A country farming village at the edge of The Cheshire dairy plain, Audlem village centre is dominated by St. James' Church, which is a grade 1 listed building and a scheduled ancient monument. Building the church commenced in 1278. It stands overlooking the crossroads located in the centre. Currently, the village is "dressed" for the season, using Union flags and bunting. The first occasion that this will mark will of course be the Royal Wedding, which will take place later this month. The whole village looked magnificent on Sunday afternoon in the bright sunshine, flags flying, and flowers in bloom everywhere.
St. James' Church, overlooking the square.
To the right of the shelter, pictured in front of the church, there is a large boulder by the entrance. There is evidence of a shackle having been mounted in the middle of it. A plaque on the wall behind describes that the rock was once placed in the middle of the square, where the monument now stands, and was where bear baiting once took place.
The plaque describing The Bear Stone
There are period pubs and small shops located around the square today, with numerous tubs of tulips in flower.
This is The Bridge Inn, and the way to get to the canal, Audlem Mill, The Shroppie Fly and lock 13. If you plan to stop here, there are numerous outlets in the village where provisions can be bought. The first of which is a Co-operative convenience store just to the right in this shot.
The building up the road is the Co-op.
Above is a photograph of the undertaker's premises of Graham Tresidder. I have studied my own family history, and my family emanates from Cornwall, of copper mining stock. I ended up in Manchester as the result of the collapse of the industry in the 19th. century, when much of the Cornish population emigrated to avoid starvation. Many went abroad to the hard rock mining areas of Australia, USA, Mexico and Africa, and I have located direct Mitchell relatives in many countries. Luckily for me..............! my side of the family responded to the calls for blackleg labour in the Lancashire coalfields, during a strike for better working conditions, as a way out of Cornwall. A whole street in Radcliffe, Manchester, according to the census at the time, was occupied by families of Cornish origin in the later part of the 19th. century, one of which included my Great Grandfather as a child, having walked there, from Cornwall, working en-route, with his family.
Tresidder is also a Cornish name, and I have tracked down, and met, known relatives of that name to this area of Cheshire. However, I can't establish a link with this particular branch of the Tresidder family.
But, Graham Tresidder's father, Fred, aka John Trent, his stage name, was a popular singer in the potteries area of Staffordshire. He later set up his funeral business in Nantwich in 1977. As a singer he possessed an Equity card, which is required to perform professionally, and he was probably the only undertaker to hold this union membership. With it he started to take on acting roles in TV and film, and as such took on the role of undertaker at many of TV soap's most famous funerals, including Coronation Street's Len Fairclough, Ernie Bishop and Don Brennon. He also drove a car at Brian and Gail Tilsley's wedding and appeared in dramas such as Brideshead Revisited and Sherlock Holmes.
Sadly, Fred passed away in 2007 aged 81.
Finally, to me the icon that brings to life the heritage of our canal system is this:
The iron work such as this, located at all bridges and aqueducts throughout the system symbolises the years of use the system of waterways have seen long before we were lucky enough to inherit them for our own leisure use. You only need to look at this to imagine how many years of ropes rubbing against it whilst towing working boats along the path have past to make such an impression. This particular one is located at the bridge leading to lock 12 of the Audlem flight.
It leads me to wonder what the immediate future holds with the coming of the new BW trust.