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| Police bulletin | No.16-September 1999 | No.17-December 1999 | No.18-October 2001

To all Swallowcliffians past and present, greetings and welcome to newsletter No. 17.

Not only is it the end of the century and the eve of the millennium (this has to be chronologically suspect) but, what is not chronologically suspect, is the fact that this is our 4th birthday. At times it has been a bit of a struggle to make it to the next edition, but with the support of our contributors we have survived. Despite the prophets of doom forecasting meltdown in Y2K, your news letter, with your support, will survive. In fact we do not think anyone will notice the slightest bit of difference when they wake up or, go to bed on the 1st of January 2000. If your life changes we would like to hear from you.
There has been much comment of late in the national media regarding the closures of village pubs. As we are all too well aware, our local area has seen more than its fair share of closures. Reasons vary, drink driving regulations, lack of support, ridiculously high business rates for small companies and greedy breweries. The Royal Oak may yet succumb to market forces. Once again, as the actress (no names) said to the bishop, 'use it or lose it'! In this edition we have a letter from Keith Spalding, the landlord of the Oak.
The subject of canine scatology refuses to go away, although it must be said, perhaps as result of our mentioning the subject, the small grass triangle below the village hall has, for a time, been free of gratuitous deposits of canine fertiliser. However we do have a letter on the subject. But enough on that matter.
Weather forecasting being an art rather than a science, has prompted your news letter to make its long range forecast for the year 2000. For simplicity's sake we have presented it in visual form. (Copyright Dennis Print & Publishing.) We have no reason to believe that this will differ greatly from our competition's scientifically arrived at forecasts.

Letter from Ralph Venables.
The letter from Betty White and your editorial comment in the 16th issue of the News Letter once again highlight the irresponsible owners of dogs which cause so much distress in Swallowcliffe, not only in the church yard but on the roadside grass verges.
My house is situated at the lower end of Gigant Street, and a little further along the lane is a stream and a spring ( from whence emerges the purest water in Wiltshire). Children play in and around the stream, and the grass verge appears to be the favourite area for a dog's lavatory.
As you rightly remark, the animals cannot be blamed. As you also remark, the owners run the risk of a £1000 fine. Dog fouling of an area where children play is allowed frequently by persons whose brains must be sailing without a full crew.
The grass verge outside my property is kept mown every week throughout the summer, thus making an attractive feature. But it is evidently attractive to dogs, too. However, this fact does not justify the callous irresponsibility of their owners, nor does it make the £1000 fine more affordable.
Ralph Venables.

News from the Royal Oak by Keith Spalding.
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself through the pages of the news letter.
Having spent many years in the pub and catering industry I appear to have found a community that is compatible with my country pursuits of shooting, beating, horse riding and polo. My staff and I have been here six months now and with the introduction of a new menu containing game and fish dishes plus the redecoration and interior improvements, the business is improving.
However, many of you will be aware of the demise of several pubs in the immediate area and, as has been pointed out on the national media, the closure of approximately six country pubs a week throughout the country. No doubt the government in its wisdom will, when its too late find a solution to the problem. The financial overheads faced by publicans are enormous. We work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week plus flogging the staff half to death, we can handle this but, without the support of the local residents I feel the time will come when the Royal Oak will suffer the same fate as those other local pubs that have been forced to close. With your support we may be able to prevent that happening.
We look forward to meeting more of you over the Christmas and New Year period. Our pre-Christmas and Christmas Day menus are available on request (01747 870457).
Your host,
Keith Spalding.

Thank you from Rosemary Keating.
Many thanks to the kind Swallowcliffians who so kindly made delicious apple pies for the Ansty Swallowcliffe Harvest Supper in September. We understand that some people were generous enough to make apple pies without being able to attend the evening themselves. It was great to see so many Swallowcliffe people at the supper. Thank you all for your support.
Best wishes,
Rosemary Keating.

Millennium Project.
Regular workshops are being held and projects are progressing. Team leaders will keep their respective groups informed of meetings etc. Information can also be found on the notice board just inside the church.
Time Capsule. - Margaret Staniforth. (870255)
Some of you will have heard that the history group section of the Millennium Project are intending to organise a village time capsule that will be deposited as part of our weekend Millennium celebrations, 30th June, 1st/2nd July 2000. The time capsule has been purchased from the funds of the Millennium lottery grant that we received.
There will be a meeting on Monday January 10th at 7.30pm in the village hall, addressed by Mr. Anthony Wells of Discovery Time Capsules. He will deliver the time capsule and offer us advice on the way forward. The capsule is made of high grade stainless steel and incorporates design and manufacturing technologies used by the aerospace and nuclear industries to ensure long time storage.
The talk will be followed by a discussion of ideas for our capsule. One likely idea is that each family would be issued with its own special sheet of paper on which to record their message for the future. Ideas or suggestions on the content can be shared but each family can please itself on how to fill the space. This could be fun. A true record of Swallowcliffe in the year 2000 requires something from everybody. The Millennium Project is funded as a community effort and it is important that all families participate, particularly the children.
The History Group would like everyone in the village to take part so come yourself or send someone from your family. This is your time capsule and we hope you will enjoy it. We will keep you posted.

St. Peter's Church - Christmas services.
Sunday 19th December - Carol service by candlelight - 6pm.
Christmas Eve - Holy Communion - 10pm.
Christmas Day - Parish Communion - 11am.
New Year's Day - Church Bells : 10 minute Service - 12 noon.
Sunday 2nd January - Millennium Service - 11am.

Old england.
This article is forwarded by Sally Boothby's brother in law. I was sent the following article by an American friend ( one who actually knows where the UK is )! She wants to know how much, if any, is true. For example, the threshold bit is close but not bang on. Can anyone help with any of it?

Life in the 1500s.
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and were still smelling pretty good by June - although they were starting to smell. So brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the B.O.
Baths equalled a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, followed by the sons, men, the women and finally, the children and babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying - 'don't throw the baby out with the bath water'. Houses had thatched roofs, thick straw piled high with no wood underneath, it was the only place for animals to get warm. So all the pets, dogs, cats, and other, smaller animals and bugs lived in the roof. When it rained the roof became slippery and sometimes the animals would fall off the roof . Hence the saying - 'it is raining cats and dogs'.

There was nothing to prevent bugs and droppings falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where these droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. So they found that if they made beds with four big posts, one at each corner and covered it with a sheet, this addressed the problem and was the origin of the four poster bed.
The floor was dirt and only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying - 'dirt poor'. The wealthy had slate floors, which in the winter would get slippery when wet. So they spread thresh on the floor to help them keep their footing. As winter wore on they kept adding more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed at the entry way creating a 'threshold'.
They cooked in a large pot that always hung over the kitchen fire. Every day the kitchen fire was lit and food was added to the pot. Mostly they ate vegetables with very little meat. They would eat the stew for dinner leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold over night and then add more food the next day. Sometimes the pot had food in there that had been in there for a month giving rise to the rhyme ' pease pudding hot, pease pudding cold pease pudding in the pot ten days old'. Sometimes they could obtain pork. When they had company they would bring out some bacon and hang it to show it off, it was sign of wealth that the man could 'bring home the bacon'. They would cut a little off to share with guests and then would all sit around 'chewing the fat'. Most people didn't have pewter plates but had trenchers - pieces of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Trenchers were rarely washed and worms would get into the wood so after eating off wormy trenchers they would get 'trench mouth'. Bread was often divided according to status. Workers received the bottom, burnt portion, the family the middle and the guests, the top or, 'upper crust'.
Most people didn't have pewter plates but had trenchers - pieces of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Trenchers were rarely washed and worms would get into the wood so after eating off wormy trenchers they would get 'trench mouth'. Bread was often divided according to status. Workers received the bottom, burnt portion, the family the middle and the guests, the top or, 'upper crust'.
Lead cups were for drinking ale and spirits, the combination of which would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Sometimes they would be taken for dead and be prepared for burial. They would be laid out on a table for a couple of days and the family would sit around and eat and drink and wait to see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a 'wake'.
England is old and small and it became difficult to find enough space to bury people. Old coffins were dug up and the bones removed. In reopening these coffins it was found that one in twenty five had scratch marks on the inside, a good indication that some had been buried alive. To prevent this happening it was decided to tie a string around the wrist of the dead person, pass it out of the coffin, up through the ground and attach it to a bell. Hence, on the 'graveyard shift' they would know that someone was 'saved by the bell' or they were a 'dead ringer'!

Do you forget? from Margaret Marks.

Do you forget where you put your keys, your specs' your ticket etc? Don't worry, you are not alone.

Just a little line to say I am living
That I am not among the dead
Though I am getting a little forgetful
And mixed up in my head.

I've got used to my arthritis
To my dentures I'm resigned
I can manage my bi-focals
But oh God how I miss my mind !!

Sometimes I can't remember
When I'm standing by the stair
If I should be going up for something
Or if I've just come down from there.

And before the fridge so often
My mind is filled with doubt
Now did I put some food away
Or come to take some out?

Sometimes when it's night time
With my night cap on my head

I don't know if I am retiring
Or just getting out of bed

If it's not my turn to write dear
I hope you won't get sore
I think I may have written
And don't want to be a bore

So remember I do love you
And wished that you lived near
But now it's time to mail this
And say goodbye my dear.

At last I stood beside the mail box
My face it sure got red
Instead of mailing this to you
I opened it instead.

Swallowcliffe Newsletter
No. 17 - December 1999
Contents click to jump to article
Letter from Ralph Venables
News from the Royal Oak Inn by Keith Spalding
Thank you from Rosemary Keating
Millennium Project
St. Peter's Church - Christmas services
Old england
Do you forget? from Margaret Marks
Gallipoli by barry williamson
Gardening tips from the Dell . Peter Corke.-870283
Bon appetit from down under
Advance warning -autumn Fair sept. 8th&9th-2000
Bon appetit from father and daughter at the Royal Oak Inn
Computer Club
50-50 club. just in case you misplaced your application


Gallipoli by barry williamson.
A friend recently visited Turkey and went to Gallipoli to search for the grave of a soldier from his Somerset village, I asked him to look on the Helles memorial for the name Ernest Arthur Tanner and he found it on panel 156. Ernest Tanner has no marked grave, but many of you will know his memorial plaque on the south wall of the nave in Swallowcliffe church ( why the plaque calls him Arthur Ernest I do not know or perhaps the army records are wrong because the family must have put his correct name .) He was the only man from Swallowcliffe to be killed in the 1st World War.
I remember old Mrs. Tanner, his mother, only slightly. She lived with her daughter Mrs. Hilda Biggs in the house next to Mrs. Plumb at Pond Close. She was the widow of Arthur who kept the London Elm Inn on the main road at the turn of the century. It was Mrs. Biggs whose story about the grave robbers was recorded in the English Heritage Report on the Saxon Bed Burial on Swallowcliffe Down. She told the story she'd heard in the pub of how men came long ago and robbed a burial place on the Downs where a princess had been buried ( the site was excavated by the Vatchers in 1996.) Somehow I never associated Mrs. Tanner with a son killed in the war or knew anything about Gallipoli.
Recently I have tried to find out more about Private Tanner's war service. It isn't easy and since Mrs. Biggs died in 1972 there are none of the family left in the village. Ernest Tanner enlisted at Salisbury in 1914 in the Wiltshire Regiment and joined the 5th Battalion which was formed at Tidworth Barracks in August 1914 as part of Lord Kitchener's volunteer army. On 1st July 1915 they sailed from Avonmouth near Bristol in the Franconia and a fortnight later were anchored in Mudros Bay off the island of Lemnos in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Gallipoli campaign was the brainchild of Winston Churchill. The aim was to relieve the pressure on Russia by attacking Turkey, Germany's ally. It was hoped that enemy troops would need to be diverted to defend the Gallipoli peninsula and the Dardanelles and the allies could achieve victory on the western and eastern fronts. The invasion began on the 25th April 1915, failed and the allied troops were all evacuated by the end of that year. 43,000 British Empire troops died for nothing.
We do not know precisely what engagements Ernest Tanner was involved in or where he was killed. He may have taken part in the landing at Cape Helles on 17th July, and the capture of a range of hills at Anzac Cove on 6th August. On the 10th August the Battalion was holding the high ground at Sari Bair when they were attacked by a Turkish Division led by Mustapha Kemal in person. Over half the soldiers were killed including Stanley Macey, age 18, from Blind Lane, Ansty. Ernest Tanner survived and was killed on 20th October, aged 20, presumably in the trench warfare around Suvla bay. I wonder how much he and Stan Macey saw of each other, these two young men from neighbouring villages who may have attended Swallowcliffe school together, at least in their early years. Stan Macey was one of nine men from Ansty who were killed in the Great war, a terrible loss for so small a village. His mother was told only that he was missing and confirmation that he had been killed did not come until the following year. Stan Macey also has no known grave and his name appears on the same panel as Ernest Tanner's.
'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'

Gardening tips from the Dell . Peter Corke.-870283
In the bleak mid-winter here are some plants that provide us with cheer in our gardens at Christmas time and early into the new year. Helleborus Niger - (Christmas Rose)
A clump forming perennial that once established will go on flowering year after year. Nodding white flowers, 30 cms. high on a stiff stem (Dec -Mar) rise from the centre of the leaf rosette. Grow in moist well drained soil in a sheltered site and mulch annually with leaf mould. In cold years all the leaves may die down but some may remain.
Sarcococca - (Christmas Box)
A shrub that is not spectacular to look at having small thin leaves and forming a rounded, mound shaped bush. The variety, humilis, can be grown as ground cover and is prone to suckering. All the sarcococca have glossy foliage, and in winter produce small clusters of white flowers from the leaf axils. The flowers are highly fragrant and on a warm day can sweeten any garden. They are easily grown. The varieties digyua and confusa are also recommended.
Chimonanthus praecox - (Winter Sweet)
A shrub best suited to a sheltered sunny wall. In summer it has large, glossy, dark green, pointed, oblong leaves. Once the leaves have fallen in autumn, on the stems wax-like flowers form, 1cm. in diameter, bright yellow in colour with a central maroon cup. The scent from these flowers is truly superb, one could almost say delicious! Well drained soil is preferred, otherwise it is easy to grow. Height and spread - 2m.
Viburnam X Bodnantense.
'Dawn' ( rose tinted clusters of flowers) and 'Deben' ( white flowers, pink in bud) are two notable varieties. Flowers are freely borne on the end of side shoots between October and March. They are richly scented and withstand all but the coldest weather. A large shrub, 2m plus, so space is required, although it can be pruned to keep it small. Most soils are tolerated and it is an easy shrub to grow. Flowering will be more profuse in full sun.
An evergreen shrub ranging from 50cms. in height, to 2m plus. A member of the berberis family, therefore it has sharp spines on the leaves and stem. All mahonias have yellow scented flowers, followed by blue/black berries. Generally an easy shrub to grow and liking moist soils. Varieties include aquafolium - 'Oregon Grape', having round clusters of flowers on the end of each stem in winter, growing to 1m in height and spread. 'Charity' is a good variety, 1.5m in height/spread and having large racenes of yellow flowers held upright above the foliage.
Erica Carnea - (Heather)
Ideal for winter colour and ground cover. There are hundreds of varieties in numerous purple, white and red flowers. Flowering can be staggered using different varieties to cover a period from November to May. Height is, on average, 30cms with a spread of 30cms. Pruning with shears after flowering, helps to keep plants tidy and compact. Erica Carnea will grow in most soils.
Hamamelis - (Witch Hazel)
Large shrubs producing Hazel like foliage in summer and clusters of spidery like flowers on the stems from January, or earlier. Flowers appear in mild weather after cold periods and are delicately fragrant. Shades of yellow, orange, copper and red are available. Twigs keep well in water and scent a room. A sheltered site in a sunny position is favoured. A moisture retentive soil and plenty of leaf mould around the base each year is ideal.

Bon appetit from down under.
Fruit cake recipe.

  • 1 cup water.
  • 2 cups dried fruit
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 ozs. nuts
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bottle whisky.

Taste whisky to check for quality.
Take one large bowl. Check the whisky again to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one tsp. of sugar and beat again.
Make sure the whisky is still okay.
Cry another tup
Turn off the mixturer
Break two eggs and add one bowl and chuck in the dried fruit
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaters pry loose with a drewscriver.
Sample the whisky to check for tonsisicity
Next sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who cares?
Check the whisky
Now sift the lemon and strain your nuts
Add one table. Spoon of sugar or something. Whatever you can find
Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Throw the bowl out of the window.
Check the whisky again and go to bed.

Advance warning -autumn Fair sept. 8th&9th-2000
For Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) and local churches. To be held at Cann Farm. This will include a large charity shrub and plant stall. Please could you take cuttings from your shrubs now and when dividing plants from your border please save some for the sale to make strong plants for next September. Please put names on the plants. Pots and help available from Nicky Matthews on 01747 850193.

Bon appetit from father and daughter at the Royal Oak Inn.
Keith Spalding and his daughter, Lisa Nesbett, have forwarded these recipes. You probably didn't realise it but the recipe for the fruit cake was a joke. Hopefully you did not rush in and try it.
Mushroom Pate. Serves 4 - From Lisa.

  • 150gms (5oz) butter.
  • 50ml sherry or brandy.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 450gms (1lb) mushrooms blended
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ground pepper.

Melt 25gms (1oz) butter in a pan and fry the garlic and onions gently until almost cooked. Add the mushrooms and fry until cooked. Add the sherry or brandy and increase the heat to evaporate the liquid stirring , add salt and pepper. Turn into individual bowls and chill. Melt remaining butter and pour over pate. Chill before serving with melba toast and butter.

Pheasant soup in sour cream. - from Keith.

  • 1 young pheasant cut into quarters.
  • 2 tbsp.olive oil.
  • 2 tbsp. butter.
  • Seasoned flour.
  • 1 pint sour cream.
  • 1 tbsp. paprika.
  • 2 tbsp.
  • chopped parsley.
  • New potatoes.
  • Vegetables of choice.

If you skin the bird rather than pluck it, wrap the pieces in streaky bacon. Heat the oil and butter in casserole dish. Coat pheasant in seasoned flour and cook carefully until golden brown. Pour over sour cream, paprika and parsley. Bring to simmer, cover casserole and cook on gas mark 6/7 for 1 hour. Serve with new potatoes and vegetables of choice.

Sounds finger lickin' good. Pate probably wins the day.

Computer club
January 13th 2000 - Outlook & Organisers (Barry Fitzpatrick)
February 10th 2000 - Graphics (Roddy McColl)
March 9th 2000 - Genealogy revisited (Alan Brown)
Nearly forgot - Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. Nothing is going to change so don't worry about it.

50-50 club. just in case you misplaced your application.
Tel.................................................... Address............................................

1) I wish to purchase........ shares in the 50-50 Club for 2000.

Minimum 1 share at £6, 2 at £12 etc.


2) I enclose my cheque or cash for £..............................

Signed ...............................................

Disclaimer: The points of view expressed do not necessarily represent those of the committee.

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