The Tintern Village Website

Summer 1997


Dear Friends

The rantings preceding the General Election have faded to an echo; a fall of snow at Birmingham Airport (I was there!) a couple of weeks ago has given way to threats of a hosepipe ban; the Wye Valley road has been taken over by tourists straddling the white line at 24 mph admiring the view and driving local motorists berserk - yes, summer has arrived.
By the time you read this a number of special events will have taken place. The annual Cake Stall was again held outside the Abbey and proved to be a continuing success. Every year our lack of faith makes us wonder if we would be better employed serving hot soup, mindful of the contrary nature of the British seasons, and yet we were rewarded with superb weather. Thanks are extended to all who prepared a wide range of food and duly spent a few hours in a flurry of activity. I understand that a sum in the region of 120.00 was raised by this event to benefit Church funds.
The last day of May presented us with a unique opportunity to help celebrate an historical occasion. As I am writing this somewhat in advance of the function I trust that I will not be left with "egg on my face" by a last minute change of plan (yes, it is all down to the weather again).
The Pilgrim's Way has seen a group of Christians leave Rome to make their journey to Canterbury as a thanksgiving for the witness of Saint Augustine. The pilgrims continue to travel across the country and set out for Ireland to celebrate the Christian contribution in that fair island. On the last day of May these pilgrims will first set foot in Wales - crossing from Aust to Tintern. A service of welcome at the Abbey awaits them with all the Welsh Bishops present supported by the Chepstow Choir. Local residents and members of Saint Michael's in particular are pleased to have been invited to help them celebrate at the Abbey and by walking with the pilgrims for a few miles along the banks of the River Wye.
Such events serve to remind us that we are not a village and church in isolation but part of a wider and ancient movement reflecting diverse tradition and culture.

On a more personal level Tintern has been saddened by an inordinate number of deaths in recent weeks. Our prayers, thoughts and sympathy go out to all who have been touched by bereavement and their loss of loved ones is addressed elsewhere in this magazine.
The passing of Olive Thomas deserves special mention. She will long be remembered with great affection in the community both as the wife of the late Rector Ron Thomas and as a notable person in her own right.
Rector and Mrs Thomas shared a ministry and friendship with this area the quality and duration of which we are not likely to see again. They lived at Llandogo from the late 1940's and extended to all a warmth and compassion that came to be acknowledged as an anchor in the midst of accelerating change for this locality. In the 1970's Rector Thomas was given responsibility for Tintern (formerly a separate parish) and both he and Mrs Thomas willingly extended their care and commitment to cover residents of this area. The amalgamation of a parish is never an easy undertaking but it is to the credit of Olive Thomas that she played a full and sensitive part in making the transition as smooth as possible.
In retirement she continued to involve herself in a variety of church and village institutions and, in particular, will be remembered for her activities within the Tuesday Club. She was a true friend to many and an excellent example of the embodiment of the Christian ideal.
I shall miss her quiet wisdom, her wealth of local knowledge and her immense tact and diplomacy. I shall also feel the loss of her sense of humour that often put parish problems and intrigue into perspective. Behind her robust and sometimes formidable exterior lay a character that touched the lives and hearts of many in a way that will be sincerely appreciated for a lifetime.
The large and mixed congregation at her funeral left no doubt of the love and esteem in which she was held. To Ashley, Russell and Helen we offer our sympathy and join in giving thanks for a life well lived and the cause of so much benefit to others.

As we move into the holiday season I trust you will find rest and refreshment at home or abroad.

With every good wish
Julian E Ll White (Rector)


On Palm Sunday, Alice Mary Woodfield was christened at St Michael's. Her family has long been connected with Tintern and St Michael's Church. Her parents were married there, her brother Harry and her mother Melanie were christened there. Forty years ago her grandmother, Nancy Lewis of Ferry Farm married Peter Woodfield there.
Little Alice behaved in exemplary fashion during her christening and was still smiling on Low Sunday when she and her family joined the congregation.
Readers of Parish News may remember that when Alice's great grandparents were married at St Michael's the ceremony took place at 8.00am., time for opening hour at the Rose and Crown, not for the purpose of celebration but for business as usual.



After the unexpected heatwave of April, we waited with bated breath for Saturday the 3rd of May. The day dawned bright, but by noon it had started to rain. However by early afternoon, the sun was once again shining, proving that Adrian the Organist really does have supernatural control of the elements where weddings are concerned.
St Michael's (colourfully decorated) was filled with relatives and friends who had come to witness the marriage of Nicholas Russill and Yvonne Pickett.
Nick and Yvonne had wanted to be married at St Michael's because of family connections through Nick's aunt Judith, and grandmother Glenys Russill. The packed Church watched the newly married pair leave through the doors dedicated in memory of Glenys.

The Churchyard was bathed in sunshine and Yvonne's Greek relatives saw Tintern, St Michael's and the Churchyard looking its best. It was a wonderful setting for the photos and the guests were more than happy to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings before setting off for a splendid reception at the Celtic Manor Hotel, Newport.
Nick and Yvonne would like to thank Julian and the people of Tintern for allowing them to use St Michael's for their special day. They will take Julian's advice and be back on many occasions to remember the vows and promises they have made.



Mr Ron Scrivens

Mr Ron Scrivens, aged 59, of Sylvan View died in hospital after a long illness.
He was born in Tintern and lived in the village most of his life. He went to school in Tintern, Brockweir and St Arvans. At 16 he joined the Merchant Navy and later completed his National Service.
In 1960 he married Pam, only daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Arthur Mackie and they had two sons Lindsay and Stephen.
In the 1970s the couple had many successful years training and racing their own greyhounds, winning many races all over the country.
As a young man Ron played football for Tintern United. His interest in the local game continued and he later became Chairman of Tintern Abbey Football Club.
He loved his garden and until he became too ill he could be seen working there every day.

A large congregation were present at the funeral service in St Michael's Church followed by burial at Chapel Hill.


The family of the late Mr Ron Scrivens wish to thank all their friends and neighbours for all their help and kindness in the past weeks. Also all who attended the funeral.

William and Mary Thomas

Tuesday 20th May and Tuesday 27th May saw the funerals in Tintern of Bill and Mary Thomas. Bill died on 11th May and his wife Mary on 15th May.
Bill was born in Tintern. Some of his early years were spent in Cornwall on a farm near Port Isaac and he always retained a great affection for Cornwall and the Cornish. After other employment including working at Ty Mawr Convent, Penallt, his last employment was for the Department of the Environment at Dinham.
Bill's sister, Marjorie, lives in Tintern. He was very close to her and spent much time helping her. Bill was well known and was often seen walking through the village on errands for family and friends.
Mary was born in Itton, the daughter of a lay Methodist preacher, Edgar Bevan, who had a family of ten children. She is survived by one sister. Mary was married to her first husband, Les Bartlett, for 25 years. Les was from an old Tintern family and many relatives still live in and around the village. She married Bill in 1965. Mary worked in service when she first left school and had many interesting tales to tell. Her last employment was as an auxiliary nurse at St Lawrence Hospital on the children's ward, which she thoroughly enjoyed. She did not want to retire. She was an excellent cook.
Both Bill and Mary enjoyed gardening and they enjoyed the simple things in life like watching and feeding the birds and squirrels.
They enjoyed good literature and the Bible was something more than a "plinth for the aspidistra". They were both God fearing committed Christians in "game as well as name" and often entertained preachers in their home. They honoured God in their home, an old-fashioned one, in which prayers were offered at every meal and the day closed with a family altar Bible reading and prayer. They saw many answers to prayer. Nine years ago Mary was wonderfully healed when a lesion on the pancreas completely disappeared after prayer.
As committed Christians they were always eager to share their faith with others.

Mary is survived by her son, Nigel Bartlett, who lives in Monmouth with his family and by her daughter, Nina Phelps, and her husband and family who have lived in Parva Springs since 1973.
Their friend, Bob Cox, an itinerant Minister, has lived with Bill and Mary for 43 years and has lost two very dear friends.
The funeral services were held at Bethel Pentecostal Church which both had attended over the years. Mary's brother, Jim Bevan, was Pastor at Tintern and was instrumental in establishing the present building. His wife, Elsie, still attends the Church. Bill's life revolved around services and tending the Church.

The family would like to thank sincerely their friend and neighbours for messages of sympathy, floral tributes and support during their bereavements. Also they would like to thank the members of Bethel Church for their care and prayers and practical help, also Mr Philip Blatchley and staff for their support during this difficult time.
The family also express grateful thanks to Dr Jennings and Dr Calland and staff of Trellech surgery for the care given during times of illness.


Please note that the closing date for the Autumn 1997 issue is SUNDAY 17th August 1997
Articles and requests for advertisements should be sent to the Editor : Mrs K Heron Hillcrest, St Anne's Lane, Tintern 01291-689408


Many hundreds of visitors come into our Church each year. It is difficult to estimate how many as, although we have a visitors' book (with a pen) and offertory boxes in the Church, not every visitor writes in the book or drops coins in the boxes. However in recent years visitors have left about 400 a year in the boxes and have filled dozens of pages in our visitors' book.
The Church is open every day, all day and remarks in the book indicate that this is much appreciated by our visitors. Church members who clean and decorate week in and week out can take encouragement that their efforts are not in vain.
In recent years several small innovations have been introduced to add interest for visitors - a short history in a frame mounted on the wall of the south porch, a lamp set on the table bearing the visitors' book, a book for people to ask for special prayers to be offered. In due course a Book of Remembrance is to be produced which will list those of the Parish who have now departed this life and who will be remembered in the anniversary week of their deaths.
The list of names has been compiled from the registers, a suitable cover has been ordered and a cabinet to house the Book is to be made. The Book will be displayed in Church opened at the appropriate page for all to read.

Turning to the two Churchyards for which the Parochial Church Council is responsible, there are two matters to report, one for each. At St Mary's a section of the retaining wall at the side of the cobbled approach road collapsed and had to be repaired. The work was carried out by David Ball.
At St Michael's the tiled floor of the Lych Gate was replaced, the former tiles being badly cracked or missing. This work was carried out by the "Chain Gang".
St Mary's Churchyard has been a continuous display of colour starting with snowdrops and continuing with daffodils and then the bluebells. Two small trees have been planted this year. An article by our Editor later in this edition describes these trees.



A Maidenhair (or Ginkgo) tree has been planted in St Mary's Churchyard. It's leaves are described as being "slender stalked, fan shaped, with two lobes and dichotomous venation".
Grown in Chinese and Japanese temple gardens, it was cultivated as a holy tree. The first specimens were brought to Britain in 1754 where it has been grown in parks and gardens.
It can attain a great age and has been called by Darwin "a living fossil".
According to a recent article in the popular press its existence is threatened by the widespread use of its leaves in homoeopathic medicine.
We hope our tree will grow and flourish in its new home.
The Spanish chestnut, Tintern's prize in 1996 for being the most improved village, is already doing very well not far from its new companion.



May the 11th was the Sunday after the Ascension. I thought the Prayer of St Theresa was very appropriate when I read it out. Others seemingly thought the same and a request was made to include it in the Parish News.

JESUS has no body now on earth
but you
no hands but yours
no feet but yours.

Yours are the eyes through which must look out Christ's compassion on the world.
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless men now.


50/50 CLUB

In the Spring issue of Parish News we announced that over 100 shares had been sold this year. The final total was actually 114 thus making prizes worth 28.50, 11.40 and 5.70 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

Recent prize winners were (share numbers in brackets)
1st 2nd 3rd
March Rosemary Beak (98) Jane Morgan (66) Des Carter (52)
April Elizabeth Wait (60) David Gibbard (10) Jean Mitchely (114)
May Betty Hoskins (42) Nancy Woodfield (78) Des Carter (51)



Members were saddened to hear of the sudden death of Mrs Olive Thomas of Llandogo. Mrs Thomas had been a member for many years and will be greatly missed. She was always so kind and cheerful. Our thoughts go to her family.
On a happier note we welcome back two members. Pat Robinson who has been absent for many months. Also Mrs Margaret Sayes who, due to ill health, has been absent even longer. We are very glad to see you both.

Members recently hired a coach and hit the high spots with a lovely lunch at the Montague Arms at Sling followed by a trip round the Forest to see parts we rarely reach and also the bluebells.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who helped with the Easter Bingo. As usual under the auspices of Daisy, Margery, Ruby, Doris and everybody else who helped, including Terry and the Bingo machine, the evening was a great success. Thanks also to all who came, we made a healthy profit for our funds.



Remember that we old folk are worth a fortune,
with silver in our hair,
stones in our kidneys,
lead in our feet
and gas in our stomach.
While I may have got a little older since I last saw you
I have become a frivolous old gal.
I have had two gentlemen with me each day.
Will Power helps me out of bed in the morning
and Arthur Ritis never leaves me alone.
The preacher called the other day
and he said I should be thinking of the hereafter.
I told him I do it all the time;
in the kitchen, the pantry, the dining room;
no matter where I am,
I keep asking myself,
what am I here after!

J E Ll W


Since the last edition of "Parish News" we have enjoyed the visits of two speakers dealing with such very different topics.
The lecturer from Gwent Tertiary College was a person after our own hearts and we listened with joy as we were told "don't bother to cut that down - it'll have rotted by next Summer" and "leave that patch of weeds - the butterflies like them". If this is part of a labour saving garden, we were all for it.
Then the month of May brought a talk by Peter Scourse on the work done by himself and his wife at the Hawk Rescue Centre at Penallt. Birds of all kinds are looked after there before being released to fend for themselves again. It is work which Mr and Mrs Scourse have done for many years.
We were fascinated to learn that they have not been able to take a holiday together for about thirty years because one of them has to be there to "mind the shop" - what dedication!

The third Friday in May saw us making our way to Veddw House at Devauden where we were able to wander around and marvel at the amount of work already put into the 10 year old garden and even more so at the future plans.
Unfortunately the evening was very damp and drizzly and we had hardly got home before the thunderstorm broke and it seems to have been raining ever since, but not we hope in June when we visit a garden at Pen-y-Clawd.
Also in June is the County VPA Show at Usk College when ten Gwent villages compete in fruit, flower, vegetable, cooking and craft sections and great is the rivalry as you can imagine.
Tintern has slowly climbed the results ladder from ninth to fourth place last year so we're hoping to be able to report great doings in the next quarterly issue.



In the Winter edition of Parish News there was a short article about daffodil planting in the village by members of the VPA, the bulbs having been bought with monies kindly donated by some Tintern businesses.
Well - we hope you enjoyed the grand showing of colour along the Monmouth Road (we did try to plant some on the verges of Trellech Road, but couldn't get our spades in the soil!).
There is definitely room for more, and we are willing to plant them - if you, the readers, would be kind enough to donate the bulbs or the wherewithal to buy them. Both Judiths (Bartholomew and Russill) will be willing recipients, but we need them by September/October at the latest.



The Youth Club (for 8-14 year-olds) meets each week (school term time) in the village Hall.
A range of activities are on offer : sports and games, quizzes, discussions, arts and crafts. Since Easter there has been a "wilderness survival" game, a "whodunnit" murder mystery, and a mock General Election. This session we are also offering a chance to learn Go-Kart racing along with a trip to Oakwood at the end of the year.
Membership is 1 per session, from 6.30pm to 9.00pm every Wednesday night.
New members are always welcome - just turn up on the night.



On Trinity Sunday 1972 the Lower Wye Valley Company of the Church Lad's Brigade was enrolled. The Company operated jointly between Tintern and St Arvans parishes. The two incumbents, Revd. Maurice Thomas and Revd. Horace Davies gave their blessing to the project and we met in the Village Halls alternately on Monday nights.
About two years later a delegation of boy's sisters and their friends demanded we should form a unit of the Church Girls' Brigade. So the joint unit began with Des Carter and Jean Carter in joint command.
The Company flourished with an average of 40 lads and girls for the next ten years. In that time many young people enjoyed the varied activities, camps, the National Spring School, the expedition to the Isle of Iona, the National Junior Leaders Course, the King George VI Leadership Course and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of 1981, due to redundancy, Des and Jean were obliged to move away to Harrow in London where they took over the joint command of the Roxeth and Harrow Company of the Church Lads' & Church Girls' Brigade. This meant that the remaining leadership who lived in St Arvans and Chepstow found it difficult to travel and to keep in touch.

So, in 1983, a new phase began when a successful transfer was made by arrangement with Revd. - now Canon - John Harris of St Mary's Priory Church of Chepstow.
The Company continued for a while under the command of Mrs Elaine Hodgson, then, as now, under Mr Kevin Higgs. Kevin has progressed from the time he joined in 1972 to achieving the Gold Award of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, to commissioned rank and now to the rank of Major and Battalion Commander. Kevin's wife, Catherine (nee Lawrence) is also a Gold Award holder, so is his sister, Trudi. That is the standard of leadership in the Company, now over 50 strong, firmly based in the Church and in the community.
So, on Sunday the 15th of June we will celebrate our 25th anniversary at the 10.00 o'clock service in St Mary's, Chepstow and follow with a barbeque and more.
If you were once a member, why not join us on the day.



Members were very sad to hear of the death of our President's son, Julian. Our thoughts and prayers go to June and John.

The WI membership is still increasing. We meet at the Royal George.
David Hunt recently gave a very interesting talk on Spring Lamb, showing cuts and recipes. We were very taken with the Crown of Lamb.
Grantley James gave a talk on his life and told us about the Ghosts of Tintern.
More than 40 members and friends enjoyed a super Spring supper at the Village Hall. It was such a success we hope to make it an annual event. So if you didn't come this year book your ticket for next. There were salads, cold meats, cheesecakes, mousses, pies etc etc.

June 16th Charlotte Evans of the Waterwheel Nursery is coming with plants - a time to buy and get tips.
July 21st Beauty therapy by Sarah from "The Beauty Spot".
August Garden Party. Venue to be arranged.
September 15th Members time to talk over the Summer, and ideas for next year.
October 20th Cookery or craft demonstration.
November 17th Our first birthday and AGM.
December 15th Christmas Party




Maudie and Jim were newly retired and joined the National Trust. One afternoon in October, passing near to Powys Castle, they decided to call in and see the gardens. Maudie remembered from a previous visit that there were lots of windfall apples.
As they went through the garden gate Maudie asked the anoraked figure in the kiosk what time the garden gate was locked and were told 6.00pm.
The intrepid couple toured the gardens, the Autumn colours were beautiful, even though it was drizzling. As it was 5.40pm they thought they would make their way back to the gate. Maudie's bag was a bit heavy with the windfalls. When they reached the gate it was locked. Nobody in the kiosk or anywhere to be seen. The railings were about eight feet tall. Maudie thought nearly twenty. Jim shouted, Maudie shouted quite politely, after all it was the National Trust. Nothing. Nobody. They tried again and again. By this time Maudie was thinking would they have to spend the Winter here eating nuts and berries - it was the last weekend of opening? Would their bodies be found under a pile of leaves in the the Spring?
Jim suggested he should climb the railings. Maudie was a bit worried as he'd not long had an operation. However Jim climbed the railings with difficulty and found a person in the shop, who fortunately had a key and let them out.
He said the gardens often closed early if the weather wasn't too good. But he did agree that they should have been told.



The Daily Mail reported the case of Mr Evans of St Mellons, a regular user of the Severn Bridge, who has paid 7000 in tolls in ten years, but was refused permission to cross recently when driving home from his work place in Swindon.
He had forgotten his wallet, his offer of credit cards was not accepted, likewise the suggestion that he leave his mobile phone as security. Mrs Evans was obliged to drive 45 miles with the cash and had to pay her own toll as well as that of her husband's.
Last year we are told, the two bridges took 47million in tolls.


note: if you end up at the old bridge with no cash, there is a cash dispenser in the service station which may help.


Mrs B Kerr has an amaryllis (appleblossom) which has flowered for twelve consecutive seasons. Is this a record ?


In the last issue of Parish News we read how a small dog from St Briavels was rescued from a mine shaft. This reminded Mrs Shewell of Abbey Farm of an incident which occurred in the old Wyndcliffe Quarry.
A fifteen year old girl from Thornbury, who had been playing hide and seek with her sister, fell 30 feet down a 90 foot hole landing on a narrow shelf. She was rescued by Robert Shewell who was assisted by his father, along with Tintern's P.C.Dobbins and Detective Constable Morgan. The older man secured the rope to a tree trunk and the younger, slimmer Robert joined the lady in distress.
She was taken to Frenchay Hospital and discharged after treatment for shock and bruises. Our local heroes were commended by the Police and local Fire Brigade for their prompt action.



John Bunyan (1628-1688) is not read today as much as he once was; not even his "Pilgrim's Progress" written when he was imprisoned for preaching without a licence. It would, of course, make a splendid twelve part "soap" for the television but nobody would believe it had enough commercial value.
Whether he is read or not, however, one part of his work is still very much alive today and that is the splendid hymn "Who would true valour see". It is in our own "Ancient and Modern" and in just about every other hymn book in the English-speaking world.

Not that the words were written for singing. They come from a time when, if any singing in Church was permitted at all, only metrical psalms were acceptable. Besides which, the peculiar metre of the verses meant that there was no satisfactory tune. Not, that is, until 1904 when Ralph Vaughan Williams heard a folk song while out walking in Sussex, noted it down and with some small adaptation made it fit the words as we have it today. The tune is called "Monk's Gate", the name of the village where he heard it.
As to the words themselves, they are a comment on the character of "Mr Valiant for Truth" who, as soon as he heard of Christian's pilgrimage, resolved to be a pilgrim too.
Life as a pilgrimage is a theme taken up by Christian folk ever since and by many other hymn writers. A never-ending pilgrimage too, for Bunyan calls us to "Labour night and day" at it. What is good enough for today is clearly not good enough for tomorrow so we mustn't stand still. Perserverance has to be top priority.
But our Pilgrim needs more than that; he needs courage too, both physical and mental.

"No lion can him fright, he'll with a giant fight..."
"Hobgoblin nor foul fiend can daunt his spirit......"
(Bunyan's Hobgoblins have been demoted in "A & M" to common goblins, which is a pity).

The words are, of course archaic but their meaning is still crystal clear. Lions these days are mostly confined to Safari Parks and foul fiends to driving on Motorways but the forces of darkness, evil and terror they represent are clearly around us on every side.

The same goes for the lines:
"Whoso beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound;
His strength the more is".

The rhyming may leave something to be desired, but the import for our own day and age is clear enough. Just open any newspaper or listen to any bulletin. No shortage of doom and gloom there, the more so, it seems in an Election year. But despite it all, the poem ends on a triumphant note for the Christian Pilgrim:
"He knows he at the end shall life inherit;
Then, fancies, fly away....."

Such inspiring words, written all of three centuries ago, will never die.
So, let's keep singing them.



All of us know of the significance of Tintern Abbey as an example of historical Monumental Architecture, but how many would have realised any connection between the "Grange" and our Monastic Forefathers?
It is indeed a small but interesting piece of history and starts at the time when the Monks must have first visited Tintern.
It would seem that they would survey a prospective site, much as surveyors would do today, and then, having decided the location, would build themselves a dwelling from which, as a base, they would supervise the design and construction of their project; in this case Tintern Abbey. The place where they built their dwelling was called a "Grange", and it was customary to prefix this with the name of the nearest large town, which in those days was Trellech.
"What" I hear you say, but an even more surprising fact is that Trellech was then known as the capital of Wales with a population of over 3000 people. The Grange is of course just up from the Fountain Inn which itself is some 400 years old.
The word "Grange" actually means "country house with farm buildings attached" and when you see it indicated around the country, it will almost certainly be associated with a settlement of the Monks.

The Fountain Inn, among others, became a popular watering hole on a well travelled route which was originally the site of an old Roman road.
Both the Fountain and the Gockett Inn at Lydart are old Drovers Inns at which cattle being driven were rested and watered on their journey between Monmouth and Chepstow. One presumes it was not only the cattle that were "watered".
Trellech Grange appears, by modern day standards, to have altered very little throughout the centuries and I for one would happily toast that fact.



When I was young one February day
To the snowdrop wood I made my way,
I reached the wood so quiet and still
Under the shadow of Barbadoes Hill
I slid down the deep slippery bank with ease
and beheld, oh such beauty beneath those old fir trees
Carpets of white all edged with green
sitting in their beds serene

Back and forth I bobbed about
until with blossoms my palm did fill
Then back up the bank I climbed with skill
Back home I found a vase to fill
And with it graced Mum's windowsill,
Those lovely blossoms of white and green,
Bloomed there then and they bloom there still,
Under the shadow of Barbadoes Hill.



O' who am I and what my house,
And wherefore set so high,
That I should be alive on earth
Beneath the open sky;

That I should be alive on earth
In Tintern in the Spring
to watch the bluebells come to birth
And hear the chaffinch sing?

O' who am I and what my house
That I should keep such state,
And have such minstrels sing to me
From early morn till late;

And have such odours thronging me.
And touch each goodly thing-
The gorse, the grass, the willow tree-
In Tintern in the Spring?

Adapted for Tintern from Anna Bunston de Bary's poem "Spring in Dorset"


The Dorset novelist and poet wrote the following poem a few weeks before he died in 1928. He loved the countryside where he was born and never liked to be far from it.

A shepherd stands by a gate in a white smock-frock:
He holds the gate ajar intently counting his flock.
The sour Spring wind is blurting boisterous-wise
And bears on it dirty clouds across the skies;
Plantation timbers creek like rusty cranes,
And pigeons and rooks, dishevelled by late rains,
Are like giant vultures, sodden and unkempt,
And song birds do not end what they attempt.
The buds have tried to open but quite failing
Have pinched themselves together in their quailing.
The sun frowns whitely in eye trying flaps
Through passing cloud-holes, mimicking audible taps.
"Nature, you're not commendable today!"
I think "Better to-morrow!" she seems to say.
That shepherd still stands in that white smock-frock,
Unnoting all things save the counting his flock.


Global warming is now here to stay,
or so all the experts will say,
and this, they explain,
is why there's no rain.
So why is it winter in May?



For Second Year Students resident in Tintern

Students who have not previously benefited from the above charity and wish to be considered for a grant this Autumn must apply before the 6th August 1997.
For further details and application forms, ring 689312.



2 Garden Lounge Chairs complete with cushions
- as new 20, ring 689312


Three Tintern housewives need help with light housework. 2 hours each - fortnightly.
for information, ring 689408


Details will appear in the next issue of Parish News.