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Thursday, 13 June 2019

Country Churches with Family Links: Sepia Saturday

"Country Churches" is the prompt from this week's Sepia Saturda - an attractive topic for me and here I link again local and family history. 

Bedrule Church in the Scottish Borders
How much more rural can you get than this view - taken from Bedrule Church, near Hawick in the Scottish Borders?

 Looking across the hidden Bedrule hamlet to Ruberslaw Hill

                                                     Bedrule Church

The hamlet of Bedrule  is a hidden place with a population of 183 in 2011 and situated between Hawick and Jedburgh in the old county of Roxburghshire. 

It has strong links with the Turnbull family (along with Scott, Elliot and Armstrong) prominent (or notorious) names in Borders history.  Legend has it that the name came about, when William of Rule, near Hawick, saved King Robert the Bruce by wrestling to the ground a bull that had charged the king. For this act, he was rewarded with lands and dubbed "Turnebull".

A plaque in the church pays tribute to Bishop William Turnbull of Bedrule who in 1451 received permission from King James II to found the University of Glasgow and become its first chancellor. 

Another  memorial plaque honours naval officer Anthony Fasson (1913-1942) who grew up near Bedrule. He was on board HMS Petard in the Atlantic  when it torpedoed a U boat.  Lieutenant Fasson and two colleagues bordered the vessel and rescued from the captain's cabin top secret German code books and an Enigma machine.  The papers once deciphered provided crucial intelligence to teh Allies, but as the submarine sank, LIut. Fasson was lost.  For his actions he was awarded the posthumous George Cross.  

 A tragedy of war remembered in the peaceful and beautiful setting of Bedrule Church. 

St. Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire  

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

St. Chad's Church is at the heart of my family historyas my mother's Danson family  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 christened there.

The church  is reputed to be one of three unnamed Fylde churches mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. 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. 

A large board at the back of the church is inscribed with the names of churchwardens 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 photograph of it).

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

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

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. 

All Saints Church, Broseley, Shropshire  

My father, John P. Weston,   was born in Bilston, Wolverhampton in the English Midlands, but from an early age, grew up   in Broseley, across the river from Ironbridge, Shropshire, known for being the birthplace of the English Industrial Revolution.  He  had very fond memories of the place, where he sang in the church from the age of seven.  

In writing a narrative on his Broseley Boyhood,  I was very grateful for the contribution of both Shropshire Archives and Broseley Local History Society whose website featured transcriptions from the local newspaper at the time the Weston family lived in the town.  I found no reference to the family by name, but the frequent reports on church activities present a picture of what Dad could well have been involved in. Singing Stainer's "Crucifixion" was one of his favourites which he could very clearly remember. 
                The inscription in the prayer book presented to my father in 1928


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

             Click HERE  to read church memories from  other Sepia Saturday  bloggers  



  1. I always like to read the stories of your past ancestors, and not so past. Your stories roll out of history and through the valleys, dales and church yards. Way cool.

  2. So much history recorded within the walls of the churches!

  3. What a beautiful setting - and so much history!

  4. Oh my goodness, you've got so many church connections from your family. Though one of the photos didn't download for me, I enjoyed the others!

    1. Thank you,Barbara, for letting me know about the St.Chad's Church photograph not downloading for you - no idea why, as I copied it from a much earlier post. However I have added it again from the original - one of my favourite images in my collection.

    2. Yay, I even came back to see it! Thanks

  5. I really liked that Bedrule Church. Great photos.

  6. I've always admired how churches in Britain preserve history and memory of both place and parishioners.

  7. St. Chad's church is quite a handsome building -- a wonderful place to have your ancestors memorialized -- and I envy you having those prayer books. Great story about how the Turnbull family came by its name!

  8. Thank you all for your kind comments. I could have gone on to feature so many more churches, as they are a favourite subject to photograph, but I decided to focus on churches where I had a close connection. We lived 41 years in Hawick, a few miles from Bedrule Church - and have climbed the hill in the background of the first image.


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