May 2017 A Picture of Hope
This month’s article centres around one picture, which has not been previously seen by the current fraternity of those who delve into the heritage of our locality. It is a copy of a watercolour, dated 1904, which is attributed to ‘A.R.’
The original has been in the possession of Mr David H. Sherwin of Leicester for over fifty years. On Palm Sunday Mr Sherwin made the journey to Hope. He was hoping to arrive in time to be able to show the picture to those who were gathered in the Church Hall after the service. In stark contrast to the tranquil scene which the picture shows Mr Sherwin’s plans fell foul of modern traffic problems. By the time he arrived he found the Hall was empty.
I am therefore indebted to John Ferrari who encountered Mr Sherwin and spent some time with him before directing him to my house where the original was taken out of the glass and photographed. Mr Sherwin has given permission for the photograph to be used in Hope Parish Magazine but he retains the copyright and it may not be used for commercial purposes. My thanks go to Mr Sherwin for making so much effort to share this important part of our heritage with us.
The original has an interesting provenance. It was given to Mr Sherwin by his aunt whose father was a groom at Plas Teg Hall. Plas Teg Hall was, of course, owned by the Trevor-Roper family but a search of relevant census material has not yet revealed a possible candidate with the initials ‘AR’. The name of the artist therefore currently remains a mystery.
Hope Parish Church has been at the centre of the community of Hope for centuries and its sixteenth century tower is seen to be the single-most important feature of the 1904 watercolour. John Ferrari has contributed his own research on the history of the Hope Hall Estate in articles which have appeared in the magazine and was quick to identify the other buildings which can be seen in the picture.
From the far left we see the White Lion which stands at the corner of Stryt Isa. The 1901 census lists 34-year old Arthur Hill, who was apparently a cattle dealer, as being the head of the household. Also in residence were his wife, Emily aged 35, a daughter also called Emily (12) and sons Arthur Edward (8) and Thomas Percy (5). The White Lion apparently also accommodated Arthur Hill’s brother-in-law Thomas Davies (42), who was a general labourer, and his nephew Edward Lewis (9).
Then, moving right, we have the Rectory, which is now Chestnut House. Thomas Evans Jones was listed in 1901 as the 56-year old resident clergyman. His wife (50) was Frances Margaret and their children were Loiusa Mair (19), Austin Lloyd (16), Catherine Sophia (14), Frances Margaret (11) and Charlotte Wineford (7). Bertha Davies was the 26-year old cook and the resident family was also supported by a 15-year old housemaid, Annie Bleiddys.
In front of the Church and slightly to the right, is the old thatched Red Lion. The publican was the 63-year old, widowed Elizabeth Moses. Also in residence, are her grandsons, William Frederick Maddock (18) and Percy Maddock (12). William was listed as a brewer’s clerk at the time. Sadly William was one of the sixty men of the parish who lost their lives during World War One. William is believed to have been killed on 9th July 1916 at Marmetz Wood. His story has been researched by Andrew Moss for www.flintshirewarmemorials.com and may be seen at:
In the distance we see what was known as Hope Hall Cottage Farm (now Hope Cottage Farm) and, on the corner of Kiln Lane, Japonica Cottage (now often referred to at the ‘Old Post Office’ and currently a private residence.)
The picture shows the heart of the nucleated settlement of the village of Hope as it was in the early years of the twentieth century. It is a scene of blissful tranquility and it is obviously one the artist, who seems to have positioned him or herself somewhere in the vicinity of what is now St Cynfarch’s Avenue, felt worthy of capturing.
Thanks must also go to Rev. Adam Pawley who was initially contacted by Mr Sherwin and passed on his contact details.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the policy of Flintshire County Council. Readers are welcome to contact the author with any news or views on the local heritage at DHealey204@aol.com or by telephoning 01978 761 523.