Each month we produce a magazine, "The Over Alderley and Birtles Monthly Messsenger", this being the title used for the first parish magazine produced from 1892 to 1908 by the second Vicar of Birtles, The Revd Henry Waldron Bradley.
Here are some snippets ...
More than 100 years ago ...
October 1902 and the unusually late season meant that the Harvest Festival Service had again been postponed, the new date being the 19th October. From then on the evening service would be changed to an afternoon one as was the practice. At the same time the Sunday School moved to the Hall Gymnasium starting at 2 pm. The late Josh Birtles used to tell how the “crocodile” of children would wend their way down the drive headed by Mr Bradley and with a rear guard provided by the Hon. Mrs Bradley. As they passed though the wooded area it was said that some of the boys would “escape” by nipping into the woods, much to the consternation of the Hon. Mrs Bradley who it was said would call out “another one Vicar!”
Last month we saw that Mr Bradley had become much warmer towards the Church Army Missioners who were visiting the parish. He praised their efforts and reported good attendance at the meetings. He said “It was nice to feel that the great central key-note of the Mission was a message of love ‘God wants you’ and its practical teaching this, ‘you want God and cannot live without Him’.
The enthusiasm generated by the Mission had led to a practical outcome in that a weekly devotional meeting was to be held in the School-room each Tuesday evening starting at 7 pm.
The Cricket Season being over gave Mr Bradley cause to ponder on how the team had performed, conceding that it hadn’t been the best year with the final two games both being lost, and in Mr Bradley’s words, that against Prestbury being “lost badly” – he and two others scored a duck. Because of the scattered nature of the parish and the pressures of the farming season the team had become more of a district one with extra help recruited. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Mr Bradley was complaining of the practice of bolstering teams with outsiders. It seems that for Birtles it was also now a case of “needs must”.