During the 1870’s Edwin Williams worked on several construction projects in and around the Manchester area. An entry in the Cyclopedia of New South Wales 1907 for Edwin states as follows: “and for several years did some good work in the northern counties, superintending, amongst other buildings, the erection of the John Barnes Convalescent Hospital, Cheadle Chistine, St Paul’s Church, Heaton Moore, and Holy Trinity Church, Dinting Vale”. We also know that he worked on the Holy Trinity Church in Dinting Vale from the following paragraph extracted from a letter to Edwin from Sarah’s cousin Edward (Ted) Collier dated March 7, 1889 (this is part of his reply to Edwin’s letter informing him of Sarah’s death):

I have inserted it in both Glossop papers and the kindness with which I was treated from Mr Shepherd the manager of the Chronicle Printing Co was very touching and we had a long talk. He told me the esteem in which he held both you and your late wife and the pleasant hours he had spent in your company at the time when you were building Dinting Church.”

It is widely accepted that Edwin met Sarah whilst he was working on Dinting Church. Work on the church started in 1873 and was completed in July 1875, however, we don’t know how long they knew each other before they were married in October 1876. We do know they were acquainted by March 1876 as we are lucky enough to have a copy of a letter written to Edwin from Sarah at that time. In the letter, Sarah mentions going to church or down to Mr Wagstaffe’s with her father. She is most probably referring to the Viaduct Inn which was run by Samuel and Lewina Wagstaff.

Undated photo of the Viaduct Inn on Dinting Vale near Glossop
Undated photo of the Viaduct Inn on Dinting Vale near Glossop

The Wagstaffs had a daughter called Lavinia who was the same age as Sarah and presumably one of her good friends as she was a witness to Edwin and Sarah’s wedding. The Viaduct Inn is right across the road from the Holy Trinity Church. Sarah and her father lived on Dinting Vale only a few hundred yards towards the viaduct from the Viaduct Inn.

View down Dinting Vale from March 2016. The Viaduct Inn is on the left and Holy Trinity Church on the right.
View down Dinting Vale from March 2016. The Viaduct Inn is on the left and Holy Trinity Church on the right.
Edwin Williams meets Sarah Mather