The Tintern Village Website

Spring 1997


Dear Friends

At last we appear to be anticipating the arrival of Spring. On a personal level I always associate this most welcome of seasons with Lent; after all this very name refers to the lengthening of the days as we escape the darkness of Winter.
Spring is also the traditional time when our homes receive a full clean- out and it is amazing the amount of rubbish and items that "may be of use in the future" we can assign to the tip with confidence.
Likewise one of the purposes of Lent is to provide an opportunity to "spring clean" our spiritual life. In this respect also we will often be surprised at the quantity of useless and worn-out attachments which only serve to clutter the corridors of faith.
Jesus and his companions were distinguished by their habit of travelling light, of not being weighed down by material considerations, and surely there is an implication here for us to do the same.
Lent (the period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Eve, inclusive) is also thought of as being the appropriate time to "give something up". I believe that I know what is meant by this in terms of abandoning or throwing out something that threatens to get in the way of spiritual advancement, but there may be merit in the idea of "taking up" something for Lent instead. All too often we opt for the easy option of giving something up that we seldom miss anyway. Taking on board an extra discipline is likely to ask more of us.
In a modest way this parish is in the pattern of taking up something extra during Lent and I warmly encourage you to consider the following opportunities.

We started our course on Shrove Tuesday with a house meeting and a glass of wine (purists will know that we were just in advance of Lent at the time!). Residents of Tintern, Brockweir, Llandogo and Whitebrook were present and they represented various denominations within the Christian faith.
We have decided to deepen our understanding of Saint Paul's letters (the Epistles) and promptly investigated his correspondence with Titus who was living in Crete. A range of fascinating areas were opened to us. On one hand we were reading words that were almost two thousand years old and which reflected the commonly held views of the time - Paul appears to hold an outrageously male chauvinistic view and accepts slavery as part of the status quo. On the other hand the freshness of this letter was evident in the ways that suggested human nature has not changed too much over the years.
We recognised ourselves in Paul, not least in the tendency to fret over trivial details and to "blow one's own trumpet". How stimulating to find that God is able and willing to work through people such as Paul and, equally, through you and me! New members to the course are assured of a warm welcome and an informal environment.
The Churchwardens and myself can let you know where future meetings are to take place.

Here is another opportunity to add something to your schedule for Lent. As in previous years we meet on a Wednesday evening for a short service and address in various local churches. This serves to bring together Christians of many different persuasions and to enrich our religious life. The full schedule is listed below :

Feb 12th - Llandogo Church, Compline and Meditation
Feb 19th - Tintern Methodist Church, Service and Address
Feb 26th - Whitebrook Church, Compline and Meditation
Mar 5th - Llandogo Baptist Church, Service and Address
Mar 12th - Tintern Church, Compline and Meditation
Mar 19th - Venue to be arranged
Mar 26th - Brockweir Moravian Church, Holy Week
All services commence at 7.00pm and last approximately 35 minutes.

As part of the ministry and outreach offered by the Church of Saint Michael I am keen to establish a regular pattern of House Communions for local residents. On account of age or many other factors a number of people find it difficult to attend church to receive Holy Communion. I am trying to arrange a system whereby such individuals can receive the Sacrament in their own homes on a regular basis. I am more than willing to bring Communion on, say, a fortnightly basis at a time convenient to all. Already Mrs Norah Hodges has generously made her home available for this purpose. Please inform the Churchwardens (Maj. David Cowell, Mr Des Carter) or myself if you would like to be included and I can finalise details to accommodate you all.

50/50 CLUB :
Many thanks to all who have joined this year. Membership stands, I believe, at an all time level and this has raised funds for a number of church projects. Your support is greatly appreciated and it is my hope that you will be numbered among the many prize winners over the next twelve months.

With every good wish

Julian E Ll White (Rector)



December : 209 384.12
January : 109 231.29
February : 41 136.50*
TOTAL : 359 751.91
* up to February 9th
Figures for the same period last year :
TOTAL : 354 717.96


Charles David Bagwell


Jean Deakin


Mrs Jean Deakin (formerly of Tintern)

After a long illness, Mrs Jean Deakin aged 66 of Silley's Close, Tutshill died on the 23rd December in Chepstow Community Hospital.
She was born in Tintern, the daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Tom Matthews and spent many years of her life in the village.
She went to the village school and worked for several years in Herbert Lewis' shop in Chepstow. She also worked in the Rose and Crown and was barmaid in the Wye Valley Hotel for some years. She was very popular, always friendly and cheerful.
She married Mr John Deakin of Brockweir. They went to live at Pontysaison and later moved to Chapel House in the Raglan Road, where they remained until about ten years ago when they moved to Lydney. They moved to Tutshill a couple of months before her death.
It was Jean's wish that the funeral service be held in St Michael's Church and burial to be in the churchyard.
A large congregation attended the service, the Rector officiated.
She is survived by her husband and four sons.



Dawn and Ian (Tintern Antiques) wish to thank everyone for their concern and their good wishes on the birth of their son - Alex Ray Gregory on the 17th of January 1997.



From a Church Notice Board :
Forthcoming Sermons - 2nd March, 10.30 am, Morning Praise,
The Vicar - The World's Biggest problem.
Next Sunday the choir will give a recital after which the Church will be closed for repairs.
Parish Social - Everyone welcome. Do come along if you have nothing on and join in the fun.


Rector : "Next Wednesday will be Ash Wednesday....."
Parishioner : (loud whisper) "Pancakes on Tuesday, Mam!"


Thank you, on behalf of the choir for the continued support from the many contributors of old, and even new, newspapers. The collection provides a much appreciated bedrock income for the choir.
Many kind friends, both regular church-goers and those who are very much with us in spirit, have made a regular and helpful contribution over the year and I would like to take this opportunity to convey our gratitude.



By kind invitation of Mr and Mrs Butt and organisers, a most enjoyable and resplendent Christmas Dinner was held for us at the Anchor Hotel, Tintern on Wednesday December the 18th.
Beef was served with all the extras and traditional Christmas pudding followed with coffee, mince pies, mints, crackers and even lucky numbers at each placing. Afterwards we joined in with carols led by the excellent vocalist and entertainment.
It was a very happy gesture by all concerned who gave freely of their time and pocket to make us all so welcome.


Pensioners who received vouchers at Christmas thank the guardians of "The Bounty" who faithfully administer the Trust every year and also ensure that local businesses benefit.



Door to door salesmen do not always get a warm welcome but the intrepid three who collected money for good causes in Tintern before Christmas fared well.
105 was paid for raffle tickets for the beautiful print of the Abbey kindly donated by Mrs Oxenham. Adrian Smith was the fortunate winner.
55 was sent to Help the Aged for their Christmas Appeal.
Finally a record 94 was raised for Poppy Day.



The Annual Christmas Bazaar was held in December and I should like to thank everybody who helped to make it such a success. Thanks to Dianne who designed and printed our posters, Father Christmas for coming when he is so busy at that time of year and because there wasn't any snow for his sleigh, Mike Taylor who drove Santa down in his old Morris, also to the stall holders, and last but not least to everybody who came and bought so that the profits could go towards keeping St Michael's going.
Without the money for upkeep, quota, insurance, building repairs etc the Church couldn't keep going.
So once again a VERY BIG THANK YOU.


50/50 CLUB

The last few draws of the 1996 season ended with the annual draw, the prizes for which were three times those of the monthly draw.
Winners were :
1st 2nd 3rd
November A&W Boast (49) M&J Davey (83) Mrs M Sullivan (92)
December Mrs B Kerr (14) P&K Heron (3) J&E Wait (29)
January Rachel Gibbard (66) Charlotte Gibbard (68) D&M Cowell (10)
Annual Mrs M Wynne (85) F&M Keys (44) Mrs N Lambert (93)
The 1997 season's first draw took place on the 2nd February. Over 100 shares have been sold so the winnings were slightly larger than in previous years.

February winners were :
Miss J Bartholomew (90) A&W Boast (28) Mrs S Rastall (74)



The new year began, as always, with our AGM, at which last year's Officers were all voted back for another stint of hard labour, but what can be a rather "flat" meeting was anything but.
The Chairman's and Secretary's reports on last year's activities reminded us how busy the year had been, whilst our Treasurer's balance sheet proved to be still in the black (but only just) so subscriptions were reluctantly increased to cover the spiralling cost of our monthly speakers.
We then learnt that our entry into the "Keep Wales Tidy" competition, although unsuccessful in monetary terms, had at least won a certificate of merit which was proudly displayed to all.
Also it was announced that we had managed to raise 70 towards the Village Hall Improvement Fund, which delighted everyone.
Suggestions then came thick and fast for topics, speakers and competitions so 1997 should prove to be an interesting year and even more varied than last. February's speaker is from Usk College talking on "Labour Saving Gardening" (a subject dear to all our hearts) and then in March, Mr Peter Scourse from The Lydart will be telling us about the Hawk Rescue Centre, so if you're interested, join us on the third Friday in each month in the Village Hall at 7.30 pm and you will be made most welcome.



Tintern WI continues to go from strength to strength. We now have 27 paid up Members. We enjoyed our Christmas party at the Royal George with mulled wine (Mrs Pearce's secret recipe). Members brought their favourite party snacks. These ranged from light as air cheese straws, stuffed dates and many other delicacies. We also enjoyed a New Year dinner at the Royal George.
At our January meeting Member Auriol Barriball gave a very interesting talk on aromatherapy. Auriol explained the uses of various oils and creams. We all went home smelling sweet and re-juvenated.

The next meetings are as follows :-
Monday 17th March "Spring Lamb" David Hunt, our local butcher, will talk on his work and particularly "Spring Lamb"
Monday 21st April "Tintern Village History" Local author Grantley James will talk about the village.
It has been decided to start various groups in the WI. So far we are hoping to form a Bridge Club, Drama and Embroidery Groups. If there is something you are interested in let us know and if enough are of the same mind we will see what we can do.



The Tuesday Club enjoyed their Christmas Lunch at the College near Coleford. At the Christmas Party, Mr Les Pratt showed us some slides he made on a journey from Land's End to Scotland, and this was followed by seasonal refreshment including some of Rose's sponge.
At both of these and at subsequent meetings we sorely missed Jo Arnatt, she was always so cheerful and kind, never too busy to listen to our problems. Our thoughts are with her family.
We also miss Pat Robinson from our meetings, she still has problems with her leg. Get well soon, Pat.



Did you indulge over Christmas and put on a few extra pounds? Then how about some gentle exercise, combined with an enjoyable evening to get back into shape for the Summer?
Join us on a Friday evening between 8.00 and 10.00 pm in Tintern Village Hall for a game of Badminton. Our members range from from the complete beginner to the expert and from 14 - 60 years old, so do not be afraid to join us even if you have never hit a shuttlecock before as we will be pleased to show you how. We have some spare racquets, all you need is a pair of plimsoles.
Where else can you go for an evening for 1.50 which includes a cup of tea and biscuits?



The "Abbey Group" Neighbourhood Watch held their Christmas "get-together" on Tuesday the 17th of December.
We must thank Judith Russill who very kindly opened her doors to us and who concocted two delicious punches; a hot alcoholic "Toddy" and a delicate fruit one for the more sober ones among us. We used up some of our funds on the other refreshments but there were plenty of donations from those who attended and from others who couldn't make it. Many thanks to all.
We find it a wonderful excuse to meet up each year and maybe welcome newcomers to our group. This year we have been joined by Denise and Phil from "Monkswood" (beside "Wye Barn") and by Claire and Howard from the Beaufort Hotel. We would like to welcome them to Tintern and hope they will be happy here.
Wishing you all a prosperous New Year!

TM and all at the Abbey Group N.W.


Tintern Community Council received an application brochure for a Monmouthshire Environment and Community Grant last October. Grant aid was available for any project which would enhance and benefit the community.
For many years five wells have supplied clean fresh water to residents of Tintern. The wells are sited at Trellech Grange, Pont-y-Saison, the junction of Forge Road and Glynwood Road, Tintern Common and Friar's Row. In recent years all five have fallen into disrepair and are in need of attention. Mr W Tansill was approached to tender for the work and the application for the grant was duly made.
In January we received notice that the full grant of 500 has been agreed. The work is already in hand. "Well" done.

For some months there has been a vacancy for a Community Councillor for the Chapel Hill ward. Recently Mr Parsons moved into number 1 Park Glade and applied to fill the vacancy. He was successfully interviewed and accepted. We look forward to welcoming Mr Parsons at the next Council meeting on the 28th February.
The Community Council, as trustees of the Village Hall (officially the Tintern Community Centre) annually donate a percentage of the Insurance Premium. This year the Premium is 782 to which the Community Council contribute 195.
The children's play area next to the Hall must be inspected for health and safety reasons annually. Under Monmouth Borough Council the grass cutting, maintenance and inspection was carried out without charge. It appears that we are now to be charged for these services by Monmouthshire County Council. This became apparent when MCC were asked to assist in the installation and inspection of the see-saw which has been restored and is ready to be replaced in the play area.



When I was young and my slippers were red
I could kick my heels right over my head
When I was older my slippers were blue,
But I could still dance the whole night through.
Now I am old and my slippers are black,
I walk to the corner and puff my way back.
The reason I know my youth has been spent,
My "get-up-and-go" has got up and went.
But I don't feel too bad, as I think with a grin
Of all the nice places my get-up has been.
Since I retired from Life's competition,
I get up each morning and dust off my wits-
Pick up the paper and read the "obits".
If my name is missing I know I'm not dead,
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed.



One Sunday in January, the morning congregation in St Michael's were surprised to find the service starting with that most beautiful of evening hymns, "Abide with me." It was, we were told being sung in memory of the late Jean Deakin who listed it among her favourites.
But, come to think of it, is it really an evening hymn at all? The answer, apparently, is "No" for the eventide the author has in mind is not the close of day, but the evening of life itself.
The author, Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847), was the incumbent of Lower Brixham in Devon, now a holiday "honeypot" but then a little fishing village whose only claim to fame was as the landing place of William of Orange in 1688. By July or August 1847 when this lovely poem was composed, the author's health had deteriorated to such an extent that he was forced to give up the living and retire to Nice where he died just three months later. For him, then, life's little day was, indeed, swiftly ebbing to its close, and the whole hymn is revealed as a highly personal and devotional article of faith in the ultimate triumph of Christ.
The original poem had eight verses rather than the present five and among other changes made by interfering Victorian editors it may be significant to mention that the line, "Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day" is entirely theirs. What Henry Lyte actually wrote was far more urgent and personal. "Swift from my grasp ebbs out...." As if he had not troubles enough he was also going blind. So, for him, the darkness was indeed deepening, Earth's joys were rapidly growing dim and his plea "Shine through the gloom" must have come straight from the heart.
So, in this wonderful hymn there is much more than meets the eye of the casual singer. Is there not, also, a reflection of that equally beautiful prayer, "O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublesome life, until the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over and our work is done....."

Just a thought!



"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking. We are just crossing the Red River. Welcome to Texas. We will be at the gate in Dallas in 20 minutes. Local time is two forty and the temperature on the ground will be eighty degrees. Thank you for flying American."
Jean and I were fortunate enough to be invited to spend Christmas 96 with friends in the USA. We had a two centre break in Texas and Colorado.
We landed at Dallas and drove 100 miles east to Tyler. Tyler has around 75000 inhabitants. It's a quiet well-off town deriving its income from oil, agriculture and rose growing. It insists it's the rose growing capital of the world, but then it is in Texas.
Tyler is securely situated in the Bible Belt. The first intimation of this to the European visitor is that the town is "dry", not even a can of Bud Light on the supermarket shelves. Then you see that there are many more churches than you would expect for a town of this size. There are several denominations but the Southern Baptists dominate.
We were in Tyler during the run up to Christmas. The birth of Christ and Santa Clause (not Father Christmas in the USA) were the main themes. Eating, drinking and over-spending did not seem to play a part in the celebration.
Money was spent on exterior house decoration. Houses were outlined with thousands of white lights, and there were many light sculptures depicting nativity and reindeer scenes (75$ and up at the "Hobby Lobby"). People outlined their drive and garden edges with rows of lights, occasionally whole neighbourhoods joined up to produce a magical show.
Trips were run to the close-by town of Marshall (well, sixty miles is next door to a Texan) to see the light shows. The main courthouse square was lit by seven million bulbs. The effect is amazing, perhaps a poet could do a good job of describing it. Other "drive-thru" light shows could be visited.
My job when I arrived was to produce a scene of a "Dickens village" on the top of the piano. There are Christmas shops in the USA selling only Christmas items all year. Model houses, shops, inns depicting scenes from Dickens are a popular range, along with model people, lamp posts, street sellers, skaters etc. As a railway modeller I was considered to be the person to build a village around a frozen pond with lighted lamp posts and everything covered in artificial snow. I was pleased with the final effect which was very Christmassy.
Our hosts meanwhile put the decoration onto their tree. 700 lights, all white as coloured lights are considered in somewhat poor taste in Texas. Decoration around the rooms was minimal, just artificial holly and ivy hung over door frames and pictures. Nothing was hung from the ceilings. Colours were muted and co-ordinated. One interesting decoration was the covering of pictures in restaurants etc with pretty paper and bows so that they resembled Christmas parcels hung on the walls.
We attended a party. It was dry of course and over by 9.45 as Texans get to bed by ten whenever possible. This turned out to be very musical. Carols and Christmas songs were sung by the party as a whole and by individuals and groups within the party. One soloist, a church Music Minister, had a voice very much in the Bing Crosby style.
Christmas music was everywhere. Of course the stores were playing it and the TV had many music shows. Nowhere though did we hear any "pop" Christmas songs, Slade and Wizard have yet to crack the American market. "Joy to the World" and "The Bell Song" were top of the Christmas songs.
The Churches had already had their Christmas Event, well perhaps show is the right word. There is a huge Christian music industry in the USA, our friend in Tyler is a composer, arranger, editor and producer in the field. They produce musical events for churches to mount at Christmas and also at other religious and patriotic times.
Texas is our favourite State and we always enjoy a visit to this most friendly place.

We flew on to Pueblo in Colorado before Christmas came. This is a slightly larger town on the edge of the prairies about 20 miles to the east of the Rockies. The mountains, especially Pike's Peak, are visible from much of the town.
Pueblo is very colourful and brash. There are liquor stores, bars and pavement tables in the downtown area. Our friend manages a boutique in this picturesque part of the town.
There was the same emphasis on lighting houses but here coloured lights were permitted. We again toured the town taking in the displays. The zoo put on a quite dazzling show for a dollar a head.
We attended another party. The punch was spiked. As the afternoon wore on people came and went but the hard core settled into the lounge for carols. A guitarist and pianist had been engaged and everyone had music sheets. The songs were the same as in Texas. Not a pop song within ear- shot. At a champagne brunch we were entertained by three "Victorians" to the same medley.
On Christmas Eve we attended a service at an Episcopalian Church, still looking to Canterbury for guidance and using much of our traditional prayer book. The service was long as it included informal carols before the service proper started with "O Come, All Ye Faithful and a procession. Prayers, responses and carols preceded readings from the Gospels and a Homily from the Celebrant. This was followed by the Baptism of one young lad, a touching and friendly ceremony. Communion followed for the congregation. A nice touch concerned a handicapped member of our party. The Celebrant came down into the church to bless her sitting in the pew. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" was the recessional hymn. One odd moment was "half time" when the congregation took five minutes to wander about the church chatting with friends.

Christmas Day was low key. We had the usual turkey dinner with the obligatory American sweet potatoes. Presents were exchanged, even with the Muslim members of the family, though the presents seemed modest by UK standards. We took a walk around the block. The TV concentrated on Christmas and Christian musical shows, no blockbusters as in the UK.
A very quiet day.

Boxing Day is not recognised in the USA so on the 26th our hosts went back to work and life returned to normal. New Year's Eve was coming up but we would be home by then and it was unlikely that any of our American friends would stay up that late to see the new year in. New Year's day would be a public holiday.

We were impressed by the American way of celebrating Christmas. They seem to have better taste than many of us. They remain very Christian in their approach to the festival and seemed to us to avoid the excesses we now practice. They made a good job of our visit to America.



March 1st, St David's Day, is the time to think of all things Welsh. The mountains and valleys, of Llewelyn ap Griffith and Owen Glendower, of choirs and the things they sing, of Rugby and Corgis, of slate and coal and steel, of the little trains, of Bards and the language, of Welsh butter and honey, Rabbit (or is it Rarebit), succulent lamb and now....Cheese.
Even the backward English know about Caerphilly, of course, even though they may not be sure where it comes from, but what of the rest? Well, to take just some of them as starters, we have Yfenni (Abergavenny), Harlech, St Illtyd, St David's and even one called Tintern, though not, so far as is known, made in the village. Trial is highly recommended.
All are rich and creamy with taste to match, but with assorted additives of the kind that do nobody any harm.

Yfenni : with mustard seed and ale.
Harlech : with horseradish and parsley.
St Illytd : has white wine, herbs and garlic.
St David's : nothing added - just plain creamy and very tasty.
Tintern : with shallots and chives, an adornment to any cheese board.

No need to go far afield for them. All are available right here from David Hunt to whom we are indebted for the information. He also sells Leeks!



On February 8th a nine year old Jack Russell terrier, Sally of St Briavels, made headlines in the Daily Mail when she became wedged 20 feet below ground in a limestone shaft.
Seven firemen, helped by a team of cavers and a mechanical digger, worked for 40 hours and finally had to use explosives to set Sally free at an estimated cost of 5000.
The Officer in charge said "We could not leave her there to starve and freeze to death."



A new Forest of Dean Club for classic cars and motor cycles has been formed locally. There are five members at present from Tintern in this club, all with elderly vehicles.
The Club is not a particularly serious gathering. We meet once a month for a meeting and chin-wag at the Butcher's Arms at Clearwell and mostly talk cars and how to fix them. We have held a bar-b-que in the Forest, been on a fun run round the back roads to Cheddar and Priddy, shown our vehicles at Trellech Fair and had a Christmas dinner.
We plan to carry on much in this way. We expect to show our cars at more events this year and are planning a picnic run into Wales.
I am the Treasurer, though not particularly nutty about old cars, and if you would like to know more or perhaps are looking to add an old car parade to your show, give me a ring.

John Bathgate on 01291-689328


Gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that leaves nothing unsaid.

When I have trouble writing fiction, I just make stuff up.

When your good work is speaking for itself, don't interrupt.

I try to be sincere whether I mean it or not


Thinking of "Things Welsh" on an earlier page (anything from choirs to cheeses if you remember) we should have included the Church, for that, like all other things is uniquely Welsh. It was not always so, however, for around the end of the twelth century the four ancient dioceses in Wales (Bangor, Llandaff, St.Asaph and St.David's) were an integral part of the Province of Canterbury in the Church of England. As such they underwent the upheavals and changes of the reformation. The Book of Common Prayer and the Bible appeared in Welsh by 1588.

By the turn of this century, however, there was a great movement, led by the Methodists and other Non-Conformists, to sever all ties with the "alien" churches across the border. After a long political struggle the necessary Act of Parliament was passed. But that was in September 1914 and because of the War and one thing and another, nothing was done until 31st March 1920 when we became "Disestablished".

This meant that the Bishops had to give up their seats in the House of Lords, tithes ceased to be payable, private patronage was abolished and the Church lost its legal status. It also lost all access to the vast financial resources from centuries of gifts, endowments, legacies and great holings of land and property now administered for the Church of England by the Church Commissioners. We were, amd still are, on our own. On the other hand we were able to take quite a dispassionate view of all the arguments and shenanigans of the Church of England and its Bishops. Nothing to do with us!

There are now six dioceses, ours (Monmouth) being derived from a split of the old one of Llandaff with a bit of mid-Glamorgan and east Cardiff, but mostly the newly restored County of Monmouthshire. Our largest town is, of course, Newport which is where our Cathedral and Bishop Rowan Williams are to be found. We also have our Arch-Bishop, currently the Most Reverend Alwyn Rice-Jones of St.Asaph. Unlike his opposite number in England he also continues as Bishop of his diocese. By the way, ordinary Bishops are addressed as Very Reverends while the Arch-Bishop is MOST Reverend. Not many people know that!