Charabanc Party visit Church Street

April 16th, 2014

Church Street Old Photo

A cropped version of this splendid photograph of what seems to be a “charabanc” visit to Church Street in the early years of the last century appears elsewhere on this website. This version has been kindly supplied by Eric Payne. In order to help in dating it more accurately it would be much appreciated if anyone conversant with either the motor cars or the fashions could leave a comment at the end of this item.

A larger version with up to date photographs from the same viewpoint can be seen on the next page.

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Windfarm decision put back yet again, to July 9th.

April 2nd, 2014
How the turbines would appear from the Barrow Hill footpath

How the turbines would appear from the Barrow Hill footpath

The windfarm proposed by Broadview Energy Ltd between the villages of Helmdon, Greatworth and Sulgrave was the subject of a public inquiry held in Towcester in October last. The Inspector was due to publish his decision towards the end of December last year. However, during the Inquiry, the responsible government Minister, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, announced that he would be making the final decision himself, after considering the report and recommendations of the Inspector. Publication of this decision was set for May 24th. The government recently published revised planning practice guidelines, to which the Inspector must have regard in preparing his report and the Secretary of State in reaching his decision, which will now be published on or before July 9th.

Bi-Centenary Celebrations at Sulgrave Manor. Weekend of June 7th/8th.

March 17th, 2014

Manor Image 01b


This year is the bi-centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent and centenary of Sulgrave Manor’s purchase to be a symbol of the friendship between the United Kingdom and the United States.

For a hundred years the Manor has been supported by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America and on the weekend of 7th/8th June, 120 Dames and their husbands will be visiting the Manor to celebrate this event.

The organisers cordially invite all residents of the village to join the Dames on either or both of these days to enjoy the various events which have been planned.

Full details on the next page.

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Proposed Diversion of Bridleway AY4 – Sulgrave to Weston

February 24th, 2014
Western entrance to bridleway AY4 tunnel under former Great Central Railway

Western entrance to bridleway AY4 tunnel under former Great Central Railway

Bridleway AY4 between Sulgrave and Weston is shown on the map below:

Bridleway AY4 Map 02

The Local Highway Authority, Northamptonshire County Council, is seeking views on a proposal to divert this bridleway where it passes under the former Great Central Railway, as shown below:

Bridleway AY4 Diversion Map 02

Red dots show the route of the proposed diversion.

Whilst Sulgrave Parish Council is very concerned as to the dangerous state of the AY4 tunnel under the former Great Central Railway, it considers that this structure should be repaired rather than the bridleway diverted. The Council is seeking the views of users of this bridleway before making observations to the County Council, which have to be made by February 28th.

Full details on next page.

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Extension to Consultation Period for High Speed Rail Line

February 15th, 2014
This new gate has recently been erected on the footpath between Sulgrave and Thorpe Mandeville. The notice on the post states that the construction of the high speed railway will require the stopping up or diversion of the footpath!

This new gate has recently been erected on the footpath between Sulgrave and Thorpe Mandeville. The notice on the post states that the construction of the high speed railway will require the stopping up or diversion of the footpath!

The Department for Transport has announced that: “…the deadline for responding to the consultation on the Environmental Statement for Phase One of the high speed rail project is extended to midnight on 27th February 2014″. See here for extracts from the statement relative to Sulgrave and here for how to make representations.

The following extract from Brackley Post Online gives some idea of the local traffic chaos likely to arise during the long construction period:


HS2 still seems a few years away but it’s important to understand the impact on this area, not just when it’s completed but during the construction phase.

Buried in the 55,000 page HS2 Environmental Statement are chilling forecasts for residents of Brackley and its surrounds should the proposed HS2 high speed rail link go ahead as planned.

Beginning in 2017, a site a few hundred yards up the A422 Buckingham Road from Brackley will ‘have an associated roadhead for the receipt, storage and transfer of earthworks material route-wide’.  The site will be used for 3 years but for 17months of peak activity, the average daily number of HGV trips to and from the site will be 1700 to 2,860. That’s 6 per minute or one every 10 seconds, practically nose to tail, and it’s only an average.  It will be like taking the A43 down to one lane as the other will be used by the HGVs.

It appears many lorries will come from J10 of the M40 which is forecast for ‘significant increases in congestion and significant delays’, as are the A43 junction with the B4100 (causing delays for Bicester Station commuters), the A43 Tesco roundabout junction and the A43 Buckingham Road junction.  Regular travellers to Oxford had better find another route.

These figures are in addition to trucks serving other construction compounds such as the main one in the area on the A43 just North of the Brackley BP roundabout which will handle building the Turweston Viaduct and shifting the A43 eighty or so metres to the North to go over the new railway.  It will be in existence for five and a half years and provide accommodation for 100 – 200 workers and be the centre for all the civil engineering and rail installation works in the area.

On top of this will be construction traffic for other projects such as the Radstone Fields housing development.

Other construction compounds described in the report have a fraction of this traffic.  Northolt, which is the start of the major tunnel into London, has less.  Only in the Birmingham area (Coleshill Junction) where the spur to the city comes to and fro from the main line, will construction traffic be higher but it will be managed from dedicated roadheads and railheads.

Concerned objectors can make their voices heard individually by responding directly to the consultation and emailing their concerns to  They can learn more on the following web site:

Brackley residents are being hit in three ways.  They will suffer the scar and noise of HS2 in their locality for the foreseeable future; households will be paying an average of £2,500 – £3,000 out of their taxes to pay for it; they will be hit by years of traffic congestion during construction.  But most of them will never use the line.  The nearest station is at Birmingham.  Worse still, local services are likely to be cut resulting in fewer trains to London from places like Bicester as HS2 takes the longer route travellers.


Andrea Leadsom MP – Local Surgery Dates

February 11th, 2014
Andrea at the Village Shop

Andrea at the Village Shop

Our local Member of Parliament, Andrea Leadsom, holds regular local “surgeries”. Andrea says: “If you can’t make it to one of my monthly advice surgeries but would really like to meet in person, please come along to one of my ‘drop in’ surgeries. No appointment is necessary and I will be happy to discuss with you whatever is on your mind.”

Full details here.

Castle Hill Interactive History Event – Sunday 27th April

January 31st, 2014


A great deal is now known about the Castle Hill Ancient Monument in Sulgrave, especially during the period of its transition from a Saxon Hall to a Norman Castle, about 1000 years ago. The Sulgrave Castle Archaeological Group has been working towards the sharing of this information with a wider public. To this end, a set of School Cards has been prepared for use by visiting school children, enabling them by question and answer to appreciate and enjoy the history of the site. The Group is proposing to hold a trial run in the use of the cards by holding an interactive history event on Sunday 27th April. By kind permission of the owners of the site, Peter and Clare Pollak, all those interested in the history of this unique ancient monument, especially parents and children, will be welcome at the hill to take part in this trial

The illustration above is just one of the twenty pages of maps and photos which will be available. It shows three of the remarkable 1000 year old items found on the site. Villagers of a romantic disposition will perhaps imagine a Saxon lady having her hair dressed with the comb and scissors whilst being serenaded on the bone flute….

See here for full information on the Castle Hill Project.

More information on this event will be available on this website and in the Village Newsletter at a later date.

Calling all “Strictly Come Dancing” Fans…..

January 18th, 2014
Sophie and Brendan perform the Charleston to 'Rock It For Me' by Caravan Palace

Sophie and Brendan perform the Charleston to ‘Rock It For Me’ by Caravan Palace

Villagers will remember Hywel and Ingram’s daughter Angharad’s lovely wedding in April 2011. Angaharad is part of the BBC production team responsible for “Strictly Come Dancing” and writes as follows:

“Strictly Come Dancing has been nominated for a National Television Award, seeing first hand just how much effort and hard work goes into making such a sparkling show, I would be so grateful if the Sulgrave Strictly fans ( of which I know there are many, especially Shrimp)  would take time to vote on the link below.

So if Sulgrave had a ball watching the Ballroom, loved the glitter, sequins and have enjoyed a twirl into 2014  then please can we post the link on the village website

If Mark Benton’s MC Hammer routine made you laugh out loud and grin from ear to ear, Dave Myers being “Chuffed as Nuts” on the dance floor, Sophie and Brendon’s waltz gave you goosebumps or Abbey’s sheer delight at winning  made you leap out of your chair, then please Sulgrave take the time to vote.

We loved working on the show, we’re all still recovering but to pop an award on the mantle piece to prove it would be magical.”

This is your chance to show your appreciation!

24th January: Angharad emails that they won! See next page.

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New Manager for Sulgrave Village Shop

January 12th, 2014


Sharon Halleron-Kerr is the new full time manager of the Village Community Shop. Sharon lives at Fenny Compton and is looking forward to working with the many voluntary shop assistants and bakers. Further volunteers to supplement the current team are always welcome, even for a few hours a week.  No previous experience necessary!

Read latest village shop report.


More on the Mystery Machine

January 5th, 2014

Mystery Machinew 02

Peter Mackness sent in this picture a few years ago and a good deal of correspondence followed, which can be seen here.

Ken Robson, who was involved in the design of these machines, has recently emailed with the following additional information:

 Your last correspondent has confirmed the machine and its maker. Manufactured soon after the end of the 2nd World War, this machine shows the ingenuity of its inventor, Arthur Clifford Howard, CBE, and exemplifies the shortage of raw materials available at that time to UK manufacturers. A “bog standard” Fordson agricultural tractor (Cost price in 1943 £180 plus £10 delivery) was stripped of its “spadelug” rear wheels and replaced by a “rotaped” track system in order to give the machine a lower ground bearing pressure and improved traction. The trencher wheel would have been driven direct from the traction unit via a propshaft and the whole machine would have been used to lay “tile drains” at a much faster rate than that achieved by manual means. The Howard Trencher was significantly improved during the 50s through to the 70s and the later units carried laser direction control systems. Many of the machines were based on a Ford skid unit, made by County Tractors, Kent, on the same popular Rotaped system on your photograph. Arthur Clifford Howard was of Australian descent. He settled in England around the mid 1930s and from his first factory at West Horndon, manufactured a range of rotary cultivators, bearing the brilliant trade name “Rotavator”, which you will observe, has the same spelling, whether forwards or back. The company used to trade heavily on this brand name, many advertisements bearing the slogan, “If it isn’t a Howard, it isn’t a Rotavator”. The “Chief” as he was affectionately known, died in 1971. His funeral at Upminster was attended by hundreds from all over the world. As one of his ex-apprenticed draughtsman, I am happy to be able to fill in some of the history relating to your picture.

Ken Robson