It fell to me to take a relative out today to buy a birthday present for a friend. We had breakfast in a little café (they do the most delicious bacon) in Culcheth and then drove over to the Lakeland store in Wilmslow. The Trafford Centre branch would have been closer but my relative didn’t want the hassle of the mall or to go into Manchester city centre to look for something. There was nothing suitable in Lakeland so we went on to Cheadle Royal to go to the John Lewis department store. Nothing there either (this friend must be very picky if there’s nothing in JL) but at least we were able to pick up a few things in the Sainsburys next door. Then I remembered that nearby Cheadle village was having a Maker’s Market that day so, dodging the April showers, we went there.
They call it Cheadle Village and I suppose it was 200 years ago when Manchester was a dirty, industrial smear on the horizon to the north. In those days it would have been an agricultural village in the Cheshire countryside. The rail route brought well to do Victorians who built large villas on the edge of the village. In the early 20th century Cheadle, along with nearby Cheadle Hulme and Cheadle Heath, were subsumed in the suburban sprawl of Manchester. And if you have to live in suburban sprawl you could do worse than Cheadle. As well as the the Victorian villas and the old cottages, there are lots of spacious, 1930s houses and, recently, some modern mansions of debatable taste popular among the poorer of the players from Manchester City and Manchester United. ‘Poor’ being a relative term when talking about the wages of Premiership footballers. The really rich ones live on walled estates deeper in Cheshire.
The centre of the old village has found itself on one of the main road routes from Stockport to the western suburbs and on a route to the motorway network. Every few minutes a plane flys low overhead as it comes into land at Manchester Airport a few miles away.
If you live there you get used to the busyness and noise I suppose. There’s still the atmosphere of a village in parts. It’s quite usual for the local pub to have been built next to the parish church in an English village and this has happened in Cheadle where the White Hart Tavern sits next to St. Mary’s Church.
St. Mary’s is one of the cities Grade 1 listed buildings, alongside of the likes of Manchester Town Hall. There’s been a church on the site since 1200 but this one was built between 1530 and 1550, during the reign of Henry VIII. There might have been an older one than 1200 with its foundations under the bigger, newer one. The Victorians couldn’t help but ‘improve’ it and it had some work done in 1988, but more of than later. It has a large, and well occupied, and peaceful (until an A380 flys over) churchyard.
Earlier I spoke about some work that had been done on the church in 1988. Ancient Grade 1 listed buildings are very, very, almost impossible, to change. They didn’t try to add a modern extension but they did something interesting with the clock. There are three clock faces in the tower. There is none in the northern face as having one there is considered to be unlucky. I didn’t know that. Originally it had numbers. But now it has letters instead of numbers. I’d assumed that it had been that way since the clock was put in, in Victorian times but this only happened in 1988. The clock face in the southern aspect of the tower says FORGET NOT GOD.
The clock in the eastern face says TIME IS FLYING.
And I had to get into the car park behind the White Hart Tavern to see the western clock face it says TRUST THE LORD. This is the only church, or anywhere else for that matter, that I’ve seen this done.
I liked this vibrant combination of red tulips and purple pansies. I will have to remember it for planting in the autumn. And I need to find the early flowering purple/blue azalea. They do well in our garden and it’s good to find a new one.
One of the entrances to the church.
At the other end of the Main Street of the village is this old pub, the George & Dragon. It’s an old pub and I think it’s an old coaching house where people stopped and stayed 300 years ago as they travelled round the country. They were the motel/restaurants of their day. I can tell it was a coaching house because of the large arch on the left that would let the coach and horses into the coach yard behind the building. In 21st century Manchester the arch has been glazed over to provide the pub with an extra dining space. Some people were eating and watching the Liverpool/Everton football match on a huge TV screen. I’m never allowed to watch TV while I’m eating except Sunday evening when we have a buffet meal and people pick what they want and eat on the sofas in the sitting room. And we do it on Christmas Day evening and Boxing Day.