Tales of the Underbanks

Your stories and tales of the Underbanks

The Man Who Rode a Cow

In 1784 the Prime Minister, William Pitt, introduced a tax on horses that weren’t being used in trade or agriculture. Anyone riding a horse would have to pay 10 shillings. In protest, a local man called Jonathan Thatcher rode to Stockport market on a cow.

The Devil’s Steps

The set of stairs that is now Dutton’s Steps, running next to St Petersgate Bridge and opposite Turner’s Vaults is known by some as the Devil’s Steps. Legend has it, that in the early 1900s, the church warden’s daughter would sneak away to a dance hall located on the steps.
She found a handsome partner at the dance one night, but as they left the hall, he turned into the Devil himself. The girl had a cross sewn into the lining of her dress and when the Devil touched the cross, he recoiled. In his anger, he stamped the floor and left a hoof mark on the steps before fleeing alone.

The girl was said to have gone mad after that night and could be seen dancing at every new moon, around a mound at the rectory on Churchgate where she lived.

The many names of Rostron Brow

Rostron Brow is an ancient track and consists of a steep slope leading from Lower Hillgate to the Market Place. Over the many centuries it has been known by a number of names.

It is clearly marked as a street on the 1680 map of Stockport, but under the name ‘Rosen Banke’ after a local farmer. It would have probably had timber framed buildings on both sides. During the first half of the nineteenth century it became known as Rostron Brow.  By the middle of the nineteenth century, it had become associated with the Rostron Brother’s, a family of drapers who owned several properties in the vicinity, and was renamed.

Rostron Brow was a busy thoroughfare back then and home to two early pubs called the Dust Hole and Hare & Hounds. These later became places of ill repute and were pulled down by the Victorians. The arched fronted building is still standing in Rostron Brow which was built as a warehouse by a Mr Hall, who bought the site in 1899. The former landlord of the demolished Hare & Hounds in the 1880s, Albert Crossley, ran an eating house in this same building. This explains why it was later known as Crossley’s Tea Rooms and Dance Hall. The building is now home to the award winning restaurant ‘Where the Light Gets In’ on the top floor.

Rostron Brow has also been home to plumbers, a clogger and a bird dealership. In the late eighteenth century, James Leech, known to have laid the foundation stone for Stockport Infirmary, had a chemist business on Rostron Brow. His daughter later married Robert Rostron to which the track is named after.



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