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Historian Fred Hughes writes....
Last week marked a significant event in Methodism.
“It was on 27 June 1808 that the originator of Primitive Methodism, Hugh Bourne, was expelled from the Methodist Society by Burslem’s Wesleyans,” Rev Stephen Hatcher, manager of Englesea Brook Methodist Heritage Centre tells me. “The implications of this expulsion split the movement that lasted 124 years until Methodism was united again in 1932.”
Trained by his father to be a carpenter, Hugh Bourne moved to Bemmersley to work for an uncle, where he converted to Methodism. It’s worthy of note that this house and the barn that was used as a library are still here in Bemmersley Road. But my goal is Ford Hayes Farm which is owned these days by Eric and Dorothy Parrish.
The only lane leading to the farm is narrow with no passing places, whereas the approaches from Bucknall have been closed and overgrown for years. Consequently the farm emits a deep feeling of solitariness.
“I actually come from nearby Kerry Hill in Eaves Lane which is quite close,” Eric continues. “My dad was a miner and I had no connections with farming until I left school at 14 and got a job at a farm in Bignal End.”
Eric and Dorothy met in Bucknall as children.
The couple wed in 1952, and after living at a number of farms they invested in Ford Hayes.
“If I’d known it was listed I probably wouldn’t have bought it,” says Eric ruefully. “There was seventy acres with the house and at first I bred livestock. But I sold some land to finance the project and now we have just twenty acres and some horses which are my pets. Farming is too much for me now, but I love the house and land. It’s such a special place.”
It is indeed Eric. The modernised house still carries many features that the Bourne’s would have been familiar with. Best of all are the surroundings, so peaceful with no aircraft flight paths to bother the hovering skylarks and no traffic noise to break the hush of a summer breeze. To the south the heights of Park Hall and Hulme loom darkly, while on the northern horizon Hugh Bourne’s distant Mow Cop shimmers in the summer sun.
7 July 2008
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