Welcome to the History of Antrobus website, which aims to bring together and share photos and stories about the village of Antrobus,  Cheshire.

If you have any photographs, memories or stories to contribute, or would like more information, please contact me at Clare.olver@gmail.com

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Remembrance Exhibition

It was an honour and pleasure to share our research in commemoration of those in Antrobus who gave their lives as a result of the First World War. The exhibition in the church told the story of the soldiers and their families, as well as those left behind who supported through their voluntary activities. Around the village you may have seen the large poppies which represented the lives of the eight men who died during the Great War. A huge thanks to everyone who supported the event behind the scenes and who came along over the weekend.

If you missed the exhibition or would like to know more, please see here. If you have stories or memories still to be told, please do get in touch.

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Remembrance Events November 2018


In this, the centenary year of Remembrance Sunday, members of the village will be organising several special events.

As part of this there will be a history exhibition displaying our research on those men who served in the forces, the women of the village who worked for the Red Cross and those who farmed here at that time to keep the country fed.

The exhibition in St. Mark’s Church will be open at the following times:
Friday 9th November 2-4pm
Saturday 10th November 2-4pm
Sunday 11th November 12-4pm
Monday 12th November 8.30-10.30am.
Refreshments available on each day.

Remembrance Sunday Services will be held at St. Mark’s 10.30 to 11.30am, and at Antrobus Methodist Service 6.30 to 7.30pm

To bring all the Remembrance Day events to a close a beacon will be lit at the
Village Hall. Refreshments will be available.

It is hoped that everyone in the village can take the opportunity to join in and commemorate all those who gave their lives and service for us.

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The History of Antrobus in 10 Objects

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Many of you will have visited the exhibition of the objects and the displays explaining their significance in the development of Antrobus last October. The 2017 Village History Project group very much enjoyed their research and the exhibition. We were … Continue reading

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Antrobus Lad – Dambuster John Wilkinson

This weekend saw the village of Antrobus come together to commemorate the life of John Wilkinson who lost his life during the Dambusters Raid of 1943. A small group of volunteers came together, ably co-ordinated by Susan Sinagola, to put together a small exhibition that would not only celebrate John Wilkinson’s life but reflect the spirit of the time in a small Cheshire village. Research into the family life of John with recollections from his niece, together with family photographs brought the reality of war home. This was accompanied by details of the raids, a fantastic home corner complete with a weekly ration allowance and a summary of the Farm Survey of 1941.

Across the road in the church was a beautiful memorial in the Church for our Dambuster and all those who fell in WW2.  A copy of The Roll of Honour was displayed with the original in safe keeping at the Cheshire Record Office in Chester.

The weekend culminated on Sunday with a lunch catered by the village hall committee for 120 people, all prepared and cooked by a team of volunteers, with a fundraising raffle for the RAF Benevolent Fund.  Perhaps for many the most moving part of the weekend was the fly past of a Dakota from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The weather was perfect and the cheers from the crowd announced its arrival long before it appeared low  over the village hall. After circling the village three times as low as 500 ft, and with a cheery wave from the navigator, it fly off across the fields.

For once the Bank Holiday weather was perfect and the exhibition saw a steady stream of visitors on Monday afternoon for the family picnic and superb display of model aircraft. After a visit by Year 6 of Antrobus school on Tuesday the exhibition was dismantled, however the emotions and memories of the weekend will remain for a long time to come.

At the last count £1000 was raised towards the RAF Benevolent Fund.

See below for a slideshow of photos of the weekend – and  a big thank you to everyone who took part.

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Dates for your diary: Sunday 6th and Monday 7th May



Did you know that 16-17 May 2018 marks the 75th anniversary of the extraordinary Dambusters Raid? And did you know that one of the 133 Dambusters was an Antrobus man? Sadly John Wilkinson did not return from this extremely dangerous operation.

St Mark’s Church, where John was a chorister, Antrobus Village Hall and Antrobus Local History Group 2017 have worked together to commemorate John and all those who remained working in Antrobus during World War 2 during the May Bank Holiday weekend.

  • St Mark’s Church will be open from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 6 May to allow people to view a small display by the War Memorial, which is unusually on the Choir Stalls. There will also be the opportunity to view the memorial to John in the Churchyard. No charge.
  • Antrobus Village Hall Committee are offering a wonderful commemorative Sunday lunch on 6 May with all the trimmings, welcome drink and an array of English puddings for £20 a head at 1pm Sunday May 6. You are invited to wear 1940s dress, if you wish, to add to the atmosphere.
  • Antrobus Local History Group 2017 are presenting an exhibition about the Dambusters and Antrobus’ War in the smaller room in the Village Hall. It will be open to those attending the lunch on Sunday 6 May and to all from 1pm to 5pm on Monday 7 May (Bank Holiday). No charge but donations to the RAF Benevolent Fund will be welcomed.

Can you provide the local history group with memories, photos etc of anything to do with World War 2 in Antrobus? Please do get in touch


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Antrobus School Records

antrobus school records

If your ancestors attended Antrobus School between 1891 and 1922 then you should find them on the recently released Cheshire School Records section of My Find Past website. This needs a subscription, but access free at any local library in Cheshire West and at the Cheshire Record Office in Chester.

The records are transcribed from the original (shown above) and detail the date of entry to the school, address and date of birth. As well as showing the father’s name, against some entries it also shows the date of leaving school. The first pupil with that detail was Thomas Wilfred Wilkinson. He born in 1888 and entered Antrobus School on 1 May 1895. He left after five years on 8 June 1900 aged 12.   This was within the law at the time with the Elementary Education Act of 1880 making school attendance compulsory between five and ten years. This was later amended in 1899 to raise the school leaving age up to 12 years of age. It wasn’t until the Fisher Act of 1918 that education was compulsory for a further two years up to 14 years.

Amongst the last pupils recorded in the book were four Frith children who had moved from their school at Hale Barns to enrol at Antrobus on 20 March 1922. The eldest Lillian Frith was twelve when the family arrived at Frandley Farm and entered school. She remained there until after her 18th birthday in April 1928.

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A Thankful Family

For our recent ‘History of Antrobus in 10 Objects’ exhibition last month, Ian spent many hours researching the lives of the soldiers from the village who died in the First World War. Some of their lives are told  here.

Around the time of Remembrance Sunday I came across an article around Thankful Villages. A thankful village is a community where everyone who went to fight in World War One came back alive, and there is an article about them on the BBC website.  So when I found a newspaper article about a family from Antrobus whose four sons all fought in the Great War, and all came back alive, that seemed an amazing story of survival – particularly as one of them was a prisoner of war in Germany.

The Painter family from Reed House View, Antrobus included six sons and two daughters. William and Martha Painter’s eldest son, Thomas, was in India with his regiment when the war broke out, having been there for four years. Shortly afterward Christmas 1914 he proceeded to the Front and some months ago was taken prisoner by the Germans during the battle at Hill 60. His friend Alfred Gatley received a typically understated postcard from him:

“You will see by this that I am a prisoner of war, and I’m afraid you will have to go to short of news, as we are only allowed to write two letters and four postcards a month, but I will let you know at intervals how I am going on. If you don’t mind I would be glad to receive a parcel, but don’t mention any war news in your letter.” 

After serving in the army for 12 years, Tom and his wife applied to Government House Ottawa for Coronation tickets. They were success in being allocated 2 of the 8,000 official tickets and emigrated to Canada in1926 where they built up a successful business.

John, the second son, joined the 10th Cheshires at the beginning of the war, and became a sergeant. The third son, James Knowles enlisted in September 1915 trained as a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, and fourth son William joined the third line of the 5th Cheshire Regiment (Territorials.

However upon further research it appears that since the newspaper article was written in the Northwich Guardian in 1915 another son, Peter, also joined up. The sixth son, Frank, was too young being only 15 by the end of the war.  Peter joined the Royal Navy in 1915 when only 15. In 1916 he was a gunner on the HMS Queen Elizabeth and was in the North Sea as part of the Grand Fleet. Towards the end of 1916 he was taken very ill and like many sailors was hospitalised in Valletta, Malta. His condition must have caused concern as his convalescence lasted for nearly one year.

It was not a completely happy story and the family was not untouched by the horrors of war, with Martha Painter’s younger cousin Arthur Rustage being killed at Gallipoli in 1915.

With thanks to the Painter family for permission to tell this remarkable story

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