Tag Archives: Painsley

NEWS of: court case / path blocked / calendar / community fund

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid October 2021
In this post we have news of…: man convicted of criminal driving / a community calendar / footpath obstructed / decision on ‘Solar’ community fund

For news of a song-writers’ concert and other events in our area, please go to our What’s On page

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Criminal driving

There are, thankfully, very few serious road accidents in Draycott, but one of them, back in early 2019, was a very bad one, resulting in the death of a fifty-year old man.
Last month, a jury also decided that it had been a case of criminal carelessness – and the man causing the accident, Usman Farooq, from Middleport in Stoke, has been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
It seems that Mr Farooq, in a rush, had cut across the dual carriageway near the Chandni Cottage restaurant and crashed with a motorbike. The man on the motorbike, Martin Barker, died in hospital of his injuries.

The incident reminds us that cars are lethal weapons; there can never be a good reason to dash about in one.

And yet another accident on the dual carriageway A few weeks ago, this car and its driver came off the road. No one was hurt
Draycott calendar (pic: Bev Reardon)

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Local calendar published

It’s good to see that the first-ever Cresswell, Draycott & Totmonslow Community Calendar will be on sale in time for Christmas.

Organised by community activist Bev Reardon, there was, at first, a photo-competition to gather in people’s views of the district (well done to Ritchie Bellis, whose effort was awarded first prize!), and from it, the twelve pictures were selected. Now twelve sponsors have also come forward, so printing has been secured. There’s even enough in the pot to print some Christmas cards.

Soon you should get a leaflet through your letterbox with all the details of how to buy one (just £6, folks!) – or, keep an eye on the village Facebook page for updates.
Any profits from the project will be used for beautification initiatives in the village – Bev welcomes any suggestions.

It’s really great to see a proper community project like this. Let’s hope it becomes an annual event…

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Blythe Colours Memories

Talking of community projects, anyone who worked at the old Blythe Colours Factory in Cresswell, or whose family did, is invited to a memories session at Cheadle Library on Friday November 12th (from 9am to 1pm).
Visitors are encouraged to bring in photos or other memorabilia of their time at the works.

This is going to be a well-organised event, with one-to-one recording available, and former Colours employees on hand to make notes of people’s memories.
If you feel you can contribute, just drop in – or book a one-to-one session by phoning Cheadle Library.

Visit of Stoke Lord Mayor Cllr Doug Brown JP and the Lady Mayoress, 1983
Remember this? Visit of Stoke Lord Mayor Cllr Doug Brown to the Colour Works in 1983

Afterwards, the memories will be gathered and placed in the Blythe Colours community archive, which is held at Blythe Library. In fact, there’s also likely a full-scale exhibition on the theme sometime in the future – probably Spring next year.

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Community’s fund?

Earlier this year, a resident raised a query about the ‘Newton Solar Array Community Fund’. This fund consists of money donated annually, by the owners of the local solar farm, for community projects within the Draycott-in-the-Moors district. The owners authorised the village council to choose which projects should receive the money.
However, the resident noticed that a lot of the fund was not going to grassroots projects, but paying for projects that the village council itself was responsible for. The resident thought that that was not quite right… and objected.

Well, a few months ago, the owners of the solar farm, RES, stepped in to the row, and suggested that the village council limit itself to half the funds. This suggestion has been rejected by councillors, who said that, in their view, “the council IS the community”, and they wouldn’t even contemplate the idea of a limit.
RES has accepted that decision.

Still…, that view of it seems strange to us. Surely it’s a bit like the government using Lottery money to pay for motorways? Would the nation’s electors be happy with that?
We pay our taxes – both to the national government, and to the village council – for what’s necessary. Shouldn’t these authorities be content with that?

Draycott Fayre 2021 – with the Knight! (pic: Neil Archibald)

However, one happy decision is that village councillors have decided that the St Margaret’s Annual Fayre should have a grant of £750, from this same Solar Array Fund, to defray outstanding costs from this year’s event.
The fayre, held last August, was unexpectedly down on visitors this year – probably because of Covid – but it is Draycott’s biggest community event, so it surely deserves support in what has been a lean year for it.

Currently, there is around £4000 in the Solar Array Fund. If you have an idea on how it could be spent in the community – please contact the council clerk.

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Footpath blocked

Many of us are getting a bit fed up with the amount of paths being blocked in our local countryside. Sometimes, it’s wanton vandalism, sometimes it’s natural issues (like a fallen tree), but sometimes it seems almost deliberate.
This was the case this month with the small gate beside the railway line in Painsley. The gate is there, installed by the county’s countryside department, as a useful way to force people to think twice before they cross the line (it’s legal to cross the railway line at this point).
But someone had padlocked the gate – leaving no note as to why – meaning some walkers had to turn round and trudge back to where they had come from.
Fortunately, a former county-council officer spotted the illegal closure, and the offending padlock has now been removed.

We do understand that footpaths can be an irritation to some but … they are legal rights of way. There are also proper methods to challenge a footpath if you don’t like its presence.

If you are on a walk and spot a blocked footpath, you can now report it quite easily – click here for details.

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St Mary’s is 200

It has only been quietly publicised, but the fact is that Cresswell is to be the centre of a major historical anniversary this year.
We will see the 200th birthday of St Mary’s Church, the oldest Catholic church in north Staffordshire; and the first of some special history exhibitions at the church is being mounted on the weekend of 6th & 7th February.

Built with his own bare hands

In 1791, for the first time in 400 years, it became legal again for Catholics to own places of worship, and so a tiny church was built in Cresswell next to the existing priest’s home at Lees House.

However it was soon supplanted, in 1816, by the present building. The new priest, Father Thomas Baddeley, who had only been at Cresswell a year, managed to persuade the then lady of the manor, Lady Mary Stourton, to put up the necessary funds to build a whole new church.
The Stourtons had succeeded the Draycott family to the ownership of the local Painsley estates; and Lady Mary was a staunch Catholic.
Lady Mary is also said to have later paid for the famous Annunciation window in the church (which is rumoured to have been devised by the famous designer and architect Augustus Pugin).

St Mary's Cresswell 1841

St Mary’s 1841 (courtesy ‘Staffordshire Past Track’)

Father Baddeley must have been quite an energetic man. The story goes that he built the church himself, using his experience of having been a bricklayer in his former career.  Sadly, he lived less than nine years after completing this project, dying at just 36 years old; he was reported to have died of sheer over-work.

St Mary’s was the first purpose-built Catholic church in north Staffordshire since the Reformation, and so became known as the region’s ‘mother church’.  However, many others were to follow of course, much grander in design, until St Mary’s was eventually relegated to being just one simple parish church of many.


The exhibition, in a few days time, is one of the first events being put on to celebrate the St Mary’s 200 Project.

Parishioners there have been working hard to make the year a special one – and we’re told that two of them have already created three beautiful embroidered panels celebrating stages of the parish history.  Also, some wonderful old photographs have been found (some in the loft of the presbytery!); and other photos have been gathered from collectors all around Draycott.
Incidentally, if you think you might be able to identify the subjects of some the photographs, please click this link and check out the photo album to see what you recognise).

Cresswell Church graveyard

The churchyard at St Mary’s was created much later than the church though some of the graves are over 150 years old

The high spot of the year will be the visit of the local Archbishop, in May.  By then the repairs of the frontage of the church should be complete, which will be a bonus.


If you are a history buff, there is an excellent guide to the story of Catholicism in Draycott & Cresswell, from its earliest times back in the Middle Ages up to the present day. You can download it by following this link.
However, as you’ll read in that guide, there are a number of strange mysteries to do with St Mary’s down the years… and we’ll be coming back to them before the twelve-month is out!

Happy birthday St Mary’s!

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)