In the year we had VE Day celebrations across the country, Chrishall was a busy little village.

Old postcard of the Church

Rev A. A. Bagley

The Church was led by The Rev. A.A Bagley. Sitting atop the hill in the vicarage, he would be able to look over the surrounding land that had been toiled by many of the local farmers and farmhands.  These included Walter Brand from Bilden End, PD De Beer across the fields at Chiswick Hall, The Rogers and the Kent Family Farmers.                                                                                                      

Half way down High Street, at Parsonage Farm, lived F Jupp, who was also the Clerk to the Parish Council. As Rev. Bagley looked up the hill towards the centre of the village, he would have been able to see the chickens belonging to Poultry Farmers, Boaler Brothers. No doubt they were kept busy providing eggs for the residents of Chrishall and the surrounding area. Who knows, some may well have found themselves being taken to London by train from Audley End.

This postcard from 1916 we think shows the Day family outside what is now Phoenix Cottage in Crawley End. If correct, Ted Day would have been the little boy on the right.

Up at Gypsy Corner, we would have found the land of W Bates which overlooked the fields belonging to E Flack and W Wall of New Farm. Continue down and over Rogers Hill to Chrishall Grange and you would find the busy Harding estate. There was a small community living there who mostly worked on the land. So, along with Farmer Day of Crawley End we can all agree that many Chrishall folk were very much linked to the land.

There wasn’t a resident Minister at the Methodist Chapel at the time but services would have been led by those visiting from the local circuit. Sunday school would have been attended by the many village children.

Chrishall Old School

Chrishall Chapel showing the cottages to the left which would still have been occupied in 1945.

The school for children from 5 to 15 years of age was ably run by school mistress, Miss O.W Miller who resided in the school house, which was attached to the school. Building of the school took place in 1862, the same year as the Methodist Chapel. A busy time for construction in Chrishall.

Villagers were well served by Mr Hedley Hicks, who ran his butchery from Mullion Cottage in Church Road. No doubt providing many a tasty cut of meat, mince or sausages to cook for the local families. Villagers could get essential groceries from the village shop and fruit from Tim Harvey. Excursions to Royston, Saffron Walden, Bishops Stortford and Cambridge could be made by bus from the centre of the village.

Mr R Chambers was the Postmaster, who could be contacted on Chrishall 246 by anyone else who had their own telephone, which was most likely very few. Letters were the most common way of keeping in contact with family, friends and businesses. There was a collection twice a day Monday to Saturday.

Bert Reeves Coal receipt

Fuel for the village fires was delivered by Bert Reeves from his home ‘Bella Vista’ in Mill Causeway. Those homes that needed a repair both big and small could call upon FW Cranwell.

Top left: Hicks Butchers; Bottom left: Martinholme then Chrishall Post Office and shop; Right: Fred and Jessie Cranwell in their later years.

If you needed your boots and shoes repaired you had a choice of visiting Mr Mancer in Crawley End or Joe Hagger further down the village in High Street. It was a make do and mend time, so no doubt they were kept busy repairing the footwear of Chrishall residents.

Wheelwright, Bernard Cranwell who lived and worked from Fairie Cottage, opposite the Methodist Chapel, would have been able to repair barrows, carts and a whole range of other broken equipment being the sort of man who could turn his hand to most things.

Villagers who had motor vehicles were able to get their repairs done by Mr Arthur Crocker or Mr W Rush who both ran their businesses from Chrishall.

Above left to right: Arthur Crocker driving the village charabanc, Mr and Mrs Rush at the garage and Bernard Cranwell the wheelwright at Faerie Cottage.

After a busy day farming, building, repairing, cobbling and generally keeping the village going, a refreshing drink could be bought from the Landlord at the Red Cow, Mr W McKeown. Either that or they could get some exercise and camaraderie as sport was alive and well in the village with a cricket club and football team both overseen by Secretary Mr R Loveday from Bilden End.

Left: the cricket team from 1900 and right The Red Cow.