RANTING ALONG FOR THE TWO SAINTS WAY

A major aspect of my work at the moment is working on the Two Saints Way interpretation panels. One of the most interesting places where there will be a panel is at Englesea Brook. The great majority of churches on the Two Saints Way are Anglican, but Englesea Brook Chapel and its museum is something completely different.

I like the way that this interpretation panel will have some especially good stories
connected with it! Money for the panel has been raised through a 13.5 mile sponsored
walk that took place on Saturday September 29th. John Cornell, a great enthusiast who I have met on some of my visits, lives by the chapel and was the sponsored person.

On the day, John (on the left in this photo) was accompanied by volunteers from the museum and other local people. It began appropriately at Mow Cop car park below the ‘castle’ folly. This is the particular place that will always be associated with the beginnings of the Primitive Methodist movement. It was here in 1807 that two significant camp meeting took place that provided the impetus for the rapid spread of the movement. Because of their practice of singing hymns in the streets the first Primitive Methodists were called ‘Ranters’ which is why John called his walk ‘Ranting Along.’ One of the founders of the movement, Hugh Bourne was a terrific walker – one of his boots is on display at the museum and it has a hole in it because of all the hundreds of miles he walked!

Forward again to 2012 and for those of you who know the area or like following maps
here’s the route the walkers took… They crossed into the High Street and then continued down the famously steep Top Station Road. Beyond the steepest part of the road they veered off to the left over a stile in the hedge, across a field and then it was downhill all the way to the A34 in Scholar Green. After carefully negotiating the main road they followedpaths and tracks leading to the Trent and Mersey Canal. Over the bridge, with a brief backward glance at the view of Mow Cop, they took to the tow path to Thurlwood Farm. It was then on to Lawton Heath, emerging through the ground of a small house onto Betchton Lane and finally after the challenge of further stiles and bridges they made it to

Halfway picnic

Pikemere Primary School gate. Hurrah they had made it to the halfway point! Packed
lunches were enjoyed and new walkers greeted ready for the remaining miles. After the hard slog of the roads they welcomed the new terrain of tracks and footpaths over the M6, where they momentarily forgot how footsore and weary they were and grateful not to be stuck in the traffic as they waved to those who were!

They followed the South Cheshire Way past Haslington Hall, Crewe Golf Course, and
across the busy Butterton Lane into a quieter pastures that led to a bridge crossing the Crewe to Alsager railway. Eventually a bridge crossing the A500 brought them towards the village of Barthomley. A final couple of miles and they were thankfully home to Englesea Brook for afternoon tea and cakes.

Thankfully the weather was fine and all that remained to do was enjoy a well earned soak in a hot salt bath and collect in the sponsorship money!

I think it is just perfect that money for this panel was raised by a walk following this historic route – perhaps it should become an official spur off the Two Saints Way sometime!?

I’m sure High Bourne himself would have been proud of all the walkers and what’s been achieved!

For more on Englesea Brook Museum see http://www.engleseabrook-museum.org.uk/

Jill Barber Project Director of the Museum displays the fruits of John Cornell’s efforts

Leave a Comment