St Michael and All Angels Church, Middlewich www.middlewichparishchurch.org.uk
Samuel Blechynden Click to enlarge

This marble plaque is found on the south wall.


Samuel Blechynden was born 4 February 1671, descended from an ancient family in Kent.  He became a collector of Salt Duties for 37 years.


A letter from T. Aram at the Salt Office, York Buildings, London to Peter Shakerley at the Salt Office, Hulme, Middlewich advises about his salary as Supervisor.(1)


Blechynden was benevolent and fair with public spirit towards the people.  On his death on 6th April 1749, his epitaph tells of a respected and greatly esteemed man who was very much lamented.(2)


At a Vestry Meeting on 23 June 1751, following public notice, it was agreed that £10 be added to the £30 received by virtue of the Will of Mr Blechynden to purchase an engine for extinguishing fires.  For 12 buckets to be purchased for supplying the same with water and that a convenient house, if necessary, be built for keeping the said engine at the parish expense.  Mr Seaman was empowered to purchase an engine accordingly with the necessary appendages.(3)  


This fire engine would have a wooden carriage with a lead lined water trough.  The 12 leather water buckets would swing on hooks along the side.  Volunteer local men, acting as firemen, would run along each side.  It would be pulled by the town horse who also pulled the town hearse, which leads us to a local story.(4)


Salt was a symbol of holiness and friendship in many countries and oaths were sanctified by it. In Saxon times, salt was one of the principal articles of commerce in the country and produced considerable revenues to the crown.(5)



References


  1. CRO reference DSS 1/3/205 (pdf).  Title letter from  Aram at the Salt Office, York Buildings, London, to Peter Shakerley at Hulme.
  2. CRO reference DLT 4996/59/25 (pdf).  Title Pedigrees and Family Trees with an epitaph to Samuel Blechynden.
  3. Vestry Meeting on 23 June 1751.  Page 125 Middlewich 900-1900 by Alan Earl
  4. Story of the town horse (pdf).
  5. Origins of salt industry as found in: “The Story of Bygone Middlewich in the County Palatine of Chester and Vale Royal of England” by C. F. Lawrence, Clerk of the Urban District Council, 1936.
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