Royal Wedding Day – afternoon at the Star Inn.

May 22nd, 2018

On a perfect May afternoon of bright sunshine and cloudless blue skies, many villagers drifted down to the Star Inn, still starry eyed from watching, on televisions big and small, the “fairy tale come true” that was the Royal Wedding. The idea of celebrating this event with a barbecue and games had been suggested at the annual get together of the Star Inn Aunt Sally team. The afternoon therefore gave everyone an opportunity to try Aunt Sally and the more traditional skittles as well as enjoying the ever popular dog show. Refreshments varied from burgers with a range of Hook Norton ales to tea in proper china cups and saucers, with delicious home made cakes.

Click on “read the rest of this entry” to see photographs of the event.

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May on the Farm

May 14th, 2018

Richard Fonge writes:

We are all thankful for the warmer weather after one of the latest wet and cold Springs for many a year. Because of the weather, Spring crops have been sown much later. An example on your walks is the field on Barrow Hill, sown with mustard as you may recall last autumn, now planted with Spring beans. In an average year these would have been planted in mid March, so a good five weeks late. This abnormal lateness has a significant effect on yield.

The Manor field now has cattle in it as do the fields up the gated road, once again a little later than normal due to the wet ground. I often hear people refer to these animals as cows. So here is a brief explanation of the terminology:

A cow is a female producing milk. A heifer a young female. A bull an entire male. A steer a castrated male. Therefore the animals you see in the fields around the village are all steers being reared for beef. These steers vary greatly in colour. This is because they are different breeds. The breed names come from their county or area of origin. To add interest to your walk (and it could be a quiz question at the Star) there are three breeds in the Manor field. The Hereford with its distinctive white face and red body. The South Devon, a light colour and a long somewhat mournful face and the Devon with the rich ruby red coat. The gated road steers are mostly Aberdeen Angus and therefore black in colour. The other thing to notice is that each animal has a yellow ear tag in each ear. All calves (term used to describe the young of both genders) have to be registered by the age of 28 days. The tags denote the country and farm of origin, and a number specific to that animal. Therefore all animals are traceable and are worthless if the tag is lost and not replaced. Sheep are also ear tagged and an extra point of interest concerning them is that the flock on the footpath behind Wemyss farm are the Romney Marsh breed. A breed not often seen in this area. Note the tufted knot of wool on their forehead.

Finally the cuckoo has been heard and our lovely part of England is looking at its best with the various blossoms especially the horse chestnut a particular favourite of mine and the fresh greenness of the foliage.

Richard Fonge.

To see pictures of the animals referred to in Richard’s article, with maps of where they are to be seen, click on “Read the rest of this entry”.

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Don’t forget! Royal Wedding day, Saturday 19th May. Activities at the Star Inn from 2.00 pm, now including a Dog Show.

May 13th, 2018

To celebrate the occasion of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Aunt Sally Group and The Star Inn are putting on a barbecue in the pub gardens from 2.00 pm. Other activities will include an Aunt Sally Competition, Dog Show and games for the children. Tickets for the barbecue are £6 and can be obtained from the Star.

“Gospel Bell” Tea Time Concert. Sulgrave Church. 4.00 pm. Sunday 1st July.

May 12th, 2018

Troy Daniels (of Helmdon Road and PC member) is a member of Gospel Bell and he describes Gospel Bell as an ensemble of musicians and singers based in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, playing gospel blues and country music.

Troy writes: “we play songs from old American poor black (blues) and white (country) music traditions, songs by artists like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Blind Willy Johnson, etc.  All the songs that we play have been purposely chosen to be recognisable (such as ‘Let the Light From Your Lighthouse Shine on Me’; ‘Glory, Glory, Hallelujah’; and ‘I’ll Fly Away’), all have simple choruses so the audience can sing along with us.  The songs have their basis in rural poverty and contain strong expressions of faith – despite the difficult lives that the song writers and their contemporaries led. We aim to share these songs in different settings. These traditional Gospel songs have an uplifting spiritual edge, blended with musical influences from folk, blues and country. Our regular gigs are inclusive and all are welcome to join us. To reflect this, we describe the coming together of instruments and voices as the Gospel Bell collective. There is a rich tradition of Gospel music and Gospel Bell sustains this by drawing on blues, folk and country music influences to re-create these songs. Our songs are easy to learn and by joining in with voice and instrument, event participants become part of the Gospel Bell collective.”

This will be a great event for all to attend and even sing along with the band!

Tickets to be purchased before the event from Shrimp Christy, Ingram Lloyd or from the Shop.

Cost £10 per adult and all children over 11 years old.  Children under 11 years £2.

Refreshments will include cake, sandwiches and tea.  Any offers of help will be very welcome

This is a fund-raising concert and all proceeds will go to St James the Less

Shop Supervisor (Part time) required for Sulgrave Village Shop

May 9th, 2018

Village Shop Newsletter for May 2018

May 4th, 2018

April on the Farm

April 20th, 2018

Cuckoo photographed by John Sheppard

Richard Fonge writes:

This has been a late spring, with the wet and cold delaying the planting of Spring crops. They will now be planted a month later than is normal. It has also delayed the application of nitrogen, used to stimulate growth in both corn crops and grassland and therefore production. The cereal crops sown last autumn around the parish now require a fungicide spray. For any crop to fruit it requires the leaf to be kept green so that photosynthesis can take place. A fungicide does just that by keeping the many leaf diseases that attack wheat, barley, oat plants etc at bay. Keeping the leaf free from disease helps to make a bolder grain of corn, of higher quality. Fungicides came on the market in the late 1970s and have greatly increased the yields of all crops, in a safe and positive way, thereby enabling us to feed an ever expanding population. All sprays applied are only done so on the recommendation of an agronomist (plant doctor).

The ewes and lambs have not returned as I write to fields on the footpath to Stuchbury. Instead I noticed a small group of young sheep. I suspect that they are ewe lambs. That is last years lambs who will be bred from next year. The fields from the gated road across to the old railway line are now full of ewes and lambs. They have had a pretty wet time of it but have come through well as their mothers have plenty of milk for them. Lambs are reared on the ewes milk and grass in the main.

Towards the end of April the ground dries up and as the grass grows beef cattle will be returning to the Manor fields and up the gated road. But spring will have truly come when the Swallows arrive. April 10th is the day in a normal year, but we are at least six days behind this year. Sadly the sound of the cuckoo has disappeared from the countryside. Let us hope we hear him again. They usually arrive around the last week of April.

It’s a great time of year to be in the countryside, witnessing all the new life emerging.

Richard Fonge


April 18th, 2018

Some three or four years ago, the footpaths in Little Street were reconstructed. After several months, the contractors returned and spread loose gravel over them to a considerable depth. This was never properly rolled in and it was not long before it spread onto the verges, over the carriageway and eventually and annoyingly into people’s houses via boots and shoes and under the pedals of parked cars.

Repeated requests to the Highway Authority to remove the excess gravel brought nothing more than a visit by a mechanical road sweeper which picked up minimal amounts in between the many parked cars.

At a recent Parish Council Meeting, it was reported that the County Council was more or less bankrupt. Libraries were to close. Bus subsidies would be discontinued. There would be very limited funds for road repairs and these would be restricted to urgent cases. It was clear that further requests for the removal of the gravel would necessarily fall on deaf ears.

During the public forum following the formal Parish Council meeting, the mood of despair gradually changed to one of optimism. “We must fend for ourselves” was the cry. Whilst not quite deciding to appoint our own constable to keep the peace and to educate our own children, it was agreed that an energetic task force of village volunteers ought to be able to remove the worst of the gravel.

So it was that on a recent Sunday morning volunteers with shovels and brooms emerged from almost every house in Little Street and many from elsewhere. A prior request for residents temporarily to park their cars elsewhere in the village was universally observed and by 10.30 the street looked much as it did in the 1940s.

As always with Sulgrave community events, it was a cheerful crowd that swept and scraped and shovelled to such good effect that “job done” was declared well in time for midday refreshments at the local hostelry! It was also a good opportunity for several people newly arrived in the village and indeed in Little Street itself, to meet up with their neighbours.

More photos on the next page. Click on: “Read the rest of this entry”.

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Grant Aid for Refurbishment of the Church Hall

April 16th, 2018

Outside the Church Hall on Village Produce Show Day, September 2011


The CEF fund has been created: “…… to add benefit over and above committed mitigation and statutory compensation to communities along the route that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of Phase One of HS2 from London to West Midlands.” Communities coming into that category are invited to make applications for grant funding of up to £75,000, which is to be targeted at the voluntary/community sector, including residents’ associations, constituted community groups and so on. Possible uses of the grant funding includes the provision of enhanced or new community facilities.

Sulgrave evidently qualifies as a village which will be “demonstrably disrupted” by the construction works and which could certainly find a use for funds to the benefit of the community. With this in mind, an application for funds to improve the Church Hall is being made by Ingram Lloyd on behalf of the Parochial Church Council (the building being in Church ownership) and Councillor Anna Faure on behalf of the Parish Council. A village meeting to discuss this matter was held in the Church Hall on Thursday 12th April.

Councillor Anna Faure reports on this meeting as follows:

The hall was previously used as part of the Vicar’s grounds – dating back to the Georgian times. Subsequently, additional Victorian additions made (red brick). Further modifications (of no architectural significance) are the entrance hall and kitchen. However, the planners don’t want us to touch this.

Over the past 6 months we have been exploring potential opportunities for the site, including alternative options for relocating the hall and have concluded that this option is not viable due to a) if current premises sold, all proceeds would go to the Diocese and therefore nothing returned to the village, and b) other suggested sites were also no longer suitable (Madame’s Close – green space and area adjacent to Towrise unsuitable).

Whilst most of us would welcome a brand-new state of the art village hall, we’ve had to recognise that from a pragmatic point of view and taking into consideration the limitations imposed upon us, this is not viable.

So, bearing this in mind, we sought pre-planning advice on refurbishment both

from detailed consultation at Towcester with planning and conservation officers, and from seeking feedback from the village. We did this by way of a survey and an open forum held on 12 April 2018. We were tremendously appreciative of the turn out, which showed a keen interest in our efforts so far and that the majority of the community is in favour of the grant application and approach.

Currently the PCC is the leaseholder of the hall. For the purposes of the grant, it is in the village’s best interest for the PCC to apply for the grant as it fulfils a significant number of the requirements of the application. The PCC and PC are in accordance with this arrangement. Subsequently, if in the event of a successful award of grant, the PC will join the PCC as joint lease holders and therefore co-tenants.

The Diocese has agreed that the current lease will be extended for 30 years. There will be a new rent to pay – as yet not set – however, it is planned to set this as low as possible.

The Survey results

We circulated a survey to residents and have had a very positive response. The survey asked nine questions, through which we wanted to demonstrate that we’d consulted the views of the village.

There are roughly 250 households in the village, and we have had in excess of 100 responses including children under the age of 11.


Key areas for refurbishment?

83% felt that the hall would be of benefit to the village community from being refurbished

Toilets, heating, damp , lighting, heating, ambience were the most favoured improvements.

More news next month

Anna Faure

The Star Inn Aunt Sally Team look forward to the coming season.

April 9th, 2018


Team Captain Richard Fonge invites team members and friends to an evening at the Star.

Richard writes:

The Star Aunt Sally Team are looking forward to a new season in division three, with new teams to play and new players to welcome to our group. The first match of the season is on the 3rd May away, with the first home game on Thursday 10th and alternative Thursday’s thereafter till the end of August. Old foes are Banbury Cricket Club, the Reindeer with two teams, and the Dolphin. New are the Banbury Cross, M-Cheney Social Club, Butchers Arms Kings Sutton, General Foods and the George at Barford. Our highest scoring player of last year was Charlotte Cherry, who has been a leading light for many years finishing in the top ten scorers in the league, whilst retaining her crown as the Ladies Single Champion. This year, in conjunction with the Star, we are having a Barbecue on the afternoon of the 19th of May to celebrate the Royal Wedding, where there will be an Aunt Sally Competition and other activities going on. Please look for further information in the Newsletter. Further advertising will appear in the Pub and Shop and also on this website. Please do join us for a village social occasion the celebrate this special day.

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