APPLETON THORN

 

Grid Ref: SJ 637 838
Date 21 April 2010

 

Village Sign spacer vicarage
Village Sign   The former vicarage
Appleton Thorn   Thorn Inn
The Appleton Thorn   The Village Inn
War memorial   Memorial
St. George on the war memorial   Inscription on one face of the war memorial
St. Cross   Gravestones
St. Cross   Stones for service personnel from H.M.S. Blackcap

 

The hawthorn tree in the picture is in the centre of the village of Appleton Thorn. A sign beneath it reads as shown below.

This thorn tree is an offshoot of the famous Glastonbury Thorn in Somerset. A thorn tree has stood here since the 12th century when according to local historians the original tree was planted by a Norman Knight, Adam de Dutton. He was returning from the Crusades in 1178 when he made a pilgrimage to the abbey, bringing an offshoot of the famous thorn back with him to plant on this site as a thanksgiving for his safe return. Over the centuries the custom of Bawming the Thorn grew up. Bawming means decorating the tree with flowers and ribbons. This is done to the singing of the Bawming song written by R. E. Egerton Warburton of Arley Hall in the 19th century. This unique ceremony has been revived and is held on the third Saturday in June. The tree was presented by the Appleton Thorn Women's Institute and planted in 1967.

Another sign reads:

The Tree Council in Celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, has designated the Appleton Thorn one of fifty Great British Trees in recognition of its place in the National Heritage, June 2002.

The war memorial, with its gold lettering, shows among others the name of Captain John Egerton-Warburton of nearby Arley Hall, who was in the Scots Guards. On 13 June 1908 at St. Peter's, Eaton Square he married the Hon. Lettice Legh, daughter of the 2nd Lord and Lady Newton of Lyme Hall near Disley. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Priscilla. Following the death of her husband in 1915, Lettice became a nurse for wounded soldiers at Abbeville in Northern France. In 1919, Lettice married Lieu Col John Waters. Elizabeth married the Hon. Desmond Flower who subsequently inherited the title of Viscount Ashbrook; they lived at Arley Hall. Priscilla Egerton-Warburton married first Viscount Wolmer who was killed during the Second World War, in 1942. Subsequently she married her cousin, Major Peter Richard Legh who became the 4th Baron Newton. Their children were Richard Thomas, the 5th Lord Newton and Piers David Legh.

St. Cross, with its stubby central tower, was built in 1887 in the Decorated Style. The architect was Edmund Kirby. In the churchyard there are eleven graves dating from the 1940s and 1950s for service personnel based at H.M.S. Blackcap, the Royal Naval Air Station at Stretton. Most of them were killed in air accidents when training.

 

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Cheshire Antiquities
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