Stories from the Archives
Browse through this collection of stories drawn from many sources including the Society's archive, newspapers and online sources. The catalyst to begin research varies from an inquiry that comes to Society, a document that arrives at the archive, or another trigger that sets the delving off.
Most Marple people will have seen the time line in the Memorial Park with details and photos of the many local young men who lost their lives in World War I – a very poignant reminder of the heartbreak endured by their families from 1914-1918.
One brave young man, whose name went up this year, caught my attention. This was Ernest Bennett D.C.M., parents Sam and Mary from High Lane. Although my maiden name was Bennett the name Ernest, with parents Sam and Mary, meant nothing to me. As far as I knew there was no Ernest in my Bennett family records.
Things ain’t what they used to be” is a refrain we often hear but were they so good in the old days? These two letters describing Marple Bridge and Mellor in the 1920s and 1930s give a picture of life as it was.
Bill Hughes and Marion Woods,were both born in the first decade of the 20th century and their memories, written in 1983 and 1978, lend an unequalled immediacy to the past.
What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot if your name is Miss Jane Marple, Agatha Christie’s eponymous heroine. The star of 12 crime novels and 20 short stories, local folklore believed that Agatha Christie’s amateur sleuth was named after Marple station because the author passed through it on one occasion. This is not true but the station does figure prominently in the actual story. In July 2015 the station celebrated its 150th anniversary (coincidentally, the 125th anniversary of Agatha’s birth) and her grandson Mathew Prichard was invited to Marple. He brought with him a letter written by his grandmother to a Miss Marple fan, explaining how she came by the name.
This wonderful image is of William Hyde who was born in Denton in 1801. He was sexton of All Saints Church, Marple for 42 years until his death in 1865. During that time, a sexton was a ‘man of all trades’ as the role included grave digging, clerk and maintenance of the church.
Samuel Oldknow’s Georgian Church replaced an older and much smaller wooden church. It was perched on Marple Ridge at the heart of a small isolated group of buildings set amongst pastures and lying beside the long-established route between Marple and Disley. Nowadays, we do not associate the area around the church as being ‘The Ridge’ but that is how the land between the Church and Hill Top Farm is designated on old maps. ...........................
The inscription on this gravestone has always intrigued me. Who was Annie Fletcher and how had she become nurse to the royal family? Why was she buried in All Saints churchyard?
Annie, (or Ann as she was christened) was born in 1861 in Crow Nest Lane, Beeston, which is about three miles south of Leeds. Her parents William and Sarah were from Aspul near Wigan and her father was a fireman in a coalmine. A fireman was an official in charge of a district of the mine who would go down into the pit before a shift began to check that the working places were free from firedamp, and other impurities. If dangerous gases were found, it was the fireman’s responsibility to clear the air so that it was safe for the miners to work.