Morton history: 1959 to 1962

Notes from Barrington Darby (Local historian):

Certain parts of the ancient wooden screen which separates the Nave from the Chancel in Morton Holy Cross Church, were painted blue and gold. This work was dedicated to the memory of the Marshall family, and carried out by Mr Cooper of the Chesterfield College of Art, under the direction of the Morton Rector, Canon F. P. Crosse M.C.

Although the colours used in the Faculty displayed in Church appeared quite pale, the end product was distinctly bold and proved extremely controversial. The ancient appearance of the tracery in the screen, thought to date from 1400, had been lost.

In what was more or less a cloudless summer, the newly promoted Morton CCC 1ST XI not only survived in Division One of the Derbyshire League, but won the 1959 Division One League Championship. This was a fine achievement by a relatively small squad of players.

The Rector of Morton, the Revd. Canon F.P. Crosse MC, left Morton, a position he had held since 1951, to become the Rector of Upton Magna near Shrewsbury. The controversy of the screen issue undoubtedly influenced Canon Crosse’s decision to move to Upton Magna.

On 3rd September 1960 Morton CCC played Pilsley, at Pilsley, in a match they needed to win to become Derbyshire League Division One Champions for the second year in succession. After our victories at Frecheville and at Blackwell in August, we had every reason to feel confident we could achieve a favourable result.

The match was drawn, we were lucky to hang on and gain one point – we finished Runners Up.

On 12th September 1960, Doe Hill Railway Station was closed – a victim of the dreaded Beeching Act. Although Doe Hill Station was in Tibshelf Parish it was always regarded as ‘Our Station’.

In the early 1960s, the village lost another of its ancient buildings of considerable interest. This was Laburnum Cottage, also known as the Blacksmith’s Cottage, which stood at the junction of Back Lane and the Main Road. For over 400 years this stone building, with a thatched roof covered with corrugated iron sheets had been occupied by members of the Parson’s family until the early 1900s. Apparently it required considerable effort, but was demolished, and reduced to a heap of rubble in a matter of hours.

The Holy Cross Church Bulletin, was introduced in March by the new Incumbent, Rector Revd. D.J. White, for which I was asked if I would design a suitable emblem or crest, which could also be used to represent Holy Cross Church. This I did, and I am pleased to say it is still in use today. At the same time, the Rector predicted Morton was on the verge of exciting times. How prophetic those words were!

Rector of Morton, the Revd. D.J. White, who always preferred to be known as Father White, decided to become a Roman Catholic. Consequently, he did a ‘Moonlight Flit’ leaving everyone totally mystified as to his whereabouts?
This episode was featured in several Daily Newspapers. The Daily Mail described it as Change of Faith Vicar Angers Village.

Mrs Omiak, a Ukranian refugee living in New Street, visited her relatives behind the Iron Curtain. Concern arose as to whether she would be allowed to return back home, but this proved to be unfounded. The story also received media attention, nationwide. Mrs Omiak’s safe return was actually announced by the BBC.

On Mrs Omiak’s eventual return home to Morton, apparently she was puzzled why the question of her being allowed to return to England had ever been in doubt.

© Barrington Darby