Combermere House
148 Hospital Street

It's hard to specifically date the origins of the property that today is known as Combermere House. There certainly appear to have been cottages between Churche's Mansion and Hospital House in 16th century.

The first specific recording of a property transaction relating to the site is dated 1710 when a John Comberbach - innholder of Willaston - sold a parcel of land to Hugh Pratchitt - a farmer and probable up-and-coming tenant of a cottage on the land. Long before then in 1133 the Benedictine Order of Combermere was founded by Hugh Malbank, Second Baron of Nantwich a privilege that included a quarter of the town of Nantwich, and conceivably some of that land was in Hospital Street for The Book of the Abbott of Combermere, 1524, numbers property in Hospital Street as within control of the Abbey. Some interesting artefacts of a "monastic" style have been dug up in the garden of 148.

In 1732 Hugh Pratchitt willed his Hospital Street property to Thomas Pratchitt who in 1746 was a member of the first Town Council and a Trustee of Wright's Almshouses and a churchwarden (as was his father Hugh). Thomas Pratchitt, however, fell foul of the law for some unspecified crime, and in 1758 his pistols were seized and sold to cover the expense of putting him in prison. Thomas Pratchitt died in 1777 and ownership of the land is unclear until 1799 when a house plus three cottages passed to William Garnett and subsequently to his son George (another churchwarden) and thence to his grandson Thomas.

By 1826 Thomas Garnett, true to the 'rags-to-riches in three generations' rule, became bankrupt, the house was handed to his creditors and ownership of the property became divided. At one time no less than 23 people had title to ownership of the property but by 1848 these titles had been coalesced into the single ownership of James Broadhurst who lived in the house for 30 years and was superseded by several relatives.

By 1894 the house bore the name Nuthurst House and the number was 152 along with several other adjacent buildings including Churche's Mansion. The owner at the time, Walter Young a bank manager, undertook extensive rebuilding under the guidance of Thomas Bower, Architect of Nantwich.

In 1928 the house had changed its number to 154 and become 'Nuthurst Ladies School' under the direction of the Misses Richardson providing education for both boarders and day pupils for young ladies up to the age of 18. Later boys up to age 11 were also admitted to 'Nuthurst School' which remained viable for about 40 years. Sometime during this period the house numbering was changed and Nuthurst became No 148.

In 1962 Nuthurst was purchased with a reduced area of garden by Drs Richard and Gillian Appleton who undertook the task of restoring the house from a school to a dwelling and who still live there today. For a time after 1962 the school continued as a day-school, functioning in adjacent buildings and retaining the name Nuthurst School. Consequently a new name had to be found for the house and the Appletons opted for Combermere House in respect of the historical links between land in Hospital Street and Combermere Abbey which date back the best part of nine hundred years.
They also carried out the research on which this article is based and which more fully documents events relating to the history of the buildings and surrounding land.

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