To Be A Farmers Boy - a bit of local history or just a yarn?
It is said that the well known folk song ' To Be A Farmers Boy' was written by a Little Leigh man about a Little Leigh man........
One night in the early 1800's, a young man turned up at Heath Farm, Little Leigh looking for work. The Whiteheads who kept the farm, took him on. Eventually he was running the farm and married their daughter Maria.
Meanwhile, the Whitehead's son, Charles (born 1792) was running Heathside farm and he wrote the folk song which tells of his brother-in-laws story.
But that wasn't the end of the story because the young man Thomas Fownes Smith (born 1807) also became Minister of the Baptist Church at Little Leigh. He preached the gospel for over 30 years until his death on 24-Sept-1866 (aged 64). There is a plaque in the Baptist Church and his grave is in the burial ground.
The date stone in the Church dates the building as 1829. It is known that a fellowship of baptists was meeting in local houses well before that date. An inscription on a grave tells us they were meeting twelve years before the building was erected.
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