Brackley Community Hospital. Progress Report. September 2020.

September 13th, 2020

See here for a Progress Report by Caryl Billingham MBE, Chairman of Trustees.

Despite the cancellation of the Pop Up Picnic to have been held on Castle Green, the raffle to raise funds for the Brackley Community Hospital will still go ahead, with tickets being sold in the shop and the draw to take place on Saturday the 19th.

Pop Up Picnic Cancelled!

September 11th, 2020

Parish Council Announcement:

With the latest announcement from Government, the Parish Council have reluctantly decided to cancel the Pop up Picnic on Castle Green on the 19th of September. Although we can no longer meet up as village, I am glad to say the raffle to raise funds for the Brackley Community Hospital will still go ahead, with tickets being sold in the shop and the draw to take place on Saturday the 19th.  Also if you wish to donate, gift aid forms are available in the shop or by contacting [email protected].

So whilst our community has to wait to party, our help to our new Hospital can go ahead. A facility which is going to be a great asset to the wider community of Brackley and district.

Richard Fonge, Chairman, Sulgrave Parish Council

Sulgrave Produce Show 2020

September 9th, 2020

Despite the coronavirus, villagers came together as usual in September to display the fruits of their labours during the long weeks of lockdown. To minimise the risk of infection it was decided that the event should take place on the forecourt (aka the car park!) of the Church Hall where family groups could maintain social distances. Over one hundred exhibits were displayed and we were fortunate to be blessed with perfect late summer weather. A very happy atmosphere prevailed as neighbours greeted each other with the air of those  thankfully emerging, blinking in the sunshine, as from a long hibernation!

Photographs are presented in two groups, firstly some images of the event and secondly details of all the winning entries. See next page (Click on “Read the rest of this entry”)

Read the rest of this entry »

Notes of Parish Council Meeting held on Thursday 3rd September 2020.

September 7th, 2020

Click here to see the notes of the meeting on the Parish Council Latest News Page.

August on the Farm (2020)

August 21st, 2020

Richard Fonge combining at Stuchbury in 1966

Richard writes:

August started out fine with the combines at work, but with this wet spell in the middle it now looks as if an early harvest will not be happening. Spring barley and spring beans up the Moreton road are nearly ready, as is the wheat up the concrete road. This is a crop I have been closely following. It was sown into a good seedbed and has despite the very dry April/May ripened into what looks like a high yielding crop. I expect it will go for bread making. As a retired farmer I get great pleasure seeing such a crop develop, similarly with the lambs reared on the Stuchbury footpath, with the weaned ones now eating the stubble turnips. These lambs were born to good ewes and sired from quality Rams. That can be seen by their conformation with the meat being laid down in the right areas.

Two crops seen in the area are what are called green cover crops, sown to land where no normal crop has been planted, (this year due to the wet Autumn/winter). They have been planted to stop soil erosion and provide green manure when incorporated back into the soil. One can be seen on the footpath on Barrow Hill. This is a clover growing densely, with the weed fat hen growing through it. The other was the buck wheat plant with its yellow flower, seen up the Moreton road and on the way to Helmdon. Bees love it as a source of nectar. Happy beekeepers!

With yields of all crops expected to be down this year, food security is now a subject very much back on the agenda. With the events of the last six months very much in mind, it makes it so much more essential that we as a country produce the food we require to feed the population. A true sobering fact is that at present we produce 64% of our needs. In other words we would run out of our yearly supply on August the 20th.

The feel of approaching Autumn can be seen with the ripening of the blackberries and sloes, and the gathering of swallows on the electric lines, ready for their migration next month.

Finally a true tale of four brothers, who farmed along the Welsh Lane, the eldest of whom, called Charlie, had a black patch over an eye that he had lost as a boy. They bought a colour television when they first came out and said to a neighbour that it was like this “Our Charlie were now blind and deaf, so us have bought him a telly to keep him happy”. Characters fondly remembered from a bygone age.

Richard Fonge.

Sulgrave Village Shop urgently needs more Volunteers

August 15th, 2020

Sulgrave Village Shop is regularly used and much appreciated by shoppers from many local villages. You do not need to be a resident of Sulgrave to become a volunteer.

See here for full details of the shop.


Village Shop Newsletter for August 2020

August 8th, 2020

Jackie Lonsdale Watercolour Exhibition at Culworth

August 3rd, 2020

Jackie Lonsdale, much missed former manager of Sulgrave Village Shop, has clearly been very busy during the Lockdown period. See more of these beautiful watercolours of flowers at the Forge Coffee Shop, Culworth until 29th August.

Pop up Picnic on Castle Green – Saturday 19th September

July 27th, 2020


Remember! Castle Hill itself is now part of the public open space open to all.

Sulgrave Parish Council invites all residents and friends to a Pop up Picnic on Castle Green on the afternoon of September the 19th. The occasion is a get together for us all after six months of restraint. Dan Webster will be catering, with his excellent teas, which can be pre-ordered or bought on the day for £8 or £15 a double. Alternatively, bring along your own picnic. The Star Inn will be running a bar.

The new Community Hospital being built in Brackley is now near completion and this event will be an opportunity to make a contribution towards the Charitable Trust who are raising funds for the many extras needed. We hope that one of the trustees will be present on the day to say a few words.

Obviously the event will be subject to the Covid-19 guidance in force at the time. Further details to be given in next month’s newsletter but do put that afternoon aside and be part of a unique occasion.

Councillor Richard Fonge. Chairman, Sulgrave Parish Council

July on the Farm (2020)

July 20th, 2020

Polo Pony

Richard Fonge writes:

July is the month which sees the start of the corn harvest. The field of oil seed rape off Park Lane will soon be ready, but it will be some time before the other crops around the parish are ready, as they were Spring sown, and therefore later ripening.

The lambs have been weaned from their mothers. Within three days they have forgotten about each other, and if re-united would not bond back. At four months of age the ewe is ready to be weaned from her lamb if it has not been sold already for meat. The exception are the later lambing Romney Marsh breed, seen in the fields behind Wemyss Farm.

The horse is an ever present animal seen in the fields and being exercised around and through our village daily. These horses, depending on their type have various uses. We have point to pointers, who race over fences and are ridden by amateurs and they are thoroughbreds. The hunter is a thicker set horse, ridden for pleasure and following hounds in winter. These horses usually stand between fifteen and seventeen hands tall. A hand being four inches, and the measurement from ground to the top of the withers. We have polo ponies, a smaller horse as the name implies, used for that summer sport. A quick and nimble animal, often imported from Argentina. And of course the every day hack and pony ridden purely for pleasure.

Together they are a vital cog in the rural economy, bringing much employment, as they have done over the centuries. As a youngster I can remember bringing my pony to be shod by George Gascoigne at the forge in Church Street. With no traffic so to speak, he did his shoeing on the road outside the forge door, or if wet in the trap shed opposite. He was another village character of his day, who had no idea of time, and was upset when the street light went out at midnight, on one occasion, when he was still milking his cow by hand beneath it.

Click here to visit the website page with photographs of the old forge and George shoeing horses.

The past months have been challenging for us all, but here in Sulgrave we have blessed ourselves in the fact that we have a rural setting. It seems that many more people are thinking of moving from an urban to a rural location. In doing so they must embrace the country way of life. Agriculture is the prime industry, shaping the countryside, followed by the horse in many areas and they along with the footpaths and woodland enable us to walk and observe our surroundings, at our leisure as we go about our daily tasks.

Richard Fonge