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Bob Sumner of Holwell in Parish Pump magazine

Bob Sumner of Holwell

    Reggie Heyworth writes:

   "Bob, one of the great characters of Bradwell Grove Estate and Holwell, died, aged 90, on 28th July. Bob and his wife, Josephine, arrived in 1960, when he became head gamekeeper, and Bob made Bradwell Grove into one of the great local  English Partridge and pheasant shoots. 
   "Unlike many modern gamekeepers, Bob was also a great supporter of the local fox hunts, and a special meet of the VWH Hunt took place on 4th January 2020 at Bradwell Grove, to celebrate Bob’s 90th birthday. Bob was an inspiring presence on the Estate, and will be greatly missed."

The full obituary is in the September 2020 issue of Parish Pump. Click on 'Read Parish Pump' above

Photograph: Daniel Hague

31st August 2020

The way things are elsewhere...

    From The Times of Saturday 29th August 2020:

   Round the corner at St Margaret's Church in Warnham the priest in charge, the Rev Jules Barnes, 60, is taking her turn to clean the pews. That's part of the new post-lockdown life for the church.

   The pews are still decorated with white bows from a recent wedding. "The good thing is that people are mainly able to rejoice in what they have, which is what I think we all need to do."

   There has been, she says, a greater appreciation of the role of the church, even among non-believers.

   "People who would never darken the door of the church have just felt this need. I don't know what it is, a deep existential need. We are always here for everyone in the parish, not just those who worship"

St Margaret's Church Warnham Sussex

St Margaret's Church, Warnham, Sussex

29th August 2020

Robert Courts MP visits St Peters Church Filkins in The Land of the Twelve Churches
Robert Courts MP visits St Peters Church Filkins in The Land of the Twelve Churches

St Peter's Church, Filkins

   During August, Robert Courts, local MP for Witney and West Oxfordshire, came to see the much-loved St Peter's Church in Filkins.

   Here, Trish Poole explains the procedure to be followed by visitors based on a risk assessment in accordance with Government guidelines.

   The two churches in the parish of Broughton Poggs with Filkins have been open daily to visitors for private prayer and contemplation since mid June.

    Robert was very pleased to see the church re-opened, and admired the work done by the churchwardens, members of the PCC  and others to achieve this, especially with two churches to look after in a small parish! It can be a great comfort to visit a beautiful church and pray, or just sit in peaceful contemplation, during this difficult time.

   He is a keen historian, and was very interested to learn more about George Edmund Street, and his time as diocesan architect during the mid 19th century, a time of huge and constructive activity by the church throughout the Oxford Diocese and beyond.

27th August 2020

The Filkins Produce Show

Saturday 22nd August 2020

   At first the word was that there might be no show in 2020, but naturally the Pesky Pandemic could not hold back Filkins...

   The Filkins Produce Show must go on. And so it did, in magnificent style on the Fox Trust Paddock in a series of marquees and gazebos.

   Congrats to Jane Martin, Diane Blackett, Arlene Moody (who took the photographs) and all the other helpers (not forgetting St Filica who supplied the tents and the tent-erecters)...

   And of course congrats also to all the entrants for all their wonderful entries.

A great example of what can be done if there is a will... Well done, all, and see you in 2021.

Have a look at the Gallery below...

(There are 12 pictures: use the arrows, or click on a small picture underneath.)

22th August 2020

The Rumour

Or, sometimes everything works out fine!

Twas maybe Tommy Nugent or,

I’ve also heard, maybe ‘The Prof’

Who first tells Pete who then tells Ken:

“The village Produce Show is off!”

But, anyway, whoever ‘twas

The word goes round like whooping cough,

And pretty soon the whole world knows…

“The village Produce Show is off!”

Old Maisie tells her friend the cook,

And soon her boss, the London toff

Who bought the Hall, has heard it too:

“The village Produce Show is off!”

From early tipplers at the bar

To diners sitting at their scoff…

All conversation sounds the same:

“The village Produce Show is off!”

From children playing in the street,

to piglets scrabbling at their trough,

And starlings chattering at dusk

“The village Produce Show is off!”

At last a doubter thinks to ask

The organisers. Whereupon

They smile and say “do not despair:

The village Produce Show is on!”

And so it was, and so it was!

Little Faringdon Lunch in the Land of the Twelve Churches
Little Faringdon Lunch 2 in The Land of the Twelve Churches

They will be back!

   Happier times in 2018 at the Little Faringdon Lunch.

   The good times will come again... They will, they will!

20th August 2020

Lockdown Blues!

You know Lockdown's getting to you when you take a photograph of a sunset...

   ... And when you look at it, all you see is a dog (on the right) biting lumps out of a parrot (on the left.)

12th August 2020

The Dog and Parrot Ssunset in the Land of the Twelve Churches
The sand runs out for the Rector in The Land of the Twelve Churches

Now here's an idea...

... that might usefully occur to a priest in the pulpit about to unpack yet another anecdote:


A glance at the sermon sand-timer!

(I'm told there used to be one in Alvescot before the great refurbishment in the 1870s... More anon on this.)

8th August 2020

Sunset in Filkins in The Land of the Twelve Churches

What a sunset this evening!

7th August 2020

Is it a bird?

Is it an ANGEL?

   Trish Poole, one of the two churchwardens in Broughton Poggs with Filkins, went down to St Peter's Church in Filkins yesterday evening to lock up. 

   And there in the sky was this wonderful concatenation of condensation trails... Whether a giant bird, or a cross, or an angel...

   Let us take it as a sign of approval that, at this troubled Time of Corona, both our parish churches are open daily for private prayer and contemplation.

4th August 2020

The Angel of Filkins in The Land of the Twelve Churches
Shilton Font in The Land of the Twelve Churches

3rd August 2020

Ancient mysteries in The Land of the Twelve Churches...

St Matthews Church Langford in The Land of The Twelve Churches
St Peter's Broughton Poggs in The Land of the Twelve Churches

“When all the details fit in perfectly, something is probably wrong with the story.” Charles Baxter

The Philosopher's Lovesong

Existential theory states:

You and I can be good mates,

Shaking hands or swapping juices

(depends how tight our bond, or loose, is.)

And although we’re all related

In blood, or love, or friendship sated

Simply by a friendly nod,

We are also on our tod.

Individual agents all...

Invited to life’s Summer Ball,

To follow through a battle plan,

Or muddle through as best we can.

So, whichever path I choose,

I am the artist and my muse.

I am the pilgrim and my saint...

... Half a mo though, no I ain’t!

I might be free to cock things up

(Or strive to win, and lift the cup),

But I need you as you need me.

So... Let’s combine, and call it... ‘We!’

The Land of the Twelve Churches in Shill Valley and Broadshire

2nd August 2020

THE Gardener!

   Those who know FILKINS & BROUGHTON POGGS will also know how well Chris Maunder looked after the village for so long.

   So we are all pleased to see that, as Chris enjoys his well-earned retirement, the excellent LES GOWARD has picked up the village spade...

   Les is also keen to work for others too, so do give him a ring or email:


1st August 2020

Ride & Stride is back!

   Charlotte Ashby writes from Filkins:

   "We are delighted that the 2020 Ride & Stride event has been given the green light! Last year walkers, cyclists and horse riders raised an incredible £112,000 towards the upkeep of our beautiful Oxfordshire churches.

   "On Saturday September 12th 10am-6pm, participants will visit hundreds of churches across Oxfordshire. Taking part is easy, fun and as laid back or energetic as you wish."

   "There are shorter family friendly cycle loops taking in some of our local benefice churches, all dotted with pubs to keep you hydrated. For the more adventurous there are literally hundreds of participating churches right across the county."

Every parish has a representative who will be delighted to sign you up. And the great thing is that half your sponsorship money will come straight tosupport the maintenance and repair of your local church.

Email  editor@parishpump.net  for the Ride & Stride contact in your parish.

Ride and Stride 2020 in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Come on, dust off the bike!

Ride and Stride 2020 in The Land of The Twelve Churches

And get pedalling for your local church

31st July 2020

Busy bees...

Francis Barber's reclamation yard is a wonderful place to visit... So many things you didn't realise you needed, but once you see them, you know you can't live without! 

And, out the back in the field, is this (literally) hive of activity. And I can vouch for the honey being excellent.

(You'll find Francis Barber's yard opposite St George's Church in Kelmscott.)

29th July 2020

Impressive? That's the way to do it!

  The local Roman Catholics show the way... St Joseph's Church in Carterton is very much back in business after the Covid lockdown, with five (yes, five!) services every week:


  Saturday at 6pm

  Sunday at 9 and 10.15 am

  Tuesday at 6.30pm

  Thursday at 6.30pm

See HERE for details

Well done to the Roman Catholics

27th July 2020

St Joseph's Church Carterton Land of The Twelve Churches
Elm Pews in Filkins in The Land of the Twelve Churches

Traditional English elm pews

26th July 2020

It's a curious world right now

   Did we always get things right in the past? Of course not. Do we get things right now? Some clearly think they are virtuous enough to regulate the past. 

   But who is to know what, in a hundred years time, people will despise about us? Will they tear down statues of our current heroes because they believe in God, or eat meat, or wear socks? Who knows? 

   At a time when even those who might urge a more considered view (like Archbishops and professors), seem eager to climb onboard any passing bandwagon, let us remember that, as ever, those who seek to dictate our future will first destroy our past.

You can't keep a good gardener down...

25th July 2020

Avril Payne writes from Filkins: 'Sadly, for the first time in many years the stalwart group of gardeners who share the results of their labours with visitors from the National Garden Scheme were unable to open this year. But to make up for it, and with some help from the NGS Head Office, and masterminded by Chris Carter, you can still take a 'virtual' trip round all the gardens...'   (Courtesy of 'St Filica News')

Prince George Happy birthday from the Land of the Twelve Churches


Prince George Happy birthday from the Land of the Twelve Churches


Prince George Happy birthday from the Land of the Twelve Churches


Prince George Happy birthday from the Land of the Twelve Churches
Prince George Happy birthday from the Land of the Twelve Churches




Prince George Happy birthday from the Land of the Twelve Churches


Happy Birthday Prince George


Seven today

22nd July 2020

St Peter's Church, Broughton Poggs in The Land of the Twelve Churches
St Peter's Church, Filkins in The Land of the Twelve Churches

Broughton Poggs and

Filkins churches are both open daily for private prayer and contemplation.

All are welcome.

Why go in a church?

21st July 2020

If you need a reason to go into a church, will this do?

I love the village parish church
the humble graves and rhyming verses
to those who made it what it is
and haunt its precincts still:
the printed list of incumbents
beginning in the fourteenth century,
the unlatched door and polished brass,
and hassocks buttoned red and square.
the hymnals piled in tidy rows.

I love the gentle kind of quiet
which filters through the pale green light
distilled by glass in traceried windows,
the Norman carving round the font,
the rood screen of a later date;
the sense of always Being There...

(From a Poem by Joan Edwards)

Sign of the Time

Is this 'The New Normal' for street litter?


Woodstock, this afternoon

20th July 2020

'Street litter 2020' in Woodstock, Oxfordshire
'Street litter 2020' in Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Giles Edwards Lockdown Lens in The Land of the Twelve Churches


18th July 2020

Sometimes the ghosts forgotten go
Along the hill-top way,
And with long scythes of silver mow
Meadows of moonlit hay,
Until the cocks of Cotswold crow
The coming of the day...

From'The Cotswold Farmers', by John Drinkwater

Photograph by Giles Edwards, Langford

August 2020 Parish Pump in The Land of the Twelve Churches

16th July 2020

 The AUGUST issue of Parish Pump

   In August's PARISH PUMP: A further discussion about 'The Reality of God'... This month from the sceptics.

   Terrific 'Lockdown Photographs' from our Land of The Twelve Churches from Giles Edwards in Langford

   Advance news of a local Bat Survey in Holwell from Kaylee Parkes

   Plus all the usual news and views... and I happen to look through the list of 34 correspondents this month. So thank you to:

   Angela, Ann, Barbara, Chris, Chrissy, David, Elizabeth, George, Giles, Gill, Jackie, James, Janet, Jayne, Jean, Karen, Karen, Kaylee, Kim, Laura, Matthew, Melanie, Moray, Nick, Paul, Richard, Rob, Rupert, Sam, Sarah, Sheila, Tess, Tommy, and Trish.

   August's issue of Parish Pump will be available online and in paper copy before end July.

The Bell in, Langford in The Land of the Twelve Churches

Ding Dong! The Bell in Langford

   The Bell has performed sterling service during lockdown, as shop and takeaway... And friendly face at the window.

   In fact, 'small trade' has proved its worth, and kept going in our villages when others have wilted.

   Thank you to all at the Bell, and the very best of luck to you, now you have re-opened. 

01367 860249


Terrific photograph by Giles Edwards... See more in August's Parish Pump, out end July.

14th July 2020

Re-opening 1 St Peters Church Filkins in the Land of the Twelve Churches
Re-opening 2 St Peters Church Filkins in the Land of the Twelve Churches

   "We followed the Government Guidelines (published on 12th June), did the risk assessment, printed out the necessary signage, placed the sanitizer etc, worked out a cleaning schedule... Opened the church, and now follow the schedule, and daily monitor the situation."

Yes, it is possible safely to re-open a church...

Re-opening 3 St Peters Church Filkins in the Land of the Twelve Churches
Re-opening 4 St Peters Church Filkins in the Land of the Twelve Churches

St Peter's Filkins, and St Peter's Broughton Poggs re-opened on Sunday 14th June, and are open every day for private prayer and contemplation.

Everyone is welcome to visit either church.

10th July 2020

   If you would like further information, please contact the two churchwardens in Broughton Poggs with Filkins: