From: MICHAEL KILDUFF
From: MICHAEL KILDUFF
From: R A Hilton
Thanks for replying to this appeal.
Greetings - and thanks, Bob!
Following the posting of my ‘barn pictures’ on the web at last October, and request for reminiscences and further information, I copy here some of the replies and comments I have received. I am sure there is more to be said, more memories to be stirred.
My first request was made by e-mail to Bro Donald MacDonald on 9th October 2008.
I visited Shrigley today to arrange further enlargements to be displayed there. I had a most interesting afternoon.
I met a man called Phil Bell, who is Group Maintenance Manager for the hotel chain. He used to be at Shrigley. He asked me for information about the history of a building I never knew existed - certainly I do not recall it. Photographs attached of the barn-like building, adjacent to what I remember as a spud field.
It is above the car park, difficult to get to without going onto the golf course. It has in it old Shrigley desks and dormitory lockers and furniture remnants you might recognise.
It was obviously a barn, as there is a feeding trough along one wall. There is an upper floor in one part of the building. He asked if anyone ever lived there, but I thought that unlikely.
Anything you can tell me about the building and its use in Salesian times I will pass on to Phil Bell.
His first reply said
I know about the barn. When I was on the staff during the last days of Shrigley I used to wander about the place and visited the barn a few times. I must go back and see it to make sure it is the one but I am sure it is.
The next day he wrote again.
As far as I remember you could get to the "barn" because the road to the farm went past it. Instead of going in to the car park (graveyard) the road continued forward round the front of the "barn" and continued up to the cottages and on to the Shrigley farm. I see from the photos that the golf course comes right down to the "barn" so it seems that they have done away with that "road" The next time I am up there I must go and investigate. It is interesting that all that "stuff" has been in there since the school closed and no one seem to be interested in it since! I only remember that there was a load of straw/hay in there and it did not seem to have been used by the farmers. I wonder who in the school put all the junk in there. John Jackson (the electrician at Savio) and his father ran the farm for many years and maybe he might know something about it I will try and inquire about that angle of the story.
On 10th October I forwarded my original request for information to Fr George Robson.
I am forwarding to you, for your comments, an e-mail I sent yesterday to Bro Donald. The query explains itself, as I know Donald did a lot of maintenance at Shrigley, but I pass it on to you because I know that you had much to do with the closure of Shrigley and may have used the barn I am asking about. The hotel did not know they had this property and have never used it themselves.
Fr George replied:
The back drive used to continue past where the present big car park entrance is. Between there and the couple of houses there was this small outbuilding. As far as I can remember it was used when we had the farm in operation but only as a store. I don't remember animals being in it and it was not a dwelling at any time that I remember. I remember it being used for redundant furniture in my time as bursar.
In an afterthought he added:
I think it would be 75 - 80. Peter Dooley was Rector at the time.
I met Fr Bernard Parkes from Savio House at another function at Shrigley and told him about the barn, following this up with an e-mail:
Following our conversation on Saturday and your mention of the name 'Jackson' I am forwarding to you some pictures I took last week and have been asking about: Donald, George and Eric all got copies. One reply mentions John Jackson. You may like to consult him next time he is repairing your lights. I would appreciate any comments or recollections he has.
On 16th October he wrote:
Thanks for the pictures of “the barn” at Shrigley and for Donald’s comments. It seems to me from what he said that it’s a different building from the one I was thinking of. He says it was on the way to the farm. If you went up the road that led from the end of the boys’ refectory and the rockery you came to a T junction. At this point there was a cottage on the right (used, I think, by Arthur, who used to work around the kitchen, and later by the chefs when we hired a firm to do the cooking for us). On the left at this junction there was a metal barn for the storage of hay etc., and I suspect there were other buildings, too, of which this “barn” was one. If you turned left at the T junction you went to the farm (many cross country runs started this way) and if you turned right the road took you round the back of St. Joseph’s and the Nursery Pitch, past the Top Pitches on one side and the cemetery on the other, to the main drive. The barn I was thinking of was on that road behind the Nursery Pitch. It was a stone building, but I don’t remember it to be quite as large as the one on your photos.
When I was a brother at Shrigley (’68 – ’70) one of the boys wanted to get a kestrel and keep it in there (but he wasn’t allowed). Another detail I remember was that one Christmas Eve Fr. James Collett woke up the members of the Junior Choir early (the juniors had gone to bed for a few hours before midnight mass) and took us on a walk along the road I’ve just described so we could get some fresh air and get our voices loosened up. I clearly remember walking past that “barn”; it was one of the few occasions we would walk along that road.
I was hoping that John Jackson would call in here this week so that I could have a word with him, but he hasn’t and I believe now he’s gone off to New Zealand for four weeks! In the meantime, I might pay a visit to Macclesfield Library and see if the have any large scale maps of the Shrigley estate showing the farm and out buildings (unless you already have one).
In the meantime I spoke to Terry Prendergast on the phone and he gave me a brief summary of his recollections, suggesting I ask my brother Martin whether he remembered anything. I sent my brother an e-mail asking him about the barn:
Speaking to Terry Prendergast (about the barn) last night, he thought you might remember it. He says he worked in it with Brother Sean, as it was the place where the newly picked spuds were sorted. I told him you didn't remember much about your time at Shrigley, but he said to ask you, as he thought you might have worked in this barn with him sorting potatoes. He says the small ones were picked out and used the following year as seed potatoes - there was some kind of sorting machine, where the spuds were rolled out on a metal grill. The others were bagged up for storage and used throughout the winter.
My brother did not remember anything about the barn or working there.
In the meantime, Fr Bernard had been doing some work in Macclesfield Library and sent me two messages with the following information:
I called into Macclesfield Library this afternoon and was able to examine two large scale Ordnance Survey maps showing Shrigley Park.
The barn which I described to you in a recent e-mail, where one of the boys wanted to keep a kestrel, is shown on both maps (c1875 & 1909). There is also a building shown on both maps behind St. Joseph’s (though St. Joseph’s itself is not on the earlier map) which could be a barn. On the c.1875 map there is an L-shaped wing of Shrigley Hall standing where the boys’ ref (martyrs’ wing) later was built. There are also two parallel paths leading towards what became the top pitches. On the 1909 map the L-shaped wing has gone, St. Joseph’s has appeared, as has the cottage used, I think, by Arthur and later by the contracted kitchen staff. The hay barn I mentioned in my other e-mail appears on this later map a little way along the road to the farm. The two parallel paths are now made up into tracks and I suspect one of these was used later to access the top pitches in our day and the other as one of another pair which still give access to the cemetery.
Just a couple of days ago Bro. Michael Winstanley told me he’d heard that the Shrigley boys took down a castle that stood in the grounds. He said he’d seen no evidence of its existence, nor did he know where it had stood; he thought it might have been at the top of the wooded bank at the end of the top pitches, overlooking Pott Shrigley. He thought the reason for its demolition may have been because it had become unsafe. I wonder whether it was a tower rather than an actual castle. Unfortunately, this afternoon I could find no trace of such a structure on either map anywhere in the grounds. I think more research is required!
The desks referred to here were of the style that can be seen in the old furniture in the barn, larger than conventional school desks, suitable for growing Sixth Form (Rhetoric) students.
Bob thought initially we might be talking about the old slaughter-house and asked about that. Eric replied,
Thanks for replying to this appeal.
Greetings - and thanks, Bob!
That is the sum total of response to date. Perhaps when people meet and discuss the building they will start to recall seeing it or using it many years ago when they were at Shrigley.