MERE NEWS by nyut545e2

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									                             Supported by Ellesmere Town Council

            MERE                                          NEWS

            The community magazine for Ellesmere and surrounding villages
                                                                         ISSUE 35
                                                                   Spring 2007
                                                                         Mere Insides
                                                            Curtain Up                            4
                                                            Celtic Myth and Mystery               6

                                                            Dog Show                              9
                                                            Record of Cheese                      12
                                                            Walk                                  16
                                                            Wharf Road Dairy                      20
                                                            Crossword                             23

                                                                                   This ‘out of print ’ Chapters
                                                                                 from the History of Ellesmere’
                                                                                   is available from Ellesmere
                                                                                 Infolink for only £5– proceeds
                                                                                       in aid of Mere News

                                                         Next Issue — Articles & Adverts in by
                                                         15th June 2007

                                                         The Editor:                  Terry Cartlidge,
                                                                                      28 Hill Park,
                                                                                      Dudleston Heath,
                                                                                      SY12 9LF
                                                                                      01691 690563
                                                         Production Team:             Sue & Geoff Ardill
                              Heron Watch                                             01691 624331
                                                                                      Jennie Roberts
                         At the Meres Visitor Centre                                  01691 622595
                                                         Advertising Manager:         Margaret Lagoyianni,
                         See Page 9 for more details                                  1 Church St,
                                                                                      Ellesmere SY12 0HD


Picture - GAconsulting                                       printed by ABBEY WORKS of Shrewsbury
Mere News Issue 35                                       page   2

                                   Veterinary Centre
                                   12 Talbot Street
                                   SY12 0HQ

                                   Tel: (01691) 622201
                                   Fax; (01691) 622118

                by appointment

        8.45am, 2.00pm,- 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 6.00pm

                     10.00am —10.30am

               FARM & HORSE VISITS

Mere News Issue 35                                                                                  page    3

 E              ditorial
 Welcome to ‗Mere News‘ No.35, Spring 2007, the start of
 another year. This time last year, (March 2nd), we had a
 covering of snow, this year we have had so much rain., I
 think that perhaps, we should start to build an Ark. We are
 told there should be no hosepipe ban this summer, I‘ll wait
 and see.

 At ‗Mere News‘, we start the New Year with optimism, our
 finances are in quite good order. The Ellesmere
 Community Chest grant (£1500) came through, we were
 able to buy a laptop computer and can fund our printing
 costs for the rest of the year.
                                                                  Cllr Pat McLaughlin of the Ellesmere Community
 A key factor in our successful bid is the ‗match funding‘ in    Chest presenting us with a new computer and other
 the form of the efforts of all our contributors and production
 tasks. We have been totting up the hours of all the individuals. For example, just one article in this issue took
 over thirty hours work, in research and compilation to create. We are also grateful for the support given to us by
 the administrators of the Community Chest– North Shropshire Voluntary Action.

 Another generous donation has been received from our Town Council as well as a number of readers and

 We have also benefitted from the sale of copies of J W Nankivell‘s book, ‗Chapters from the History of
 Ellesmere‘ (copies available from the Infolink). So with revenue from adverts and sponsorship we are, for now,
 fairly comfortable financially.

 This all certainly helps the Editorial peace of mind.                Sponsored Walk in aid of –
                                                          The National Association of Colitis and Crohn’s Disease.
                                                          Jane Farncombe is going to walk 141 miles of the
                                                          Shropshire Way, supported by our contributor, her driver/
 Terry Cartlidge                                          manager/husband David. To find out more or sponsor Jane

                                                                                       This page is sponsored by

Our Rates :-

Please send your advert requirements with cheque payable to ‗Mere
News‘ to Margaret Lagoyianni or any member of the production team -
address details on front cover.

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Mere News Issue 35                                                                                page    4
                                                          nearby, in St Anne‘s. Charlie Drake and Tommy
 Curtain Up!                                              Cooper both started their early careers in the resort of
                                                          Blackpool. Peter Goodwright, the impressionist, loved
                                       A good solid       and appeared many times in the resort, as did the great
                                       variety act in     and sadly missed Roy Castle.
                                       the     Golden
                                                          Another name that keeps cropping up in a ―performer‖
                                       Variety days,
                                                          summer show edition that I have is Bill Pertwee who
                                       especially with
                                                          played the ―air raid‖ warden in ―Dad‘s Army‖. He
                                       a good agent,
                                                          appeared in many summer shows. Arthur Askey
                                       could have 12
                                                          started in summer shows in Shanklin and an old
                                       months of solid
                                                          programme that I have of a summer show has an artist
                                       work, based on
                                                          Bernard Lee, who in later years played ―M‖ in the
                                       the following –
                                                          Bond movies. Also another old programme of the
                                                          ―Pier Theatre‖ Eastbourne for July 1957 starring
                                       January        –
                                                          Norman Wisdom and Sandy Powell. Another advert I
                                                          have is for 1957 at Babbacombe and Bruce Forsyth was
February-March-April-May Touring in ―Variety‖,
                                                          on the bill!!
June, July, August and sometimes into September, in
Summer Shows at the very many variety theatres            Great names from those entertaining years, but as I said
around the British – Welsh and Scottish coast!! In fact   in my last article, television was beginning to be a
in those days Summer Shows were just as big as            worry to variety. As a matter of historical interest
variety itself and to be ―Beside the Seaside‖ in the      variety began in 1919, before that it was ―Music Hall‖.
summer months was the ―in‖ thing and believe me           This died in 1960, as television got a hold on the public
from my old copies of ―The Performer‖ and the             in that year. Less and less people were going to
―Stage‖ there were hundreds of seaside theatres and       theatres, and as audiences fell it became financially
pier theatres to choose from!!!                           impossible to produce a variety show, and make a
                                                          profit, so variety in a way became the first casualty of
As I write I‘m looking at an advert in the Performer
                                                          the modern age!! Many novelty acts such as jugglers,
that reads ―Winter Gardens‖ Bournemouth—Ted Ray –
                                                          acrobats, roller skaters and the like went to work on the
Harriett and Evans – Ken Platt. Also in another advert
                                                          continent, but this was impossible for talking acts,
for 1960 – at the Opera House, Blackpool – Marty
                                                          comics or singers etc. so many artists were on the scrap
Wilde – Dora Bryan – Al Read. And some of the
names of the Summer Shows famous in their day, such
as ―The Fol-de-Rols‖ at Hastings and at Bognor Regis,     Lots of comics turned to ―after dinner‖ speaking or
the Summer Show ―Twinkle‖ with Clarkson Rose.             entertaining on cruise liners and some, like Bruce
Also an advert for Shanklin ―Pier Theatre‖ (Isle of       Forsyth, Max Bygraves and more, successfully moved
Wight) in 1930 starring Tommy Trinder. Another            to television, but many artists couldn‘t master not
Tommy started in summer shows – Tommy Handley.            having a live audience!! So variety was falling apart!!
                                                          Lots of entertainers started to work in clubs- labour,
Colwyn Bay had early pierrot shows presented by Will
                                                          liberal, conservative, working men‘s. But lots of clubs
Catlin. One of the most memorable events early in the
century was the Colwyn Bay debut of boy soprano
David Ivor Davies with his mother Clara Novello
Davies. He became famous in later years as composer
Ivor Novello.
There was an open air theatre called ―Happy Valley‖ in
Llandudno, just a wooden stage with a canopy. Also in
Rhyl one of the Will Catlin‘s daughters (Gladys)
married a female impersonator called Billy Manders                            Chiropodist
and he took over the amphitheatre at Rhyl and called
his productions the ―Quaintesques‖ and his shows ran       Sue Haskey BSc(pod), MChS, DpodM
from 1921 for 29 years. But the place where nearly
every artist wanted to be for summer was Blackpool,             At Bliss 17 Green End, Whitchurch
which had a theatre on each of its three piers. It also         Tuesdays and Fridays 01948 666909
had the Opera House, Winter Gardens, Hippodrome,
Tower, The Queens, The Palace, The Grand. Max
Wall began in Blackpool doing his impressions of a                     Home visits 01939 270906
mad concert pianist Professor ―Wallofski‖.         Les
Dawson liked Blackpool so much he moved to live
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                      page    5
in those days had no stage or dressing rooms, so you
had to adapt to what we used to call ―working bare‖!!
without mikes, or spotlights or stage lights – no curtains
– so artists didn‘t feel as they would on a proper stage        You will recall that in Issue 34 of Mere News we
and many couldn‘t adapt to club work, so they left and          celebrated the 60th anniversary of the marriage of
worked in any job where they met the public – shops,            Mr and Mrs Bond. Mrs Doris Bond is, of course, a
hotels, pubs. I have quite a few friends from variety           regular contributor to our issues as the author of
days who took over pubs and did quite well. You see,            our Poetry Page.
when they were serving in the bar and pulling pints,
they were in fact once again meeting their public!! In          It is with sadness that we report the recent death
fact the bar was their stage!! It was a great pity to see       of Mr Reginald Bond.
great ―variety‖ theatres such as – The London
Palladium (yes, in those days the Palladium was a               Our sincere
―variety‖ theatre) and others like Finsbury Park Empire,        condolences go to
Wood Green Empire, Golders Green Hippodrome,                    Mrs Bond at this
Empire Shepherd‘s Bush, Chelsea Palace, Hackney                 time.
Empire and Max Miller‘s favourite variety theatre, The
Holborn Empire and the many wonderful provincial                Mere News team
variety theatres. Many are now bingo halls and gone
forever – how sad!!
NOTE – I can recommend a very good book ―Beside
the Seaside‖ (a 100 years of seaside entertainment)
Happy Days – Keep smiling!
More next time
Charlie Edwards
                         Lakelands Page
 Due to lack of space we have regretfully had to leave out the latest
    Lakelands School page from this issue. You can however,
         download a copy of the page from our web site—

                       Heavenly Holistic
                                         Lyn Anderson - DIP HYP, GQHP. C.P.AMT
                                           MICHT, MGHT, MGPBT [IHBC, IIHHT]
                                                 Reiki Master & Teacher
     Treatments tailor made to soothe, restore and energise your mind, body and spirit
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                         Thai Compress Massage                    Also Emotional Freedom Technique, NLP and
                           Indian Head Massage                    Past Life Regression available.
                              Crystal Therapy
                              Colour Therapy                      Visit or
                               Ear Candling              or telephone
                          Reiki (tuition available)               Ellesmere 01691 622936 or 07967 058877
        Holistic Facials, Manicures/Pedicures, Waxing and Eye
                                 Treatments                         Home visits available
                                                                    for some treatments
           Member of the Federation of Holistic Therapists
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                       page    6
   Ellesmere’s Rich Heritage of Celtic Myth and Mystery

          hose interested in mythology whether it be            were quartered in the house of Heilyn Goch, a grandson
          Arthurian legend or Lord of the Rings will            of Iddon, in Didlystwn (Dudleston). They are given a
          sooner or later be drawn to that collection of        fairly hostile welcome by an old woman who is feeding
 ancient Welsh tales known as the Mabinogion. Evolving          an open fire with handfuls of chaff when a wizened bald
 over the centuries in the bardic tradition until they          man and an angry thin woman appear who prepare a
 appear in written form around the twelfth century, these       meager supper for them. When they try to settle for the
 tales are not the product of                                   night they find the bedding is very poor and infested
 any single hand. They are                                      with fleas. Rhonabwy finds a yellow ox skin on which
 preserved in written form in                                   he falls to sleep and here the dream begins.
 the White Book of
                                                                On waking Rhonabwy finds that he and his companions
 Rhydderch (1300-1325) and
                                                                have slept for three days and three nights. Without
 the Red Book of Hergest
                                                                recounting the dream with all its fantastic contents,
 (1375-1425); portions of the
                                                                including the appearance of Arthur, we are given enough
 stories were written as early
                                                                detail in the opening to be able to identify a real and
 as the second half of the
                                                                moreover local historical context.
 11th century and some
 stories are much older still.                                  The narrative is set in the kingdom of Madoc ap
 It's from this older oral                                      Meredith, grandson of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, the last
 tradition of story telling that                                prince of the whole of Powys. He had succeeded
 many of the fantastic and                                      Meredith in 1132 and, taking advantage of the political
 supernatural elements of the                                   disorder in England under Stephen, he acquired
 tales have come. They first                                    Oswestry. Here Madoc either built or rebuilt the castle
 came to general literary                                       along with Overton castle, which was said to be his chief
 prominence in 1849 when                                        residence. With the accession of Henry II Madoc
 Lady Charlotte Guest                                           changed his alliance to the King, which turned out to be
                                   Tomb in Meifod Church
 published her translation of        thought to be that of      an important element in the king‘s victory over Owain
 11 medieval Welsh folk            Madoc ap Meredith died       Gwynedd. After a tenure of seven years Madoc lost
                                            1160                Oswestry to William Fitz Alan who was reinstated in
 tales under the title The
 Mabinogion. Since then newer and better translations           1155 but he remained on good terms with the king until
 have appeared but the title she gave them (Mabinogion),        Madoc‘s death in 1160 upon which he was buried in the
 itself a mistranslation, has remained. The stories are set     church he had founded at Meifod. In a eulogy one of the
 in a magical world with a quasi-historical landscape,          poets described him as ―the roof timber of Powys, the
 which creates a dream-like atmosphere. The subject             mighty dragon of dragons‖. Exactly corresponding to
 material ranges from ancient Celtic myth, through the          the tale, Madoc did have a brother Iorwerth Goch (Red
 Arthurian Dark Age, down to medieval civil strife. Full        Edward) whom he had dispossessed in favour of two
 of white horses that appear magically, giants, beautiful,      nephews and who had razed Ial castle to the ground in
 intelligent women and heroic men and kings like Arthur,        reprisal. Iorwerth seems to have been on good terms
 these tales are concerned with the themes of fall and          with the king and served as his official translator
 redemption, loyalty, marriage, love and fidelity.              (latimer)      for
                                                                which he was well      The shaft of a Saxon Cross in Dudleston
 The scene described at the start of ―The Dream of                                     Churchyard
                                                                paid. Eventually
 Rhonabwy‖ is of particular interest for it is clearly set in
                                                                he acquired the
 the kingdom of Madawg ap Maredudd, the last prince of
                                                                manor of Sutton,
 the whole of Powys. It states that his kingdom extended
                                                                which later came
 from Porffordd (Pulford) to Gwafan in Arwystli (in the
                                                                to be known as
 Plynlimmon range in central Wales). The subject is the
                                                                Sutton Maddock.
 animosity of his brother Iorwoerth because he had not
                                                                His son Gruffudd
 had his equal share of Maredudd‘s kingdom according
                                                                married Maud Le
 to the Welsh custom of gavelkind. With the support of
                                                                Strange       and
 his relatives and followers Iorwoerth rejected
                                                                through       this
 Meredudd‘s compromising offer of the captaincy of his
                                                                marriage obtained
 war-band and set off on a destructive raiding campaign
                                                                lordship        of
 in England. No doubt fearing a reprisal, Madawg
                                                                Kynaston,      the
 ordered his men to ascertain the whereabouts of
                                                                name adopted by
 Iorwoerth and his party. Three of these scouts,
 Rhonabwy, Cynwrig Grychgoch and Cadwgawn Fras
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                          page    7

                             Part of the                        tips….‖ This was in all probability a ‗Welsh long
                           medieval Plas     all     future     house‘. In these the animals share the domestic
                             Yolyn still     generations of     quarters and the only entrance is through the cow-
                         standing adjacent
                           to the modern     his     family,    house. The hearth is on the beaten earth floor with a
                                house        which     spread   hole in the roof to function as a chimney. This is
                                             into branches at   certainly concordant with the description in the tale of
                                             The     Stocks,    the woman feeding the fire, ―when cold came upon her
                                             O t e l e y ,      she would throw a lapful of husks on to the fire, so that
                                             Hardwick and       it was not easy for any man alive to endure that smoke
                                             Hordley.           entering his nostrils‖.
                                        At the time of We shall never know for certain exactly who was the
                                        the Domesday bard who wrote, ―The Dream of Rhonabwy‖ but the
                                        survey in 1089 a Rev. Arthur Mosley, a late vicar of Dudleston, put
Norman overlord held practically every manor in the forward a very interesting theory in a paper on
area and the Welsh proprietors seem to have become Dudleston. The author, according to him, was quite
free tenants.            The                                                                     possibly Madoc yr Athraw
amounts rendered by some                                                                         (the teacher) a brother of
of these ‗Welshmen‘ are                                                                          Heilin, who lived at Pentre
recorded, for instance in                                                                        Madoc.        It is perhaps
the Finis terrae Wallensis                                                                       worth noting that in the
(March of the Welshland)                                                                         tale Heilin is described as
Tudor ap Rhys Sais was                                                                           Heilin Goch (the red) and
paying £4. 5s. a year to                                                                         in the Welsh genealogies
Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury.                                                                       Madoc i s si milarl y
A similar arrangement                        The old Kilhendre mansion demolished 1600           described.      Perhaps the
must have existed in                                                                             most remarkable thing is
Dudleston. Iddon, the first                                                                      that descendants of Iddon
recorded lord of Dudleston, who lived at Cilhendref lord of Dudleston still live at Plas Yolyn (Iorwerth‘s
(Kilhendre), was the son of Rhys Sais (so named mansion) with a family tree stretching back through
because he had learned to speak English and probably Iorwerth, Iddon‘s great grandson, to Tudor Trevor.
held land in England) who in turn was a grandson of
                                                               I gratefully acknowledge the generous assistance of
Tudor Trevor. Rhys appears to have seized Dudleston
                                                               Roger Curteis of Plas Yolyn in the preparation of this
before the Norman Conquest, which was inherited by
Iddon when he died in 1073. This would have been
his share following the Welsh system of inheritance
known as gavelkind in which the land was equally Christopher Jobson
divided between the sons. It is thought that his name
is still preserved in Crogen Iddon in Glyn Ceiriog and
from him all the ancient families of Dudleston are
derived. Exactly as in the tale Iddon did in fact have
a grandson called Heilin whose house probably stood
on the site where the more modern Pentre Heilin now
stands.      Heilin ap Trahaiarn of Dudleston was the
ancestor of the Holbeaches, the Kynastons of Pant y
Bursley, and the Wynnes of Pentre Morgan, while the
Eytons of Pentre Madoc were descended from Madoc,
a brother of Iddon. The original Pentre Heilin is
described in the tale as, ―a black old hall with a
straight gable end, and smoke a-plenty from
it…….inside a floor full of holes and uneven. Where
there was a bump upon it, it was with difficulty a man
might stand thereon, so exceeding slippery was the
floor with cows‘ urine and their dung. Where there
was a hole, a man would go over the ankle… with the
mixture of water and cow dung and branches of holly a
-plenty on the floor after the cattle had eaten off their                   The family tree in the Plas Yolyn muniments
Mere News Issue 35                                                                      page   8

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     KITCHEN ELECTRICAL                                            HEDGE CUTTERS

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9A SCOTLAND STREET                                      LOTS OF BARGAINS
OPPOSITE THE POST OFFICE                                TEL 01691 622833

                                                          P & G Vehicle Repairs
                                                                  YOUR ONE STOP
                                                                MOT/SERVICE CENTRE

                  Open 7 days a week
        6.30 am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday
              (7.30 am to 10 pm Sunday)

  Mere Motors Ltd.                                           M.O.Ts - Class 4 & NOW Class 7
                                                             Servicing/Repairs all makes & models
      Petrol          Diesel           Sweets                Tyres, Balancing & Tracking
    Cigarettes        Snacks         Newspapers
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    Coal & Gas       Phonecards     Dry-cleaning
                                                             Parts & Accessories available

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                                                                   Fax: 01691 624483
      TEXACO                              Shropshire               Cargotec Industrial Park,
                                              Tel/Fax                 Elson Road,
                                       01691 622343
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                page    9
               Heron Watch                                          Ellesmere Dog Show
                     Every year, around January, a                         Sunday 29th July 2007
                     story begins to unfold at The                           Classes start at noon
                     Mere, Ellesmere. This tale has all
                     the makings of a good soap opera      Many of you readers will remember the Ellesmere Dog
                     – thrills, passion, deception, and    Show that used to be held within Cremorne Gardens.
                     sometimes tragedy.                    Well its back! The Greenfields Greyhound Rescue will be
                     No, it does not revolve around a      holding a Companion Dog Show on Sunday 29 July.
                     well known square in a fictitious     There will be two rings with mixed breeds/ hounds
                     area of London, but it happens        Classes ranging from best dog/bitch/puppy to best vet-
                     right on your door step. This         eran. Greenfields Greyhound Rescue specialises in the re-
                     influx of prehistoric looking birds   homing of ex-racing greyhounds in Shropshire, Cheshire,
                     has been going on at The Mere         Staffordshire and parts of Wales. During their racing life
                     for the last 35 years with the        they hurtle around the tracks but in real life they are lazy
                     numbers of nests on the Moscow        and really only require, apart from your company, a soft
Island growing annually. We have been able to watch        bed, food and a walk. The Conservation and Ranger team
and hear live action of these comical and ungainly         and North Shropshire District Council‘s Dog Warden
birds as pictures are relayed back to a monitor in our     want to promote responsible dog ownership in public
Visitor Centre from a camera mounted on a tree                                         places and therefore, as part
overlooking the island. We can get up close and                                        of this event, they will be en-
personal with a camera in one of the nests, where we                                   couraging people to control
see great pictures of every day life of the heron. We                                  their dogs and clean up after
have seen spectacular footage of the adults as they go                                 them.
about their daily duties of nest building, (often with                                Please come along and sup-
twigs stolen from neighbours whilst they are off                                      port the event. All the money
elsewhere looking for suitable nesting material),                                     raised will go towards help-
mating and feeding. There are frequent disputes and                                   ing the Greenfields Grey-
raucous objections as the birds squabble over                                         hound Rescue. If you would
territory. Then, of course, there are the chicks. Our      like more information please contact Hayley Bradley on
first sight of them usually reveals a somewhat             01691 657212 or visit their website
bedraggled and wobbly youngster with a punk hairdo
that would make any 70‘s rocker proud. You would
be amazed just what they can swallow in one go (or
perhaps not if you happen to be one of those
unfortunate folk whose fish pond helps support the
local population). As the season rolls on and the
young herons gain their new feathers and develop the
muscles they will need to fly, our Heronwatch draws
to a close. We know that we have been privileged to
have witnessed the intimate world of one of The                             The Border Fork
Mere‘s most remarkable birds, many of whom we                      Friendly Professional Garden Services
expect to return next year to star in ‗The Sequel‘         All aspects of gardening including planning,
Heronwatch runs between March and May. If you              planting, weeding, autumn and spring tidy-ups; lawn
have some free time (you know – that bit in between        maintenance including sowing, cutting, edging,
working, eating, sleeping, socialising and doing all       feeding, scarifying and aeration; hedge planting
those domestic things) and would like to help out as a     and maintenance; ground clearance and,
volunteer, contact Lynne Dean on 01691 624448 or           preparation of soil for spring planting; general and
email                      specialist pruning. Regular and one off bookings
No expert knowledge or experience needed as
training will be given. Only enthusiasm and a
                                                           Fully Insured with RHS Training in Horticulture,
willingness to talk to people are necessary
                                                           and experience of working in a National Trust
                                                           historic Garden
   Heron Watch at the Meres Visitor Centre
                                                               Tel: Marc Brimble on 01691 623822
 11-4 Thurs-Sun until the end of March and then                       Mobile: 07761859093
      every day from April until mid May
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                 page   10

                            ELLESMERE‟S RAILWAY CHILDREN
As one gets older one tends to remember one‘s               Further up the station towards the passenger part of the
childhood. I had a very happy time, living near the         station at a certain time of the year the farmers from
railway station and the Smithfield, with a builder‘s yard   around Ellesmere would bring sugar beet to be loaded
also close by. In those days television was very much       onto the trains all b hand, some brought by horse and
in its infancy, so we made our own entertainment.           cart, and the more up to date farmers with their Fordson
                                                            Standard, and Fordson Major tractors, all smelling of
On a Friday in the school holidays my friends and I
                                                            paraffin. What the farmers of that age would have
were always around the cattle auction, I‘m sure we
                                                            thought of the giants of today I do not know. Next to
really were a bit of a nuisance but nobody ever seemed t
                                                            the heap of sugar beet there was always a large pile of
mind. We used to ―help‖ to load the calves; we never
                                                            timber brought to the station on what in those days were
gave a thought to where they were going.
                                                            called by the men in the trade ―timber carriages‖ this
The highlight of the day was seeing the bulls being         timber was unloaded with a crane operated by two men
brought in by lorry. We were always told to keep well       turning huge handles the crane was then swivelled
out of the way. After they had been sold, probably for      round to either be put on the heap ready for future
slaughter, they were loaded by a rope passed round their    transportation to some timber yard goodness knows
horns and through the ring in their nose; the rope was      where, or direct onto the timber trucks.
then passed up into the lorry and through the ventilation
                                                            Next to the timber and sugar beet were the milk tanks.
slots in the side of the lorry. The drovers and lorry
                                                            To my memory the only road tankers were the ones
drivers all joined together some pulling on the rope and
                                                            bringing milk from the dairy to be pumped onto the
some at the back end of the bull with a certain amount
                                                            railway tankers. One man seemed to be permanently
of persuasion with a stick.
                                                            based at the station, he had a wooden and glass shed. If
The railway was only a very short distance away across      my memory is correct the tankers were hooked to the
a rough old bit of ground, which I think now is part of     back of one of the passenger trains.
Fullwoods, we would watch the coal trucks being
                                                            The Turntable
shunted to the various coal merchants pitches (there
were three coal merchants in Ellesmere at that time) one    At the tender age of about ten years some of my friends
of which delivered round the town with a big old cart       and myself were playing over the far side of the station
horse and a dray.                                           and we decided to give each other rides on the turntable
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                      page   11
used for turning the big steam locomotives round. Let         I used to look forward from one summer to the next
me give a brief description of a turntable. It is a large     when about once a month there would be an excursion
hole in the ground with a set of railway lines on it. It is   to Aberystwyth. In my memory the weather was
circular with brick sides and small wheels running            always perfect, though one tends to only think of the
around it. The engine is driven onto the track over the       good times.
round bricked hole then pushed round.
                                                              I remember the train coming down from Oswestry and
It is pretty obvious the track running to the track on the    the engine being unhooked and turned round on the said
turntable have to meet for the engine to be safely driven     turntable and connected to the opposite end of the train.
into the turntable.                                           It was a most exciting day out for a young boy.
We boys had been giving each other rides on the               The train left Ellesmere at 9.30 and arrived in
turntable which is very easily pushed round. When we          Aberystwyth at 12-30. The fare was 9 shillings and
saw an engine approaching of course we ran as fast as         sixpence (47½ pence in today‘s money). Unbelievable
our legs could carry us. We knew we had not left the          by today‘s prices. It was a lovely day out leaving Aber
turntable line in line with the approach line. We were        at 16-30 and returning to Ellesmere at 9-30pm.
expecting to see the engine turn over, but to our great
relief the fireman got out and lined the tracks up. But it    It was and still is for most of the way a beautiful ride, of
taught us a lesson and we never ever played on the            course today from this area the part of the journey to
turntable again.                                              Welshpool by rail does not exist. I have driven the
                                                              route to Aberystwyth many times but, one does not see
The Signal Box                                                anything like the scenery to be seen from the train.
 The signal box was a very special place to be. We were       Extra trains
of course not supposed to be in there for any reason but
on a Sunday afternoon, the signal, and only this one          During the war when the Americans were at Oteley, we
signal man, who I would imagine must have been bored          saw many hospital trains taking wounded soldiers. The
to tears, would sometimes ask my best friend and me           trains were ―parked‖ on both sides of the station with
into his box. He must have been bored because on a            ambulances parked along all the approach roads to the
Sunday there was only one train running and that was          station.
taking the milk to, I think, Manchester and he was there      On a happier note, during the holiday season I think it
from 2pm - 10pm. He would give us a cup of tea which          was every other Saturday, long trains used to run I think
he would brew on his little stove, and show us how the        from Manchester taking holiday makers to the Welsh
signals worked. He would pull levers which operated           Coast. The trains were very long, part of the train went
the signals. The one that fascinated me most was one          to Aberystwyth and Borth and the other part was
which worked a signal at Crimps a distance of, I would        disconnected and went to Towyn and Aberdovey. They
think, at least a mile away.                                  were very happy days living by the railway.
On the Platform                                               We used to go every year by train to Aberystwyth but it
When one arrived at Ellesmere from Oswestry, the              was always my ambition to go on a goods train in the
Oswestry train had to very often wait just outside for        brake van with the observation part open at the back.
the Wrexham train to come in first. I travelled with          But to my disappointment I never had the chance to do
other children daily to and from school. Two boys who         it.
lived down Caegoody Lane took the opportunity to              The line from Frankton to Whittington
jump off the train where it was stopped, by the Loop.
They nipped up the Loop Lane. Of course it was too            A few years ago my son and I were asked to cut up a
much of a temptation not to go all the way to the             large oak tree just above the railway cutting between
station. When the train arrived very often the fireman        Frankton and Whittington so we drove along the old
had to fill the boiler. The boiler was filled by a flexible   railway line in the Land Rover. It is possible to only
floppy pipe which he would swing over from a cistern.         drive as far as Hindford. We stopped on the line and
Some firemen would take a delight in soaking anybody          climbed up the embankment to the tree. It brought back
who happened to be within range. Though it could be           many memories of my school days. We were able to
annoying it was all part of the steam railway, entirely       climb up some steps cut into the embankment and see a
different, to the diesels of today. On the platform there     little farther along the track where we went over the
were a couple of vending machines for Fry‘s chocolate         canal.
bars. With it being directly after the war, of course they    I could almost swear I could hear the old whistle of the
were not working, very disappointing for an eight year        engine just before it entered Frankton Station.
old boy. During the war with the blackout it was very
difficult for the postman to load the mail into the train.    But thanks to Dr Beeching those happy days will never
In fact the Station Master was, I know, warned on more        return.
than one occasion for showing a light.
                                                              John Peake
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                        page   12

                         Record of Cheese – I                         By Stanley Horton
The rich pasturelands of south Cheshire and north             must mostly relate to stages in the cheese-making proc-
Shropshire have long been renowned for the production         ess from liquid to solid form. Inevitably, other com-
of milk and its manufactured products, butter and             ments on farming matters have found their way into
cheese. Up to about two centuries ago, the transport of       writing and it is largely on these remarks that we shall
milk and its products posed major problems for the pro-       concentrate.
ducers thereof. In fact, the only way that milk could be
                                                              The farm concerned was just under a hundred acres in
made available to the inhabitants of industrial towns
                                                              extent, the year 1933, and the ―first day of cheese‖
and cities was via ―town dairies‖ where small numbers
                                                              March 6th … but we must wait for the next Mere News
of dairy cows were kept under conditions that were
                                                              to hear of more doings of that time.
cramped and frequently filthy and disease-ridden. The
milk produced thereby was hazardous if not downright
dangerous. Beer, probably costing no more than about
fourpence a gallon to produce, was deemed safer to
drink – tea being far too expensive.
These town dairies were often sited near breweries, the
spent brewer‘s grains (draff) being excellent food for
cows producing milk. Probably, and less happily, a little
further down the street was situated a slaughterhouse
where the unfortunate cows (when they went dry) began
their journey to the local pie factory.
Although the coming of the canal system about 1800
helped with the transport of cheese, it did nothing for
moving quantities of liquid milk around. It was not until
the coming of the railways to the highly productive ag-                      Tranquillity
ricultural areas, such as surround the market towns of          Healing and Well Being for the Mind, Body and Soul
Whitchurch and Ellesmere in north Shropshire, that the
situation improved.
In 1896 a meeting of local farmers was held under the
chairmanship of Mr Brownlow R.C. Tower to consider
the building of a creamery at Ellesmere, but nothing
came of the idea for more than twenty years. Around
1919, a collection depot was opened by United Dairies
and about the same time a factory was built for the
                                                                                    Reiki Healing
                                                               A Reiki treatment relieves stress and allows natural relaxation.
manufacture of cheese. This meant that local dairy              It energises and balances the mind, body and soul and brings
farmers could sell their milk in liquid form for delivery                          harmony into your life.
by rail to big towns and cities, sell it for making into
cheese at the newly constructed factory at Ellesmere or        L.I.A. Therapy Facial by Heaven® Organic Skincare
make ―farmhouse cheese‖ themselves.                                 A unique healing massage to get your skin and your
                                                                                   confidence glowing!
It should here be noted that many farmhouses built dur-
ing the nineteenth century were designed as cheese fac-                               Meditation
tories in miniature with plenty of sleeping accommoda-                  Learn how meditation can improve your health and
tion for living-in staff, a room specifically set aside for       help you to feel good. Guided meditations in a peaceful
the actual cheese-making process and cool dry storage                     environment for groups or individuals.
space for maturing cheese; outside – and nearby –
would be pig sties, the occupants of which would con-
                                                                  Heal Your Life, Achieve Your Dreams
                                                                  An inspirational two day workshop designed to help you
sume the whey, the main by-product of cheese produc-            increase your self esteem and learn how to create a positive
tion. Some farmers and their wives had long experience                                     future.
of farmhouse cheese making, but younger entrants were
advised to take a short course of instruction in the art.                           Jean Hesketh
Another recommendation made to aspiring cheese-                                Holistic Therapist / Tutor
makers was to maintain a ―Record of Cheese‖, a daily
diary to include their comments on the process.
                                                                       01691 690665 or 07753 108146
It has not been possible to decipher many of the various
numbers and their positions in the book although they
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                     page   13

              Mere Ambles Ellesmere - Programme April to June 2007
                                 For healthy walking and getting fit
                             All walks start at 11.00 o‟clock on Tuesdays
Even if you currently do little or no physical activity, just starting to do a little more each week will improve your
Set yourself small and realistic targets based on what you think you can achieve.
A great starting point would be to go along to one of the Mere Amble health walks. Each walk is led by a trained
walk leader, and is aimed at people who currently do little or no physical activity, but would like to make a start to
change their lifestyle.
The walk will be led at a pace that suits you, so there is no need to worry that you won‘t keep up.
If you are interested simply turn up at one of the walks shown and see what you think.
If you would like to know more please call one of the following:
David Farncombe Tel: 01691 622497 or Foong Chee Tel: 01691 622798

3rd April The Wharf Ellesmere: Beginner/intermediate – easy walk along canal towpath with small gradients
over bridges, 45 – 60 minutes
10th April Mere Visitor Centre Ellesmere: Intermediate – some gradients and steps along woodland footpaths,
Castlefields and Plantation, 60 minutes
17th April Canal and Blakemere Ellesmere: Meet at the Wharf Ellesmere – transport provided
Beginner/intermediate - from the far side of the canal tunnel, easy walk with a gentle gradient, along canal towpath
past Blakemere, 45 – 60 minutes
24th April The Wharf Ellesmere: Beginner/intermediate – easy walk along canal towpath with small gradients
over bridges, 45 – 60 minutes
1st May Mere Visitors Centre Ellesmere: Beginner – easy flat walk through Cremorne gardens and woods,
45 minutes
8th May Colemere: Meet at the Wharf Ellesmere – transport available
Intermediate – mostly easy walking on partly surfaced paths with some steps and gradients around the Mere, 60
15th May The Wharf Ellesmere: Beginner/intermediate – easy walk along canal towpath with small gradients
over bridges, 45 – 60 minutes
22nd May Mere Visitor Centre Ellesmere: Intermediate – some gradients and steps along woodland footpaths,
Castlefields and Plantation, 60 minutes
29th May Frankton Junction: Meet at the Wharf Ellesmere – transport available
Intermediate – walk along canal towpath past locks, slight gradients, 60 minutes
5th June The Wharf Ellesmere: Beginner/intermediate – easy walk along canal towpath with small gradients over
bridges, 45 – 60 minutes
12th June Mere Visitors Centre Ellesmere: Beginner – easy flat walk through Cremorne gardens and woods,
45 minutes
19th June Canal and Blakemere Ellesmere: Meet at the Wharf Ellesmere – transport provided
Beginner/intermediate - from the far side of the canal tunnel, easy walk with a gentle gradient along canal towpath
past Blakemere, 45 – 60 minutes
26th June The Wharf Ellesmere: Beginner/intermediate – easy walk along canal towpath with small gradients
over bridges, 45 – 60 minutes

                              Why not come and meet us and give it a try
Mere News Issue 35                                                                          page   14

                                                                                 Welshampton Bonfire 2006

      Do you have any photographs or memorabilia you would be willing to lend us for our
      exhibition of ‘Welshampton Past and Present’? These might include:

                                 Photos of your house - then and now
                                 Village events
                                 Outings then or now
                                 Old Postcards and Village Scenes
                                 Wedding photographs from Welshampton Church

      Please include your name and address/telephone number, and don’t forget to name
      any people in the photograph and any other relevant information. In order to avoid
      damaging any of your precious photos, we should like to take a copy for our display.

      You can contact Carole Youngs (01948 710582) or Chris Jobson (01948 710210) for
      more information, or bring your photographs etc. into the Infolink on Wharf Road.

                         WELSHAMPTON WHITSUN FAIR
                                        Monday 28th May
                                          11am to 4pm
            GRAND PLANT SALE
            STALLS including home made cakes, books, bric a brac & tombola
            REFRESHMENTS — cream teas
            MUSICAL ENTERTAINMENT by Thomas Adams School Band
                              & a celebration of
            WELSHAMPTON PAST & PRESENT - displays & activities

                               A warm welcome to all at the Parish Hall

          Proceeds towards improving the Church path to ensure safe access for all & for donation of
                                 equipment to the school for project work.
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                         page   15


Last year's record breaking summer has been                    facing slope will dry out much more quickly than a shady
followed by the warmest January for 80 years (despite          north border. Understanding the variations and, therefore,
a minor cold snap). If we were in any doubt, the scientists    the limitations of one's soil is an important first step in the
have just informed us that the world really is heating up      process of developing a successful gardening strategy.
at an alarming rate - and that it is our fault! Oh dear!
                                                               Having assessed the soil, the next part of the equation is to
Forecasters predict that we ourselves are likely to be         tackle the "right plant" issue. Key to this approach is to
confronted with major problems in our lifetime, never          recognise that plants have evolved over thousands, and
mind the legacy which we shall be leaving for the next         sometimes millions, of years to successfully exploit an
generation.                                                    ecological niche in their environment. Thus, some plants
                                                               can cope with a degree of water logging over winter
So, what is the outlook for gardeners? Surely warmer           which would spell instant death to others. Similarly, a few
weather could be rather attractive, especially in summer       have adapted to life in the arid steppe or desert, others to
when we can sit out and admire the results of our efforts in   the extremes of life in alpine regions.
the garden! It appears, however, that things are unlikely to
be quite that simple.                                          If your usual approach is to saunter around the nearest
                                                               garden centre, picking up plants which catch your eye,
Warmer winter spells, yes, but wetter and windier too.         then your chances of matching right plant to right place
The strong gales of January, which battered so many trees,     are slim! Labelling in most garden centres leaves much
may well become the norm. We were not immune, losing           to be desired when it comes to describing the optimum
the crown of a venerable damson which had provided us          growing conditions for their stock. In fact, I would
with welcome shade last July. Then, when lulled into a         describe it as inadequate.
false sense of complacency by the mild westerly air flow,
we are likely to come up against a short but sharp frosty      So, when looking for suitable plants, it pays
interlude.                                                     handsomely to do a bit of research before a trip to buy! A
                                                               good reference book (or, better still, several) is an
Summer months are forecast to see hotter spells, and to be     indispensable aid. Also, in these days of the information
generally drier, accompanied by storms rather than by the      highway, a quick dip into the net will usually turn up some
more beneficial effect of steady rain.                         useful information. The Royal Horticultural Society's
                                                               website is a good place to start (
In view of last summer, and possibilities of another warm
one this year, perhaps we need to take stock now. After        Armed with a list, a visit to a nursery, where your
all, the commercial brave are already doing so, planting       selection can be discussed with knowledgeable
vine yards - and even olives in Devon! Already, many           plantsmen who may well have actually grown the plants
ornamental garden plants which were not considered to be       which they are selling, should pay better dividends. You
hardy in this country are now grown with little problem or     may also like to visit our Grand Plant Sale, at the
second thought.                                                Welshampton Parish Hall on May 28 t h
                                                               (see separate notice for details), where we shall be
Do we just plant up our borders with Mediterranean             displaying plants in groups according to the
plants? Well, again, it's not that simple. Remember the        conditions which they require.
forecast of warmer but wetter winters. In all but the
sharpest drainage, these plants are likely to die.             Having selected your purchases, there are several ways
                                                               in which you can help their successful transition into
So where do we go from here? Well, back to the old             the ground:
mantra "right plant, right place" is a good starting point.
The basis for determining "right place" is a thorough          •     dig a good sized planting hole
appraisal of soil conditions and aspect in the individual      •     puddle the plants in
garden. With alluvial deposits, left behind after the last     •     mulch the surface well after planting
Ice Age, spread over much of our area, the resulting soil      •     don't plant in dry summer weather, especially
can vary from heavy waterlogged peat to dry sandy loam               on well drained soil - instead repot the plant
over very short distances, even within the individual                into a bigger container and keep well watered in
garden.                                                              a shady spot until autumn

Soil type can be further accentuated, or ameliorated, by
the garden's aspect. For example, a sunny south
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                    page   16

                     Ellesmere to Welshampton …. and beyond
                      The second in an occasional series on walks in the Ellesmere area
This is a walk that is familiar to many of you, but for those who have not tried it, or who haven‘t walked it recently,
you will find a pleasant route across surprisingly hilly country, and there are some impressive views. Moreover, the
walk has recently been improved, and there are no longer any stiles to negotiate.
Ways of returning to Ellesmere are discussed below.

                                                   Walk Facts
  1:25000 map – Pathfinder 828 Ellesmere (East) & Prees; Explorer 241 Shrewsbury, Wem, Shawbury & Baschurch.
  Distance Ellesmere to Welshampton: 4km or 2 and a half miles Time: one hour if walking at a steady pace.
  Distance if taking the circular route via Welshampton and the Canal towpath: 12km or 7 miles. Time: allow up to
  three hours plus stops
  Terrain: easy going through Cremorne Gardens on surfaced paths, then field footpaths and farm tracks, with
  some surprisingly steep sections. No stiles. Liable to be very muddy in places in winter. The Canal towpath is
  level and mostly in good condition.

                                  Start anywhere around the Mere between the Mere Visitor Centre and Swan Hill,
                                  and walk through Cremorne Gardens with the Mere on your right. There should be
                                  plenty of bird life on the water and in the woods, and there are some fine trees to
                                  The path goes through the first of several galvanised kissing gates along the route
                                  – practical, if not as attractive as wooden ones.
                                 At the end of the woods a new sign post clearly shows the way to Welshampton,
                                 and the path is now fenced off from the fields, and it then joins a farm track. This
                                 continues to Crimps Farm, where a way mark points to the right along another
                                 track. This comes out onto a field, and the path leads straight on up the hill (with
                                 an optional detour to the left around the edge of the field to view and wonder at
                                 the ruined house – could this be turned into someone‘s perfect dream hide-away?).
Head between the fence on the right and the woodland on the left, and continue through more kissing gates. This
section has a delightfully remote feel, with not a single house in sight, and with luck not a helicopter or plane to
spoil the peace!
Climb the hill leaving a pond in a hollow on your left, and head for the top left-hand corner of the field, and go
through yet another gate. This section was particularly muddy in December at least, and a walking stick might help
give a feeling of confidence on the slippery going.
Follow the fence round to the right and pass two ponds, then join a farm track that meets the road beyond a farm
yard on the edge of Welshampton.
So far so good, but decisions have to be made about getting back, and there are a number of alternatives: in case
anyone plans to walk this route who is unfamiliar with the area, we must advise against any ideas of walking back
towards Ellesmere along the A495 – there is no footpath, the road is narrow and windy and there are steep banks on
both sides. So the choices are:-
Return the way you came – you can then enjoy facing the views from the highest point on the route, over the Mere
and as far as the Berwyn Hills.
Or turn left at the road and walk along the footpath until you reach the road junction on the right by the church,
signed to Lyneal. This is a quiet lane that with care may be safely walked. It crosses the canal after three quarters of
a mile. Here you can get down to the canal towpath, and if you turn right there are just over three miles of easy
walking back to Ellesmere, passing fields, woodland and marshland, as well as Colemere and Blakemere close by.
As well as seeing Mallards along the canal, there is a good chance of catching a glimpse of electric blue as a
Kingfisher flashes by.
This route involves a total circular walk of around seven miles – and there are still no stiles on this extended route.
From the end of the Canal arm in Wharf Road a short walk through the town will take you back to wherever you
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                         page    17

Of course you could arrange to be collected in Welshampton, or catch a bus back. The latter are not very frequent,
and it might be better to catch the bus to Welshampton and walk back along the route to Ellesmere. Bus timetables
are available at Infolink in Wharf Road.
Whichever option you choose, there is an excellent excuse to break the journey at Welshampton at the Sun Inn,
which is about six hundred yards along the road from the end of the farm track on the edge of the village.
Stu and Shirley warmly welcome walkers, and have a comprehensive menu that includes baguettes, home-made
soup and a roll, and ploughman‘s lunches as well as more substantial meals such as steak and kidney pie
(especially recommended). Meals are all cooked to order using local produce where possible, and are very
reasonably priced. For full details visit the pub‘s website at Opening hours are
basically 12.00 noon to 11.00pm, but they are closed on Mondays until 6.00pm. There is a beer garden for
refreshment on warmer days.
If you then decide to return to Ellesmere via Lyneal Lane and the Canal towpath (and your resolve hasn‘t been
weakened by your visit to the pub!), you can take a short footpath opposite the pub car park. Turn left when you
reach Lyneal Lane. There is however a stile here, and to avoid this you will need to return to Welshampton church
and go along Lyneal Lane as described above.
We hope you enjoy this walk. Please let the Editor know if you have any comments about it.

David and Jane Farncombe

                         Ellesmere Market Hall development proposals
In 2005 a group of local organisations, based on the Ellesmere Economic Development Forum, initiated a feasibility study
to explore the possibilities of ensuring a viable and sustainable future for the Market Hall. Through public consultation some
new and alternative uses for the hall were identified. These included:

                  Community facilities with a cafe and improved public toilets
                   Better facilities for young people
                   Library, information and community computer facilities
                  Visitor attraction to link with the Mere and the Canal
                   More markets
                   Performance space for theatre and music
                   Meeting rooms
 Since November 2006 a steering group representing the community and the Town, District and County Councils has been
 meeting to identify possible sources of funding and to refine the ideas and aspirations of the community.

The Big Lottery Community Libraries fund has been identified as a major and an important source of funding. The grant
application will be made in March 2007 and must show that the community is actively engaged in the development and
that the library:
               • can act as a centre for community learning
               • will be better designed, more accessible and more
                  available to meet the needs of the community.
               • will work in partnerships with the voluntary and
                  community sector.
The Market Hall is an important community asset and securing its future offers Ellesmere a Big Opportunity. The local
steering group have some Big Ideas and with your help and support the Big Lottery can make it a reality.

                                                       Shropshire              County Council

For more information contact Geoff Ardill on 01691 624331 or Claire Cartlidge on 01691 653211
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                    page   18

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Mere News Issue 35                                                                                      page   19
                                        The Mosses by David Farncombe
                 Just a few miles from Ellesmere is a very special place for wildlife. Since the end of the last ice
                 age, some 10 000 years ago, peat has been accumulating there, creating a uniquely wild and
                 remote landscape, home to many rare plants, insects, birds and reptiles. It survives – just.
                 At a recent meeting of the Ellesmere Branch of the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Dr Joan Daniels, the
                 Site Manager of Fenn‘s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve, gave a history
                 lesson covering those 10 000 years. She told a fascinating story – a detective story unravelled by
scientists, much of it learnt from the plant remains and the pollen in the peat, and the underlying geology.
15 000 years ago north Shropshire was covered by a sheet of ice one mile thick. As the climate warmed the ice
gradually melted, leaving a barren landscape of sands and gravels and clays, forming the hummocky landscape
familiar to all who live around Ellesmere and beyond. The melted ice left water in every hollow to become the
meres, often surrounded by marshy areas. Around Whixall a clay ridge trapped shallow water behind it, and here
sphagnum mosses accumulated and over thousands of years formed layers of peat up to ten metres thick. As the
climate warmed trees moved in around the peat bogs, and they left pollen trapped in the peat, leaving a record for
scientists to read with the aid of microscopes – dwarf willow, then hazel and birch and later still oak and elm
appeared, each species leaving a unique pollen record.
As the climate changed the type of peat varied with differing temperatures and rainfall, and bands of colours, from
black through greys to almost white tell the story of these changes that have occurred.
Around 5000years ago humans arrived in the area, bringing grazing animals which helped to change the woodland
to more open pasture, but the mosses changed little. Hunters would have caught duck and waders and perhaps deer
in the shallow pools and marshes, and the smooth pebbles they used for sling shot have been found across the
From Celtic times some 2700 years ago bog bodies have been found, preserved and pickled by the acid peat –
possibly evidence of ritual sacrifice, aimed at propitiating the Celtic gods in some way.
Then from the 16th century peat began to be cut as a fuel, but only on a small scale. From the late 18 th century
Enclosure Acts led to the draining of areas of the Mosses around the edge. Meanwhile the building of the canal
meant that increasing amounts of peat could be taken from this remote area much more easily to markets further
afield, both for fuel and increasingly for animal litter. When the railway was laid across the Moss, making transport
even faster, the peat cutting increased again, gradually putting ever more pressure on the fragile habitat.
During the First World War, the Mosses were used for gunnery ranges, and the demand for peat as litter for horses
grew dramatically. In the Second World War, part of the site became a bombing range and part was periodically set
on fire to fool enemy bombers into thinking that they were over a burning Liverpool, and thus release their bombs
there instead of over the real target. Peat cutting continued after the war, but still traditional hand cutting tools were
used and damage to the fragile Mosses habitat was still relatively slight.
However the increasing demand for peat from gardening centres from the 1960‘s onwards attracted commercial
cutting on a much bigger scale, and when this started much of the Mosses was drained by the cutting of a whole
network of ditches. Once the surface water had gone much of the wildlife also goes, and woodland trees especially
birch began to invade. With a real threat of whole areas of peat being removed completely, the future of the Mosses
as a unique wildlife habitat seemed doomed.
Then a came a successful campaign to save the Mosses in which many local people were involved, and in 1990 the
site became a National Nature Reserve. The work of restoring the habitat by blocking the drains and removing the
invading trees began. Nature responded magnificently, and the rare creatures and plants rapidly re-colonised the
area from their last few strongholds.
The team that has made this happen is small, and the success of their work is due in no small measure to the hard
work and passionate enthusiasm of Dr Joan Daniels, although she is much too modest a lady to agree. The Mosses
and all who appreciate their unique atmosphere and wildlife have good reason to be grateful to her.
For anyone who has not visited the Reserve, a sunny day in spring or early summer is possibly the best time for a
first visit to this fascinating and magical place. The songs of breeding skylark, meadow pipit and curlew fill the air,
dragonflies are on the wing, and if you are lucky you might see an adder, a rare raft spider or a water vole.
There are a number of way-marked paths around parts of the Mosses, and a permit to visit the more remote areas
can be obtained. Details from the Site Manager, Natural England, Manor House, Moss Lane, Whixall SY13 2PD
(01948 880362) Leaflets are also available from Infolink or Meres Visitor Centre in Ellesmere.
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                    page   20
Ellesmere Wharf Road Dairy by Mr. Don Stokes, Haughton Farm
The recent demolition of the Wharf Road Dairy brings to       many of the lorry drivers were War Veterans, driving
an end a part of Ellesmere's recent history. One has to       Dennis and Albion lorries. They had a wonderful safety
go back over 140 years to find out why Ellesmere was          record. No power steering or hydraulic brakes in those
chosen as the site for such a large dairy enterprise. At      days. The highest day's milk gallonage nearly always
one stage Ellesmere U.D., or Unigate as it later became,      occurred on the 21/22 May. As the years went by,
was one of the largest milk factories in the U.K.,            Unigate was sold to Dairy Crest - the commercial
collecting milk from 450 farms and smallholdings. A           subsidiary of the Milk Marketing Board, with the
large number of dairy farms were created after the 1860's     workforce growing to 450 people. Great changes took
by the large estate owners, after the collapse of the         place in the dairy industry, when farms were equipped
previous farming systems, due to an outbreak of               with bulk tanks, and bulk collection arrived. Superb
Rindupest, causing high livestock losses and the inability    cooling of milk on farms and new processes in
to pay the rent. Landowners at the time created new           factories, such as Whey products, arrived in the late
dairy farms, larger in size -100 to 250 acres being the       1960's. Supermarkets started to sell milk and wanted
popular sizes. Many of the new tenants came from              cheese and other products prepacked. In the 1970's,
Cheshire - a county very familiar with cow keeping. So        Ellesmere was the dairy capital of Britain, with Dairy
a large milk field existed, although the vast majority        Crest, Fullwood, Fabdec and the Ellesmere A.I. Centre.
made cheese, small amounts of liquid milk was                 Unfortunately politicians upset the situation, by
transported by train, after the railway came to Ellesmere     declaring North Wales a depressed area and giving large
in1865.                                                       subsidies to firms that wanted to re-locate and use more
                                                              modern methods, and so Dairy Crest sold the Ellesmere
In September 1917 my father, a dairy engineer, who had
                                                              factory to developers, and Dairy Crest at Bangor on
built factories in Australia, Norway and France
                                                              Dee took over.
previously, was commissioned by Great Western
Dairies of London, to build and manage a milk factory at      And so 70 years of production, 7 days a week, without a
Ellesmere - a site chosen because it had ample water for      single break, came to an end, and as a local farmer, I
cooling, washing and sterilizing, and a railway line close    would like to pay my tribute, with a vote of thanks to all
by. London was getting desperately short of milk in 1917      the people who did such a good job - laboratory and
-18, due to wartime conditions, and so milk was               office staff, drivers and mechanics, cheese makers and
despatched to London in 17 gallon churns. The factory         packers, boilermen, whey products staff and all others
grew rapidly as many of the dairy farms were persuaded        who       made         such     a     good       team.
to give up cheese making and supply the factory - now
named United Dairies. The surplus that London did not
want was made into cheese at Ellesmere. Extra
buildings were constantly being built by Griffiths
                                                              John’s Handyman Service
Brothers - Bill, Tom and Fred - a local firm that still has
other interests in and around Ellesmere. I well                         Property Maintenance
remember my father telling me what happened during                               &
the General Strike in 1926. A milk train with military
escort left Ellesmere for London, as the city was                            Renovation
desperately short of milk. On arrival in London, strike
pickets blockaded the milk depot, but the women of
London got to know of its arrival and marched to the
depot, all banging their milk cans. The pickets melted
away in the face of mass women power.
Ellesmere United Dairies later became Unigate, after an
amalgamation with Cow & Gate. The expanded factory
had a remarkable record of quality production, due to a
superb workforce - loyal, hard working, and adaptable.              If in doubt ring for a quote
How adaptable can be judged by the following: In
1946 Ellesmere Farmers' Ball Committee sold over 600
tickets, in celebration of the end of the War. Nowhere in
Ellesmere could cope with that number and the factory                        John Hawkins
was asked for help. The staff emptied the cheese                             01691 690780
pressroom, draped the room with curtains, put plenty of
French chalk on the floor and transformed the place into
a ballroom, and all had a good time. In the early years
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                  page   21

                                  In Issue 34 of the Mere News there was a letter from London asking for relatives
 Letters                          of Daniel Bartlem Jones.
                                   My name is Colleen Cubberly and I am the daughter of Bart Jones – as he was
 known. He was not the youngest as stated but he had a brother ―Bill‖. His daughter is Vera Roberts and I have
 been in touch by letter and phone to Doreen and Mick Jones from Lewisham.
 My dad often told us of his young days and one tale I must tell you.
 When he left school, war must have been declared and with six boys and two girls to keep – no hand outs in those
 days – he took a job at Boreatton Hall near Baschurch. Some sort of gentry must have owned it because he was in
 charge of the silver (a sort of glorified pantry boy). As a living in boy he would have one night per week as well as
 a Sunday night once a month. He would bike home to Tetchill through Rednal past the Woodhouse estate with
 dark pine trees on every side. Past the Hordley Church and cemetery and over the humped back bridge – and it was
 just that! Then on to the Hordley straight; this was an avenue of big trees on both sides. On a moonlit night the
 trees cast grotesque shadows – a real ghostly experience, another quarter of a mile and home. Remember in those
 days there were no street lights, no cars, probably didn‘t have bicycle lights either. His bicycle was s ‗Bone
 Shaker‘ It had solid rubber tyres held together by a sort of staple. Well, on his night off he had just passed the
 humped back bridge when ―WHACK‖! something struck his back. He thought the Devil himself was behind him.
 That quarter of a mile past Winston Farm he must have broken the speed barrier!
 He collapsed into the house wild eyed and breathless. Much later they ventured outside and found the tyre on his
 bike had parted – hence the whacking. For a fourteen year old boy this must have been very scary.
 When dad went to Boreatton there were no posh zip bags then, so he took his worldly goods in a black wooden box,
 which measured 21 inches x 13 inches and 13 inches deep. I still have that box with its original black ‗paint‘ and
 iron handles. It is always referred to as ―me dad‘s box‖ and it is full of memorabilia. It is nearly 100 years old so
 perhaps I will have it on the Antiques Road Show.

                                       Half page sponsored by Mrs C Cubberly

 RED LION COACHING INN                                            A.J. SUMNER & SON
                                                                 FUNERAL DIRECTORS
                                                                        Proprietor: Paul Sumner

                                                                    For a Personal and Caring Service

                                                                           Private Chapel of Rest
            Church Street, Ellesmere                                          24 Hour Service
                     01691 622632
                                                                               Coronation Cottage
                     Homely B&B
          Food served Noon—8.30pm daily                                          Nr. Ellesmere
                                                                                  SY12 9LN
            Quiz Nite –Sundays at 8.30pm
                                                                         01691 690328 / 623726
                     Meeting rooms

                                    Mobile: 07746 787 444
Mere News Issue 35                                                                    page   22

                                                        MOTHER GOOSE
   Dave Dean                                              NURSERY
             Carpenter & Joiner
              35 years experience                       Unit 17, Penley Industrial Estate,
          Doors to Decking                                    WREXHAM LL13 OLQ
         Kitchens to Kennels
        Pergolas to Playhouses                
                                                               For Children 3m — 8 yrs
         No Job Too Small                                      Mon– Fri 7.30am – 6 pm
          Free Quotations                                     Caring and Friendly Staff
         Competitive Rates                               Large Outdoor Play Area and Garden
         Tel: 01939 270766                                       Home Cooked Meals

        Mob : 07767 668500
                                                           PHONE 01948 830003
                                                              OR CALL IN

       Answers to               22.   yorkie              48.   fisherman‘s     72.   brittle
  “Name that Sweet” quiz        23.   all gold                  friend          73.   marble
                                24.   turkish delight     49.   walnut whip     74.   tunes
        1.     quality street   25.   milky way           50.   gobstoppers     75.   pontefract
        2.     mint imperials   26.   galaxy              51.   glacier mints         cakes
        3.     black magic      27.   lion bar            52.   whole nut       76.   murray mints
        4.     mars bar         28.   humbug              53.   midget gems     77.   fudge
        5.     smarties         29.   drifter             54.   bon bons        78.   sugar mice
        6.     liquorice all    30.   minstrels           55.   lollipop        79.   creme egg
               sorts            31.   celebrations        56.   ripple          80.   victory ‗v‘
        7.     polo             32.   picnic              57.   barley sugar    81.   york fruits
        8.     moonlight        33.   fuse                58.   bourneville     82.   texan
        9.     treats           34.   maltesers           59.   neopolitans     83.   bulls eyes
        10.    kit kat          35.   bonus               60.   everton mints   84.   hacks
        11.    roses            36.   dime bar            61.   twix            85.   mini eggs
        12.    dolly mixtures   37.   wine gums           62.   milky bar       86.   marathon
        13.    milk tray        38.   good news           63.   flake           87.   star bar
        14.    match makers     39.   candy floss         64.   weekend         88.   liquorice laces
        15.    chocolate        40.   skittles            65.   flyte           89.   crunchie
               buttons          41.   after eights        66.   green & black   90.   sugared
        16.    jelly babies     42.   pear drops          67.   chocolate             almonds
        17.    wispa            43.   aniseed balls             orange
        18.    double decker    44.   time out            68.   contrast
        19.    opal fruits      45.   topic               69.   toffee crisp
        20.    twirl            46.   refreshers          70.   butter scotch
        21.    edinburgh        47.   love hearts         71.   after dinner
               rock                                             mints
Mere News Issue 35                                                                                  page   23
                                     CROSSWORD by David Farncombe
                                                                   This one is a cryptic crossword designed for
1          2         3           4        5        6          7
                                                                   those who like their clues other than
                                                                   straightforward! The usual valuable prize is on
                                                                   offer for the winner, and the closing date is
                                                                   15th June 2007.            Good luck!
                                                                      Clues Across:
          9                          10            11                 1 Jump back over new section of door (5)
12                              13                                    4 Enliven team in a different formation (7)
                                                                      8 To improve situation made strange hit, then
14                     15
                                                                      caught maybe (10,3)
                                                                      9 List includes a hundred fish (4)
                                                                      10 US spy network returns men from picture
16                                   17   18
                                                                      house (6)
                                19                             20     14 Emperor‘s headgear inspires Walton march
21         22
                                                                      16 Early Ford model he and I love so lose
                                                                      nothing getting a dozen (6)
23                                        24
                                                                       17 French, initially actually upcountry German
                                                                      housewife (4)
21 National Union of Teachers briefly involved in matters due when sorting an older person on a course of study
23 Proposed for office in guano mine election (7)
24 Uncle, no liberal – follows end of dead donkey (5)                 Competition winners from Issue 34
                                                                      Crossword: Mrs Jean Jones, Millbank Rd, Rhyl
Clues Down:
                                                                      Name that Sweet Quiz: Mrs Audrey Harris, Tetchill
1 Delivery position maybe (4)
                                                                      A Shropshire Quiz: Mrs Verna Roberts, Ellesmere
2 European follows direction to get to this axial point (5,4)
                                                                      Double Limerick Competition: Mrs Olwen
3 French flower, one in traditional learning (5)
                                                                      Purslow, Ellesmere with this entry:-
4 Accountants closing hospital extension initially causes pain (4)
5 Time ‗e is organised to make a list (7)                             A lady from Ellesmere said, “Hugh,
6 One party leads to bother (3)                                       The happiest new year to you
7 Learns it from internal organs (8)                                  But new year means new man,
11 European with one cent loses nothing to create luxurious           I’ll forget I’m a gran
     style of living (9)                                              And noted for my Irish stew.
12 Highlander possibly, initially Southern Californian, first of
                                                                      Hugh answered, “Well, Sally my dear,
     twenty such found in Oman (8)
                                                                      Your news gives me endless good cheer,
13 Little devil hiding in dim passage (3)
                                                                      No more smell of onions
15 New one reversing a van backwards gets in a stew (7)
                                                                      Or sight of your bunions,
18 The way that the wheels on a bus go (5)
                                                                      Just chips, belly - dancing and beer.
19 Former Wimbledon champion – a sportsman honoured
     everywhere, in short (4)                                         Congratulations to all our winners!
20 One in the eye can be painful (4)
22 Boy in pantomime (3)                                          6. Captain Matthew Webb (born Dawley 1848)
                                                              7. Telford
                                                              8. Laura‘s Tower, Shrewsbury Castle
Answers to Crossword Issue 34
                                                              9. A small pie from Market Drayton from a recipe of Clive of
Across: 1 Rupert 4 Stump 8 Peer Gynt 9 Olga 10 Aurora
12 Rubble 14 Pen Name 17 see 1dn 18 Stoats
                                                              10. Hawkstone Park
20 Plum 21 Micawber 22 Trent
                                                              11. Battle of Maserfield, Oswestry (now Grammar School play-
23 Festus
                                                              ing fields)
Down: 1&17 dn Rip Van Winkle
                                                              12. The Dingle, Shrewsbury (Roman goddess of River Severn)
2 Poetry 3 Roger 5 Trouble
                                                              13. Grinshill Stone
6 Muggles 7 Star Wars 11 Aunt Emma 13 Spiller
                                                              14. The Mount, Frankwell, Shrewsbury
14 Pokemon 15 Rabbit 16 Osiris 19 Thane
                                                              15. Whitchurch Parish Church porch (John Talbot killed at Bat-
                                                              tle of Castillion, 1453)
Answers to „A Shropshire Quiz‟                                16. ‗Mad Jack‘ Mytton, Halston Hall
1. Brown Clee (540m – 1772 ft)                                17. Founded Wenlock Olympian Society (forerunner to modern
2. River Severn
                                                              Olympic Games)
3. The Wrekin
                                                              18. Uriconium (Wroxeter)
4. A5
                                                              19. Rev. Donald Carr (on the Long Mynd)
5. Welshampton Churchyard
                                                              20. Ludlow Parish Church, Churchyard.

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