Christleton has always been a village for celebrations and I have featured many of them in the past on our website. This month I want to highlight some of my favourite occasions, especially ones around Christmas that I managed to capture with my camera. One of the occasions I remember most was when it was snowing hard and I wanted to see how dramatic it was in the village. So I decided to drive from Rowton along Brown Heath Road and Plough Lane, through the snow to the village, actually following the snow plough. It really was a very rare sight to see a snow plough in the village, and I managed to capture it in action, coming past the Ring O Bells and the Village Green, images I managed to capture with (old fashioned) slide film. The Village Green tree was lit up as usual, and in the background you can see the beautifully illuminated church tree, and the superb cross high up on the tower. These images set the scene for the accompanying pictures of the procession of children arriving at the church porch, to tell the story of the Nativity. On several occasions the youngest children from the Sunday School, were led by our good friends, Douglas and Muriel Cashin, and their donkey Lucius. These were always wonderful occasions with hundreds of people taking part, often carrying glass jam jars with lighted candles, well before the advent of the modern battery torches and lanterns.
I’ve also photographed the scenes inside St James’ Church itself, many times, including the crib containing really special figures from the Christmas story, which probably date back to the Victorian era. The old crib pictures was roughly made from branches and pieces of wood, and was strewn with hay obtained from one of the local farms. It was lit by a very primitive light, which added to the spirit of the occasion. Today the figures are usually displayed under the altar table, but still have a wondrous effect on children and adults alike. Using available light so as not to disturb the services, I’ve been able to capture the wonder of Christingle Services for the Children’s Society, and on one occasion of the church at midnight, as we prepared for the first communion of Christmas. The windowsill behind the altar was always lit up by a large number of white candles. Cliff Boddy our old chorister and verger, used to delight in getting almost every candle holder he could find to illuminate the scene. Often cold draughts from the window used to cause the candles to burn fiercely, and on several occasions we were lucky to finish the service before the candles burned down and went out. One of the services shown was taken during the interegnum, after the retirement of Rev. Canon K Peter Lee, and shows our dear friend Rev. Canon Peris Williams who would almost certainly be wearing a Chester City FC scarf during the service. He was also known on occasions to wear a Chester City jersey under his surplice. He was of course Chaplain to the club, so I guess was fully entitled to do so. He was a delightful man with a wonderful sense of humour, a great friend to many of us, who passed away far too soon.
Christleton Village Green & Church
Christmas Tree on Christleton Village Green
Snow plough in Christleton
The Ring O' Bells, Christleton
The Pump House, Christleton
St. James' Church Christleton
Carols round the tree at St. James' Christleton
Christmas at St. James', Christletob
Christmas Crib at St. James'
Christmas Crib 2003
Christmas Crib 2015
Midnight Service at St James', Christleton 2004
The northside wall
Ladakh Girls at Christmas 1987
St James' Christingle 2008
St James' Christingle 2005
Christleton Village Green
Decorated lampost in Christleton
Birch Heath Lodge, Christleton