Whilst carrying out some recent research I came across this copy of the Christmas card sent from the village to troops on the front line in Europe during WWI. These were organised and sent by the then Rector, Rev’d GMV Hickey (1911-1926) who was much maligned in the mid 1920’s because of his poor relationship with a group of ladies from the village. An event which seems to have eventually led him to leave Christleton in 1926 for Trowell Parish near Nottingham, where he actually exchanged Parishes with his replacement, Rector Rev’d Alyn Arthur Guest Williams!. I’d heard about this story many years ago, but my admiration for Rector Hickey changed when I realised all he had been through, and done for the village during the period of the Great War, particularly between 1914 and 1921. This card is very much his personal message to the troops, and was specially printed for the occasion.
Rector Hickey seems to have been one of the last Rectors to live in “The Grange” in Village Road, before the Parish built a new Rectory in Plough Lane in 1914, adjacent to the High School boundary fence. The picture illustrated* is of the original Rectory building that stood on the Village Road site before 1870. This was the Rectory occupied by Rector Rev’d Thomas Lloyd between 1843-1869, and before him Rector Griffith Lloyd 1809-1843, brother & nephew of Lord Mostyn respectively. The Mostyn Family were in fact Rectors of Christleton, starting with Roger Mostyn (Archdeacon of Bangor) in 1752 until Thomas Lloyd sometimes known as the “Racing Rector” in 1869.
The 1874 Rectory built for Rector Lionel Garnett, and later occupied by the Porritt Family from 1914, is now divided into two private houses.
The village Ice House was situated near the “Bottom of the Wood”, an old village Tavern on the south side of the new High School entrance in Village Road. The Christleton ice house is marked with a metal cap and would have been the village food store for the autumn and winter months. It is built into the sandstone bed rock in Christleton, and entered from below ground although sometimes they can be entered from above ground as at Burghley House & Powis Castle, which are illustrated. Ice houses were found on most large estates from the 1700’s, and examples in Cheshire can be seen at Tatton Park, Marbury and at Burton Manor. They are usually located quite close to water sources, and Christleton had both The Pit and canal close by. During the winter ice and snow would be taken into the ice house, and insulated by straw and sawdust. There are fascinating reports of ice even being imported from America and Scandinavia in Victorian times. The ice house was commonly used to store perishable food, but the ice was sometimes used to make drinks or deserts.
Whilst looking for the images to illustrate this article I came cross the accompanying pictures of the car on thick ice on the canal at Rowton in 1963, driven by the late David Wain. He actually drove the vehicle which I think is a Vauxhall, from the family boat yard in Christleton to Egg Bridge Waverton and back, on the frozen canal. He also perhaps more famously drove a smaller car across the thick ice on the River Dee at “The Groves” in Chester in the same year.
WWI Christleton Christmas Card
WWI Christmas Card verso
This is a copy of a photograph found on sale in an Antique Shop in America, which states on the back (Christleton Rectory 1865)
Christleton Ice House Map
The Ice House
Site of the Ice House
Car on ice
Ice House Pattern
Pit covered in ice
Villagers with Award November 2019
Ice House at Burghley
Ice House at Powys Castle
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