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GERALD'S MUSINGS
As chronicled in Wagtail, the Parish Magazine in Whittington, Arkholme and Gressingham.
(Most recent first)

December 06 - November 06 - October 06 - September 06 - July 06 - June 06
May 06 - April 06 - February 06 - January 06

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The musings of GERALD - December 2006

It's good to see the Village Hall open again all neatly refurbished and redecorated throughout, what a good job Alice and Evelyn made of the opening ceremony a happy day all round. A bit frightening if Alice's predictions come true and our great grandchildren have to find a million pounds in forty years time for the next face lift, perhaps the committee should be investing a pound per week in the Lottery they might just have the winning numbers by then.

I have just been reading The Turret Clock Keeper's Handbook a friend thought I might find it useful. I only wish I had had it thirty years ago when I first started winding the clock it would have saved learning about it the hard way. Not only do we have the same make of clock as Windsor Castle but the escapement "Double Three- Legged Gravity" invented by Lord Grimthorpe in 1860 is identical to the one used in Big Ben"It is usually used in conjunction with a compensation pendulum in high quality clocks where accurate timekeeping is required", only the best for Whittington!!!

South Lakeland Council passed the planning application for the extension of Hutton Roof Saw Mills so be ready for the extra heavy traffic once the building work is finished, the Parish Council did object and a letter supporting the objection was sent from Lancashire County Highways but that was obviously not enough to change the decision.

If you have been watching Strictly Come Dancing on the TV why not come along to the Village Hall on December 23rd for the Lupton Church Christmas Dance. Music is provided by the Blencathra Dance Band and home made refreshments will be on sale, you never know you may have a hidden talent for the tango, waltz or the cha cha cha, one thing is guaranteed a very warm welcome from the organisers.

I do not think it is right for police driver trainees to turn our narrow twisting Lune Valley roads into high speed race tracks,our roads are dangerous enough with the normal traffic travelling at the correct speed.There must be private circuits around where they could practice high speed training without putting the public at risk.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - November 2006

Congratulations to those very talented ladies who decorated the Church for the Harvest Festival, it really was a picture especially the flower arrangements in the windows they really were beautiful the only thing missing perhaps was a sheaf of corn, maybe next year?

The Trustee's of the Margisson Charity meet in November when the interest from the invested capital is handed out.If you live in Whittington Parish and have just this year started a full time course at University or College you may be eligible for a small grant, could you please let either Sally Hall, Eric Pelter or Gerald Hodgson know so that no one who is eligible misses out.

Congratulations also to Steven and Barbara of no. 1 the Chestnuts on completing the Great North Run, we have watched them training for the last twelve months, it seemed hard going at the start but they stuck at it and completed the course in 2 hours 40 minutes raising over 980 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, well done.

The Lancashire Museum conservators tell us that the Georgian Coat of Arms will be finished on schedule, they are so proud of their work they are hoping to put it on display in the Lancaster City Museum in Market Square sometime in November.When we were visiting the studios last month they had just completed cleaning the bottom panel and it was fairly obvious to us that there was some writing on this panel that had been paintedover in 1819 possibly the earlier date in Roman Numerals, unfortunately the lowest panel was the one most damaged by damp and decay but they hope to come up with some answers before the restoration is completed.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - October 2006

We were visited by Joan and Colin Millar from Australia last month, they had been in touch earlier in the year trying to trace a branch of the Sewart family who moved to Whittington from Casterton in the eighteen hundreds. They had already obtained a copy of a marriage certificate of a relative and looking around the Church Yard found a gravestone with more family names engraved on it.Colin and Joan emigrated from Liverpool a number of years ago and hope to return in two years time to celebrate the city's capital of culture celebrations.

You may have heard that Hutton Roof Saw Mills have applied for planning permission to extend their premises into the adjoining field at Hutton Roof and so increase the capacity of the saw mill.Unfortunately two of three access roads to the mill come through Whittington and will probably mean an increase of the heavy traffic on Church Street and Sadler Nook Lane to Low Biggins. I believe both Kirkby Lonsdale Parish Council and the Civic Society have objected to the plans and there are also objections from Burton in Kendal residents, let's hope good sense prevails.

The swallows have flown south once more, the ones we have been watching only flew from their nest a few days before they took off for their winter quarters, isn't it marvellous that after only one weeks flying they can set off on a five thousand mile journey and will no doubt be back here flying around the Church early next April.

Denis Westmorland will be back playing his own brand of Lakeland and country music for dancing in the Village Hall on Saturday October 21st at 8pm raising funds for Lupton Church, good to listen to even if you don't dance.

What a wonderful fruit year it has been our fruit bushes and trees have been laden down and we have been busy making jam and preserves ready for winter, it will help us remember a red hot summer as we tuck into toast and home made jam at Christmas.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - September 2006

The Heritage Society have heard from the Lancashire Museum Conservation Studios that they have now moved into their new premises at Preston and hope to have completed the restoration of the Royal Coat of Arms by late September or early October.We will be visiting their new studios on September 28 th.at 10 am to watch the conservation staff at work, and finish off the day at the Lancashire County Archives to look at some of the Whittington material stored there. If you would like to join us that day please let us know you would be more than welcome.

Congratulations to Hillside resident Major Tim Wood of The Royal Engineers on his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. Tim will take up his new post after completing a six months tour of duty to Iraq.

The next time you speed past Storrs Hall on the way to Carnfoth or the motorway just slow down and take a look at the short retaining wall on the right hand side of the road, half way along you will see a small recess that used to be a horse trough until the County Council roadmen diverted the water supply to prevent the water flooding onto the road in winter. Also notice the row of square holes half way up the wall, when it was first built about 1855 a hawthorn bush was planted in each hole they were then trained to grow up the front of the wall and formed a neat clipped hedge on top. Sadly they all slowly died off and it was impossible to replace them without dismantling the wall, I believe it was quite a unique idea that didn't work out in practice.

Storrs Hall was rebuilt in 1702 and the Tower was added in 1850 at this time there were two cottages standing in the field in front of the Hall just below where an ornamental pond now stands they were left empty and became derelict and were eventually pulled down and the stone used to build the shippons and stables at Storrs Gate farm.Access to the cottages was via Storrs Hall back drive which was then a green road it carried on past the cottages to the river bank where it turned left, crossed Bainsbeck over a wooden bridge carried on up the river side joining the village road at Ferry Cottage.Horse drawn carts hauling stone out of the quarry in Quarry Wood which backs onto Rabbit Lane also used this old road to deliver building stone to the village builders.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - July 2006

Catherine Newstead has now finished mapping the Church Yard and has marked the position and numbered all of the grave stones, the total so far is one hundred and ninety five this does not include the memorials inside the Church which will be included later. The next job is recording all the writing on the stones, this could prove to be quite difficult as some of the older stones are badly eroded, others have no names just initials carved in the old stone.

The Heritage Society has now acquired the complete list of material that concern the village held in the County Archives at Preston, the Church registers 1558-1764 are the oldest along with tithe awards, alms books, faculty papers,P C C minutes and school records from 1765--1979 also there is the mole rate book plus lots of material concerning the Dawson Green family all very interesting.

The Heritage Society has now acquired the complete list of material that concern the village held in the County Archives at Preston, the Church registers 1558-1764 are the oldest along with tithe awards, alms books, faculty papers, PCC minutes and school records from 1765--1979 also there is the mole rate book plus lots of material concerning the Dawson Green family all very interesting.

I have been asked why the dairy and the tea rooms were built at Home Farm and what were they used for? I think the answer is that they were built as early training aids.The Rector the Rev William Carus Wilson ( who started Casterton Girls School) was persuaded by Mrs Green from Whittington Hall to start a girls school at Whittington as it was generally thought at this time that there was no need for girls to have a formal education, a school was started in a building where Church Close now stands. The girls were taught the three R s plus religion singing and needlework and by the time the new school was opened in 1876 it had become so popular that over sixty girls and young boys were attending each day travelling from all the local villages. The girls left school aged thirteen and the only work they could find was either as a domestic servant in one of the big houses or dairy maid on a local farm so I think the girls would spend the last year at school learning about making butter and cheese in the dairy and the duties of a house maid in the tea rooms.What I didn't mention last month was that the dairy and tea rooms are part of a private house and cannot be visited by the public.

At least one brood of pheasants hatched out in the Church Yard, there was also a nest of wild ducks close by the sun dial, I have also seen gold finches, chiff chaffs, flycatchers and willow warblers plus all our common birds quite a haven for wild life but I haven't heard a cuckoo this year, they must all be at Austwick.

Late Addition

Peggy Woof who died recently was the last Whittington Village shop keeper, a tradition going back hundreds of years. Peggy was born at her grandparents Scar End Farm which is close to the Ingleton water falls walk. She would often help her Grandmother in a small cafe attached to the farm supplying refreshments to the tourists. She was a pupil at Whittington School leaving at the age of fourteen and then working at a drapers shop in Kirkby Lonsdale, she met her husband Ernie who was a Ribble bus driver on the Carnforth to Kirkby Lonsdale route, they married and moved into No 7 Crosslands when it was first built.

After her family had grown up she took over the village shop and worked very hard to make it a success. The village was a lot smaller then and the supermarkets being built all around made a small shopkeepers life more difficult but Peggy was determined to keep going as long as she could. The shop eventually closed in the early 1990's and a presentation was made to Peggy in the Village Hall to thank her for the work she had done on behalf of the community.

Another village stalwart has passed along she will be sadly missed.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - June 2006

The Heritage Society's visit to the Conservation Studios at Blackburn last month was a great success, we were met and shown round by Phillip and Janice who are busy cleaning and restoring the Royal Coat of Arms.The timber work is now complete and the task of cleaning the paint work is underway, what a contrast between the newly cleaned and the old dirty surfaces and how lucky we are that it survived. One thing that amused me was the expression on the lions faces, there are eight of them altogether each one of them different, varying from grinning to grimacing I'm sure the artist has used his friends and relatives as models.The studios are moving to new premises in Preston shortly and we have been invited to visit them and watch the restorers at work, if you would like to come with us you are more than welcome please let us know.

A week after our visit Radio Lancashire visited the Blackburn Studio's and in a radio interview Phillip and Janice told the presenter all about The Coat of Arms how it was found, how it had been lost for 130 years and how well it will look back in the Church.

Lord Reay very kindly allowed us to look around the recently refurbished Home Farm Dairy and Tea Rooms they really are beautiful.The octagonal dairy has a vaulted ceiling with a lovely cupola window high in the centre with a newly regilded weather vane on the top, there are thick marble slabs fitted around the walls supported on marble columns, four large blue and white tiled plaques decorate the walls each of a young lady depicting the four seasons of the year.The tea room is superb, lovely oak panelled walls a wonderful crafted display cupboard and the original fireplace with a carved oak overmantle has the initials D G (Dawson Greene) and the date 1885.There are upholstered window seats under the north facing windows which are the original leaded stained glass, the top twelve panes are decorated with flowers of the month starting with snowdrops in January through to Christmas roses in December, one other window shows the four seasons of an apple tree with blossom, leaves, fruit then bare branches.There is a deep veranda around both buildings with sheltered seating outside the tea room, all the floors are red tiled throughout. It really is well designed and built and I well imagine the Architects being Payley and Austin of Lancaster the woodwork by Waring and Gillows and the stained glass by Shrigley and Hunt of Lancaster. How lucky that the house has survived in it's original condition and that careful refurbishment has improved a really lovely building.

Our neighbour Peter Bibby, managing director of Bibby's Coaches of Ingleton and his son Chris visited The Brighton Coach Rally recently, Peter won the cup for the "Director Driver of the Year" Chris went one better and won the "Coach Driver of the Year" trophy, not bad for a small local family firm to have the two best coach drivers in the country.

Please try and keep the village as tidy as possible for the Best Kept Village contest, we know it isn't the prettiest village in the County but at least we can show the judges we care and are proud of our surroundings.

Have you noticed the pheasants nests in the Church Yard? three up till now let's hope they survive and hatch out.A neighbour has a pheasant nest under the bird feeders in their garden, clever bird, better than meals on wheels.

The ladies of our local W I have asked me to lead a walk around the village on Monday night June 12th to point out places of interest, if you would like to join in and learn a little of the village's history I'm sure you would be made most welcome.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - May 2006

(Gerald's musings missed last months Wagtail magazine, even though they were on the website. So this month I have only provided those words which Gerald changed between April and May. Gerald will be in full musing mode by June. [Editor].)

Oh Alice what were you doing your supposed to be taking things easy and acting your age not falling over and landing in hospital, all your friends are thinking of you and hoping to see you home in the not to distant future.

Peggy Woof is another missing the Tuesday pensioners lunch, after a time in hospital she is now recovering in a convalesant home at Morecambe, hurry up back ladies the village is missing you.

The mapping of the Church Yard is progressing, the weather hasn't helped and the job will speed up as the weather improves.

Stuart Close has just informed me that the swallows were back at Docker Hall on April the l2th, a week earlier than last year, maybe they are better weather forecasters than the Met Office.

Once again the flowers in the Church Yard have been a beautiful picture, they have been greatly admired by many of the walkers who sit for a while admiring the views, are there no poets in the village who could better describe this wonderful panorama?

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - April 2006

I'm sorry I apologise I got it wrong there is a Roll of Honour Board in Arkholme Church with the names of the villagers who fought in the first World War and it has had a very nice face lift at the same time as the Church was redecorated, but there isn't one for the second World War although I believe the P C C are going to discuss it at their next meeting and then perhaps my friends can see a permanent record of their relatives names and we will remember the sacrifices they made on our behalf.

My good neighbour Alan Wood has moved to live with his younger son Chris at Ulverston, Alan the man with the three legged rescue sheep dog Jill, he always had time for a kind word and was always willing to lend a hand, he helped plant the flower border in the Church Yard he swept the lower footpath steps and helped trim the grass and the trees.You had a job catching him at work as he was always up at the crack of dawn and had his tasks finished before us mere mortals hit the streets, all his old neighbours wish Alan well in the future.

Members of the Whittington Heritage Society are hoping to walk the village footpaths this summer practicing on the easier ones at first and leaving the hardest from Docker Hall to Hutton Roof last. If you would like to take part and see parts of the Parish from a different perspective let us know you are most welcome to join in.All the walks are on registered footpaths and suitable for all age groups.We are very flexible and wont be walking if the conditions are bad so let's hope for a nice dry summer.

Heritage Society members are arranging to visit the Lancashire Museum Conservation Studios at Blackburn on Wednesday the 26th of April to see what progress has been made on the Royal Coat of Arms. We are told that all the woodwork has been repaired and stabilised and that the cleaning of the paintwork is proceeding nicely, if you would like to come with us and watch the conservators working on their varied projects please let us know.

April is almost with us, can you believe looking at the snow on the ground that the swallows will be here in less than a month's time, last year they were back at Docker Hall on the 19th let's see how reliable their time clocks are this year, keep watching the skies.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - February 2006

I was talking to some old friends from Arkholme recently about old times and it was mentioned that Arkholme was probably the only village around not to have a roll of honour board with the names of the men and women who fought in either of the two world wars. Surely any one of us who grew up in the village during the war years could recall the names of the people called up to fight for their country. If anyone is interested could they let me know and we will see what can be done.

The Joiners Arms Arkholme. I have been asked occasionally where the Joiners Arms was situated, I have Mr Edward Ward from Nether Kellet to thank for giving my sister this information. The Hotel was what is now Chapel Cottages, it was bought by a local group who wanted to build a Wesleyan Chapel. The hotel was converted into two cottages and Mr Francis Pearson of Storrs Hall donated the land on which the Chapel and car park were built. There used to be a well in the roadside opposite the cottages but it was filled in some years ago.

Further to my story about the Reverend Theodore Bayley Hardy last month, almost certainly one of the Reverend John Hodgkin's photos of a Reverend gentleman in his motor cycle side car could be of Mr Hardy.

The Heritage Society has recently obtained copies of the old village tythe maps showing the outlines of every field and enclosure in the Parish. All we want now is someone to tell us the names of all the fields as some of the names go back hundreds of years and it would be a pity to lose track of them. Every plot of land is numbered No. 1 being the field opposite Lime Kiln Cottage and No. 823 at Keer Falls Farm, quite a daunting task.

The dance held annually to raise money for cancer charities this year raised 1,605 which will be divided between McMillan Nurses and Cancer Care charities well done the dancers.

Shows how well read the village web site is, already this year John has had enquiries from two families in Australia tracing relatives born in Whittington, first was for William Hodgson the butter dealer of Cross House, the second for William Sewart who's family were all listed as Cordwainers (shoemakers) in the 1851 census, in both cases John's researchers have been able to answer their queries.

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The musings of GERALD - January 2006

I have just been reading the biography of that very brave man The Reverend Theodore Bayley Hardy VC DSO MC the Vicar of Hutton Roof, who at the age of fifty four in 1916 volunteered for the army Chaplaincy Service.He went to France where he was appointed Padre to the 8th Lincolns and 8th Somerset Battalions and for the next two years when they were in the front line he spent the nighttimes searching 'No Mans Land' for wounded soldiers, on one occasion he spent 36 hours in a waterlogged shell hole comforting a wounded soldier before the stretcher bearers could reach them. He was appointed Chaplain to the King who tried to persuade him to take a less dangerous post but he refused to move and was shot by a sniper and died of his wounds just a month before the war ended in November 1918.

Theodore Hardy started life as a school teacher and was for a time Headmaster of Bentham Grammar School before moving to Hutton Roof, he must have been a good friend of Whittington Rector John Hodgkin as he was asked to lead a service of remembrance held for him in Lupton Church.The book is called 'Its Only Me', Author David Raw, it is priced 10 and is available from Hutton Roof Post Office which is only open on weekday mornings. It is a book full of local interest, and photos of the terrible conditions the first world war was fought under, and just goes to show that the tough guys of this world aren't necessarily the bravest. Reverend Hardy thought his mission in life was to look to the well-being of his troops, he marked passages in his prayer book which he carried with him at all times and was convinced of his own belief and faith, how else could he endure for two years in those horrific conditions without it.

Thomas (Tommy) Hayton who died recently was the last surviving of eight sons born to Braithwaite and Isabel Hayton of Bainsbeck farm. Tommy stayed at home to look after his mother and father when they retired to the Police Row, after their death's he was head waiter at The Royal Hotel at Kirkby Lonsdale before working for the La Fone family he then took over the Ruskin Cafe and finally the Sweet Shop in the Market Square. Tommy was one of the oldest former pupils of Arkholme School and also of Burton in Lonsdale Secondary Modern School which he attended when it was first opened. Tommy was a great village character loved a game of whist or dominoes a bet on the horses and always loved to hear news of his old friends from Arkholme.

Braithwaite (granddad ) Hayton moved to Bainsbeck Farm in 1908 and farmed there for 36 years, an old style farmer who could doctor a horse or cow and was often called on to kill a neighbours pig. He was a gentle giant of a man good with horses, we often wakened up on a summer morning to the sound of the mowing machine. One year corn crakes were nesting in the meadow behind our house and granddad left an uncut island of grass around the nest so it wasn't disturbed all the eggs hatched but the birds never returned, a lasting memory is of him pulling a big hay rake behind him when he was loading the hay cart he always tried to do two jobs at once. A great servant to his local community, he served on the Parish Council for 40 years and was Chairman of the Trinity Sports committee for 43 years, always willing to try something new the sports committee at different times ran Motor cycle grass track racing, hound trails, Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, Sheep dog trials, Maypole dancing and always finished the day off with a Whist Drive and Dance at night. We grew up in villages full of wonderful characters sadly all gone but not forgotten.

Have you seen the Whittington Village web site yet? John Keegan is doing a marvellous job with lots of interesting pages including local history, the Church, whats on, photos of recent events and some old pictures of the village. Without doubt one of the best Lancashire Village web sites.

With the changing bus timetables the Parish Council are wondering if anyone finds difficulty in keeping Doctors appointments or picking up repeat prescriptions, if there is a problem would you let a Parish Councillor know.

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