Since moving into the house, we have always wondered about it’s history and the tales that it could tell, and trying to get hold of any information of it’s past life has been almost as impossible, it seems that it would be easier to take a photo of a live ‘Dodo’.
If anyone has any photos, documentation, or any small snippets of information that they would either kindly let us have, or even borrow to scan in, it would be verymuch appreciated.
Below are the small amount of information and photos that we have of the house’s past life and also a few photos of the restoration that is ongoing to make the house right for us…
The History of Axnfell
There is only so much that you can learn from the deads of a property, you can I suppose get a good starting point to start looking up names etc, but everything from there on is kind of guess-work.
I have for ages now wondered about the history of this property, being one of the oldest houses in Laxey, and at the time of it being built, with the lack of trees around it, it would have been an impressive site, pearched on the top of the hill, over-looking the valley below and all that was going on.
We have received a great boost to our small quest, thanks to a Mary Huxtable (born Prince) from Penrith, Cumbria whose family once lived in Axnfell. She has supplied us with a load of Photos and other snippets of information that has been such a great help to us, and will be looked after and taken care of for the future.
Over the next few months all of the information will be scanned in and uploaded to this website for anyone interested to look through.
We just wish to thank Mary and her Husband Alan for contacting us, it is very much appreciated and we can not thank you enough.
1904 to 1939
The bulk of the information that we have been given by Mary centers around Axnfell being run as a guest house by Arthur Lee Glover and his wife Edith Ethel Glover from 1904 until 1939.
Sadly like most old photos, or in this case a copy of an old photo, the quality of which has aged over the years, I am having to clean up and bring back as much of the details as I can, so I hope that this will do justice to the memories of this wonderful people.
Standing and going Left to Right, we have Arthur Lee Glover and Edith Ethel Glover, the people that were running Axnfell as a guest house back then, Sadly the last person I do not have any information about.
Seated in the front row is first, Mrs Clay (known as Grannie to Mary), and at her feet is ‘Nero’, next, i’m afraid is another unknown person.
The Photo looks as though it was taken at what we call the lower entrance to Axnfell, which is below the house and eventually comes out in Upper Rencell Lane.
The other interesting thing about this photo is ‘who took it’! Who were the ‘Art Studio’ or ‘Axnfell Studios’, and what happened to their photography library? Maybe there are more photos of Axnfell out there, or of the guests that once stayed here.
From the Left, Arthur Lee Glover (father of Dorothy Ethel Glover) 1874-1949, Seated is Joseph Samual Glover 1880-1959, On the Right is Thomas Lester Glover 1871-?
Arthur Lee Glover
Born: 23rd May 1874
Died: 12th January 1949
The Visitor's Book
One of the really great and unexpected finds that Mary sent to us is the actual ‘Visitor Book’ that was provided to people that stayed in Axnfell when it was run as a guest house.
This is just fantastic, its the sort of item that sadly gets lost and forgotten, but I intend that this will not be the case this time around.
I have started to scan in each page, it’s going to take a really long time.
I am scanning in each page at the highest resolution that I can so that every little ink blot will be recorded and preserved for all time, once it has been scanned I will save it as a downloadable Adobe PDF file so that anyone wishing to look at it may do so.
I will try and decipher the elegant script that most people seemed to write in those days with a view to provide something a little easier to read, hopefully then I will be able to see who stayed here and what it was like in them days.
Some of the comments are really nice and some are even quite long taking up whole pages, I will hopefully add a few quote here as and when I can.
This one of the many Postcards that I have been sent of the old house, quite a lot has changed over the years, mainly the planting, or self planting of trees around the property has made a lot of the land enclosed with woodland, it’s nice to see how open the land was around the house about 100 years back.
Photo taken in the grounds at Axnfell in 1903. Sadly nothing was written on the back of the photo to say who these people were.
There are many different Postcards of Axnfel, this one shows the house a long time before the forest took over the hillside, nowadays you cannot see the house at all from this vantage point.
Axnfell Postcard from the early 1900’s
Another Postcard, one of the many that the Glover family had done for the guest house.
The Wall by the Woods. This has not changed much over the years, I managed to locate the mound in the photo, and although the wall is no longer as big as it was, many stones have been removed over the years, I did manage to locate where this photo was taken. It is the dividing wall between what was to become the plantation and the grounds to the house.
Not entirely sure as to where this photo was taken, I think it may be the entrance to Axnfell Plantation although I am not sure how much of the plantation was planted at this point.
Another one of those really old photos that has only just about made it through the years, and another that I wish I could have got a really good scan off, this is a view that you just cannot se nowadays with all the trees that are in the way.
This must have been one of the last photos taken at Axnfell of the Glover family, here is Dorothy Glover with her parents in 1939, an as their time in Axnfell ended in 1939 and from what I have read so far this sadly was the end of a true era, The house was sadly neglected since there leaving up until we moved in and started to renovate it.
Here is a photo of Dorothy Glover, this time sitting on the wall at the bottom of the hill that Axnfell is perched upon in the 1930’s, this is the wall that is on the lower entrance to Axnfel, now very over grown but hopefully in a year or two this area will look less like the rain forest that it looks like today.
Margaret Sanderson, who is Mary Huxtable’s sister got in contact with us to let us know t that this was her mother, Dorothy Glover, sitting on the wall in the ’30s.Thank you so so much for getting in contact with us, you an your sister have been a tremendous help in peicing together such a large amount of missing informtion and photos regarding Axnfel’s history, we are forever greatful…
On the back of this photo was written ‘The Tennis Party, 1914’, I am hoping that when I work my way through the visitors book I might be able to put names to the people in this photograph, especially the two men that were obviously off to the war.
This image as it turns out is produced from the ‘Printers Block’ that was sent to use recently by Mary Huxtable, apparently her dad (John Surr Prince) used to own his own Printing Press and had this made.
This is the ‘only’ internal photo that I have of the house and its a poor one im afraid, the old sash windows are no longer in the house and this view is not possible due to trees that have now grown at the rear of the house, when I first moved in we could just about get a small slither of this view from the fire escape on the top floor, but sadly way too many trees there now.
You may be able to just make out the Laxey wheel in the center of the shot.
Below is a letter that was written by Mrs. Prince regarding Axnfell by the then vicar of Laxey Church back in 1963.
Also included in the collection of items sent to us is a small press cutting when it looked a tad bleak for the old house on the hill. Thankfully this never happened.
Recipes from Axnfel
A good friend of mine, John ‘Harry’ Harrison just sent me the image above of an old colourised Postcard that he came across with the old Axnfel House up on the hill.