Memories Of Nigel Hendley

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Nigel was born here in 1933. And has lived all his life in Audlem. Oft when I talk with him, he regales me with so many facts about life hereabouts- long time ago.

So I resolved to put his memories down on paper as they say- but now on my iPad/pc

I am going to start with his tales of yesteryear by 'walking ' with him in Hankelow as he talks of his youth and also of times before he was born.

So here goes. A Walk through the memories of Nigel Hendley ' with some help from Eric Langley

Chapter One. Hankelow

He tells me the following.

In the Second World War, a troop of medic soldiers, RAMC- were billeted there in the Hall. Then came some ATS women, and sadly one was killed in the Corbrook dip when a 3 tonner lorry tipped over.

US troops came and he tells me of one night, when the soldiers were in the White Lion and received notice that German paratroopers were dropping from planes. Out rushed the GI's, grabbing their rifles and down towards the Hall. See what looked like parachutes on the deck, they shot at them, only to discover they had shot and killed 4 white cows resting in the night air. Cows belonged to a Frank Darlington.

Tells me of the tradition of a piece of land- belonging to no known owner and if you could build a chimney stack on the land between sunrise and sunset, then the land was yours. This too applied in Cox Bank.

The house on the edge of the green nearest to Audlem was one such dwelling.

Another fact. The house, Ball Farm, with the large stone balls atop the gate pillars was a magistrates house. The balls being the symbol for the place of justice.

In Long Lane, one of the present houses was a Chapel in the 40/50's.

A Lady Wettenhall of Hankelow left £25 in her will to provide tools for anyone one becoming an apprentice and Moseley's store in Moseley's yard in Audlem provided them. She also left 6 loaves of bread each week to be given to the poor of the parish. These benefits were administered by Onions and Davies of Market Drayton

A Mr Kilick , ships broker came from Liverpool to live at the Hall. And then later at Highfields . A while ago two big boilers there were unearthed- had been used for watering cattle-

And it was discovered they came from a great ship, the.SS Great Eastern

This Mr Killick had papered one room in the Hall with wallpaper depicting pictures of action in the Boer War. Nigel has some of this and will let us see it when he finds it.

Nigel goes on to say that most folks who dwelt then in Hankelow were wealthy.

In 1810, there was a murder. The killer, a Mr Lomax was found guilty and hanged at Chester. The farmers widow with whom the said Lomax had had an affair, was also found guilty, but as she was pregnant, the judgement was delayed until she gave birth. Then she was hanged. The case was heard in the White Lion.
Another family who dwelt in the Hall were the Coopers. In the 1860's the father, mother, son and daughter ( aged 6) set off with their nanny to travel to the lakes. Now you have got to put yourself in their boots and shoes. To travel to Windermere requires a journey in a carriage. Perhaps a stage coach. How many miles to be driven. Today it is about 125 but then, by tracks, farm roads, over hill and Dale- quite a testing journey and I guess very costly. Needing to take shelter and rest in coaching inns on the way. No showers. Toilets quite rudimentary. And imagine how they were dressed. The lady in her bell shaped full skirts, with petticoats and tight bodice. Hair In ringlets. Master in his long jacket over a waistcoat with stiff collar and a cravat. Mutton chop whiskers. Children in sailor suit for young master and full Alice in wonderland dress for little mistress. Nanny in dark dress. And the welter of trunks accompanying them.
They arrived at the lake side to their accommodation. Booked of course by hand delivered letter with the penny black stamp of Rowland Hills recent introduction as no other way in which to communicate. Father, mother and young daughter set sail on the lake, with young son and the nanny staying on the shore, as not lovers of any sailing. Disaster struck, the boat overturned and all three were drowned. Later in life, the son, at the age of 21, fooling about with his love and a flintlock pistol accidentally shot himself in the head. The ball going right through his brain. Such a sad ending to the Cooper family.

The mill down Mill Lane last ground cereal in the year of 1948.

A Mosquito fighter crashed near the hall and both the pilot and navigator were killed. Police guarded the crash site. Also a Lancaster bomber crashed in the field off Helers Farm. Again the police guarded the crash site.

Hankelow Court had stained glass window with scenes of shipping lines of Liverpool

Nigel says that the Tallest magnolia tree in the district was in the grounds of the hall.

Water on tap arrived in the village in 1954, before that water was drawn from the village pump on the corner of the lane leading to Audlem from Long Lane. And no toilets were there until the water came. All used a privy with the night soil men coming to take away the buckets and empty them at the old tip in Long Lane. This waste was used later when dried and aged as manure for some of the best tomatoes etc.
Electricty too arrived in the 1950's.

A piece of early history .
Ralph Warburton — The next chapter will be ' I hope ' Buerton Life ..