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 ...
September 1902 and the harvest was so far behind that the Harvest Festival had to be held a fortnight later than usual on the 12th October meaning the change to the winter pattern of services was delayed. However the weather had proved kind for the Sunday School Summer Treat held at Birtles Hall and “a merry afternoon was spent in games and cricket and swinging and rounders – Mrs Close Brooks herself presiding at the beautiful tea”.
In the previous month Mr Bradley had given a somewhat qualified welcome to the visit of the Church Army Van but come the event he appeared to have become quite enthusiastic speaking warmly of their efforts in the Parish …
“You are asked to uphold the Missioner’s efforts by your prayers and by your presence (as much as possible) at the meetings and trying to induce others to come. The services and meetings are short, simple and quiet; and are intended not only to rouse the careless but to build up the faithful. The singing at the services is a great feature and at many of them lantern slides were used with excellent effect.” One comment which is unexplained was that 27 Birtles folk were away “up in Scotland.” Who were these? Possibly the hall residents and staff?
Knowing Mr Bradley’s writings as we do it is not surprising that he also expressed the hope that the outreach will result in better attendance at church, particularly at the early morning Holy Communion services.
Cricket had seen a welcome change in the fortunes of Birtles and they had beaten both the Macclesfield Central and Henbury side in recent matches. Mr Bradley again making a sizeable contribution to the runs scored. The only disappointment had been the match between the Birtles boys and those from Henbury who had “outclassed” the local talent.