Lymm Rushbearing
 Altrincham Division Chronicle, 16th August, 1889, p5

Transcript of the Press Report (some "new lines added)

Rush Bearing is now only a name. The ancient custom has rapidly died out, and the fair which  used to be the accompaniment has in turn become the principal, and is now showing the symptoms of rapid decay. 
The old custom, spoken of by the "oldest inhabitants" with a lingering regret at the degeneracy of those latter days, has survived in Lymm much longer than in any of the surrounding parishes. In Thelwall and Warburton there is no indication that such a custom ever existed, yet the "oldest inhabitant" in those parishes can remember when it was otherwise and the memory of the happy times by those well on in the seventies is recalled by a sigh. Lymm , therefore, has held by the custom long after her neighbours, and the fact that Rush Bearing is dying out so quickly must be owing to the school master and the influences which follow in his train. 
The time for the holding of the feast is fixed on the Saturday preceding the second Sunday in August. On that day it was a custom, established no one knows how long, but certainly maintained within the memory of many now living, to build a "Rush cart." This work for many generations was the exclusive right of the Cheetham family, who were also the sextons and bell ringers of Lymm Church. The church wardens for the time being collected the necessary funds from the parishioners, the four principal publicans always "being good for a sovereign each," and it was a part of the duty of the said wardens to have the four grey horses properly decorated with garlands. In return for their services, they had their initials "pricked" in the back of the rushes.   It was also the duty of these officials to have certain garlands made and carried on top of the Rush cart, wherewith the church was decorated. These, strange to say, were hung in the sacred edifice in very prominent positions and remained until they made way for their successors at the following Rush Bearing. 
Each of the four public houses in the village claimed in rotation the right of having the cart built at their premises and it rested with the farmers to find the grey horses. The last time this was in "proper style," old Tim Newell of Agden, found the horses and for several years afterwards, when grey were not forthcoming, old Mr Hanky, of Statham found two black horses. Grey horses could not be accepted from Statham as the old saying had it "Lymm greys and Statham Blacks." These horses were dressed according "ancient custom," with paper flowers and wreaths of the brightest colours, and from the collars lofty arches of these bright flowers were sprung to which were attached, and also round the collars, a large number of bells.
When the cart turned out the Morris dancers dressed somewhat after the style of Saturday last [Rushbearing 1889], followed, and a brass band Moorish chant, to which they danced all day long. Living memory hath it that Thornley's band, of Warrington, was the last that did ample justice to the festive occasion. Every lane in the village was duly perambulated. The gentry in those days were very hospitable, and a s a consequence as the day wore on the procession became jolly, not to say rollicking, and by the time Oughtrington Bridge was reached it too several attempts to get he horses with their precious load between the battlements of that wretched structure. 
At eight o'clock on Saturday evening the cart was timed to reach Lymm Cross, when the parishioners assembled and accompanied the cart to the church. Here the garlands were removed and placed in the church, the many now living remember the rushes being strewn on pathway through the graveyard and placed in the aisles of the church, to the delight of occasional frogs that found their way in during he night, and the terror of lady worshippers at matins and evensong on the following day. A little nearer our time the cart with its rushes was taken possession of in turns by the publicans after its peregrinations, and those who wished to see it had to pass through the premises, and have something to drink "for the good of the house." 
As a matter of course these festivals were always taken advantage of by the strolling player. Living memory being limited, Snake's, Green's, and Powell's Theatres were those that carried the last burden of entertaining the villages, with such exciting performances as "Maria Martin," "Blue Beard," &e.
Public taste having degenerated, the place of the theatres were taken by "Aunt Sallys", swings, and dobby-horses, and Humphrey Cornwall, we are told, made a fortune with these latter. 
The dobby-horses of those days were very primitive as compared with the complex steam  mechanisms(?) of to-day. A thing that represented a horse was fastened to the end of an arm, a dozen of which swing on a central pivot and the lads who were idly standing by were encouraged by the proprietor "to give them a push." This was the dobby-horse of the period. Some few year ago the Rush cart dropped out of the show and a very determined effort was made under the leadership of George Hall (whose public services can never be forgotten in Lymm) to resuscitate it , but the thing could not live. The elements in human character must change with the times, and the railway has connected Lymm with the great cosmic monuments(?) of our day, and as a result the elements are wanting on which the pageantry of half-a-century ago throve and fattened. After Mr. Hall's effort came a donkey cart bearing the rushes, but this so lacerated the feelings of the old people who remembered the thing typified in its palmiest days, that the effort was not repeated. When degeneracy starts it normally hurls itself rapidly to its connumeration(?)#, and the donkey cart culminated in a coal wagon, drawn by a couple of lads from Broom Edge bedecked with ribbons. This survived for two years , and, alas, this year the thing has "gone stark out." So the beginning of the end has come. When Mr. Hall took the matter up, with his usual public spirit, the Local Board in the interest of business tried to clear the road round the Cross from obstruction, and the action caused the fair to be divided. It went first to Stanfield, but Mr. G. Read, to test the question, put up a stand in the village. The matter proceeded with, as the Board found that they had not the sympathy of the public in doing away with the stands, but the fail r has never recovered from that unfriendly blow. Now the main part of the fair has been carried to a field up Pepper-street. The feeling of those who hoped against hope in that the inevitable must come, and that the fall off this year has been the most marked for a generation. The Non-conformist and other excursions which denude the village of its inhabitants on the Monday is largely responsible for the change which has been brought about, and a day at the seaside is certainly preferable to the orgies of half-a-century ago.

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