The Tintern Village Website



Dear Friends
Already the activity of Christmas is a memory and we are now getting geared up for Easter. How the seasons seem to blend into each other, or is it advancing age that makes it appear that way?
I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those who helped to make Christmas a very special time at St Michael's, in particular as it was Tintern's turn to host the Midnight Mass. All the services of the season were well supported and I am grateful to Des Carter, the various Readers and the Parish Choir for so freely giving of their time and talent.
February saw the first of the family services and I am delighted to report that a good number of children and their parents were present. The theme accommodated "all age" worship and was well received. We intend to continue the informality of the occasion through future family services and, as always, a warm welcome is extended to all. Remember the family service is held at 11:00am on the first Sunday in every month. We look forward to seeing you.
It is good to see our friends at the Methodist Church appreciating the dynamic leadership of their new Minister, Graham Hawes. The freshness of his approach is evident and nowhere was this more evident than at the recent combined service when he arranged for the Youth Group from Chepstow Methodist Church to lead the worship. Their thoughtful and stimulating presentation of prayer, song and drama deeply impressed the congregation as the numerous comments afterwards made clear.
Arrangements are in hand to invite the Group to a joint service at St Michael's in the near future and we trust that a large congregation will support their admirable efforts.
The long awaited Book of Remembrance will soon be on display in our Church housed in a suitable display cabinet. Mr Habib Dingle has made a superb job of designing and making the cover and Adrian Smith is to be congratulated on matching this degree of excellence by producing the pages on which the names of the deceased are recorded. These names have been taken from the burial registers for both St Michael's and St Mary's and span many years.
However the Church Council is aware that some names will not be found in the registers for one reason or another (a former local resident buried elsewhere, perhaps) and we are keen that all departed with a strong connection with this Parish receive the opportunity to be recorded in the Book of Remembrance if this is the wish of the family concerned. To facilitate this desire the Memorial Book will first be on public display on the weekends of April 4th & 5th and April 18th & 19th. Church Officers will be in attendance to make a list of additional names to be included. Please take this opportunity to submit any names that otherwise might be overlooked.
I would like to draw attention to the list of special weekday evening Lent services elsewhere in this magazine. They will need little introduction as their popularity has been well proven over the past few years. I can assure those who have yet to attend that these short meetings are very worth making time for. Once again, as you will see, we will be visiting a variety of local churches and sampling a little of each tradition within the theme of the Lenten message. Remember, Lent is not exclusively an austere season - a time when we are expected to give up most things we enjoy - rather it is about deepening personal spirituality and spending about 35 minutes a week on these sessions will be most enriching.

I will also take the liberty of notifying you of a few other important dates for your diary :
(A) March 27th (Friday) A talk and supper at Whitebrook Village Hall, commencing 7:30pm. Keith Kissack will speak on "Wye Valley Eccentrics" - a review of unconventional figures who have lived in this area! This event (with licensed bar) is in support of Llandogo Church roof appeal and tickets are available from the Rector or at Brown's stores, Llandogo.
(B) March 29th (Sunday) N.B. no morning service at St Michael's. The congregation are invited to join the Parish Choir for a service at Hewelsfield Church at 11:00am. We are keen to support our neighbour parish during this period when they are without a vicar. Please attend if at all possible.
(C) April 9th (Maundy Thursday) Special service of stripping the altar and vigil of silence by candle light, commences 8:00pm.
(D) April 10th (Good Friday) Please look for posters with details of the special service for this day.
(E) April 12th (Easter Day) Sunrise Communion Service at Tintern Abbey at 7:00am. Holy Eucharist at St Michael's 11:00am.
(F) April 22nd (Wednesday) Annual vestry meeting, 7:00pm at the Royal George Hotel. Your opportunity to experience the A.G.M. of your church and make your views heard.
(G) April 25th (Saturday) Advance notice - Torfaen Choir Concert at Llandogo Church in aid of the restoration Project. An evening not to be missed! Contact the Rector for further details.
I am sure you will agree that is plenty to be going on with!
Every good wish and blessing to you as we all awaken to the days of Spring.

Julian E Ll White (Rector)


Attendance and Collection
November 90 351.50
December 237 452.21
January 64 193.10

Total 391 996.81
Total for the same period in 1996/97
390 789.98
An increase this year of 1 attender and 206.83


Rhiannon Frances Osborne Tonner


Hilda Muriel Sankey
Francis Mary Wilson


For many years churches representing different denominations in this area of the Wye valley have joined together for fellowship and an act of worship during the season of Lent. Participating members have expressed their appreciation of these shared activities and we hope to repeat the success based on the following schedule.
All services are held on Wednesday evening and commence at 7:30pm.
February 25th (Ash Wednesday) Service and address at Llandogo church
March 4th Service and address at Tintern Methodist church
March 11th Compline and address at Holy Trinity, Whitebrook
March 18th Service and address at Llandogo Baptist chapel
March 25th Service and address at Hewelsfield Anglican church
April 1st Compline and address at St Michael's church, Tintern
April 8th Holy Week service at Brockweir Moravian church

It is anticipated that the length of the service and address will be in the region of 40 minutes. Individual churches are welcome to offer a service reflecting their own tradition within the time scale suggested.
A warm welcome is extended to all who wish to deepen their faith and fellowship in this special season. If you are aware of anyone who is keen to attend but is prevented from doing so on account of transport difficulties - or if you wish to have more details - please contact me at the address below.

Revd. Julian White
The Rectory
Nr. Monmouth
Monmouthshire NP5 4TW
tel/fax 01594-530887

In addition to the schedule of special services to be held on Wednesday evenings during Lent, we are pleased to draw your attention to an "extra" in the programme.


A space for quiet, reflection and meditation
Revd. Keith Denerley will lead a 45 minute session which will include a meditation, quiet worship using the music of Taize and Iona and times of silence.
to be held at
on Friday 13th March at 8:00pm.

All are most welcome to join this Special Meditation.


All who knew Rene Brennan when she lived in Tintern were saddened to hear of her death on the 6th of January in hospital. She was a kind and hospitable neighbour who retained her interest in Tintern affairs and received Parish News regularly.
Always ready to help the disadvantaged she was connected with various charities. While in Tintern, acting as President of the W.I, she entertained coach parties from various Residential Homes. One of the guests repaid her by writing poems in her honour, one of which was printed in Parish News.
We extend our sympathy to her husband and son in their great loss.


Mary Wilson (aged 79) was born and bred in Tintern. Born in Yew Tree Cottage, beyond the Wye Valley Hotel, she later moved to Sawyer's Place.
She met her husband, Jesse, when, during the war, he was billeted on Chepstow Racecourse. They had eight children - four boys and four girls and were the first residents to live in Sylvan View.
Mary was a worker all her life and only retired when she was sixty-eight. Jesse, her husband, worked at Livox Quarry. In her time she worked at the Rose and Crown, was cook at the Wye Valley Hotel for twenty-seven years, then the Moon and Sixpence and at the Parva Farmhouse as housekeeper for thirteen years.
She was an active member of the Committee raising funds and distributing Christmas parcels to pensioners in Tintern. She was also a long time member of Monmouth Conservative Association.
She and members of her family always took part in the annual potato harvesting.
Our sympathy goes out to all her family, sons, daughters and her four great grand-children



Marjorie Thomas wishes to thank all who visited her in hospital or sent cards and flowers. Her many friends are happy to see her well and home again.


Joan Dexter wishes to thank all who supported her coffee morning on the 18th of February. The morning raised 160 which has been forwarded to the St Briavel's Centre for Child Development in Monmouth



The Parochial Church Council has now mapped out the dates of this year's major events so, with diaries at the ready please, here they are :
April 9th Maundy Thursday "Vigil" at 7.30pm.
April 12th Easter Day with services at the Abbey at 7.00am and St. Michael's at 11.00am.
April 22nd (Wednesday) "Easter Vestry" A.G.M. 7.00pm at the "Royal George" followed by Dinner or Supper.
May 25th May Bank Holiday Cake Stall at the "Anchor" or Abbey Car Park.
June 25th Parish Lunch at Wye Barn by kind invitation of Judith Russill.
September 29th (Tuesday) our "Patronal Festival" with a service of Evensong at 6.30pm followed by a supper at a venue to be decided later.
October 3rd Harvest Supper in the Village Hall. Book early to avoid disappointment.
October 11th Harvest Thanksgiving at St. Michael's.
November 29th Music and Readings for Advent - Special morning service.
December 5th Christmas Bazaar.
December 20th Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at 6.00pm.
December 25th (Friday) Christmas morning service at 11.00am.


Please note that the closing date for the Summer 1998 issue is SUNDAY 17th May 1998
Articles and requests for advertisements should be sent to the Editor : Mrs K Heron, Hillcrest, St Anne's Lane, Tintern, 01291-689408


Nowadays, Good Friday is almost like any other day. But the story of Jesus Christ and the horrible fate He suffered on the Cross is still with us. In some ways it is with us more positively than ever before.
In the 19th century and right up to the last war, cynical scholars, mainly German, sought to discredit the story of Jesus and the Gospels which tell it. They argued that Jesus was a mythical figure, who probably never existed, and the Gospels were invented 100 years or more after the events they claim to describe, by early Christians anxious to establish the credentials of the religion in which they believed.

Today, the march of historical research has in turn demolished the anti- Christians.
Now the existence of Jesus Christ and His ministry are regarded as one of the best-authenticated events in the whole of antiquity, with four near- contemporary sources including eye-witness evidence. The epistles of St Paul were written even earlier, probably within 20 years of Jesus's death, by a man who knew those who lived on intimate terms with Jesus.
These historical researches do not, of course, in themselves prove that Jesus worked miracles or rose from the dead, merely that many people who lived then and saw Him thought He did. But they do establish, beyond possibility of doubt, that Jesus existed and lived the life recorded in the Gospels, ending in his crucifixion.
Personally, along with countless millions of other Christians, I have never had any difficulty in believing in this astonishing man. He is one of the most convincing characters in the whole of history. What leaps from each chapter of the gospels is not so much his divinity and holiness - though that is apparent on every page - as His humanity.
No wonder the Sermon on the Mount mesmerised those who heard it. In a harsh and brutal world, it reveals such a deep understanding of human nature, such a thrilling and uplifting response to it, that the words sometimes bring tears to my eyes even though I have read them countless times.
The notion that such a passage could have been invented by early Christian propagandists - even if they had the pen of Shakespeare - is preposterous.

One is conscious always of the interplay between Jesus's subtlety and His simplicity, between His modesty and His strong sense of the authority invested in Him by his Father, between His powerful intellect and His loving all-embracing heart. He is indeed a real living vibrant man - a man for all seasons and moods. He strikes a responsive chord in all of us, even those who resist and deny Him. I have always been fascinated by Jesus's relations with women. In an age when men regarded the "weaker vessels" as mere houseworkers or beasts of burden or at most sex-slaves, Jesus always treated them as responsible thinking adults, capable of the highest achievements of the human mind and spirit.
His relations with Mary Magdalen, and Martha and Mary, His conversation with the Woman at the Well, His handling of those who wished to stone to death the adulteress - these and other Gospel incidents show a sensitivity and understanding to women which is quite outside His own place and time, and unparalleled in the whole of ancient literature.
Then again, what touches one about Jesus is his combination of fear and courage.
The story of the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane makes it clear that He dreaded His coming ordeal: not just the physical pain, but the humiliation, the mockery, the desertion by His friends, the sheer lonely degradation of His death. He prayed desperately to be spared it.
His fear and horror were human. But His courage and resolution were human too - perhaps one should say superhuman.
Jesus was one of those heroes who is brave not from unthinking lack of imagination but, on the contrary, sees all the agonies to come and flinches, but who nonetheless presses on to death. That is the true valour.
Indeed Jesus's sensitivity, which intensified His sufferings, is apparent throughout the narrative. St Mark relates that when Jesus's friends went to Pilate to ask permission to bury His body, the Roman Governor was astonished that Jesus was already dead. Those who were crucified, usually hardened criminals, often lasted several days on their crosses.

Jesus died after only three hours, killed by a kind of psychic shock to a delicate and imaginative personality which simply could not sustain the brutality and shame of His predicament. I find this the most moving aspect of the Passion of our Lord.
Two entire millennia later, there are still immense numbers of Christians throughout the world, of every colour and nationality, who will be reflecting on the sufferings of Jesus each Good Friday, and looking forward to celebrating His triumphant resurrection on the following Sunday.
It is indeed "the greatest story ever told".

At the beginning of this century, many learned professors and intellectuals - the chattering classes of 1900 - confidently predicted that Christianity would not survive to the year 2000.
But here we are, with only three years to go, and there are more Christians living on earth than ever before - the best part of two billion of us.
It is the alternatives to the Gospel story which (in Jesus's words) have "fallen by the wayside".
All those modern creeds and superstitions, which were going to replace Jesus Christ in out hearts and minds - communism, fascism, Nazism, scientism, eugenics and so on - are dead or dying. They have been tested to destruction and found wanting, in many cases wholly evil.
But somehow, the story of the carpenter's son from small-town Nazareth, the young man who preached forgiveness and love and turning the other cheek - and was crucified for His message lives on, as strong as ever, in the minds and hearts of men, women and children everywhere.

Paul Johnson of the Daily Mail


Here is a Patron Saint of whom much is known, whose name day, March 17th, is a national holiday in Ireland, the country to which he was taken by pirates who sold him into slavery when he was a sixteen year old boy.
His master was a Druid, a priest of the established religion, who lived on the north east coast. Patrick's head was shaved, to show he was a slave. His clothing was a sheepskin tunic and he wore leather sandals. One of his tasks was herding swine on the mountainside.
He wrote of this period of his life "I was chastised exceedingly and humbled every day in hunger and nakedness."
His captivity lasted six years, yet it was about this time of misery that he later wrote "The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelief." He resolved to serve God perfectly in spite of the obstacles to be overcome.
At the age of twenty-two he managed to escape and walked 200 miles in hostile surroundings and always in fear of recapture.
He was taken on board ship but made to suffer worse conditions than those he had already endured. Eventually he reached Britain and found his relatives.
His resolve to be ordained was firm but he had to overcome his years of servitude and lack of learning. Somehow he got to France where he studied at four known centres of learning for twenty years and benefited from the teaching of the scholars and church leaders of the day.
During this time he had dreams of messengers carrying letters. One of them was headed "The Voice of the Irish." When Patrick opened this letter he heard "The voices of many crying with one mouth." He recognised the voices of those he had known during his captivity.
He understood that his mission was to be in Ireland. His superiors did much to try to dissuade him and undermine his resolve but in 432 Patrick returned to Ireland where he will be remembered for ever.

KH - condensed from an address given by Rev. M L Ferrar


As usual, our first meeting in the New Year was the A.G.M. at which we thanked our out-going Chairman, Mr Stan Mitchley, for his valiant service during his three years in office and allowed him to retire gratefully from the hot seat.
In his place we welcomed Mr Bryan Jones with Mrs Christine Bradshaw taking over as Vice-Chairman. All this upheaval and change tempted the Secretary to put in the annual plea for a change and was partially successful by being awarded an assistant! Mrs Jean Bathgate agreed to take on this unenviable task.
This led to the Treasurer muttering about retirement and was amazed when someone actually volunteered, so Mr John Bathgate is now in charge of our finances.
Mrs Joan Dexter had been Treasurer for twelve years or more and it was entirely due to her that we managed to pay for the Hall, monthly speakers, printing etc all on an annual subscription of 1 per person! (raised to 2 last year) and we are very grateful for her hard work.

Our programme for 1998 covers such diverse topics as "Hard Landscaping and the Garden" and "Wildlife in Gwent Churchyards" which, together with visits to local gardens, should contain something for everyone.
Don't forget, we meet at 7.30pm on the third Friday in each month and would be delighted to welcome some new members.



Thanks to all who came and helped at the Christmas Bazaar. We made a very healthy profit to go towards our Quota, repairs, equipment etc, without which we wouldn't be able to keep the Church open. This year's Bazaar will be on the 5th December 1998.



We are all very pleased to welcome back Marjorie Thomas, it wasn't the same without her. Pat Robinson is away again; get well soon Pat. The Tuesday Club had a lovely Christmas Lunch at the F.O.D. College and many members joined other pensioners for a lunch at the Anchor which they enjoyed very much.
We are looking forward to the Spring and maybe a trip round to see Spring Bulbs and tea somewhere.



Margaret Keys was voted in as President at the Annual Meeting in November.
Committee : Jan Gibbard (Secretary)
Heather Mather
Christine Bradshaw
Catherine McEwen
Jean Davey
After a short W.I. business meeting in December we had a super Christmas Dinner at the Royal George, many thanks to Mrs Pearce and all her staff.
Our meetings are held on the 3rd Monday of the month at the Royal George at 7:30pm.
16th March How to make Easter Cards by Paper Marbling
20th April Garden Design, make your garden the envy of all your friends and neighbours. Lady visitors are welcome.
18th May Making a Difference Worldwide (Resolutions). It really does make a difference - Governments really do listen to the W.I. - several motions are now woven into our everyday life.
15th June Evening Tour of the Abbey with Kate.
20th July Flower Arranging.
Embroidery Crafts 1st Monday at the Village Hall. Come to sew and natter.
Walkies with the Bramblers on 4th Monday, all welcome, partners, doggies, friends etc.

Jean Davey 689212


Llandogo Over 60's have asked if anybody in Tintern would like to go on any of their Outings. You DON'T have to be over 60 to come. All welcome.
They are as follows :
22nd April Gloucester Docks
20th May Tewkesbury with maybe a boat trip
17th June Birmingham Botanical Gardens
15th July Salisbury
19th August Swansea and the Mumbles
Pick up at Brown's in Llandogo
Let me know if you are interested

Jean Davey 689212

50/50 CLUB

The results of the last few monthly draws and the annual draw of the 1997 series are as follows :
1st 2nd 3rd
Dec97 Adrian Smith(97) R Tanner(111) Sophie Bischoff
Jan98 Rosemary Beak(99) Heather Mather(54) Brenda Trussler(79)
Annual Christine Morgan(106) E Klinkert(1) E Klinkert(2)
Feb98 Jean Davey(37) Rosemary Beak(86) John Wait(44)

For the 1998 series 113 shares were sold thus enabling monthly prizes to be 28.25, 11.30, and 5.65 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.



Christmas comes but once a year but when it come it brings Christmas parcels to Tintern's pensioners. Who do we thank? We thank all who support the Social Evenings held in the Village Hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the year. They have fun but they work hard too when, in December, they purchase, pack and deliver all those gifts paid for by their money!



Head Chef Cliff Randall of the Royal George Hotel was recently chosen to contribute a starter course for the Watson and Phillips "What's Cooking" Magazine. The feature entitled "Welsh Wizardry" was run to promote Welsh Produce and to mark St David's Day on March 1st. Cliff's recipe for Black Mountain Smoked Salmon with an Avocado Mousse is a real hit with the Guests and now you can try it too.

8 oz smoked salmon
2 avocados
6 oz creme fraiche
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 lemons
1 tsp mint )
half tsp tarragon ) for the
1 tsp dillweed ) mousse
1 tsp curly endive )

Make the mousse at least three hours in advance of serving to allow to set. Peel and remove stones from the avocados, chop into cubes and place in a metal bowl. Add the juice of a lemon and ensure avocado is well coated pouring off the excess liquid. Add the Tabasco and creme fraiche. Blend until smooth, roughly chop fresh herbs and fold into the mousse and allow to chill.
Place the smoked salmon in the centre of the plate and position three quenelles of mousse around the salmon; garnish with curly endive and dillweed.
A Welsh wine - Llansoy Special 1996 - a first blend of Kerner and Pinot Gris, gives a fine dryish wine with a fresh nose.

The Royal George had even more cause to celebrate the New Year than most, one of their Chefs, Penny Creswick, was rushed to hospital on New Year's Eve to have her first baby. All the staff were anxious all night waiting to hear if she would be the first to give birth in 1998. She didn't quite make it past the post in the first place but little Arran, as he was named, came in as the second baby born in Monmouthshire in 1998. Congratulations to Penny, Ronald and Arran from everyone at the Royal George.

Five years after the Flood which saw the Royal George under four feet of muddy water from the River Angiddy, work was finally completed on the Flood Alleviation Scheme. After all the work was completed, which included the construction of a cascade to help the river run away more efficiently, the car park at the hotel was extended and the gardens re-landscaped making the property even more enticing to guests. An official opening was held at the Royal George on Tuesday 13th January 1998.


On Tuesday 13th January 1998, five years to the day (except that in 1993 it was a Wednesday) when our village was inundated by the swollen River Angiddy, and simultaneously the Catbrook and the Limekiln Brook, the official opening of the flood alleviation scheme took place at eleven-o-clock at the Royal George Hotel.
On the 13th January 1993 between fifty and sixty homes and premises were flooded. The Clerk to the Community Council submitted 54 claims for drying out and relief to Gwent County Council.
County Councillor Graeme Nelmes, Chairman of Monmouthshire County Council, unveiled a commemorative plate which is also embellished with a plaque being an award for the project by virtue of 1997 being the "Year of Engineering Success". The plate will be fixed on the upstream side of the wall bordering the A466 opposite Abbey Mill. (on a boulder in the space behind the wooden fence at the river end of the Royal George car park: Ed)
After official speeches by Councillor Nelmes, Mr Parsons and our own County Councillor Donald Spencer, invited guests including Chief Executive, Joyce Redfearn, representatives from the Welsh Office, the Contractors and Tintern Community Council, a tour of the site was followed by an excellent buffet lunch provided by Mr and Mrs Pearce at the Royal George.
Inside the Royal George a small exhibition of the "as finished" plans and photographs of the floods and flood damage taken on the day was presented.
It was announced that a similar amount of rainfall to that recorded in 1993 had fallen in the preceding weeks but this time the alleviation scheme had contained the flow in both the Angiddy and the Limekiln Brook.
In the interests of conservation, nesting boxes have been provided by the R.S.P.B. to attract dippers and it is hoped that other wild life will return to the Abbey Mill site in the near future.



In an earlier issue of Parish News, readers may have read that a Book of Remembrance was in the process of being compiled. Work is now nearing completion.
The task of extracting names, dates and ages from the burial registers and listing them in date order, a separate page for each day of the year, has been undertaken by Adrian Smith, our organist.
Mr Habib Dingle, a professional bookbinder, has fashioned an attractive leather bound ring binder to contain the pages of the Book, the cost of which is a gift to the Church from Mary Karvik in memory of her son James.
The book is to be on permanent display in the Church, contained in an oak desk commissioned by the PCC from Andrew Pyke of Brockweir.
You will note that we say "nearing completion" in the opening paragraph. This is because there are probably many names worthy of being included in the Book whose details are not held in our burial registers. We are anxious that all those who have strong connections with the Parish and who are now deceased should not be omitted from the final roll. Consequently we are inviting all parishioners to inspect the Book to ensure that all such omissions are rectified.

The Book will be available for this purpose on the following dates and times:
Sat 4 Apr 98 2-4 pm
Sun 5 Apr 98 2-4 pm
Sat 18 Apr 98 2-4 pm
Sun 19 Apr 98 2-4 pm
The following details of persons omitted are required:
Full names
Date of death
Connection with Parish



What it's all about and how to do it

The Atlas project aims to provide an up-to-date picture of the species of birds that breed in the county and how they are distributed. To achieve this, the county will be divided into squares (tetrads) measuring 2*2 Km, of which there are about 430, and the range of species breeding in each square will be recorded over a 4 year period.
The Atlas will not try to count the numbers of breeding birds or their breeding densities, it will simply ask questions such as "did blackbirds breed in square 19W at any time during the 4 years of the survey"?
When the results are written up we will produce a separate map for each species showing which squares it bred in. The example below, taken from our last atlas shows the distribution of Redstart as it was in 1981-1985. Large dots = proved breeding; medium dots = probable breeding; small dots = possible breeding. (Ed note : the illustration has been omitted from this Internet edition of Parish News)
Will the distribution have changed for better or worse during the intervening 13 years?

How can you help?
Atlas work is very rewarding and easy to do. You can do it where you like, when you like and as often as you like. There are two ways you can do it :
1 Taking on a square
You can take on the recording for one particular square (or more than one if you are keen),
2 Casual recording
or you can keep your eyes open whenever you are out and about in the county, make notes of any signs of breeding birds on a "casual records sheet", and send in the sheet at the end of each year
3 or you can, of course, take on both of the above approaches.

This survey is being organised by the Gwent Ornithological Society. If you would like to take part in either of the ways described above, you are welcome to contact me, as I have the relevant forms.

Mary Plunkett, 689571