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Older NEWS 5 (Sort of!)

Hi, friend!

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

 Tell us about it, and we will post it here to delight the world!


   ... As things start to crank back up, remember Winter 2020 turning to Spring 2021 during the most curious circumstances of most of our lifetimes...

6th April 2021

We all love dogs soooo much...

5th April 2021

Dog mess in the trees in The Land of The Twelve Churches
A Magnolia in bloom in Langford in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Spring comes to the Land of The Twelve Churches

   A delicate magnolia (in fact, I think, two different ones) coming magnificently into flower at Steph's house in Langford.

   Life has been a trifle tricky recently, but (as Tom Waits sang) 'You can't hold back Spring.'


   Photograph courtesy of Anne Hichens (Thanks Anne. Ed)

4th April 2021

The Crafty Cotswold Home...

   Donna Kent writes: ‘Residents and Staff at The Cotswold Home in Bradwell Village have been busy making pompoms.

   They are still being added to our ‘Thank You NHS’ tree, which can be seen from the road.

   Residents at the home have a fortnightly ‘Knitter, natter’ group, which gives residents a chance to knit, try new crafts or just come for a chat!’

Donna Kent, Social Engagement Leader.

The Cotswold Home.

28th March 2021

The Pom-pom tree at The Cotswold Home in The Land of The Twelve Churches

About a year ago, when lockdown began, I recorded St Mark's Gospel... How long ago it seems now

St Mark Benefice Shill Valley Broadshire Land of 12 churches


  During 'The Time of Coronavirus', there appear to be endless opportunities to do things that one might not have been able to fit in before!

  So, here are all fifteen chapters of the incomparable

St Mark's Gospel: nearly two hours long, and read straight through as the great story it is.

  It's a deliberately 'un-cluttered' translation, and I hope it is as pleasant to listen to as it was to read...  

00:00 / 1:51:43

Click on the 'start' triangle, sit back and (hopefully) enjoy...

For more on The Time of Coronavirus, click HERE

24th March 2021

The past is the past

   An excellent one sentence reason why daubing statues, and changing the names of streets and schools is rather silly...

   "We exist in and for our own time. So why should we judge our predecessors as if they were less self-sufficient: as if they existed for us and should be judged by us?"

   Hugh Trevor-Roper

13th March 2021

Winston Churchill in The Land of The Twelve Churches
Langford in the early 20th century in The Land of The Twelve Churches


in the early 20th century

   Spot the differences between then and now...

   ... One major difference is the unmetalled road. What a muddy mess it must have been when it rained, and how dusty in summer!

6th March 2021

   Burford School is celebrating its 450th anniversary of its founding in 1571. To help with the jollity, there will be published a 'Book of Memories'... 

   If you were a pupil at, or taught at, otherwise worked at, or have any other memories of the school... Please get in touch with your recollections and / or your photographs.

   Thank you.

Memories of Burford School

Please do it now!


Richard Martin

Burford School is 450 years old
Burford School for The Land of The Twelve Churches

4th March 2021

Alvescot book in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Only from Alvescot

   Georgina Campbell Flatter writes:

   "A beautiful book that captures the joys of our little village on the edge of the Cotswolds through the seasons, including village photos, poems and recipes. All photos included were taken in Alvescot. All profit will be donated to the AVA. Available in large hardcover or small softcover.
   "If you would like your book in time for Mothering Sunday, please submit your order on the AVA website by Friday 5th March 2021."

   To order, go HERE

2nd March 2021

   Alfred Williams, in his 'Round about the Upper Thames' (1922), describes how the old blacksmith, 'Whistling Joe' got from Buscot to Kelmscott during the floods, that were very common before the Thames was embanked: 

   When the Thames was in flood, he crossed the river at Buscot Lock, took off his clothes, tied them in a bundle, placed them on his head with his nail-box, hammer, and pincers, and walked naked for a mile through the flooded meadows, often with the water to his breast.

   He would recite to himself as he walked:

 " I walked by myself, I said to myself,

   And self said unto me...

Beware of thyself, take care of thyself,

   For nobody will take care of thee. "

The Kelmscott smith

Village Blacksmith in The Land of The Twelve Churches

1st March 2021

Tom Barry does it again!

   Tom, of Shilton, strides around Williamstrip, and captures the landscape, like a John Constable for our times. There will be more!

24th February 2021

   The good people of Black Bourton have been out and about clearing up their village... 

   Nick and Nikki Holmes were busy in St Mary's Churchyard, and Dave Nixon, Terry Pope (plus bobcat) filled several Timms bulk bags and carted them away.

   Great stuff, everyone!

19th February 2021


gets ready for 2021...

More details:

Clearing up in Black Bourton in The Land of The Twelve Churches
Bonfire in Black Bourton in The Land of the Twelve Churches
The Old Filkins sign in The Land of The Twelve Churches

FILKINS, it most assuredly is...

   Noelle Heslam asked me today if I had a picture of the 'Filkins' sign that used to stand on the road into the village near the Chittys' house.

   And, yes I did... the photograph came off the old Filkins website that I archived for posterity when the new one was launched.

   The chap leaning on the sign is an Australian called, appropriately, Clive Filkins, who came looking for his roots.

17th February 2021

Come on, let's celebrate!

   Jane Pegram, of Holwell writes: "There hasn't been much to celebrate in our village since Christmas, except for Susan Heyworth's (The First Lady of Holwell's) 90th Birthday.

   We all send Sue our very good wishes and congratulations."

Susan Heyworth is pictured with her late husband, John.

16th February 2021

John and Susan Heyworth of Holwell in The Land of The Twelve Churches
Ena Constable of Filkins in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Ena at her celebration tea-party after retiring as postmistress last year.

Unexpected news of the week...

   This morning, I rang the redoubtable Ena Constable of Filkins (lately retired from half a lifetime as village postmistress) for her views on possible changes at the village hall, and she gives me very unexpected news...

   Ena, who was born in the early years of the War, took her weekly bath in the village bath-house until well into her teenage years, and 35 years later started her 30 year stint behind the counter in that self-same bath house converted into a post office.

   She has accommodated so much in a lifetime of astonishing change.... But I have to admit complete surprise when Ena tells me that (urged by her family) she is about to have broadband laid on at home. Well , well well!

Salutations, Ena! What a  whirling world we live in.

9th February 2021

Filkins VH

   A beautiful Hall with excellent facilities, including kitchen and ace AV  and sound installation. 

   Outside (eg marquee) space also available.

   Great for parties.

   For bookings, please contact Charlotte Spencer:

7th February 2021

Filkins Village Hall in Filkins in The Land of The Twelve Churches
Bentley finds a soft spot in Filkins in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Take it gently, Bentley!

Bentley at Cotswold Woollen Weavers in The Land of The Twelve Churches

  A Visitor in Lockdown! Trish Poole writes: "I went into our Cloth Room this morning, and Bentley has popped in for a bit of R&R. He lives next door with Christian and Michelle, but he won't let Lockdown impede his travels! And we are always pleased to see him."

6th February 2021

The crazy days of lockdown...

   As if there isn't enough to do, with the coming of Lockdown 3, I suddenly decide to dredge all the nails out of the ash in the woodstove every morning (we often burn old pallets and whatnot), wash them, dry them... And keep them in a kilner jar on the Rayburn. And the bits of metal strapping on a plate.

   Why? Golly I don't know... Trish says it is my 'lockdown hobby', and so it is, I guess. 

   Now I am also drying a large hunk of gnarled old oak, and will make a sculpture by drilling innumerable holes and sticking the nails in... A sort of porcupine.

   Ah! Lockdown! This Time of Corona that just keeps on giving, and taking, and giving, and taking...

What are you doing during this crazy time?

Do let us know at

5th February 2021

Lockdown hobby in Filkins in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Robert Courts MP

Robert Courts MP in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Our local MP, Robert Courts, writes to Parish Pump readers:

   "I know how challenging 2020 was for all of us and that, in some ways, 2021 feels all too familiar. However, though we may be in lockdown now, there is light at the end of the tunnel. With three vaccines now approved for use in the UK, including our own local Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, we are now well on the way to vaccinating our top four priority groups in record time. At the time of writing, over 9 million people have been vaccinated and this grows every day.  This is a hugely significant achievement which is testament to the inspirational leadership that has been shown by local NHS organisations', GPs and health coordinators.  This, along with longer days, lighter evenings and the beginning of a beautiful West Oxfordshire spring is sure to lift spirits in this challenging time.

"I've seen the excellent work of everyone at our local vaccination hubs for myself.  The professionalism and efficiency they are showing is proving everyone’s dedication to this vital cause.  I am also encouraged that so many people across West Oxon are taking up the vaccine when offered.  It is this dedication and resolve which speaks to me in these challenging times and shows me that we will overcome this.

   "We are also once again seeing the huge outpouring of community spirit and good will that warmed us all in 2020.  I would encourage everyone to check in on family, friends and neighbours, particularly those who may live alone, the vulnerable and those separated from their loved ones.  Sometimes even just a phone call can do the world of good.

   "My team and I continue to work hard from home on your behalf and we remain accessible throughout lockdown.  Please do get in touch at if there is anything at all we can do."

2nd February 2021

   Are you fed-up with doing the same old walks?

   If so, click HERE for hundreds of walks in Oxfordshire, to download and print FREE! Also information about books, walking groups, and more... All in one place. 

John Harris, the organiser says:

   "The site brings together in one place everything you need to know about walks, from half a mile to twelve miles plus long. And there are notes about suitability for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

   Everyone can find a walk to enjoy... So check out the website, and get walking!"

(Thank you, Gill Cox of Kencot, for the information)

1st February 2021




Walking in The Land of The Twelve Churches
Treasure Island in Filkins in The Land of The Twelve Churches

31st January 2021

The Things we learn in Lockdown!

   Life goes on, as they say,  even in 'The Time of Corona'...

  Last Friday, 29th January, Filkins Theatre met for its usual monthly meeting, as it has done for years... And years... And YEARS!

   In fact, the earliest email I have on file is one from Barbara Bristow telling us that on 25th July 2003, we would be reading 'Last Tango at Little Grimley', which (the dainty Barbara warned) 'would be a little racy!' Oh la la! Sole reason for going... And the following went to the evening at Filkins Farmhouse: Sue Ashforth-Smith , Pam Assiter, Mary Bohm, Pat Clark, David Heslam, Julien Hofer, Jeremy Irwin-Singer,  Richard Martin, Annabel Molyneaux, Michael Schultz, Jeremy Taylor, and Linda Young. 

   17 years later, on 29th January, Sue Ashforth Smith and Richard Martin were still stomping the boards, and now joined by Lorraine Chitty, Sally Denyer, Barry Heath, Jane Martin, Paul Molyneaux, Julia Neame, Avril & Charlie Payne, & Lynne Savege (and joined for half-time oranges by Michele Heath) to read on Zoom a radio script of Treasure Island, and Time of Corona pieces including a damned fine tale (from Julia N) about Winnie the Pooh learning fortitude while stuck in a doorway.

   What would we do, especially in these times, without the glue of village organisations like Filkins Theatre?


   The life and times of William Morris are well known, not least his preoccupation with printing. But his was not the only Kelmscott paper in the press (to coin a phrase), for Thomas Dawks was born in Kelmscott in 1636.

   Dawks came from a ‘book family’ for his father was a London bookseller, and he was sent to Merchant Taylors’ School where the head master, William Dugard, ran his own printing press. William Dawks was later a printer in London, during the early years of the Restoration. 

One of Dawks' Best known printed works >>

30th January 2021

Dawks printed work from Kelmscott in The Land of The Twelve Churches
'Bailey's Moon' in Filkins in The Land of The Twelve Churches
Ian Bailey of Filkins in The Land of The Twelve Churches

Ian Bailey


   Ian died in an accident on the A361 in December 2020. He had lived in Filkins, with his wife Ronnie, since 2006.

   At Ian's funeral on 21st January 2021, Helen read the poem 'Leisure' by William Henry Davies, which includes the lines:

  "No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like stars at night."

   Ian took wry delight at whatever caught his fancy, often in a wonderfully off-beat way, and he was rightly very pleased with his photographs of the moon. We post one here in his memory.​ 

28th January 2021

Village pump in The Land of the Twelve Churches
Village pump in The Land of the Twelve Churches
Village pump in The Land of the Twelve Churches

The village pump

   Only a few days ago (see story below 18th January) we had three village pumps (left to right above: Alvescot, Broadwell, Langford)...

And now, courtesy of Moray Angus we have four!

Moray writes: "here is a photograph of the only extant pump (minus handle) in Westwell at Parsonage Farm."

   Thank you, Moray... And any more pumps in The Land of the Twelve Churches? Do let us know.

25th January 2021

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