Old Church of All Saints, Hesketh Bank, Lancashire
LOOK, THERE! ... QUICK !... IT'S GONE!
Perhaps partly due to numerous TV programmes, wildlife photography has become one of those activities that looks easy.
Birds and animals are all around us, if not these days in the numbers that they once were, and to capture that magic instant seems simply a matter of "point and shoot" at the right moment.
The result, of course, is most likely to be a blur the size of a pinhead in a close-up of foliage, or a wide expanse of grass without so much as a tail in sight. The right moment, in other words, can prove as elusive as the subject itself, and the craft demands considerable skill, endless patience and even, sometimes, remarkable courage.
All of which serves to introduce the next visitor to the Old Church. On Sunday 8th August, starting at 2.30pm, Philip Boardman will be showing some of his splendid photographs of local wildlife. Come along to be delighted and surprised at how much there is to see,
if only we knew where to look, and had the patience to stand and stare. Admission is £4, half-price for children, a price which includes refreshments and, if you need it, that ride on a vintage coach from the parking spot at All Saints Church Hall in the village.
TARLETON BRASS PLAYS THE OLD CHURCH
Next up, from 2.30pm on Sunday 6th June, is the chance to enjoy afternoon tea with Sylvia Greenwood and to take a look at her fascinating collection of village memorabilia, together with recently published Old Church records from the 1700's. The vintage coach will be leaving All Saints Church Hall car park at 2.30 and 3.30pm. The 'all-in' cost is £4.
MUSIC WILL NOT CURE THE TOOTHACHE
MAY 2010 UPDATE
Or so an old proverb goes, although if you're desperate it might be worth a try. On the other hand, if your spirits need a lift or you'd just welcome the chance to waggle a foot in time to the rhythm of a good tune, then Becconsall Old Church at 2.30 pm on Sunday 16th May is surely the place to be. Tarleton Brass will be stomping in with many a merry toot for their popular annual concert in the old building, raising the dust in the rafters to set us off on yet another season of events. Admission is £4, or £2 for children, and this includes refreshments. As usual, Mr Hunter's vintage coach with Jimmy at the wheel will be running between the All Saints Church Hall car park and the Old Church.
I'm afraid that for personal reasons this page has been neglected for too long. The Old Church's accustomed winter snooze was rudely interrupted by someone trying, but ultimately failing, to steal lead from the roof. The stolen material had been left in a ditch nearby, perhaps for later collection, but was found in time by someone working on the building. A lead-substitute has been used as replacement.
A fault was found in part of the relatively new electrical installation, which resulted in some lights suddenly coming on, which spooked a few folk late at night. Happily that's now been put right.
What is still to be put right is the increasingly serious damp problem affecting the southern wall and flooring. A Friend's committee member, surveyor Ed Clark, has been watching the problem develop for some time, and has now agreed a course of action with the Churches Conservation Trust, which he will supervise. The Friends have agreed to fund half the cost of the necessary work, which may be carried out in the next financial year, estimated to be at least £7,000. So we're in fund raising mode again ...
A good programme of events has been put together for the summer months. Full details are listed on the Events pages of this website and I'll aim to include further details here as I get them.
We'll be delighted to see YOU, whether you fancy just one event or come along for all of them.
The announcement this week that the Civic Trust has been placed in administration came as something of a shock. A statement from Philip Kolvin QC, the Trust's Chairman, explained that the organisation's financial position had come under severe pressure, following the loss or failure to achieve government and local authority contracts and funding. The Trustees decided that the Trust, after fifty-two years, no longer had the resources to continue operating.
The news will have no direct bearing on the Old Church and its future, although it seems likely to affect some aspects of the Civic Trust's annual joint venture with English Heritage, Heritage Open Days. We have always enthusiastically participated in this event, undoubtedly benefitting from its national publicity, and we must now wait to see what will happen in the run-up to the September dates.
Whilst Mr Kolvin's statement makes it clear that every effort will be made to ensure that existing programmes are handed over to other organisations, there is no doubt that this is could be a serious blow to the quality of urban environments in this country. Of course, there are many voluntary civic societies throughout the country, and the hope must be that some revitalised national body will be possible through their efforts and those of the organisation's many friends. As Griff Rhys Jones, President of the Civic Trust said,, "My own commitment to the cause is not in the slightest diminished and I know that thousands of members of civic societies across Great Britain feel exactly as I do and will want to keep the flame burning in some way."
WAS IT REALLY A YEAR AGO?
April 2009 Update
Initially, we stood around chatting, enjoying the hazy sunshine of the early Spring evening and admiring the results of the tree surgeon's careful work. Present were seven members of the Committee: David Clusky, Elizabeth Caunce, Kath Wright, Dorothy Trippier, Olive Clarke, Trish Whitehead and John Nairne, and two supporters, Mrs J Ryan and Jim Newcomb. The remaining members of the Committee, Barbara Clusky and Edwin and Gill Clark were unable to join us. But if they believed that they might thus escape the coils of our monstrous bureaucracy then disappointment beckoned …
The appointed hour struck, or something approximate to it. David cleared his throat and the rest of us dutifully assembled in some semblance of disciplined good order: the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Becconsall Old Church was under way. These are not the minutes, so suffice it to say that during the next hour we noted a few apologies for absence; approved last year's minutes as correct – a remarkable feat of remembrance given the combined ages of the participants; gazed in wonder at Elizabeth's accounts and discussed how best to spend some money; re-elected each other, including the absent trio, although we failed to persuade Mrs Ryan or Mr Newcomb to join the Committee, whilst gratefully noting their willingness to help on occasion; finally we discussed the damp-damaged floor (Mr Newcomb had some constructive thoughts about that) and revisited the matter of chairs ... Just for the record, David, Elizabeth, Kath and Barbara remain Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Events Organiser respectively, the rest of us willing to pitch in when and how we may. And we must not forget John Dale, ever in the background, but responsible for all our printing work.
That was about it, really. We put away the chairs and ambled into the gloaming. As we exchanged a few final words, I saw my first pipistrelle of the year fluttering over the fields in the dusk.
We had agreed one extra date. On the afternoon of Thursday 23rd April we shall be giving the Old Church its annual pre-season spruce-up – polishing woodwork and so on. Possessors of elbow grease would be welcome to join us. Before that happens, at The Friend's expense, the windows will have been cleaned inside and out and the less easily accessible spider's webs removed. Don't worry about the spiders – they'll soon be back.
OH, LOOK AT THE TREES, THEY CRIED
Updated March 2009
The Annual General Meeting of The Friends of Becconsall Old Church will take place in the Old Church at 7.30pm on Thursday 2nd April. With past form as a guide, I do not suppose that this will be a prolonged or crowded meeting. However, if you are reading this and wondering if you might be able to offer some support or assistance to our small team, why not come along to check us out. There will almost certainly be tea or coffee, and no doubt home-baked cakes and biscuits, on offer, and there is always that future satisfaction of watching people arriving at the door of this fine old building to enjoy one of our events. Full details of our plans for the year now appear on the Events page of this website.
The management of trees can sometimes prove a contentious issue. We've certainly had some anxious discussions about the old limes which press close to the north and west sides of the Old Church. That is particularly true of the apparent 'king' of the group, which overhangs the porch … many would say delightfully so in summer. Most people would agree that the trees add immeasurably to the character of Becconsall Old Church and its surroundings. And there is no doubt about the shelter they provide from the sou'westerly gales which frequently enough roar across the village. Furthermore, lime trees are not particularly common in this area. But there is also a point of view which worries about blocked gutters, undermined foundations and potential damage from storm-broken boughs.
In fact, care of the churchyard is not strictly speaking our concern, although we and the Churches Conservation Trust clearly have an interest. Nevertheless, we took some advice, notably from David Thornber, from West Lancashire District Council. He provided a very useful model for some careful pruning of the entire group. With the support of the Parish Church Council, we have engaged a qualified contractor, and the Friends have agreed to pay for the work as a contribution to the welfare of the churchyard. One, probably self-seeded, tree will be lost, but the others, including the major fellow by the porch, should benefit from some expert attention. We are anxious now to see the work completed before the spring awakening is too advanced.
A WELCOME VISITOR AND A HAPPY IDEA
Updated February 2009
So there we stood in the Old Church, a little group of Friends, clustered round a heater, hands wrapped gratefully round steaming mugs of coffee, shifting from one foot to the other to keep the circulation going, watching the flutter of snowflakes across the graveyard ... and, my!, how the damp and cold were piercing the floor's stone flags. That, indeed, was one of the things we were keen to talk about, for we had gathered to meet Tim Charlson, Development Manager of The Churches Conservation Trust (TCCT), now our primary contact with the Old Church's owner. Tim, a heritage management specialist, is not new to TCCT, but none of us had met him previously and we were all struck by his energy and enthusiasm, and his understanding that, while baby and bathwater must splash about happily together, that does not automatically mean that all change and possible improvement must be resisted. That is particularly true if buildings like the Old Church are to continue to play a part in the life of the local community. Thus we talked about our events and what we have planned so far for 2009. We covered some problems – that failing Yorkstone floor, for example. And we ventured some possible improvements for exploration and consideration – how about a water supply for example, given that all water for refreshments now has to be carried into the building. As Tim left, we all felt that his two visits, for he had been determined to meet us all, had been encouraging and potentially fruitful.
What is more, Tim brought with him one cheerful suggestion. This year is the 40th anniversary of TCCT's formation. To mark the occasion, the Trust is asking all its churches that can do so to ring their bells at 2pm on Saturday 21st February. A queue of the Friends' various grandchildren immediately formed to undertake this weighty task at Becconsall Old Church, for our bell was restored to the belfry a few year's ago. The bell has occasionally been heard for funerals, so on hearing it some older villagers might wonder mournfully who has passed on. But then that rope dangling in the gallery proves all too tempting for certain visitors, so there might be some who say, “It's those blessed kids again!”. If you've read this, of course, you will know that the ringing of the bell celebrates the existence of an organisation which has done much to ensure the preservation and use of some of our most beautiful and historically valuable buildings.
MULLING OVER MINCE PIES AND CHIMES
Updated November 2008
The Old Church will be briskly roused from its winter slumber on Sunday 7th December. At 2.30pm those handbell ringing folk from Maghull Parish will begin a concert to welcome the Christmas season. The Friends will add extra flavour with mince pies and mulled wine, and we're also hoping to have a hamper of festive goodies as a raffle prize. At £3 for admission, which includes the refreshments, together with a free ride in a vintage coach from the All Saints Church Hall car park, there won't be a better bargain this side of the New Year sales, however hard M&S and BHS might try. We'll be delighted to welcome friends old and new to our final event of the 2008 season.
End of season does not mean end of Old Church events, of course. A recent meeting of the Friends agreed a tentative programme for 2009. The following list is by no means final – indeed, we're still open to suggestions, particularly if they come with offeres of help attached – but here's how it looks at the moment:
31st May (Whit Sunday): Old Church Open Day with special exhibition
28th June: Music and drama event by All Saints Primary School
12th July: Old Church Sunday
26th June: Old Church Open Day with exhibition and afternoon tea
Well, the summer, or what passes for that season given the July weather thus far, has seemed a bit odd without the usual flurry of concerts and
other events in the Old Church. For one thing, I don't have anything to write about, since I assume that no-one will be thrilled by light bulbs
being changed or blown fuses being replaced... Of course, the building
has been open for visitors from time to time and, to show we still care,
an effort has been made to paint the damp south wall, which has been
peeling quite badly.
By the time this note appears, the Hesketh Bank Silver Band and Canon
Jim Burns should have led the faithful from All Saints in procession
down Becconsall Lane for the Annual Service in the Old Church. There is
quite a long history behind this event, even, oddly enough, pre-dating
the building of the new church and involving a payment from the Duchy of
Lancaster and the prayers for mariners which will be said during the
Then, on Sunday 27th July, from 2.30pm, the Friends are presenting an
Art Exhibition by Local Artists. Admission is £3 - contributing to the
maintenance and continuing restoration effort needed by the Old Church -
a fee which includes both a Cream Tea (well, it IS summer), and a ride
in a vintage coach from and to the All Saints Church Hall car park.
There is yet more to come. On Sunday 31st August, Tarleton Brass will be back with us for another rousing concert; while on 13th/14th
September the Old Church will be open, and celebrating Hesketh Bank's
horticulture, to mark Heritage Open Days, a national event organised by
The Civic trust and English Heritage. We can expect visitors from far and wide for that event. You too, perhaps?
VOICES SOFT AS THUNDER
Updated May 2008
“But the tigers
come at night. With their voices soft as thunder.”:
even as Leyland Male Voice Choir sang that slightly
puzzling lyric from “Les Miserables”,
daytime thunder rumbled loudly overhead and a squadron
of storms rolled round the estuary. Whatever point
Gaia sought to make, the men of the choir, conducted
by Dr John Wilson and driven from the keyboard by
Robin Stopford, missed not a beat.
should have known, of course, that, despite the
sunny skies and optimistic forecast, there would
be rain or worse … It was Village Walking
Day, after all. Despite that rival attraction, a
gratifyingly sizeable audience had turned out to
enjoy a typically varied programme of hymns (“We
only warm up after some good amens,” Dr Wilson
noted), show tunes, popular ballads, a couple of
well-achieved solos and a seasoning of classics:
a Puccini duet, some lovely Fauré and a rare
piece of early Vaughan Williams from Robin Stopford.
another season of events begins at The Old Church.
The next concert is not until 31st August, when
Tarleton Brass will set the rafters ringing and
feet tapping once again – so there’s
plenty of time to note that in your diary. In the
meantime, The Old Church will be open from 11am
on Sunday 29th June, which is Gardens Open Day in
This is quickly followed by Old Church Sunday at
10.30am on 13th July, when the All Saints congregation
follow the Hesketh Bank Silver Band in splendid
procession down Becconsall Lane for Morning Service.
And then, on Sunday 27th July, from 2.30pm, there
is an exhibition of work by
local artists. There’s plenty happening, then,
to keep the old building alive.
AT ANNUAL MEETING
Updated April 2008
Amid scenes of wild enthusiasm, along paths strewn
with rose petals, a small band of men and women
recently made a joyous entrance to Becconsall
Old Church for the Annual General Meeting of the
Chairman David ‘Mao’ Clusky proclaimed
a successful year, despite the challenges faced
by the group, with some well-supported events
after a shaky start, and a great leap forward
in facilities, including better chairs and enhancements
to the electricity circuit.
Treasurer Elizabeth ‘Abacus’ Caunce
noted a small deficit in the year’s income
and expenditure, but the overall position was reasonably
healthy. No ‘panic run’ on a vulnerable
UK financial institution was likely to result, and
funds should be available for further maintenance
of the building, including renewing the limewash
on the damp-damaged south wall.
‘Phonist’ Clusky pointed out that the
programme for the coming season was somewhat reduced,
but perhaps more aggressive than might have been
expected. This was partly a result of the splendid
determination of Tarleton Brass forces to occupy
the formidable ‘August’ position in
the face of some opposition.
watched by independent election observers Kevin
Day and Jim Newcomb, democracy then took place as
the central committee members nominated, seconded
and elected each other for a further year in office.
A number of retiring members had apparently hoped
to avoid the future struggle by being unable to
attend the meeting, but the ploy failed. Noisy acclamation
greeted the news that, with the genial support of
the Great Leader, President Dorothy Trippier, David
Clusky, Elizabeth Caunce, Kath Wright, Barbara Clusky,
Trish Whitehead, Ed Clark, Gill Clark, Olive Clarke
and John Nairne would be manning the barricades
once again. Savage internecine manoeuvering might
now be expected at the next meeting of this group
to secure positions of influence, but no change
is expected to result.
a review of progress with the new signage proposal,
and a warning from The Churches Conservation Trust
of the current revalence of lead-stripping theft,
the exhausted participants fell upon tea and biscuits
as night closed in.
up, at 2pm on Thursday 8th May is the annual Spring
Clean of the Old Church. Buckets, brushes, dustpans,
mops, cloths, polish, coffee, biscuits and friendly
companionship are all laid on. All you need bring,
if you fancy helping us out, is a bit of energy,
some enthusiam for the task and no fear of spiders.
SO THE YEAR TURNS ONCE MORE
Updated March 2008
I write, the sky is blue, the sun shines and the
birds think spring has arrived. If it weren’t
for the chill in the breeze and the patch of snow
just visible on Winter Hill I might think so too.
Nevertheless, it is time to turn our attention to
the Old Church and our plans for the coming season.
Annual General Meeting of the Friends will take
place, in the Old Church, at 7.30pm on Thursday
3rd April. We’ll take a look at our financial
position, what we achieved during the 2007 and what
might come about during 2008; and we’ll doubtless
be caught mumbling, shuffling our feet and trying
to look invisible as a committee is elected. If
you feel strong enough to face such a challenging
occasion, we’d make you very welcome, and
ply you with coffee and cake when the formal proceedings
mentioned at the end of last season that, without
an influx of fresh help, we might have to limit
our ambition in 2008. That has come to pass, although
Barbara Clusky has been busy enough with calendar
and telephone to give at least an impression of
business as usual – and some of the regular
performers were adamant about coming whether we
liked it or not … (we did, of course –
like it, I mean!). So, the 2008 season looks like
May 2008 Leyland Male Voice Choir
2.30pm A welcome return visit from a very well received
Tickets £3.00, includes refreshments.
Vintage bus running from All Saints church hall
June 2008 Gardens Open Day
The Old Church will be open from 11am to support
this village event
July 2008 Old Church Sunday (Annual Parish event)
10.30am Procession down Becconsall Lane from All
Saints, with the
Silver Band, and Morning Service in the Old Church
July 2008 Art Exhibition
2.30pm Local artists display their skills
Free admission. Vintage bus from All Saints church
hall car park
August 2008 Tarleton Brass
2.30pm The annual concert of this terrific local
Tickets £3.00, includes refreshments.
Vintage bus from All Saints church hall car park
September 2008 National Heritage Weekend
The Old Church will be open from noon until 4.30pm
days. Local produce, plants, home-made preserves,
cakes, local cheese etc
7th December 2008 A Seasonal Concert
2.30pm Maghull Hand-bell Ringers
Tickets £3.00. includes refreshments.
Vintage bus from All Saints church hall car park
The Churches Conservation Trust has found a bit
of money for some signs to encourage visitors to
the Old Church. We’ve been debating possible
sites, and so far we are considering a replacement
for the large sign which once stood over the rectory
hedge at the corner of Becconsall Lane, and a fingerpost
at the edge of the popular coastal footpath which
runs through the boatyard. If you have any ideas,
we’d be pleased to hear them: send me an e-mail
or give me a ring – contact details are elsewhere
on this page.
FINALE TO THE YEAR’S EVENTS
near capacity audience filled the Old Church for
the last event of 2007. The members of the Fishermen’s
Friend Jazz Band played a typically enthusiastic
set, starting with ‘Bill Bailey’, closing
with ‘Down by the Riverside’, and taking
in such old favourites as ‘Mack the Knife’,
‘Whistlin’ Rufus’ and ‘I
Scream, You Scream’ on the way. Band leader
Gerald Rimmer’s granddaughter, Charlotte Rimmer,
added variety with well-received performances of
a dialect monologue called ‘Bolton’s
Yard’ and the carol ‘Bethlehem’.
During the interval, since the numbers present and
the inclement weather made the usual self-service
arrangements impractical, Friends’ volunteers
whirled among the audience with trays of mince pies
and mulled wine. To add to the cheerful atmosphere
of the afternoon, a basket of cheeses, donated by
Grace and Peter Proctor of Greenfield Dairy, Chipping,
was raffled for the benefit of our funds. Now the
Old Church will settle down to the silence of its
chilly Winter snooze.
the Friends have been thinking about a programme
for next year, in the light of rather disappointing
numbers at some events this year, and our own increasingly
limited resources in the shape of active volunteers.
Chairman David Clusky warned the audience on Sunday
that we may not be able to stretch to monthly events
throughout Spring and Summer, although we remain
committed to seeing the building in use and thronged
with people as often as we can manage. Some additional
volunteers have recently come forward, so perhaps
the situation will improve as the warmer weather
a brighter note, we have had an additional power
point installed, making the use of electric heaters
rather more practical. The Churches Conservation
Trust has asked us not to use portable gas heaters,
since the moisture created by this form of heating
is potentially damaging to a building already plagued
by major damp problems.
Finally, recent visitors to the Old Church and others
strolling down Becconsall Lane may have noticed
a mysterious excavation in the bank just opposite
Ferry Cottage. This is in fact the remains of a
well which may at one time have been the only source
of fresh water for the Old Church and the scatter
of older dwellings in the area. Ken Wareing, a descendent
of the family who ran the ferry which, as the name
of the cottage suggests, once crossed the river
Douglas at this point, noticed the well on an 1815
map of the area, and decided to look for it. It’s
good to see interest being taken in these important
reminders of village history.
AND EASY TO SWALLOW
Fishermen’s Friend Jazz Band, that is.
This undeniably jaunty group of brass players
from Banks, driven along by a rhythmic banjo in
traditional jazz fashion, will be setting heads
nodding and feet tapping in the Old Church on
Sunday 25th November.
Fishermen’s Friend in full flight, resplendent
in their yellow t-shirts,
brightening a rainy Sunday in the Old Church in
band will stomp off at 2.30pm, with a programme
which may well introduce some seasonal favourites
given a ‘Dixieland Lancashire’ slant
(yes, folks, in case you hadn’t noticed,
the season of goodwill has come round again already!).
Admission is £3.00, which includes refreshment,
likely on this occasion to include mince pies
– possibly your first this year, so don’t
forget to wish. Bill Hunter’s vintage coach,
with Jimmy at the wheel, will be running as usual
from the All Saints Church Hall car park. No excuses
- you've time to practise your finger-popping!
A SIGN OF AUTUMN … 31st
BUT THE CIVIC TRUST’S HERITAGE WEEKEND
is fast approaching, when ancient buildings all
over the country, including many not normally accessible,
are open to the public.
Old Church is participating, and will be open from
12 noon until 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday, 8th
and 9th September. Hesketh Bank Heritage Harvest,
mainly organised by Trish Whitehead with the support
of local growers and producers, will feature local
produce, plants, home-made preserves, cakes and
local cheese, as well as our own notelets, calendars
and so on. Why not pop in to have a look round and
a chat with the stewards on duty, and perhaps pick
up a bargain!
the meantime, why not reflect on yet another splendid
concert by Gillian Bould and Tarleton and District
Brass which was recently held at Becconsall Old
Brass at Becconsall Old Church
HAPPY NOISE TO HEAR 22nd July 2007
A E Houseman described the bells rung ‘round
both the shires’ and heard by a Shropshire
lad and his lass on Bredon Hill in summertime.
were no ‘steeples far and near’ contributing
to the equally delightful music in the Old Church
on Sunday, but instead those well-known and highly-skilled
Handbell Ringers from Maghull Parish. For their
third visit to Becconsall, they played their usual
varied programme, ranging across arrangements of
pieces by Haydn and Dvorak, encompassing Japanese
folk song and Scottish airs and syncopating Richard
Rodgers and Scott Joplin before finishing in rousing
fashion with Strauss’s Tritsch-Tratsch Polka.
The audience was delighted, we were delighted to
welcome a larger audience (but there is always room
for more) … and, in one of those strokes of
optimism which characterize local volunteer groups,
we booked them to come again for a Christmas concert
in 2008 – date to be decided. Ring-a-ding-ding!
was the first outing for our ‘new’ chairs,
kindly donated to us by Formby Methodist Church,
which is currently being refurbished. These boast
padded seats in cheery red, blue or green, and the
word is that they are more comfortable than those
they have replaced – which we, in our turn,
were able to donate to the International Aid Trust.
Why not come along and try them out ……
during the next formal opportunity to do so at 2.30pm
on Sunday 26th August, when our good friends in
Tarleton Brass will return to give us what is certain
to be another lively concert. Tickets £3.00
as usual, including refreshments and the bonus coach
ride to and from All Saints Church Hall car park.
SINGING, SOME RINGING, SOME STRINGING
for the hiatus: something unavoidable intervened.
I was also unable to attend the concert by Roundelays
but I’m told that the performance was first-rate.
The choir sang a rich variety of songs from all
over the world, usually in the original language,
often unaccompanied. If we can persuade them to
come again, then we’d very much like to do
so, perhaps for a Christmas concert. Unfortunately,
audience numbers were very much down for this excellent
event, to the extent that the choir refused to accept
a fee. This was disappointing for them and frustrating
for us – hence my fears about the choir’s
willingness to give us another try, despite their
enthusiasm for the venue itself. Perhaps the sunny
afternoon persuaded people that a deck chair in
the garden was just too tempting: understandable
perhaps in this so far disappointing summer. Just
make a note not to miss them next time.
Sunday the 15th July is Old Church Sunday, when
the Hesketh Bank Silver Band leads down Becconsall
Lane a procession of parishioners and members of
clubs and organizations associated with All Saints
to attend Morning Service in the Old Church. Let’s
hope the weather improves for them, although for
a while before the old building was restored, this
annual event took place in an adjoining field, even
more at the mercy of wind and rain beating up the
estuary! But they’re a hardy lot, the older
villagers. As one of them explained when I politely
inquired about fieldworkers’ use of string
to keep trousers hoisted, “It’s the
string as keeps us warm!”.
Friends’ next event is a welcome return by
Maghull Hand Bell Ringers at 2.30pm on Sunday 22nd
July. Group hand bell ringing is a considerable
skill, and the Maghull Ringers have a fine reputation,
which they demonstrated during their previous concert
at the Old Church to be fully justified. If the
thought of this unusual approach to melody, harmony
and rhythm chimes with you, then we’ll be
delighted to see you there. Tickets as usual are
£3.00, a price which includes some refreshment
and, of course, a free trip on a vintage coach from
All Saints Church Hall car park. Please note that
some early copies of the year’s programme
showed the date for this event as 15th July, but
we had to change the date to ensure that we got
a full band of players: 22nd July is definitely
the correct date.
28th May 2007
can we expect to hear from Roundelay, the chamber
choir appearing at the Old Church on Sunday10th
June? Directed by Pamela Horswood, once a singer
with the BBC, the group has been in xistence for
more than 20 years, with a long list of appearances
to its credit. A typical programme might range across
classical, popular, folk and gospel music, often
sung a capella, but sometimes accompanied by keyboard,
guitar and woodwind. We can look forward, therefore,
to a varied concert, put across with the skill which
comes with experience, from a group of people who
sing for the sheer pleasure of doing so.
shall be warming up the building, if summer hasn’t
returned, for the usual 2.30pm start. The £3.00
entrance includes some refreshment during the interval.
Please catch the smart vintage coach from the All
Saints Church Hall car park, or enjoy a pleasant
stroll down Becconsall Lane, since there is no parking
at the Old Church or in the adjacent boatyard. We
look forward to seeing you there.
the Friends’ committee is looking at the possibility
of replacing the existing set of chairs in the Old
Church with something more comfortable and even
– perhaps! - padded at the crucial contact
points. Since the present batch, whilst having served
us well, seem to have been freighted in from a Victorian
workhouse, and apparently from the puinishment block
at that, we feel that such a change could do much
to improve the comfort of those of attending events.
But never fear, we would retain the existing pews
for those who might prefer the real 18th century
LOAD OF OLD RUBBISH!
13th May 2007
always at the start of a new season, we muttered
anxiously amongst ourselves as the starting time
for the first event approached. “Will they
come?” we wondered, “Is there anyone
waiting at All Saints for the coach?” John
Townson, the afternoon’s speaker, busied
himself with his splendid display of wood-carving,
happily chatting to the early arrivals enthusing
over his work. “The coach is coming …”
someone said, “ and I can see more heads
than just Jimmy at the wheel!”
there was a crowd at the door and the chatter of
acquaintance resumed: not a large gathering, but
comfortingly sufficient for the organisers and,
we were hoping, for the speaker as well.
need not have worried. John had many an entertaining
tale to tell, spinning round his search for wood,
any old wood, to spark his imagination. As he and
his wife toured France by tandem, ‘found objects’
sprang to his hand to become, with only minimal
whittling, a floating bird or a threatening snake,
carefully stored in the cycle panniers. At home
and abroad, other unwanted or redundant timber from
a variety of sources became the basis of his carving,
many examples of which could be seen on the display
tables, perhaps each of them the source of an amusing
anecdote or precious memory.
told, for example, of an afternoon at a camp site
somewhere in the Loire valley, where owner and campers
could be seen walking about, bent
double, peering at the ground, as they tried to
find out for him how many toes, front and back,
were possessed by the lively lizards, one of which
he had set out to carve.
was all well received, with a deal of laughter and
and good-natured joshing, until John quietly closed
with a kind of philosophy: nothing need be wasted,
and something good could be drawn from the most
unlikely of materials or events.
we look forward to our next event, at 2.30pm on
Sunday 10th June, when Roundelay, a mixed choir
from Southport, will be making a first visit to
the Old Church. They promise a varied programme,
and I’ll post more details here as they become
available. Why not make a note in your diary and
come along to join us?
– those lizards have five toes back and front,
it seems – but it took much comic peering
to establish this.
TO MERRY MEETINGS !
25th April 2007
AGM of The Friends of Becconsall Old Church passed
quietly enough during the evening of 25th April.
We could look back on a successful season of events
with increased attendance in 2006; there was sadness,
too, as we remembered the loss of Richard Clarke;
a healthy bank balance has allowed us to plan early
discussions about making positive use of the money;
we were also able to donate a useful sum to the
Churches Conservation Trust; and an interesting
programme had been arranged for the new season.
were few changes: David Clusky remains Chairman
while Barbara Clusky is still Events Organiser,
both beavering away well beyond the limits which
those titles might suggest. As Treasurer, Elizabeth
Caunce continues to keep her watchful eye on our
finances. Our remaining President, Dorothy Trippier
continues to offer us good advice as a member of
the committee, as do Trish Whitehead, Olive Clarke,
Gill Clark and Edwin Clark, each in their own invaluable
way. Kath Wright, an old friend but newcomer to
the committee, takes over as Secretary, and John
Nairne continues to look after publicity and to
keep this web-page updated. Hidden behind the scenery,
as a sort of deus ex machina with a smoking PC,
John Dale provides much necessary support with batches
of programmes, posters and other material. He is
one of a number of people who provide essential
help without taking on an ‘official’
season’s programme has now been finalised
– a mix, as usual, of
newcomers and old friends. Incidentally, if anyone
reading this has any suggestions for an event which
would fit well into the old building, we would be
glad to consider it. Just use the e-mail address
on this page to contact us.
May A Load of Old Rubbish
2.30pm (T) John Townson describes and demonstrates
creative and artistic uses for recycled wood.
2.30pm (T) A mixed choir from Southport experiences
the Old Church’s superb acoustic for the first
July Old Church Sunday
10.30am Morning Service – an annual parish
event starting with a band-led procession to the
July Maghull Hand Bell Ringers
2.30pm (T) A welcome return for a talented group.
August Tarleton Brass
2.30pm (T) A valued and lively annual concert, not
to be missed.
& 9th National Heritage Weekend
September Hesketh Bank Heritage Harvest, open from
12 noon to 4.30pm both days with local produce,
plants, home-made preserves, cakes, local cheese
etc., and displays of village history.
Nov It’s Too Early to Call This Christmas!
2.30pm (T) The Fisherman’s Friend, an unusual
jazz band from Banks, return to offer some seasonal
to events marked (T) is £3 (children half
price), this includes refreshments and free transport
by vintage coach from the All Saints Church Hall
car park in the village (there is no parking at
the Old Church or in the adjacent boatyard).
our first committee meeting of the new season will
take place on Thursday 10th May, starting at 2pm.
I mention this because the intention is to follow
this with our annual spring clean – for those
of us who remain physically able to wield the necessary
tools, anyway! If you’d like to help, give
us an hour or so to exhaust the jaw-jaw and join
us for coffee before we open the tins of polish
and elbow grease!