Archive for the ‘News’ Category

On Castle Green sixty villagers kept the traditional two minutes silence for Armistice Day at 11.00 am on Friday 11th November 2022

Sunday, November 20th, 2022

The village having no outdoor war memorial Sulgrave’s own “unknown soldier” was temporarily removed from near the Stocks to Castle Green for a ceremony of remembrance, including the two minutes silence as the church clock struck 11.00 am and the playing of the “Last Post”.

See photographs on next page (Click on “read the rest of this entry”.)


November on the Farm (2022)

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022

Rare albino squirrel seen in Sulgrave

Richard Fonge writes:

This November we have had some Autumn mists in the mornings, a natural weather occurrence, as opposed to the thick fogs we used to have years back, caused by factory chimneys and household fires. So our air is much cleaner, but the one negative for plant growth is that the sulphur emitted by all those factories is no longer freely available.

Sulphur now has to be applied to our crops to keep them healthy. All crops whether grown organically or inorganically need phosphate, potash, nitrogen, etc plus the necessary trace elements to grow and produce fruit. A good example of the lack of sulphur in the atmosphere is the need to spray the roses for black spot. The food we eat should contain all the necessary elements for a healthy balanced diet.

This has been one of the best autumns ever to sow and establish crops, and this can be seen across the parish. Those of you who take the Stuchbury footpath will have noticed that two fields have been sown into grass, after the maize. This has been done firstly to keep the soil structure together and secondly to feed back to the soil some organic content when it is cultivated back in next spring before the re plant of maize.

The oak trees have produced an abundance of acorns this year, making plenty of food to be stored by the squirrels, of which there are many scampering about.

The grey squirrel can be quite a destructive animal, especially to young trees, where they strip the bark to get at the sap, and in forestry situations they need controlling. Don’t them let get into your roof space as they will chew through electric cables.

Finally, I was told always cut your cloth to the situation. Seeing all those earth moving trucks parked up on the HS 2 site reminds me of this story.

A country parson had invited his Bishop to stay the weekend and preach at the Sunday evensong. However it snowed heavily and only a local Farmer turned up. The Bishop proceeded to take a full service lasting nearly an hour. As the farmer left he turned to the Bishop and said a word of advice .”When I go to feed my cattle and only one turns up, I feed accordingly, I don’t give them the blooming lot”

Richard Fonge.


Sulgrave Village Hall Use Survey

Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

Sulgrave Camera Club Event at the newly refurbished hall

As you are likely aware, after a lengthy period of renovation we now have a village hall that we can be  proud of.

The hall is an amazing asset for all of us, but now we need your help to know how best to use it.

We’ve created a really simple online survey that should only take a couple of minutes to complete, but will provide enormously valuable feedback. Thank you for your contribution.

 Click here to start the survey.

Mike Powell


Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire presents the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to the Sulgrave Village Shop Volunteers

Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

On behalf of all the volunteers, past and present, Joanna Smyth-Osbourne receives the Award from James Saunders-Watson, Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire.

It is now some time since the news first broke of the grant of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to the volunteers at Sulgrave Village. The formal presentation of the Award has been somewhat delayed, not least by the death of Her Majesty. To save unnecessary repetition it is suggested that those viewing this item should first read the background to this Award, as published earlier on this website.

On Friday 14th October, the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders-Watson, visited the village shop in order to make the formal presentation of the award, comprising a crystal and a certificate.

Robin Prior on the left, Shop Committee member since its formation, welcomed the Lord Lieutenant, together with Joanna Smyth-Osbourne, representing the many volunteers. The crystal is being presented to Joanna and the certificate can be seen in the background.

The certificate (click on the image to enlarge it).

See next page for more pictures of the presentation event, for which I am indebted to Jo Powell, member of the Sulgrave Camera Club.

Click on “Read the rest of this entry”


Sulgrave Camera Club Members photograph the Prolisok Ukrainian Dance Troup

Thursday, October 20th, 2022

Winning Photo by Colin Wagman

Sulgrave Camera Club decided to capture the vibrant and energetic Prolisok Dance Troup that visited the village on 27th August as part of the Support for Ukraine fund raising day. The photographers who took up this challenge have since each entered up to three of their favourite photographs for an entertaining evening during our October meeting where the best photographs were chosen, the winning photographer receiving a prize kindly donated by one of the members.

A tough competition with so many fine photographs resulted in the entries being whittled down to the top 7 and an elimination contest then followed to find the winning entry and runners up.

As shown above, Colin Wagman took the prize with his capture of the airborne dancer……..

……closely followed by Will Priestman who caught the energy of the dancers in their colourful costumes……


……..and Graham Roberts’ interpretation of the famous traditional Cossack dance.

Click here to see all of the submitted photos on the Camera Club page on this website.

See also a full report of the event, including Morris Dancers and the usual Sulgrave dog show.

October on the farm (2022)

Monday, October 17th, 2022

Black Bryony on Moreton Road

Richard Fonge writes:

What a wonderful Autumn we are having, with the colours of the season showing up in our hedges and woodlands. The hedgerow fruits are bountiful this year along with the apple crop, although the sloes do not seem so plentiful, for those of you wanting to make the sloe gin. The field mushroom has been scarce, as the weather conditions have not been conducive. Field mushrooms picked early morning and eaten for breakfast with bacon and egg cannot be beaten, especially after a morning milking.

Farmers are now sowing their winter corn. Barley off Park lane, and wheat up the Moreton road, and after the beans on the Stuchbury path. How do I know? Crops need to be grown in rotation ideally. Whilst you can grow barley and to a lesser extent wheat continuously, to maximise yield and reduce disease it is better to rotate. 

An update on the Zwartable ewe mentioned in last months notes. She was bought for the owners’ baby boy. An easily identifiable present!

As a child of the fifties, being brought up on a farm, I have seen agriculture and therefore the country way of life change greatly, perhaps none more so than in any other comparable era. Farms were then mainly mixed farms, with most having a dairy herd, with thirty cows a sizeable herd. Farming was a very physical occupation then, with limited mechanisation. Today it is often portrayed by the romantics as this idyllic way of life. Granted the pace of life was slower but not for the faint hearted . It was hard but rewarding with companionship as you worked, whereas as today it’s a very lonely occupation for many.

As a child I grew up with new life, death and mating,as part of every day life, making you appreciate the wonder of nature and it’s power. Cows in those days had names, and so I as a seven year old when asked by my teacher to write what the main event of the weekend was, I wrote “The bull went for a ride on Mary”.

Villages such as Sulgrave had a population most of whom worked or had a connection to the land. The names of villagers of that time were of interest, with two or three names dominating each community. This has been highlighted to me in reading Martin Sirrot Smith’s excellent cricket history of Marston st Lawrence and Greatworth, where the teams of that time and earlier were made up of only two or three names in many cases.

Much has changed in the interim but Sulgrave remains a rural village, steeped in its past history.

Richard Fonge

Village Shop Newsletter for October 2022

Saturday, October 15th, 2022

Sulgrave Produce Show in the Village Church Hall. Sunday 4th September 2022

Sunday, September 25th, 2022

This year’s show was staged entirely within the newly renovated Village Church Hall. Despite the long, hot summer which dried up so many gardens there were the usual beautiful flowers and worthy vegetables. I have tried to include an image of each of the winning entries and apologise if some are missing.

See next page for a few photographs of the event and images of the winning entries.

Click on “Read the rest of this entry”.


September on the farm (2022)

Sunday, September 18th, 2022

Swallows photographed by John Sheppard

Richard Fonge writes:

September has brought some welcome rain. Our lawns like the grass fields around us are greening up. Grass at this time of the year, has little nutritional value to livestock, compared to the spring when it is high in protein. It satisfies the appetite hence the farming term for it of (fill belly). Cattle and sheep still grow and mature on it but not to the same extent as on spring grass. The most notable example is in the dairy cow’s production of milk. In spring grass she would produce up to 25 litres of milk a day from grass whereas in the autumn it would only maintain the cow with supplementary feed needed to produce the same amount of milk.

The arable fields on the Barrow hill walk have been sown back to grass, as part of a new government conservation scheme. It is also worth noting how quickly the hedge along the Banbury lane to Weston has re-grown in one summer, along with the new planting. Hard cutbacks look vicious at the time, but nature soon re-establishes itself.

On the Stuchbury footpath the rams have gone in to mate with the mule ewes on the 15th September, making the first lambs due on the 7th of February, but there is one interloper amongst them. A Zwartable ewe. These sheep with their distinctive black body, white blaze down the face and four white socks and white tail tip originate from Friesland in Northern Holland, and have become increasingly more popular in recent years as breeding sheep, and can also be farmed for milk production. A friend of mine’s late wife built up a flock some ten years ago with great success. It is always good to see another breed or option to your enterprise being tried out. This may be just a single ewe, with others in another flock, but Farmers are generally open to new ideas of production and management to take their business forward. As my old owner used to say to me, never be afraid to try something new after costing and research, but if it fails, don’t go a second time.

The swallows have now gone to South Africa, and what an amazing migratory bird they are. They arrive around the 10th of April, nest in the same barns (providing they haven’t been converted into houses), and then in late August they start to gather on the telephone lines before flying off to South Africa. This year on my morning walk a dozen or so gathered on the lines up the Moreton rd, to begin with and by the 9th of September they had increased to over eighty. They were there at 8.15 on my way out, and had flown off when I came back twenty minutes later. Who gave the call to go?

Now here’s a likely story. In the fifties a Greatworth man of doubtful integrity was called the “Bird Man”. It was said he caught small birds, coloured them yellow and sold them as canaries!

Richard Fonge

PROCLAMATION OF THE ACCESSION OF KING CHARLES III. Parish of Sulgrave, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom. Sunday 11th September 2022

Monday, September 12th, 2022

Villagers begin to arrive in the churchyard ready for the announcement



Parish Council Chairman Richard Fonge welcomes everyone and begins with an eloquent appreciation of the life of Her late Majesty and also the recent actions and words of the new King Charles III. He also explains that the union flag is required to fly from the top of the mast during the accession proclamation but will resume its half mast position thereafter for the rest of the mourning period.

The ceremony continues with a moving prayer by Churchwarden Shrimp Christy followed by a minute’s silence for her late Majesty, during which the only sound is the faint flapping of the damp flag against the flag staff.

See next page for details of the proclamation itself and more photos of those present.

Remember to click on “Read the rest of this item”