Chitterne Now and Then
Blog Archive - August 2011

Sunday 21st August 2011 - Kneeler 11

This is how the first long kneeler is looking now as it nears completion. Stitchers work in a huddle at one end and soon the upholsterer will come and assess the task before him.

We have been waiting for more terracotta wool from the supplier for several weeks. More is promised but will be a different dye lot, so any spare terracotta has been gathered in to make sure we can finish this kneeler with the wool we have. The result is that stitchers are starved of terracotta wool for their individual kneelers, and several have come to a grinding halt, they can go no further for want of the rare colour.

Wednesday 17th August 2011 - Illuminating Finale

It's finished! I had a few panicky moments painting in the background with coloured ink, I should have followed daughter Amy's advice and done more practising before embarking on the real thing. My painting technique was really rusty, no, actually it was non-existant because I've don't recall ever inking in such large areas before, and large areas need a different technique as I soon discovered. I learnt as I went along, and ended up trying to be more bold with the brush like Quentin Blake than dabbing at it like Sue Robinson.

Whatever, I'm quite pleased with the finished result and the fact that it sort of looks as I'd envisaged it would. I played around a bit with the spacings for the baptismal dates and names, had a last dither over the way the centre "tiles" should be drawn, ruled or freehand? Freehand, like the outside ones, won, and that was it. It can't be hung in the church just yet because there are more baptisms in early September, but soon it will be.

Tuesday 9th August 2011 - Illuminating 3

Thursday 4th August 2011 - Chitterne Pool

Here's a curious thing: I believe our village green was once a pond, or contained a pond, or a pool as the area is called in the 1891 census. There were two clues that aroused my curiosity to start with; "Pool cottages" and "The Pool" were mentioned in the early Chitterne censuses and the All Saints parish map of about 1850 (right) shows the Green coloured in blue, the same colour as the Chitterne Brook.

Then this week a family researcher from London mentioned that her grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Stokes who was born in Chitterne in 1874, told her that as school children they used to dangle their feet in the water just outside school to cool down. Elizabeth Ann was a bright child who reached the leaving standard by age 11, so she was talking about the early 1880's and its unlikely she was talking about the brook as that is dry in the summer.

Everything really clicked into place when I studied a copy of the original 1891 census forms. On there, 5 dwellings are described in the "Road, Street etc., and No. or Name of House" column as "The Pool". The first two dwellings even have "Yew Tree Cottage" added in tiny writing between the entries, so there could be no doubt that it was referring to the area around the present Green because Bow House was called Yew Tree Cottage for many years, and was still two cottages in 1891. The other 3 dwellings are the two Woodbine Cottages and The Poplars.

Several questions arise from this: When was the Pool turned into a Green? The Jubilee tree was planted in 1897 and still stands on the Green now, so did the pool cover only part of the area or was the tree planted after it had been filled in? Are there any photographs of it when it was a pool? Do any of the village elders remember talk of the Pool?

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