The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Village Picnic on Castle Green and Castle Hill from 1.00 pm on Sunday 5th June 2022

March 26th, 2022

1952 – 2022


An outline of the proposed event is given on the above poster. Further details will follow nearer the date.

The sheep will be taken elsewhere for the day and the whole area of the both the Green and the Castle will be freely available.

See here for some details of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee event in 1977

and here for some details of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee event in 2012.

Police Drop In Surgery. Sulgrave Village Church Hall. Sunday 10th April. 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm.

March 23rd, 2022

March on the Farm (2022)

March 17th, 2022

Green Woodpecker. Photo: John Sheppard

Richard Fonge writes:

March the first month of Spring. Bird song, new life and growth are all around us. This year the sound of the woodpecker tapping away has been sadly missing for some reason. The ash trees up the Moreton Rd are a favourite location as are the Manor trees, but quieter this year. Roe deer are to be seen on the farmland adjacent to the village, usually in groups of four, as are the muntjac deer, a much smaller deer who are voracious eaters of vegetation in gardens and woodlands and along with the grey squirrel need to be controlled when planting any size of woodland.

This week I witnessed a special sight of three pairs of hares charging around in a field, with one pair having a boxing match. There were also three more hares in a field of some twenty acres. What a privilege to be in the countryside at this time of year!

The crops are coming out of winter with most of them having had their first application of nitrogen fertiliser. The barley up Barrow hill will soon be turning green from its rather yellow colour, the oil seed rape on the Moreton Rd is beginning to come into flower, the beans on the Stuchbury path and what I think are oats planted up the concrete Rd are all starting to grow.

March is the main lambing month, and soon the fields across to Weston will be filling up with them. It is so important therefore to keep to the countryside code and keep dogs on leads at all times when walking through stock, and do remember dog faeces need bagging up at all time.

Presenters of countryside programmes and others have the annoying habit to those of us who are countrymen of not using the correct terminology and trying to sanitise the reality of nature at work, and using human terms. For example. Cows have calves, birds hatch chicks, dogs have puppies, they do not have babies. Cattle, sheep and horses produce dung or muck, not “poo”!

Another factor not always understood is that when a lamb, calf, foal or whatever is weaned from its mother, they have completely forgotten each other within a two or three days.

A true event involving cattle manure was an instalment of “Keeping up Appearances” filmed near Leamington Spa where the sitcom was set. A near neighbour of mine had to drive his full muck spreader down a lane and as Mrs Bucket approached in a car, start to spread the muck!

Richard Fonge.

The Jubilee Organ Concert at Sulgrave Church. Saturday 30th April 2022 at 7.30 pm. Soloist: Ian Tracey.

March 1st, 2022

Photograph: Neil Higginson

The Jubilee Organ Concert at the Church of St James the Less is a unique opportunity to hear an organ recital by one of this country’s leading musicians.

Ian Tracey is not only recognised as one of our foremost organists, but he has a world wide reputation through his recitals and concerts. We are extremely fortunate to have acquired his services to play our newly restored Church Organ in Sulgrave Church. For the past thirty years Ian has been the organist at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool whilst giving recitals across the country in which he has the great gift of not only showing his musical skills but also engaging with the audience, making an evening of wonderful entertainment. Many of us so enjoyed his playing at the Inaugural Concert in 2017, after completion of the organ restoration, that we could not resist asking him back for the Jubilee.

Details of the programme will be published when this has been finalised.

Remember the date and book your tickets early. You will not be disappointed. Refreshments will be provided at the conclusion.

Ticket Application Forms in Sulgrave Village Shop and from Joanna Smyth-Osbourne, Rectory Farm: [email protected]

See report on the inaugural concert given in the church by Ian Tracey in 2017.



February on the farm (2022)

February 16th, 2022

Traditional Hedge Laying

Richard Fonge writes:

Forty days after Christmas is Candlemas day the 2nd of February, and there is a saying in farming, that says a prudent farmer should have ” Half his hay on Candlemas day.”
A reminder that while Spring will soon be with us, it can still be some time before livestock can feed off grass alone.

The effect of winter weather on Autumn sown crops can be seen especially in barley at this time of year. It starts to go yellow which is nothing to worry about if you are the grower, as an application of nitrogen fertiliser as soon as the weather permits, will green the leaves up. Nitrogen is essential for the growth of all crops and has a significant contribution to yield. It has become an expensive input, now 250% more than two years ago, so is used carefully in the crops management.

On the land up Barrow hill and along the Weston Rd, hedges are being laid in the traditional way, before stock fencing is put up. In places along the roadside the hedge has been cut off at ground level . This is for a very good reason, as the hedge was weak and thin. By cutting it back hard, it will now shoot out at base and with the planting of some new plants between the stumps, a much improved boundary hedge will be seen in a few years,

Mechanical hedge trimming finishes on the 28th of February, for the obvious reason of bird nesting and what is noticeable is the high standard to which it is done by local farmers and contractors. Maintaining a hedge takes skill and precision, and the value of hedges and the way they shape our countryside has been emphasised by the destruction by HS2 of great lengths of hedgerow, opening up long vistas and exposing buildings and houses previously hidden from view.

So much to do with the management of the countryside has to be viewed in the long term, an attribute not always apparent in Government policy. We are entering a new phase in agriculture policy after our exit from Europe, with many organisations wanting a say in our land management, and we will see in our own parish the effects of those policy changes in time.

Finally a quote from a past village character. When told of the death of a contemporary he replied.  ” That’s funny, he’s never done that before”.

Richard Fonge


Recruits from the County of Northamptonshire needed for the Northampton Male Voice Choir.

February 10th, 2022

Village Shop Newsletter for February 2022

January 31st, 2022

January on the farm. 2022

January 17th, 2022

Richard Fonge writes:

January is behaving as it should with some frosty nights as I write. The new year brings new beginnings, as well as a look back at the past.

These days we hear a lot about people coming to the countryside to live off the land. This is in most cases a life choice. But growing up as a school boy of the fifties it was still a necessity for most villagers. I think I saw the last of a village way of life, that was to change with the swinging sixties. Back then agriculture was the main industry of villages. In 1954 farm workers wages were £7 a week, so to make ends meet it was essential to have an allotment as well as a garden to grow vegetables, keep some chickens, not only for their eggs, but also for the pot or a roast depending on age. I remember the rearing of the pig  and the ritual of its slaughter and being hung up after salting In outhouses and kitchens. It has to be remembered how important the pig had been up to this time to most villagers as their main source of meat. The meat was usually about 75% fat, not good today, but back then when work was extremely physical and often entailed a bike ride or walk to work to an outlying farm it was soon burnt off. Other meat to be taken from the land were rabbits and pigeons. Potatoes were still grown in most parishes and when spun out of the ground in the autumn women and children would come in gangs to pick and put in boxes. These ladies were often very protective of their village and didn’t take kindly if the farmer recruited from a neighbouring village.

In those days with so little traffic, cattle and sheep were driven through the village and the Grafton hunt met in the village centre.

Life has obviously changed and evolved considerably in the last seventy years, but Sulgrave has retained that village community spirit. The only thing missing from those days were the rural characters, with their droll and dry wit. In Greatworth or Grit’orth as it was and is still called by some, there was a man called Freddie Bullock who, when as a baby was seen in the road with just a cloth nappy on a local called out “hello Gandhi” . From that day on he was called by that name.

Richard Fonge

Sulgrave Village Advent Calendar Windows 2021 – No 24 – The Cove, Manor Road.

December 28th, 2021

Christmas Eve with anything but the hoped for Christmas weather. However, the revellers turn out as always!

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Sulgrave Village Advent Calendar Windows 2021 – No. 23 – Kirkleys, Magpie Road

December 28th, 2021

Another family is stricken with Covid and the planned unveiling party necessarily cancelled. However, I am grateful for the permission to take a picture of the window and Graham Roberts for taking it.

Colin Wootton