A Rich History

Henry Lewis, a Welsh Quaker, was one of the first three European settlers in Haverford Township. Arriving in 1682, he built his home on 500 acres and named it Maen Coch, meaning Red Stone, the name of his village in Wales.  In 1700 Henry Lewis, Jr. built the first section of the mansion, which is presently the drawing room.  In 1730 he added the library and stair hall.  The property was sold in 1750 to Captain John Wilcox by Henry Lewis, III. Wilcox added to the house; made changes in the original structure to provide a large, more formal room for entertaining; and changed the name to Clifton Hall.

Charles Cruikshank purchased the estate in 1761.  His daughter, Clementina, married John Ross, a Philadelphia merchant, at Clifton Hall in 1768.  Cruikshank was a Loyalist and left the country immediately after the Revolution, but his son-in-law, Ross, was very active in the American cause.  In May 1776, John Ross was commissioned by Congress to procure clothes, arms and powder for the use of the army.  Ross advanced his own money and was never fully recompensed.  He purchased the property in 1782.  During his ownership, many of the influential men of the time were entertained here, including Lafayette, Knox, Mifflin and Washington. Several entries in George Washington's diary attest to this: "June 17, 1787. Went to church. -After wch rid 8 miles into the country and dined with Mr. Ross in Chester County. Retd. to town about dusk."

Mr. Ross died suddenly in 1800 and most of the land was sold in a number of transactions.  In 1811 John Brinton purchased The Grange and remaining acreage but sold it in 1816 to Manuel Eyre, who converted the bathhouse to a schoolroom for use by his eight children.  Following Manuel Eyre's death in 1846 his daughter Harriet and her husband John Ashhurst, remained in residence as tenants.  Dennis Kelly, proprietor of three textile mills on Cobbs Creek, which flows through The Grange purchased the property in 1848 for another mill site.  The Ashhursts repurchased it in 1850.

During the Ashhursts' ownership they made architectural changes to the mansion, including the addition of the porte cochere and wing.  John Carver drew the plans.  Today, we have the English Gothic residence and outbuildings as they were conceived in 1850-1863.

The mansion at The Grange may have been unoccupied from 1911 to 1913 after the death of the Ashhursts' sons.  In 1913, the 86.024 acre estate was purchased by Benjamin R. Hoffman of Philadelphia.  Mr. Hoffman married Margaret Clawson in 1922 and shared his wife's horticultural interests.  They added many new specimens to the gardens.  Over the years Mr. Hoffman and his wife sold parcels of the estate leaving the current 9.917 acres.   Some of these parcels of land became what are now known as Chatham Park and Chatham Village.

In 1974 Haverford Township purchased the acreage from Margaret Hoffman's Estate.