The Traveller's Rests Stones was in Victoria Park and was moved in 2015
Read the article/conversation from Coffey Time between Chris Coffey and Patrick Dwyer below:
“I did finally manage to discover the purpose of the Victoria Park stone, although I have no idea how it ended up where it is.
It isn't a coffin rest stone, nor is it a mounting block, as the ranger service believed. This latter theory actually appears on a notice displayed in the park. It is a Traveller's Rest, as can be seen from the rather indistinct inscription on it.
Patrick wrote: “These were the brainchild of Dr Kendrick, a Warrington physician, in about 1860, who arranged for them to be installed at intervals of roughly two miles along the main roads from Warrington, for the use of foot travellers and itinerant agricultural labourers.
"To our sometimes cynical modern eyes, this degree of concern on the part of a distinguished professional man for poor people might seem strange. But then it's very much in the tradition of Victorian philanthropy.
"Wealthy people, who were often churchgoers, felt they had a duty to give something back, as the modern phrase has it. Maybe they felt it would stand to them in eternity.
“This Dr Kendrick invited other men of standing to provide funds for stones further afield, and I have no doubt that many did. In such cases, their names might have been inscribed on their particular stones.
"One surviving example may be seen in Walton Lea Walled Garden, which bears the name of Gilbert Greenall, Esq., a local brewer. Most of the stones which I know about are in the Warrington area. A particularly well-preserved example is just over the Walton swing bridge, on a grass plot. Another stands in front of St Oswald's Church, Winwick.
“I have no doubt that there are some I have yet to discover. There is one in Thatto Heath Park, but it's very badly weathered. The one in Victoria Park bears the inscription: 'Traveller's Rest'. Then underneath, in smaller letters, the sentiment: "Rest to the body is sweet, but rest to the soul is sweeter".
From J.H. Lane’s books on Newton’s History, from the chapter on ‘The Battle of Winwick Pass’, he the Traveller’s Rest, with the inscription ‘And confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims upon the earth’ placed there in memory of the Prince Consort who died on 14th December 1861.
Prince Albert had died at the early age of 42, plunging Queen Victoria into a deep mourning that lasted for the rest of her life. Perhaps some of these rests were supplied as part of the nation’s mourning. Does anyone know of any more such resting places in the borough?
Meanwhile, Cecil Pickavance rang from Eccleston. He told me that many years ago a relative told him that the stones in Victoria Park were originally sited on Dentons Green Lane, which fits in with our theory that these Travellers Rests were originally sited on main routes.
They were authorised to be relocated in Victoria Park by the Council as they were in the way of a new housing development at the time.
Cecil also remembers that there was a mounting block, for people to mount horses, close by the Abbey Hotel in Dentons Green.
A Donkey Commoner rang me to tell me that his own Grandfather had once told him that he had provided the Travellers Rest that was in Thatto Heath Park. It was sited near the footbridge in Thatto Heath Park that crosses the railway line. It was there for the children using the bridge from the school to use.
Item added : 28th July 2023