Village Shop Newsletter for July 2021

July 26th, 2021

July on the Farm (2021)

July 17th, 2021

Richard Fonge writes:

Last month I said look out for the blue of the linseed crops. Well the one on Barrow Hill came out white but just as attractive to look at. The seed of the linseed is crushed for its oil, and used for medicinal purposes as well as industrial such as in paints. The stems of the straw have in the past been used to make linen, but not so much now having been superseded by synthetic fibres. The straw with its high calorific value is a great source of heat and is used in industrial heating systems.

The barley crop on the right of the Moreton Road will be ripe for harvesting at the month’s end, so please be aware of the combine when the time comes.  Farm machinery has got ever bigger as technology advances and more acres are farmed by a smaller workforce, and this brings its own problems to the farmer as the lanes are no wider and cars are a plenty, so harvest time in particular is a time to be patient when behind agricultural vehicles. Agriculture is the industry of the countryside, so whilst we take in stock and crops on our walks, we must also put up with a little inconvenience. 

The bridleway now sadly boarded up at the tunnel under the disused railway was once a lane to Northampton. The use of our footpaths has changed significantly since cars became more affordable in the sixties. They were once a path to walk to work on an outlying farm, such as Barrow Hill or in my recollection Stuchbury Manor. My father employed two men from Sulgrave in the fifties who walked that path, as we did as youngsters to go to the shop or Annie Berry’s post office in Church Street. These paths were used to walk to neighbouring villages to visit friends and relatives, and as it used to be said “do a bit of courting”.

Today the character of our villages has changed and they are lived in by a much wider cross section of society, so the paths are walked for leisure and exercise, with dog exercising very much to the fore. Dog ownership has grown tremendously over the last forty years or so, putting a smile on many a vet.

Richard Fonge.

See here for more details on footpaths in the parish (including maps).

Parish Council Meeting held at Marston-St-Lawrence Village Hall on Thursday 1st July 2021

July 16th, 2021

See here for a summary of the meeting on the Parish Council “Latest News” page.

Sulgrave Manor. 4th July 2021. Webster’s Tea Room opening and Family Fun Day for all.

July 6th, 2021

Danny and Ryan, taken in the absence of guests!


Masks on and a busy day begins. Perhaps we can begin to hope for a time without masks!

More pictures on the next page (Click on “Read the rest of this entry)

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Proposed Village Flagpole.

July 4th, 2021

The Parish Council has for some time been considering the erection of a village flagpole such as the one in Helmdon. Appropriate flags would be flown to mark special occasions and a suitably prominent site is considered to be the small “green” at the junction of Magpie Road, Manor Road and School Street, as shown on the above map. At the meeting on Thursday 1st July, the Council resolved to seek the views of villagers in respect of this proposal by publishing the suggested site on this website and in the Village Newsletter for August 2021.

Please contact your Parish Councillors with any views you may have on this proposal by 31st August:

Councillor Richard Fonge (Chairman). 

Councillor Will Priestman (Vice Chairman)

Councillor Neil Higginson.

Councillor Mike Powell.


HS2 Works. Imminent temporary closure of road from Magpie Farm to Marston St Lawrence crossroads. 5th to 9th July.

July 1st, 2021

Information from HS2 Contractors:

The Greatworth Green Tunnel Compound is near completion and in
order for it to become fully operational we need to resurface the
entrance junction. Due to width restrictions on the Greatworth / Sulgrave
Road, we will be temporarily closing the road for 5 days for the safety of
our workforce as well as road users while we complete this work.

This closure will be daily for 24 hours from 5th to 9th July. Diversion signs will be in place as indicated above.


Family Fun Day for All at Sulgrave Manor opening, Sunday 4th July 2021

June 30th, 2021

Click here for Sulgrave Manor Website

June on the farm (2021)

June 25th, 2021

Modern hay making, with the hay being stored in plastic parcels as “haylage”.

Richard Fonge writes:

The wonder of nature. We have had one of the coldest and latest of springs, but following heavy rain, and a warm and sunny start to June all the crops have caught up in their growth and look promising for a good harvest. Nature soon takes back after being disturbed, a great example being the Moreton Road verges. Full once again of its natural grasses and wild flowers. The old railway line is another example of natural regeneration. At present there is a countrywide campaign to plant wildflowers where possible, and it should be encouraged, but in our own parish we have two fields of some twenty five acres planted as wild flower meadows many years ago and walked through on your way to Barrow Hill. Besides these fields we have within the parish other small areas not always adjacent to footpaths where wild bird mixtures have been sown as part of countryside stewardship schemes. Farmers take great pride in the stock and crops they rear and produce to feed us, but also in managing their land in sympathy with nature.

We have had much woodland planted over the past forty years on the farms and within the village. These woods and railway embankments are home to many species of wildlife and also provide a habitat along with he bird seed margins for pheasant shooting.

Late May early June is shearing time for the sheep, but this year it is later simply because the shearing gangs from New Zealand have not come over in their usual numbers, because of Covid restrictions and therefore a shortage of shearers. It needs to be warm to shear. When the lanolin has risen the wool falls off much easier. On the Stuchbury footpath you may have noticed a ewe with no fleece. Her wool has fallen off. This has been caused I suspect by a course of antibiotics at lambing time. Wool has among its many uses great insulating properties. A natural product sadly underused. A sheep farmer friend tried to sell fleeces to undertakers to line coffins, but with only limited success. The problem being he didn’t get any customer feedback!

Haymaking in Sulgrave in the 1920s (Bill Branson)

June was always hay making month, but nowadays silage is more likely to be made, or haylage where the grass is wrapped in plastic and preserved that way. To make hay is more labour intensive and at the mercy of the weather. Over the next weeks please look out for and take note of the grass mowing, the rapid growth of the maize at Stuchbury, and the flowering of the linseed at the top of Barrow Hill and at the Magpie junction. A wonderful blue flower.

Richard Fonge

Seven Sulgrave Gardens open for Charity, June 20th 2021

June 22nd, 2021

Seven Sulgrave gardens were open to the public on Sunday June 20th 2021 under the National Gardens Scheme. After months of pandemic misery and a depressing winter, a hint early summer sunshine had suggested a warm, bright, sunny day for the bi-annual gardens open day. It wasn’t to be. The day was cold, without a hint of sunshine and many of the gardeners’ carefully tended blooms had been beaten down by savage rainfall. It was colder on the Summer Solstice, June 21st than it had been on the Winter Solstice, December 21st! Nevertheless, considerable numbers of visitors, many sensibly clad for winter, were cheered by the displays so lovingly prepared during the dull days of lockdown.  Tea and cakes also helped, with one visitor asking for a mug of cocoa upon which to warm his hands!

Photographs of all the gardens on the next page (Click on “Read the rest of this entry.”)

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Pop Up Picnic on Castle Green. Sunday 11th July.

June 20th, 2021