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STAFFORDSHIRE STAFFORDSHIRE STAFFORDSHIRE CENTRE CENTRE CENTRE NEWSLETTER February 2011 Shugborough Estate Christmas Ramble December 2010

STAFFORDSHIRE CENTRE NEWSLETTER February 2011 · 2016-07-11 · Mrs C. Blunt Gnosall Mrs A. Philp Stafford Mr & Mrs B Emerton Gnosall Mrs M. Thompson Wheaton Aston Mr & Mrs Greer

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Page 1: STAFFORDSHIRE CENTRE NEWSLETTER February 2011 · 2016-07-11 · Mrs C. Blunt Gnosall Mrs A. Philp Stafford Mr & Mrs B Emerton Gnosall Mrs M. Thompson Wheaton Aston Mr & Mrs Greer

STAFFORDSHIRE STAFFORDSHIRE STAFFORDSHIRE

CENTRECENTRECENTRE

NEWSLETTER February 2011

Shugborough Estate Christmas Ramble

December 2010

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Your Committee

Chairman Haydn Poulsom

Publicity Peter Jobling

Secretary Jean Norman

Member Joyce Rowe

Treasurer Brian Taylor

Member George Sweeney

Membership/Bookings Secretary Joan Jobling

Member Lesley Thompson

Newsletter Editor Guy deVisme

Member Margaret Winfield

Volunteer Co-ordinator Hilary Taylor

Enquiries by Email to [email protected]

Staffordshire Centre Website www.ntstaffscentre.uwclub.net

Hon. President: G/Capt. Gordon Burgess C.B.E.

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I hope that you had an enjoyable Christmas and, on behalf of your hard working Committee and myself, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. It was pleasing that the snow before Christmas did not prevent our family activities being curtailed and I hope that your Christmas celebrations went as planned. If any of you attended the National Trust’s AGM in November of last year, I would be pleased if you would send me a brief account of your impressions as I was unable to attend. As some of you will know there are changes taking place within the Trust to make it a more efficient and responsive organisation. The East and West Midlands have been combined to form the new Midlands Region, with Rebecca Speight as the Director. We look forward to meeting her at our AGM in April and hearing about the way these new initiatives will be introduced. I have had a letter of apology from the Director concerning the failure of one of the Trust’s speakers to give the talk entitled ‘Conserving the Trust’s Collections’, as arranged for October 19th, and have been assured that this should not occur again. If you know of any good speakers, please give the details to any member of the Committee as we are always looking to extend our range of talks. My thanks to all those who have written articles about our activities for the Newsletter; they are much appreciated. If you have not yet contributed then please give it a try. We only need about 250 words. I hope you like the new format of the Newsletter and find it not only informative but also interesting. Please let us have your comments. Best wishes for the New Year. Haydn Poulsom

2011 AGM Our AGM will be held on Tuesday 12th April at 2.30pm in Walton Village Hall. Details are on the inside of the back cover. We hope you can come along to hear not only what is happening within our Centre and the Midlands Region of the Trust, but also to meet other members, to view slides of the Northumbrian holiday and to enjoy light refreshments.

Chairman’s Notes

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Change of Time The talk on Thursday 24th March at Trinity Church, entitled ‘Meet the Re-designer of the Puffing Billy’,

will begin at 7.45pm and not at 2.30pm as stated in the programme.

An Addition Ramble from Newborough Wednesday 18th May This walk of 6.5 miles begins in the car park of the Red Lion which lies in the conservation area of Newborough village. Taking paths south we reach the wooded areas of Jackson’s Bank and Beck’s Bank before heading north to Moat Hall Farm where the remains of a 13th century moat can just about be seen [perhaps imagined]. From Moat Hill there are excellent views north and west. Finally we drop down to the out-skirts of Newborough and head for Newborough Hall moat which does look like a moat! We return to the Red Lion via Newborough Hall Farm. Meet: 10.00am Red Lion, Newborough OS 136253 Cost: Members £1.50 Visitors £2.00

Leader: Jean Norman 01827 289356 and 07899 957923

Welcome

Important !

Mrs J.Ash Weston Miss S. Moulton Gnosall

Mrs C. Blunt Gnosall Mrs A. Philp Stafford

Mr & Mrs B Emerton Gnosall Mrs M. Thompson Wheaton Aston

Mr & Mrs Greer Stafford Mr & Mrs J. Turner Stafford

Mr & Mrs P. Haslop Stone Mr & Mrs F. Waygood Stafford

Please phone Jean Norman if you would like to join this walk or just lunch at the Red Lion

Joan Jobling, Membership and Booking Secretary

There are two changes to the Spring 2011 Programme.

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Michael Swales gave a somewhat small but singularly lucky group of our members a truly fascinating illustrated talk about the Churnet Valley. If you thought you knew all there was to know about the place you very soon realised your error. With the aid of numerous slides, Michael showed both the beauty, great historic, and botanic interest of the valley, as well as its industrial past now largely buried in lush forest.

Cheddleton Mill

A Pool near Froghall

As a resident of the area for the past sixty-five years and former Chairman of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, he spoke with intimate knowledge of, and obviously deep affection for the place, making us all keen to re-visit a beauty spot we thought we knew so well. It was the third time Michael had given us a talk. The first was to tell us about his trip with his pupils to lnaccessible lsland alongside Tristan da Cunha; the second was to describe Fair lsle and its wonderful wool. There is no doubt that another of his talks will be on our agenda in the not too distant future.

Guy deVisme

Churnet - the Hidden Valley September

Recent Talks

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A large group was entertained and informed by David Bills in a talk about one of our county's gems. David is a conservation volunteer on Kinver Edge and a local historian, having been born in Kinver. He explained that this subject was one of his passions, to which he has, over the years, put in lots of hours in research and labour ‘on the ground’. Three hundred acres of the sandstone escarpment and land near Kinver are owned by the National Trust and were given to them by the Lee family in 1917, when the Trust was in its infancy. Now 2/3rds is designated an SSSI. On the site to the south is the footprint, only readily seen from the air, of a large Iron Age Fort, which has never undergone archaeological investigation. There is the large excavation of the sandstone quarry which provided all the local building material until the advent of brick built dwellings. Thus the quarry ceased its working for commercial trade in 1711. Quarrying had reduced the sandstone outcrop, which had been a local landmark, and had earned the area the name ’ Switzerland of the Midlands’. Many tourists used to visit; their numbers increasing when the Kinver Light Railway connected the village to the Midlands network. In the early 1900's it regularly brought hundreds of folk on outings from the Black Country. Holy Austin Rock is a notable rock house which has been carved out of the rock face and was latterly used as a cafe until 1967. By I861 there were eleven families living in the various rock houses. Some had additional brick built frontages added which had horizontal sash windows, and plastered and whitewashed walls. David had a series of postcard slides which showed the many phases of these rock dwellings, with some showing the inside of the houses as they were when being lived in. It was surprising to learn that the last inhabitant only vacated the last house in 1963.

Kinver Rock Houses, Iron Age Fort and Caves November

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The popular postcards of a hundred years ago came in handy when in the 1980's, the Trust financed the restoration of three of the then dilapidated dwellings. The rebuilding, with stone from the old quarry, was completed in 1993 and the site was again occupied, but this time by a custodian. David explained his part in this and showed slides of the most recent work carried out by about 30 volunteers to reinstate the allotment type gardens to the front of the houses, which would have been tended a hundred years ago. One taxing problem of creating a disabled access path up to the houses was solved by a most ingenious set of ropes and pulleys and sheer "man power" to move the road-stone up the slopes. The site is now open with the row of three houses being the Visitor Centre explaining the area's history. No one could explain this site in a more engaging fashion than David, and I think we need another walk around here to fully appreciate his amazing dedication to his long-lasting passion.

Judy Brass

John Loughran, who lead the walk on which we met David Bills, is to lead another walk, this time in the Summer or early Autumn, when we should be able to visit the houses at Holy Austin Rock. Look out for this in a future Programme. Lady Arbella Stuart - the Queen that never was. December Over the years our journeys north up the M1 to visit family have meant that we have passed the imposing ruins of Hardwick Hall many times. During a recent visit I bought a book on Bess of Hardwick and learnt about this very powerful woman, the life-long friend of Elizabeth 1. There were many references to Arbella Stuart, Bess’s granddaughter, in the book and so it was a treat for me to learn so much more about her from the lecture given by Da-vid Templeman. The intriguing title of ‘The Queen that never was’ was given to Arbella because she was third in line of succession to Elizabeth, being the niece of Mary Queen of Scots and cousin to the future James 1. In those dangerous times of Catholic/Protestant rivalry, she was the focus of many plots involv-ing either marriage or treason. An orphan at six years of age, she was brought up by Bess of Hardwick and groomed to become Queen. As a result she was a gifted and cultured young woman with a demanding, precocious nature. This resulted in banishment from Elizabeth’s court and the next elev-en years were spent under virtual house arrest at one or other of Bess’s homes which are known to us in this area – Sheffield Castle and Manor,

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Old Chatsworth, Wingfield Manor and Hardwick Hall. Bess had a difficult task ‘looking after’ Arbella and found her behaviour and moods frustrating. Yet, we can feel sympathy for a young girl who had a passionate, spirited nature and was banished from Court life, so far away. She described it in one of her many letters as, ‘exile without expectation’. However, she inspired such love and devotion from her servants that they supported her through-out her life which ended in the Tower of London after a marriage had taken place without the permission of James 1, who was now on the throne. She was 39 when she died in the Tower after months of mental and physical ill-ness. She described herself as, ‘the most sorrowful creature living’. However, Da-vid’s detailed and absorbing lecture gave us a much fuller picture of a warm and courageous woman who, if she had become Queen, would have changed the course of history. Another visit to Hardwick Hall is now called for!

Jan Hawkes

Lady Arbella Stuart

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As sixteen members gathered at the start point at 10 a.m. we were glad that the Countryfile forecasters had got it wrong and the day promised to be warm and dry with spells of sunshine. We set off, crossing the A34 and following a path alongside gardens and Wild Damson and Bullace trees. Bullace are similar to Damsons but yellow in colour. Our pace quickened as we saw a sign in a garden which read, Trespassers will be eaten’! Grassy fields led us, via stiles, towards the Chase alongside a stream and into Old Acre Lane. Following a path bordered by heather, gorse and blackberry bushes, we made our way over the Chase to the glacial boulder where we made a coffee stop. While enjoying a break we saw riders with horses enjoying their morning exercise. Re-tracing our steps for a short way we continued over the Chase towards Bednall. Here we spotted a sign which said "Joyce's Lane" and, as Joyce was one of our leaders, we made this a photo opportunity. Walking through the village we found our path opposite the church, and continued through fields, including an ‘amazing’ maize field. More stiles led us back to the Chetwynd Arms and a welcome lunch. This was a lovely walk of four and a half miles and fourteen stiles.

Judith Wood From the ‘Shoulder of Mutton’, Osmaston October We assembled in Osmaston on the car park of the ‘Shoulder of Mutton’ and prepared, on a cool, grey morning, for this walk led by Jean Norman. Our party totalled 13, including two new members and their two extremely active but very closely controlled setters. As much of the route to the dogs’ delight

From the ‘Chetwynd Arms’, Brocton September

Recent Rambles

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Millstone. Derbyshire Millstone Grit

was to cross muddy fields and skirt open water, the dogless among us were glad that later on we would need to clean only boots and trousers. Our route led past the village green pond and along the main carriage drive of the now demolished Osmaston Hall before branching westward towards Wyaston. Behind us, in the woods on the hill, was visible a military-looking tower, the most impressive relic of the hall. It had been built to keep all the chimney flues in one stack, a rather unusual feature. In the middle of winter with the family in residence, it must have looked like a castle on fire – now it presents as a very solid folly. We crossed Wyaston Brook and climbed to a pair of steel cattle-feeding stations where we posed in cheerful mood for a photo before making for the road at Wyaston Grove. Taking the bridleway east, we took the path alongside woodland to skirt a small lake bordering Shirley Park and then picked up the Centenary Way. Where the track took to boardwalks over marshy ground, we enjoyed a cof-fee stop and wondered when the promised sunny intervals might begin. Jean then led us towards Oldpark and on to Shirley Mill Farm. The mill pool is lovely, and we strayed along the dam to view the mill before returning to the path and gaining the road through a truly filthy gateway and barbed wire booby trapped gate [not at all friendly welcome to users of this right of way]. East then north along Shirley Lane , passing the Saracen’s Head in Shirley to pick up the Bonnie Prince Charlie Walk uphill along Park Lane beside Shirley Park. We descended steeply through Osmaston Park, crossing the dam between the high and low lakes. The water flow once powered the estate’s sawmill. The building was originally in full view of the main house and had therefore

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Osmaston Park Sawmill

been styled/disguised as an Austrian chalet. Its breastshot water-wheel and mechanisms now do little other than corrode and spark, “that’s an interesting project” ideas in passing retired engineers and millwrights… The upper lake is currently home to large flocks of water-fowl, not all of them Canada geese. The final leg of the walk ran along paved estate roads, past Home Farm and back to the village. We then enjoyed the hospitality of the Shoulder of Mutton before dispersing happily. Altogether, this was a most enjoyable day – though the sunny intervals only began after most of the party had reached home.

David and Vivvienne Bates Virtual Walk around Historic Rugeley November What do eight stalwart National Trust members do on a very cold, very wet Wednesday in November? Do we explore the many historic sights, stopping in puddles to admire the unusual buildings, while water drips down our necks? We could learn about horse fairs, mills, turnpikes, canals, coal mines and 1848 ‘houses of superior order’ but we made a democratic decision to adjourn to Morrisons for hot coffee. Here we intrigue the locals, dry off and enjoy one another’s company, with stories of the interesting NT North Staffs holiday in London. When we do return to Rugeley, we will be in the mood to learn so much more of this fascinating and sometimes misunderstood Staffordshire town.

Nicola Woodhouse

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From the ‘Barley Mow’, Milford December On a very snowy morning twenty of us met at the Barley Mow in Milford for our Christmas Ramble which had to be modified due to the adverse weather conditions. We set off along the Tixall road to the canal and turned right along the towpath towards Great Haywood. The canal was frozen over in most places with just a few clear spots where ducks and swans had gathered, and the towpath a few inches deep in snow - very picturesque! From the aqueduct over the River Trent we saw a lone heron standing by the water looking very cold indeed. Nearby there were some very early lambs. At the junction with the Trent and Mersey Canal, we turned south towards the Shugborough Estate and at Great Haywood lock we stopped for a short coffee break. Off again over Essex Bridge, walking past the Tower of the Winds to Home Farm. Essex Bridge

From there we cut across the snowy fields to the main driveway and walked back to Milford and the Barley Mow. Changing out of our walking boots we joined another thirty or so Centre members in the warmth of the pub. Two long tables had been festively decked out for our Christmas Lunch which I enjoyed very much and I’m sure also did everyone else. Thank you Brian and Hilary for organising the walk and Joan for doing the final lunch arrangements. Rosemary Beynon

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.

Stowe Landscape Gardens and House September

Jean organised this superb trip to Stowe Landscape Gardens and House. The gardens are National Trust; the house is owned by Stowe House Preservation Trust. The weather was very dull, but not wet. On arrival we had free time until the tour of the house after lunch. So, as usual we started off with coffee, and then explored the extensive gardens. There are 42 monuments, 2 large and 2 small lakes in the Park, which was designed to impress visitors with grand views of monuments and landscapes in the 1700s. In spite of the dull weather the reflections in the water were magnificent, as I hope is demonstrated by the photos. We walked to most of the monuments, taking lots of photos, meeting friends and chatting along the way.

Temple of British Worthies

Eleven Acre Lake

A Recent Visit

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We had lunch at the Visitors’ Centre, which is being replaced by a new one next year, and afterwards had a guided tour around the house which was very interesting. Quoting from the book of the house, ‘Stowe House is largely an 18th Century creation by Viscount Cobham and his nephew Earl Temple. Once the showpiece of a powerful political dynasty and long the centre of Stowe School, the house is now being restored for the benefit of all’. I had never visited Stowe, and would like to go again.

Joyce Rowe

There are 47 properties open to the public in the newly formed Midlands Region of the National Trust. The furthest from Stafford to the east is Gunby Hall near Skegness [124 miles], and to the west Cwammau Farmhouse south west of Kington [81 miles]. However, my favourite property which is now in our region, is Calke Abbey a mere 40 miles from Stafford. Because I live fairly near the M42, I can be eating breakfast in the restaurant within thirty minutes of leaving home. By breakfast, I mean a freshly baked roll filled with locally produced bacon and a pot of very mild Darjeeling tea. That sets me up for a walk to familiar, beautiful and much loved parts of the Park. The deer shelter, a conserved ruin, is surrounded by trees and unseen by most visitors. The view of the Abbey and church from just outside the ring of trees surrounding the shelter is one of the best in the park Another quiet spot away from visitors is the woodland above Betty’s Pool where there are many species of trees and plants supporting a rich variety of wildlife. I like to walk through the tunnel which is out of sight under the main drive and once used by horse drawn trams taking limestone from the Ticknall lime pits to the Ashby canal. It’s dark, muddy and silent. In Autumn I have to walk the track through Serpentine Wood just to see the wonderful colours of the oaks and sweet chestnuts. The kitchen garden is yet another of those places in the grounds which draws me to it like a magnet. It’s walled and sheltered from the cold winds so full of seasonal vegetables, fruits and flowers. It’s ge-ometric and orderly and I love it. I enjoy the unexpected too: the sighting of English Longhorns, a rare duck on one of the pools, a kingfisher or a lively water vole. My last visit was on New Year’s Day. The next could be tomorrow.

Jean Norman

A Favourite Place

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ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 12th APRIL 2011 The 38th Annual General Meeting of the Staffordshire Centre will be held at Walton Village Hall on Tuesday 12th April 2011 at 2.30pm Agenda 1. Apologies for Absence 2. Minutes of the last AGM 3. Matters Arising from the Minutes 4. Chairman’s Report 5. Financial Report 6. Election of Committee 7. Election of Officers 8. Any Other Business All the current members of the Committee retire at this meeting. The following are willing to stand for re-election. They are:- Mr C.P.Jobling, Mrs J. Jobling, Ms J.M.Norman, Mr H.Poulsom, Mrs J.Rowe, Mr G.Sweeney, Mr B.Taylor, Mrs H.Taylor, Mrs L. Thompson, Mrs M.Winfield. The following are proposed for election as Officers of the Centre:- Chairman Mr H.Poulsom Secretary Ms J.M.Norman Treasurer Mr B.Taylor

Nominations for the Committee should be sent to the Secretary Ms J. Norman at 60, Brook End, Fazeley, Staffordshire. B78 3RT or [email protected] by 1st April 2010. Nominations must have the agreement of the nominee. If there are more than 12 nominations a ballot will be held. After the meeting has closed and before refreshments are served, there will be two short talks. The first by David Lee from Moseley Old Hall, to which property we have made a donation, and secondly by Rebecca Speight who will give a brief update on what is happening in the new-ly formed Midlands Region of the Trust. The Committee look forward to meeting you on April 12th . We are two Committee Members short. Are there any volunteers?

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Details of the following events can either be found on the Spring Programme or at www.ntstaffscentre.uwclub.net

If you would like to take part in any of the above events and neither your Spring Programme nor the website is available, please contact Joan Jobling, 01785 822592

Tuesday 22nd February

Talk - RSPB

Wednesday 9th March Ramble - Churnet Valley

Saturday 19th March Annual lunch at the Moat House

Thursday 24th March Meet the Re-designer of the Puffing Billy [N.B. 7.45pm]

Thursday 7th April Ramble - Brassington

Tuesday 12th April AGM See inside this back cover

Tuesday 19th April Northumberland music with the ‘Crooked Bawbees’

Thursday 5th May Talk - A Picture of Afghanistan

Thursday 12th May Car Visit - Renishaw

Wednesday 18th May Ramble - Newborough

Spring Programme Reminder.