The earliest reference to Fetes in Christleton were those associated with the Marlers, who would come to the village each autumn to extract marl(clay) from the village pits for making bricks or improving the sandy soil for growing crops. They would perform songs and dances in the pubs and on the Village Green where there would often be bull baiting and cockfighting, and sales of pink and white striped candy sweets.
The first village fete as we know it today was in 1875 when Canon Garnett instituted a fair to raise funds for the rebuilding of the church. Subsequent fetes and village shows were held to raise money for the running of the village schools, paying teachers salaries, and for books and equipment. Several of these early fetes were described as Grand Bazaar’s or Garden Parties and were held at the Village Rectory on Village Road, and on the adjacent field called “The Park” (now occupied by Christleton High School). Several were sponsored by Lever Brothers of Port Sunlight, and often attended by dignitaries such as The Duke or Duchess of Westminster, and Lady Lever. Prizes included money, soaps, washing powder and even tobacco.
The fetes occurred occasionally after that, but seem to have become fully established by 1901. Fetes at the time of WWI were held on the Morris Field, near Christleton Hall, but later after WWII at Christleton Old Hall on Little Heath Road, when occupied by Rev A.A. Guest Williams and his brother Captain Richard. I remember my first fete in 1972 being held at Faulkners Lodge the home of the Cullimore Family, then at Christleton High School in 1976 when the stalls blew down, and since then at the Primary School in Quarry Lane, except for the Millennium Pageant & Fete which was held in the walled garden at Christleton Hall (The Law College).
The History Group has a collection of some of the early Garden Party & Fete Programmes thanks to Mrs Mary Partington (Mrs Christleton) who ran the Fete & W.I. for many years. One of the most interesting is;
Dairy Stall, Fancy Stall, Pottery, Baskets, Flowers and Plants, Needlework
Tea and Refreshments
Menagerie Race, Shooting Gallery, Sunlight Soap Washing Competitions,
Hat trimming for men, Bran Pies.
Dancing & Band.
Admission till 5.00pm 1s. Afterwards 6d
Wagonettes will run to Christleton throughout the day from the Bars, Boughton
Prizes offered by Messers Lever Brothers Ltd, Port Sunlight Cheshire
The Fete Committee is an ad hoc group representing the village. It organises the structure, stalls and attractions of the fete each year as well as choosing the Rose Queen and Retinue. The style of dress is usually chosen by the parents of the children involved, and we are very fortunate to have young people still willing to fulfil the roles at the fetes, despite the pressures of the outside world. We have a list of Rose Queens going back to 1949 when Margaret Wooley was the Rose Queen.
Rev Guest Williams
Heather Jones 1961
Janet Brown Rose Queen 1959
Mrs Partington Fete Organiser
Duchess of Westminster
Sumi, Gordon and Dorothy
Anne Brown and Team
Maypole Team 1980's
Anne Goulbourne 1986
Maypole Team 1980's
Morris Dancers 1980's
David Alexander One Man Show
Angela and Rev Charles Mack
P and A Davies Bread Van 1980's
Noah's Ark 1980's
Fancy Dress Competition 1980's
David Cummings introducing Gertrude Wright 1987
Cliff Boddy and Grandaughter
Fancy Dress 1980's
Eleanor Galley 1997
Rod Alexander and Cliff Mallows
Lucy Meacock Crowning Emma Colley 1995
Lucy Meacock 1995
Peter and Fiona Lee 2000's
Alf and Margaret Croston 2000's
Maypole Team 1990's
Irish Dancers 2000's
Sian Cummings 1989
Clair Lockley 1990