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Death of a Village celebrity.

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HENRY SHAW born 1847 died 1914.docx   

                                                            HENRY SHAW  born 1847  died 1914

                                                                Son of Thomas and Ellen Shaw                               

                                                                            BRITISH "

                                                                Death of a Village celebrity                                                    

                                                               Warrington Guardian 1914

                                      A correspondent who signs himself “W” writes as follows: -

“Poor old British”, this exclamation escaped from many lips in Stockton Heath on Tuesday morning when news reached the village that Harry Shaw had been found dead on the roadside between Manchester and Warrington.

As one who knew this remarkable character from the time of my early recollections of my native village, I feel I cannot let this figure pass out without a few thoughts of appreciation – if you like, although people may be horrified at this thought.

My first remembrance of “British” was seeing him starting the threshing machine “     then fast getting  more in vogue.

An event in our village life was a visit of the “iron        “,  then drawn by four or six horses for the boys of “Gaffer Grindrod’s School” - at this threshing at Bennett’s Farm, situated where the shoeing smithy is now near the Police Station.

“British” has a wonderful little fox terrier bitch which worried rats at an exceptionally quick and smart rate, to the pride of the owner, and delight of the youngsters.


“British”, in his time, had been a fairly renowned fighter, in the days when men settled differences with their fists, and many a bout had “British” in the cockpits of Back Lane, Narrow Lane and Mill Lane, and the fashionable Grappenhall Road.

It was his delight to relate to the writer his many encounters, and how many times he had had various parts of his anatomy smashed and repaired; in fact one of his expressions was “You would have a crooked nose, if you had it broken four times like mine”.

The making of the Ship Canal found him many engagements, with varying results, but he gleefully reckoned to always uphold the honour of his native village.

His love for little children was great, and many halfpenny worth of sweets has he bought to distribute among them – a fact which the little ones are well aware of.

The last time I spoke to him, he was quite prepared, he said, to “fight if them Germans came to Stockton Heath”.

A queer expression he used then, and very frequently was “I shall not live much longer, and when I’m gone, there is no coming back – and when I’m buried, put on my grave “A British bulldog, a game-cock and a prize pigeon”.

Yes, poor old “British”, you have gone before that Great Tribunal, think only of you as one of God’s children, however erring you may have been (like we all are): and trust that God’s mercy may be granted you in the Great White City in which we are all born heirs as children of God.


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