A collection of historical fragments
Hartford Hall - Haunting
The present day Hartford Hall Hotel was originally a 17th century Manor House and was once a Nunnery. It is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a nun who is buried in the walls of Vale Royal Abbey.
19th Century Divorce!
Macclesfield Courier and Herald, 9th February 1828
Sale of a Wife. "On Friday, being market day, the town of Northwich exhibited one of the disgraceful scenes which we are glad to say are seldom exhibited. Our informant says that the parties concerned met at the Ship Launch tavern for the sale, which took place at 12 o'clock. The husband led his spouse through the market and after some bidding sold her for 2 shillings and sixpence and a gallon of ale. The buyer, seller and sold then adjourned to the aforesaid tavern to an entertainment."
The "Blue Bridge"
The old narrow stone single span bridge over the Weaver at Hartford was replaced in 1938 by the modern "Blue Bridge" in order to make it easier for boats to navigate the river and to let traffic bypass Northwich. The book "Images of England - Northwich" reports that the central steel section was designed to be lifted ten feet in case tall vessels needed to pass. If this was indeed so, there are no remaining signs of the lifting mechanism.
Extract from Davenham Parish Register - 26th July 1692
Ann DAVENHAM an infant dropped in Davenham Parish by a woman that could speak no English & therefore could give no account of the parents of the child; I named it after the name of the town that was ordered by the Justices of the Peace to keep it. (from Cheshire Ancestor - journal of the Family History Society of Cheshire)
WW2 Memories of Hartford and the River Weaver
Memories of Ronald Ashbrook
In July 1936 I left school and started work at Pimblott's shipyard, receiving the huge wage of 6s 2d! When the war broke out we began working 12 hour days, returning at night for fire watch duties in the yard. We built a number of vessels for the planned D-Day Invasion, including small ammunition carriers which were flat-bottomed for beach landings. These were called 'puffers'. Alongside coasters and tankers, we built two small motor torpedo boats, powered by Rolls Royce engines. During the testing of the first of these on the River Weaver, huge quantities of water were dispelled from under the craft and deposited on the river bank, much to the astonishment of the Royal Navy testing crew who were unused to the power of Rolls Royce engines. The second torpedo boat was therefore tested on the River Mersey.
In 1940 I joined the Home Guard and used to patrol the railway tracks of the Cheshire to Manchester line on the viaduct over the River Weaver. One night I was patrolling the right flank along Saxon's Lane when I came across a pair of khaki legs sticking out from under a hawthorn bush. I pointed my rifle and ordered the person to stand and identify himself. He did so, proving to be a young soldier of the Royal Gloucester regiment. He was quickly joined by a muddy faced pantry maid from Hartford Manor who had been beneath the bush with him. I don't know who was the more embarrassed, them or me!
(WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar - Contributed by Age Concern Cheshire)