Chitterne Now and Then
Blog Archive - September 2009

Tuesday 29th September - Faith Restored

Last night I decided to email the webmaster of the Hampshire Mills Group website. I had a speedy, gracious reply from him (see yesterday's blog) restoring my faith in webmasters. He has agreed to credit my words and the picture and to contact the Crux Easton webmaster for me. Phew!

Monday 28th September - Shaming but unable to Name

To the webmaster of the Crux Easton website whoever you are: You are very welcome to my page on John Wallis Titt that you swiped from the Chitterne history pages of, but it would have been polite for you to have asked me first! I can't say the same for the photograph of John Wallis Titt that you also took as it belongs to Dewey Museum in Warminster, and unlike you I asked them for permission to use it. What's worse is that you had the nerve to add a copyright symbol to your pages! What about my copyright?
If I could have found out who you are I would have contacted you directly, but there are no contact details on either of your pages and the web address is an anonymous freewebs one.

To my regular readers: I have always believed in sharing on the web. Many others have emailed and asked me if they could use my words and pictures on their sites and I have always said yes, but this person really got my dander up and when I tried to find out who he/she is, by emailing the Freewebs home site, all I got was an automated reply which assumed I was a customer and asked for my password. To make matters worse another site (Hampshire Mills) has repeated the JWT page and accredited it to Crux Easton!

If anyone has any ideas on this please email using the link at the top of this page.

(Note: Crux Easton Windmill, Hampshire, is one of JWT's famous ones, it was restored in 2002 and is open to the public.
Since the demise of the John Wallis Titt company I have added more information to my JWT page).

Friday 25th September - Future Thoughts

Spent a few days at Portishead near Bristol and was pleasantly surprised by the place. I had visions of industrial units, shipping works etc, but no it's an up-coming place with beautiful new buildings overlooking a marina, and a Waitrose nearby. Waitrose is one of the few supermarkets I can enter without a feeling of being bombarded by signs, AND I approve of their mission statement. Signs are a modern plague in my opinion, I value space, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that a Waitrose is built in Warminster. Not that I'll stop supporting the small independent shops, but it'll mean we don't have to drive to Salisbury to stock up on things the independents don't have, such as our favourite muesli.

The new homes as always made me reassess my/our plans for the future. What would it be like to live there? Overlooking water might be a problem for me, I'm not keen on water but the view would be nice and it would be good to have a town nearby. After living for so many years in a detached house on the edge of the village would I like being surrounded so closely by neighbours? The last time we lived that way I was glad to get away from the endless coffee mornings and tupperware parties (that shows you how long ago it was!), plus one particular neighbour who drove me crazy with her popping in every day. We had thought to move to a town when our caring responsibilities ended, but now that we are free and have reached that certain age the town doesn't seem so attractive. Other considerations assume priority; our excellent doctor's surgery at Codford for instance, which we might have to give up if we moved, or maybe not given the latest news. No, village life here in Chitterne has been my salvation, so we are trying to discern ways that we might stay here in the village but without such a large house and garden to maintain.

Thursday 17th September - Oil Problems

Help! Our beloved Aga cooker is having problems burning oil that has been specially produced for oil-burning Agas. Is anyone else out there having the same problem? Since we had our first delivery of this new oil in April my Aga has gone out about 6 times, currently it will only keep going for 2 weeks before the burner gets clogged with carbon and has to be cleaned again. Please email me using the link above if you are having similar problems. TB have agreed to remove the new oil and replace with the old kind, and to reimburse our engineer's latest costs, but meanwhile I am suffering and so is my cooking.

Thursday 10th September - Bosworth Battlefield

Yesterday I spent the day at Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park in Leicestershire and I was very impressed with the whole thing: the facilities and the learning experience offered, especially for children. History was never like this in my schooldays. Back then facts were the thing; to remember that the Yorkists fought the Lancastrians in 1485, but as for how the participants were dressed, what weapons they used and how injuries were treated at the time, that didn't come into it at all.

A battlefield centre has been based at this former farm since 1974, the latest developments on the site, funded by Leicestershire County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, include an inter-active exhibition on all aspects of medieval life and warfare; the history of the wars between the Yorkists and Lancastrians; a film of actors reconstructing the Battle of Bosworth; the story of the resulting Tudor dynasty: Henrys 7 and 8, Edward 6, Mary and Elizabeth, and a laboratory-type setting where the archaeology can be studied. All the types of weaponry and armour used are on display and visitors can even try on medieval clothes, hats and helmets in front of a large mirror.

The entrance is through an old tithe barn, which was taken down from Sandiacre, repaired by specialist joiners and re-erected at the battlefield centre between June 2004 and March 2005. The largest part of the barn is a restaurant, with picnic tables outside in the courtyard, another part is a toilet block. The restaurant had two of my favourites, Apple and Mango J20 and Leek and Potato soup for lunch, and I was tempted by the enormous freshly baked scones with butter and jam, but I resisted.

In the last 3 years with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund archaeologists have been trying to find the actual site of the battle. There have been 3 theories put forward on this in the last 40 years. Ambion Hill has been the accepted site since 1974 but latest research now points to a site within the medieval manor of Dadlington. However, until the matter is decided there is no battlefield guide book available and significant places in the battle are still marked using the old theory.

A very pleasant walk on gravel paths around the country park takes you past these spots. First up is King Richard's standard flying on Ambion Hill. Next is the memorial stone which supposedly marks the spot where King Richard was killed. Finally you come to look over the area where the battle is now thought to have been fought, seen here with the Ashby canal in the foreground.

A medieval village, Ambion Parva, has been constructed where costumed re-enactments take place on certain weekends during the year and, every year on the anniversary in August, the battle is re-enacted by 300 costumed participants, presumably on the 1974 battlefield at Ambion Hill, but I'm not sure about that. Maybe they'll have to change the venue if the site at Dadlington is proved to be the correct one. Even with the uncertainty of the battlefield I was still very impressed and I thought how great it would be if there were something of this quality for visitors to Stonehenge.

Thursday 3rd September - Rave Aftermath

The rave was held on MOD land at Quebec Farm off the B390 at Chitterne Ansty. Apparently the gathering of cars in the village in the early hours was due to young people waiting in Chitterne for further texted instructions on how to get to the field where the rave was happening. But that plan was foiled by our lack of mobile phone signal!

Opinions on the rave among villagers vary quite a lot. Some are outraged and others are wondering what all the fuss is about. I prefer to look on the positive side: we had a very quiet Sunday with no traffic rushing past at breakneck speed; we were not confined within the village, D was able to go to his regular Sunday bike club meet via Tilshead no problem; fair enough villagers had to go via Codford to get to Warminster but that often happens when there is an accident on the B390 anyway. People I've spoken to agreed that the young people walking through the village last Sunday were polite and causing no trouble. Of the villagers who live near the site of the police blockade: One villager who had invited some of the ravers into her home said they even insisted on removing their socks as well as their shoes before they would step inside; whereas another villager said the policemen who came into her house tramped straight in with their boots on!

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