News & Views – December 1978 Issue 3

News & Views – December 1978 Issue 3

Table of Contents

Dear Friends

This issue of “News and Views” comes to you with Christmas greetings from all at the Vicarage. I hope you like our Christmas cover. We are indebted to Joy Stone for this. The Editorial Committee felt that an eight page edition was called for and we are grateful to all our contributors who have helped to make this possible. Hopes have been expressed that I might include a Christmas message, specially for those who may not be Joining in any of the Christmas services or other activities. What I would like to So is to share with you three statements  which I have read recently. Please think about them and discuss them with your family and friends.

Here they are:-

“If you forget Jesus at Christmas, it’s like having a birthday party without the person whose birthday it is”.

“Any celebration of Christmas which begins and ends with the manger of Bethlehem and ignores the Cross of Calvary may he sentimentally appealing but will never be spiritually satisfying”.

“You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father’s face and tell Him you have received His Christmas gift.”

The Christmas Diary will be found on the back cover. Hartington PCC has agreed that the collection at the Carol Service will be given to Christain Aid’s Christ— -mas appeal. Special envelopes will be available at both churches for those who wish to direct some of their giving to the ThirdWorld, where hunger, poverty, malnutrition, homelessness and disease are seldom very far away — even at Christmas.

Looking forward to seeing you during the next two weeks and praying God’s blessing upon you and your family in 1979.

Yours sincerely,


Biggin and District Senior Citizen’s Club

Biggin and District Senior Citizen’s Club was formed in October 1977 and held their first meeting the following month. The Club consists of 32 members who, gather in the Village Hall every second Tuesday of the month. Last year a Christmas party was held and everyone enjoyed themselves. In January the Club organised a trip to the pantomime at Youlgrave. In May a Jumble Sale raised £130 towards Club funds. In July the members enjoyed a Mystery Trip. In August they went to the Bakewell Show, but it was not a very good night weather-wise. In September some of the Club members went on a day trip to the Blackpool Illuminations.

,A Christmas Fair was held in November which raised £120 for “Club funds, The members will be going out for their Christmas

 Dinner at theNew Inns Hotel.

  1. Allsop, Secretary

The new local secretary of the Church of England Childrens Society is Mrs Joy Stone, Woodyard House, Hartington, who will be pleased to empty and re-issue gift boxes.

Booklets containing 52 weekly offering envelopes are available  from Biggin Church. This is an excellent method of supporting the church regularly and helping us to meet our financial commitments. Please ask any PCC member for a set of envelopes. Tax payers who covenant their annual subscriptions  or weekly offerings enable the church to benefit by a further 52p, at no extra cost to the giver. Mrs Gibson can supply full details.

Recent presentations have included a reading lamp and monetary

 gift to Mrs V.E.Shirley in appreciation of 16 years as honorary secretary to the Hartington PCC, and clocks to Mr. Herbert Bland and Mrs J ean Boden following 25 years service at the Derbyshire Silica Firebrick Company Ltd.

The new address of Robin and Lynda Hill, nee Prince, is:- 111, Duke Street, Scarborough 6019, Western Australia.

Donations amounting to £110 given in memory of the late George Henry Stubbs have been gratefully received by Biggin Church


Many of you will be very much aware that employment in the Biggin area has undergone considerable change during the last hundred years. One of the reasons for this must surely be mechanisation in agriculture and industry.

A glance at the 1871 census returns helps to build up a picture of local employment. William Finney of Biggin Grange had a considerable staff. Besides his immediate family, his farm staff of seven included a governess, dairy— -maid, housemaid, nurse, cowman, and two indoor servants. Census returns for the whole area illustrate the dominance of agriculture as a key employer.

Other interesting observations from these records are the number of occupations that no longer exist in this area. A hundred years on and a more sophisticated society has different  demands. No longer can we find a boot and shoemaker, a village blacksmith, a stonemason or a wheelwright. The services of a porter who lived at Friden station and a railway  labourer who lived at Friden railway crossing would now be irrelevant. Not many of us today would describe ourselves  as a village washerwoman or as a domestic servant. The existence of various meermakers was most interesting; that of a coalminer curious. A certain John Murray from Ireland  was the perpetual curate of Biggin.

Overr a hundred years later there appears to be two major areas of employment for men and one for women. Friden brickworks acts as a major employer of men not only in the village but beyond. Road haulage or lorry driving seems to be the other major employer. Many of our women folk work at the cheese factory in Hartington.

Mechanisation has indeed influenced the lives of Biggin people and has certainly affected their openings for employment . Many of our villagers’ now work in one of the major industries and very few are employed in farming.

C.G.Truman, Headteacher, Biggin School.


We were recently reading through an old exercise book dated September 1930 which brought back old memories of the time we attended Biggin School. The Education Committee had decided that the older girls from hartington and Biggin should attend cookery and laundry classes at the old chapel in the village of Youlgrave. What an adventure it was for us !! We did not have the outings in those days like today, there being few motor cars. The bus that took us to Youlgrave was . one of a Silver Service fleet which had first delivered workmen  to the nearby brickworks at Friden. It wasn’t always one of their best buses but then I don’t believe we were bothered about that. During the lunch break we would quickly have our food and be .off to explore and to visit the shops. On a summer  day we even ventured down to the river and had to hurry back for the afternoon session, feeling very hot.

We were taught the mysteries of washday; the treatment of shantung and tussore silks; why we used the blue bag (to make the clothes appear white); the washing of woollen stockings (brush with a nail brush and press under muslin or brown paper); even the proper use of the mangle and lots of other hints. What a difference today with our modern washing machines!

The ironing was done with the flat iron, the kitchen range being stoked up to get the irons hot. The care and management  of the range was taught us; how to clean the flues and lay a fire (screw up the paper and lay 5 sticks cross ways and the fifth pointing up the chimney, use one match and use coals the size of your fist). What a difference again from the electric stoves of today.

The book tells of the cookery lessons taught us; the rules for soup making; how to make Irish stew, baked roly poly, cornflour mould, batters, bread making, feather buns etc. and the recipes are there for mincemeat and Christmas cake and I can remember how proud we were to bring the Christmas cake home. But of course we had our failures, yet we did manage to cook some of the food for our dinners and also bring some home for our parents and grandparents.

Looking back to those far off days, it seemed more important  to play than to learn to cook, to do the washing and cleaning, to manage the kitchen, stove, but we think it was a good beginning and we did learn a little towards keeping house.


One wonders how many of our older residents canrecall the “Guisers” and their mumming play performed at Christmas time. So named because they were disguised, the players visitdd houses in the village and gave their traditional performance in kitchen or hall.

Various versions of this mumming play were given in different counties and even the characters differed from place to place. The three key parts however are two men who fight and a doctor who raises the dead to life and the main theme deals with death and resurrection. The outline of the play is always the same and the following version was played by four Biggin lads 46 years ago. The script had been given to them by Mr. Bennett Buxton Senior, who used to play it as a boy approximately 100 years ago. All four characters blacked their faces, the first, played by Jack Warrington saying,

I open the door, I enter in;

I wish for a favour for to win;

Whether I stand or whether I fall, I’ll do my duty to please you all.

Enter King William, played by Bill Clayton, who says,

In comes King William this valiant knight, Who shed his blood for England’s right, And England’s written, which makes me carry this bloody weapon.

Oh spice, oh spice, don’t be so hot, For in this room I can make thee into mince pies hot, Mince pies cold baked in a porridge pot nine days old.

He then slays his opponent with his sword and shouts for the Doctor, played by Maurice Barrington, who comes in saying,

Doctor here am I, a big man of my size, Don’t call me doctor, call me quack, For I can cure a man with a broken back Here Jack, take a sup of my nip nap, Let it run down thy gip gap;

Be a bold man, rise up and fight Beelzebub.

The letter, played, by Bill Ollerenshaw, enters with the words

In cones old Beelzebub,

And over his shoulder he carries a club,

And in his hand a dripping pan;

Now ladies and gentlemen, sit down at your ease, Put your hands in your pockets and give what you please.

In one form or another this play was acted in this country at least eight hundred years ago and is an interesting  folk drama of pre-Reformation days. Any volunteers for reviving the custom?


There once was a choir of great renown, This choir resided in Hartington town;

It consisted of soprano, alto, tenor and bass, And an organist also to keep up the pace.

One night in December they decided to go,

round carol singing if there was no snow; To meet in the Market Place they all agreed, And to follow the Vicar, where e’er he did lead.

In cars kindly lent, they rode to the Mill, And rendered their carols of peace and goodwill;

By Hartington Raikes to Harcopse they came, To Beresford Cottage down Beresford Lane.

It was at Barracks Farm as midnight drew near, They sang for some time but no one did appear; For alas to their cost the folks were away, So back they scampered without any pay.

Back in Hartington town they arrived in due course, With feet tired and weary and throats dry and hoarse; They resolved as they parted homeward bound, To go out again when Christmas came round.

(Composed during the ministry of the Rev. A. Hewitt , Vicar of Hartington 1932 – 49. The author wishes to remain anonymous)