A Postcard from where Werneth Low Road meets Cowlishaw Road or "Brow" as it's referred to - the grass triangle known locally as the "Queens Trees", as Queen Elizabeth II planted trees here on the occasion of her visit in 1967 ... A favourite picnic area of many over the years.
Prominent amongst the Gee Cross characters were the Corbishley family, who got their living by carrying coal, for which purpose they kept twenty donkeys and a pony with crooked legs. There is a small triangle piece of land near the ‘finger-post’ at the top of Cowlishaw Brow on the summit of Werneth Low. Just behind the wall on the Hyde side of the main road, fronting this triangular piece, stood the cottage of the Corbishleys. The family and donkeys shared the same rooms during the day, and at night the animals occupied the lower rooms and the family the bedrooms. Their train of donkeys carried coal in panniers and packs from the local coalpits to Hyde and the neighbouring towns. The best known members of this family were two brothers, Sam and Jack. Death claims everyone in time, and at last Jack died, leaving Sam as sole survivor. Whilst the corpse lay in the house, and Sam was out, some of the Gee Cross farmers got into the house, dressed the corpse, placed it upright in a chair, and put a pipe in its mouth. When poor Sam returned he at first thought that his brother had come to life again.. But on touching the body it fell to the floor.
Jack Corbishley, in spite of his queer habits, had always shown kindness to William Wych, one of the Wych’s of Gee Cross Fold Farm: and ’Billy’ Wych undertook to bury his old friend at his own expense. The funeral took place at Mottram, and after the custom of the time ’Billy’ and the funeral guest called at the Mottram inns and drank heavily before returning to Gee Cross. The interment was on the Friday preceding Mottram Wakes’ Saturday and on this day there was a great pot market held. Primed with good ale, ’Billy’ Wych was seized with a mad freak, and mounting the hearse he drove the horse right through the pot market, smashing pots right and left… and scattering the crowd in all directions. He then paid for the damage, satisfied that there had been “a good finish to Jack Corbishley’s funeral”.
The Corbishleys had a friend who lived at Mellor, and was known as “Besom Ben,” on account of him being a ’besom’ maker.