Ladies Group

ST OSWALD’S LADIES GROUP May meeting
June opened the meeting with prayer and a reading and we all said The Grace together. Apologies were received and notices for future events read out. June reported that Mair Bowen was making good progress and all members signed a card of best wishes to be given to Mair with love. June then introduced our speakers, Steve Cropper and Irene Thompson who are volunteers at Erddig Steve opened the talk by describing the history of Erddig. It is really interesting to know details of a place we know - or think we know! It was built in 1683 at a cost of £700 and the problems of building bankrupted the first owner. The second owner, John Mellor, paid £17,000 for it, together with 3,000 acres of
land. He came from London and invited lots of friends to stay, it would have taken quite a time to get to Erdigg and back to London in those days. He left it to Simon Yorke, his nephew, in whose family ownership it stayed until Philip York gave it to the National Trust in 1972. By this time it was in a sorry state and it took several years for the National Trust to restore the property to the beauty of the house and gardens today..
Steve then handed over to Irene who was talking on Philip Yorke III, The Last Squire of Erdigg. She described the family as landed gentry rather than nobility and most of the sons who were always called either Philip or Simon, carefully married wealthy women. One of the wives ran away on their honeymoon Philip and that particular Philip, Philip Yorke III’s father, waited until the runaway wife died and then married a local Vicar’s daughter at the age of 50. They then had two children, Simon in 1902 and Philip in 1905. The boys had a happy childhood and enjoyed a good life with not a lot of money
although they went to Shrewsbury School and then to Cambridge. Philip was not an academic but loved sport and then went on to theological college - being the second son he did not inherit Erddig.
However, he was not considered suitable for the church and became an actor touring in repertory.
Both Simon and Philip enlisted in the Second World War but Philip declined officer status and spent most of his time in stores where it was said he was the only person who could lose a steamroller!
After the war he worked as a teacher and then became their groundsman who burned all the grass.
He became a security guard on a yacht, worked down the coal miles and could talk to anybody. He started doing tours of Europe before package tours appeared. He was a good pianist and played other instruments including the musical saw! In 1966 he returned to Erdigg following his brother’s death and immersed himself in community activities and eccentricities, including riding a penny- farthing in Wrexham. He encouraged visitors to help repair Erdigg which was getting more and more dilapidated. He entertained a lot but always drank Tizer so guests had to bring their own drinks. He always wore second hand clothes.
Erdigg was in a desperate state and fortunately the National Trust agreed to take it over in 1973. It was rare for the National Trust to take over a building in such a state but there was a lot of rare furniture and a large silver collection that they wanted together with a lot of archives. They spent five years restoring the house and garden and it was opened in 1977 with Philip staying in the housekeeper’s flat. He was a lay preacher and in 1978 he went to church and sat in a back pew where he was found to have died peacefully. A colourful story which had us all enthralled and we will look at Erdigg differently when we visit. Irene and Steve were so full of enthusiasm they brought the story to life and we enjoyed the evening very much.
Our next meeting is on Monday June 4 at 7.30 p.m. in the Parish Centre when Janice Williams from ‘The Grain Sheaf’ will be out speaker.

Ann Sagar

St Oswald’s Ladies Group Meetings 2018/2019

June 4 - Janice Williams - The Grain Sheaf

July 2 - Afternoon Tea

August   No Meeting

September 3 - Shropshire & Staffordshire Blood Bikes

October 1 - Harvest - Rev. Harvey Gibbons

 November 5 -Ann Boulton - Barbara Castle called me bossy! 

December 3 -  Members night - Mrs Tamms Flushed with Pride

January 7 - Liz Jermy - Food Bank

February 4 - Annual dinner

March 4 - Annual General Meeting

A selection of photos from recent meetings.