HOW SHAP REMEMBERED ITS FALLEN A HUNDRED YEARS ON.
In the lead up to the Armistice Centenary weekend, Shap Parish Council had created an installation of 36 poppies in wall baskets at the Market Cross to represent the 36 men who gave their lives in the Great War; the building was used as the recruitment office for the First World War. The Local History Society has placed poppy crosses on the graves of ten men from Shap who died in the First World War and are buried in the churchyard.
The First World War archives were open at the Market Cross.
On Sunday 11th November a great many Shap villagers gathered around the War Memorial in the rain swept churchyard at 11 a.m. to observe a two minutes silence to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. The Last Post and Reveille were sounded by Revd. Christopher Jenkin.
The congregation then gathered in St. Michael’s church for the village Act of Remembrance led by Bill Wright from Penrith Methodist Circuit. During the first hymn standards and wreaths of the village organisations; Parish Council, Church, Fire Service, Shap Mini Police accompanied by Police CSOs, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers; were carried to the altar where they were received by Mr Wright and Revd. Christopher Jenkin from Orton.
Display boards in church had been created by pupils from Shap school as a result of work they had done about the First World War, the special displays in windows of the south aisle installed by Bill and Barbara Martindale, and the Local History Society, the latter included items associated to the youngest of the fallen, 19 year old Victor Storrow from Rosgill, an apprentice joiner, and the carved picture frame he made for his mother was on display.
‘There But Not There’ Tommies occupied some seats in the church, each one representing six Shap men who never came home.
Psalm 44 was read by Finn Ramsey, a Year 11 pupil at Appleby Grammar School. Traditional hymns were sung, accompanied by the organist Janet Wood.
The address was given by Revd Jenkin, who took as his theme the Psalm that had been read, in which it tells how the Jews looked to God for help in the many conflicts, and how He had helped them. He said that there was no-one left who could remember the First World War, but read a poem by Orton poet Jackie Huck in which she described how her late husband’s uncle had been killed by a roadside bomb as he happily marched towards home and the future with his comrades following the Armistice.
Jean Scott-Smith read a poem ‘Shap Call Up’ that she had written especially for the service. Faye Sampson a Year Four pupil from Shap School read about the importance of remembrance.
Following the final hymn the standards and wreaths were returned and the procession reformed to lead worshippers back outside to the War Memorial where the names of the men who fell in both World Wars were read by Derrick Newsome and Ian McColm and the verse from Binyon’s poem To the Fallen was read. The Kohima verse was recited by Bill Martindale and the National Anthem sung.
Wreaths were laid as follows: Shap Parish Council: Alan Sowerby; St. Michaels’ Church Council: Elizabeth Grose: National Fire Service: Jonathan Wood; Shap Mini Police: Dylan Burtonwood and Holly Higgins; Scouts, Cubs and Beavers: Megan Atkinson and George Saward. The standard bearers were: Union Flag: Richard Morris; Scouts: Izzy Belwood; Cubs: Zach Belwood; Beavers: Alicia Crawford.
In the evening the Shap bell ringers joined in the national Ringing Remembers; two men who fought in the First World War and returned were bell ringers at Shap.
Shap is a very ancient place, the oldest proof of people living there are the stone circles and avenues that once formed Shap Stones. These were quite as important as places like Avebury and Stonehenge. There is not much left from the circles and avenue today except a few boulders next to the railway embankment east of the A6 beyond Fell Garage – this is what is left of one circle. There are some big stones in the fields between Shap and Keld, and some of them have special names.
Shap has not always been called that name, the first written records call it Heppe, and this is believed to come from the word ‘heap’ referring to a pile of stones and quite likely to the Shap Stones.
Shap Abbey was begun in 1199, and was very important; it closed in 1540 when all the monasteries and abbeys were closed.
In 1984 when they were laying the gas pipeline near the Shap Granite Pink Quarry they found a 13th century canoe preserved in the peaty ground.
There were two parts to the place, Shap or Heppe round the church and market place, and another little village near the Greyhound Hotel called Brackenber.
The village grew up because of the road that ran through it, this would first have been a track, and people would have walked or ridden horses, then later they would have used wagons then the stagecoaches that took quite a lot of people at the same time, about six or eight people inside in the more expensive seats and people who could not afford that would have had to sit up on the top in all the wind rain and snow. Some of the big hotels like the Greyhound and Kings Arms kept horses so that the stagecoaches could change their tired horses for different ones – a bit like filling your car with fuel at a garage.
In 1844 the railway was begun and opened in 1846; Shap had a station near the Greyhound.
In 1865 Shap Granite Works opened, it had two quarries and a concrete works and was the main place that Shap people worked; the company built a lot of new houses for their workers and filled the gaps between Shap and Brackenber to make one big village. The limestone quarry at Shap Beck opening in the 1930s and Hardendale quarry in 1963.
A workhouse for poor people who had nowhere to live was built in 1877, it then became a children’s home for children with no families, and now it is houses called Brackenber Lodge.
The road was always very busy because it was the main road from England into Scotland and all the traffic came through the village. Because it was a busy place there were quite a lot of shops.
There were two schools one for boys and one for girls, these were made into one school in 1955 using the boys school building, and the girls school became a secondary school then magistrates court, youth centre and is now the library.
Some new council houses (Croft Avenue and Gayle Avenue) were built in 1951 and 1953 and more (West Lane) in 1963. Parkers Croft, Lynchetts and Peggy Nut were built in the 1990s, so Shap is now about four times the size it was in 1950.
The Wet Sleddale dam was built in the 1960s and the M6 Motorway opened in 1970, so Shap became a lot quieter with much less traffic.
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