The tradition for holding Village Fetes at Christleton seems to have evolved from the efforts of Rector Lionel Garnett to raise funds for the re building of the church in 1876/7. The first record I can find is in 1871, when a Fete and Rose Show was held, although these took place before the need of serious fundraising was a necessity. The first major event took place in August 1875 when a Rural Fete was held on the Rectory Grounds for the re-building of the Church Fund. This was an event under the Patronage of the Duke of Westminster, K G., and a large number of local worthies including The Mayor of Chester, the Currie Family of Boughton Hall and Mrs Townsend Ince of Christleton Hall. The Fete was open from 12 noon until 9.00pm Admission 1s. children, half price!
Entertainment was provided by the Band of the 30th Regiment and Punchinello (Her Majesty’s Punch and Judy.) Admission 6d and 3d. This show was held four times during the day. A second entertainment was given by Professor W Tyler from Crystal Palace London, providing Magical, Musical, & Ventriloqual Wonders. Admission 6d & 3d. There were also Hot Air Balloon Ascents at intervals during the day!!!
A second magnificent affair was held on Bank Holiday Monday 7th 1876. This was called
A Grand Fete at Christleton near Chester. (Buses were provided from the corner of City Road in Chester!) Admission One shilling, children Half price.
All proceeds for the rebuilding of the Parish Church.
This event had a Fancy Fair, Athletic Sports, Pigeon Shooting, Rifle Gallery, Cross Bows and Dart Guns, Archery, Skittles, Aunt Sally, Quoits etc. What a range of fairly dangerous weapon sports! I hope there was room for great safety on the field which would have been on The Park, the current Christleton High School playing fields.
The Band of the First Royal Cheshire Militia played for Dancing.
The Programme of Athletic Sports included;
100 yards Handicap (Christleton youths) 120 yards Handicap (Christleton Youths)
120 yards Hurdle Race (6 flights), A Mile Walking Race, 120 yards Flat race, High Jump, Broad Jump, Half Mile Flat Race, Quarter Mile Flat Race, Soldiers Race 150 yards, Sack Race, Egg & Spoon Race 80 yards. Entrance for all these races was 6d, 1s & 2s, but prizes were substantial, from 5s, 15s, to £1 and there was a cup to be won for many of the open races.
Tea in Tent 1s Meat Pies 3d Sandwiches 2d Buns 1d Beer & Porter 2d Wine 4d Cigars 3d.
I haven’t discovered how much these Fetes raised, but it would be substantial amounts towards the initial rebuilding costs of £4,000, although the actual costs came to nearer £7.000. These two major Fetes laid the foundation of fundraising in the village, and was closely followed by Agricultural, Rose & Flower Shows, and the style of Village Shows held today, (when the pandemic allows). These village shows were held to raise money for the running costs of the two schools, including some teachers salary costs and grants to poor families. Canon Garnett is regarded as a wonderful & inspiring Rector, who with enormous energy and the support of Mrs Lucy Ann Ince, The Dixon Family of Littleton The Duke of Westminster and others caused so much to happen in Christleton. A new Church, a new Boys School, an addition to the Girls and Infants School, a new Institute and Working Men’s Club, Christleton Sports Clubs, and so much more. I hope you enjoy the random selection of Village Fete photographs from our Archive Collection.