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Tag: History

Street Lighting for Stinchcombe?

I have bought a month on the British Newspaper Archive website and been reading up on old news! I found this little bit of history about Street Lighting in Stinchcombe which I thought might amuse you..and leave you to drawn your own conclusions.

A little “Light” History

The “Lighting and Watching” Act of 1833 allowed groups of property owners to form committees and organise local street lighting. It also allowed for the creation of local police forces (the “watching” part of the Act’s title.) These committees were then empowered to levy a rate on other householders to pay for the lighting.

Street lighting as we know it today is the result of many years of development and investment. The legislation relating to street lighting has been introduced piecemeal over the years, with varying degrees of responsibility and authority conferred on various bodies from parishes to national government. As of 2005 there was not legal responsibility on anyone to provide street lighting. There is no statutory requirement on local authorities in the United Kingdom to provide public lighting.

In England and Wales, the Highways Act 1980 empowers a Highway Authority to provide lighting for any highway or proposed highway for which they are, or will be, the Highway Authority.

From the Gloucester Citizen – Friday 19th August 1949

STREET LIGHTING FOR STINCHCOMBE?
Proposals are now under consideration to have street lighting in Stinchcombe. At meeting the Parish Council, over which Mr. C. W. Hill presided, the following quotations were received for lighting and maintaining nine gas lamps: three years £80; five years £58/12/9; ten years £42/15/7 per annum. The Council was informed that the present product of a penny rate (on the precept) is £9. The Council agreed to call a public meeting to consider adopting the Lighting and Watching Act.

From the Gloucester Citizen – Friday 16th September 1949

NO STREET LIGHTING FOR STINCHCOMBE
Only a handful of people attended a parish meeting at Stinchcombe convened to consider adopting the Lighting and Watching Act 1833. Mr. C. W. Hill (chairman of the parish council) Presided and a motion to adopt the Act was moved by Mrs. A. Burcombe and seconded by Mrs. A. Pick. Voting was three for the motion and ten against, three abstaining from voting. Stinchcombe will therefore not have lighting scheme during the coming winter.

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Pitman Plaque

The Pitman Plaque

Found in Wotton

I was cycling through the backstreets of Wotton under Edge for my lockdown cycle ride and came across this plaque on the side of a house.

“Pitman invented his system of shorthand know as Phonography here”

I can remember well my sisters learning shorthand at college and I would assume that many people in Stinchcombe remember learning as well. But who uses it now? Does anyone still learn it? Does anyone under 30 know what it is?

First, what is Pitman?

It’s fair to say that Pitman shorthand was the first widely used method of shorthand. Invented by Sir Isaac Pitman, himself a fascinating character, It is a system of writing just using symbols using symbols to represent sounds. This allowed a much greater speed of writing.

Pitman Sample
From the 1897 book Eclectic Shorthand by Cross. Scanned by Marlow4 and placed in public domain. It shows shorthand method of Isaac Pitman Cropped

So, does anyone use Pitman now?

Good question. A quick search of the Internet says that according to the BBC website and the article “Is the art of shorthand dying?“, Pitman, or at least one of its newer variations, is alive and well. It is still used by journalists and court recorders. Well it was in 2016.

Comments and Retrospective Reminiscences are welcome for this article in the comments section of this post on the website. Look forward to reading them.

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Combe House

Our Virtual Village – A Village Property

Our Virtual Village – A Village Property

A new feature for the Village in 2021 is a new Heading on the website called Our Virtual Village. Each month about different Village property will be featured featuring the History of a Village Property.

Our Virtual Village

In the Virtual Village, each page added will be written by house owners themselves or Villagers who have researched a specific property. It’s history and it’s owners, with interesting stories and facts.

We welcome owners or Villagers to put forward an article for publication. On the Our Virtual Village page on the website. We give some guidelines and how to get involved. This new feature is designed that each House page can be expanded. Other people might want to add further information or stories to a property.

Our forthcoming articles

The first article on Combe House, Street Farm and Granary Barn is written by Roger Batty and is now live on the website. Further detailed and interesting information can be found in the article if you click on the words typed in red.

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In Flanders Fields

Flanders Fields and the Poppy

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch, be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

The history behind the poem

The Story of the poem. John McCrae was a Canadian doctor, a professor of medicine at Canada’s McGill University. On the evening of May 2 1915 during the second battle of Ypres, McCrae officiated at the burial of Lieutenant Alexis Helmer. The next evening he took a twenty-minute break from his duties and scribbled a short poem.

He was interrupted by a Sergeant Major Cyril Allinson with his post. So he handed the pad and poem to the Sergeant Major and read his mail. As McCrae read his mail, Allinson read the poem. Returning the pad to McCrae after he had finished the mail, Allinson watched in horror as McCrae crumpled his poem into a ball and tossed it aside.

Sergeant Major Allinson had been deeply moved by the poem and retrieved it. After showing it to other soldiers, he sent it to several newspapers in England. The following December is was finally published in “Punch”

About John McCrae

John McCrae was a doctor and a teacher, who served in both the South African War and the First World War. Born in Guelph, Ontario, on November 30, 1872, John McCrae was the second son of Lieutenant-Colonel David McCrae. Described as warm and sensitive with a remarkable compassion for both people and animals, John McCrae began writing poetry while a student at the Guelph Collegiate Institute.

On August 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany. Canada, as a member of the British Empire, was automatically at war, and its citizens from all across the land responded quickly. Within three weeks, 45,000 Canadians had rushed to join up. John McCrae was among them. He was appointed a medical officer with the First Brigade of the Canadian Field Artillery with the rank of Major and second-in-command.

He took with him a horse named Bonfire, a gift from a friend. Later, John McCrae sent his young nieces and nephews letters supposedly written by Bonfire and signed with a hoof print.

In April 1915, John McCrae was in the trenches near Ypres, Belgium, in the area traditionally called Flanders. Some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place there during what was known as the Second Battle of Ypres.

On April 22, the Germans used deadly chlorine gas against Allied troops in a desperate attempt to break the stalemate. Despite the debilitating effects of the gas, Canadian soldiers fought relentlessly and held the line for another 16 days.

The day before he wrote his famous poem, one of McCrae’s closest friends was killed in the fighting and buried in a makeshift grave with a simple wooden cross. Wild poppies were already beginning to bloom between the crosses marking the many graves. Unable to help his friend or any of the others who had died, John McCrae gave them a voice through his poem. It was the second last poem he was to write.

Soon after it was written, he was transferred to No. 3 (McGill) Canadian General Hospital in France where he was Chief of Medical Services. The hospital was housed in huge tents at Dannes-Cammiers until cold wet weather forced a move to the site of the ruins of the Jesuit College at Boulogne.

When the hospital opened its doors in February 1916, it was a 1,560-bed facility covering 26 acres. Here the wounded were brought from the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the third Battle of Ypres and from Arras and Passchendaele.

For respite, he took long rides on Bonfire through the French countryside. Another animal companion was a casualty of the war, the dog Bonneau, who adopted John McCrae as his special friend.

During the summer of 1917, John McCrae was troubled by severe asthma attacks and occasional bouts of bronchitis. He became very ill in January 1918 and diagnosed his condition as pneumonia. He was moved to Number 14 British General Hospital for Officers where he continued to grow weak.

Source

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Stone Age to Corinium

Stone Age to Corinium

Stinchcombe History Society

Due to the Covid issue, History Societies around the county have had to cancel all their planned history talks this year. This includes the Stinchcombe History Society.

Some societies are now trialing history talks via Zoom. We have been contacted by Cam & Dursley Society who are trying this Zoom method. They have invited Stinchombe History Society to take part .

Stone Age to Corinium

Dursley and Cam Society Zoom talk will be on Tuesday 10th November 2020 at 7:30.  The subject of the talk from the Corinium Museum, in Cirencester, entitled “Stone Age to Corinium”. This is a talk on the Archaeology of the Cotswolds and will cover from prehistory to early Roman times, it covers the Cotswolds in general with the exception of the Oxfordshire part of the Cotswolds. The talk will be around 45 minutes with some time afterwards for questions.

The Corinium Museum has embarked on an exciting £1.87 million project – “Stone Age to Corinium: Discover the Archaeology of the Cotswolds” and has been successful in securing support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

No cost involved, you just need to register your interest by email. A link will be sent to you for the Zoom meeting. If anyone would like to join us on the evening, they can lodge their interest by emailing and we will then send a link to join the meeting.

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Welsh Ponies

Bengad Stud

The Ponies that have been a part of our village.

We will all be familiar with the lovely Bengad ponies that we have walked past, enjoyed as foals, mares, geldings, stallions and generally much admired on the hills in Stinchcombe.

The Bengad Stud

The Bengad Welsh Pony Stud started by Mrs Doris Gadsden in the 1960s began its life at Piers Court. It then moved to Southend Farm and latterly to Wick Lane.  Laura Hutchins and Di Talboys who used to work with Mrs Gadsden, have bred, looked after and loved these ponies for many years.  At their height there were hundreds of ponies on the hills, but now the last 3 youngsters have gone to a new home in order to be shown and brought on as children’s ponies. 

Laura in 2004

The last 3 – Lily (Bengad Lily of the Nile), Poppy (Bengad Desert Poppy), and Lizzie (Bengad Lisianthus) have moved locally to Benhill Performance Ponies.  Below is a picture of these lovely ponies just before they left Stinchcombe – it feels a bit like the end of an incredibly happy, successful era, but the Bengad name and genes will live on both nationally and internationally.

Welsh Ponies
Welsh Ponies at Bengad Stud

Laura also sends a big thank you to all the kind people who sent the ‘Hello Laura’ booklet and photos in May of this year.  She is still getting enormous enjoyment out of it.

Julie Thomas

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Farmer by Stone Wall

Gloucestershire’s Stone Stiles: An Update

This is an update on last September’s post about a project to record all the stone stiles in Gloucestershire. Peter Wilson reports a “fantastic” response. More about that below and keep reading to find out about a special role for Stinchcombe.

Surprises

Three things have surprised Peter:

  • the enthusiastic support (over 120 contributors)
  • the extraordinary number of stone stiles already reported (over 400)
  • the discovery of many stiles tossed aside or where there is no longer a path

Types of Stile Reported

So far there are few step stiles, more squeeze stiles than anticipated, but an abundance of slab stiles. This ties in with findings in Stinchcombe where we’ve found one squeeze stile, five slab stiles and no step stiles at all. Peter reasons that slab stiles were the best at preventing those Cotswold sheep from roaming. They are also a tricky or even impossible obstacle for some walkers! As a result, alternative access through boundary walls and hedges exists in many places. It would be a great shame if that led to these historical landscape features being abandoned.

example of a step stile
An example of a step stile (not in Stinchcombe)
A step stile on Park Lane, Stancombe Park, Stinchcombe
A step stile on Park Lane, Stancombe Park, Stinchcombe
A disused slab stile in Stinchcombe parish, near Snitend Bridge
A disused slab stile in Stinchcombe parish, near Snitend Bridge

Getting Recognition for Stone Stiles

Like it or loathe it, Brexit is changing farming support. In future, public money will support farmers who deliver public benefits. This is the perfect time to emphasise the historic landscape value of stiles. Stone stiles, along with stone walls, also provide an important wildlife habitat. Furthermore, learning about them can stimulate an interest in the countryside.

But … this integral part of the landscape is unprotected and barely mentioned in the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. Peter has secured the support of Siobhan Baillie MP, who is taking up the matter with Defra. Others involved in the project are contacting their own MPs. The aim is to get stone stiles recognised in Defra’s planning processes and ideally within the stewardship schemes.

Stinchcombe’s Stone Stiles

There could be more to find – are you still looking?

Peter is especially keen that people keep an eye out for disused stone stiles. They may highlight lost rights of way that it is not too late to restore. Two Gloucestershire rambling clubs are now publicising the project.

Remember, disused stone stiles are usually near the modern path rather than actually on it. No need to stray from the path though – all those found have been visible from a public right of way.

The two maps show the locations of the six stiles already identified in our parish. I am most grateful to Gloucestershire Archives and Know Your Place for permission to use screenshots from the Know Your Place digitial mapping project. If you haven’t explored the maps at Know Your Place Gloucestershire you have a treat in store.

Know Your Place screenshot of north Stinchcombe with stone stiles marked
Know Your Place screenshot of north Stinchcombe – stone stiles marked with red crosses
(with the kind permission of Gloucestershire Archives and Know Your Place)
Know Your Place screenshot of south Stinchcombe with stone stiles marked
Know Your Place screenshot of south Stinchcombe – stone stiles marked with red crosses
(With the kind permission of Gloucestershire Archives and Know Your Place)

A Special Role for Stinchcombe

Stinchcombe History Society has been asked to pilot the next phase of the project – collection of information for the proposed interactive App. The App will combine OS map recording with a detailed record for each stile. The plan is for the pilot to take place in only one parish in the whole of Gloucestershire. We are honoured and very excited to be chosen.

What is more, as you can see from the brief below, the pilot has the potential to be a real community effort. If you’re a keen photographer, walker, map reader, local historian, archaeologist or geologist WE WANT YOU!

The Brief for the Pilot

  1. Add up to four photographs of each stile and its landscape in an agreed format.
  2. Identify the type of stone in any adjacent stone wall, possible source, any signs of re-use, and age since quarried/sited
  3. Identify type of stile, type and source of stile stone used and any signs of reuse.
  4. Relate the site to the nearest known ancient burial site(s) and considering whether this is the source of the stone.
  5. Try to determine the date of the stile and adjacent wall (often after a Land Enclosure Act).
  6. Note and investigate any changes made to the stile.
  7. Verify the OS co-ordinates.
  8. Note the right of way, if applicable, on which the stile is located.
  9. Describe the condition of stile and pathway and how it used or bypassed, including suitability for people with disabilities.
  10. For disused stiles, seek out any knowledge of the former pathway.
  11. Create in partnership with others succinct, informative notes in a format suitable for addition to the App, together with appropriate photographs.

Contact

If you would like to get involved with the pilot, please contact Kath.

Any further stone stiles you find in the parish can be reported to Peter using the form you can download here. If you prefer, I can fill the form in, crediting you as the finder.

Kath Hudson

Clingre Lane a stone step stile standing in front of a wire fence with the roots of a tree to its right

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