Monday, July 26, 2010

St.Olav Wirral Viking Walk: Saturday July 31st

St. Olav, the “Viking Saint” is the Patron Saint of Scandinavia, and the walk celebrates St. Olav’s day. 13 miles. Good standard of fitness required.
Pilgrims/walkers are also welcome to join in for just part of the walk! – such as the first bit from Neston to Burton, or the last bit across Chester.

Route: Start Church of St. Mary and St. Helen, Neston 9.30am
Via: Burton, Puddington, Shotwick, Welsh Border, Blacon, Chester Canal
End: St. Olave’s Church, Lower Bridge Street, Chester
All walkers/pilgrims come at their own risk and MUST register (free) with the Grosvenor Museum Chester: 01244 402005 or email

The walk will be led by Norway’s St. Olav Pilgrim Priest

Click here for more information:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Anecdotes from Fairhurst Hall, Parbold

Anthony Travis ( shares this amusing anecdote to the Fairhurst Hall story.......
When my father, George Travis, retired in about 1977 he handed all his business suits to his full time gardener. By coincidence it happened that the gardener, a retired coal miner and local Parbold man, was called Matthew Fairhurst. He was known by us as Matt.
Matt took to wearing my father's old suits when working in the grounds at Fairhurst and was often joined by my father, who wore very old and well worn outdoor clothes when they were clearing the leaves, mowing the lawns and generally keeping things in good trim.
Visitors who were unfamiliar with the Hall, which is only visible when one is already well down the drive, would sometimes stop and ask Matt, who was of course the better dressed of the two gardeners, the way to Fairhurst and where to park their car. Matt would reply that he was Mr Fairhurst and point them in the right direction. Naturally the visitors assumed that Matt was the owner.
This confusion was a source of great amusement particularly when the visitors, on meeting my father in the Hall to discuss the purpose of their visit would insist on meeting the owner rather than the gardener.

By the way, when Dr and Mrs Tom Rigg sold Fairhurst Hall they built the house on the land just behind the large stone built barn that is to be found at the southern end of the estate and at the bottom of the main drive.
Tom was a well known and successful pigeon fancier and kept his flock of pigeons in the barn next door to their house. On many occasions he could be seen with a tennis racquet hitting tennis balls high into the sky at the pigeons as they wheeled in circles above the barn. He explained that this technique was to train the pigeons to fly at a good height.
Such was country life!

Being a doctor Tom Rigg was able to treat and sew up wounds suffered by his racing pigeons when they returned from their long flights home. I would sometimes join him and hold the pigeons while he operated on them. They were wonderful creatures. Tom and his wife were the most genial and interesting neighbours one could wish for and helped make Fairhurst a fascinating place to live.
One final point. Did you know that the Hall is haunted? That of course is another story for another time but I can say that I and others were sometimes woken by the sound of strange and unexplained footsteps in the night!
Kindest regards

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More about Fairhurst Hall, Parbold

  • Images show Fairhurst Hall prior to when the part of the right was demolished by Tom Rigg in the early Fifties.
  • The 3 pg article appeared in the latter part of the 1960's when the Maiden's lived at Fairhurst and not long before the Travis family acquired it in 1967.
  • The Maidens moved to Birkdale, Southport.
  • The south facing side of Fairhurst Hall in all its glory during a cold but sunny winter afternoon sometime in the 1980's. Going clockwise from the lower two left hand windows was the dining room, the next two windows to the right with the front door between them was the hall. That front door used to be a window before the Fifties, but before the later 19th century addition to the house was built and subsequently demolished by Tom Rigg, it was the old front door of the Queen Anne house that still remains and was the original Hall. The upper two right hand windows were the spare bedroom, the single window to their left was my bedroom and the two windows to the left were my father-s dressing room and the two upper windows on the left were my parents- bedroom.
  • And one from the air at around noon on a hot summer's day sometime in the 1980's.
  • Until the mid 1980's there was a large rose bed where the lawn is before the front door. This was removed when the house flooded in 1982 following a sudden downpour when the stream running through the woods above the house and below Parbold Hill overflowed and swept through the garden and covered the Hall's ground floor with mud!

On 13 Jul 2010, at 11:00, wrote:

Dear Boobelle
I enjoyed seeing the old Ainscough family photographs on your blog. I knew some of your family back in the 1960's when I lived at Fairhurst Hall.

Martin and May Ainscough and John and Margie Ainscough each lived just up the road from us and John and Margie Ainscough's kids and I were great friends playing tennis at their house on Sunday afternoons and frequently gathering at the Windmill Arms to play tippit and other pub games on Friday evenings with the locals and gang of close friends. I also knew Ossie Ainscough at Casterton Hall. I recall him as a rather fearsome character unlike Martin and John who were the most charming, friendly and welcoming old fellows. Ossie had a daughter (who's name a cannot remember for the time-being). She was quite a character! I particularly remember with great affection Tony, Ruth and Chrissie Ainscough (three of John and Margie's many kids). Please feel free to remember them to me if you are in touch with any of them.
Fairhurst Hall was a wonderful family home.

I don't have any old photos of the Ainscough family but I know who probably does. He's called Richard Lewis who to lived in Parbold in the Sixties and now lives in Shropshire. I think he bumped into Tony Ainscough in Burscough some time ago so may have passed on some memorabilia of the large get togethers we had on long summer Sunday afternoons to play tennis at John and Margie's house. We also used to play croquet on the lawn at Fairhurst.
I probably do have some old photos of Fairhurst somewhere and will try to dig them out and send them to you. The photo you have on your blog was made prior to the extensive changes made by Dr Tom Rigg in the early Fifties where the "newer" part of the house to the right of the photo (where the front door was) was demolished leaving the older part to the left intact. My parents, George and Diana Travis, bought the house in 1967 and renovated it making substantial changes to the interior.
Well beforehand my mother used to play bridge at Fairhurst when May Ainscough was living there. This would have been in the late Thirties and early Forties.
My parents acquired Fairhurst from Ian Maiden (of Maiden Displays) who had bought it from Tom Rigg some years earlier.
Martha Rigg, daughter of Dr and Mrs Tom Rigg married a Parbold resident Ainscough being Peter son of Martin and May Ainscough. Martha also grew up at Fairhurst so there are many more Ainscough family connections with the house than one might think.
Kindest regards
Anthony Travis

e mail:

Louisa Earnshaw-Whalley

Hi Barbara
Hope you are well, apologies for not keeping in touch lately, but been a bit busy, as we all seem to be these days. I thought I'd send you a photo of my grandmother to add to your collection - Louisa Gertrude Earnshaw. I think you have her records - born in 1883 in Longridge, Lancashire, daughter of Ann Ainscough and Henry Earnshaw. She was later adopted by her older sister, Helen (b 1871) who was married to John Whalley, hence she became an Earnshaw-Whalley until she married my grandfather William Walsh. An
interesting snippet - Louisa and William were in the same junior school class together aged about 10 in Colne but didn't get together till a lot later - I've got another photo of them as classmates I can send you.
This attached photo was taken about 1900 I think, but that's a guess - she looks to be in her late teens. She had blonde hair, as did my mum and as did I till it got grey - maybe inherited from our Viking past on the Ainscough side?
Anyway, please let me know how you're going, and keep in touch.
Cheers, Richard
Richard Harris