The Courtyard is set in a 200-year-old cobbled courtyard and the farmhouse, Rake House, is a Georgian Grade II Listed property that was built in 1807 for Elizabeth Lewis Haspell, the widowed wife of Richard Haspell, who died in 1802. The first stables were built in 1826
Elizabeth Haspell’s grandson, Thomas Lewis Haspell, is featured in an oil painting produced in the late 1850s, possibly to establish his right of inheritance as he was born out of wedlock. Thomas’s son, John, took over the farm until the house was sold to Frederick Thornley in or around 1872. Frederick’s wife, Hannah, was the granddaughter of Samuel Burgess, Elizabeth Haspell’s brother and so the house remained connected to the original family until the 1960s.
In the late 1870s the house was extended to form a “Cheshire front to back house”. This was typical of some farm properties that were extended as the families became wealthier and, in this case, what was the front entrance became the rear entrance as a newer, more grand Victorian frontage was built. By the early 1960s the property was divided into flats and during the 1970s the property became derelict following a fire.
In 1980, the house and farm was purchased by a local builder who separated the Victorian part of the house away from the Georgian part and converted the barns into separate properties. Roger and Jill bought Rake House in 2003.
In January 2006, Rake House appeared in Cheshire Life as part of the feature on the village of Helsby. A watercolour of the house was painted by local Cheshire artist, Gordon Wilkinson. As a result of this feature a copy of the magazine was sent by somebody from Chester out to their cousin, Patsy Armour, in New Zealand who contacted Roger and Jill. Patsy is the great, great, great, great, granddaughter of Elizabeth Haspell and both she and her mother, Eleanor, who used to stay at Rake House during the 1930s have provided Roger and Jill with this history.