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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A Church of Family Memories: Sepia Saturday

This week's photographic  prompt shows three choirboys in their white surpluses. 

Choirboys mean Churches,  so I am turning to what I regard as my ancestral homeland - the Church of St. Chad's in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashir

St. Chad's Church in springtime with its carpet of crocuses. 
A  photograph taken by my Uncle, Harry Rawcliffe  Danson

St. Chad’s Church, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire  is at the heart of my family history, as Dansons were baptised, married and buried there down the generations from John Danson, born 1736, son of Peter. My parents married at St. Chad's in 1938 , my father sang in the choir and my brother and I were baptised there.

Tradition dates back the church to 669. It was dedicated to St. Chad, a Northumbrian missionary who became Bishop of York and then Bishop of Mercia.  In 1349 the Black Death struck, with the vicar of Poulton amongst those succumbing to the plague. Registers date from 1591, with the oldest part of the present church, the Tower dating from before 1638. A major rebuilding took place around 1751. 
Inside St. Chad's. 

John Danson's daughter Jennet married John Brining,
whose family boxed pew,   dated 1778,  is in the  gallery.  
A large board at the back of the church is inscribed with the names of chuchwardens from the 17th century onwards, including the names of my g.g.g.g. grandfather John Danson (1736-1821) and his son Henry Danson (1767-1839) and their connections through marriage John and Thomas Bryning.    (Impossible to get a decent readable photoaph of it)

Margaret Danson married into the Brownbill family of local clock-makers,  
responsible in 1865 for the new tower clock  
My grandmother Alice English (below() was confiremd at St. Chad's in 1904 
and presented with this prayer book. 

The War Memorial  includes the name of George Danson, my great uncle, 
killed in 1916 on the Somme. George (below) also sang in the choir here -
 as revealed in his  obituary in the local press. 

Wedding of my parents John Weston & Kathleen Danson (left) with Edith Danson & Charles Weston - 1938 

Wedding of my Aunt Peggy (Margaret Olwen Danson), my mother's  youngest sister, to Harry Constable,  1948.  Shortly afterwards they emigrated to Australia. 


Although I moved away from Poulton when I was 13 years old, St. Chad's Church remains a fond place in my memory. I recall my last visit in early springtime when bell ringers were practising and the carpet of crocuses covered the churchyard - a beautiful part of my heritage.
And here is the only photograph I have of a choir boy - my father's elder brother Fred Weston, c.1915 in his choir robes at St. Mary's Church, Warwick.

My father too joined the church choir at the age of 7, and  he continued as a choir member  throughout his life wherever he lived - but unfortunately there is no such photograph.  

Copyright © 2017 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved


Sepia Saturday gives bloggers an opportunity 
to share their family history through photographs.

Click HERE for this week's memories from fellow bloggers  



  1. What a long and wonderful history St. Chad's has with your family! The photo of the inside of the church reminded me of something I learned while visiting the interior of the North Church in Boston. In wintertime, the lucky parishioners were those who sat upstairs because heat rises! Not sure how the summers might be up there, however? Stone churches like St. Chad's might remain cool enough in summer - especially in England. :)

  2. This is such a long history at one church. My family moved around so much that rarely were two generations baptized at the same church.

    Finding Eliza

  3. Your father's brother would fit right into the scene this week, except his hair is parted on his right instead of the left, like the trio. An old church around here is a building about my age! Imagine, 669.

  4. A perfect match with your last photograph. Your family certainly has a long and interesting history at that beautiful old church. What a shame you have no photos of your father as a choir boy or choir member, despite it being a big part of his life.

  5. What a handsome church. I am fascinated by such old buildings and marvel at the skill it took to build without today's technology. There is very little left from the early days of our country because most buildings were built from wood; in Virginia the soil was so sandy that even bricks did not last in many cases.

  6. What a gorgeous church, and so many touching memories of your family there. I always love visiting churches where my ancestors worshiped to get a small feel for their everyday experiences. St. Chad's is quite spectacular.

  7. Lovely church, lovely post! I'm awestruck by the date...669? We New Englanders talk proudly about buildings built in the 1600s; you folks have a lock on that "old building" stuff!

  8. An excellent post. The last photo is a treasure so it's a shame there isn't one of your father as well. (Note to self: remember to get the camera out for the ordinary as well as the extraordinary.)

  9. Thank you all for your kind comments.

  10. Loved seeing so much about the wonderful old church...as well as your family's connections with it through the years! A very thorough posting!

  11. A wonderful story and how lucky you are to have that long continuity with the church. Fred shares that same serious face as the choirboys in the theme photo and the other choristers we've met this weekend.

  12. I do love old churches, especially those with family connections, which is why I squeezed one into my post too. You saved the best till last with that charming choirboy photo.


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