The Tintern Village Website

Autumn 2003


Dear Friends,

At the heart of Christian experience is the issue of forgiveness. There are many ways of coming to that issue, and here I am explaining only one of them. It is the way of the penitent person when he or she meets with Jesus. Of course we all need to receive forgiveness from God our Father, and He longs to give it to us as a gift. But we have to take it. He does not see us as sinners who have no hope. The hope for you and me has been provided in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. What a waste of all the love of God in Jesus, if we do not respond and say, "Yes, please!"

The fact that we all do need to take this gift is made clear in all the teaching and activity of Jesus, when He was on this earth to be our Saviour.
I will just use one good example. In St. Luke, chapter 19, we read of his meeting in Jericho with the tax collector, traitor and thief, who is called Zacchaeus. In spite of all the wrong in his life, and the fact that most people would have nothing to do with him, Jesus seeks him out and welcomes him.
The response of Zacchaeus to Jesus is to be totally "real" and honest with the Lord, and in effect to rejoice that he is forgiven by God in Jesus. We all need that joy when we discover we're forgiven. But it does require a change of direction in us, which is what repentance means. It means much more than just saying, "I'm sorry". Words can come cheap. We see the reality of a fresh beginning in the life of Zacchaeus, by what he says to Jesus. He gives away half of what he owns to the poor, and if he has stolen from anyone, he will give it back four times over. He really means business.

And Jesus says, "today - now - this man has received salvation". His forgiveness by God produces joy, release, and a new life. His faith in Jesus, as the one who will grant him freedom, makes him whole.

When we know we are forgiven, we are never the same again, and begin a new life with Jesus.

God Bless You,



Ode To Ralph

Another character bites the dust
My how the crib team miss him.
An Engineer of some repute
A Pilot and a Skier.
His talents spread throughout the land
As Diplomat and Lover
But in the end with all his skills
He could not stop the killer.
And so in peace he passed away
Leaving all of us to mourn him.
His final fling, his funeral thing
With Jazz band and free beer.
Well Rest in Peace my old friend Ralph
A Gentleman and a Scholar.



Please note that the closing date for the Winter 2003 issue is
SUNDAY 16th November 2003.

Articles and requests for advertisements should be sent to the Editor
David Ford, Monkstone, Chapel Lane, Tintern, tel : 01291-689233
Advertisements in this magazine are charged at :
£5 per quarter page per four issues
£10 per half page per four issues
£20 per whole page per four issues
The current print run is 250 copies


Kate Rees will fly out to Uganda on December 5th and return home after Boxing Day. She is Mum to fifty-four orphans and children of Aidís widows.

Some of the children in the care of the Ugandan Child Development Fund (UCDF) have no next of kin, while others have no safe next of kin, which is just about the same thing. The ages of the children range from six to twenty-four years. Most come with trauma problems and many cases are severe.

Many of the children are not from Christian backgrounds. They are all given the chance to learn about Jesus and usually, in their own time and in their own way, they come to know Him as Saviour and Lord. If they take this step of faith seriously and choose to live the life style that Jesus came and taught, Aids is no longer such a threat as they will stay pure and then marry a person with the same standards.

People sometimes ask "How many of the fifty-four are HIV positive?" The answer is that we do not know. Most of them have lost one or both parents through Aids and its related diseases and all too often children can be born carrying the virus. We care for some of the mums who are HIV positive widows. Some of the grandmothers need a lot of help because of their extreme poverty and terrible living conditions.

Can you imagine what it must be like :
Not to know your own real name?
Not to know your age.
Not to have any living relatives.
Not to have a home from the age of about seven years.
Not to have enough to eat.
Not to have clothes or shoes.
Not to know who your parents were.
Not to have love, protection or hope of school.
Also to have suffered many beatings and gross injustices and to have ended up sleeping on the streets.

Until she was rescued by UCDF from a cruel woman who used her as a slave, this was the life that a typical child had lived.

Many have been healed of aids in Africa through prayer. Kate has met some of them. She needs all our prayers so that she too can be amongst those who have been granted a miracle. The best treatment we can find will be provided but medically speaking there is still no cure.

UCDF are making plans to provide clean drinking water (as opposed to slimy filthy swamp water) and sanitation (there are no lavatories at all at present, which adds to the high levels of preventable infection and death through disease) for two remote villages, deep in the bush.

The first village needs a well to be developed from an existing natural spring and the second village needs a borehole as there seems to be no natural spring.

We need to raise around £4000 to cover the work in both villages. Anyone who would like to know more or feel they can help, please contact Kate at the Rectory on Llandogo 01594 530887.

Kate has good quality digital video footage of both villages but as the tapes still need editing, they will not be ready for a couple of weeks.

(This is an edited version of the article in the Parish News)


Our June outing took place on a beautiful sunny evening. Twenty-two of us went to see the garden of Steve and Felicity Hunt at Barn Farm, Earlswood. This was a garden made from scratch over the last ten years or so. We wondered at the amount of work needed to keep this garden growing as both the owners worked and they had no assistance. We finished the evening on the lawn with tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits. By the way, the lawn was due to be converted into a Mediterranean garden over the next few weeks in time for a television team to make a programme about the garden.

On July 5th we had a plant stall at the Village Fete. We raised £120 towards the Christmas Lighting Fund. Thanks to those members that donated plants and time at the stall. Bernard and Christine Bradshaw's fuchsias made a particularly good show.
Later in the month we held our summer garden Party at Di and Tony Parsons' house in Park Glade. Although the day had been wet we had a warm dry evening in which to enjoy the garden and the spread. Our thanks to Di and Tony. At the party, Tony Parsons presented the Treasurer with a cheque for £100 from the Tintern Community Chest committee for the help that the VPA had given in raising cash for village purposes. We will have to discuss the use we can make of this cash at our September meeting.

The 16th of August was "Show Day". The day was a little overcast but warm and it turned out to be a very good summer day. Entries were the best for some years. Forty-two members submitted two hundred and ninety three entries so that the hall looked excellent. Particularly attractive were the thirty-five identical red geraniums grown by members from plugs supplied by the Association. They were mounted on staging at the far end of the hall and really held your eye. The show was opened by Judy Bartholomew. In her speech she told us of her expected move to Ross on Wye. We all hope she retains her ties with the Tintern VPA.
Cups were won by Wendy Boast for flowers; she was also runner up in the vegetable section, Brian Young for vegetables and Christine Bradshaw for cookery. Bernard Bradshaw won best entry in the flower and vegetable sections for his display of ornamental gourds and Linda Simmons similarly won for best entry in the cookery and handicraft sections with her beautiful quilt. We also presented a plaque to Lily Hayes of Lydney as the only child entry.
The day was a success, both in the quality of the exhibits and in the social atmosphere generated in the hall.



Members were very pleased to welcome back Doris Knight and Margery Rhead. Bingo and chat are still enjoyed every other Tuesday at the Village hall

JD 689212


Meetings for the next four months are :
15th September : Bob of Abbey Studios on "How to take the perfect photo", including all the latest techniques.
20th October : Make-up demonstration by Rita of Bodyshop. A chance to buy products.
17th November : Susan Amos - a great favourite. Susan's talks are of her travels and work as a V.S.O.
15th December : Christmas Lunch at the Village Hall.

Jean Davey 689212


I went along to Tintern Abbey on Sunday 27th July, where I had heard there was to be a concert organised by the Rainbow Trust in Chepstow. I had to opt out of the picnic beforehand and only arrived a few minutes before the concert was due to start.

Expecting an audience of a couple of hundred people, I was absolutely staggered to see there were very few empty seats left in the staging used for 'Echoes in the Stones.'

Chepstow Town Band had obviously been playing some rousing tunes by the time I arrived. Then Craig Downes, a well-travelled opera singer who had been around the world, introduced the concert. Traditional and modern hymns were sung with great gusto. Craig Downes sang 'Amazing Grace', with the audience joining in later. The Chepstow Youth Group gave a rendition of three hymns, accompanied by Rosie Morgan. The Rainbow Trust's own choir led the praise with some of the hymns.

It was an incredibly joyful atmosphere and a time of renewal, made even more special by the blazing sun, which only disappeared as the concert ended. It was lovely to see so many young people there and all of us united in praise and worship.

The proceeds were in aid of 'Everyone's Child - Romania & The Rainbow Trust' and my thought was that the tickets at £2.50 were too cheap for such a splendid setting and performance.



Summer is a busy time on the vineyard. The vines grow very quickly at this time of year and are constantly having to be cut back and tucked into the wires to keep them tidy. August is also the busiest month for visitors - many of them from far-off lands. We have recently had visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America, France, Germany, Holland, Norway and Estonia!

The hot weather this year has really suited the vines - they think they have moved to the South of France! There is a very promising crop so far, but we have learned not to 'Count our chickens' - October and harvest time are still quite a way off. The beautiful summer weather has also meant that farmers have been able to make plenty of good hay to feed the animals this winter.

Looking back, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the local artists who exhibited in our second annual art exhibition. This went off very well and we collected £30 for H.A.P.P.A.

The art exhibition was followed by 'Potty about Plants', which was a showcase of garden plants - many of them unusual. This also attracted plenty of visitors, many of whom also toured the vineyard and tasted the wine.

The vineyard seems to have been the place to come for car rallies too this year. We have had several groups visiting us, including some with Jowett Javelins and nine Austin Sevens, all their owners having spent several days in Tintern.

Now autumn is just around the corner and we are looking forward to harvesting the grapes.

Judith Dudley, Parva Farm Vineyard


Tintern Abbey is to embrace the very latest 21st century technology with the unveiling of a pictorial virtual reality tour of the historic site on Cadw's website: .

The virtual Experience Company, of Leamington Spa, has been commissioned to produce the virtual reality model, which will dramatically improve interpretation of one of the best-preserved mediaeval abbeys in Europe.

Images from the virtual reality model planned for Tintern are now online and provide an educational resource for teachers and schoolchildren alike throughout the country and enable visitors to virtually explore the Abbey at the their leisure. It is intended to roll out a full virtual reality tour of Tintern on Cadw's website in the coming months which will coincide with the installation of a new Virtual Theatre at the Abbey itself.

The virtual reality model will show the Abbey as it appears today, and visitors will be able to explore the 'virtual' ruins themselves. Unlike many other virtual tours, the visitor will have complete freedom to go wherever they want within the Virtual Reality world.

If for example, a cyber visitor wished to view the Abbey from the river, they could take a 'virtual' walk down the riverbank and look back at the Abbey from there.

There will also be a model of the church at Tintern, recreated, as it would have appeared in 1331 A.D.

In time, visitors to Tintern and to the Cadw website will be able to walk around the interior and view the original features, such as the enormous windows and the Pupiturn Screen.

Tintern Abbey, founded by Cistercian monks in 1131, was largely rebuilt by Roger Bigot, Lord of nearby Chepstow Castle, in the late 13th century, encompassing grand design and architectural detail of great finesse. The shell of the abbey stands open to the skies almost to its full height, an outstanding example of the elaborate 'decorated' style of Gothic architecture.

Andre Hood, Cadw's head of presentation, said, "This is an exciting and fascinating project which can only serve to widen the appreciation of this unique building."



Chepstow's Piercefield Mansions provide an exceptional tale in the history of the colonies and slaving. Bristol, together with Liverpool and London, was one of the three main ports involved in the Triangular Trade.

Ships left Bristol with trade goods to exchange with African slavers, many of them Arabs. The slaves were transported across to the West Indies and sold to work on the sugar cane plantations. The sugar in the form of muscovado, raw brown sugar, plus rum distilled from fermented molasses, was carried back to Bristol's sugar refineries and bonded warehouses. All this made the merchants, many of them plantation owners, fabulously wealthy.

Looking for country residences, they came across the Severn - as successful traders had been doing since Elizabethan times. Piercefield at St. Arvans was acquired in 1740 by plantation owner Valentine Morris. His son, also called Valentine, spent a fortune on laying out the grounds in the new 'romantic' style. The Piercefield Walks on the River Wye cliffs became famous throughout Europe and even America.

The works, and ventures such as the construction of turnpike roads, bankrupted him and he died following a spell in a London debtor's gaol. Piercefield was sold off in 1784, being subsequently acquired in 1793 by Mark Wood.

Wood was one of the nabobs whose wealth derived from the East India trade. Wood, who had been surveyor general of Bengal, returned to England where he bought a seat in Parliament. Losing it be bought another - and to raise the cash sold Piercefield. He was happy to sell it to a fellow plutocrat, Nathaniel Wells, who happened to be black.

The new Piercefield owner was offspring of his plantation-owning father's liaison with one of his slaves. Nathaniel's father William Wells was son of a Cardiff Methodist clergyman who went with half-brother Nathaniel to St. Kitts in the Leeward Islands to seek his fortune.

He prospered and became a plantation owner, but his wife and their infant child died. Like many others, he had a child by his slave mistress Juggy. When Nathaniel was ten his father sent him to London for his education and health. When he came of age at 21, Nathaniel inherited a fortune. He moved to Pall Mall, and married 20-year old Harriet Este, daughter of a former chaplain to George II.

The Wells' first son William was baptised in St. Arvans church, which Nathaniel served as a churchwarden. Nathaniel was so accepted by the local gentry that he was appointed a justice of the peace in 1806, and Sheriff of Monmouthshire 12 years later.

The Abolition of Slavery Act of 1807 reduced the owners' "possessions", although it wasn't until 1833 that slavery was abolished in all the colonies. Like others, Nathaniel was forced to sell off land to maintain his lifestyle. By 1828 he was left with only one plantation consisting of just over 151 acres of sugarcane and 96 acres of 'slave huts'. Wells' fortunes were also suffering in Monmouthshire. The mansion had been found to be suffering from dry rot a few years after purchase, and Nathaniel unsuccessfully attempted to sell. He leased it out instead, and the family went to live in Oak Cottage. He moved from St. Arvans to Bath in the 1840's and died there in 1852, aged 72.