.

“What they are doing is highly dangerous,” he said. “They have lit fires while thieves have come in and taken everything valuable. It’s a crying shame.

“But there is so much interest in the house. There have been people turning up in fancy cars asking about it. I don’t think the owner would have much trouble selling it, even in the condition it’s in now.”

Bolton Council’s specialist empty buildings officers have been in contact with Mr Turner over measures to make the property secure.

A council spokesman said: “We have had several dealings with the owner of this property over the last few years around issues such as rubbish, anti-social behaviour and security.

“The owner has carried out the work we have asked him to do. We have also been out recently to assess the property and currently the situation does not warrant us pursuing formal planning enforcement action.

“We will continue to monitor things and take appropriate action if things change.”

THE ‘MASSACRE AT BOLTON’

  • Ivy Cottage is believed to be where Cromwell’s troops were based just before the Bolton Massacre, sometimes called the Storming of Bolton on May 28, 1644.
  • The strongly Parliamentarian town was stormed and captured by Royalist forces under Prince Rupert. It was alleged that up to 1,600 of Bolton’s defenders — Cromwell’s men — and inhabitants were slaughtered during and after the fighting has ceased.
  • The “massacre at Bolton” was a staple of Parliamentarian propaganda during the duration of the Cival War.

Comments (5)

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12:41pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Beyond News Forum says...

For me the fact that this obviously wealthy man has not kept on top of this valuable and historic property from no matter where he is in the country or the world is just plain ignorance. He could have adopted the services of a management company, pent a little money or just sold it on to someone who cares.

Yes there are some sh!tty ignorant kids ands teens who do not value or respect property, but it is no excuse for a property owner/landlord to allow there homes to become neglected. Which is the case here no matter how the Bolton News wish to dress the report up.

I have no sympathy for the owner, but it is a dire shame to see such neglect of a wonderful an historic property. One of many in Bolton due to ignorant careless property owners/landlords.

Perhaps this will kick the council up the ar$e into chasing the owners up, compulsory purchasing and heavily fining blatant neglect.

I hope this is a lesson learned, but I fear where there is too much money, festers arrogance and ignorance.
For me the fact that this obviously wealthy man has not kept on top of this valuable and historic property from no matter where he is in the country or the world is just plain ignorance. He could have adopted the services of a management company, pent a little money or just sold it on to someone who cares. Yes there are some sh!tty ignorant kids ands teens who do not value or respect property, but it is no excuse for a property owner/landlord to allow there homes to become neglected. Which is the case here no matter how the Bolton News wish to dress the report up. I have no sympathy for the owner, but it is a dire shame to see such neglect of a wonderful an historic property. One of many in Bolton due to ignorant careless property owners/landlords. Perhaps this will kick the council up the ar$e into chasing the owners up, compulsory purchasing and heavily fining blatant neglect. I hope this is a lesson learned, but I fear where there is too much money, festers arrogance and ignorance. Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 20

12:43pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Beyond News Forum says...

And yes I know the owner has kept up with council requests, but obviously it is not enough.

Why was it allowed to get in that state in the first place if there was/is that much interest???
And yes I know the owner has kept up with council requests, but obviously it is not enough. Why was it allowed to get in that state in the first place if there was/is that much interest??? Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 13

6:11pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Loose Talk says...

What do you do when you have a historic property with high renovation / maintenance costs but which is unsuited for modern living and hasn't got much "kerb appeal"?
Allow it to get run down and vandalised then be forced to pull it down and replace it with a block of flats!!!
What do you do when you have a historic property with high renovation / maintenance costs but which is unsuited for modern living and hasn't got much "kerb appeal"? Allow it to get run down and vandalised then be forced to pull it down and replace it with a block of flats!!! Loose Talk
  • Score: 10

3:14pm Sun 2 Feb 14

steveG says...

If the custodians of our culture and heritage are to be Bolton council then I suggest we may as well all give up.
If the custodians of our culture and heritage are to be Bolton council then I suggest we may as well all give up. steveG
  • Score: 8

6:19pm Mon 3 Feb 14

hayhair says...

my self and my partner tried to contact mr turner around two years ago through a naighbour who was still in contact with him, to see if he was willing to sell the property he just ignored us. he should of kept up the maintanance and if he was that bothered about the property he would of kept it in good repair. i did hear that he did have nightmare tenents bt that may just be talk. i remember walking passed the cottage as a little girl going to school n it was lovely and the garden was so colourfull.
it is such a shame.
kids should also have more respect for bolton history.
hayley
my self and my partner tried to contact mr turner around two years ago through a naighbour who was still in contact with him, to see if he was willing to sell the property he just ignored us. he should of kept up the maintanance and if he was that bothered about the property he would of kept it in good repair. i did hear that he did have nightmare tenents bt that may just be talk. i remember walking passed the cottage as a little girl going to school n it was lovely and the garden was so colourfull. it is such a shame. kids should also have more respect for bolton history. hayley hayhair
  • Score: 0

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