Chitterne Now and Then
Blog Archive - June 2009

Monday 29th June - Photo Exhibition

The exhibition of my collection of old photographs of Chitterne was on the village green for two days this last weekend. The weather was great, the people poured in and everyone seemed to like it. The hanging system we had devised by trial and error worked fine and it was easy to peel off all the sheets of photos using sticky hooks and loops for overnight storage. SH had planted some of my own pots up with white geraniums and busy-lizzies to add interest. They looked beautiful in a group at the entrance, and decorating the arrangement of old farm machine wheels loaned by AS.

Daughter 1 arrived unexpectedly from London and I was very glad she was around to help. Daughter 3 had made one of her wonderful signs of individual card letters hanging from fishing line. This we hung across the end of the tent nearest the road. Against the white tent material the black letters looked fantastic and immediately drew admiring comments. So it was well worth the effort.

One of the first visitors was RB, the father of a chap who had dropped in at my house last year when researching his Chitterne ancestors. RB brought with him a large wallet of copied photographs for me to keep! I was amazed, as always, by the generosity of folk. I can't remember having helped his son that much! All eleven photos in the wallet were new to me. They were family photos of the Poldens, mostly, but there was one taken in the first World war of a mass of troops camped out on the very green where we were standing. Incredible. It turns out that RB's wife's mother had been a Polden, Georgina Polden, sister of Ernie Polden the builder who'd lived just across the green in the Poplars. There's more, also with them was RB's sister-in-law, who had brought with her an old photo of Polden & Feltham workers, wanting to know if I could identify the men on it. I had seen a picture very like this one, but I couldn't tell the names until I remembered where it was later that day. I found it amongst a stash of writings and drawings given me by EG some years ago, with the men named on it. A very auspicious start to the exhibition.

First thing Saturday it was cool, but gradually it hotted up and we had to open another section of the tent to let in more air. At lunchtime daughter 2, grandson and dog had arrived so all we picnicked outside under the jubilee tree. DF an ex-villager from Warminster came and was so full of information about Polden & Feltham that I couldn't keep up taking notes. We vowed to meet up for a proper interview at a later date. But of special interest to me was his father having been the one to coat the round end of our house for the Poolmans in 1950, using a mix of Mendip Dust and cement, which dried very hard. The tent was packed with new villagers, old villagers, ex-villagers, loads of people.

Sunday was thankfully much cooler. I was manning the tent alone. The highlights were a visit from RG from Upton Scudamore who I'd met a year or two ago when she and 3 other descendants of the Wallis Titt family came here to visit the Titt graves. Over lunch in the tent she told me that two of them are off to Canada later this year to stay with LT of the Canadian Titts. The Canadian branch have changed their name to Tait. Can't say I blame them, only recently KT from Texas (a facebook contact) said that he suffered terrible ribbing in the army whenever his name was called. Later on I met the new landlord of the King's Head! The family are set to move in soon and hope to open up in August. Hooray! Very many more folk came and I sold eleven books over the weekend. It was a very enjoyable exercise. I am minded to display the rest of the collection next year.

Friday 19th June - Speaking in Tongues

I love words and since I have been reading a good book about them lately I thought of writing in Old English, that is with words from earlier than 1066. So far so good.

The book says that Old English is not our oldest tongue (I want to use 'language' but its from 13thC French), that would be tongues of the Brittonic and Goidelic kind. Brittonic was spoken by the earlier Britons who ended up in Cornwall and Wales and also the Bretons. Goidelic was spoken by the Irish, Manx and Scottish. But as I don't know any Brittonic or Goidelic tongue it has to be Old English. The tongues of the incoming Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings shoved the speakers of the earlier tongues to the edges of Britain. So Old English is the tongue of the Angles, with Saxon, Jute and Viking words thrown in. Middle English has a lot of French words; all English is made the same, with words borrowed from other tongues, 350 other tongues through the ages. It's an amazing (hooray, one of my favourite words and it's Old English!) tool, the English tongue. Hum, that sounds a bit risky (French).

That's it. I'm already missing words like interesting and fascinating (both from Latin), which this book is. Writing in Old English feels like going back to the easiest primers at infant's school. Most of the basic everyday words are there, but the rich embellishing words that add depth and colour to a written passage are not.

Thursday 11th June - Preparing for the Exhibition

The photo exhibition is two weeks away come this weekend. Lots of cutting and glueing keeping me busy this last week. I've almost finished, only one more sheet to do, then there are the signs for outside the marquee and the usual banner for the flower festival in the church.

Daughter A was a great help, showing me the way to do it and leaving me her tools of the trade. My nightmares about getting it all done in time would have come true but for her, but once in the swing of using the set square, steel rule and scalpel I actually enjoyed it. I just hope the weather is good and people come. Here's the plug - the 27th and 28th June on the Green at Chitterne 10.30am to 5.30pm Chitterne in Black and White

Sunday 7th June - Love This

I just love this medium. Five days after I'd posted my last blog about the Coles reunion I had an email from MC who said:

"I’ve been researching my family tree on and off for the last three or four years and have mad bursts of frantic activity followed by lengthy fallow periods when work and sailing take priority..

I’ve just got started again and in my lunch break today thought I would try a Google search on my Great Grandfather to see if anything came up. I’ve tried this tack before but found nothing of great merit. I therefore typed in ‘ “Newbury Coles” Wiltshire’ and your blog miraculously appeared. It was all I could do to suppress a squeal in the office."

You see what I mean? MC went on to say:

"The name William Cary NEWBURY COLES leapt off the screen. Not only are there not that many NEWBURY COLES’s, there are even fewer Cary NEWBURY COLES’s and I knew instantly that we had to be related."

It turns out that MC's great grandfather Robert Newbury Coles was the brother of Louisa Langford's husband James and she is now in touch with CW (South Africa). So this just goes to prove my last comment on my last blog...

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