Village Advent Celebrations 2018. December 22nd. Bell Cottage (formerly The Six Bells Inn).

A very fine and dry night. The narrow lane outside Bell Cottage is filled with people. Fortunately only one car runs the gauntlet during the party!

Pictures on the next page. (Click on “Read the rest of this entry”)


Party goers are invited into the warm and cosy interior……..


….where mulled wine…..


……and refreshments await.



Soon the press inside is such that…….


….the party continues outside.








Who took a peek behind the curtain?



Count down……five, four, three, two, one…..all is revealed!

















1898. Bell Cottage when it was the Six Bells Inn. Little has changed…..


…..other than fashions (and the absolute need for everyone always to wear a hat)!

The Six Bells ceased to be a public house in 1961. One of the last landlords was a rather eccentric man called Bert James. To supplement the meagre income from the pub he worked as a painter in my father’s building business. He drove a dilapidated 1930s Ford car. On one occasion my father’s car was unavailable for some reason and so Bert was required to drive him to Brackley. As they approached Marston Cross Roads (B4525) instead of slowing down he simply put his foot down and sped across without looking either way! My dad said “Good gracious me, why did you do that? (or the equivalent in, shall we say, more forceful terms and the local dialect). Bert explained: “I always think they cross roads be dangerous places to linger!” Apparently he had been doing it for years and there was, of course, very little traffic in the 1950s.

This absence of traffic can be well seen in this picture from the late forties or early fifties;

This was a Sunday afternoon walk along the Helmdon Road just north of the village (hence the only man is wearing a collar and tie). The picture is interesting to me, not just because I know (or knew) everyone in it but for two other reasons. 1. The walkers could spread across the road, chatting as they went, secure in the knowledge that there was unlikely to be a car and if there was it would be going slowly by today’s standards 2. the road surface is well nigh perfect with no sign of a pothole and above all none of the cliff edges that now feature on all our country roads.

Colin Wootton


One Response to “Village Advent Celebrations 2018. December 22nd. Bell Cottage (formerly The Six Bells Inn).”

  1. Michael Constable says:

    Well remember Sunday walks up Helmdon Road in the early Fifties. Probably with 2 dogs as as well as Mum and Dad. Peter’s Bridge and back was the norm every Sunday. That could even be a small me in the picture. Cannot remember now whether we went went Dad was on shift, but it would seem likely as, rain or shine, snow or bright sunshine, Helmdon Road was the place to be. Don’t ever recall walking anywhere else on a Sunday and it seemed much longer then then it does now.

Leave a Reply