The Tintern Village Website



Winter 1999

FROM THE RECTORY

Our Dear Friends

Kate and I look forward to our first Christmas in the Parish, and to all that we will be sharing together. It's so important with all the attention on "the Millennium" that we who know Jesus to be the centre of history, should place his birth-time at the centre of all we do, as 1999 becomes 2000. It seems to me we can't really celebrate the date in any other way.
In these days I have been thinking about the person called Simeon in Luke Chapter 2. At some point he had heard the voice of God in his heart. He knew, like any devout Jew, that the Messiah would one day come, but Simeon heard God tell him that before he died he would see the Lord's Messiah which is the same as Christ. It was a big act of faith for him to believe this, and to hold on to it for decades as he became an old man.
Think about the background. For over three hundred years God had not spoken to the nation by a great prophetic voice - Malachi was the last, long ago. Yet when God spoke, Simeon knew His voice and believed Him. Then he went on holding the promise until he became an old man, going daily into the temple and looking at all the thousands of babies that were brought in for the infancy rites.
Then, one day, he saw little Joshua ben Joseph; there must have been hundreds with that name over the years. And he held the child knowing this was the One. He gave thanks - that wonderful canticle, at the sight, praised God and spoke true prophetic words over Jesus. In the words he said, for me the most important feeling which comes through, is the sense of wonder at a God who has kept every promise and does not change. He can now "go home" in peace, because God's word has been fulfilled. And he has seen the beginning of salvation which now comes to humanity.

That's why we keep the Millennium.

Love, Phil

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR SERVICES IN TINTERN

Sunday 12th December at 6:00pm Service of Lessons and Carols at St.Michael's
Monday 13th December at 7:00pm Barnardo's Carol Service in Tintern Abbey
Christmas Eve at 11:30pm Midnight Eucharist at St.Michael's
Christmas Day at 11:00am Holy Eucharist at St.Michael's
New Year's Eve at 10:30pm till Midnight at Tintern Pentecostal Church

The above are in addition to the normal Sunday Services at St.Michael's Church.

During Advent there will be Wednesday evening services at 7:30pm as follows :-
1st December at Brockweir Moravian Church
8th December at Tintern Pentecostal Church
15th December at St.Michael's Church, Tintern
22nd December at St.Odoceus Church, Llandogo

The next Family Service will be on Sunday 2nd January in St.Michael's Church.

CONFIRMATIONS

Sunday the 9th October 1999 was a very special day at St.Oudoceus Church, Llandogo.
A full congregation witnessed the Christening of Mrs Sharon Browning of Llandogo. This was followed by the Confirmation by Rowan, the Bishop of Monmouth, of Sharon, her three children Tessa, Paul and Kay, Mrs Sue Ball from Tintern and Mrs Merran Higgins of Tintern.

IN MEMORIAM

Mrs Enid Elizabeth Harvey
17 Mar 1905 - 4 Sept 1999

Enid Elizabeth was born in the Newport area near Machen and attended the village school at Rhiwderin. She was the third of four sisters, whose mother had died from a fall in the house when Enid was 13 years old, leaving the eldest, a girl of 18 years to raise the small family. Their life was not soft and they had to gather firewood and fetch the water. When her second sister left for London Enid followed her.
It was in London that she met her future husband, Herbert John Harvey, who at that time was in the Guards and who never lost his military bearing. John Harvey was soon able to improve his prospects and left the Guards to become chauffeur to Mr Dunn, of Dunn the Hatters, in London and the couple were able to marry.
When a vacancy arose for a chauffeur to the Equerry to Edward, the late Prince of Wales, the position was offered to John Harvey.
Later the couple moved to Bristol where John opened a garage at Downend. Here he did repairs to the cars of the engineers of the Filton aerodrome. Soon he was being asked why he did not join the aircraft industry. He paid for his own course to become an aeronautical engineer, managing for six months to live without pay and then joined Filton aerodrome as an Inspector. The war came and John worked for Handley Page building flying craft and was soon promoted to Chief Inspector, answerable only to Mr Handley Page himself.

The couple moved to Tintern 35 years ago and built the bungalow 'Greystones' in Trellech Road and concentrated on the garden. Enid, who loved flowers, was asked to help with the flower-arranging in St Michael's Church. When the upkeep of the bigger garden became too much to handle the property was sub-divided and the garden was planted with bushes for easier maintenance. When John died in 1987 Enid kept to the daily routine of the life they had shared.
Graham Bosher (her nephew) and his wife, Marion oversaw everything for her, cared for her creature comforts and tried to lessen her sense of loss. After her fall she went to live at the Ynysddu Nursing Home, which was close to them. Under the exceptional care of Wendy (the owner and manager of Ynysddu Nursing Home) she soon settled in.
Her funeral service was attended by her devoted family, staff from Ynysddu Nursing Home and neighbours and the Rector of St Michael's church, the Rev'd Phil Rees conducted the service.

EC

Mr Arthur John Jones

The funeral took place on the 24th September of Mr Arthur Jones, at St Michael's Church, officiated by the Rev'd Philip Rees, with Mr Adrian Smith as organist.
Arthur Jones was born in Fremantle, Western Australia, but had strong Welsh roots. Both his parents were Welsh, from the Swansea area, emigrating to Australia in the 1920's. His mother, now 95 years old, still lives in Fremantle and despite her long sojourn at the other side of the world, still speaks fluent Welsh. Arthur was the second of four sons, but the first to be born in Australia. Like a lot of young Australians, Arthur decided to see the world, and came on a visit to London in the 1950's. Although visiting Australia many times after that (including one sojourn of several years) he eventually made his home here.
In the 1970's he worked in London with Arthur Sanderson and Co as an Interior Design Consultant. He had a great love of the countryside and was very knowledgable about plants and flowers, and was also an excellent cook, as his many friends knew.
Because of his Welsh connections and his affinity with nature he came to live in Tintern in 1987, sharing a house with his friend Ken Haynes, and he was looking forward to a long and happy retirement. However, this was not to be. He began to develop a pattern of forgetfulness which gradually grew worse and in 1991 was diagnosed at a relatively early age with Alzheimer's disease, although his incapacity was evident from 1988 onwards. In 1993 Arthur went to Stow Park Nursing Home, Newport, where he received many years of devoted care and nursing.
His many friends from Tintern and London, and family relatives from Swansea came to bid a last farewell, and he is buried in the churchyard of St Michael's, the first Welsh/Australian, as far as is known, to rest there.

KFH

PARISH NEWS

Please note that the closing date for the SPRING 2000 issue is Sunday 20th February 2000.
Articles and requests for advertisements should be sent to the Editor Mrs E Craig, Orchards, Trellech Road, Tintern 01291-689527

THANK YOU 1

Mrs Rose Jones has retired as Secretary and Treasurer for the Chapel Hill United and Bradford Charities. I know the other Trustees have already said their 'Thankyou', but I am sure they will join me in saying 'Thankyou Mrs Jones' for 37 years service. She has promised to be there to help in any way she can and I know we will be holding her to that promise.

BH

THANK YOU 2

Rose Jones and Bryan wish to thank Reg, David and Ray (The Chain Gang) for their work on the lychgate at St.Michael's Church.
They have once again treated it with linseed oil to help to preserve it. It is a tedious job but the result they have achieved is excellent.
We are very grateful.

50/50 CLUB

Results of the most recent draws are:
1st 2nd 3rd
Sept. Freya Alder (79)Philippa Schwarz (17)Betty Kerr (5)
Oct. D & J Carter (96) E&D Whiting (102) Betty Kerr (5)
Nov. Rosemary Beak (25) I&D Miller (74) M&D Cowell (33)

It is now time to buy shares for the 2000 series of the 50/50 Club. Shares cost 12 each and one person may buy as many shares as they like. Half the cash raised is paid out in prizes, of which there are three each month and three larger ones at the end of the year.
If 100 shares are bought the monthly prizes are 25, 10 and 5 and the annual prizes are 75, 30 and 15 respectively.
To obtain shares send your cash/cheque to David Cowell, Church Treasurer, Rose Cottage, Trellech Rd., Tintern. Cheques should be made payable to Llandogo/Tintern P.C.C.
The first draw will be held on 6th February 2000.

JDPC

TINTERN VPA

Our Autumn session began without a Treasurer, Secretary or Assistant Secretary available but even more importantly - without a speaker! Luckily members scurried round and persuaded Christine Evans to give an illustrated talk which was enjoyed so much that she has been asked to give a repeat performance next year. We were all very grateful to her for stepping in at the last moment.
October was the month when Judy Chaloner from Usk College gave us advice on how to banish weeds and pests from our gardens and did so with humour and an insight into her own gardening methods - keep chickens!
Also in October, we met with other VPAs for the County AGM which left us rather depressed as it seems likely that the affiliation of 9 or 10 Associations may break up when Mike Foster, the County Secretary, retires next year. However we live in hope that someone may be persuaded to take his place.
November saw quite a good crowd of us meeting to listen to Colin Elliot from Caldicot giving us an insight into our local birds and other wild life, which he illustrated with some wonderful slides. We are extremely lucky that the County of Monmouthshire produces so many superb naturalists who are always willing to share their knowledge with such enthusiasm.
Next month brings our annual party so it only remains to give everyone all best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

JAB

TUESDAY CLUB - 25 YEARS

Twenty-five years ago in November 1974 Tuesday Club was born, the brainchild of Frank and Robby Kelley. Trevor Bayliss and I were recruited to help. Meetings were held every other Tuesday afternoon in our brand new village hall. The aim, to provide an opportunity for elderly (over 60) folk who were not so active, to meet and enjoy a friendly chat and cuppa. Only rules, no politics, no religion - everyone was welcome.
Frank was the Custodian at the Abbey and after a while was unable to spare enough time to the Club and Paddy Howes took on the task. There were just twelve of us - eleven women and Trevor but gradually more women joined and our numbers grew. Husbands became curious, came and stayed too. The Club was a success.
Meetings were made interesting with Speakers, demonstrations and slide shows. Outings too were a feature in the summer. I well remember the first - a trip up the Wye from Chepstow to Tintern. We came as far as the Moon and Sixpence, turned and had to go back to Chepstow - nowhere to get off the boat! Incidentally, the coach sent to collect us by the organisers of the trip was from Willetts of Yorkley, (later Geoff Willetts) and their coaches have taken Tuesday Club on trips ever since. Paddy remained with us until she and her husband left the village and moved to Gargrave, North Yorkshire in 1984. Sadly she died in 1990.

Jo Arnatt took Paddy's place and the Club continued to flourish; perhaps some of its most successful years followed. The Club continued as before with more outings when we were joined with friends from Llandogo (before their own over 60's club was formed).
In the Summer, weather permitting, meetings were replaced by tea in a member's garden and these were very popular. I recall a few - Abbey Farm (Reg and Alice Lane), The Hospice (Muriel Davies), The Cherry Tree (Doris Knight), Jo's garden at Pontysaison and later at Llandogo, Rockleigh, The Forge Trellech (Bert and Lyn Crum), Sunnybank Botany Bay (Kathleen Williams), Cleddon (Angela Howard), also Tintern Station. An iced cake (made by a member) would arrive for tea to celebrate an anniversary or birthday.
For some years our Christmas Party was held in the Village Hall. An evening meal was pepared by members and served by them, followed by an entertainment and carols. A party from the Caldicot Operatic Society were always popular. We regularly went to their shows and to Chepstow too. As the years passed the work became a bit too much and we decided to patronise the local hotels instead. Much easier!! Nowadays it is lunch!

In 1986 the first street carnival for many years was staged in Tintern and we just had to enter. Ian Harrison (Llandogo) lent us his lorry and we transformed it into an old fashioned garden party. Quite a task, everything was home-made. And we won first prize.
Carnivals were held in the following years and we continued to enter and win! Latterly with the help of the late Mr Geoff Shewell and his tractor and trailer. This was hard work for a few, particularly for Jo, who never failed to come up with bright ideas and always did more than her share of the work.
Sadly, as was inevitable with a Club of over 60's there were times of great sadness, when we had to say farewell to a friend and member and were conscious of the empty chair when we next met.
Jo remained with us until her untimely death in 1996. This was a terrible blow to us all. She was dearly loved and is fondly remembered.

Jean Davey replaced Jo - not an easy task - most members are now elderly and less active so it is not easy to arrange much activities other than meetings. One wonders if there will be a place for Tuesday Club in the 21st century, who knows!
Many thanks, Robby, for the brainwave (sadly Frank is no longer around to receive his thanks). I am sure I speak for many when I say the twenty-five years of Tuesday Club have been fun.

RMJ

NB 1)Details of many of the activities during Jo's period are recorded in a large scrap book of photographs etc. compiled by Bill Spary.
2)This edition of Parish News will be placed on the Tintern Village Web Site and will include two older photographs of Tuesday Club members. (www.tintern41.freeserve.co.uk)

The Tuesday Club in November 1975

The 1975 members shown are :
Rose Jones, Mrs Wintle, Minnie Phillips, Dolly Williams, Chillie Bayliss, Muriel Davies, Stella Williams, Ethel Bigham, Lucy Mackie, Marjorie Thomas, Vera James,
and sitting : Paddy Howes, Emily Hetherington.
Photograph by Trevor Bayliss

The Tuesday Club

The members shown are :
Standing : Stella Williams, Lucy Mackie, Dorothy Lawrence, Bert Williams, name not known, Jo Arnatt, Kathleen Williams, Rose Jones.
Seated : Ken James, Eileen Glass, George Glass, Revd. W R Thomas, Mrs Thomas.
Photograph by Sid Jones at Sunnybank, Botany Bay.

TUESDAY CLUB

Tuesday Clubbers are looking forward to their Christmas Lunch at The Anchor. We meet every other Tuesday at the Village Hall at 2.30 pm for a natter, a cup of tea and Bingo. Big stakes at 2p a time! New members are very welcome.

JD (689212)

TINTERN & DISTRICT W.I.

The W.I. still meets at the Royal George Hotel on the 3rd Monday of the month at 7.30 pm. We'd like to thank Mrs Pearce for making us so welcome and comfortable.
We've had some very good speakers over the year: from "Wee" Problems for Men and Women to working as a VSO in China. This was so entertaining we'd like Part 2.
October's speakers, Doug and Helen Isles' talk on bees was very interesting. Apparently Roman soldiers always carried a pouch of honey as an antibiotic or food. Honey kills germs. Honey preserves almost anything, even bodies! After the talk Members were able to buy bee products and were shown how to make, which they did, their own beeswax candles.
We are looking forward to our December meeting - it's our Christmas Dinner. Jan Gibbard would like to thank all who came to the NSPCC Lunch. 190 was made for their funds.

JD (689212)

LLANDOGO OVER 60'S

Tintern folk have joined with Llandogo on their outings. Trips to Town, Country and Seaside have all been enjoyed.
Mrs Knight is planning next year's trips. Watch this space.

Martin Davey (689212)

MANNING THE POLICE STATION

Volunteers still man the Police Station on Wednesday and on Saturday mornings. It's usually very quiet and peaceful.
Sometimes tourists come in for directions and advice on travel, walks etc. So if you want a "quiet time" why not join us?

Speak to Andy Mason, our local policeman, on 01291-623993 or contact Tony Parsons on 689446.

CHRISTMAS BAZAAR 4th DECEMBER

The Bazaar will be in the Village Hall as usual. Father Christmas will arrive at 2.00 pm driving from the Trelleck Road.
There will be gifts, cakes, teas, Father Christmas in his Grotto, raffles and many other attractions.
Any Contributions welcome to Mrs Madge Cowell (689579) or Mrs Jean Davey (689212)

YOUR VILLAGE HALL NEEDS YOU

W.I. MILLENNIUM LUNCH
WEDNESDAY, 12TH JANUARY, 2000 from 12.30 pm
TINTERN VILLAGE HALL
Tickets 5

Profits to the Village Hall

TINTERN CRICKET CLUB

A short note from the Tintern Cricket Club:
The Club, which facilitates the use of the field near the Abbey for the purpose of summer car boot sales, has made donations which it hopes will benefit the whole of Tintern from some of the proceeds.
This year 400 has been made available to benefit the Tintern surgery, LATSA - where facilities will be shared by residents of Tintern and those of Llandogo, and towards making the traditional 'Happy Christmas' gifts to some of the more mature dwellers in Tintern.
We wish all our friends in Tintern a very Happy Christmas.

TE (Chair)

CHURCH LADS AND CHURCH GIRLS' BRIGADE

St.ODOCEUS, LLANDOGO with St.MICHAEL'S, TINTERN

The Christian Church in our land has decreased during this century just as our society has increased in wealth and wellbeing.
We say; "we can't get to church because we have to work on Sundays; why go to church when we can put all the family in the car and get more benefit from a drive to the seaside or the country for the day."
In many of our schools in inner cities, morning assembly and Christian education has been phased out. Sunday schools have also disappeared. Congregations have been reduced to the elderly faithful few.
Yet Christianity is on the increase in those countries which have suffered from civil war, persecution, famine and corruption. Those who have suffered and survived have found hope and strength in the good news of Christ and the Holy Spirit. In those countries family values have been regenerated. A slogan of the early 50s read - "The family which prays together, stays together".
The Church Lad's and Church Girl's Brigade is recognised as the official uniformed youth organisation and an integral part of the Anglican Communion. Its teaching, training and outward appearance is directed towards its Object :- to extend the Kingdom of Christ among boys and girls and to encourage them to become faithful members of their church. If this is allowed to work in our parishes, then in time we will gain in strength.
On Friday, 8th October, the first meeting of our new Company took place in the Church Hall of Brockweir Moravian Church. The Hall has been made available to us through the kindness of the Revd. Jan Mullin and Mrs Mary Harris. We have made an agreement with them on the use and rental of the building.
On our first night we had four Martins, the infant section for five year old to under seven boys and girls; six boys and girls of the Young Boys and Young Girls Corps, ages from seven to under ten; and nine boys and girls of the Junior Training Corps aged between ten and thirteen; a total of nineteen. The Rector and nine other volunteer helpers were also in attendance.
Since that night numbers have been consistent considering that the period included half term holiday, bonfire night and the Llandogo concert which involved some of our members.
We were required to complete a six weeks probationary period, then submit to the Brigade National Headquarters the application for enrolment of a new Company together with copies of the registers, the Rector's appointment of Officers, Helpers, Company Correspondent, Treasurer, Finance Committee and forms NF1 which are confidential declarations appertaining to the Children's Act and the Child Protection Act.
To comply with regulations it is necessary to have both male and female supervision in a mixed organisation like ours for every activity, whether it be sitting quietly doing arts and crafts or scrambling on the floor in a hectic game of stoolball.
Because those volunteers we already have still have work and family committments, it is difficult to ensure sufficient supervision and programming every week, so we would still welcome more interest and assistance.
It is expected that we will receive our Enrolment Certificate and Membership Cards to be presented in church at the next Family Service which will be at St.Odoceus Church, Llandogo at 9:30am on Sunday 5th December.
We do hope that parents and friends will be there in support.

DC

S.O.S.

from CHEPSTOW COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
Physiotherapy Department

If you are unable to keep your appointment for Physiotherapy please telephone 638829 to let them know. Thousands of pounds are wasted because people do not turn up for their appointments. This also delays other people's treatment.

RECYCLING

The Rotary Club of Chepstow are collecting any unwanted spectacles as well as books of any kind.
If you have either or both to donate, please ring 689421 or leave them at Glen Roy, Trelleck Road.

Many thanks, Judy Bartholomew

THE 1881 CENSUS

The 1881 Census Records have been issued on a set of CD ROMS for use in a computer. Liz Klinkert at Tintern Garage has a set. They cover England, Scotland, Wales, The Channel Islands, The Isle of Man and the Royal Navy. There is also a further CD ROM that covers the 1851 census for Devon, Norfolk and Warwick only. Liz can do searches for information on our ancestors. She generally needs any two of the following : Surname, the birth place or the census place in 1881. Place names are easiest to find if you know the town and county.
Liz demonstrated the programme to me and found my great grandfather in Edinburgh in about one minute. I have been trying for years to get some sort of information about him.
Liz will do a search for you for the payment of 2. Please speak to her personally or give her a ring on 01291-689765 to arrange a search.

JMB

GRANTLEY'S AUTUMN 1999 DIARY

1) FOLK GATHERING AT THE ANCHOR
The Anchor Hotel played host to what has become an annual gathering of folk musicians. The gathering was organised by Robbie McGregor who for the last few years has used it to celebrate his birthday (he forgets precisely which one). The party camps overnight and contains an enormous spread of age groups bound together by their love of music.
The playing and singing lasts through the day and well into the evening with the traditionalists in the party refreshing themselves from battered old tankards while singing of social and political disasters seemingly beloved by followers of this type of music. To be fair, it was interspersed with a great deal of humour and repartee.
This must be the fifth or sixth year they have come so they obviously enjoy themselves and we hope they will continue the tradition.

2) A PRINCESS RETURNS
A party from the village went to the river bank at Chepstow to help celebrate the coming home of the old Beachley-Aust ferry, the Severn Princess, which has been brought back from Ireland by a group of enthusiasts hoping to restore her.
For those of us who remember travelling on her, and her sister ships, it was a wonderful evening of reminiscence.
Undoubtedly the greatest common denominator of memories was the incredible waiting time in queues that could stretch from Beachley to Tutshill and take you three or four hours, only to arrive at the side of the pier to be told, "Sorry, the tide's gone out now".
If you missed it you were faced with an 80 mile trip around Gloucester, which in the 50s was quite an exercise in itself.
Getting on the boat was not a job for the inexperienced driver. You drove down the steep and often muddy slipway, negotiated a narrow wooden ramp on to the dock and then parked on a wooden turntable to be pulled round manually until you could drive into your allotted space. Vehicles were packed on so tightly that rubber tyres were wedged between them to avoid damage and often the driver was obliged to remain in the vehicle during the crossing because he couldn't get out.
Having safely reached the other side-a minor miracle in itself, you needed good acceleration to run up the equally steep and muddy slope lest you rolled gracefully back into the Severn.
I remember on one occasion a car being driven by an extremely large coloured American gentleman missing the ferry by a good ten feet. Nothing however fazed the man who, as he climbed from the murky depths, addressed the assembled crowd with the words, "Man, them brakes, they sure do disappoint me."
A jazz band and barbecue added to the ambience of a very pleasant evening. Congratulations to the Severn Princess restoration group who organised it all.

3) ROBIN'S NEW BAND
I seem to be getting more and more nostalgic in these pieces - a sad trait of my age! So having previously written about the dinner dances at the Beaufort it was good to hear from Glyn Dumfy, another dance band man from these times, who told me he has recently seen Robin Reece playing with his new band in Devon. Robin, Glyn assures me, is playing better than ever.

4) GARDEN AWARD
The gardens at the Beaufort Hotel have won them a prestigious award as part of the Best Kept Village competition.
Presentations for the Gwent Region were held at County hall, Cymbran. Managers Mr and Mrs Howard Sheils were there to accept a beautiful cut glass rosebowl and certificate from Mike Owen of Calor Gas.
The location of the hotel, overlooking the Abbey, lends itself to floral displays and the award is a great compliment to the skills of Roy Weston who has the responsibility for the gardens.
In fine weather they are a beautiful place to sit and enjoy the hospitality of the hotel, which was originally an old coaching inn, whose landlord was also the custodian of the Abbey.

5) FLYING THE DRAGON
As the Millennium approaches and the village gives thought to enjoying the year 2000, it is perhaps worth reflecting that Wales will be the only country to start the new Millennium under the same flag with which it started this one.
The Red Dragon was originally brought here by Roman Cohorts as a military standard and has remained with the Celts ever since.
Saxon King Offa used the symbol of the white dragon against the red in his struggle to push the Welsh across his dyke. In later times the now familiar white and green background, the standard of the Tudors, became the basis of the flag.
I once heard an American visitor to Tintern enquire if the locals were really aware of the massive history in the area in which they lived, to be met with the reply, "Go and knock on Dai Jones door boyo, and ask him which side of Offa's Dyke he's living on!"

6) MAGAZINE FAME
I was thrilled to have an article published in the magazine "Cambria", talking about the delights of the village and reflecting on its myths and magic.
Cambria is a prestigious, glossy bi-monthly, very Welsh in its content and editorial, supplementing wonderful articles about Welsh history and traditions with superb photography. To have the village featured was a real bonus, not for any self aggrandisement but for us to be considered interesting enough to be part of its content.

7) PERCY'S BACK
There was great delight at the return of Percy the resident peacock at the Anchor. He disappeared about six weeks before and most feared the worst. Percy is a great character and regularly visits the tea room for his mid-morning scone. He will tap at the hotel kitchen door when in need of something more substantial.
In common with the other birds at the Anchor, Percy roams free and is welcome to come and go as he pleases, so it's great to see him once more adding to the charms of the place.

8) UNFORGETTABLE MOMENT
Like the rest of the country, Tintern was split about what it thought of the eclipse - a piece of history or a big anti-climax?
However, knowing that I'd be unlikely to see another and aware of its spiritual and emotional significance, I decided to watch it alongside the Abbey.
Those of us there witnessed the clouds part briefly and the sight of the crescent shaped sun appearing. The silence of the birds as semi-darkness descended was made more eerie by the lack of traffic. It seemed nearly everyone had stopped to watch.
If you live here the scenery can become old hat but, as I watched this phenomenon with the Abbey and its backdrop of the river and wooded hills, I have to say I was extremely moved.
Brief it may have been but for me it was a real moment to remember.

9) BEAUTIFUL BOOK
Writer Christine Day, who has moved to the Wye valley from California, has brought with her a work she calls Belle Books.
Belle is her daughter and she and photographer Jane Bowler have put together a book of beautiful illustrations following Belle's childhood.
The illustrations are all black and white photographs of a little girl's idyllic childhood in the country with a simple text that's bound to appeal to young children.
This innocent charming book, beautifully produced is a real artistic creation. Having just been involved in a great deal of so-called modern art it was a real treat to my tired old-fashioned eyes.

10) WE'RE ON THE WEB
The village is now well and truly on the web. Thanks to the sterling efforts of John Bathgate, the Tintern Village Web Site has been operational since June. The number of visitors to the site is rising rapidly.
UK Plus is one of the search engines through which the web operates and it has given a generous description "Tintern Village - splendid guide to the small village in Monmouthshire, Wales, containing info about attractions, churches, village life, events, ruins etc - interesting to tourists and residents alike"
A noticeboard has been added for short-term information and photographs.
The site can, of course be visited by anyone in the world who has access to the Internet and John has received a tremendous response from ex-villagers, literally all over the world expressing their appreciation.
John welcomes information and can be contacted at 6 Parva Springs, Tintern (689328). You can see the Tintern Web Site at www.tintern41.freeserve.co.uk

Edited somewhat from the Grantley James Diary. Thank you Grantley

WELCOME

1)The Rose and Crown is settling down under the new management of David Stafford and his labrador, Ben. The pub is looking neat and tidy under the new ownership and can offer cooked food during most of the opening hours. An 8oz steak course cooked by David is yours for 5.75.
2)The Wye Valley Hotel has also recently changed hands and your welcome there now comes from the new owners, Barry and Sue Cooke. The current menu and prices are being retained.

JMB

STONEMASONS OF TINTERN

I am writing this article for the Parish News as it adds to the researched history of Tintern as given in "Tintern's Story" which was first published in 1990.
Two of my ancestors, Mr Andrew Brown and his brother Mr Bill Brown, were stonemasons. They built several of the well-recognised houses in Tintern, namely the three stone houses opposite the Wye Valley Hotel (formerly known as the Carpenters Arms), Spring Cottage, The Manor, The Woodlands, Hazel Grove on the Trellech Road, Craigo Farm at Botany Bay and Rockleigh. The Bungalow, (in some part stone) Barbadoes Hill, was also begun by Andrew but finished at a later date. His signature is still preserved on an interior wall, which is however presently covered by wallpaper.
Most of these buildings have been added to over the years, but Rockleigh retains its original appearance at the front elevation and the Woodlands appears to be unaltered from the original concept.
Mr Andrew Brown also carved for his family some of the headstones and surrounds in the original churchyard at St Michael's church, leaving only the spaces necessary for the inclusion of the deceased's name when the time should come. His many grandchildren and great-grandchildren (several of whom became farmers in Tintern and the surrounding area) remember his achievements proudly as witnesses to the lasting skills of this pair of stonemasons.

DW

It may be worth mentioning that in "Tintern's Story" under "Local Needs" are listed the 'many trades and occupations needed for self-sufficient community (i.e.) smithies, four bakeries, masons, carpenters, wheelwrights, numerous shoemakers - and a Fern Gatherer.'
The Moon and Sixpence was until after the last war known as the "Masons' Arms". When the Methodist Church was built in 1861 one of the masons employed was a Mr Moulton, whose grandson, Mr W J Pickering, now lives in an adjoining bungalow.
The men-folk of the Howell family who ran a small pub (probably little more than a cider house) at Pont-y-Saison were also plasterers and masons. It was Charles Howells who was foreman of the great landscaping works of Piercefield House.

Thank you to Judith Russill for giving us "Tintern's Story" and this information, and thank you Judy Bartholomew for knowing exactly where to look for it.

EC

BEGGING TO DIFFER

How will a Dutch person respond if asked by an Englishman "What is the Dutch equivalent of the English saying "An Englishman's home is his castle""? Since Holland boasts only a few castles hardly worth mentioning, the nearest Dutch equivalent would be "Your own fireside is worth plenty of gold".
Suppose I now leave my home or castle or fireside and go for a walk very early in the morning, of course, for "the early bird catches the worm", or in Dutch because "the dawn has gold in its mouth" (gold again).
In the field outside I notice some horses, cows and a goat. So far from "flogging a dead horse" the Dutch don't like "lifting old cows out of the ditch". Approaching the goat I am reminded of "an old goat's green leaf", the equivalent of "an old man's darling".
By now I'm fed up with walking because it now rains "cats and dogs", no, in Dutch "it rains pipestems". Moreover, a strong wind has arisen, which, turns out to be "a storm in a tea cup", whilst in Dutch "a storm in a glass of water".
Behind the front door the cat welcomes me, but the cat is not "out of the bag", no, in Dutch "the monkey is out of the sleeve". And talking of sleeves, a Dutchman never has something "up his sleeve", he hides something behind his shield".
In my letterbox I find a wedding invitation from a couple that will soon leave "for their honeymoon", whereas a Dutch couple would leave "for their white bread weeks" (how prosaic).
Finally I take the car out on the motorway, but owing to a horrible traffic congestion I end up on "the hard shoulder", no on "the flight lane".
And there I am, sadly reflecting that "life is not all beer and skittles" or rather, since I am Dutch, "not all moonshine and rosy fragrance". Just for once the Dutch can be romantics too.

WvdV

MEMORIES

After Frank Barrett (Tim) wrote an article for the'Mail on Sunday' giving details of walks in and around Tintern he was surprised to receive a letter from an elderly man with a remarkable memory. His mother, Pam, brought the letter to show me and we both thought there must be several people still left in the village who will recall the people mentioned and maybe the young boy too.
We are pleased to reproduce this interesting letter:

"Dear Mr Barrett

I read with interest your article in the 'Mail on Sunday', 'Wye Valley Walk' and I write to say what happy days it reminded me of. I was evacuated with my school to Tintern in 1940 and was billeted with Mr & Mrs Ware at 'Prospect Cottage' next to the 'Masons Arms' (name now changed) opposite Jonnie Watkins Garage and Stan Jones the Butchers. Mr Ware was the village postman and later became Landlord of the 'Masons Arms'.
We shared the school with the local children and their Headmaster Mr Jelly made us very welcome. Our Headmaster was billeted at Llandogo, cycling from there to school with his son every day.
I remember the places on your Walk and when off school we would walk to the Wynd Cliff and Moss Cottage, To Offas Dyke and the Devils Pulpit.
We used to swim in the River Wye up near the Church where the farmer's fields were. On Sundays I used to pump the organ at the Churches and received the grand sum of two shillings and sixpence per month for my efforts. Services alternated between the Church at Tintern Parva and the one on Chapel Hill the other end of the village. (That organ leaked).
I often delivered telegrams for the Post Office (Miss Jones) cycling to addresses as far as Brockweir, Whitelye, the Livox and Trellick, each delivery earned me 1/3d.
I remember 'The Cafe', 'Wheeler's' the Tobacconists, 'Williams & Cotton' (provisions), Aubrey Smiths -(everything!) and the Abbey Stores and the one bomb that dropped on a bungalow belonging to a Miss Sumner.
My stay in Tintern lasted about 14 months. When I reached the age 14 I returned to Folkstone, but I have never forgotten those happy days and the kindly local people.
Thank you for reviving those memories.
Best regards

Ivor F. Bail"

Written from Hythe, Kent.

(Aubrey Smith is of course Aubrey Williams, well-known for stocking everything! Thank you from Tintern to Mr Ivor Bail who will be given a warm welcome from the village if he is ever pursuaded to revisit his old haunts)

RMJ

CHRISTMAS AT CHURCH

"Dear Rector,
I think we have got over the difficulty which we were talking of - Mr Lulham's red hair and the discord it would make with the crimson decorations.
Maggie, Popsy and I have been working like slaves, and have put up a beautiful and effectual screen of evergreen which completely obliterates the keyboard and organist.
I think you will be delighted. Mr Starling approves most cordially. Yours sincerely, Mary Clibborn"

"I am a young woman, and have my fortune to make, for which reason I come constantly to Church to hear Divine Service, and make Conquests; but one great hindrance in this my design is, that our Clerk, who was once a gardener, has this Christmas so over-decked the Church with Greens, that he has quite spoiled my prospect, insomuch that I have scarce seen the young Baronet I dress at these last three Weeks, though we have both been very Constant in our Devotions, and do not sit above three Pews off.
The Church, as it is now equipped, looks more like a Greenhouse than a Place of Worship; the middle Isle is a very pretty Shady Walk, and the Pews look like so many Arbours on each side of it. The Pulpit itself has such clusters of Ivy, Holly and Rosemary about it, that a light Fellow in our Pew took Occasion to say, that the Congregation heard the Word out of a Bush, like Moses." (approx 1700 ad)

"Honoured Sir,
I am writing to you because Hobbs and me dispare of getting any justice from the so called ladies who have been turning the holy Church of St.Michael and All Angels into a Covent Garden market.
To sweep up all holly and green stuff I don't mind, because I have heard you say year after year that we should all do our best at Christmas to help each other. I always hold that charity and kindness are more than rubys, but when it comes to flour, I say no.
If you would believe it, Mrs Millstone is first watering the holly and the lorrel to make it wet, and then sprinkling flour on it to make it look like hore frost, and the mess is something dreadful, all over the cushions and the carpet.
To sweep up ordinary dust I don't mind, more particularly as it is my paid work and my bounden duty; but unless it is made worth my while Hobbs says I must say no. We draw the line at sweeping up dough.
Mr Starling is very kind, but as Hobbs says, you are the founting head. Awaiting a reply, I am, your humble servant.
Martha Hobbs"