Apple Orchard Bridge – Missing Inscription

This almost blank stone tells an interesting story, all that remains is the name R Sawtell, County Surveyor, the rest has been chipped away.

During 1940/1941 the threat of German invasion was great enough that many signs and markers were removed, to confuse the potential invaders.

Apple Orchard Bridge Skelton
Apple Orchard Bridge Plaque

Mr. Ronald Sawtell, is the county surveyor by 1934, and there are many news reports from 1934 complaining of the state of the previous bridge which must have prompted the current one to be built some time after that.

Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough – Friday 04 May 1934

So the inscription is only likely to have been in place for a few years in the late 1930s. I have been unable to discover exactly what it said. Presumably it mentioned “Skelton” or “Apple Orchard Bridge” which would have helped invaders confirm their location.

Skelton Primitive Methodist Chapel 1865

Primitive Methodists split from the Wesleyan Methodists in 1807 and continued until the Methodist Union in 1932. They became known as the “‘Ranters” due to their evangelical preaching.

Skelton Primitive Methodists 1865
Skelton Primitive Methodists 1865
Hitherto Hath The Lord Helped Us

They had a strong following among the poor and working class, which perhaps explains the involvement of local ironstone mine owners Pease and Bell Brothers.

There’s an account of the opening of Skelton Primitive Methodist chapel by H Pratt in the Primitive Methodist magazine of April 1866

The cost was around £259, Donors included Jos. Pease, Mr Bell, Earl of Zetland, J Wharton, J Pease MP, G Pease, Captain Challoner, FA Millbank MP and Jos Fawcett.