News: Izaak dark / kids sports / fayre success / rail path hope

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-July 2017
In this post we have news of…:  Izaak pub closed again / Cresswell-Totmonslow railway path / Draycott fayre success / local sports camps for kids…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including an Open-Acoustic/Open-Mic evening. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Izaak closed again

The poor old Izaak Walton pub in Cresswell doesn’t seem to be blessed with the right star-sign. During the last five years there have been six changes of management, and – you guessed it – it has closed again.
Izaak closed 2017Rob & Lucy put in a good shift at the pub for nearly eighteen months – with good wholesome food at reasonable prices – and this popular couple seemed to be making a real go of it.
But the strain seems to have told; and in the middle of last month, they abruptly departed with just a brief sign left on the door (see pic).

The Izaak, which is at least 150 years old, is a real icon of Cresswell and it would be great to think another owner or manager will want to reopen it.
It was quickly put on the market – for £325,000 – and the rumour is that there is already firm interest.
Fingers crossed.

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Rail path support group

Our footpath network in this area is undoubtedly gradually falling into disrepair, but there may be fresh hope for one stretch of it at least.

The old railway branch-line between Cheadle-Totmonslow-Cresswell is now managed by Moorlands & City Railways, who lease the trackway from Network Rail.  They had hoped to restore a rail service on it, but that hope has disappeared; and so they decided in 2013 to open it up for public access, and now a lot of dog-walkers use it.
However, it is in fact still quite a rough track with ballast still lying on it and parts quite overgrown – so horse-riders and bicyclists have given it a miss so far.
(An exit from the path-track is (quite legally) blocked at the Cresswell end; and some walkers would like to request a permissive way put in to allow the path to be fully open at this Cresswell end).

But, a new group, The Friends of The Cheadle-Cresswell Railway, has now been started up, with the aim of seeing the trackway transformed into a more widely usable route. Darryl Worthington from Upper Tean is heading up the project, and he says support is growing for the idea.
The next meeting of the group is at the Anchor pub in Tenford (at the other end of Totmonslow’s Breach Lane) on Thurs 27 July, and all are welcome.

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Sunday best

Yes, the Draycott St Margaret’s Summer Fayre on Sunday last must go down as one of the best-ever.

AWCS Draycott Fayre

American Civil War re-enactors: stars of the fayre

Many more customers through the gates than last year, some spectacular events (truly spectacular!) and almost unbroken sunshine all day – it couldn’t be beaten for a great day out.
The money raised goes toward maintaining the village’s seven hundred year old church, so it’s a worthy cause.
Snake at FayreOne of the most popular side-shows was one that was quite new to the fayre – Christopher Reptiles. Snakes, iguanas, large lizards were all to be seen – and handled! When you’re being asked if you want a huge seven-foot long snake (see pic) crawling round your shoulders, it soon sorts out who are the bravest…

Thanks very much to John Clarke and his vast team of volunteer helpers who put on a fabulous day!
But don’t forget – there is no rest for this team. Work is already underway preparing for next year’s fayre; if you feel you can help, contact the team.

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Summertime sports

Although there has been a lot of sunshine this year (as well as rain, admittedly), the summer is only just beginning for children, who are just now commencing their school holidays.
So… some of our community organisations are laying on stuff for the kids to do.

Draycott Sports Centre is leading the way with a packed series of sports days during August… A huge range of sports – tennis, squash, badminton, hockey, dodgeball, cricket & football – will all be on offer at its day-long ‘camps’. Children from five upwards are invited to sign up (with parents’ permission) but don’t wait around: numbers are limited. Click here for details.
For children who specifically want to improve their tennis, Draycott Centre is offering an intensive day on 22nd July (part of the Great British Tennis weekend) – click here for details.

Meanwhile a new weekly kids’ dance-tuition session is underway at the Quick Quick Slow Studios in Cresswell – styles range from street-dance to ballroom.

Meanwhile, in next-door Blythe Bridge, Leek Town FC is holding its local Street Soccer programme, providing weekly pop-up football sessions for children. The sessions are free of charge, open to any children aged 8-18, and are held at Blythe Bridge Recreation Ground for six Thursdays (7-8pm) from Thursday 26th July.
With luck, once they’ve tried all these, the kids will be just plain tired out.
(Well, maybe…)

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

Draycott Summer Fayre 2017

It just gets bigger and bigger… The 26th year of the Draycott-in-the-Moors Summer Fayre promises a full thirty-six hours of fun (with a little sleep thrown in in the middle…) across Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th of this month (July 2017).
# Saturday Afternoon: A parade through the streets by some fifty re-enactors in American Civil War costume !
# Saturday evening: ‘Saturday Night Live’ brings three bands, a disco, hog-roast & beer festival !
# Sunday daytime: St Margaret’s Summer Fayre from 11am-4pm with The Human Cannonball, American Civil War skirmishing, vintage car rally…. and more !


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Everything takes place around Ford’s Field, slap bang in the centre of the village (for sat-navs, it’s ST11 9AE); and it’s all free to children of school age.
Now, if all that doesn’t wear the kids out, nothing will…

Saturday Parade

One of the biggest attractions this year is The American Civil War Society re-enactors. In costume from 150 years ago, they really know how to make history come alive – sometimes with big bangs…! They will be camping on the fayre field; and will parade from Blythe Bridge to Draycott on Saturday afternoon, leaving BB at 2.30pm, flags flying.
Make sure you come out to see them…

Party on, on Saturday

For those that love to dance or just appreciate some live music (and beautiful food), you get your moment on Saturday evening (8th July), when the field’s marquee will be put to good use.
The terrific Jacque Rabbit band (featuring local lad Richard Ward) will be back again, by popular demand; with Peter Wright’s ‘SuperiorSounds Disco’ on the decks kicking off the night at 7pm.
Two very lively bands are the support: Bear Withers (a “seamless blend of popular covers and bad jokes”!) and Moore & Moore Beer.

Team that with The St Margaret’s Beer Festival & Hog Roast (courtesy of The Draycott Arms) and you have a fun summer’s night entertainment, all under cover too. Price – £5 entry, kids under-17 get in free…

Biggest fayre ever

And it’s up early on the Sunday (9th) for everyone if you want to get your money’s worth at the fayre. The first event is the ever-popular Dog Show at 11.30am, (If you think your dog has the makings of a champion, be sure to get to the fayre by 11am to register).

From then on it’s fast & furious.
The two big attractions are the previously-mentioned  American Civil War Society re-enactors  who will be around all day – but also putting on an infantry drill display, organising a kids-only drill, and then having their own infantry-only skirmish (keep well back…!) during the course of the afternoon.
The other big attraction is Rodrigo Perez The Human Cannonball. Rodrigo is originally from Chile but is now based here in the Staffordshire Moorlands, and has performed over 3000 shots all around the world. The feat is quite extraordinary; he recently flew forty metres! If you don’t believe us, check out these videos

And of course – there is the long-established vintage vehicle rally, run by the evergreen Tom Sale, with over one hundred cars, motorcycles, lorries, coaches, machines, commercial vehicles and tractors. Every year, the rally alone brings in hundreds of visitors.


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Plus……. the Community Sports and Tug-of-War tournaments; the fun-fair, the ferret racing (with Malcolm Adlington), one that is new to the fayre Christopher Reptiles, the Coverdale Puppets show, the stalls selling everything from ice-cream to plants, the local community groups’ charity stands, and the ‘country-crafts experience’.
(If you or your local group wants a stand at the fayre, it is not too late to apply. Just email the Fayre Organiser, and he will help you sort something out – £10 a table.)

And you can relax… as well

Need a rest? Thank goodness for the ‘Saint Margaret’s Bar’ and its cooling beers and ciders (and other drinks). A big thank-you to The Draycott Arms which will be running it this year. Zara Hutson from the Arms has promised a proper choice of beers, so if you enjoy a pint, it really will suit you.
The staff of Draycott Moor College has once again showed terrific willingness to join in community activities – they will be running the barbecue.
And don’t forget the wonderful Tea Shop run by Christine Wibberley & friends.

And you don’t even have to walk to the fayre! If you live in Tean, Cresswell, Blythe Bridge or Draycott, then jump on the special Fayre bus. POPS, the Potteries Omnibus Preservation Society, will be running a vintage bus around the villages all day from 10am onwards (but not to Meir Park, as previously hoped).  Check out the timetable by clicking on this link.  It’s free to ride, though a small donation would be appreciated.

The small print

This is a local event, all run voluntarily by local people for a local charitable cause (the ongoing, and expensive, maintenance of our lovely 13th century village church, St Margaret’s).
The fayre is held, as usual, right in the centre of the village, on Uttoxeter Road (ST11 9AE) – with gates open at 11am. The day closes around 4pm.
Entry is £5, but children under-17 get in free.
On-site car-parking is free.
Website is:

On the weekend, the big A50 dual carriageway will be shut for repairs between Uttoxeter and Draycott-Blythe Bridge roundabout. This won’t affect the road by the fayre or local motorists, who use alternative roads, but if you’re coming from a distance, you might want to check your route.
First Aid is provided by 239 (Longton) Squadron Air Training Corps. They will also be performing a drill display in the main ring.
If you can’t remember last year’s fayre, check out our review of it.

Local people, can you….?

As has been said, this is a strictly volunteer-run local event with all profits going to our village’s oldest building. So, thinking of that – if you live locally, do you think you can help, by volunteering?
On the Sunday (and even the Saturday evening) there is always a need. People are required for all sorts of tasks – from the basic, like stewarding on the car-park, right through to ‘shepherding’ the main acts.
If you can spare even a little time, or have some expertise, please email the Fayre Organiser, John Clarke. He will be very happy to hear from you!
Fayre volunteers will also want to keep an eye on the special Fayre Facebook page.
And so, special thanks to Paul & Sandy Ford of Highfields Farm. From the very start in 1990, they have hosted the fayre on their land, providing a water and electricity supply too.

This page was last updated on July 6th

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: Church histories / roundabout update/ Boundary event / car park solution

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-June 2017
In this post we have news of…:  church histories on sale again / Draycott roundabout update / Boundary history event / cricket club solves car park issue…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Hog-Roast & Fete. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Church’s every nook & cranny…

It’s great to see the re-publication of three definitive booklets about the history of Draycott St Margaret’s Church. Very few print copies of these works are now available; even reference copies are hard to find.

Some history-buffs will be already aware of two of the booklets: ‘Parish Church of St Margaret’ by June Johanneson & Ken Burgess (1989); ‘and ‘A Condensed History of St Margaret’s Church’ written by Bert Spencer using researches of Ken & Mollie Burgess (publ 1995). Bert’s booklet is the one to look at if you are new to the church; it picks out the main features and is nice and short (20 pages).

St Margaret's Church 1967, Goodier

St Margaret’s Church 1967 – drawing by Goodier

Of course, both these histories are developments of an earlier, 1967 work by Rev Charles Healey (the rector here during the 1960s), called ‘A Short History of St Margaret’s Church’.

However, the document that hardly anybody has seen up to yet is the ‘NADFAS Guide to St Margaret’s’ (1996).  Only three of these were published – as it’s a whopping 200 pages long and full of the very deepest details.
If you want to know every last meaning in any one of the stained-glass windows, or the material used in every piece of stonework, or the date of every piece of furniture in the church, then this is the work for you!!

NADFAS book, tiles

Even each floor-tile is described & explained!

Vera Marsh, a local parishioner herself, was one of the fifteen volunteers who compiled the research, which took two years to complete. Vera, who wrote the section about the stained-glass windows (and still worships at the church), told us that she is absolutely delighted that the tome is now finally available to all…

All these three publications have now been copied digitally to CD – and the CD is available for £5. Income from sales will go straight into the church’s repair fund. Email John Clarke or phone him on 01782 396190 for details.

And, don’t forget…
If you do love old churches, all are invited to go along to St Margaret’s Open Days – on the first Saturday of July and August and September between 2 and 4pm. Look for the ‘church open’ sign. There is always someone to tell you about the church if you wish to know more.
If you do buy this St Margaret’s History CD, you may even be the expert in the building!

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Methodist history too

It’s not just Draycott … many communities across the region are beginning to realise the importance of the history of their old churches. Now that local schools and post offices are closing, and even country pubs are feeling the financial heat, an old church is sometimes the only place remaining that links us to our collective past.

Our local Methodists too have realised this and are celebrating the history of their tiny historic chapel at Boundary (Boundary is next hamlet along from Draycott Cross, so quite a few Draycottians will know the chapel well).
Every Saturday afternoon during August, between 2pm-4pm, the chapel will be hosting a history display with photos and memorabilia going right back tot when the chapel opened.

Do you have stories to tell, or can you help with the loan of any photos featuring Boundary or its residents or the chapel? It’s not too late. Just email Jenny, or phone her on 01782 394983

– – –
Car parking – sorted!!

Well done to Blythe Cricket Club!
The gates to the club’s ground in Cresswell are right on the brow of a humpback hill and in the past, when the club’s car-park was full, visitors to the ground have parked on the roadside.

Blythe cricket parking overspill

New parking overspill site for cricket club

But, as everyone knows, parking on the top of a hill which has a blind brow can be dangerous; and residents did ask for the club to do something about the problem before an accident occurred.
A secondary factor is that the club is a victim of its own success. The First XI is doing so well in the NSSCL Division One that more spectators are attracted to come to watch – making a need for even more parking space. The club said they’d try to come up with a solution.

Well – true to their word, the club has now solved the problem.
What the club has done has got permission to use the field opposite the entry – which is now functioning as an overspill car-park.
Well played, Blythe CC!

– – –
Draycott’s central roundabout (planned)

One of the big shake-ups for Draycott will be the huge increase in traffic coming along Uttoxeter Road when the proposed housing-estate & industrial-estate are built.
Industrial vehicles will not be allowed to go south from the new business-park because the roads in Hilderstone (the next district along going south) are too narrow, so all the industrial traffic will have to come through Draycott Level.
Because snarl-ups will be inevitable otherwise (see VVSM Highways Report), a huge new roundabout is planned for the centre of the village.

Proposed roundabout for Uttoxeter Rd/Cresswell Lane

Proposed roundabout for Uttoxeter Rd/Cresswell Lane

The diagram that has been produced by the planners & developers (see pic above) is a bit confusing though, and back in January one of our district councillors, Dave Trigger, agreed to research the issue and get some answers.
Not surprisingly, residents are wondering where that research is. However, the bad news is that Dave has been very ill since the beginning of the year and not been able to fulfil more the most basic of his duties… so residents will have to wait.
Dave is a highways expert, so he really is the man for the job.
In the meantime, we send our best wishes to him and hope he gets better as soon as possible.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: elections in / book success / accounts (?) / bowls club

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-June 2017
In this post we have news of…:  the recent election results / local history book success / council’s invisible accounts / bowls club open …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Fun Tennis Tournament. Check out the Events page)

For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Results are in

Well, that’s it for elections for a while (hopefully!).
Since last year’s referendum, we in Draycott have had a parish-council bye-election, a county council election, AND a general election. The next lot is due in 2019.

As for the results, Tory candidate Mark Deaville was re-elected as one of our Staffordshire county councillors for the Cheadle & Checkley ward (which includes us) with a whopping 56% of the vote. No-one else was in sight. Sadly, the turn-out was just a measly 28% of the electorate.
Soon after the election, the Conservative administration on the county council confirmed that Mark will resume his post as the county’s Cabinet member for highways. Congratulations to him.

In the general election, it was a similar story with Conservative Bill Cash storming home to be (again) our MP for the Stone constituency. Oddly, the trailing Labour candidate did get a huge increase his votes too – but that is explained by the total collapse of the local UKIP vote.

Weirdly, Mr Cash has just put up a new website – – about his work in this constituency, but it is the most amateurish piece of work we’ve seen in a long time. It’s hard to believe he approved it.
Sadly, Mr Cash has turned off the comments function of this website; it would have been nice to be able to put a comment on!

– – –
Email a photo now

Our local library at Blythe Bridge has a photography completion running at the moment – and they are looking for photos of this whole area (including Draycott).
The idea is that the photos should be of a local quiet spot, somewhere where a person can just sit and contemplate the world. It could be your own back-yard, or it could be somewhere where you stop for a moment on your walks.

Draycott churchyard

A place to stop and think: Draycott St Margaret’s churchyard…

It’s easy to take part – just email your photo to the library – and you could be in with a chance of winning a prize!
Click here for the rules etc.

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Successful history book

Congratulations to local boy Matthew Pointon whose book about the history of Draycott-in-the-Moors raised over £700 in profit.
Matthew, who took not a penny himself, asked for the profits to be divided equally among the two historic churches in Draycott – St Margaret’s Parish Church and St Mary’s RC Church at Cresswell.

The parish council, who put up the initial money to see the book published, decided such an achievement needed a special event to celebrate it; and a History Event was held at St Margaret’s on June 3rd.

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During the afternoon, Levison Wood, the chairman of the local history society, led a special history tour of the village, which was very successful; and tea & cakes were served (for free!!).  Alongside that were special displays remembering the long, long history of this village.

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Bowls – a true Summer sport

One of the disadvantages of a lot of summer sports is that they can be cancelled because of rain. However, not so in crown-green bowls!
The sturdy members of the local bowling club in Cresswell pretty much carry on in the rain – unless it’s lashing down.

Sue Stepek, the club’s secretary, says the club is still keen to find new members – from absolute beginners to skilled champions.
Basic membership is £10 for the year, though that means you have to pay £1 each time you use the green. The clubhouse on the site was refurbished last year, so it’s a comfortable experience.
The great thing is that the green is pretty much open all the time; it’s sited at the entrance to the business park in Cresswell, so it is open 16 hours a day!

The club get-together is always on Thursday afternoon, so that is a good time to wander over and introduce yourself if you want to have a go, or get some guidance.

– – –
Invisible accounts

Lastly, you may have seen on the noticeboards that Draycott Council has finally published its end-of-year accounts, and we all have until Friday 21st July to examine them, and, if need be, query them.

Trouble is: how do you get to them, to see them?

Most local councils now put a print-out on their noticeboards, or publish them online.  This what next-door Milwich Council and Dilhorne Council have done. The government is urging every council to do it one of these ways.
Some councils (including next-door Hilderstone Council) even publish the chairman’s annual report online.

But not Draycott Council.  At least, not yet.
In this district, what we have to do is first apply to the council clerk for permission to see them, and then (presumably – but who knows?) we have to trudge round to an address somewhere just to see the papers.
Wouldn’t it just be simpler – and more democratic – to publish them online on the council’s website?

====STOP PRESS:  A week after this article was written, these accounts were published online after all – see Draycott Council Accounts 2016/17. Thank you to the council for responding to residents’ requests).=====

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

Cresswell’s ancient ‘water-meadows’

Things seem to have gone a bit quiet on the Cresswell Blythe-Park expansion plans – in which 170 new homes will be built in the village and the current industrial park will also double in size. However we are pretty sure that, behind the scenes, both the developers and the community group which opposes the plans, VVSM, continue to work away.

One thing that has come to light in all this is that the expansion of the industrial site will take place on top of some of Cresswell’s ancient ‘water meadows’, that are probably centuries-old.  The developers’ own researches indicate that these are the major heritage legacy that could be disturbed by the new build.

Water meadows

Water meadows’ are the areas of land that used to be flooded deliberately in the old days: to force early growth of grass in the spring; to improve the quality of the grass sward; and to increase the summer hay crop.
But drowning the land in this way can also kill the grass, so landowners cleverly used sluices and ridges & channels to keep the water moving and oxygenated, so preserving the grass.

In fact, Staffordshire’s water meadows may be some of the earliest in the West Midlands. (Systems around Uttoxeter used stone work for sluices and culverts, which just shows how old they are – perhaps 500 years old).

Cresswell water meadows ditches plus fills

Known old drainage systems of ditches and fills on the Cresswell river meadows . ‘A’ is where the new industrial expansion is planned to go

Cresswell’s old water meadows follow the line of the Blithe River, which makes sense, because these particular fields needed the extra source of water.
Older people in this area will also tell you that the wet fields just north of the railway line, near St Mary’s Church, were famous for their abundant crop of water-cress, thus giving the village its name of Cresswell.

Cresswell water meadows

Blue area shows the area along the River Blithe that was flooded for the old water meadows. It stretches from the Izaak Walton pub (top left) down to Paynsley, going right through the Blythe Park base

Sadly, Cresswell’s wet-fields seem to have suffered the general fate of most other water meadows in the UK. They were probably churned over and flattened around 100-150 years ago to enable modern farming practices to take place.

The amazingly fast disappearance of water meadows in Britain since the 1930s has not been good for wildlife. Old water meadows – with their open undulating grassland interspersed with derelict wet channels – support many threatened species of plant life and mammals, such as the water vole.


The question is: are there still centuries-old remains – e.g. old drainage systems – beneath the surface?
According to the ‘Staffordshire Historic Environment Record’ the site (labelled 53250) is declared an “area of post-medieval water meadows” – and indeed a series of straight drains is recorded on current mapping of this area (see map).

The HER report goes on to wonder if any associated earthworks remain.  The HER’s guess is that they don’t, because they were likely ploughed over. However, it is only a guess – because no archaeological surveys, on the ground, have actually taken place….

Of course, the developers, as part of the planning permission process, do have to commission an archaeolgical  survey – but, at this stage, it’s not clear how thorough that survey has to be.
It will be interesting to see what transpires over the next few months.

As you can tell (!), we are not experts, so we’d appreciate any input.  If you can contribute to this article, we’d be very grateful!  Please leave a comment in the comments box below, or email us.

Conserving Historic Water Meadows
Staffordshire’s Historic Environment Record
Staffordshire Historic Environment Record via Heritage Gateway

Leese House Farm – a mini history

Last year sometime, we had an enquiry about one of Cresswell’s most famous farm-houses which said:   “Has anyone got any information on Leeshouses? My ancestors, the Warrilows, lived there certainly from the 1700s to about 1871 before the family moved to Eccleshall.   From – Nari Fairbanks (Australia)”

Leese Houses (now called Leese House Farm) is one of the famous four ancient farm-sites that lie along the old track that runs south for a mile or so from Rookery Crescent down to Painsley, the other three being Rookery Farm (now largely demolished), Wastegate Farm and Painsley Hall Farm.
It is now fully restored; and a lovely property.


Well, none of us is a land historian, so we put the query out to the village Facebook page. This query caused a discussion that raised a hundred comments (!); and we thought we shouldn’t just let all that knowledge be lost, so we gathered the bits here together for this article.
The three main contributors to the discussion were Nigel Peake, who has lived in and around Cresswell all his life, Lev Wood, who is secretary of the local history society, and Nari Fairbanks herself – but there were any others.
These are the essential comments, all collated…

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The three main contributors to the discussion were Nigel Peake, who has lived in and around Cresswell all his life, Lev Wood, who is secretary of the local history society, and Nari Fairbanks herself – but there were any others.
These are the essential comments, all collated…

Lev Wood Snr commented:     “…’Leese’ House must refer to the Lee Family.  The history of the Lees in the Draycott/Fulford area can be traced back to the 13th Century. (Kirby’s Inquest of 1285 marks Richard de Lee as ‘lord’).  They were certainly considered as the second family locally after the Draycotts during the High Middle Ages, and at one time were referred to by the title ‘Lord’, although this probably was self-assumed. They did however sit on numerous village courts.
It is logical to assume that “Lees” as it was referred to on early maps and later “Lees Houses” were the way to denote ownership of that land and came down through the centuries retaining that name.”
So Leese House just means ‘house of the Lee family’.

Lev Wood Snr comments    “Finally discovered Emanuel Bowen‘s map of Staffordshire c1755 showing Draycott and ‘Lees’.”

Eman Bowen map of Staffordshire

Eman Bowen map of Staffordshire, 1755

Nari Fairbanks comments  “…My Fairbanks ancestors were from Sharpley Heath (on the road to Hilderstone) going back to the 1700’s. My GGG Grandfather Robert Fairbanks was married to Mary Warrilow. The Warrilow family of Draycott can be dated back to the 1600’s with mention of a John Warrilow dated 1607…”

Lev Wood Snr comments   “Just discovered that an Adam Warrilow was living in the vicinity of Draycott in 1327 and paid 2 shillings in tax for the “Scottish War Levy”…
“For anyone trying to trace early Draycottonians there is the 1327 listing…only men sadly, but I do have mention of some prominent women living in the area at the time.  Adam W is still there in 1332 paying the same in the Subsidy Roll.”   (See these rolls at the bottom of this page)

Nari Fairbanks commented:   “… My GGG Grandmother, Mary Warrilow, daughter to John and Ann, was born in Draycott around 1822.  Lees House is recorded as a place of residence on Census Records and Births/Deaths/Marriages records for several family members, mainly around the 1820’s.
There is also reference to the house in the booklet called “A Short History of Cresswell’s Roman Catholic Community” by Father Phillip Bailey (1971).   I’m now thinking that Lees House included a selection of cottages built on the farm land to accommodate Roman Catholic priests in the late eighteenth century & early nineteenth century – when Catholics were permitted to worship again after years of suppression in England.”
One of the first post-1800 RC churches to be built in this part of the world was St Mary’s in Cresswell.

Nari Fairbanks comments   “Have just located an 1891 census record for a George Warrilow living at Leese Houses on Heranwood St in Draycott.  I have to say I did get a little bit excited 🙂   On the transcript, the house name is given as Leese Houses (though have seen this spelt several different ways)”


And, at that point, the discussion came to a halt.

So, it seems that the site (if not the actual house) may be as much as 800 years old, with the actual main structure dating back possibly four hundred years.  The cottages on the site later became merged into one house.
Among the puzzles, we can ask: why did the Warrilows leave this long-inhabited home of theirs in the late nineteenth century?  And also – no histories or maps record it, but could Heranwood Street be an old name for the farm track from Cresswell to Painsley?

Clearly, there is a lot more to be found out and maybe someone is already sitting on some significant extra information.  If more comes along, we’ll let you know!


If you want to research the history of your own house, Staffs County History Archives have produced some packs on how to do it – see House History Publications
See also:  Staffordshire Map 1888

Fourteenth Century taxation rolls –  thanks to Lev Wood.  (Adam Warrilow is listed here, but hs name is spelt Warylowe) Draycott roll 1327

NEWS: AGM…not / Joe’s heritage / artwork / cricket on the up

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-May 2017
In this post we have news of…:  When is an AGM not an AGM? / Blythe CC on a roll / Joe Thorley’s heritage / artwork at The Arms …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Grand Prix Dance Festival. Check out the Events page)

For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
You couldn’t make it up

An ‘annual general meeting’ is the high spot of an organisation’s year – with summaries of achievements, and a chance to review the past year and the annual accounts, and more.
So, the AGM of Draycott Parish Council is a big deal – after all, this council spends nearly £10,000 every year of local residents’ money, which they take from us in tax.
This year’s AGM took place on Monday.

Guess what?
There was no Chairman’s Report (the usual look-back at the council’s activities over the last twelve months); the annual accounts hadn’t been audited in time so we didn’t see them; and the reports from our SMDC district councillors didn’t happen either, because, er, they didn’t turn up. So … that is hardly what we call an AGM….!
How can we the public put sensible questions at an AGM if no reports and figures are forthcoming?

It is also the time of year when our local councillors need to be sure that their ‘declarations of interest’ (i.e. the things they do that might affect their role as councillors) are up to date.  So, as you do, we checked each one of them.  You can see them all for yourself, by clicking here.
Well, it turns out that not one of the current councillors (i.e. excluding Pat) has actually filled in the form correctly; and there was no form at all for one councillor – despite the fact that he has been on the council for over ten years!
Even worse was the revelation that hardly any councillor was able to think of anything when asked on the form for their “leading roles in community organisations”.

Some people think that this website is overly critical of the Draycott Council, but, honestly, this is simple stuff.  If, as a councillor, you take on the responsibility of spending ten grand of our money every year, surely you can start with getting the basics right…

– – –
Smashing Blythe!

Blythe Cricket Club First XI has, we are happy to say, got off to a cracking start to their season.  They were unbeaten until last weekend (when they succumbed to an unexpected reverse at Wood Lane).  Their home games, at their Cresswell ground, have been a joy to watch.
And all this without their professional, the Bangladesh international Mosharraf Hossain.  Mosharaf has been unable to take up his place because of the surprising recent success of his Bangladesh side, which has been progressing through international tournaments with ease!  One hopes he will be here soon though.

Meanwhile, work on the new £500,000 pavilion & centre goes on. It’s hoped that everything will be completed on time – i.e. in mid-July.  What a party that will be when it throws its doors open!

PS – don’t let the ongoing work at the ground put you off attending as a spectator.  The bar is (temporarily) in the annexe… and the beer tastes just as good.

– – –
Culture & beer

Sometimes when you want a quiet pint on your own, you might take a newspaper with you.  But what happens if you forget your paper?

Draycott Arms artwork
Well, at The Draycott Arms, they’ve solved that problem.  All you have to do is check out the art on the walls (see pic).  There are a number of interesting paintings on the walls, most of which have been submitted by local artists.  You’ll recognise the names of Jackie Knott and Alan Savage, just for two.  An absorbing 20 minutes can be spent doing it.

The art changes regularly, and much of it is for sale, so, if you are a culture-vulture, you know what to do…

– – –
Joe’s heritage

One of the great characters of this district was Joe Thorley.  Between the 1920s and 1950s, he was often to be seen out with his photography equipment – and his photos are well worth checking out if you ever get the chance.  He also collected paintings of local scenes, and thank goodness he did, or they might have been lost forever.

The View of Tean High Street taken from the Old Roebuck Inn by John Gosling 1832
The ‘View of Tean High Street taken from the Old Roebuck Inn’ – see pic, above – (painted by John Gosling in 1832) was formerly owned by Joe.  Joe, who was a local farmer – at Totmonslow Farm – left it in his will to his sister Pat (Whitfield), who then herself donated to GreatWood Community Hall in Tean, where it can be seen to this day.

The future of Totmonslow Farm – the imposing building on the right as you go past the Totmonslow sign on the way to Tean – was in doubt for a while after Pat died.  However, the good news is that there are plans to adapt the barns into flats, though the actual farmhouse will remain lived in by family members.  It’ll be nice to see the farm buzzing with life again.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: pavements under pressure / new car park / dumping action / election day

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early May 2017
In this post we have news of…:  how our pavements are gradually disappearing / police action on illegal fly-tipping / new car park for Draycott Old Road / county council election.…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a special Plants Sale Day. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates & news about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Pavement loss

It’s that time of year again… yes, suddenly, after a winter of stillness, everything in the fields and gardens is growing like mad.
This is great for farmers and gardeners, but actually not so good for our pavements, which are currently suffering their annual ‘vegetation encroachment’, as it’s known. Basically, this is when field edges start to spread and spread, sometimes covering the whole pavement.

It is mostly the rural and less well-used pavements that suffer the most of course.  Mud splashed onto them contains seeds which just start to germinate – and bingo!

A community group member tries to clear a badly overgrown pavement in Cresswell

A community group member tries to clear a badly overgrown pavement in Cresswell

You may wonder – who cares?  Well, the problem is it reduces the width of pavements to such an extent that they are no longer wide enough for pushchairs, buggys and disabled wheelchairs… meaning such items have to be pushed along the road itself, which is clearly dangerous.

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In our area, Draycott Parish Council has taken responsibility for keeping public spaces tidy and shipshape and, up until only a month ago, had a grant to enable it to do just that.  It even set aside £400 earlier this year to hire someone to clear mud & vegetation-encroachment off the pavement between the Draycott Arms and Totmonslow (though it’s not clear if that work has been carried out yet).

Certainly, so far, the council has struggled to keep the pavements growth free, as our pictures point out.

– – –
Police take action in Draycott

A couple of months ago, we reported on the news that huge deposits of illegal waste had been dumped on local farmers’ fields here in Draycott.
(It’s amazing to think that, in 2016, there were almost a million incidents of such fly-tipping in our country – criminal gangs dump the truckloads of waste under cover of darkness anywhere where they won’t be seen.)

The big question is: where do the gangs keep this waste while they are waiting for an opportunity to dump it?  It seems they often store it secretively in large barns or warehouses until they have enough to make a truckload run worth their while.

This whole matter came up yet again last week when the police decided enough was enough and launched dawn raids on a number of addresses.  Sad to say, one of them was in Draycott. See – dawn raids by police report

– – –
Parking problems … over

One piece of good news for residents in Draycott Old Road is that the long-awaited car park for Draycott College (see pic) is now finally completed (though much behind schedule) and seems to be working well.
Draycott College car park
Up till recently, the residents in the road were complaining loudly that parking by staff and workers at the college was swamping ‘their’ street.
All should be well now…. hopefully.

– – –
An election before The Election

Finally – don’t forget… before the Big Election on June 8th, we still have the small matter of the county council elections.  Here in Draycott & Cresswell & Totmonslow we are part of the Cheadle & Checkley ward, and we have the chance this week to vote in one county councillor to represent us.  See the list of candidates.

The local community action group, VVSM, thought it would be a good thing to get the candidates’ views on important local issues, such as planning developments, highways and so on. Not all the candidates responded, but most did – see what the candidates had to say by clicking here.

Voting day is this Thursday (May 4th).

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: classic car / Rectory Lane / a military hero / “un-singing” / congrats to Bessie

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid April 2017
In this post we have news of…:  the classic car that belonged to a Wildblood / cleaning up Rectory Lane / a session for those that can’t sing / congrats to our oldest & grandest lady / our World War One hero…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a St. George’s Day Ball – c
heck out the Events page).
For daily updates about life in our district, check the village Facebook page.
To receive an email each time there is a new post on this site, click the
Follow button (see right)

– – –
A Jaguar on Cresswell’s roads

Lots of us would love to own a classic car, especially a Jaguar, though our chances of that are pretty slim! However, the dream has come true for Douglas Taylor, who wrote to us to say he has just acquired a Jaguar XK 140 FHC (see photos, below).

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However, the main reason it is of interest to us here in Draycott-in-the-Moors is that the car was once owned by Frederick William Rhead Wildblood (who is recorded as having bought the car, new, in 1957, from Byatts of Fenton).
The Wildbloods are famous as the family who owned the Blythe Colour Works in Cresswell right up until 1963 (when they sold it to Johnson-Matthey); and they also owned Draycott Lodge, the big house in Cresswell Lane.

Mr Taylor is a real enthusiast & collector of classic cars, which means that he doesn’t just want to own such motors, he wants to find out their history.  As he told us, “… it brings them to life, so to speak”.
So, he’s asking – does anyone know anything else about the car?  Where did Frederick live in the late 50s?  What was Frederick’s position within the company? What happened to the car later? Mr Taylor would also love to see any old photographs of the car if any are around.

So… over to you.  If you have any information please email us, and we’ll pass it on to Mr Taylor.

– – –
A military hero from Draycott

Sticking for the moment with history (and appeals for photographs), it’s really fascinating to hear that the Blythe Bridge & Surrounding Districts History Society (which also covers Draycott) has turned up a mention of a Draycott man who was also a Great War military hero.

Lev Wood, the society’s secretary, did the research; and he came across a reference, in the Evening Sentinel of 1918, regarding a Major Bernard Joseph Moore of the Grange in Draycott, a soldier who it says was awarded the Military Medal.  (The Grange is in Cheadle Road, just a few yards up from the Draycott Arms).
Though Major Moore survived the war, he suffered from having been badly gassed.

Our major was born in 1889 to Bernard Moore and Mary Frances Dawes, and, following the war, in 1920, he married Helen Clive. He died in 1963, then living at New Inn Lane in Trentham.

Over to you again: Lev wonders if anyone knows any more about him, and might even have a picture of him.  If you have any information please email us

– – –
Can’t sing?  Will sing!

If you ever pass the Church Hall, just up from St Margaret’s Church on Wednesdays, you may have heard an odd sound coming from within.  It’s the sound of singers who can’t sing.

Draycott in the Moors Church Hall

Draycott Church Hall – open for use by the community…

Yes, Steven Booth, a member of the Cheadle U3A, leads a group which meets then at the Church Hall, and he calls his session ‘Singing For The Untuned’!
Steven says: “We have fun, a laugh and tea & biscuits.  People who come along can mime or can just let it all out; there is no expectation.  We sing to printed lyrics – using background music and words.  However… no actual reading of music is allowed, nor is any singing in tune: hence the name!”
Steven is not crazy though; he just believes that using your voice – even if it sounds to others like you are just making a noise – is very therapeutic … and fun.  And no one is allowed to be embarrassed, which is even better.

If you fancy going along to have a look and a try, you will be very welcome.  The first session you attend is free (any questions, just ring 01782 392972).
The next dates are 26th April, 10th and 24th May, and the sessions run from 10am to 11.30ish.
It sounds quite a laugh!

– – –
Rust on the remove

Earlier this month we reported on the fact that Church Lane, the main track up to St Margaret’s Church, was just a mess of potholes and axle-bending bumps. The local Draycott area Council looked into solving the problem but had to basically admit it was too big an issue for them to handle.

Well, now our same local council has been tasked with solving issues on the other approach to the church also.
The footpath/track up to the church from its eastern side is known as Rectory Lane (it leads down to Cheadle Rd), and apparently there have been complaints about some old and rusting vehicles that have been left standing in the lane.

Rectory Lane, Draycott
The council has taken up the issue – and is asking the owner of the vehicles to remove them.  Let’s see if anything happens…

– – –
Congratulations Bessie!

And finally, last but never least, a belated happy birthday to the parish’s oldest resident, the grandest of grand old ladies, Bessie Hammond, who turned 104 last month.  It’s amazing to think that she was born before the First World War even started.

Bessie HammondHer daughter Susan told us that Bessie (pic, right) did give friends and family a bit of a fright on Christmas Day when she had to go into hospital, but she then came back safely to St Margaret’s Court where she lives, so all’s well that ends well.

If you don’t know of Bessie’s long and amazing story, click here for a bit of an insight.

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: new cllr / Church Lane end? / traffic lights / new shop?

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early April 2017
In this post we have news of…:  new councillor for Draycott / Church Lane project stumped / disappearing traffic lights  / a shop for Draycott?…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a cabaret evening of ballroom-dancing – c
heck out the Events page).
For daily updates about life in our district, check the village Facebook page.
To receive an email each time there is a new post on this site, click the
Follow button (see right)

– – –
Welcome councillor

Pat McLaughlinCongratulations to the newest member of Draycott Council.
Patricia McLaughlin (see photo, right), a chartered surveyor who lives at the Blythe end of Draycott Level, was voted in by a landslide on Thursday (6th) evening in the local council by-election.  She was voted in with 98 votes, compared to her opponent’s 52 votes. She becomes one of Draycott Council’s seven members.
Our commiserations to the gallant loser, Roger Leach.

Pat said in her manifesto that she will aim to unite the different parts of the district, which, as she observes, have become “disjointed”. We wish her the best of luck.

– – –
Shopping to return to Draycott?

English: Draycott-in-the-Moors Post Office. (n...There hasn’t been a shop in Draycott for many years now: though there are still fond memories of Evelyn Robinson and how she ran the old post office (see picture, right – it was adjacent the Draycott Arms), not to mention the general shop at the Blythe Bridge end of Uttoxeter Road  (near what is now The Golden Keg Restaurant & Pub).

However, Zara & Brayn at the Draycott Arms pub are nothing if not enterprising, and they want to establish a shop-area in what used to be the public-bar room at the pub. The room is under reconstruction at the moment, but it should be all done and dusted sometime in the summer.
Zara is now looking round for a second-hand refrigerated unit to hold the perishable goods (if you know of one, she’ll be happy to hear from you).

In the meantime, a questionnaire has gone out to most local households asking residents what they think of the idea.  If you haven’t had one, or just lost yours, just click here to see the form, print it out, fill it in… then just take it round to the pub…

– – –
Cul-de-sac for Church Lane project?

Over the past three months there has been a deal of discussion (see more…) about what to do about the awful condition of the road surface on Church Lane.  The lane is really more of a track than a road and is full of nasty potholes.
However, it’s an important thoroughfare, as it leads up to St Margaret’s Church & graveyard and to the community hall too.

At the last Draycott Council meeting however, our local councillors admitted defeat.  The project is too expensive and too-consuming for them to get involved with, it seems, and the local county-councillor, Mark Deaville, is taking on the issue instead. Mark is applying to Staffordshire County Highways to have the lane ‘adopted’.  However, he admits it’s a pretty long shot.

So what do the church authorities and the dozen-or-so residents of the lane do next?  We met one resident, Mark, who was doing a manful job patching up the potholes this week. His patches are just exactly that though, and he admits his work may not last for very long.

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It’s a difficult issue.  We suggest the wardens at St Margaret’s start a crowd-funding page to try to raise the cash for proper repairs.
Well…   Anybody got a better idea?

– – –
The case of the disappearing lights

Talking of works not getting done, does anyone know what the sudden appearance and then disappearance of some temporary traffic lights at the Uttoxeter Road-Cresswell Lane junction was all about?Traffic lightsWe were told it was going to be some preliminary work on the giant new roundabout which is going to be built there as a part of the re-development of Cresswell (see: the Roundabout Design diagram).

Maybe the developers changed their minds…?  Hmm.  Unlikely…

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)