In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Farley like this:
FARLEY, a township in Alton parish, Stafford; near the Uttoxeter canal, 4¼ miles ENE of Cheadle. Real property, £3, 029. Pop., 390. Houses, 82. There is a Roman Catholic chapel.
The Alton Towers estate was a former seat of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Following its sale in 1924 a group of local businessmen began to restore the gardens as a tourist attraction. In the 1950s this included the operation of a fairground, and by the 1970s included a boating lake and chairlift.
After millionaire property developer John Broome married the daughter of majority shareholder Denis Bagshaw in 1973, he bought out the controlling stake in Alton Towers. Over the next few years he laid the foundation for the modern theme park by installing various permanent rides and developing areas of the grounds in progressive stages. In the 1980s Broome marketed the park by installing a major new ride every year – including Corkscrew, Pirate Ship (now The Blade), Alpine Bobsleigh, The Flume and The Black Hole.
The formal garden at Farley sloped sharply upwards behind the house and was walled. The glasshouse now at Farley Hall is of unknown date but it is almost a perfect semi-globe as recommended by Loudon in his remarks to the Horticultural Society in 1815.
The Farley estate passed to Richard Bill of Norbury, Derbyshire by marriage in 1607. He built Farley Hall shortly afterwards. There were extensive alterations in 1784 by Thomas Gardener of Uttoxeter. Members of the Bill family were land agents for the Earls of Shrewsbury and Gower and the Marquess of Ailsbury.
Ramsor Primitive Methodist Chapel
The Primitive Methodist Chapel is the main if no the only building other than farms and dwellings to survive from the 19th century. It is now in private ownership, and has been lovingly restored as a place of worship where services are occasionally held. This writer was present for services on 3rd December 2006 and 31st May 2007. The second occasion was the conclusion of a walk from Mow Cop to Ramsor on the bicentenary of the first Primitive Methodist Camp Meeting. The present pulpit is not the original, but one rescued from a similar chapel at Gun End, near The Roaches to the north of Leek, Staffordshire. This looks as if it had been purpose built for Ramsor Chapel. The lighter panels are wood carvings.
The present Chapel is the Jubilee Chapel, built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. It stands across the road from Chapel Farm, in the grounds of which stood the first Chapel.