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Village History

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This article was written by a member of the Chelford Womens' Institute about 1926, probably by a relative of the landlord of the Dixon Arms Hote,l and won the first prize in a county wide W.I. Exhibition.

It was subsequently reprinted and sold to raise funds for the Village Hall. Dr Roycroft put this into the recent Parish Magazine and has given us permission to reproduce it here

To write a Village History is not an easy thing to do unless you have lived in it all your life. Being one who has lived in Chelford all my life, I will venture. From that you think I am 90 or 100. That is not so, but there having been so many changes the last few years, there are not many people left who have been in the district all their lives. The population of Chelford is about 370. It is one of the most compact and lovely little places on the map.

We have a Station, two Banks, Butchers, Newsagents, Drapers, Boot shop. Post Office, Smithy, Garage, Coachworks, Mill, Stores, Hotel, Cattle Market, School, District Nurse, Gentlemen of Cheshire Cricket Ground, Parish Hall, Telephone, and last, but not least a Women's Institute of about 100 members, which has been the means of bringing much happiness in the village. So you can see we live in the country but have most of the advantages of the town, and still all the beautiful surroundings and fresh air of the country. I for one love every inch of it, and all the people in it.

The Church is situated in a lovely spot with the old-fashioned boxed-in oak pews. It has just been cleaned and redecorated at a very big cost. The way the people have diligently worked for three years to pay for it is wonderful.

It will be remembered two years ago, we lost our Squire, Sir George Dixon, a fine, handsome, stately figure, who is very much missed. We used to have the pleasure of going round the lovely gardens in which he took such pride. The Hall, having been empty some time, is now let for a Rest Cure Home.

It may not be known by a lot of the residents that Dr Shepard's house was one time called "The Robin Hood". Where now stands Mrs Dykes' and Mr Taylors' house used to be a little Toll Bar cottage up to the road and on the other side of the road a well, with steps down to it.
The "Dixon Arms" Hotel was built before the railway was made and was used for a coaching house between Chelford and Chester. This was kept for the purpose of stabling about 30 horses.

The house now occupied by Mr. Abraham Moores, near the Church, was once called "The Cat and Lion" Inn.

In 1895 our village was shocked by a very terrible railway disaster — 13 killed and 24 injured, I remember so well, the awful storm and wind. It was thought the wind caused a wagon while being shunted to get in the way of the 4.45 express from Manchester, throwing it off the line and tipping up the platform telescoping one carriage into another. I suppose my father rescued many out of the wreckage and offered his rooms, etc., for the injured. In fact everyone did all they could.

You will find the grave in Chelford Churchyard in memory of one poor girl who was killed, her people not being able to afford her being buried at home, so the stone was erected to all by Sir George Dixon.

A little bird in a cage was saved and lived with the policeman and his wife for the rest of its life. One poor boy was taken in his sleep. I have in my possession a book called "Translated", written by his mother. If any of my friends would like to read it I will gladly lend it to them. I could write a few pages about the bravery and splendid work that was done, but it is all so very sad, and was such a never-to-be-forgotten Christmas for all.

In 1914 and the following years our village suffered like all others through the war; our fine manhood and boyhood turned out to defend us, many dear ones never to return. Much has happened since then. At the present day, our village seems to be changing with the times. On the whole it is a very healthy and happy spot.

Reminiscences like this help us to remember what we are all heir to. Any other memories
that you or your family can provide will be warmly received — and hopefully published.

R.J.Roycroft

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