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Newest NEWS (Sort of!)

If it's happened, or happening, or going to happen anywhere in The Land of the Twelve Churches...

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And have a look at the 'Older News' pages too

Over-sleeping Beauty: A review

  Gill Allison reviews Filkins Theatre's December Production:

  When the tickets promise “fun, fun, fun…” expectations run high and audiences were not disappointed.  Filkins Theatre brought us a pantomime, Over Sleeping Beauty, true to tradition with modern over notes. 

  When the lights went down and carefully chosen excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s ballet score cued the graceful corps de dancers , there were fairies, and the magic began.  The two youngest twirlers, Daisy and Emilia Chesterman Wright were definitely enchanting, if not enchanted.  If you know your fairy stories and, of course you do, you identified the serious fairies, probably the only straight talking characters in the pantomime, not a silly move or daft joke between them. Azuriel (Lynne Savege, cool in blue) and Carabosse vied convincingly for influence over the Princess Aurora. Evil enchantress Carabosse (Juliet Heslewood), wearing a wicked fascinator fit to startle any horse at Cheltenham Races, disdainfully cursed all around her. How we hissed and booed.

Poster low res 7.jpg

  And who knew that Carabosse had a sidekick, one so grotesque that he was almost laughable. Jeremy Irwin- Singer, the inspired director, took on the part of Domestos and played it revoltingly and to great effect. 

  All the ingredients were there to make a wonderful pantomime meal.  King Cedric, Trevor Milne-Day, deployed facial expressions that almost distracted from the sight of his magnificent cod-piece and Avril Payne as his Queen, Semolina, played the elegant regal airhead to match. Their courtly entrance routine was a triumph. And how did such a pair produce the fair young Princess Aurora (Kate Mowbray)? Ingenuity, time and the traditional pantomime stereotype brought us Amy Genschke’s principal boy, Prince Valiant, delivering smacking kisses to break the 100-year spell. Princess Aurora (now Sue Ashforth-Smith) had changed, just a little, but we recognised her for who she was/is.

  Woven through the tale and highlighting the magic, tripped, stumbled and buffooned the comic characters, ostensibly key court personnel or unliveried functionaries.  The towering presence of Dame Notgoodenough, the Spirella upholstered nanny, failed to intimidate Tickles the Joker, whose effervescent personality persuaded the most unlikely audience participation.  Paul Molyneaux and Sally Peach sparred impressively in these roles. Primed to enjoy ourselves we sang to the pianist’s persuasive accompaniment and groaned as a trio of fools messed up whilst the Barry Heath’s Lord Chamberlain kept a lid on the madness, just. 

  Of course, the performers under the spotlights gave us what we came for and so much more but, and we all know who they are, the back stage and back of the hall crews brought the skills to make it happen.  Thanks to the wardrobe mistress, and how does she do it, wonderful costumes highlighted the magic.

'Parts of the Panto': (The bits the photographer wasn't in!)

Another Broadwell Special...

Annabel Molyneaux writes: "This time, on Sunday 6th November 2022,  we performed the history of the bells in Broadwell Tower - which range in age from 1349 - 2019.  The concert whizzed from 'Sumer is i-cumen in', via the Tudors, Stuarts and Victorians, Betjeman and settings of WWI English poets, to glorious and fantastic trombone performance art (unlike anything you will ever have seen or heard before). 
Performers included: Emily White (sackbut/trombone/violin/voice), Liz Cowdrey (violin/viola/voice), Peter Cowdrey (piano/organ/drum), Annabel Molyneaux (mezzo), the bell peelers of Broadwell, Jubilate, Paul Molyneaux (narrator) ... and others!"

For  info on future concerts:
07919 192377

Concert in Broadwell in The Land of The Twelve Churches

August Raucous

A review from Teresa Smallbone

August Raucous in The Land of The Twelve Churches
Alex Jobling at August Raucous

  My dictionary defines ‘raucous’ as ‘harsh-sounding, loud and hoarse’. So it was with some trepidation that I ventured to a Filkins Theatre ‘entertainment’ on 14th August, even more so as it was billed as ‘audience-participatory’.

  It turned out, of course, to be a delightful event on a hot evening, in the courtyard at Cotswold Woollen Weavers, which was suitably decked with welcome sunshades. Fortified by an initial glass of wine, and some delicious and inventive canapés, ably produced by the FT team, Richard Martin set out the form. There were two platforms and four trays containing piles of paper, marked, in turn, jokes, literature, one liners and poems.  We were invited to pick from one at random and then perform from one platform, while the other was for the next performer. The jokes were said to be ‘clean’, the poems brief, and nothing longer than a minute, or less.

  First up, and she had clearly been ‘volunteered’, was the FT stalwart Sue Ashworth-Smith, who read a joke, quickly followed by FT veteran Julia Neame, with a poem, then newcomer Sarah Jane Poole with literature, then Richard himself, FT leading lady Lynne Savage, and Jonathan from Holwell with a poem, demonstrating that it was not an exclusive Filkins evening, and that there is dramatic talent across the benefice. Jeremy Irwin-Singer, Alan Law, in a splendid hat, Teresa Smallbone, Richard again, Alex Jobling all then showed that the audience were getting into their stride. Emboldened, Ian Andrews, a visitor from distant Lechlade, adlibbed an excellent joke - something to do with penguins - and so it continued.

  There were some stirring moments: Nicky from Holwell, read Auden’s “Stop All the Clocks” followed by Elaine Long with Jacques ‘All the World’s A Stage’ from ‘As You Like It’. WE had excerpts from Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, beautifully read. Later we had Jeremy Irwin-Singer reading the St Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V which he prefaced with a touching recollection of former FT member Ken Baxter MC, and the latter’s description of his progress up Sword beach on D-Day.

  Fortified by several visits to the bar, both before and during the interval, the audience got bolder. ‘Jokes’ and ‘One-liners’, though in truth it was sometimes hard to distinguish between these categories, began to flow thick and fast. Ian Grey, Diane Blackett, Debbie Law, Trish Poole, Debra Andrews, Aidan Irwin-Singer, Jane Martin …all showed that you don’t need a trek to the Edinburgh fringe to enjoy an ‘August Raucous’. Or should that be “Ruckus”... A ‘commotion’?

  Teresa Smallbone

August Raucous in The Land of The Twelve Churches
Diane Blackett at August Raucous
August Raucous in Filkins

16th August 2022


Sunday 17th July, 5 to 6.30pm
Church of St Peter and St Paul, GL7 3QS

Fantastic Birds and Beasts:

A search in diverse habitats​

Jenn Raven (flute/piccolo),

Liz Cowdrey (violin/viola),

Annabel Molyneaux (mezzo),

Peter Cowdrey (piano),

Paul Molyneaux (poetry)​

Birdsong music - Vivaldi, Couperin and Cowdrey

Early 20th century landscape habitats set by Quilter, Walton and Elgar

Some very silly animal poems by Apollinaire exaggerated even further by Poulenc

not to mention a distraught Maiden & a Nightingale, Summertime and What a Wonderful World. 

For more information & to book, contact Annabel on: or 07919 192377

Please come and celebrate BRITISH SONG!

The Art of British Song in The Land of The Two Churches

Friday 13th May at 6pm
This special evening includes a glass of champagne on arrival, the performance of songs by James and Nathan of British composers over the past 100 years, a piano interlude, and wine and canapés after the performance.

The Programme will include:

Ivor Gurney:
A selection of songs including The Salley Gardens and Desire in Spring
Rebecca Clarke:
Magical settings of John Masefield’s poems
John Ireland: Two songs from his iconic The Land of Lost Content
Doreen Carwithen: In this, her centenary year, Three Songs to Poems by Walter de la Mare
Herbert Howells: His classic ballad, King David
A Solo Piano Interlude by Nathan Williamson
John Ireland:
Month’s Mind

Tickets @ £45
For tickets, please apply to :
Peter Berners-Price, 3, The Coach House, Filkins Hall, Filkins, Lechlade, GL7 3JJ
email:    tel: 07836 264444

Please make payment to: ‘The Art of British Song’   Sort: 53-61-24    Acc: 71962506

18th April 2022

Filkins Theatre Murder Mystery Supper Evening in The Land of The Twelve Churches


Please buy your tickets now...

All details on the poster

15th April 2022


We are delighted to announce its return (after a Covid break) on Friday 15th April

Do come and join us in the Village Hall for breakfast at 9am, and then for the duck race along Broadwell Brook.
The duck race starts from the White Bridge on the Filkins Road at 10.30am

So we can judge numbers for catering, please book for breakfast in advance with Jane Hewlett (01367 860149 or 07771 930686)
£6 for adults and £3 for children. Pay at the door, either card or cash.

Ducks £2 each from Jane (01367 860149, or your normal seller.)

All profits from the events go to the St Matthew’s Church Maintenance Fund.

May the best duck win!

The 2019 Duck Race...

Langford Duck Race in The Land of The Twelve Churches

1st April 2022

The Bells! The Bells!

The Bells at Broadwell Church in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Anne Ramsay writes:

"Our first lesson ringing Broadwell's newly restored eight bells. You can join us every Thursday between 5 and 6pm. Please come!"

11th March 2022

Aerial view of The Land of The Twelve Churches

The view from above

Matt Lane of Alvescot writes:

"I thought had just had to share my photo from above the Parish when doing some flying instruction this week - a combination of the sunset at dusk and cloud layers made for some amazing views."

Thank you, Matt... We agree: fantastic!

7th February 2022

You can't hold back Spring...

   Even after the last extraordinary year, as the great Tom Waits says,  'you can never hold back Spring'...

   So, Happy 2022 to one and all, and let's look forward together to Spring, and beyond...

   As we always do.

   Click on the arrow, for a two minute ramble with Tom... 

1st February 2022

Burns cebrations in Bradwell Village in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Celebrating Mr Burns

Donna Kent writes: "Residents at The Cotswold Home have been keeping busy, and this month celebrated with a wonderful Burn’s lunch... including haggis, Cullen skink, shortbread, and of course, a tot of whisky!

See more about The Cotswold Home on the 'Advertisers' page

28th January 2022

The Elizabeth Fynn Home in Bradwell Village, Shilton

   The brilliant Cotswold Home catering team organise a special, themed lunch each month, with the next being to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Light the Night

   Chrissy Tinson's three photographs of 'Christmas Candles' in December 2021 at St Matthew's Church, Langford.

4th January 2022

On this day...

   Not specific to the Land of The Twelve Churches, but affecting it. On this day, 99 years ago, on 24th December 1922, the BBC broadcast its first radio play: 'The Truth about Father Christmas'. Arthur Burrows played Father Christmas. Burrows was also the BBC's first Director of Programmes, and he read the news as well! How life changes...

Remembering the early BBC in The Land of The Twelve CHurches

24th December 2021

Christmas Bazaar at Oxlease Farm in the Land of The Twelve Churches

Christmas Bazaar

   This looks fun...

   A Christmas Bazaar at Oxleaze Farm, 10am to 6pm on 11th and 12th December.

   Oxleaze Farm is just out of Filkins on the Eastleach road.

3rd December 2021

Christmas is coming!

The advent windows are appearing in Filkins... One every evening from 1st to 24th December.

Here is the window at Well Cottage.

   Do come to Filkins and see them all...

The advent windows in Filkins in The Land of The Twelve Churches

1st December 2021

Advent Window in Filkins in The Land of The Twelve Churches

1. No 2 The Gassons    2. Wynwood

3. Brook Cottage    4. Filkins Village Shop

5. Well Cottage    6. Lodge Cottage

7. Robbins Cottage   8. The Walled Garden

9. Trinder Cottage    10. Well Cottage

11. No 2 Bulls Close   12. Clarks Barn

13. Brades Cottage & Taylor Cottage   

​14. Elm View & 2 Saxons Close   ​15. Inns Cottage

16. Cotswold Woollen Weavers   17. Dragon Cottage

18.The Old Goat House   19. Purbrick Cottage

20. Museum Office (opposite 5Alls)   

21. Prospect Cottage   22. Apsley Cottage   

23. The Vicarage & Goodfellows Cottage

24. St Peters Church Filkins

Peter Sangston & Friend at the Filkins Theatre Revue 2021

Life & Art

   Peter & Friend illustrating very neatly how Life can imitate Art... ... At the Filkins Theatre Supper Revue in Filkins Village Hall on Saturday 27th November 2021.

   A very jolly time was had by all, and you can find out more about it, and a tribute to Leroy and Lynne's tango HERE

Photograph: courtesy Guy

27th November 2021

Christmas as it used to be... And will be again!

Christmas came and Christmas went;

Have you worked out how much you spent?

Did you get what you asked Santa for,

Or did you get the socks and smellies...

Like the year before?


When I was a child, Christmas was fun,

Singing carols with my mum;

Putting up a stocking...

And waiting for Santa to come.

Now, it's how will I find the time...

To get everything done!

What size turkey will I need?

(With so many people to feed.)

My lists go on and on.

Next year I'm going to slow down a bit;

And enjoy Christmas...

Like I did when I was a kid!

22nd November 2021

What a nice letter (and poem) to get from Ruth Carter of Langford. Just too late to include in the December issue of Parish Pump... But very happy to include here. Thank you Ruth, and an excellent thought, with which many of us would agree. Ed

  The interior of St Lawrence Church

A concert... Just down the road!

   A short Christmas concert with the Lechlade Occasional Choir, is to be held at 7.45pm on 18th of December at St Lawrence Church, Lechlade, in aid of the St Lawrence Restoration and Maintenance Appeal.

   Tickets, £10 including mulled wine, are  available the St Laurence website HERE

   Or call the Parish Office on 01367 358653.

15th November 2021

Remembrance 2021

   A memorial, co-ordinated by Donna Kent, in a window at the Elizabeth Finn Home, Bradwell Village.

   See and read '100 Years Later', a record of those who left Filkins & Broughton Poggs to serve our country in The Great War, which was researched and published originally to mark the centenary of the end of the war in 1918: HERE

11th November 2021

Remembrance 2021 in The Land of The Twelve Churches
Little Faringdon fireworks in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Whoosh... Bang! Bang! 

   Little Faringdon does it again... Vast nu8mbers of eager punters rolled in for mulled wine, very very good hot dogs, a huge bonfire, and... terrific fireworks. A great evening, and well done to all concerned.

   There will be more pics, and more words in December's Parish Pump... Keep an eye out! Ed

5th November 2021

Ring out, wild bells...

   ... Well, not wild perhaps, but certainly music to the ears, after eighteen months of 'covid silence' from the Alvescot belfry. A team led by Tony Crabtree of the Oxfordshire Guild of Bell Ringers, thoroughly enjoyed ringing what they called 'Alvescot's wonderful bells'.

   If anyone would like learn the ropes (literally!), do please let the churchwardens know: HERE

29th October 2021

Alvescot bell ringers in The Land of The Twelve Chuches




12th October 2021

The Womens Group in The Land of The Twelve Churches

The Women are back!

   There is once more a Women's Group (or should that be 'Ladies': one of those perennial questions!) in the Land of The Twelve Churches. 14 met for supper in Filkins Village Hall on 25th August. New members are welcomed, and more advnetures are planned...

   Read more HERE (page 21)

3rd October 2021

Colston Ladies' Tournament

   The 11th Ladies Charity Tournament took place at Colston Tennis Club in Broadwell on 3rd September. 

   Here are the terrific winners, Deborah Mackeller & Penny Beer, flanking the tournament supremo, Ann Cadogan)

   Read more HERE (page 38)

25th September 2021

The Colston Tennis Tournament in The Land of The Twelve Churches
The Tinson family of Langford in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Old Langford

   The Tinson family gather in September to remember the life of Aubrey Willis (Andy Tinson's brother) who had died earlier in 2021. Aubrey worked for Reading & Kirby, and helped lay the path at St Matthew's where the family are standing.

   Read more HERE (page 28)

18th September 2021

Ride & Stride 2021 in Filkins & BP

Ride and Stride 2020 in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Ride & Stride has burrowed its way into the lives of almost all our parishes, and it helps keep watertight and welcoming so many of our thousands of beautiful churches. This is the story of Ride & Stride 2021 in Filkins & BP, from Charlotte Ashby the parish organiser.

Ride, Stride...

& Vrooom!

   You wouldn’t normally associate leather and Harley Davidsons with the OHCT Ride & Stride, but this year’s event got underway with slightly more Va Va Vroom than usual.  At 10.10am, Filkins welcomed its first visitor, Guy Richmond from Shilton, astride a stunning blue Harley.

   Not far behind, novelist Derek Skinner from Down Ampney (author of the Nethergate Trilogy) was on a slightly more traditional form of transport.  He was planning to pedal to an impressive list of churches, but not before giving me a snapshot of his gripping new novel - working title ‘The Sanctuary at War’.

All visitors noted how nice it was to see a welcomer at both our churches.  And where would we be without our devoted church sitters – so thank you very much Richard Martin, Diane Blackett, Jane Martin, Jimmy Ashby, Diana Hibbert, Lorraine Chitty and Gill Allison.

   There is always a moment of nervous anticipation, as we prepare to pack up and still no sight of cycling legend Julia Neame.  No one could leave their post until Filkins’ most faithful Ride & Strider rounded the final corner into Broughton Poggs at 5.55pm, the last church on her typically gruelling route.

   Bikers, novelists and cycling legends…I can recommend a stint as a church sitter.  For those new to the village who might want to take part next year, this is an annual fundraising event, where riders and striders visit as many Oxfordshire churches as they can, usually on a route planned carefully around a pub or picnic. People take part on horseback, bicycles, on foot and on Harleys. You can raise money for the upkeep of Oxfordshire’s beautiful churches and nominate a church of your choice to receive half of the money raised.  Ride & Stride usually takes place the second Saturday of September.  There are lots of child friendly routes around our villages and most churches are conveniently located next to a pub.

Charlotte Ashby

Ride & Stride 2021 Filkins
Ride & Stride 2021 Filkins
Ride & Stride 2021 Filkins
Ride & Stride 2021 Filkins

20th September 2021

Recognition for Filkins Shop

   The High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Amanda Ponsonby, has announced awards for Alan and Barry Heath of Filkins Village Shop..

   Amanda said "the award should very much be seen as on behalf of the entire team involved with Filkins Community Shop: a true community enterprise that stuck to its post in a time of difficulty, and helped so many in so many ways."

   Congrats to all at Filkins Village Shop, and you can see the full story in the October & November issue of Parish Pump HERE. (Page 8 and 9.)

12th September 2021

Filkins Village Shop in The Land of The Twelve Churches
Matthew Albrighton headmaster at Burford School

New Man at The Top

   This is Matthew Albrighton, the new headmaster at Burford School. Matthew, who was previously deputy headmaster at St Edward's School in Oxford, says he is happy so far... 

   "When you are new to the post of Headteacher and following in the footsteps of someone as impressive as Kathy Haig, it is safe to say you find yourself on somewhat of an emotional roller coaster.

Needless to say, the reputation of Burford School as a kind and nurturing community (the very reason I applied for the post), has been borne out, and the opening weeks have been an utter delight." 

   Parish Pump wishes all the best to Kathy as she leaves, and Matthew as he arrives...

4th September 2021

Towards the end of Summer '21

Mongrel Heart

Up the dog bounds to the window, baying

         like a basset his doleful, tearing sounds

             from the belly, as if mourning a dead king,

and now he’s howling like a beagle – yips, brays,

         gagging growls – and scratching the sill paintless,

              that’s how much he’s missed you, the two of you,

both of you, mother and daughter, my wife

         and child. All week he’s curled at my feet,

             warming himself and m