Posts by Website Correspondent

A Star Quiz

The Star Inn will be re-starting the fortnightly quizzes (YES!) from Tuesday 22 September.

There will be, however, new rules and regulations, which is only to be expected.

The most relevant ones are:

  • there can be no raffle, but instead the entry fee will be doubled to £2 per person, and all proceeds to the nominated charity (in next week’s case, the Samuel Lee Charity)
  • start time 8.30pm with a maximum of 15 teams, and teams to be a maximum of 6 which, ideally, should be from a maximum of two households.
  • tables must be BOOKED
  • drinks must be ordered from the table, between rounds
  • bring your own pens

With these sensible precautions, it feels that we can have a (new) normal, sociable evening, and help a village charity as well.

Ride & Stride for Churches

The Annual Ride & Stride for Churches will take place on Saturday 12 September. This event, in our county, is a fund-raiser for Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust, Charity No: 1021632.

The Trust has posted this on their official website:

Whether you take part or just want to encourage those who are doing so, it means an event is being held, if only briefly, in Geddington – a village that, this year, is sadly lacking events, of course, so worth supporting.

Extraordinary Meeting called by the Parish Council

An Extraordinary Meeting has been called by the Parish Council, for today, Wednesday 2 September at 7.30pm.
This will be a Virtual Meeting and access is as described on the Agenda below.

GEDDINGTON, NEWTON & LITTLE OAKLEY PARISH COUNCIL

An extraordinary meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 2nd September 2020 at 7.30 pm AS A VIRTUAL MEETING.
The meeting will be held as a virtual meeting because of the Coronavirus lockdown requirements. Meeting joining instructions are as follows:-
1. Load the zoom app onto your phone or tablet (best to use if you have not done this before) or go to www.zoom.com.
2. Click on join a meeting Passcode: 846986 OR – copy and paste https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84189436183?pwd=akpPUGlUTzlPdHozRWJMQVhVV0NEZz09
Meeting ID: 841 8943 6183 Passcode: 846986
Anita Curtis, Parish Clerk

AGENDA
1. Apologies and Declarations of Interest
2. Planning matters and application Boughton Lodge – planning application with KBC but not yet processed for demolition and rebuild of the farmhouse. Applicant wishes to speak to the Parish Council concerning the application.
KET/2020/0447 Mr P Eyre 6 Chase View Road, Geddington, NN14 1AQ Raise the roof of existing detached garage Full Application Expiry date for neighbours/consultations 3.9.20
3. White Paper “Planning for the future” (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future) Published by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. Response required.
4. Potential to resume PC meetings at the Village Hall.
5. Any Other Business

Angus Gordon BVMS MRCVS

Angus Gordon was a well known resident in the village and gave much of his spare time to helping support, as well as lead, many of the village organisations over four decades.

He and his wife Esther made their home at The Long Barn on Grafton Road and brought their family up there. While Esther was busy with her floristry business, Angus was running a successful veterinary practice in Kettering.

Not one to take life easy, he chose to get involved in the Parish Council and having been elected as a councillor in 1983 was almost immediately elected Chairman. It was quite a challenge as many of the members were new and expertise and experience had been lost. In the 1990s he was Chair of the Planning Committee and Vice Chairman before taking on the Chairmanship for the second time in 1995. He continued to serve on the Parish Council until illness forced him to withdraw from his role. He has the accolade of having been elected in every council election since his original stand in 1983.

For several years Angus was the Parish Council representative on the Village Hall Management Committee before taking on the role of Secretary to the Committee and later its Chair. He served in this role between 1992 and 2018 when illness forced him to resign. His commitment to the village and his determination to serve the village to the best of his ability was recognised by many over the years of his stewardship.

Angus and Esther were generous in other ways too, sharing their garden regularly with villagers and the general public to raise money for charities through the National Open Gardens scheme and other events. Even the inaugural meeting of the Friends of the Church took place there. Angus was an enthusiastic gardener and a member of the Gardening Club. He was passionate about growing his beans and tomatoes in the summer. His was a familiar figure too as he regularly rode on his motor mower down to Church Hill to mow the grass on the village green in the spring and summer months.

Many will also remember the time GADS had the opportunity to stage Midsummer’s Night Dream in the garden at The Long Barn. Despite the pouring rain all day, it cleared soon after 6pm and it was a very special and atmospheric production which would not have been possible without the encouragement and generosity of the Gordon family. Similarly he supported the Church and The Friends of the Church by hosting afternoon teas in his garden to raise funds and always being willing to help with the shifting of chairs and tables to allow the Flower Festival and the Christmas Tree Festival to take place.

Those close to the family will know how he was supported through his illness by his family and how much of a challenge the last few years were for this active, intelligent man. The village benefited a great deal from the time he gave to such a wide variety of projects over the years and we are pleased to acknowledge his contribution through this tribute.

Angus Stewart McKenzie Gordon 18.10.1937 – 31.7.2020

The Long Barn in autumn

VJ Day 75th Anniversary

Geddington residents were woken at 6am today, to the sound of bagpipes being played at the Cross.

It celebrated 75 years since the United Kingdom woke up to peace on 15 August, 1945; known ever since as VJ (Victory in Japan) Day.

The piece played was ‘When the Battle is O’er’, a traditional Highland air and will be played at significant locations around the world.

The Women in our Community

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality.

Janet, geddington.net’s treasurer, was asked to organise the Geddington & Newton W.I.’s Members’ Evening in March this year. The date happened to coincide with International Women’s Day, which this year was on the 8th March so, given the strong and visible role the W.I. has had over many years in giving women a voice on social, political and gender issues, it seemed an opportunity to consider the role of women in Geddington more closely, and so every member was invited to take on the role of a woman who was living in Geddington in 1911. The census of that year is the latest census currently available. It pinpoints a way of life that was about to face huge upheaval: transport networks, communication technology, mechanisation, food distribution and, of course, World War One. These would all have a dramatic effect on life in villages like Geddington and on the lives, outlook and aspirations of the women who lived there.

Often when you read the history of an event or a community the voices recorded are those of the men, they were the ‘leaders’, the chairmen of committees, the representatives quoted in the press, the audible voice of the views of a community. This was not malicious or consciously patronising, but rather reflected social attitudes of the time. What is remarkable is that, despite these social attitudes, Geddington had more than its fair share of women who were independent, creative and modern in their outlook and determined to carve out a niche for themselves in their chosen role.

Janet Freestone on harp, and her musical group

Janet’s interest in researching women’s lives and in deciding to look at life in 1911 Geddington, from the point of view of the women of the village, was to bring to the forefront those undiscovered, forgotten or unacknowledged histories: some life changing, some influential, some brave, some poignant, but all significant within their circle. There were a great many of them. It was time to tell their stories. The result was the series of biographies posted here on www.geddington.net, which covered the lives of ten women, some more well-known than others, from all levels of society in the village.

Mary Towell

Geddington ‘s women were great social reformers, strong minded political influencers, religious reformers, musicians, playwrights, dressmakers to royalty, entrepreneurs and business women, educators, community stalwarts and, above all, survivors in a world without a health service, without security of tenure to a home, without any old age pension and without any equality in voting rights. They were quite remarkable for their tenacity and their commitment to their home village.

Eleanor, who’s Cross is at the heart of the village, was not a Geddington woman, but has become one. Her story is the last to be told in the series and it reveals the individual behind the royal façade who used her not inconsiderable talents in her adopted homeland to promote culture and the arts, education and sound political systems. For most people around the country she is the forgotten queen of medieval times. As you pass her Cross next time, perhaps you might consider her history in a different light. She was the daughter of a crusader, she married at 12, was multi-lingual, a scholar, highly intelligent and a policy maker for Edward 1. It is also to Eleanor that we owe the civilising habit of using a fork to eat our meals with and the luxury of tiled bathrooms!
A remarkable woman!

In order of appearance, these are the women that Janet profiled:

Mary Anne Saddington   Elizabeth Wilkins    Janet Freestone
Constance Croot    Charlotte Ager    Betsy Cobley
Mary Jane Towell    Anne (Nancy) Moore    Nurse Bessie Mary Rumbold

And, of course: Queen Eleanor of Castile

All these biographies can be found on www.geddington.net/News or use the Search button for each individual. Later this year, these stories will be moved to the History column, their effect on Geddington too important, and too interesting, to lie buried in the increasingly long News column.

Making History – Burl Bellamy

Geddington has produced many men and women who have left their mark on the history of the village, shaping its growth and adding to the understanding of its origins. One such was Burl Bellamy whose historical research and archaeological investigations brought the older history of the village and Geddington Chace/Chase, and its role within the Rockingham Forest, to a wider public. To mark Burl’s contribution to our knowledge of our history and his legacy we have re-visited some of the material he published in his book, Geddington Chase – The History of a Wood, in The Newsletter and items presented at the exhibition he, and others, ran in the village in 1992.

Burl’s main interests were in how the archaeology shaped the landscape and the lives of the communities within it. His research took him back to medieval times, the role of the woodland and the riches to be found in the limestone quarries.

In 1086, Domesday records that Geddington consisted of two manors, that of the king and a manor belonging to the Abbey of St Edmunds. In later centuries the lands of these manors were held by freeholders, copyholders and rent paying tenants even before they came into the hands of the Montagus, so Geddington was never forced into the closed village constraints as the other estate villages were. This is probably the reason for the greater diversity of buildings.

 As to be expected, Geddington, with its earlier dominance in the landscape as a royal vill, has the most imposing church. Though nothing is visible outside, inside, architectural features suggest that Geddington may have been an important settlement even before the conquest. In the north wall of the nave, the round headed Norman arch can be seen to cut through a late Saxon splayed window, this in turn disturbs earlier Saxon, ornamental, triangular headed blind arcading. The east end of the nave is also defined by long and short work. The earliest Saxon work is tentatively dated to c850 to 950 AD (Taylor & Taylor 1965).

Geddington was a small community where personal names indicated ownership or tenancy, but there are echoes of these names in the village as it is today and in the family names still within living memory. There was a Widow Bellamy to start the list, followed by Rowlets, Chapmans, Islips, Ashleys and Holdings amongst others.

Geddington was the venue for some unexpected industry.

Apart from the use of woodland for hunting, timber was used for buildings, tools and transport. Burl also refers to the site of a medieval iron smelting furnace in Geddington. ‘This is visible by the dark colour of the soil caused by burning and the waste products of the furnace, this includes the iron slag which can be seen mixed in with the soil. The furnace, which was built with limestone and clay, was fired by charcoal. Fragments of pottery, also found within the dark soil, date the furnace to around the 13th-14th centuries.’
References were also found in relation to cloth production in Geddington, in 15th and 18th century documents. ‘The cleaning and drying of cloth was carried out by the fuller ‘walker’ by treading the cloth in a trough of water to exclude grease and dirt, often with the aid of fuller’s earth, which was an earlier method of carrying out this process. Later, this same process was undertaken in a ‘fulling mill’ where water passing through the mill turned a wheel which supported large wooden blocks, these hammered the cloth which also created a denser fabric. Following this process the wet cloth was stretched on tent shaped wooden frames, called ‘tenters’, this enabled the cloth to retain its shape while drying.’

Many of the present villagers may not know that the village centre owes its existence to the market held in the village: ‘The village was also granted a market charter in 1248 attesting to its status in the 13th century, this was the high point in Geddington’s history.

 Burl continues; ‘Plainly then, Geddington was an important place in the middle ages, but with the decline of the royal house, which also reflected on the importance of the market, ceased to function in the 14th century, Geddington also fell into decline. Its earlier importance however, almost certainly had a lasting effect on the village. The central open area has remained, set around by the church to the northeast, adjoined by the old blacksmith’s shop, the Star Inn and the 19th century school and playground, which encroached upon the former market area. The remaining market area, dominated by the Cross, still remains the focal point of the village even though no market has been held here for 600 years. Other factors of earlier origin have also affected how Geddington looks today.

A little known image of the 14th Century Gatehouse to the Priory reminds us of the status of Geddington at this time and, while there is no evidence of a religious house on the site, Burl’s commentary illustrates the threads of history and language we have inherited today.

Although the property is almost certainly on the site of the manor once held by the Abbey of St Edmunds, there is no evidence that there was ever a priory or nunnery here.  Documents, of the 17th century refer to this place as Curries, or New House, an earlier document, of 1460, refers to a ‘Currys Place’, perhaps this is derived from the Latin ‘curia’ – court, and may have been the place where the St Edmunds court was held.

Burl Bellamy 23.10.1942 – 19.7.2020
Geddington Chase – The History of a Wood, published 1998.
Landscape History and Field Archaeology: Buildings in the Landscape.
The Villages of Boughton Estate: an interpretation of their buildings and building materials. How landscape history and field archaeology can identify evidence of medieval woodland clearance in the Forest of Rockingham.
Early smelting in the Rockingham Forest: a survey of evidence of Anglo Saxon dispersed sites and woodland at Geddington in the Rockingham Forest.
The Lands and Landscape of the Priory of Fineshade.
Medieval Pottery Kilns at Stanion.
History of the Deer Park at Brigstock.

Cransley Hospice Treasure Hunt

The Diary shows a compete lack of events in Geddington, however, Cransley Hospice is having an event that will include Geddington.
Community Fundraiser, Ash Davies, has asked if geddington.net would include the news about this event, so here are the details.

Good afternoon,
I thought it best to forward over an event taking place this Saturday in support of the Hospice, as it involves a treasure hunt that will include a visit to Geddington.
If you could share this with your readers, that would be much appreciated:
 http://www.ketteringcyclingclub.co.uk/kcc-tom-bailey-treasure-hunt-in-support-of-cransley-hospice/

Best wishes,
Ash

Community Fundraiser
Cransley Hospice Trust
Fundraising Office
St Mary’s Hospital site
77 London Road
Kettering
NN15 7PW
Telephone: 01536 452423
www.cransleyhospice.org.uk

Safer Streets

Northamptonshire County Council has initiated a new project to increase the safety on our streets.
It has published the following:

Geddington’s own travel group, Let’s Gedd Going, has supported and encouraged village residents to add to this initiative with the following comments:

Get your neighbours involved
The more people involved, the better the needs of the whole community will be reflected. Share the project with people you know locally.
https://saferstreetsnorthamptonshire.commonplace.is/

Please note that this website is not monitored for immediate defects. If you are reporting a street or road defect (e.g. a pothole/poor road surface/overgrown vegetation) please report it directly to Street Doctor.

Women of Geddington: Eleanor of Castile

We know her name, we may know a little of her history; her presence in the form of the Eleanor Cross is a constant reminder of her life and her links to Geddington but what do we know of her as a woman, a mother, an intellectual, a wife and a queen?

For most of the population outside Northamptonshire she is a forgotten Queen. She lived in a period of history where records are less accessible and through the lapse of time accurate reports of Eleanor have been blurred by a gloss of romanticism, not least because of the existence of her Crosses.

This story of Eleanor draws extensively on the research by Sara Cockerill in her book ‘The Shadow Queen’. It is an attempt to pull back the veneer of history and consider the realities of her life. Eleanor was no ‘shadow’ but a vibrant, innovative, cultured and brave individual who deserves our full and renewed attention.

Sara Cockerill describes Eleanor in vivid terms; she was dynamic, with a forceful personality whose influence in the world of arts, politics and religion is still with us today. This personality was forged in the court of Castile where Eleanor absorbed the active kingship of her father, the chivalry and the glory of the Crusaders and the intellectual debates around nobility and about promoting the security of a realm and its dynasty.

Eleanor’s coat of arms

Eleanor was highly educated and was surrounded in her early years by those who encouraged her learning. She could read and write and insisted that her own children learnt too. She admired the illustrated manuscripts of the day and sponsored the more widespread production of them through her own ‘scriptorium’, a medieval equivalent of a publishing house with illustrators, calligraphers and bookbinders. It was the only scriptorium in Northern Europe at the time. Thanks to Eleanor, domestic life in royal residences gained the refinements of table forks at mealtimes, carpets on the floors and tiles in the bathrooms. She revolutionised the notion of the ‘garden’, introducing different planting schemes, new types of fruits and the water fountains that were so common to her native Castile. Eleanor also reputedly introduced the hollyhock to England. Its old name of ‘Spanish rose’ tends to confirm this notion. She appreciated good style in dress too when the occasion demanded it, but was not in any way flamboyant, rather the opposite. Practicality of dress was her preference for her working days.

However much Eleanor liked her luxuries she was also a woman on a mission. Married at around 12 years old and understanding the political nature of the union, she rejected the idea of being a Queen in name only and insisted on sharing the responsibilities of Edward. She was a member of his inner circle of advisors and had responsibility for the acquisition of properties for the Crown. Her early years in England were difficult; she was young; she was in a new country with no obvious personal allies and both her parents-in-law were lukewarm in their support. Indeed Eleanor of Provence, her mother in law, was quite jealous of the new arrival. It is to the credit of our Eleanor that she won that battle and guided Edward to a more independent outlook, better financial standing and the acquisition of the skills he would need to be a great king.

Her bravery was never more obvious than when the Baron’s Revolt took place not long after her arrival in England. Unlike many of the court ladies, including the Queen herself, Eleanor stayed, oversaw the defence of Windsor Castle on behalf of her husband and when forced to yield was herself imprisoned and was left destitute, in fear of her own life and Edward’s.

Yet she came to the throne with Edward, bore him numerous children, traveled widely around this country and as far away as the Holy Land, with Edward. She continued her property development ‘portfolio’ and was very much a hands on manager of estates and buildings in counties as far apart as Essex and Derbyshire. Geddington would have been very familiar to her. She visited Geddington at least three times to allow her to visit Crown estates and properties in the area. In 1274/5 she already owned or had an interest in property at Great Bowden, Market Harborough and Kingsthorpe and was interested in acquiring property at Apethorpe and Rockingham. The hunting lodge at Geddington, with its kennels for the royal greyhounds, was one of the first places the royal couple visited on their return from the Crusade, and Fotheringhay was also a place the court stayed on these journeys to scope out possible property purchases.

Leeds Castle in Kent | The Loveliest Castle in the World
Leeds Castle acquired by Eleanor in 1278.
Eleanor established the legal precedent of women holding property in their own right.

Eleanor was also a great matchmaker and, like Victoria in later years, she successfully negotiated with many of the noble and royal houses of Europe for suitable marriage alliances for her children and her family members. The subtlety with which she achieved this marks her out as a woman with considerable diplomatic skills!

As a mother she was often absent but she seems to have always maintained good relationships with her children and to have ensured they were ready to take their place in the world. For all that it was reported that she had a fiery temper she is also remembered for her sense of fun, her excellent horsemanship, her love of hunting and horse breeding as well as her love of languages, poetry and music. She also played chess rather well!

Like most of our ‘Women of Geddington’, Eleanor had a role model in her life, her grandmother. Berengaria of Castile was regarded as the epitome of what a Castilian princess should be: intelligent, capable, astute, regardless of self in relation to her duty and fiercely loyal to her family;

‘A wise lady and a great expert and sharp in political affairs who understood the risks of government’ (Primera Cronica General)

Eleanor matched and perhaps even exceeded her grandmother’s achievements because, despite dying relatively young, she had established such firm foundations in so many aspects of English life that her legacy lives on today. She would not have recognised the terms ‘feminist’ or ‘property developer’ but she was certainly a woman who was determined to shape her own destiny and a woman who had sufficient vision and courage to shape the destiny of others too, for the better.

She was, according to Sara Cockerill ‘ awesome’ . I can only agree.

She deserves her place in our history.

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Leeds Castle in Kent was one of Eleanor’s favourite places. She owned it independently from 1278 -1290 and Edward inherited it on her death. The defences of the castle reflect her understanding of warfare and by contrast a small building on one of the islands became known as The Gloriette. Its name comes from a Spanish term meaning a pavillion at a crossing point of paths in a garden.

The Leeds Castle website is worth a visit and on it you will find an excellent podcast looking at Eleanor’s life, her acquisition of Leeds Castle and the changes she made. Sara Cockerill is one of the contributors.

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