The Tintern Village Website

Winter 1997


Dear Friends
I find myself, in the middle of November, putting pen to paper in order to wish you the very best for Christmas and the New Year. In doing so I feel rather like those shop-keepers who jump the gun and promote the changing seasons unduly in advance (buy your Christmas Cards in October!) to secure maximum trade.
I trust that I may be forgiven in this respect as the deadline for the Parish News (set by Mrs Heron, that most unyielding and professional of editors) must be obeyed! Besides, by the time you read this, Christmas will truly be upon us. Also, unlike much of the motivation which accompanies a business understanding of this season, Christians regard this time of year as indeed being in receipt of something special but with no financial cost involved. The transforming grace of God, as interpreted by the birth of Christ, is a gift freely given and the only payment that can be made is in our response which should be to extend compassion to our fellows.
Such acts of compassion are not confined to Christmas. I have great pleasure in thanking all those who contributed to our recent Harvest Appeal which sought to assist with famine relief in Eastern Europe. You may recall that we asked for gifts of food in tins and packets for this project and I can report that almost 600 items from this parish were duly sent abroad in October. The following correspondence was received a short time ago:

"Dear Rev. White;
Please thank everyone concerned for the food kindly delivered here for people in the Balkans, it is very much appreciated.
Sincerely; Hazel Hendry (co-ordinator)"

The gratitude expressed is extended to church members and non-members alike.

Since publication of the last edition of the Parish News which featured an article about lack of support for a "Children and Church" programme I must report that the situation has changed.
To the pleasant surprise of the Church Committee the article prompted a constructive response that enabled us to reconsider our position.
For a number of reasons of which we could not be aware at the time, our survey of earlier this year failed to identify some of the issues pertinent to establishing a visible ministry with children and young people. The article in the previous magazine served to bring these issues into the open and has given us cause to hope that this important area of church life can now be explored in a proper and optimistic manner.
I am grateful for the work and views of Madge Cowell, Mary Mills, Stephanie Shewell and Des Carter which have opened up a path we can take to involve children in the spiritual life of this parish.
As a starting point we are extending a special welcome at the church to children on the FIRST SUNDAY OF THE MONTH at 11.00am. We shall be introducing a Family service on this day on which the theme will be directed towards young people. As time progresses the opportunity will present itself for children to become more involved with the service through undertaking readings, participating in liturgical duties and contributing to the various aspects of the proceedings.
The FAMILY SERVICE (at which of course, parents and other adults are also welcome) will commence on the THE FIRST SUNDAY IN FEBRUARY (1st) and , as stated above, will continue every first Sunday of the month.
With this amount of notice I hope parents will respond to our initiative and make this a fixture in their diary and support us in our efforts to work alongside children.
For further information or if you wish to discuss any ideas you may have, please contact myself or Des Carter and we shall be delighted to visit and hear what you have to say.
In conclusion I again wish you every blessing for the Christmas season and look forward to greeting you at any of the special services listed elsewhere in this magazine. Should you be unable to join us in church over this period but wish to receive Holy Communion, please let me or the Churchwardens know, and we can arrange a call to your home to accommodate this desire.

Peace be with you all;
Julian E Ll White (Rector)


December 14th
A service for all the family set in the traditional manner
6.00pm at the Church of Saint Michael

December 22nd
The essence of the Christmas season captured in well-loved carols
7.30pm at Riverside Methodist Church

December 24th
Experience the unique atmosphere of this first Communion of Christmas
11.30pm at the Church of Saint Michael

December 25th
The joyful message of Christmas combines with the timeless promise of the Holy Communion
11.00am at the Church of Saint Michael


A full list of Advent and Christmas services held at the various local churches is in circulation. A copy is displayed in the porch of Saint Michael's Church for your convenience. Please feel free to join us during this festive occasion where a warm welcome is waiting for you.

The Rector, Churchwardens and members of the parochial Church Council extend their warmest good wishes to you and your family.


Attendance and Collection
August: 149 503.92
September: 88 193.17
October: 88 366.60
Total : 325 1063.69
Total for the same period in 1996 :
274 840.86
An increase this year of 51 attenders and 222.83


Jason Robbins and Pamela Hill


Gary Christopher Morris


Following the recent death of Gary Morris at such an early age, sympathy is extended to his relatives living in Tintern and Brockweir, and especially to his widow and young family. The funeral service was held at St Michael's followed by burial in the churchyard extension.



Please note that the closing date for the Spring 1998 issue is SUNDAY 15th February 1998
Articles and requests for advertisements should be sent to the Editor : Mrs K Heron Hillcrest, St Anne's Lane, Tintern 01291-689408


The story of this beautiful Christmas carol has often been told but, like all the other Christmas stories, can, surely, stand repeating.
It will never be forgotten in the village church at Oberndorf, a small place in the Austrian Tyrol not far from Salzburg.
The village church of St Nicholas had problems with mice (we only have bats) who found a comfortable if somewhat noisy and draughty home in the organ. Not only comfortable but with a ready food supply in the form of the soft leather of the bellows. By Christmas in 1818 their appetites had made a hole so large that the organ was unusable for the Christmas services. This so upset the church's assistant priest, the young Joseph Mohr, that he set to immediately and penned a few verses of a carol which could be sung with a guitar accompaniment. He was, they say, a gifted young man who was not averse to penning verses and singing them in the local tavern, much to the annoyance of his parish priest who had already complained about him to the Bishop. However, in this case young Joseph got his friend, Franz Gruber, the church organist to quickly set his words to music for singing that day, with the local children joining them in its first performance accompanied on his guitar.

Franz realised that the words were essentially a lullaby that needed neither a sophisticated melody nor clever accompaniment and so the lovely carol we know to this day was born.
The town of Oberndorf is justly proud of its association with this much loved Christmas carol and now has a memorial chapel for the two composers as well as a statue in St Nicholas Church. In this Mohr is shown leaning from a window listening to the children beneath, while Gruber stands behind playing their accompaniment on his guitar.

Sadly, Joseph Mohr died in obscurity and poverty in another parish, before the whole world came to know his connection with this best loved of all our carols.



It was a rainy day in July when Julie Farmer awoke for her Wedding Day. Immediately she began to panic for the reception was to be held outside in the gardens of the Royal George hotel.
A telephone call to Mrs Pearce at the hotel quickly satisfied her that everything was under control and that the meal would be served inside.
The groom, Neil Mackie, was as relaxed as ever, playing golf with a group of friends.

At 3.45pm, the Bridesmaids, Petra Brazell-Rees and Laura Mackie looking spectacular, left for the church wearing ruby red silk dresses, along with the flower girls Georgia, Ayesha and Maria Gwillim who wore ivory silk and tulle dresses and the Bride's mother, Maria Farmer, wearing turquoise and navy with a radiant smile (her last daughter was finally to marry).
A nervous Bride wearing an ivory dupion silk dress decorated with pearls, and her father, Philip Farmer, were then left in peace to savour their cigarettes and to reflect on Julie's last moments as a single woman.

On arrival at the church in a white Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, panic set in. The Bride, realising that a church full of people were awaiting her, felt faint, but with some comfort from her patient father, all went well. She finally arrived at the altar to meet her future husband, who along with the Best Man and the bride's and groom's fathers wore top hat and tails.

A beautiful service was conducted by the Rev. Julian White, which touched all those present.
The sun shone as the happy couple left the church, and the photo session began.
The groom's mother, Kathleen Mackie, at last relaxed after months of worry looked very elegant in a black and cream outfit. The groom's father, Christopher, settled back and fixed his grin for the cameras.
It was then time for the celebrations to begin, as all one hundred and thirty guests made their way to the reception.

A hog roast was served and the wine flowed, and then the speeches began. It was around this time that the usually confident Best Man, Stuart Mackie, disappeared. He was later found drowning his nerves in the bar!
After some persuasion, Stuart conducted an excellent speech with the help of our only willing usher, Darren.
The celebrations continued through the weekend, when the guests attended a bar-b-q the next day, held by Kathleen and Christopher Mackie.
A video of the day exists, but is only suitable for viewing by those not easily shocked!

A wonderful weekend was had, for which Julie and Neil Mackie would like to express their thanks to those involved.



Thirteen entries were received for our puzzle 2 in the last Parish News. A good response from the VPA members was fitting. The winner was Ray Flashman who completed the limerick as follows :

There are many good gardeners in Gwent
But in Tintern the annual event
Is the VPA Show
Where we all have a go
"To prove that our youth's not misspent".

A second prize was awarded to Stan Mitchely whose last line was :
"Never mind if your rhubarb is bent".



Having said at the end of the Autumn report that we were looking forward to a speaker from Usk College talking on "The Wild Garden", it was we who were wild and not our gardens, as the speaker failed to put in an appearance. Then, just to prove that lightning can strike twice in the same place, our speaker for the following month rang the day before our meeting with his apologies.
However, working on the principle "it's not what you know but who you know", we prevailed upon Alan Boast to step into the breach. He gave a fascinating talk on Venetian artists, illustrated with slides of some of the architecture of Venice as well as the works of art and we were so grateful to him for giving us such a treat.
Also during the past few months, all the County VPAs have met to hold a Harvest Festival (this year at St. Nicholas' Church, Trelleck) as well as the AGM (at Usk College). The former was well attended and over 100 was raised for the St. Briavel's Centre by auctioning garden produce after the supper held in the Church Hall.

The AGM always generates considerable interest as, after the business meeting, the results of the Spring and Summer garden competitions are announced. Rivalry is fierce between the ten or so competing villages but we normally do well as was proved by Stan and Jean Mitchely achieving third place in "The Spring Garden" and Brian Young also gaining a third place for "A Row of Carrots". Congratulations and thanks to them and to all who entered because it does mean such a lot of hard work.
With confidence (?) I can say that the topic at our next meeting is "Rambling through the Seasons" to be followed in December by our usual "squash" of a party.
It hardly seems possible that yet another year has gone by but it's once again time to give best wishes to all for a joyful Christmas and the hope of even better gardening in the New Year.



Disaster strikes, the cakes go flat
Not ripe, not out, too small, oh drat!
I'll have another go,
must enter in the village show.

One Who Knows


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Tintern WI is now a year old. We have enjoyed a wide range of speakers, arranged by Catherine McEwen our Programme Secretary. Catherine also runs the Bridge Club.
The Embroidery/Craft Group meet at the Village hall on the first Monday of the month. Bring your sewing and have a natter over coffee.
The Bramblers are enjoying exploring the hills and valleys in the area. We meet once a month on a Monday, so put on your walking shoes, bring your partner, friends and dogs, all are welcome.
We are looking forward to our Christmas Dinner at the Royal George in December.
Many thanks to Mrs Pearce for making us so welcome over the last year. Next meetings :
January 19th - Judith Russill, "History of Local Houses"
February 16th - Christine Evans, "Illustrated Talk on Nepal & Sikkam"



Tuesday Clubbers enjoyed a fish and chip lunch at the Fountain Inn in September followed by Bingo in Bert and Kathleen's lovely garden. The sun shone and the sky was blue and the plums were ripe and juicy. A good time was had by all.
We are all very pleased that Pat Robinson is now able to walk to Tuesday Club by herself - with an escort.
Member Marjorie Thomas is in hospital, we all send her our best wishes and hope to see her back with us soon.
We are all looking forward to our Christmas Lunch at the F.O.D. College near Coleford.




The following are held on a regular basis in the village hall. New members are always welcome!

W.I. contact Mrs H Mather 689572 1st Monday monthly 7.30pm (excl Bank Holidays)

Tuesday Club contact Mrs J Carter 689478 Tuesday fortnightly 2.30pm

Tintern Old Folks Fund-Whist contact Mr D Pickering 689614 Tuesday fortnightly 7.30pm

Tintern Village Produce Association contact Mr K Haynes 689588 3rd Friday monthly 7.30pm (excl May to August,garden visits)

Tintern Community Council contact Ms J Russill 689456 Last Friday in month 7.30pm (excl December)

Tintern Youth Club contact Dr P Wellsbury 625260 Every Wednesday 6.30-9.00pm

Tintern Social Evening contact Mr T Evans 689587 Every Thursday 7.30pm

Angiddy Badminton Club contact Ms L Shepherd 689893 Every Friday 8.00pm

Tintern Sunday Tea Room contact Mrs G Hubbard 689214 Sunday afternoons (Easter to October) 2.30pm to 5.00pm

Also .........
Tintern Abbey Football Club contact Mr A Carter 689774

Tintern Cricket Club contact Mr T Evans 689587

St Michael's Church (for annual Harvest Festival Supper (October) and Bazaar (December) in the hall. contact Major D Cowell 689579


Tintern's cricket team cannot record many victories this season, but the team spirit was undaunted in spite of the dismal weather in June when matches had to be cancelled.
The annual match against Tedburn St Mary, played in Devon this year, proved to be an enjoyable occasion, Tedburn winning only in the last few minutes of the match.
Tintern players kept the home ground in good order and a new mowing machine has been purchased. David Mathews and Richard Davies shared the responsible post of captain. Two younger players may be mentioned as Ian Butt played two games with his seniors and Matthew Evans played throughout the season.

The AGM will be held on the 9th of December and a carvery is to be arranged in January at the Anchor.



Has anyone a flute which they no longer play, or want? Or perhaps you may know of one.
A young girl, Kay, a pupil at Llandogo Primary School, was disappointed when there wasn't one available at school and she is very keen to take lessons. Kay is also a member of the Church Lads and Church Girls Brigade and attends St. Oudoceus Church, in uniform, every Sunday
info to Des Carter please


Last year at this time the number of pupils was 55. Since funding by the L.E.A. depends to a large extent on viable numbers of pupils, a target of 70 was set. Then, in July, came the Inspection of the school. For three tense days the Inspectors sat in on all school activities talking to staff, pupils, governors and parents.
The result was an excellent report, even a letter of congratulation from the Director of Education.
With the inspection result and later success in academic tests and on the sports field, numbers began to increase and, through word of mouth and in answer to prayer, the magic number of 70 was achieved in time for the beginning of Autumn term in September.
In the words of the Chief Inspector "Llandogo is a good school in every respect".



For the benefit of the few residents of Tintern who consider that the Community Council do not function well and have some aged members who could well be replaced by some "young blood", the opportunity to say so is always provided at the beginning of each Council meeting on the last Friday of the month.
At recent meetings the following matters have been discussed and actioned.

Traffic Calming : has been pursued for the last three years and is still being followed up. Camera warning signs have been erected as a deterrent. Actual camera use is in the hands of the Gwent Constabulary.

Monmouthshire County Council : with Forest Enterprise are to produce a new descriptive set of leaflets for the Tintern Trail and other local walks. Tintern Community Council will contribute to the production cost. The leaflets should be available next year and will be issued free to residents, hotels, guest houses, pubs and shops.

Notice Boards : were made and erected in five locations around the village in 1991. Some are now in a bad state of repair. Quotations are sought for new notice boards which will be large enough to display minutes, information and notices.

Environment and Community Grants : have been applied for to complete the repair and restoration of Tintern wells. The last well is located at Pont- y-Saison. A further grant has been applied for to provide safety netting at two swings in the Village Hall Play Area.

Flood Alleviation Scheme : now in the completion stage, restoration of the sawmill site is in hand. The Council consider it necessary now to apply to the Highways Department to provide directional signs for the Sawmill site to be a car park for walkers and a picnic site.

National Cycle Network : The Lower Wye Valley is designated as part of the Monmouthshire Rural Roads Cycle Network. The planners, Sustrain, propose to make use of the former Chepstow - Monmouth railway line. The Community Council have nominated Councillors A Parsons and P O'Connor as our representatives in future planning. Cyclists could be encouraged to cross the River Wye to take advantage of all the facilities in the village.



As is their habit sheep wander down the river bank to enjoy fresh growth near the water level. Alas, this time a large lamb was seen to be held firmly by his legs in the muddy Wye bank, unable to move other than its head.
The alert went out with the tide coming in and darkness on the way. Tony launched his canoe from The Wharf. A row across the Wye and then, slithering precariously in his wellies he reached the helpless creature. No mean feat to heave a chunky lamb out of the deep mud and up the bank to join the rest of the flock.
We cheered from the wharf - a rescue achieved.



The petitioners will be pleased to see the start to the calming of traffic on the highway.
Camera signs have been installed along the route and the police will be monitoring speeds with the camera at their discretion.
The Deputy Director of Environmental Services, Monmouthshire County Council at Cymbran says "gates" are to be considered at the beginning and end of the village. We were assured that Tintern was considered an "A" project. We await developments.

Tintern Traffic Action Group


In writing this article I have been musing on the questions that people today, in 1997, ask about the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Are they the same as the questions I was asked when I first qualified as a Practitioner in the early 1980s?
In those days most people had heard of Acupuncture, which is one of the main treatment methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine (often called TCM), and they asked if Acupuncture could be used to treat illnesses or if it was just an anaesthetic. Nowadays most people will know that Acupuncture is a comprehensive, 2000-year-old system which is used successfully in many parts of the world to treat all the conditions and illnesses that beset us. They will know that it has a good reputation for being safe and free of side- effects.
But what of Chinese Herbal Medicine? In my early years of practice and of teaching Traditional Chinese Medicine, as a founder member of the ICTCM, no one asked about Herbal Medicine and the only Chinese Herb anyone had heard of was Ginseng.
What sort of questions am I asked these days?
- How many herbs are there in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia? - most TCM practitioners in this country, who are qualified to prescribe herbs, will commonly use 200 - 300 herbs.
- Do you use Tiger Bone? - No. Some Chinese Herbal Medicines are animal products (and these would not be used on vegetarians) but members of my Professional Register do not use herbs which are derived from animals or plants which are in any danger of extinction.
- Can I buy Chinese Herbs from the Chemist or Health Shop? - You can, but in my view you shouldn't. Chinese Herbs are powerful - that is why they are effective - but in TCM they are never prescribed without a full diagnosis and they are almost never prescribed as individual herbs. In Chinese Medicine a prescription is, by definition, a harmonised mixture of different herbs which is tailored precisely to the individual client and his or her problem.

I expect, however, that when I open my practice in Tintern in the New Year, my clients will be more aware of Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture and I am sure they will surprise and delight me with questions I have not anticipated.

Mary C Plunkett Shanahan (BA(Hons), LicAc. MPRTCM


The notes enclosed with a superb cassette of organ music, include the full specification of the organ. The instrument concerned is at Ratzburg Cathedral, West Germany. It is clearly a well endowed instrument with four manuals and fifty speaking stops.
One of these catches the eye of even the least musical listener. It is called, in German of course, "Rauschwerk" and a footnote explains that it is a stop which, when pulled, opens a small drinks drawer!
Our St Michael's organ has a number of useful gadgets but not that one. Something for the Millennium Fund, perhaps?




Maudie belonged to her local WI. She was the type of woman who volunteered to help at various functions. Her latest venture was to man (or woman) the Party Drinks Stall at the County "Get Together".
Everything was provided, Maudie was told, everything she discovered except a bottle opener and a measuring jug.

It was 9.20 on a cold drizzly morning. There wasn't an opener at the hall, so Maudie who wanted to show initiative, armed with the largest bottle of wine went searching for a house. She crossed the car park, ignoring some funny looks, and knocked on a door of a row of cottages. Maudie could hear a washing machine working, but nobody answered, so she tried the next house. An elderly man answered. He did not look in the least surprised to see a strange woman on his doorstep with a bottle of wine clutched to her bosom. Maudie explained she was with the WI at the Hall and couldn't open the bottle. The gent said "Come in and I'll open it." He led the way to the kitchen leaving the front door wide open Maudie was pleased to note, well you never know, do you? He attacked the bottle and broke the cork and opener. "Never mind" he said "we'll go next door."

Next door (not the one she had already tried) the owner apologised for being in her nightie, explaining that she was waiting for the washing machine to finish so she'd have some water for a bath. She very kindly handed over a bottle opener and Maudie went back to the the Hall and managed to open the bottle without getting cork in it.
Maudie then set about making up her drinks, quite a large crowd of anxious ladies were waiting to try the drinks. Two types of wine and fruit cup, mulled wine and Delia Smith's lemonade were to be offered. Not having a measuring jug she had to guess the ratio of fruit juice to wine. There may have been too much wine but the ladies seemed to enjoy their drinks, some came back two or three times. Most of them said they didn't usually drink and wasn't the fruit cup nice, very refreshing.

Maudie didn't taste anything (except the lemonade) until lunch time. It wouldn't do if she were to fall under the table, she thought, alcohol went straight to her head.
By lunch time all the drinks had gone, except for a small amount of mulled wine which she took home to drink later. Maudie had a lovely time meeting WIs from all over the County, they were all so friendly. Especially when they had been tasting the samples.

Sipping the mulled wine later, Maudie thought to herself, who said the WI was staid and old fashioned? Not hers, certainly.



"Our General Fund last year was under-resourced" (Treasurer's note in a Dorsetshire Church Magazine)

According to the Sunday papers (one of them at least) a village church in Mamhead, Devon has been closed and padlocked against its members because the Diocese architect says it is unsafe until 120,000 worth of repairs are carried out. Against this, the irate parishioners have obtained an alternative quote of just 5000, of which only 2000 could be classed as urgent. We know the feeling all too well and can commiserate with them.



It is not what men eat but what they digest that makes them strong;
not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich;
not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned;
not what we preach but what we practise that makes us Christians.

Sir Francis Bacon


I dreamt Death came the other night,
And Heaven's gate swung wide.
An angel, with a halo bright
Ushered me inside.
And there, to my astonishment,
Were folk I'd judged and labelled as
"Quite unfit, of little worth"
and "spiritually disabled".
Indignant words rose to my lips
But never were set free;
For every face showed stunned surprise -
No one expected me!


50/50 CLUB

Results of recent monthly draws were :

1st 2nd 3rd
Sep Betty Kerr(46) A&W Boast(29) Judy Bartholomew(88)
Oct A Woodford(107) D Meyersohn(72) Joan Dexter(33)
Nov Sophie Bishopp(12) Margaret Shewell(39)Judy Bartholomew(84)

Three more draws are to be held in the current series - December, January and the Annual, but a new series begins on the first Sunday in February 1998 for which shares are now available.
To buy shares for the coming year, complete the application form in this edition of Parish News and send it to the Treasurer by 31st January 1998.


The Tintern Village Website

The Tintern Village Website