Free Village Event! Leaf Collecting around the Stocks. Sunday 28th October and Sunday 25th November.

October 11th, 2018

Everyone is welcome to join in with the annual leaf collecting at The Stocks area on Sunday 28th October and again on Sunday 25th November. Please bring your freshly emptied Green Wheelie Bin and a leaf rake. Your Parish Council is in the process of encouraging the grass to grow under the two large trees (see above) and so your help in clearing the fallen leaves will be greatly appreciated.

Neil Higginson (Sulgrave Parish Council)

Annual Harvest Supper in the Church Hall. Saturday 6th October.

October 8th, 2018

….Shrimp with her apron and infectious smile….see below

The annual Harvest Supper was held, as always, on the eve of the Harvest Festival Church Service. Rather as at the village school parties of yesteryear, diners provided their own plates, knives and forks (all marked with pieces of coloured wool?) and bottles of wine, merely to drink a toast or two, of course. Cheerful queues soon formed at the tables laden with cold meats, quiches, salads and hot potatoes. The now traditional fruit sweets with meringues followed, after which I had the pleasure of thanking Shrimp and her helpers as follows: “….our wonderful summer now seems to be fading, somewhat reluctantly, into autumn. Harvesting was completed in record time and so here we are once more to celebrate one of the village’s most regular events – the traditional harvest supper. Earlier today I had a look through almost ten years of website photographs of previous celebrations. I was saddened to see how many of our former friends are no longer with us but was heartened to see the youngsters growing up to follow the old traditions. However, the one thing which struck me most forcibly over the entire period was the ever present image of Shrimp with her apron and infectious smile. Without Shrimp and her helpers there would be no harvest supper. I am sure we have once more enjoyed the offerings set before us and the companionship of our friends and neighbours and so I would ask you to join me in expressing your appreciation in the usual way…..

Colin Wootton

For photographs of this year’s supper and access to those of some previous events, click on “…read the rest of this entry..”

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History and entertainment in the sunshine on Castle Green

September 30th, 2018

In order to celebrate the proposed acquisition of the Castle Hill Scheduled Ancient Monument for the village and to raise funds for that purpose, a “Michaelmas Fair” was held on Castle Green on Saturday 29th September 2018. The weather was simply perfect, with bright sunshine from start to finish with a light breeze. Throughout the four and a half hours of the event, a continuous stream of villagers arrived to enjoy the traditional rural pastimes of bowling for a pig*, throwing the sheaf*, wanging the wellie, ferret racing and tractor rides for the children. A barbecue and a tent for teas and cakes provided the necessary sustenance. Drinks were also available from a bar organised by the Star Inn. A demonstration of wool spinning from sheep fleece using the traditional wheel and spindle, powered by a foot treadle, attracted much attention, as did the various knitted garments made from the wool. A further attraction was a wide range of seeds from the harvest, in containers allowing the seeds to be handled, always popular with the children. Also on display was a fascinating variety of old agricultural implements kindly loaned by Marton Museum of Bygones, Warwickshire and two vintage tractors. A cider press in use could also be seen, with samples of the finished product available. Visitors were entertained at regular intervals by live music from the village’s own “Donna and the Delleretts”.

The highlight of the morning session was the appearance of the Lord of the Manor, Lawrence Washington himself, to tell of the harvest in Tudor Times. Equally remarkable was the sight of the Saxon Thegn of Sulgrave himself, making his first visit for over a thousand years, leading the people up on to the mound which covers his one time prestigious wooden hall to tell of life before Ghilo de Pincquini and his followers arrived after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Full details of the history of the site, as derived from archaeological excavations in the 1960s and 1970s, could be seen on display boards in a small exhibition tent.

*As a youngster in the 1940s I attended many local fetes where one of the highlights would be bowling for a live pig – actually a small piglet which lay squealing in a hessian sack until triumphantly carried home over the shoulder by the winner. Farm workers in those days were adept at throwing sheaves of wheat high on to wagons or ricks at times of harvest and threshing (then a separate activity) and there was always fierce competition in this event. Sheaves are now nowhere to be seen and so in the photos which follow it will be noted that a sack of straw was used as a substitute. There were no wellies for wanging in those days since they were repeatedly repaired using bicycle puncture outfits until they fell apart.

The committee wishes to thank the many people who made this event such a success, including those who provided the excellent prizes for the draw.

Colin Wootton (Member of Castle Green Management Committee).

Photographs of this event can be seen by clicking on “read the rest of this entry”.

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Sulgrave features on Radio Northampton!

September 24th, 2018

The midday Helen Blaby show on BBC Radio Northampton features a variety of music interspersed with interviews with people from chosen Northamptonshire Villages, invited to “share your stories from where you live, with conversations, advice and topical items”. Sulgrave was chosen for Monday 24th September 2018 and the following “did the village proud” in respect of their particular interests: Steve and Nikki (Star Inn), Robin Prior (Village Shop), Shrimp Christy (the Church), Will Priestman (Parish Council), Emma Canterbury (Sulgrave Manor Learning Engagement Manager), Martin Sirot-Smith (Former Director, Sulgrave Manor and Chairman of Sulgrave History Society).

If you missed it, click here to listen again (available for 29 days)

September on the farm.

September 19th, 2018

Richard Fonge writes:

Whilst we look upon spring as the time of re-generation and new life, September, the first month of Autumn is the final month in so many ways of the agricultural year, and the natural world. Of the crops we have been following during the year, the beans on Barrow hill were the last crop to be harvested. Due to the vagaries of this years weather it was not conducive for the beans to grow and flower as they should, but that is the lot of any Farmer, who is always at the mercies of the climate, and we are fortunate in this country to farm in such an even climate. The wheat fields up the concrete road, have now been planted Oilseed Rape. This has been done by sowing direct into the stubble (remains of last crop). The plants have now germinated. O.S.R. needs to be established well before winter sets in. Pigeons are a great nuisance after Christmas, grazing the crop and causing damage. Hence the sound of timed gas bangers. Up the gated road can be seen a large heap of black material in a field. This is green compost from the plant along the Welsh Lane. The green waste from our bins is composted there and is returned to the land to increase its organic content. Similar to the sewerage waste I noted last month. Re-cycling with a positive impact on the soil. The maize to be seen off the Stuchbury footpaths will be cut by the months end, some to feed their dairy herd, the majority to go into the anaerobic digester. Finally our ewes I suspect will be returning with the Rams to the field near the village down Helmdon road, and the swallows will be off on their long journey to Africa. No sat navs needed there!! This will bring the year and my notes to a full circle. I have enjoyed the challenge of writing them each month, and will continue to do so if they are being found of interest.

Richard Fonge

Click on “see the rest of this entry” for some pictures of the maize harvest.

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Sulgrave Produce Show – Sunday 16th September 2018

September 17th, 2018

As there was no show last year, it was a great pleasure to attend the resumption of this popular event. Given the near drought which has persisted up to the show day, a remarkable variety of vegetables, fruits, flowers and baked items were on display, with special classes for the youngsters. As usual the show was organised by Maureen Jeffery and Janet Smith, ably assisted by Graham Roberts and daughter Shelley.

Click on “read the rest of this entry” to see the winning entries and some of those who took part:

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HS2 Community Engagement Meeting in the Church Hall on Thursday 27th Sept, 7-9pm

September 13th, 2018

A reminder of Satellite Compounds and Construction Traffic Routes in the vicinity of Sulgrave. More details on the website HS2 Page.

Parish Councillor Anna Faure writes:

HS2 and Eiffage Kier have committed to present their strategy for the works schedule and logistics impacting Sulgrave and the surrounding locale of HS2 on the 27 September 2018 at 7pm. The meeting, which will take place in Sulgrave village hall, will comprise a presentation by them, followed by an open forum Q&A session. All are invited to attend. In the interests of keeping the meeting as objective and efficient as possible, and also to address all concerns, please post questions in written form to the Sulgrave village shop or through my letter box or via email to in advance so that I can prep the speakers. We can take questions from the floor on the night as well otherwise, but these will be lower priority if time is a factor.
I will assume that if you have a question, you intend to attend (if not, let me know). If you don’t have a question, but intend to attend, please let me know.

Last of the Summer Wine!

September 10th, 2018

Carol Churchill writes (in respect of the “Pimms and Tea Party” held on Saturday 1st September):

Many thanks to everyone who attended, provided delicious cakes and
sandwiches and donated money to the Pimms & Tea Party on Saturday.
It was a huge success with over 50 villagers enjoying the warm weather and
a massive £660 raised for the Pocket Park and St James the Less Church.
Also, many thanks to Hywel and Ingram for kindly hosting the party in their
beautiful garden!

A few photographs of the event on the next page (click on “Read the rest of this entry)

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August on the Farm

August 19th, 2018

Photo: Graham Roberts

Richard Fonge writes:

Harvest is now finished, some three weeks earlier than in the average year. A question asked of me recently was what happens to the stems of the corn. The straw as it is known is used to bed the livestock in their winter housing. It then becomes manure which is then returned to the land as an organic material. You will have seen the corn fields around Sulgrave that some have had the straw baled for that reason whilst in others the straw has been chopped by the combine, leaving the residue to be incorporated back into the soil. This is vital for the soil structure. In the fields up the concrete road beyond the bridge and indeed around the area, you may have noticed large heaps of a black material, which is spread after harvest and incorporated into the soil. This is sludge waste from the sewerage works. The sludge and soil are both tested to make sure they are beneficial to the soil and the following crop.

The straw from the linseed is of a high calorific value and can be burnt in burners for central heating. This brings me to the use of crops for alternative energy. As you leave Sulgrave towards the Magpie junction there is a field of maize. Likewise if you take the footpath to Stuchbury, when you get to the parish boundary, it is maize again across a wide area. When harvested later this autumn it will be stored for use in anaerobic digesters, providing electrical power. Most crops have to be rotated but with maize you can grow it continuously without any agronomic failure.

Finally the livestock with the drought we have had, have had to have some supplementary feeding. But the recent rains and shorter days should encourage grass growth. Meaning better Autumn grazing and the sound of law mowers once again.

Richard Fonge

More harvest time photos by Graham Roberts

See Richard’s previous agricultural notes:

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

February 2018

March 2018

April 2018

May 2018

June 2018

July 2018


Fund Raising for the Pocket Park and Church.

August 16th, 2018