Village Advent Celebrations 2019. December 9th. The Chestnuts, Little Street.

No baby in a manger this time but the message is the same – “No Room at the Inn”. A remarkable simulation of a homeless person sleeping in a cardboard box. The reality of this situation was brought home to onlookers when the sleeping bag moved. There was someone in it – a volunteer whose elbow can just be seen. The theme of this window provided a timely reminder that not everyone is out partying for the 24 nights of Advent.

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



Chris and Mel, our hosts for the evening, at the doorway of The Chestnuts.













As more and more people arrived the usual air of merriment prevailed….


….until the window was unveiled……






…..and a more thoughtful mood soon became apparent.



On this mobile phone a carol was playing. Not just any old carol but one written by Becca, the daughter of our hosts when she was just 10 years old. She called it the Cardboard Box Carol and the words are as follows:


Just as Mary and Joseph were homeless,

Searching for a room in an inn,

Many people are now out on the streets,

They are cold, hungry, tired and thin,

The holy child was born in a stall,

In a stable, lonely and cold,

Many homeless people must sleep in a box,

Made of card, whether young or old.


The three wise men brought gifts for a king,

Of gold, frankincense and myrrh,

For a homeless child to get just one gift,

A miracle would have to occur.

We spend our money on costly toys,

That we don’t really need at all.

We are so wrapped up in our silly gifts,

We don’t answer the homeless’s call.


In the world today there is death and war,

And the root of it all is greed,

We should share all the year, not just Christmas time,

For we have much more than we need.

So please do think of the homeless ones,

What must Christmas time mean to them?

No tree, no gifts, no turkey plump,

It’s always been the same, now and then.


Out of the mouths of babes and infants, indeed.




A special recording of the carol had been made but, sadly, a loudspeaker malfunction prevented it from being played to the onlookers. However, copies were handed out and discussed.

Chris and Mel support “the Porch” an Oxford charity which for 30 years has been devoted to helping the homeless and vulnerably housed in that city. In its own small way, the Sulgrave Community Shop makes a contribution to this work by stocking and selling “Porch Preserves”, a range of organic jams and chutneys using ingredients grown on the charity’s own allotment or donated to them. Homeless people are involved in making the preserves, designing he packaging, labeling and selling. These experiences give them the chance to gain new skills and prepare for employment. Mel’s sister is a volunteer with the Charity, involved in making the “Porch Preserves”.

More details here on “the Porch” website

More information about the charities shown on the advent window can be found as follows:

The Salvation Army, Banbury

The Icolyn Smith Foundation

Banbury Young Homelessness Project

Emmaus Oxford


The lovely little cottage called “The Chestnuts” on the edge of Madam’s Close considerably predates the Little Street properties standing between it and “Wootton House”. Through the village website I received a request from a lady in the US who was researching her ancestors. She also included the above photograph, probably taken in the 1920s. She had a particular interest in Isaac Wootton who was my great-grandfather. He built Wootton House as a wedding present for my grandfather Joseph and his wife Catherine (née Taylor) in about 1880. It seems that Isaac Wootton’s daughter Mary Jane, born in 1867, married Arthur Fenemore in 1887 and they lived in Chestnuts, possibly from 1887 until she died in 1934. Apparently The Chestnuts was a private school during the early years of the last century.

Colin Wootton


Another Chestnuts ground floor window.


2 Responses to “Village Advent Celebrations 2019. December 9th. The Chestnuts, Little Street.”

  1. Angharad says:

    What a poignant important and true global message.

  2. Ingram Lloyd says:

    A good reminder for us all, Thank you Mel and Chris, a thoughtful opening

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