The next Blewbury Local History Group meeting includes a talk by Tony Hadland with the title shown above.
The availability of DNA tests has given rise to people questioning where their ancestors originated from and many other groups have been fascinated by Tony’s talk so we thought we would give the village a chance to hear it too. We are holding it in the History room, March 14th 8pm start, and SPACE IS LIMITED TO A MAXIMUM OF 20 PEOPLE. If you wish to attend the meeting then we ask that you make contact with either of the people shown below and wait for confirmation of a ticket. There is no charge.
The response to our request for information on village cellars was excellent, many thanks to those who contacted us. You might also like to take a look at the group’s website which has many interesting pages on the village history. WWW.BLHG.ORG.UK .
For tickets contact either Audrey Long on 850427 or Mark Palethorpe via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Some members of the History Group have recently discovered that there are cellars in the village.
Of course the pubs have cellars but in view of the level of the water table here, we found the idea of below ground storage places surprising. Does your house have an underground, or partially underground cellar? If it does, we would very much like to record it, and even better have a look at it. We promise not to nick any of your vintage port stored there, or even the stuff you put there 20 years ago and have forgotten about. The site might be a record of earlier water levels which would be interesting.
Contact either Mark Palethorpe(email@example.com) or Audrey Long on 850427. (Our next meeting is February 14th at 8pm at Robinsons.)
Earlier this year two students from Elmhurst School for Dance performed a ‘pas de deux’ from The Nutcracker in Sobell House for patients, staff, volunteers and visitors. The initiative came from Jim, Tracey’s husband, who is on the Board of Governors at the school.
Elmhurst has an outreach programme whereby their dancers visit hospices around the UK and give brief performances. Jim felt he wanted to make this available to Sobell House as a way of repaying the love and kindness shown to Tracey when she was on the ward.
This particular performance was choreographed by Errol Pickford, a teacher at Elmhurst and former Principal dancer with The Royal Ballet. The photograph shows Jim, flanked by the two soloists. Anita Rendel
After months of planning and consulting, we are almost ready to start planting!
The first 20 or so trees have been ordered, stakes, labels, tree guards and posts have all been specified and planting will take place in December. It will take a few years for the trees to become established and to bear fruit, but you should then be able to pick a Warwickshire Drooper for your breakfast (it’s a plum) or a Reverend Wilks for your supper (it’s a cooking apple).
A number of people have kindly volunteered to help with the planting. If you would like to add your name to the list then please contact John Ogden (firstname.lastname@example.org). For those who can help it would be very useful if they could bring along a spade and perhaps a large board or groundsheet – and a wheelbarrow could be useful to help with mulching around the trees. The weekend of the 3rd December is one possible start date but we will be in email contact with all volunteer COGGERS before then. John Ogden
Looking for a new hobby this autumn?
Wanting to meet new people in Blewbury and the surrounding villages? Like doing something with gentle physical and mental exercise in a fun and social environment? Enjoy doing something worthwhile for the village community? If any of these apply, then bellringing could be for you! A recent BBC news item highlighted the modern day challenges of attracting people to take up this rewarding pastime (visit goo.gl/vbsu4w). Blewbury is no exception to this and although we currently have an enthusiastic team, we really do need to encourage more people to learn to ring and help us to maintain the tradition of village bellringing for the future.
Come to a taster evening on Tuesday 4th October and meet some of the ringers, see up close how a bell works, have an assisted go at ringing a bell and enjoy a chat over a cuppa. Come along anytime between 7.30 – 9.00pm to St Michaels church on 4th October. If you are unable to make it on 4th, you will be welcome to join us on any Friday practice evening. For further information contact Richard Loyd 07767 463285 or Chris Cook 07786 635062
A scintillating spell of fast bowling from Scott Harris rushed Blew Wallies to a lightning victory over Horley on June 4.
The paceman took 7 for 11, including a hat-trick that turned into a four-wicket maiden (followed up by a wicket maiden), as the home side were blasted out for 43 in only 12.1 overs. Harris has been in top form all season, but this performance was red-hot, with all but one of his victims (who was caught in the slips by Mark Carey) bowled or lbw. His new-ball partner, the county teenager Tom Gould, played Morne Morkel to Harris’s Dale Steyn, taking 3-36. Blewbury & Wallingford 1sts wasted little time in chasing down their target, with Carey (22) the only man to fall as Blew Wallies breezed to a nine-wicket win in the ninth over. The Division 3 game was done and dusted by 2.30pm, as Blew Wallies move up to 2nd in the table.
Several of the 1st XI came back to Boham’s Road to watch the 2nds making a game of a low-scoring encounter with a largely youthful Challow & Childrey 3rds in Division 9(S). Having been put into bat on a sluggish surface, Blew Wallies made 113-6 off 45 overs. Stuart Edwards carried his bat for 45, while Ian Saunders produced two stunning strokes (a lofted off-drive and a clubbing pull) in his 24 before falling as he tried to break the bowlers’ stranglehold. Joe Harris, a left-arm spinner who turned it both ways, was all but impossible to play, and bowled 14 overs for only 15 runs. Blew Wallies’ skipper Mark Cox showed touches of his class with a delicate late cut and a sumptuous backfoot square drive off the pacy teenager Fergus Fishburn, but was run out before he really got going. The final total felt at least 30 runs shy of being competitive.
With Neil Smith as canny as ever and 14-year-old Ollie Mew running in purposefully and hitting the pitch hard, Blew Wallies made life difficult for the opposition’s openers, though. The breakthrough came when the astute Roger Podbery mistimed first-change off-spinner Richard Clayton’s long-hop straight to Jack Vincent at mid-wicket. The 13-year-old made no mistake. As Clayton found his range and Smith plugged away, 28-1 became 45-5 and Blew Wallies could sense the unlikeliest of wins. Yet the experienced pair of Philip Cox and Gary Rees slowly closed the door on this potential great escape, with what became a match-winning partnership of 72. Still, the 2nds deserve plenty of credit for keeping the result in the balance for as long as they did.
In one corner of the Blewbury’s old cemetery in Boham’s Road are two fairly ordinary graves, which are the main reminder that the village has of two women, Gladys Hazel and Dr Gertrude Austin, who retired to Blewbury in the 1930s and lived in a newly built bungalow in Westbrook Street, with Gladys’s school age nephew, Peter Waterfield.
They lived there for over twenty years during which time Peter grew up, went to Oxford University, married the daughter of the Vicar of Didcot, and then left the village to pursue a career as a school teacher and head teacher. Peter, now in his 90s, lives in Cornwall. Just last year, to his amazement, he came across an old manuscript which turned out to be his Aunt Gladys’s memoirs. These memoirs reveal that, in her earlier life, she had been a very active, militant Suffragette. She was born in 1880 and had become a school teacher in Birmingham, when she was invited to a tea party, which was addressed by Emmeline Pankhurst sometime around 1908. Fairly soon after that she became heavily involved in the Suffragette movement, working in their offices in Birmingham, Leicester and Bristol over a period of several years. Passive campaigning led to more militant activity. On one occasion for example, she describes stepping into the middle of a road to obstruct a troop of mounted police during a visit to Birmingham by Asquith. The cavalcade was forced to part either side of her to great cheers and laughter from the assembled crowd. She calls it her “first taste of heady power” and writes: “I was immensely exhilarated”. Not all acts of defiance were as enjoyable. During the time she was in Holloway Prison, Gladys took part in a hunger strike and was force fed. In her memoirs she describes the occasion when the now famous Emily Wilding Davison attempted suicide in Holloway, trying to end the suffering and force feeding of others. “My cell door was open and a warden hurried to me calling: ‘Come quick!’ I followed her out to the gallery. And there was Emily Davison. She was sitting with her feet hanging down over the stairway her face closed and set. The warden said, ‘Speak to her and stop her doing it.’ I felt suddenly full of [emotion] and in a sort of rage and I said, ‘Why? She’ll be well out of it.’ And I turned away. I heard her fall and saw her lying across the steps as they hustled me into my cell.” Earlier in 1912 she had been involved in a demonstration in New Bond Street in London. She was arrested after smashing several windows of Asprey’s store, but while being led away by a burly policeman still managed according to his account in court to ‘break two more windows’. So this quiet old lady living in Westbrook Street from 1939-1959 had quite a colourful past campaigning for women’s rights, and it seems that no-one living in Blewbury at the time knew anything of her past. Her nephew has very fond memories of his time in the village, and is collaborating with the Local History Group to ensure that his aunt’s exploits on behalf of such an important cause are not forgotten. Anyone else with relevant information about Gladys and Gertrude is encouraged to contact the group. Roger and Elizabeth Murphy