Posts by Website Correspondent

Geddington’s Saintly Priest

The Saxon origins of Geddington’s church,  the Church of St Mary Magdalene, have been recorded over the years, but recent developments have come to light and the Revd R T Parker-McGee has kindly shared these with Geddington.net.  Father Rob’s article centres on:

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The Shrine of Hagius
– Geddington’s Saintly Priest.

In a village as ancient as Geddington, there was most likely a church long before the still visible Saxon portion. In the stonework, it is still possible to see the Saxon arcading on what was the original exterior wall as well as the slope of the original roof structure.

Bones from a Saxon grave were discovered while the floor was being repaired in 1990, and it is thought that these were most likely from a Saxon priest/monk who will have served this church dutifully over 1000 years.

A shrine to Hagius ecclesiac capellanus
(Hagius Chaplain of the Church)

In the Chapel of Our Lady and Most Blessed Sacrament there is a monument to a significant saint-priest called Hagius. An inscription at the base of the monument (now below floor level) and Boughton House archives, claim that Hagius was Chaplain to the Church. He seems to have developed a reputation locally for great holiness and care for the local people. He died whilst celebrating the Eucharist. This is often considered as a significant and saintly way for a priest to die. Hagius quickly became considered locally as a saintly individual. His title, ‘Chaplain of the Church’, suggests that he was appointed by the priory or local monastic house and served the church possibly as early as C1000 (the date is still under investigation). He certainly seems to have been one of the earliest recorded priests of Geddington Church.

It is likely that the effigy you see pictured below dates from 1200 – 1300 A.D. It was not unusual for effigies to be built a few centuries after such individuals had died. St Cuthbert in Durham is a case-in-point.

Hagius Chaplain of the Church

In this effigy, Hagius’ priestly credentials are evidenced by the chalice, paten and bible which are placed lovingly in his hands. His saintly credentials evidenced by his long neck and tonsure – signs of devout holiness. The shrine of Hagius would have been a place of significant pilgrimage for centuries, as the Holy Water stoup to the left of the priest’s head signifies.

People will have travelled from miles around and visited this shrine, touched his hands and his face and then used the Holy Water to bless themselves before moving on. This is evidenced by its smooth wearing over time. This is because this saintly figure was recognised for his healing and protective credentials.

On the outside of the building there is clear evidence of pilgrims’ markings. In these photos, we can see further evidence that Geddington church was a place of pilgrimage. Pilgrims’ marks on the external walls such as these would often be left outside of significant pilgrimage sites.

Each year the church continues to run a day pilgrimage to the shrine. For further dates, details and services, please visit geddingtonchurch.org.uk.

The Magna Carta King in Geddington

“So there I was, a retired architect with an interest in history, watching a programme about King John’s lost treasure, supposedly lost in The Wash, when I saw an actor writing with a quill who mentioned the name Geddington. This, of course, caught my attention and as I had recorded the programme, I was able to replay it and find the name of Professor Stephen Church, who was involved in the investigation.”

Whilst not Vic Crouse’s exact words, they are close enough to understand where his book, The Magna Carta King in Geddington and the Rockingham Forest, was born. “I began to wonder if Geddington was named in more letters,” he said.

This comment proved to be an enormous understatement. Professor Church had, in fact, got access to over 3000 pages of documents – writs, letters and charters – all written by King John, they just needed to be translated from 13th century Medieval Latin! When translated, not only was there a date on each document, but also a location of where the letters were written, which is why Geddington’s name was mentioned.

But before Vic could find out that information, he had to find a 13th century Medieval Latin translator. With his interest in historical novels, what better action than to contact a historical novel writer? Elizabeth Chadwick was his novelist of choice and – nothing ventured, nothing gained – he contacted her and asked the simple question: Do you know of a 13th century Medieval Latin translator?”

Letter to the Bishop of Ely 18 March


Amazingly, the answer was: “Yes.” Richard Price was a jewel beyond price when it came to the translation of the dozens of documents that Vic eventually passed to him. And that’s 13th century medieval Latin taken down in medieval Latin shorthand! Vic acknowledges that without Richard’s help and Professor Church’s initial information and recourse to documents, this book would never have been written.

The book is a history based on facts assembled from letters and charters issued by King John, each one witnessed, dated and located. It centres on John’s numerous visits to the Rockingham Forest, Geddington in particular, the site of a royal lodge and falconry mews. The letters convey a fascinating insight into the everyday life and concerns of John.

The text revel as much about medieval life and John himself: the stamina required, the importance of scribes, horses, messengers, hunting, falconry, diet, the vast travelling retinues and how he ruled the realm as an itinerant king.

The book is written as a narrative, intended as a good read, rather than a text book. There are hand-painted illustrations and photographs as well as re-enactment scenes, and it also contains a number of illustrated letters handwritten in the original Latin, all of which were produced by Vic and his son, Richard.

One of the most interesting chapters in the book, is the production of the sixty-three principles of the Magna Carta, in English. As Vic says: “Many of the clauses seem irrelevant to our society today, even though the document is seen as the corner-stone of our current-day laws and standards.  The detail and terminology is mostly related to 13th century life, but many of the principles can be identified for today’s concepts.”

“King John finally put his royal seal on the Magna Carta on the 15th day of June in the year 1215 at Runnymeade and four original copies of that charter were taken to different locations in England. In addition to the copy retained in London, the originals can still be viewed at Hereford Cathedral, Lincoln Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral. As a result of this major historic event, the king spent the next few days at Runnymeade and nearby Windsor, sending numerous letters out to nobles, sheriffs and senior clerics. Regardless of his innermost thoughts, he was confirming the importance of the Treaty, together with instructions to ensure that property and castles were generally restored to rightful owners. It is really interesting to note that Geddington was in the king’s mind during those few days, evidenced by a letter carrying the royal seal, that was issued by John. That letter was specifically addressed to the people of Geddington. It was not issued through a subordinate, but was composed and witnessed by the king himself. and it instructs the people of Geddington to understand that the civil war is over and to continue to behave and do their duty and honour the local lord of the manor. At the time, the lord happened to be Hugh de Hautville, who was the most senior falconer in the country, a position of high regard in the 13th century, and it thus underwrites the status of the falconry mews at Geddington.”

Oft seen as a tyrant, the book adds colour and an ambience of the Medieval age.  Vic comments about the king: “During his reign, John brought the country to the tragedy of civil war, a good number of his campaigns in France failed, he made laws and created taxes to suit his own purposes and, at one stage, was excommunicated by the Pope. By repute he is deemed to be a tyrant. It is, therefore, of great interest to have some real evidence to hand and have the opportunity to explore some of his activities and aspects of daily life. This text does not attempt to form an opinion, but characteristics of the man do emerge, indicating a king with huge energy and stamina, the ability to manage incredible amounts of detail, to show at times that he must have been blessed with a clever tactical brain and a king that had the ability to retain loyal friends despite his inferred greed and the ultimate rebellion that ended in civil war.”

The book questions the prevailing view of King John, as many of the stories were written by monks who disliked him and written decades, if not centuries after his reign. By reading this book and digesting the texts, imagine yourself in that age and you can make up your own mind about King John, the Magna Carta King.

To obtain a copy of the book, contact:

Vic Crouse by:
Telephone: 07388 922 323
Email: v.crouse@btinternet.com

OR

Kettering Library

The Magna Carta King in Geddington and the Rockingham Forest
Cost locally: £10
Published by The Logan Press
ISBN No: 9780946988273

PS Further research by Vic has uncovered more fascinating details of the life and times of King John: be prepared for the appearance of Book 2!

The Star Inn

Welcome to Geddington
The phrase Under New Management usually means a significant change in a business and this management change looks like a change for the better.

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Richard Freeman and his wife, Helen, have taken on The Star Inn with a 20 year lease. “We intend to stay and return this pub to the ‘go to’ pub that it used to be, with people driving out to Geddington, intent on a good meal, in good company.”

Richard Freeman
Landlord of The Star Inn

Richard has plenty of business experience, having run his own engineering firm for over 10 years and Helen has used her skills in pubs both in the kitchen and behind the bar, as well as serving as pub relief manager, at a variety of pubs.

This will certainly be a family business with daughter, Steph, currently behind the bar, son, Jon, helping out wherever work is needed, whilst Alex, still at school, makes himself useful whenever he can. And then there’s the in-laws, with even more knowledge and with time to help – so plenty of experience, both in the trade and in business, to make this a pub with a future.

Richard has future plans to extend the catering side of the pub, with earlier opening hours: serving teas and coffees to parents bringing their children to school, to walkers and cyclists, and all those tourists who keep asking: is there anywhere I can get a cup of tea?  There’s only one fly in the ointment at the moment – he’s in desperate need for an experienced cook for Mondays and Tuesdays, 12 – 2pm, when the family takes a break from supplying food. Richard says, “It’s not a chef job, I just need someone who can prepare and cook good home-cooked meals, for a couple of hours each of those days.”

Richard also plans to make The Star attractive as a place for business lunches. In fact, Richard said, “I’ve been told of the days when the place was too busy to book a meal! I plan to achieve that again.”

The Freeman family have the benefit of the backing of the pub owners, the Wellington Pub Company who, along with the Criterion Asset Management Company, are part of the Reuben Brothers’ group of companies. With over 850 tenanted pubs, it is the largest free-of-tie pub estate in the UK.

The Wellington Pub Company has said that to have a successful pub, it needs to give a good first impression to any customer and not just the interior, which Richard is having redecorated at present.  The owners have indicated that they will improve the exterior of the building by:

*   Pointing up some of the stonework
*   Retiling the roof where necessary
*   Resurface the car park
*   Repairing the stone mullions in the windows.

Richard said, “The owners have said that I can do as I like with The Star Inn, as long as it remains a pub and I pay the rent!” He continued, “I am well aware of the responsibility that I have taken on with The Star. Apart from its historical interest in general, it plays, and has played for centuries, a large part in village life, sitting as it does, in the village centre. Local support since we came here four weeks ago, has been wonderful and I intend to keep it as a welcoming social meeting place.”

To contact The Star Inn go to:
www.thegeddingtonstar.co.uk or call 01536 745990.

Sport For All

Sport is the ‘must-do’ of summer 2017, it seems, and here are two sports and sport events you might consider taking on.

Sports Development Officer, Graeme Wilson, of Northamptonshire Sport has advised Geddington.net of the following sports.

Kettering ‘Back to Hockey’ sessions

Kettering Hockey Club are offering anyone aged 16 and above a great opportunity to either get  back in to the sport, or be introduced to it for the first time through their ‘Back to Hockey’ sessions.

The sessions costing only £3 per week, or £15 for all 6 will run on a Tuesday evening 6:30 – 7:30pm on the Kettering Astro turf pitch (NN15 6PB) starting 25th July.

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the game or haven’t played for a while the ‘Back to Hockey’ coach will gently guide the group through a series of fun and friendly sessions. They will also take into account participant’s fitness levels when planning and delivering each session. The activities involved will help to improve fitness over time.

Participants should wear comfortable sports clothing and trainers. The club will provide sticks, but if you have your own already then you are more than welcome to bring it. They also recommend taking a still soft drink or bottle of water as well. Shin pads and a gum shield are not essential to begin with, but participants can bring them if they have them.

For more information on the Kettering ‘Back to Hockey’ sessions and to register contact Liz Metcalfe by email lizmetcalfe25@yahoo.co.uk, or phone 07775 758786.

The second sport, very much in the news with Le Tour De France taking place currently, is cycling and Tour Ride of Northamptonshire offer you the chance to ride in the cycle tracks of champions.

A ‘Family’ ride of 10 miles on Sunday 17th July
(see image below for more details)

For contact details and how to enter, go to www.tourride.co.uk

 

For more information about these and other sports encouraged by Northampton Sport, please contact:

Graeme Wilson
Sports Development Officer
Northamptonshire Sport
John Dryden House
8-10 The Lakes
Northampton
NN4 7YD

Email: Graeme.Wilson@firstforwellbeing.co.uk
Phone: 01604 367953
Mobile: 07736008902
Fax: 01604 237999
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NorthamptonshireSport?_rdr
Twitter:@nsport

Summer Playscheme Activities

Kettering Borough Council

are holding their annual

Summer Playscheme Activities

in seven towns and villages throughout July and August. They are aimed at children aged 8 years and under, and must be accompanied by an adult.

There is no cost – yes, it’s FREE!

Average duration for each session is 50minutes, so choose your location from the table below, which includes Geddington, and make a date for the young ones.

Click on image to enlarge.

Oakley Road Closure Notice

Network Rail, in their on-going work on the electrification of the rail line, are closing the Oakley Road, from Newton to Great Oakley, to carry out works to the bridge structure.

July 6th to 10 August 2017

According to Network Rail, this road will be closed at all times, with a diversionary route as shown below.

The following images show information for road users
click to enlarge.

 

Geddington School and the Imperial War Museum

ECHOES & FOOTSTEPS

Those of us who attended the May Day celebrations last month, will have been made aware of the WWI project that the school and Boughton House are doing this year.

1917 was the year when most of the casualties amongst the men from Geddington occurred.  This 2017 project, called Echoes & Footsteps, will research how the village was affected by WWI. To aid this project, the school has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Grant.

Jane Rowley, School Business Manager, has said to Geddington.net: “As part of the project , we are arranging a visit to the Imperial War Museum in London to look at their WWI exhibitions. The visit is free to anyone in the village who would like to attend. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.”

Jane continued: “The trip will take place on Saturday 16th September and while the times are to be confirmed, it will be for the whole day.”

If you are interested in going on the trip, either call the school on 01536 742201, email office@geddingtonschool.co.uk or call in and speak to Mrs Rowley or Mrs Bramwell in the school office.

Echoes & Footsteps

Police, Fire & Crime – a change in the wind?

The POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER  is Launching a Public Consultation  on changes to the  Governance of
THE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

The Office of the Northants Police and Crime Commissioner has recently launched a public consultation regarding proposals for the governance of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service to transfer it from the Fire Authority, which currently sits in Northamptonshire County Council, to the Police and Crime Commissioner, who would therefore become the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. There is a short animated film and leaflet to explain the proposal – both can be viewed by visiting www.northantsfireproposals.co.uk

Stephen Mold, Northants Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Northamptonshire has led the way in demonstrating how emergency service collaboration can help to increase efficiency and effectiveness, and I’m determined that we build on this work to continue to create a safer county.

“Bringing the Police and the Fire and Rescue Service under a single governance model will save significant amounts of public money which we will reinvest into increasing frontline services.

“We will increase funding into the frontline by sharing premises and combining administrative functions and also potentially increasing the amount we ask the public to pay by only 3 pence per week.

“The new governance proposal will enable us to make quicker strategic decisions and increase our preventative work across both police and fire areas while giving the public a level of transparency when it comes to spending by the Fire and Rescue Service that hasn’t been available under the previous governance model.

“Having reviewed the business case for this proposal, I’m confident that a change in governance is in the best interests of everyone in Northamptonshire. However, we want to hear from as many people as possible in the county about their views and concerns, to ensure they are accurately represented as we move forward”

The Commissioner is really keen to hear your views and those of your family and friends on this proposal. To find out more and complete the online survey please visit www.northantsfireproposals.co.uk . The consultation will run until Tuesday 1st August 2017 and is open to all residents of the county. A postal survey, or if you require it in Easy Read is available by contacting 01604 888113.

The Great Geddington Garage Sale – the postscript

Jackie & Gordon have passed on their comments, and their thanks, on this event.

“Thank you for everyone who had stalls and refreshments and helped make this Great Garage Sale a great success.

The weather was a bit scary at first, with spits and spots of rain, but at 9am on the dot, the sun shone.

With the sale of maps, the books stall, The Friends refreshments in the Chapel rooms and the £5 rent from the 75 stalls, we made a grand profit of £660! What a magnificent amount of money all round!

I know some villagers made some really good profits and I hope you all had a really good time.

I know that at times, the traffic parked in unsuitable  places, but I hope they quickly dispersed.

Roll on next year’s Garage Sale!”

 

Road Closure Advice

Centurion Site Services are requiring to close the road that runs from Little Oakley to Great Oakley and that runs under the Network Rail Bridge structure, for one day on 14th June. The intention is that the road will be closed between 9.30 and 15.30 only.

The map below shows the diversion route – coloured pale mauve.

roadworks.org is the largest single source of local roadworks information in the UK.
If you require more information about the works, please contact:

Northamptonshire Highways
Highways Depot
Harborough Road
Brixworth
NN6 9BX
Tel: 01604 651072

 

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