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June 2005

Abbey conservation programme enters next phase

The next phase of consolidation at Tintern Abbey near Chepstow will commence next month with a two-year programme of work on the 13th century West Front. This is one of the great glories of Gothic architecture in Britain, and the most prominent and most often painted part of this Cistercian abbey.

While the front elevation, with its impressive great West window, will need to be partially covered in scaffolding for the extent of the works, Cadw wishes to reassure local residents and visitors that although unsightly in the short-term, the scaffolding is necessary to stabilise some of the most decorative parts of this fragile structure and safeguard its long-term future.

Unless work is undertaken immediately much of the original moulding and carving will be lost forever. Already, as much as 20% of the ornamental moulding, including whole capitals and tracery, has been lost as a direct result of erosion over the past century. Some of what remains is in a perilous state - not only through loss of intricate surface details but also as a potential danger to the public from the decay over time of great lengths of stone.

Masons with Cadwraeth Cymru, Cadw's works arm, have been working at the site for a number of years as part of a long-term conservation programme and have recently completed consolidation work on Tintern Abbey's refectory.

Rick Turner, Cadw's Inspector of Ancient Monuments said, "If we don‚t rescue, and in special cases, re-carve details now they will be lost for ever. However, until the scaffolding is in place we cannot detail the work. A team of seven skilled masons will be working on the structure on a permanent basis for the next two years".

Two phases of work have already been undertaken to date on the West Front - the first in 1904/5 which repaired the stone buttresses and again in 1914/15 when copper straps were put in place to hold the fragile tracery of the window together. Although of a good standard the earlier conservation projects have failed to secure a long-term conservation solution for this part of the abbey. The planned programme of works will put right that which should have been done a century ago.

The West Face is one of our biggest challenges to date, not only in terms of logistics but also in terms of conservation. I can only hope visitors and local residents will understand it is sometimes necessary to temporarily sacrifice our view today to ensure future generations can also marvel at this unique structure.

For further information please contact Rhodri Owen at Cambrensis PR on 029 20 257075

Passes for The Abbey

Cllr Mrs J Saunders (01291 689311) has the application forms for free Local Residents' passes for Tintern Abbey. These are available on an individual basis for those on the Tintern Community Electoral Roll, and their children. Each application must be accompanied by a passport sized photograph.

Tintern VPA

On the 20th May, sixteen of our members visited the garden at Penpergwym Lodge, Abergavenny. The day had started rather wet but the evening visit was undertaken in beautiful sunny weather. Our hosts walked us round the garden giving advice and information on the many plants on show. The large garden was well worth seeing and left us wondering how so much work could be undertaken by just two people however dedicated. It was laid out with many formal squares, bordered mostly with tall hedges but with informal planting within each "garden".

At the end of the visit we had a delicious chocolate cake with our tea and were well pleased with our outing.

Tintern WI

We meet on the third Monday of the month at 2:00pm in Tintern Village Hall.

For our June meeting we are going to visit Chepstow Garden Centre, so we will meet as usual at 2:00pm in the Village Hall car park and share cars to travel to the Garden Centre.

In July we are back in the Village Hall when the speaker will be Mr Ryan talking on the River Severn ferries and the rescue of the "Severn Princess".

On the fourth Monday of the month, weather permitting, we do a local walk to keep us fit. New members will be made very welcome so do come along and join us.


The 8th annual Tintern Trot race takes place on Thursday 21st July from the football field at The Anchor. The race is organised by Chepstow Harriers and starts at 7.15pm. The race was first run in 1997 and was based on an idea of an ex-Tintern resident who loved running in the local woods and hoped to share this experience with other runners; the event has grown from strength-to-strength and now attracts in the region of 100 runners from all over South Wales.

It's a tough but very scenic run, the distance is about 6 miles and is almost entirely off-road, with just a short section on the road between the football field and the the bridge at Abbey Mill. The race is well marshalled throughout the course which climbs up to the Offa's Dyke path before descending into Brockweir and then back via the edge of Caswell wood to finish next to The Anchor for a well-earned pint from Alan Butt!

There will be additional traffic in the area but Chepstow Harriers will do all they can to minimise any disruption to local residents. Please feel free to come and watch!

Church Services

Every Sunday:
0900 - Holy Communion St Ouduceus, Llandogo
0900 - Holy Communion St Michael's, Tintern
1030 - Family Worship with 'Kids for Christ' in Tintern Village Hall
We look forward to greeting you.

Village Hall

Remember that we have a beautifully refurbished Village Hall as a venue for you to use and enjoy. For more information about the Hall and availability please phone Pat O'Connor (01291 689611). Hire rates are currently under review.

Youth Project

This project has been put on hold due to lack of support from Tintern residents.

Another Call for More Friends of Tintern

We would like to hear from anyone who is either interested in joining the Friends of Tintern Committee or those who would be willing to be called upon occasionally to help with some fund raising. For example, everything is in place to hold a cinema/film show in the Village Hall but we need someone or a group of friends who would be willing to give up a couple of evenings a year to host this event. All proceeds are going to the benefit of the Village.

Alternatively you might be willing on a 'one-off' basis to hold a bring-and-buy sale, an auction, a dance or a garage sale to raise some funds.

Whatever you can do we would like to hear from you. For more information please come to the next Friends of Tintern Meeting on Monday 11th July at the Royal George Hotel, or contact Tony Parsons 689446 or a Friends of Tintern Committee Member.

Every Christmas the cost of erecting and running the Christmas lights (approx £1,400) is paid for from funds raised over the year by running events in the Village. Tintern needs your support with ideas and help so that the lights become an annual event.

Please, please think about helping your village.

Friends of Tintern - Car Boot Sale

On Sunday 3rd July there will be a Friends of Tintern car in the Anchor field at the car boot sale. All proceeds will go towards the Christmas Lights. If you have any good quality items you would like to donate to this cause, please bring them, ready priced, to the Friends of Tintern car early in the morning or contact any committee member.

Race Night and Quiz Evening

Following what we hope will be a successful car boot sale, what better way to finish the day with some fun at the races and a quiz night. These events are more fun for everyone if lots of people attend. So please put it in your diary now (3rd July at 7.30 Royal George Hotel) and prove to yourself and Tintern that we are all able to have a good time as well as helping the Village in fund raising.

Dos and Don'ts of Doorstep Selling

Many doorstep sellers are honest and genuine. However, some aren't - and they may use lines like these in order to get into your home.

."Congratulations! You have won a prize! If you could just sign here for it …."
."I've noticed you've got a few loose tiles on your roof …"
."There have been a lot of burglaries in the area recently .."
."This cut-price special offer is only available if you sign today…"
."I'm doing a survey…"

Most legitimate market researchers carry an identity card, which you can ask to see. If you're in any doubt, call the Market Research Society free on 0500 396999. And if someone says they work for a charity, for the Council or for social services, they should be able to show you proof.

Remember, doorstep sellers are trained to get people to buy. They can be extremely persuasive. Once you have let a doorstep seller into your home, they will be expecting a sale - and they won't give up easily.


. fix a security chain to your door, and make sure you use it every time someone calls
. if in doubt, just say "No thank you" and close the door
. find out the name and address of the seller's company
. ask yourself
- Do I want or need this?
- Can I afford it?
- Could I get it cheaper elsewhere?
- Do I know and trust the seller?
. ask the seller what will happen if you change your mind. In most cases, you will have a seven-day 'cooling off' period during which you can cancel the contract
. ask for more time if you are not sure; a reputable seller will understand
. pay by credit card for goods or services costing more than £100. The credit card company will give you some protection
. get a receipt with the name, address and phone number of the company on it.


. ask a doorstep seller to call unless you're sure you want to buy
. let a caller into your home if you are at all suspicious of them
. agree to buy anything until you've checked prices elsewhere
. let the seller push you into making a snap decision
. pay a deposit unless you're sure you want to buy it
. agree to have work done on your home without getting a second opinion
. let persuasive salesmen convince you to buy things you don't need
. listen to scare stories. They are usually nonsense.

Where to get help

If you want to complain about a doorstep trader, contact your local trading standards department. You will find their address and telephone number in the phone book under 'Local Authority'. For more advice on your rights, or on how to deal with a particular problem involving doorstep selling, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau. You can find their address and telephone number in the phone book too.

To find out more information on this subject visit the website:

This information has been taken from the dti leaflet 'Doorstep selling: know where you stand. A consumer's guide'.

Local Notices

RALPH DUFFIELD - Tree surgeon, fencing, hedge cutting, rubbish removal. Telephone: 0778640630

Personal Notices

David Thomas Ford

David Ford a man much loved and respected by his family and friends in Tintern died on 11th March 2005. A Service of Thanksgiving to God for the life and loving memories of David was held at St. Michael's Parish Church, Tintern on 22nd March 2005. For those people who were not able to attend the service, we reproduce below the two addresses that were given at the service. He was a lovely man who be greatly missed. May he rest in peace. Our love and prayers go to all his family.

Welcome address - Reverend Phil Rees

David was born in Brierley Hill in November 1929. He already had a sister, Renee, to whom he always remained close. He was born at home and was a huge baby, weighing over 10lbs.

He was a mischievous child and was always telling stories about his childhood and the trouble he used to get into and the many adventures he sued to have with his sister, who often looked after him. He was 11 years old when the second World War broke out and his memories of everything that happened in his neighbourhood remained vivid.

He served an engineering apprenticeship and walked many miles to work each day. The when he was 18 he went into the Army for National Service and served in the tank regiment and was posted to Germany. The Army gave him a lifelong interest and he was very knowledgeable about famous battles.

When he came out he continued working as an engineer. Eventually, he got a job as a troubleshooter for AEI and travelled all over the country and abroad. It was while he was working in Liverpool that he met Hermoine, who was living there. They moved to Newport in 1964, Leominster and eventually to Hereford where they bought a dilapidated house with 21 rooms and worked to restore it. Finally, Hereford City Council acknowledged that it was a wonderful example of Victorian architecture and put a preservation order on it.

David and Hermione brought up Dawn, Hermione's daughter from her first marriage and then they had two daughters, Julia and Natasha. David continued to travel widely but after Natasha was born David decided that he wanted to be at home and resigned from his job. He had a remarkable love of history and decided that they would open an antique shop in the house, situated in a prominent place adjoining the Old Bridge in Hereford. The business proved successful and David made many friends and was always well respected for his honesty as a dealer.

In 1982, the family came to Tintern where Dawn already had a shop. David continued as an antique dealer until disaster struck in 1991.He had gone into hospital for examination for a weakness in his leg and was paralysed on the operating table by a myelogram. Prior to this he had not been away from work and was extremely strong and healthy. Coping with his disability and the change in his lifestyle, when he had to give up his work, proved very difficult. But David showed immense courage and fortitude by making the most is his life despite everything. When Hermione and Julie started a Youth Club in Tintern shortly after he was paralysed, David helped all he could, buying sweets each week, doing the books and manning the barbecues whenever there was one.

He remained cheerful with an irrepressible sense of humour. There were friends who gave tremendous support to him and his family, including William and his wife Tina who did this despite William's own health problems. Major David Cowell came each Wednesday, no matter what the weather was, and talked 'man talk'. They must have fought each battle through and what they didn't know about he army was hardly worth knowing. Terry and Alan Morrison and Muriel Jones, and Maureen and Tony Pearce were just some of the people who kept the family buoyant during what were very troubled times, as did our friends the Ehrenfrieds who have driven across from Germany to come to David's thanksgiving. Many other friends kept in touch constantly as did David's sister and her husband.

David was very much a family man who loved his wife, his children and his grandchildren dearly. He was always happiest at home and loved the family around him. Because he could not get out easily over the last 14 years, it was a joy when friends visited. When he was asked, David edited the Parish Magazine, researching and writing articles of historical interest. From his time in the shop, he loved talking to people, hearing of their lives and by this he enriched his own. He was a man of high principles. He did not drink to excess, never swore and hated dishonesty. He impressed all with his courage, his humour and his strong character. He had a remarkable aptitude for repairing any thing and continued to do this, even from a wheelchair.

During the past year his health deteriorated and he went into hospital to help put him right. It was a terrible blow to him and to his family to find that had lung cancer and it was difficult to accept. He was told that he only had a few months but it was only a matter of weeks before he went to be with the Lord on March 11th. He often refused medication which compounded his suffering but the wonderful staff at St Arvans ward were kind and understanding to him and his family.

David was always respected as head of the family and as a family we hope to tread in his footsteps and follow the wonderful example he set.

His courage was awesome


Daughter's address - Julia Ford

I would like to think that my father would have approved of the time of this service: High Noon, as in the film with Gary Cooper. There was nothing he appreciated more than a good, slow dusty Western. He admired Cooper, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood; all those self-contained men who said very little but repeatedly played the brave outsider on the screen, battling against enemies and then finally saving the day as they trailed off into the sunset. He was interested in all manner of war films too but I drew the line at sharing with him the fiftieth viewing of Bridge on the River Kwai. It was Westerns we both loved and in front of which we were most comfortable: sitting in companionable silence amongst the ten gallon hats and spurs. In fact, as a child I secretly saw my father as something of a cowboy, in his faded jeans silently tinkering around his beloved workshop in Hereford. The workshop was something of a wonderland to me, with drawers and drawers of his precious bits and pieces. It smelled of wood chip and rusty metal because he was always sawing something, banging something with a hammer or sifting through boxes of browning old keys. He always kept them just in case they fitted a clock case of an unopened box. Likewise, he kept crystal glass stoppers of every shape and colour; he never knew when he might find the bottle to which it belonged.

My father was not just a keeper of things but a cautious man, continually telling me not to walk around the house in bare feet in case of lurking nails or pieces of glass. He could be strict too and usually kept a tight curfew on visiting boys, a veto on what he considered to be unrespectable and ridiculous clothes. Once he burnt a mini skirt of mine that he particularly disapproved of and I remember staring into the ashes forlornly. I was angry with him then but later I realised that he was merely being protective. I also had a knitted rabbit that I babyishly clung to in adolescence. One day I came home from school and found the poor critter swinging from the workshop door with a RIP sign around his limp neck. Of course I squealed but we both shared at times a rather warped sense of humour, that sense of the absurd that actually is a brilliant survival technique when life becomes traumatic. Once too, when my mother planted some daffodil bulbs, he snuck out and stuck plastic ones into the ground so that she would think that they had sprung up overnight. He did like to tease and that aspect of him is firmly knitted into my gene sequence.

Calm in a crisis, he had an astonishing ability to ignore the chaos and panic that might ensue and give a little sigh, then deal with it. I am proud to have the ability to control my emotions and be cool when required, just like him. When I sat on the beach at Shell Island, watching my only shoes wash out to sea, he didn't make a fuss. He just went into town and bought me some more. Then, when yet another pair was sucked down into the mud, he went into town again. Those times on Shell Island, when I barely put a brush through my hair and my mother joined us only to find and unopened toothbrush was truly a paradise found. He taught me that there was more to mackerel fishing than the easy hooking of the flashy fish in the water. There were chores such as gutting them to be done. He made eating squishy hot dogs from a tin and messing about in boats, while the buttery sun warmed your feet, a simple pleasure richer than two weeks in the Caribbean.

My father also had a love of animals, especially birds. You should never give a baby bird bread and water because it swells up in their stomach and can be dangerous. Instead, he had me lifting bricks in the garden and digging holes in the dirt to find fat and apparently delicious woodlice and worms. His fingers must have been monumental to those little creatures but with patience and persistence he fed them and cared for them, in cardboard boxes that lay by the boiler for warmth. Of course, they mostly died of shock because they were wild creatures but it never seemed to stop him giving them a chance. Once, when an exhausted racing pigeon landed on our doorstep, he built a cage for it with wood and mesh. It happily sat on his hand and in those languorous times when he was pottering around at home or in the shop, I think he was at his most content.

I used to love rattling around in the back of the red Mazda pickup as he drove through town, probably looking like a hillbilly but not truly caring. We would be going to a house call or an auction, where I learned that you never spend money unless you had to and then you got good value for your pound. Auctions were exciting, where men stood around and talked about men things and then waved their hands in the air for a bargain. He loved those boxes of dusty treasures that we lovingly loaded up into the car, because later we would be rifling through them, looking for a gem or two. Once he bought a large box of videos only to find they were Italian subtitled horror films. He was not impressed but shrugged his shoulders and threw them in a drawer. He did that with his life; he would pull one of his sardonic faces and just get on with the next bit.

The next bit he had of course was wholly unexpected; even Gary Cooper would have been floored but it. It made him sad and it made him frustrated; he was bound in circumstances to a restrictive piece of metal. There were still times when we would sit and talk about Lawrence of Arabia and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom or the new theory on the Charge of the Light Brigade. He always had an opinion on things and he could make me laugh by sitting through an episode of Star in Their Eyes, bemoaning the lack of people he actually recognised. He had never bee a great fan of modern stars or the long-haired lulus, as he called them, on Top of the Pops. He used to infuriate my mother by keeping (and eating) several boxes of chocolates stashed secretly in drawers.

I think my father would like it if we could remember the film The Searchers, where in the final part of the film John Wayne is framed in the doorway as he begins to walk away. What more fitting image, to will him out of his wheelchair and instead, striding off into the distance. He showed True Grit in his final struggle and I think he would like that image most of all to remember him by.

Community Council Highlights

Extracts from the Community Council Minutes April 2005-06-01

. The Community Council are planning to prepare a questionnaire which will give all residents of Tintern the opportune ity to give their views on as wide a variety of subjects as possible, including housing, recycling, crime, safety, employment, community resources, local government …. Etc.
. A large group of residents attended the 'Open Forum' part of the meeting to register their support for the proposed shared path for cyclists / pedestrians / wheelchair users through the Tintern area of the Wye Valley.
. PC A Mason reported to the council about crime and traffic accidents locally and expressed his view that the poor road surface between Tintern and St.Arvans had contributed to these accidents. Although there are plans to resurface the road during this financial year, the Community Council is pressing MCC to carry out this work on an urgent basis.
. On the subject of road safety, and, from the commentary in the last issue of the Tintern News, contrary to the awareness of your good editor, the Community Council has been pressing MCC for several years to help improve traffic problems in the village, including arranging for MCC Highways to see the problems at first hand. Recent letters from the Community Council have sought to get MCC support to deal with excessive and distracting commercial signage, speeding through the Village, extending the areas of roads subject to a 30mph limit, help to alleviate car parking problems by utilising the old 'sawmills' yard, restrictions on the use of our narrow roads by heavy goods traffic and how to persuade even our own villagers not to park in the passing bays along our narrow roads.

Please feel free to contact any Councillor with any issue that you feel the Council should become involved with.

Full copies of the minutes can be obtained at the Cherry Tree Village Stores, the Police Office, notice boards and on the web.

Thank you

A big "thank you" from Sue and David Ball to everyone who looked after them recently and to those who sent flowers and cards.

Also, a 'thank you' from David Ball to everyone who attended his surprise party at The Barn.

Recipe for June

Macaroni con pomodori (serves 3 - 4 or 2 if you like really big helpings)

2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1 small chilli pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, derinded and chopped
1 400g can peeled chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
250g (8oz) short-cut macaroni
50g (2oz) grated Parmesan or other hard cheese

Serve with green salad and garlic bread

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion, garlic, chilli pepper and bacon and fry gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the sugar and salt to taste. Bring to the boil, stirring, cover and simmer for 20 minutes

Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water until al dente: drain thoroughly.

Arrange alternate layers of pasta, sauce and cheese in an oiled ovenproof dish, finishing with cheese.

Serve immediately, or cover and leave in a preheated cool oven, 140 C/275 F/ Gas 1 for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the flavours to blend.

The Sainsbury Book of Italian Cooking, Mary Renolds, 1984

This is a particularly useful, delicious (and foolproof) recipe plus ingredients to take away for a first night meal on a self-catering holiday, especially if you are some way from the nearest shops or restaurant.

Please keep sending in your recipes, there is still got quite a way to go yet before we have enough for a book. Actually, to tell you the truth at the rate they are coming in it will be 10 years before there will enough.

Tintern Events Diary

5th June, Car Boot Sale at the Anchor
8th June Bingo at the Anchor
12th - 30th June - Art Exhibition Parva Vineyard
17th June, 6.00pm VPA visit to Green Hill Cottage, Redhill, Lydney, to be followed by wine and cheese at Les and Linda's house in Lydney.
17th - 23rd June, Signal Box Exhibition - John Wilson
18th June, National Badger week - Old Station, Tintern.
19th June (Father's day) 11 - 4pm Have a go archery. £2.50 per person, Dads free when accompanied by one paying child.
19th June, Car Boot sale at the Anchor
20th June, Tintern WI visit to Chepstow garden Centre.
24th - 30th June, Signal Box Exhibition - Linda Twiddy
26th June, 11 - 4pm Old Station Miniature Railway
2nd - 31st July - Potty about plants, Parva Vinyard
3rd July, Car Boot Sale at the Anchor (to include the Friends of Tintern car)
3rd July, 7.30pm, Race Evening and Quiz at the Royal George
11th July, 7.30pm Friends of Tintern Meeting at the Royal George Hotel
14th July, Coffee morning and Bring & Buy sales, Jean Bathgate's house, 6 Parva Springs, from 10.30am

Catbrook Village News

After the May Meeting of the Hall Committee we now list below an up to date on functions to be held at the Hall this year.

The will be a further Film Night on Friday 17th June when "The Aviator" will be shown. The format will be the same as last month when you can bring a bottle of wine and sit back and enjoy the film.

The Car Treasure Hunt will be taking place at 2.30pm on Sunday 12th June. It will start and finish from Catbrook Memorial Hall. Refreshments will be provided at the finish. The cost will be £5.00 per car.

Country and Western Evening on Friday 15th July.

Wine Tasting Evening on the 24th September. Further details later.

The Night Out Evening sponsored by the Arts Council will now be held on Friday 14th October and will be performed by the Bakelite Boys. It is entitled "Pop goes the Century" - 100 songs from 100 years in 100 minutes.

We are hoping to have another Race Night on Saturday 19th November following a very popular and successful one last year.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir are once again coming to the Hall on the 10th December.

Anyone interest in coming along to any of the above functions is most welcome. If you wish for further information please don't hesitate to contact Liz on 01291-689681.

If you have something to publicise please consider using the Tintern News. It could be as simple as something to sell or perhaps you are holding a function. Items for inclusion in the News will need to be available by the last day of the month. The News should then be available for distribution by the 7th of the following month.

Items can be left at the Cherry Tree shop, the Police Office, with John Bathgate 689328 6 Parva Springs (e-mail to or with Elspeth Reid 689456 Wye Barn (e-mail to

The Tintern News is produced with support from Rural Community Action