11th December 2014. The eleventh contribution to the Village Advent Calendar Windows, at The Stone House, Little Street.
More pictures on the next page.
In this aerial photograph from the 1930s, Sulgrave House can be seen at “A”, the long gone Baptist Chapel at “B”, Fleet Farm at “C” and the Stone House (then with a steep thatched roof) at “D”.
In 1972, this was the view across Madam’s Close from the Stone House, dominated by a magnificent elm tree which succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease a few years later.
The Stone House is obscured by trees in this aerial photograph from the 1930s but the elm tree can be seen alongside the footpath through the close. It had been struck by lightning a few years earlier and the top branches destroyed. The enormous trunk became a hollow shell, making a perfect den for adventurous village children. As can be seen in the earlier picture it made a remarkable recovery until felled by disease. The outlines of a cricket wicket can be seen on this photograph. At some point in the thirties, the son of the then tenant of the Close was dropped from the team and his father turned the cricketers out and planted trees on the wicket. These can still be seen today, as in the Google Earth picture below.
A Sulgrave cricket team from the period. Frank Middleton lost a leg in the Great War. He was for the rest of his life a gardener at Sulgrave Manor. As a boy I frequently met him walking from his home in Spinners Cottages to the Manor. He was one of the most cheerful men I knew. “You see, it could have been a lot worse…..”, he said. Wonderful game, cricket, which allows a disabled man to play his part.