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picturesque village: and the Church has been so far rebuilt entirely from a red-stone quarry in the parish. The late esteemed rector, the Rev. Mark Coxon, who had held the living many years, gave £1,000 towards the expenses, but we were sorry though not surprised to hear, considering the small population, that the whole sum required, which is about £5,000, has not yet been raised; and the Church is therefore still incomplete.
The chancel is paved with very handsome mosaic, and the altarcloth, the work of a lady in the parish, is worthy of one of those devotees of old, whose skill is still preserved in some church tapestry at Carlisle, and in two or three of our most ancient chapter-houses. The building will now seat 500 people, whereas the old church could not contain more than 220, a very inadequate proportion to the requirements of the neighbourhood. It is dedicated to SS. Peter and Joseph, a double dedication which seems not unusual in this part of Cheshire, for besides Birkenhead, already mentioned, and Chester Cathedral, the church at Neston, (the parish in which Parkgate lies,) is dedicated to SS. Mary and Helen. The churchyard has also been enlarged, which was much needed, as in addition to its own dead, the parish is not unfrequently obliged to bury the corpses of strangers cast up on its lands by the waves. Forty years ago a large number of bodies were found buried together in one grave, without an inscription, in the churchyard of Thurlaston, an adjoining village, and it is supposed that they were the crew of some ill-fated vessel which had been dashed to pieces on the treacherous sands in the estuary of the Dee, where a piece of a wreck, the remnant of a similar disaster, is still visible at low water. The day we visited Heswall the body of a man much decomposed was brought into the village to be buried, some fishermen having found it on the shore. It was afterwards ascertained that it was the corpse of a sailor drowned a week before in the Mersey, whence it had floated out to sea, and after being tossed for days on the stormy billows of the Irish Channel, it had drifted into the mouth of the Dee, and been finally deposited on the Heswall beach. The old tower of the church which has been left untouched, and looks as if it might brave the elements for another century, is a landmark on the Cheshire coast when seen from the Dee; and we may well imagine that the difficulties experienced by the sea-faring population after the destruction of the monastic chapels which had formerly served as beacons to mariners, may have been one inducement to rebuild these churches after the Reformation.
As it was low tide, we retraced our steps to Parkgate along the seashore, and met a party of shrimpers and cockle-gatherers just coming off the sands. This occupation, hard though it is, seems at least to suit the hair, for the long black tresses of even the older women would have been the envy of a Parisian belle. Tradition states that this coast was once a dense forest, and the old half-timbered houses, of which there are many specimens in these villages and in Chester, speak of a time when wooden beams were cheaper than iron, and when the tools for shaping stone, which otherwise abounds, were extremely rare. Chester, twelve miles from Parkgate, encloses more antiquities in a small space than any other English town. Its cathedral, recently restored at a cost of £90,000, contains a monument erected by the Empress Maud, daughter of Henry I., to the memory of her husband, the Emperor of Germany, and several other noted tombs. In the earliest Saxon times, this city boasted of a religious house, the nucleus of the present episcopate, and which was dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul. Thither as a place of safety from the Danes, the remains of S. Werburg were brought from Hanbury in Staffordshire in 875, two hundred years after her death; and the church was henceforward known as S. Werburg's instead of by its more ancient name. She was the daughter of Wulferus, the first Christian king of Mercia, and had early devoted herself to the cloister. After many vicissitudes, and the general dissolution in 1542, this church was restored by Edward VI., when Chester was again made the seat of a Bishopric; but the appellation of S. Werburg was exchanged for that of the Church of CHRIST and the Blessed Virgin. It has however more recently been commonly styled S. Werburg's till its last restoration in 1877, when it was finally decided that it should be dedicated to CHRIST and the Apostles.
The diocese of Chester was included in the diocese of Lichfield for many centuries before its revival under Edward VI. After the Norman conquest, Peter, Bishop of Lichfield, established his residence at Chester, and made the church of S. John the Baptist his cathedral, where he was buried in 1102. At this time the diocese extended over the whole of ancient Mercia, which had its oldest capital at Offchurch, near Leamington, in Warwickshire, and Peter's successor, Robert, preferring the rich monastery of Coventry to Chester, removed the episcopal seat to this celebrated Mercian city. From that period till 1542, the Bishops of Lichfield and Coventry also called themselves
Bishops of Chester. Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham, (or the villages which have since developed into the three largest provincial towns of England) were then comprised in the same diocese; and while Salisbury was included in the province of York, Chester by a curious distribution was under the jurisdiction of Canterbury.
When Napoleon III. was living in England, before his accession to the chief power in France, he used to visit at a house about half-way between Chester and Birkenhead. On his return to this country after his defeat at Sedan, and subsequent imprisonment in Germany, he made some inquiries about residences in this part of Cheshire, showing that he had preserved agreeable reminiscences of it, though political considerations made him ultimately decide to take up his permanent abode at Chislehurst.
C. L. J.
THE LATE MISS STANLEY.
IN the pretty rectory of Alderley, in Cheshire, just outside the boundary gates of Alderley Park, the residence of the noble family of the Stanleys, surrounded by the forest trees of Cheshire, and within sight of the distant Welsh hills, the present Dean of Westminster and his sister Mary Stanley first saw the light.
Their father, the Rev. Edward Stanley, was the younger son of the owner of Alderley Park, and upon the completion of his University career, became the Rector of the people among whom he had passed his childhood's days. Being a faithful, earnest, hard-working young clergyman, he soon effected a revolution in the parish, awaking the people out of that state of spiritual slumber which was unhappily so universal in England at the beginning of this century. Besides introducing frequent Services to be performed decently and in order, and other Church work, he became a well-known welcome visitor to every cottage in the parish and having won his people's confidence and loving respect, the tie between them was a close and indissoluble one.
Soon after his appointment, the Rev. Edward Stanley married Miss Leycester, the sister of Mrs. Hare, whose loving and CHRIST-like spirit are recorded in the "Memorials of a Quiet Life." We can well imagine how Alderley rejoiced with its Rector on this joyful occasion, and when after a time merry voices were heard in the Rectory garden,
and the father with a little one in each hand, would walk down the village street, having a smile and a kind word for all, the people watched with fond interest the growth and well being of the little Misses and Masters Stanley.
Such then were the surrounding circumstances under which the early days of Miss Stanley were passed. It was at Alderley that she grew up and ripened into womanhood, in its church, that as an infant the Cross was signed upon her brow, and there, years after she knelt to receive the grace of Confirmation; it was amongst its people that she first visited the sick and afflicted; and wandering in its fields and by its hedgerows she first learned the beauty and value of flowers, out of which resulted ultimately the well-known "Flower Mission;" and there in that happy rectory home she first practised acts of self-denial and charity, the two characteristic virtues of her life.
In 1837 the Rev. Edward Stanley was appointed to the see of Norwich.
The parting between rector and people was a painful one; but it was a separation only in presence, in spirit they were always one; and we read1 how that when the last Sunday came, overwhelmed with sorrow, he could only pray for his much loved parishioners and pronounce in faltering tones the solemn benediction at the close of the service.
For the next twelve years Miss Stanley was her father's right hand at Norwich. Taking a deep personal interest in all works of public and private charity, the bishop's multifarious duties were shared and lightened when his increasing years rendered her aid most valuable; while the fame of his daughter's schools reached far beyond the city walls of Norwich.
We can imagine how well those quiet cathedral services suited her earnest devotional spirit. In the morning they were a preparation for the many arduous duties of the day, giving strength and help to meet whatever difficulties came across her path; in the evening weary and wanting comfort, thither she would wend her steps to offer up praises and thanksgivings, finding rest and refreshment for her soul.
At the end of these twelve years of active life the shadow of death rested on the cathedral, and Alderley and Norwich mourned hand in hand when they heard that Bishop Stanley was taken to his rest. With a lessening number of home ties we find Miss Stanley, five 1 Memoirs of Edward and Catherine Stanley.
years afterwards at the sacrifice of all personal comfort and consideration, offering her ready help on behalf of our wounded soldiers in the Crimean war.
"After the first detachment of ladies and nurses, headed by Miss Nightingale, went out a second detachment of fifty was confided by Sidney Herbert, then Secretary for War, to the charge of Miss Stanley. She took them to Constantinople, and though originally intending to have returned immediately after having accompanied them thither, was induced under stress of circumstances to remain there four months, which were spent first in assisting in the naval hospital at Therapia, and then under the generous help and guidance of Lord and Lady Stratford de Redcliffe, in establishing a military hospital at Koulalee, in addition to the principal hospital at Scutari which was under the charge of Miss Nightingale. How invaluable was her work at Koulalee the medical and military authorities amply testify, as well as the ladies and nurses by whom her kindness and sympathy were deeply felt."
In organizing charitable institutions in the neighbourhood of Westminster, such as saving clubs and needlework societies for the employment of women, she devoted a large portion of her time upon her return to England, attaching herself with much fidelity to all the interests of her brother. The Flower Mission" movement was suggested by her about this time, for providing flowers for the sick poor of London. Then hospitals and workhouse infirmaries were destitute of these sweet messages of love and hope, now the sick and infirm on the appointed days look eagerly towards the door for the bright face of the visitor with her hands full of fresh flowers, not just to be seen and admired from the centre table, but with a bouquet for the occupant of each bed, to be held in the hand, or to be placed in water on the locker by the bedside.
So unobtrusive was Miss Stanley in her life of practical usefulness that from this time until her death, last November, little has been publicly known of her.
Her secession from the Church of England to join the Romish communion occurred in 1856, but the change was not marked by any spirit of uncharitableness or asceticism, for she continued to take personal interest in works of public and private philanthropy, and retained much sympathy and admiration for all that is good and noble in the Church of her father and brother.
She expired at her residence in Grosvenor Crescent, London, on