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Madeley Rural Fete – 1870

Staffordshire Sentinel and Commercial & General Advertiser, Saturday, 11th June, 1870, p5.

MADELEY. Madeley Rural Fete.—
On Wednesday, on the occasion of the eighth annual rural fete and festival in Madeley Park, the weather graciously made amends for the very heavy dash cast over the event last year. The park and grounds were opened on Wednesday afternoon at two o’clock, at which time numbers were at the park gates waiting to step on the green sward, and animated, no doubt, by the laudable desire to get the fullest possible pleasure during the remaining hours of the day. A little later on, the roads to Madeley were thronged with pedestrians wending their dusty way to the park, while numerous vehicles, from the handsome barouche to the heavy huckster’s cart, rattled along the road, sending up volumes of dust, which gave fun enough to the occupants, in seeing the walkers rubbing their eves in annoyance, and puffing and grumbling amid the clouds of eddying dust. The new railway to Market Drayton gave great facilities for getting to the fete this year, and the great bulk of people went by train. The ordinary trains were crowded, and a special was run, starting from Crewe and calling at intermediate stations. The clouds which gathered in the sky portended storms, but so trifling a matter as a thunderstorm was not going to deter pleasurists from their determined trip to Madeley. Some good showers, however much benefit they might have imparted to the parched land and the drooping vegetation and flowers, would not have materially added to the comfort of the large company that gathered in the park. Even by the evening train a large number of people, principally from Newcastle and Silverdale, went to Madeley. to enjoy a pleasant stroll amidst the rural beauties of the place. When once in the park, all was cheerful enough. There was a pleasant breeze and bright sunshine, and the amusements comprised cricket, croquet, archery, Aunt Sally, skittles, &c. Professor Thompson had his excellent Punch and Judy entertainment, but it was in a tent, and people cared not to go into tents, unless it were to get tea or some refreshment which stronger waters could supply. The general amusements were under the direction of Mr. Follows, of Stafford. There were donkey races, and as the animals led into the course were blessed with a good share of the stupidity those docile animals are said to possess, there was plenty of sport; and the more the donkeys kicked, and the oftener they budged backwards instead of prancing towards, the better. But dancing absorbed the attention of the majority the people. The bright rays of the sun were disregarded; some hundreds of couples seemed to be held spellbound by the music of Hollins’s brass band from Stoke, and that of Horabin’s Quadrille band from Manchester, two capital bands for such an occasion. The scene was gay, with companies of “fair women and brave men.” Nay, our representative thinks the ladies as well as the gentlemen must be called “brave,” for they seemed to be impervious of fatigue, sticking to the salutatory exercise with might and main, flagging not, but tripping it lightly so long as the music continued. Everybody is not equal to the mysteries of a quadrille, but anybody can, and vast numbers did engage in the “bobbing round” of the polka, and the jerking, jumping and – in this case – bumping of the gallop. Many who cared not for the active pleasure of the dance, rambled round the Bryn — a charming walk — or visited the remains of Heleigh Castle, from which some fine views are obtained. We should state that a few fishing tickets were sold, but as to the results of this investment we have no report. We have nothing further to sketch without saying what we have said many times before as to this fete. On this occasion, as before, Mr. Wade, the hon. sec., and the gentlemen of the committee exerted themselves to make the affair as agreeable as possible. They succeeded well, for the whole arrangements were most effectively and excellently carried out. There was a larger attendance than at any previous fete at Madeley. A display of fireworks closed the day’s festivities. Mrs. Stanier deserves thanks for so kindly allowing the use of the park and grounds. Mrs. Stanier, and the ladies of the Manor House, with lady and gentlemen guests, mingled freely amongst the people. The proceeds will be applied to a good object.

Submission thanks to Dr D.J.Woolliscroft.