Thanks to a recent correspondence with Alyn, one of the late Rector’s nephews, I’ve been revisiting the resources we have in the Village Archives of the late Rector. I have attached a number of photographic images that we have together with his family tree. In 1997 after I had retired I spent almost 18 months, together with members of the Local History Group, cataloguing the 40 or so boxes of his files deposited in the Local Archives Office after he had passed away. This is an astonishing collection of artefacts and memorabilia and are worthy of greater study than I had time to do at the time. Nevertheless we were able to glean an enormous amount for our local archives, some of the items of National Importance. Lots of village families have memories of Rector Guest Williams, and I can’t do justice to all of them in such an article, but that could be done in the future. What I can say is that he was revered and loved by his parishioners, and it was a sad time for the village when he passed away whilst in retirement living at the Old Hall. This is an extract from the Christleton 2000 Years of History which tells of his family story.
The Rev. Alyn Arthur Guest Williams claimed descent from the Currie Family Pedigree, which also involved the Davenport, Gardner, Smith and Gerard families. In his records there is a family pedigree of the Davenport and Hand Families from 1665, and then Dr Currie’s descent continues from them through the Foulkes of Llechred. Elizabeth Currie married John Williams of Gwersylt Park near Wrexham and, from this marriage, comes another family line of the Rev A. A .Guest Williams. Samuel their son married Elizabeth Guest, the daughter of John Guest of Preston Brook in 1815. (Elizabeth’s grandfather was William Sellers, Mayor of Chester in 1732. John Sellers, his son, founded the charity school in Christleton in 1779.
Samuel Williams and Elizabeth had a son in 1818, named John Guest Williams, who married Elizabeth Kirkham in 1849. Their son, Samuel Blackwell Guest Williams became Canon of Norwich Cathedral and later married Catherine Grey. They had four sons; Captain Warren Guest Williams, and Captain Wynne Guest Williams who both died in WWI, Captain Richard and the Rev. Alyn Arthur. The Rev Alyn Arthur was a renowned genealogist, and his personal papers show his numerous attempts to create a family pedigree. One document shows a descent from an alliance between Llewellyn The Great, the last Prince of Wales, and Joan, the Daughter of King John in 1206. Their daughter Princess Margaret married John de Blaon in 1232, and then Sir Walter de Clifford in 1263. The line then continues through Faulk, Lord Staryn and Brian de Cornwall to Sir John Blount of Kinlet, in 1382. From the Blounts the line follows through Oteley of Pickford, to John Bruyn (Bruen) of Stapleford near Chester. It continues from Bruyn to Griffith Dicas and the marriage of his daughter to Richard Pulford of Rowton. A daughter, Ann Pulford married John Sellers of Littleton in 1641, and the line continues through William who married in 1689, another William who married in 1717, to Alderman William Sellers (Mayor of Chester in 1756) who died in 1790. This line continues as described in the paragraph above until the death of Rev Alyn Arthur in 1974.)
After graduating from St John’s College Cambridge, where he was a student of Classics and a Choral Scholar, Alyn Arthur Guest Williams went on to be ordained in 1911 and went to the Parish of Binfield. After a short time there, he became the Precentor(leader of the music) at Norwich Cathedra, where he met and married Harriet Beaching, the eldest daughter of the Dean. On the death of his father in law he accepted the living at Trowell near Nottingham. In 1926 he became Rector of St James Christleton, exchanging parishes with the Rev. G. M. V. Hickey. Rector Alyn Arthur Guest Williams soon settled into Parish Life, and was a very popular figure, although he did have some unusual mannerisms. He entertained a great deal, was very compassionate, and would always put himself out, even becoming friendly with the travelling Romanys allowing them to have water from the church tap, and even encouraging them to have their children baptised. He remained an enthusiastic antiquarian, and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1943. He also edited the Registers from Christleton in the Cheshire Sheaf for many years. An avid collector of Georgian Silver, it was one of his pleasures to present small pieces to brides, at whose wedding he officiated, and to babies on their baptism. Some of these pieces are now extremely valuable, and a baptism spoon, believed to be from his collection and found in a village garden, was sold in the late 20th centur for a very large sum, to a collector. He was a keen supporter of the St James’ Church Bellringers, of Village Fetes and other festivities, including the Agricultural and Flower Shows, many of which took place at the Old Hall under his patronage. He also revived the Beating of Bounds Ceremony in Coronation Year 1953, and a beautifully scribed account on vellum by Cliff Boddy, can be seen in the Lady Chapel at St James’ Church.
The Rev. Alyn Arthur or Mr Guest Williams as he was sometimes called, was a freeman of the City of Chester, and described as a real gentleman by local people. He regularly hosted parties at the Old Hall, and choirs and other church groups met there. (This is why it is often mistakenly called the Old Rectory) He was said to be extremely kind to anyone in need, and regularly made long journeys to hospitals to see parishioners. His wife died in 1949, and after he retired in 1966, he continued to live at the Old Hall with his rather eccentric brother Captain Richard. The Rector, now Canon Alyn Arthur Guest Williams died in June 1974, at 86 years of age, the year after his brother, and his remains were buried in the family grave at Gresford Church, Wrexham.
Guest Williams Family at the Old Hall
Canon G. Williams
Canon AA Guest Williams
Alyn Arthur at the Christleton Fete
Christleton Old Hall in Littleheath Road Christleton
Room in Christleton Old Hall
Interior of Old Hall, Christleton
Christleton Old Hall - Interior
Room in Christleton Old Hall
The Old Hall Staircase
Guest Williams Family Tree
The Old Wine Seller at the Old Hall in Christleton
Williams Family Crest
Guest Williams Family Tree
Emblem of Earls of Warwick
Romany Caravan & Family in Christleton