Alan Dale’s “Cheshire Tales”

Transcribed here, are some of Alan Dale’s reminiscences, published in “Cheshire Tales”

‘My grandfather always had 1 or 2 barrels of beer staged in a little brick building opposite to the Smithy, and when any young Farmers or farm workers came with horses to be shod, he would ask them, would you like a gill of Ale , lad.  Many old farmers have told me that they had many a gill of beer in the little old shop.’

‘One day when my grandfather was getting old and his eye-sight not too good, he had been digging in the garden and at midday he left his spade full depth in the soil.  Some of our workmenmade 2 long iron hooks, and drove them down each side of his spade, so he went in the Smithy and told the men, that the Devil had got hold of his spade as he could not move it or get it out of the soil.’

‘It was a local custom when pubs were open all day and night, in the old days, some Farmers went on the Randy or spree, generally for a fortnight or three weeks, and when they were spent up, they would toddle down the hill, and say, Mester Dale I’m on the Randy, lend me a sovereign or half a sovereign, and put it on my bill, for which they were charged a Guinea or half a Guinea.  A the end of the year the Farmers coming to my Father on the same racket, and according to the old accounts books it happened numerous times, even as far back as 1780.’

‘I remember my Uncle  Samuel Dale  telling me. An old Cobbler named Joseph Harrop lived in an old thatched cottage in Mill Lane, this cottage had diamond panes in the windows.  This old cobbler was very short sighted and always worked in front of the window near the front door, it then had 1 pane out near the top.  One particular day  when they had been killing Pigs at Sandlebridge, my Uncle Sam and Jimmy Wood (a workman), crept up to this cottage and very quietly poked a one barrel gun through the missing pane over the Cobblers head and fired up at the ceiling, Jimmy Wood immediately opened the door and threw a pigs ear full of blood in the Cobblers face.  The Cobbler cryed out, “I’m shot, I’m shot” and ran out of the back door still crying “I’m shot, I’m shot”.

My Great Grandmother lived here for a time.  Late in 1971, Mr and Mrs George Moston left this old thatched cottage, after living there many years. Now, early in 1972, I notice that all the windows are boarded up.  I expect the David Lewis Colony will demolish it.’

‘Joshua Weston worked many years at Sandle Bridge.  He got married when he was 19 years of age, and went to live in an old thatched cottage, called Ivy Cottage, near to Pownall Brow and the Golf Links, Great Warford.  Very soon after the wedding my uncle Sam and Jimmy Wood went to this cottage after dark, carrying a slate, they placed the ladder quietly  against the chimney stack and put the slate on top of the chimney, which soon filled the house with smoke, very soon, the newly married couple came rushing out of the house coughing.  My uncle and Jimmy were behind the hedge, laughing.’



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