Village Advent Celebrations 2019. December 12th. No13 Towrise.

12 down and 12 to go! After a day of more or less torrential rain it cleared up in the evening but many guests were wearing their wellies!

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



Welcome to No 13…….























In the early 1950s the Towrise houses were built in the firing line of the occasional well hit cricket ball struck for six during matches in Madam’s close.

Then, as now, the Close was stocked with grazing animals. The mown area of the square was protected by 4″ x 4″ posts to which were nailed three strands of barbed wire. It took the combined efforts of the team and spectators to drag them to the sides of the field and back after the game. The outfield comprised tufts of grass and many cow pats, a situation which favoured batsman who could hoist the ball over both the fielders and the hedges around the Close, which were considered to be the boundaries.

One such at that time was Albert Cleaver, a man used to exercising his muscles between matches with farm work of all kinds. In the picture below he is engaged in a rather primitive form of bailing hay, which tested his balance as he was towed along on the metal sled, levering the bales off the bailer as necessary.

Picture: Colin Wootton 1963

It was not unknown for a ball struck by Albert to bounce off the roof of one of the Towrise houses fronting Manor Road. He tended to get a duck or score in multiples of six!

As a fifteen year old in 1953 I was occasionally picked for the village team if they were really short of players. I didn’t get to bowl, batted well down the order and fielded on the boundary, so my best memories are of going across to the Star for a cricket tea which always included cucumber sandwiches and rasberry jam. Sometimes I think I can still hear the metallic sound of cricket studs on the worn flagstones in the bar.

Cricket in the village ceased at about that time and sadly was never revived, despite several attempts.

However, the team had prospered in the 1920s. The location of the cricket strip at that time can be seen between point A and B on the aerial photograph below.



Martin Sirot-Smith has kindly lent a copy of a score card for a match between Sulgrave and Marston St Lawrence in June 1926.


Fortunately a photograph of the Sulgrave team showing almost all of the above players has survived.

The most remarkable thing about this team was that the opening batsman, Frank Middleton, had lost a leg in the First World War. He batted with a runner, obviously, and fielded where lengthy ball chases were not needed. After returning from France he had married and settled down in Spinners Cottages. He worked as a gardener at Sulgrave Manor until he retired. I well remember meeting him walking to and from the Manor. He was the most cheerful man imaginable. In a conversation about his wartime experiences I felt able to ask him how he remained so good humoured. He replied, very simply: “Well, you see, I only lost a leg whilst so many of the other boys lost their lives”.

Colin Wootton


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