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FRODSHAM, Cheshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


All photography on this page by Connie Pickering Stover, April 2011.

 

” … participating in the service at St. Lawrence church was a collision of emotions. I felt truly connected to my history – knowing that my family sat under this very roof and worshiped over 200 years ago.

 

Connie Pickering Stover, April 2011 — Yesterday was an exciting day (and emotionally exhausting), but it was everything I had hoped for from visiting my ancestral town of Frodsham. When I stepped off the train I felt like I had stepped into a time machine. So many of the village homes and buildings looked as if they had been dipped in resin to be preserved forever.

I first visited the local library to see what information I could find about my family, and met some extremely nice people. The librarians were delighted with my genealogy project and kept coming up with ideas for me to research. Then the visitors of the library chimed in and everyone wanted to see my book (which I printed out before I left). The oohs and ahhs were so rewarding.

spring time path

Springtime on the church path

Walking the path to St Lawrence Churchyard

Walking the path to St Lawrence Churchyard

Churchyard Gates

Churchyard Gates

Post Office Row

Post Office Row

Thatched cottages

Thatched cottages

Historic plaque of Harrison-built thatched cottages.

Historic plaque of Harrison-built thatched cottages.

Historic Ashley House

Historic Ashley House

Historic split timber house

Historic split timber house

51 High Street, Frodsham

51 High Street, Frodsham

Bears Paw

Bears Pawm 1632

 

The librarians told me about a “shortcut” up a set of stairs to a path leading to St. Lawrence Church. This path was used by the town’s people who walked to their church services from the town. Well, it might have been a shortcut but it was all uphill!

It was worth the walk along this lovely path where the spring flowers were blooming in the backyard gardens of the homes along the way. As I reached the back gate to the churchyard my heart knew I was there with my ancient family. Unexpectedly, there was a church service just getting started. A familiar hymn drew me into the nave to have a seat in the back row.

As I participated in the service, I found myself facing the most gorgeous stained glass window and was in awe as I felt surrounded by the ancient beauty of the architecture. The interior of the nave is considered to be one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Cheshire. The gorgeous window was a donation by one of our family members in memory of a Pickering who died over 150 years ago. My oldest known ancestor buried there is Thomas Pickering, baptized in 1765 and who died 1814. His entire family is buried in a “Sandstone table-top” grave.

Sitting next to me in the last row of the church was a woman who made me feel welcome as she handed me the order of the service and a hymnal. As most of you know, I’m not a very religious person but this religion was the one I was brought up in as a child and I haven’t been to a service in over 45 years. So participating in the service was a collision of emotions. I felt truly connected to my history – knowing that my family sat under this very roof and worshiped here nearly 200 years ago.

The librarians told me that I HAD to have lunch at the Cottage Teashop, which was located within the row of the oldest homes in the village on Main Street — and what a good idea that was! The tea shop was this very tiny place with the sweetest owner, who, after a short chat knew I was from the “States” and very proudly told me all about the history of her shop’s building. She involved several other people eating there and we just had a great communal lunch conversation. She also gave me her card with a drawing of the teashop on it so I “wouldn’t forget them”. As if I could!

My journey continued down the street where I located the homes of some of my ancestors and their families. I knew before I left that they were historical landmarks so I knew I would find them easily, but more surprises were waiting for me to discover. The plaque I am standing beside in photo at the top of this page read that these thatched-roof houses were built by two brothers who were famous artisan home builders of their time. If your home was built by a Harrison “boy” you could be sure it would last. Well, these homes were actually built by members of the Harrison side of my family! I never expected THAT.

These homes are treasured because they are the only standing examples of thatched-roof construction left in the town. The timbers are hand-hewn and the brickwork is just wonderful. The plaque reads “Originally four 17th century oak framed thatched cottages No 89 (inc 87). The oldest is mid C75th. William Harrison a Carpenter added No 85 and his brother Thomas a Joiner added No83”. How cool is that?

So, I asked two passing visitors if they would take my picture in front of these buildings and I hit the jackpot!

What delightful guys these two were! The one was a bricklayer by trade and he explained the construction of the homes and why they stood so long. They were such fun and as we were laughing and taking photos a young, hip shop owner came by and had a MILLION things to tell us about the town. This town was given a charter by the king and is an ancient market town. The market is every Thursday and it is permitted to set up your business along the sidewalk – but only on the north side of the street – except the row in front of the post office where you had to move to the south side of the street because every time the market blocked the post office it would get robbed because the police couldn’t see it well enough to protect it. My run-on sentence does not do this young lady justice. She just had a great time telling us all so much and was very cute and funny. So when I took their picture she quipped that she reveled in being “the thorn between two roses”. What a hoot! By the time we all were ready to go on our ways we were all good friends and the men hugged us girls and kissed our cheeks and wished us a good life.

… priceless, totally priceless.