Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Interesting Cheshire Churches Part VII

This small Chapel is called the Ringway Chapel, situated as it is in the tiny hamlet of Ringway, just over the Cheshire border. By peculiar happenstance, Ringway is also the parish where the building of Manchester Airport began, in fact the airport is still known as 'Ringway' to many Mancunians, taking it's name from the area, as opposed to the airport being known as Ringway due to it's landing strips, as is commonly assumed. The only other remains of the ancient hamlet are a (heavily extended) pub, shown above and a handful of houses. Yards from the Chapel and pub is a lane which leads directly to the 'working end' of the Airport. The other pub which would, a long time ago, served the fledgling runway and aerodrome, the Airport Hotel, on the other side of the Airport, still conjures up a feeling of the excitement of what it must have been to fly in the early days, but you have to look hard to find it!

The Ringway Chapel is now a design company, so the inside is no longer of any interest, or at least cannot be seen. The outside features a charming porch complete with benches for the unbaptised, a fine original half timbered gable end and faced brick windows. The churchyard offers a fine view to fields and a surprisingly rural feel, so close to motorway, bypass and airport. There is also an iron cross grave'stone' still visible as well, but with no markings. I do not know which denomination it was, although it may have been a chapel of ease to Bowden, judging by the boundaries in place at that time. It's main claim to history, though, is that in 1719 the whole congregation was forcibly evicted for refusing to pay land tax, and again in 1879 there was a near riot in the area, again concerning taxation. The other claim to fame which the area has is that your scribe worked behind the bar here when he was seventeen, when it was a small pub with a charming garden, which is now a car park built to accomodate the hordes which fit in the newly extended dining area. I remember my main task was pouring pints of beer for the pilots who would 'phone their order through, such was the quantity and the short amount of time thay had to drink them. My other abiding memory is of the stainless steel buckets for 'slops' behing the bar which were carefully decanted back into the barrels, on my first night I was unaware of this and poured all the drinks into the same bucket, much to the annoyance of the landlord. Maybe it's better off as it is now!