Main Street Community Church

Mystery Slot 2004

January 2004 —
Recollections of my Grandfather

Although I never knew either my great grandfather or grandfather, from the information gathered to date, both men were to lay down strong foundations in the life of the Savage family. Foundations that some 150 yrs.+ remain strong today. Both men had the same Christian name, David, this being carried through the generations including this present day. Born in 1835, David married Alice Yates, they had a large family, mainly sons. Great granddad started his working life as a stone cutter at Helsby quarry.On cessation of the quarry being viable, he acquired a field on Chester Road. Here, the family dwelt at Springfield Cottage. The 1881 census describes him as a farmer of 50 acres, employing one labourer from Hindley. Many of his sons went into farming, living around Helsby, Netherton and Frodsham. Both David senior and David junior are recorded on the Methodist circuit plans as registered Methodist lay-preachers.

Some time ago, my youngest brother, Roger, loaned me the last complete diary of our grandfather for the year 1910. A Scripture Union diary, it is packed full of extremely interesting information. Sadly, due to increasing ill health, there were times that granddad wasn’t well enough to make the days’ entry.

What follows is a very brief account of my granddad’s preaching routine. Mill Stone farm was a dairy farm as well as an agricultural farm. This meant that the milking of the cows was left to grandma and their sons, granddad being away preaching all day.

The circuit covered was large, quite often preaching morning and evening, with Sunday School in the afternoon. The area extended from the Mission Church to Dunham Hill, Frodsham Free Church to The Hurst at Kingsley, Also included on the plan would be The Bourne Methodist, Alvanley and Dutton Workhouse.

One entry reads, February 13th, 1910 preached at Mission Church, theme was “David and Goliath.”

Sunday Schools were held alternate months at Littler’s farm on Bates Lane, Ainsworth’s farm, Marsh Lane and Netherton Hall Farmhouse teaching both adults and children the words of The Bible. Every Christmas, children would receive a prize of a little book donated by the Clarke family who lived on Dig Lane. Conditions in the cottages were such that as many as seven families would be living together. To accommodate the Sunday School, benches and stools would be carried from one dwelling to another. Granddad and Grandma Savage rented Mill Stone Farm. Sadly, it proved to be a nightmare to work, the land being frequently sodden due to a very poor drainage system. Working in such awful conditions was very probably the cause of Granddad’s death at the age of 49yrs.

Something I recall from the 1909 diary my late father once showed me was an entry which read “preached off a flat cart on the farm, only 200+ here today”. To me, this entry spoke volumes about my grandfather, of the respect that many had for him to attend in such numbers to hear him preach God’s word, of his amazing love of the Lord. This was to span the world: One son, Herbert emigrated to Sydney, Australia; two sons, Harold and Alfred to Boston, McKeesport in Pennsylvania. My cousin, Ethel often relates just how much God’s love meant to these two men, how it has been passed on to her as it has to our other cousin in Boston, Bill and his family.

Even though you travel to the farthest ends of the earth, be sure my hand is there to guide you.

Judith S. Shore, on behalf of the Mystery Slot.

March 2004 — Lifting the Lid

In the near future, our little group will be visiting the Records Office in Chester, where this time we will be “lifting the lid” on some of the old Frodsham parish records. What follows are just a few items mentioned in an index of what is held about Frodsham at the Records Office. Some of them look as if they might be interesting to study in detail:

We will leave the dust to settle on this month’s Mystery Slot. Looking forward to further sleuthing.

Judith Shore (on behalf of the ’Mystery Slot’)