Mini Outing to Warwickshire
Sunday 30th November 2008
St Laurence (6) 9cwt
St Peter (5) 5cwt GF
Bob Benstead, Anthony Hughes, Judith Kirby, Donna Murphy, Christian Burrell, Roy Jones, Jan Lawrie, Stephen & Graham Nichols, Hugh Deam, Susan King and Bernard Masterman.
Shotteswell First noted as Soteswell in 1140 the village derives its name from a stretch of the stream here thought to once belong to a man called Scot. The church is situated on the slopes of a steep hill with a plethora of entrances to the churchyard, and surrounded by many stone-built cottages, although parking is some considerable distance from the church. The bells are rung from the ground floor and were augmented to a six in 1995 and require tidy handling at backstroke to get the striking right. The Plough A thoroughly cosy and atmospheric pub serving nourishing meals ideal to revivify the most exhausted of ringers. Radway The village is generally thought to take its name from the reddish soil prevalent of the area, with "weia" referring to the road between the village and Little Kineton known locally as the Red Lane. During Saxon times Radway belonged to the Church of Coventry, and then later came under the influence of the Cistercian monks of Stoneleigh. The parish church was rebuilt on its present site and consecrated in 1866 using much of the original material. The bells were re-hung in 1949 and are rung from the ground floor.
Saturday 25th October 2008
Bucks All Saints (6) 9-0-12 in G#
Hugh Deam, Hal Drysdale, Roy Jones, Judith Kirby, Ryan Noble, Heather Dobson, Ann Gyngell, Susan King, Bernard Masterman and Charles Smith.
Hillesden · All Saints
The hamlet of Ilesdone was in the possession of Notley Abbey from 1164 up until late C15th, when dissention over the somewhat dilapidated state of the church led to the land being sold to Hugh de Bolebec, and the rebuilding of the church in 1493. The original Hillesden House served as a fortified outpost for Royalist forces during the Civil War, with the second besiegement by Parliamentary troops being led by Col. Oliver Cromwell. The north door of the majestic Grade I Listed church here still bears the scars of musket holes from that time. The famed architect Sir George Gilbert Scott was born in nearby Gawcott and was responsible for much of the restoration work on Hillesden church, which is often described as "the cathedral in the fields", located as it is adjacent to a deer park. The bells are now rung from a gallery and are conducive to minor method ringing, although the 2 and tenor are both being apt to drop if handling slackens.
Three quarter peals in Northamptonshire
Saturday 18th October 2008
St Peter & St Paul (5) 14-1-10 in F
St Mary (6) 14-0-10 in F#
St Mary (6) 16-2-6 in E
Christian Burrell, Hugh Deam, Andy Dunn, Simon Edwards, Roy Jones and Maarit Kivilo.
Easton Maudit The village gained its manorial affix from the Maudit family, here since the Norman Conquest. The graceful C15th spire is one of the great landmarks of the Nene Valley, particularly when floodlit, having been repaired in 1990. Hatchments and bannerols of the last of the Yelverton family, the Earls of Sussex, are to be seen in the north aisle. The noted antiquarian Thomas Percy served as rector here in late C18th, and in a front pew of the nave there is a plaque recording visits by members of the exclusive Garrick Club of which he was a member. Part of the churchyard is now a dedicated conservation area, rich in grassland species.
Of the five bells, three of the four C17th bells were cast by Hodson, with the other being medieval, recast in 1892. Rung from the ground floor, the bells require extreme diligence in handling. Grendon Taking its name from "green hill", the majority of land in this area is owned by three major landowners: the Queen, Trinity College Cambridge and the Marquess of Northampton. The name of the pub, The Half Moon, is thought to refer to drunken revellers (moonrakers) in centuries past who attempted to fish the reflection of the moon out of the brook that runs through the centre of the village. The house and grounds of the manor house here, Grendon Hall, were used by the SOE to house and train Free French Forces during the Second World War. Only traces remain of the original Norman church, the advowson of which was granted to King's Hall, Cambridge by Edward III in 1342, later transferring to Trinity College.
The original wooden framed clock of 1690 is still to be seen inside the church, which boasts an expansive nave. The bells are a fluent six that are now rung from a gallery. Bozeat A Roman settlement of some importance is known to have existed here following excavations in 1964 revealed a circular building from the 2nd century that was 48ft in diameter. As a result of this a further excavation was carried out and this revealed many fragments of C1st to C3rd habitation. The handsome parish church constructed of grey stone is flanked by delightful cottages in a classic middle England scenario. The historic tower, dating back to Norman times, is capped by a broach spire, although it was partially rebuilt in late C19th, along with the main body of the church. The bells were augmented to a six in relatively recent times and are sublime in their fluidity and emanation of sound.
Bozeat · St Mary
Meon Valley, Hampshire
Saturday 11th October 2008
St John the Baptist (8) 12cwt
St Nicholas (6) 8cwt
St John the Baptist (6) 5cwt
St Peter & St Paul (6) 10cwt
St Barnabas (6) 6cwt
Janice Beale, Jane Burgess, Heather Dobson, Susan King, Serge Zvegintzov, Jonathan Beale, Ron Burgess, Hal Drysdale, Judith Kirby, Paul Bayes, Carole Beckley, Christian Burrell, Ann Gyngell, Peter Lloyd, Bob Benstead, Hugh Deam, Roy Jones and Donna Murphy.
Shedfield The name of the village is an Old English description for open land where planks are split thin to be used for constructing foot-bridges and there are several freshwater springs in the area. The primary employment for many centuries was agriculture and horticulture, with numerous orchards. Brick-making later found a foothold here as well. The elegant parish church dates to 1875 - 80 by Colson & Son having been constructed to replace a building of early that century, although the original humble buttressed tower still stands at the rear of the churchyard. The bells are a lovely free-flowing eight. Wickham The settlement developed around a ford across the River Meon, with a Roman military post here resulting in the construction of a bridge to facilitate the road between Noviomagus Regnorum (Chichester) and Venta Belgarum (Winchester). The name of the village derives from its association with a Vicus (a Romano-British settlement), with evidence having been found of early industry here in the form of pottery kilns. In the wake of the Norman Conquest, the Manor of Wicheham was handed to Hugo de Port as part of the Titchfield Hundred, with the church being built around 1126 and run by the Canons of Titchfield.
The village's most famed resident was William of Wykeham, who served as Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor of England, and founded Winchester College and New College, Oxford. The fine sounding bells are rung from a ringing chamber that is built around the organ. Purbrook The first printed documentation of a settlement here was as Pukebrok in 1248, eerily deriving from the Old English description for a brook haunted by a goblin. The village is situated on high ground and is now effectively a northern suburb of Portsmouth with the busy A3 running through its centre having been designed as one of six forts created in the 1850s to protest the rear of the town from possible invasion by French forces. A cannon is still in place alongside the road pointing out towards the sea. The tower of St John the Baptist has a design more noted of Sussex churches with the bells being extremely easy to get the best from. The Vine, Hambledon. A charming country pub with a strong cricketing ambience throughout and serving exceptionally well presented meals that were equally well received by all. Hambledon The village takes its name from the description for an irregularly shaped hill, being first noted as Hamelandunae. The area is notable for its Bronze Age barrows, with remains from the Iron Age and the Roman villa of 100 AD having been unearthed. The village was granted a royal charter by King Edgar in 956, with the area belonging to Winchester during these Saxon times. Hambledon is generally regarded as being the birthplace of cricket. The original church was considered a textbook example of medieval architecture, but was severely damaged by a fire in 1794, with the tower having to be totally rebuilt. The bells are a sturdy six that are ideal for ringing minor methods.
Wickham · St Nicholas
Swanmore The village is situated on the edge of what was once extensive heath-land known as Waltham Chase before drastic enclosure during C19th. Taking its name from a pool frequented by swans, the settlement was first documented in 1205. The neo-Norman church dates to 1846, with a wide nave and apsidal chancel, and an unusually situated north tower of flint and stone added in 1876/7 topped by a shingled spire. The bells are a splendid six ideal for fluent ringing across all levels.
Purbrook · St John
Picnic and Ringing in Oxfordshire
Saturday 12th July 2008
St Denys (6) 11cwt
Jonathan Beale, Hugh Deam, Roy Jones, Judy Kirby, Paul Lucas, Bernard Masterman, Donna Murphy, Susie Pavelin and Richard Bennett.Cambridge & Stedman.
Northmoor Documented solely as More (a marsh) in 1059, the village is located near to the ferry at Bablockhythe. Despite being somewhat off the beaten track as far as the main roads are concerned, there are a series of footpaths crossing the surrounding meadows here that make Northmoor perennially popular with ramblers and the like. Although the village has a small population it does still support a very fine pub (The Red Lion) that has long been one of the best in the county.
We have availed ourselves of this pub on several occasions, but obviously not on this occasion as we were picnicking. This was one of the picnics where the rain thankfully held off for our time at the church, although there had been some heavy showers earlier which made the grass out of bounds for those who had come without blankets. The impressive interior of the cruciform church, virtually unaltered from its conception, includes a 15th century nave which is rather similar to the example at Woodeaton. The bells are rung from a gallery that affords a splendid view along the length of the nave. The oldest bell is the fifth, cast by Abraham I Rudhall of Gloucester in 1717. The other five bells are from the same foundry, cast in 1764 by Thomas Rudhall.
Summer outing to the Dorset coast
Saturday 21st June 2008
St Mary the Virgin (8) 22cwt
St Nicholas of Myra (6) 6cwt
St Edward the Martyr (6) 11cwt
Janice Beale, Christian Burrell, Roy Jones, Donna Murphy, Jonathan Beale, Hugh Deam, Susan King, June Steele, Carole Beckley, Heather Dobson, Judith Kirby, Richard Bennett, Jane Burgess, Hal Drysdale, Peter Lloyd, Ron Burgess, Sally Harrison and Bernard Masterman.
Swanage First documented as Swanawic in late C9th the town takes its name from a farm where swans are reared. For several centuries it was merely a hamlet for fishermen and served as a Chapel of Ease for Worth Matravers until gaining its own Rector in 1497. Swanage is now a bustling seaside resort which boasts a European Blue Flag beach. The Jurassic Coast of soft shoreline sediments here has in recent years been designated as a World Heritage Site and bottle-nosed dolphins and puffins can occasionally be seen from Durlston Head. A popular steam railway, the Wessex Belle, runs on a reconstructed track between the town and Corfe. The church is constructed of Purbeck marble, with only the tower remaining from an original place of worship which has been rebuilt four times, and is adjacent to a large millpond. The coast here was first invaded on a regular basis by the Danes and later by marauding pirates, thus the tower originally had no fixed entry from the ground floor and has slit windows to best repel invaders. The top storey was added in 1620 with the oldest bell of this excellent eight dating to 1594; the ringing chamber being reached by four sets of stairs that circle the tower.
Worth Matravers This coastal village set on high ground overlooking the Jurassic Coast is comprised of many limestone cottages set around a charming central pond that is replete with a variety of fish and is regularly visited by a small clutch of ducks who rarely go hungry given the popularity of this spot with ramblers. The rocky beaches of Winspit and Seacombe are within relatively easy walking distance of Worth Matravers. The local economy has traditionally been based on farming, fishing and quarrying, but the village is now a popular tourist destination. The interior of the church contains an impressive Norman chancel arch that can be best appreciated from the gallery adjacent to the organ and ringing chamber. The fluent bells here are an augmented three that sound much lighter than might be expected from the weight of the tenor. The Worth Tearoom is but a short step from the church and made for a universally popular lunchtime destination with classic meals and ambience noted Dorset.
Corfe Castle The village takes its name from the Old English description for a gap amidst Nine Barrows Down on the isle of Purbeck peninsula., and is most known by its ruined castle that has experienced over 1000 years of sometimes turbulent history being situated in such a commanding position on one of the hills overlooking Corfe. Although it survived a protracted siege by Parliamentary forces throughout a large part of the English Civil War it was eventually destroyed by gunpowder in 1646. There are numerous gift shops, inns, and tea-rooms packed into a relatively small area making Corfe busier and more congested than most villages of similar size. The 1/20th scale model village directly across the road from the church also has a splendid tearoom in the courtyard fronting it. The church overlooks the south side of the central square, with the large west tower offering plenty of room in the ringing chamber; the six bells here being sublime to ring.
Evening Ringing & Picnic
Saturday 17th May 2008
05.30pm West Wycombe
Bucks · St Lawrence (8) 14cwt
John Beale, Jonathan Beale, Janice Beale, Bob Benstead, Robert Bruce, Christian Burrell, Hugh Deam, Hal Drysdale, Roy Jones, Judy Kirby, Bernard Masterman, Donna Murphy, Ryan Noble, Susie Pavelin and June Steele.
Plain Bob Major, Stedman Triples & Grandsire Triples.
West Wycombe First documented as Wicumun, the village was once in the possession of Bisham Abbey, and contained a crucifix that pilgrims would often kneel to kiss on their way to Saint Frideswide’s shrine in Oxford. The main street in West Wycombe consists of flint or brick Georgian buildings interspersed with 16th century timber framed houses due to the proliferation of traffic between London and Oxford during the coaching era that led to prosperity in the area. Virtually every building on the High Street is of architectural interest. In the 18th century Sir Francis Dashwood commissioned an ambitious project to supply chalk for a 3 mile road between West and High Wycombe. The pre-historic chalk cave here was expanded into an elaborate network of tunnels and passages, with local villagers, impoverished after a series of poor harvests, paid a shilling per day to tunnel underground to mine chalk. During this time, Dashwood and other high powered society figures formed a club known as the Knights of St Francis (later named the Hellfire Club by a London newspaper). They first used Medmenham Abbey for their meetings, but soon moved to the caves here. The Society of the Dilettanti became notorious for orgies and black magic. Dashwood also commissioned the construction of the Palladian mansion, with the landscaping of the park conducted by Humphry Repton. In 1929 the village was put up for sale after the Dashwood family saw much of its fortune wiped out by the Wall Street crash. The "summer church" of St Lawrence is situated at the top of the hill, and was built in its current form from 1761, officially re-opening on 3rd July 1763. The architect is unknown, but is widely believed to have been Nicholas Revett. St Paul’s church in the village is known as the "winter church". The tower is surmounted by a golden ball, 8ft in diameter, which has become synonymous with the village. It is actually made of wood and covered in gold leaf. The tower houses eight bells, the oldest of which Is the fifth from 1581 by Joseph Carter of Reading. Fourth (1621) and sixth (1620) are both by Henry I Knight at the same foundry. The other bells are all from the Whitechapel foundry, between 1756 and 1923.
Monday 28th April 2008
7.15am Brightwell Baldwin
St Bartholomew (6) 9cwt
8.30am The Lord Nelson
Jane Burgess, Ron Burgess, Christian Burrell, Hugh Deam, Hal Drysdale,
Roy Jones, Judy Kirby, Maarit Kivilo and Paul Lucas.
Roy Jones, Judy Kirby, Maarit Kivilo and Paul Lucas.
Double Oxford, Single Oxford, St Clements & Plain Bob Minor.
Brightwell · St Bartholomew
Brightwell Baldwin Noted as Berhtanwellan (a bright or clear spring) in 887 AD and Britewelle in the Domesday Book (1086), the later manorial affix denotes the possession of the village by Sir Baldwin de Bereford in the late 14th century. The grand 18th century mansion of Brightwell Park no longer stands, but the stable block still remains, as does the Georgian period rectory. The pub here – The Lord Nelson – is situated almost directly across the road from the church, and is, as intimated by the name, of the 18th century. The parish church was built during the 14th century in the Decorated Gothic style. The chancel includes the remains of a 13th century lancet window, a remnant of an earlier church building on the site. The stone chapel was created by John Stone in the 17th century, after he married Catherine Carleton, heiress to the manor of Brightwell Baldwin.
There was a modest restoration of the church in 1895, with the south porch added in 1905. The Perpendicular Gothic west tower was added in the 16th century and contains six bells which are rung from the ground floor. The oldest bell is the tenor, dating from 1559, cast by John Saunders of Reading, with the fifth from the same foundry, cast by Ellis I Knight in 1637. The front four bells all date to 1911, cast by Mears & Stainbank at Whitechapel. The 18th century Lord Nelson Inn, situated across the road from the church, was originally constructed as a thatched cottage, with later additions to the stone building including gable ends and a distinctive veranda. Originally, the pub was known as the Admiral Nelson, but with a peerage being conferred upon him in 1797 it was renamed to reflect this. Early in the 20th century the pub was closed and converted into a shop and post office after complaints about its presence fostering drunkenness and dissolute behaviour amongst the estate workers. In 1971, after some years as a private residence the building was purchased by new owners and refitted as a pub again, appropriately re-opening for business on October 21st 1971, Trafalgar Day.
The Lord Nelson · Brightwell
Saturday 29th March 2008
10.00am Great Gaddesden
Herts · St John the Baptist (6) 10cwt
11.15am Little Gaddesden
Herts · St Peter & St Paul (6) 6cwt
Beds · St Mary the Virgin (6) 10cwt
01.30pm Lunch The Red Lion
Beds · St Mary Magdalen (6) 3cwt
Herts · St John the Baptist (6) 6cwt
Janice Beale, Christian Burrell, Malcolm Fairburn, Bernard Masterman, Jonathan Beale, Ian Davey-Wilson, Adrian Gray, Donna Murphy, Carole Beckley, Hugh Deam, David Ingrouille, Ryan Noble, Bob Benstead, Heather Dobson, Roy Jones, Susie Pavelin, Jane Burgess, Hal Drysdale, Susan King, Ailsa Reid, Ron Burgess, Clare Fairburn, Judith Kirby, June Steele and Serge Zvegintzov.
Great Gaddesden · St John
Great Gaddesden The twin Gaddesden villages derive their name from the River Gade here, which in turn took its name from the description for a valley belonging to Gaete. The Halsey family have been the Patrons of the living here since 1544, and a legacy in memory of Dorothy Abdy is given annually to eight widows in the form of tea and sugar. The middle four bells date back to 1662, tenor (1723) and treble added in 1928.
Little Gaddesden The village is set on a high spur of the Chilterns (646ft) and is bordered on three sides by Buckinghamshire, with the agricultural land of the Gade Valley to the east. The Manor of Little Gaddesden was documented in the Domesday Survey as being in the fee of the Count of Mortain. The church has undergone much repair and rebuilding down the centuries and the C15th tower and nave arcades are the oldest original work now remaining. The tenor bell here is one of the oldest surviving full-circle bells, dating to circa 1450. The No. 3 bell dates to 1654, with the other four bells added in 1977. The guiding makes this ground-floor ring a pleasing experience. Studham The village takes its name from the Old English description for a homestead where a herd of horses are kept, with the parish straddling two counties, namely the hundred of Dacorum (Herts) and Manshead (Beds), until late C19th. Elegantly grouped around crossroads, houses and the Red Lion pub, which provided a splendid lunch for us, overlook a large common and the village war memorial in the form of a clock tower. The church is a mixture of styles from C13th onwards with a fine interior, which includes an earlier Norman font decorated with dragons and surrounded by medieval floor tiles as well as four bay arcades of 1210 - 20. Excellent bells.
Great Gaddesden · St John
Little Gaddesden · St Peter
Whipsnade The first documentation of a settlement here was in 1202 when the farmstead was known as Wibsnede (A detached plot belonging to Wibba). Set amidst common-land, the village contains several attractive timber-framed houses and a footpath across the road from the main bulk of housing leads towards the Tree Cathedral where trees were planted as a memorial by Edmund Kell Blyth just after World War I in the configuration of Liverpool Cathedral. In 1931 London Zoo chose Whipsnade as the country home for its animals and this Wildlife Park is now internationally famous with a 160 yard long representation of a white lion carved into the chalky hillside visible from the Chiltern ridges to the west. The church is constructed primarily of brick on the site of an earlier chapel, with an extremely light augmented ring of six.
Studham · SMV
The Red Lion · Studham
Aldbury This much photographed village is rightly regarded as being amongst the most beautiful in the country, although the derivation of its name (a disused fort) gives little clue to its beauty. The castle that stood here until C14th served as the home to the sinister Sir Guy de Gravade who took a keen interest in the dark arts and tried to turn base metals into gold. A half-timbered manor house and a large pond are situated at the central crossroads in the village, with stocks and whipping post adjoining the pond serving as a reminder of the governmental responsibilities of the local squire. The parish church has a slender west tower, with the numbers 4 to 6 bells dating successively to 1634/55/83, the front three being added in 1984. Excellent bells.
Whipsnade · St Mary
Aldbury · St John
Saturday 8th March 2008
10.00am Wotton Underwood
Oxon · All Saints (6) 10cwt
Oxon · St Mary the Virgin (5) 9cwt
Oxon · Assumption of the BVM (6) 6cwt
Bob Benstead, Susan King, Ann Mayou, Serge Zvegintzov, Hugh Deam, Judith Kirby, Graham Nicholls, Steve Jeffery, Anthony Hughes, Peter Lloyd, Stephen Nicholls, Roy Jones, Paul Lucas, Susie Pavelin, Paul Kimber, Bernard Masterman and June Steele.
Wotton Underwood · All Saints
Wotton Underwood Taking its name from the Anglo-Saxon for a farm near a wood, the settlement here at the time of the Domesday Book was noted as Oltone. Probably the grandest feature of this small and remote village is Wotton House which was built between 1704 - 1714 by master mason John Keene on a model that was created by William Winde, and is reputed to be almost identical to Buckingham House - the forerunner to what is now Buckingham Palace. The south pavilion of the house served as the home to famed Shakespearean actor Sir John Gielgud up until his death in the late 1990s. The church, which stands in the grounds of the estate, is almost wholly an incongruous C19th rebuild by G.E. Street, but containing much of interest inside, including a Norman frieze and a carved stone screen added at the behest of the 2nd Duke of Buckingham. The bells are rung from the ground floor and trip round nicely.
Ludgershall The Domesday Survey notes the settlement here at that time as Lotegarser, meaning a nook with a trapping spear. A myriad of roads meet in the village, which is notable for its hilly open spaces similar to nearby Brill, with a mill mound dating back to medieval times on its northerly edge. The parish church, framed by many mature trees, is situated on the southern edge of Ludgershall, and various extensions down the years are easy to discern, with the best view gained from the south side as the churchyard is vast. The bells are rung from a gallery and are one of the most fluent sets of five around. Launton Originally known as Longtune (a long farmstead) in 1050, the village name of today emerged as Launton rather than the usual modern day name of Langton; the village is also unusual in having two similarly named pubs, The Bull and The Black Bull.
Ludgershall · SMV
The church dates primarily to C12th / C13th, although major alterations were made during the 15th century. The east window is a memorial to Bishop Skinner who retired here during the Civil War when he was ejected from the Bishopric of Oxford, but covertly continued to take services and ordained over 300 clergymen. A further window memorial commemorates a former rector here, Dr. J.C. Blomfield, later Bishop of London, whose son Sir Arthur Blomfield found fame as one of the finest ever church architects. The bells are a pleasant six, although the ringing chamber is one of the smallest in the country for the number of bells.
Launton · ABVM
Launton · The Black Bull
Saturday 16th February 2008
St Peter & St Paul (5) 11cwt
Holy Cross (5) 11cwt
St John The Baptist (6) 12cwt
The Royal Oak
Hugh Deam, Roy Jones, Maarit Kivilo, Simon Edwards, Christian Burrell and Andy Dunn.
Rothersthorpe · St Peter
Rothersthorpse The Domesday Book describes the settlement here at that time as Torp, deriving from Old Scandinavian, with a later elongation (1231) to Retherestorp (outlying farmstead belonging to the advocate). The area is known to have been settled by the Celts during the Bronze Age as the village is on the line of the Jurassic Way, with the Romans later having a significant presence here, the Watling Road (now the A5) passing close by. Evidence of a Roman villa here in the Loundes valley was uncovered and catalogued by the vicar of nearby Gayton (Dr Butler) in 1840. A major battle is known to have been fought on the outskirts of the village between the forces of Edward the Elder and an army of marauding Danes during the years when the Vikings regularly raided these shores. In later centuries Welsh sheep drovers regularly used the village as a centre from which to barter their sheep, and later still the course of the Grand Union Canal took in the western edge of the village.
The C13th church has a west tower with a saddleback (described locally as pack-saddle) roof. The church contains an inscribed propeller blade recovered from a Wellington bomber that crashed in the village in 1944. This was long a four-bell tower until the addition of a fifth bell in 1914. Milton Malsor The settlement was first known as Mideltone (a middle farmstead), but in 1781 the name was amended to Milton alias Middleton Malsour from the influential Malesoure family, here from C12th. There a two grand houses of note within the village, with Milton Manor House containing a C17th staircase that is comparable to the more famous mansions at Lamport Hall and Castle Ashby. The present church building is 12th century, with a distinctive crocketted spire and a superb Catherine Wheel window distinguishing the north chapel; it is set to celebrate its 850th anniversary in 2010. Although now known as Holy Cross, the church was originally dedicated to St Helen. To the west of the bell-tower is an oak tree that was planted in 1966, having been grown from an acorn brought from Blenheim Palace. Although now known as Holy Cross, the church was originally dedicated to St Helen. To the west of the bell-tower is an oak tree that was planted in 1966, having been grown from an acorn brought from Blenheim Palace.
Milton Malsor · Holy Cross
Blisworth The village takes its name from "Blith's Enclosure", being described in the Domesday Book as Blidesworde. Although very rural in most aspects Blisworth has an industrial history, being on road, water, and rail links from Northampton. There are two Heritage Walks incorporating the village. The Royal Oak Inn stands at the central road junction of Blisworth. The present church is built upon various churches all sited here before the Norman Conquest. The bells were re-hung with a metal frame in 2004, although the original wooden frame remains in its original position directly above the new frame. A peal-board here commemorates the simultaneous peals rung here and at nearby Stoke Bruerne on March 25th 2005 to celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of the opening of the Blisworth Tunnel on the Grand Union Canal. The newly formed wooden floor covers the three stone steps of the original ringing floor down to the nave.
The Royal Oak · Blisworth
Blisworth · St John
Saturday 9th February 2008
10.00am Great Milton
SMV (8) 18cwt
Jane Burgess, Ron Burgess, Christian Burrell, Hugh Deam, Andrew Dunn, Rev Anthony Ellis, Carl Griffin, Roy Jones, Susan King, Judy Kirby, David Lane, Katie Lane, Peter Lloyd, Bernard Masterman and Paul Morley.
Cambridge Major, Plain Bob Major, Stedman Triples, Single Oxford Triples & Grandsire Triples.
Great Milton · SMV
Great Milton The village is formed into distinctive parts, with cottages and inns beside the large green along Sworford Lane, while across the wooded stream there are substantial houses standing in expansive grounds. Local tradition has it that John Milton not only originated from Great Milton, but also wrote much of Paradise Lost here, his father having been the ranger for nearby Shotover Forest. Adjoining the churchyard is Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons, one of the country’s most highly rated restaurants, owned by one of the world’s greatest chefs, Raymond Blanc OBE. The restaurant has two Michelin stars and is in the highest echelons of the Laurent Perrier Top 100. The earliest church known to have existed here was administered by the Bishop of Lincoln. During the Middle Ages the church and village were situated closer together than they are now, the greater part of the new housing having been built westwards. The parish church is primarily 14th century as a result of a fire early that century destroying parts of the Norman original and necessitating a wide-ranging rebuilding, with the aisle, south porch and eastern half of the chancel dating from the time. The west tower was built during the following century, with a restoration of the church in 1850 carried out by George Gilbert Scott. The interior of the church contains a Jacobean pulpit and elaborate memorials to the Dormer family. A new team of bell-ringers was recruited in the lead up to the Millennium, and the momentum has been maintained since, ensuring that this excellent set of bells is rung regularly. The oldest bell here is the fourth, cast in 1631 by Ellis I Knight of Reading, with the fifth and seventh from the same foundry in 1673. The front three bells (1771) and tenor (1772) are all by Thomas Rudhall of Gloucester. The sixth is from 1848, cast by William Taylor of Oxford. Being situated adjacent to Le Manoir the bells are often rung for weddings being conducted there as well as in the church itself.