Wolfampcote: a stroll through history

Wolfampcote is mainly an abandoned medieval village of which little remains, but that does include the old church of St Peter.  I visited on a (mainly) circular walk in late February 2020 on a dullish day, though I had been before, on a pleasant September day in 2018.  This is a short walk and is undemanding, but those interested in history will find much to muse on. Continue reading “Wolfampcote: a stroll through history”

Stoke Golding: A postcard from Henry

My dear Andrew

Sorry it’s been such a long time, but one doesn’t get out much.  I see that you are well.  Lizzie and I are about the same.

One has been dead now for going on 511 years.  Those cynics among my people who refuse to believe that we spirits can take occasional excursions into our future – your present –  should think again.  Anyway, recently, we went back to Stoke Golding, where, one was crowned on 22 August 1485.  The current Prime Minister (how things have changed, eh, Majesty?!) should think twice about what it means to die in a ditch:  his remains might be discovered under a space port car park in the year 2525 (oh yes, we get all the latest ditties here at the Abbey).  Thing is, being a normally-shaped, white Englishman, no one will know who they have dug up.

Incidentally, as the lingo has changed so much, we thought we would get this ghost-written.  And one had some great sport with a camera borrowed from a recent acquaintance, who prefers to be called Patrick, even though the weather was pretty dull.  One hopes one’s next day out will be better, without wanting to upset too many folk.

One didn’t want to disturb you, but was tickled pink by the name of your neighbour’s boat.  One gathers this song was a particular favourite of yours at the time, though The Scaffold belongs in a bygone era, sadly.

Nb Jennifer Eccles
… But they gave her medicinal compound    Now he joins in all their games …

[Ed.  With apologies to The Scaffold, and their number one hit Lily the Pink.  It was a favourite at the time in the late sixties.]

Here are a few random shots:

Crown Hill blue plaque
THE CHARITY OF THOMAS BARTON / CROWN HILL Near this spot following the Battle of Bosworth KING HENRY VII was crowned and thus began the Tudor Dynasty on 22 August 1485 600TH ANNIVERSARY 10TH JULY 2000

Forgive the size, but it was our finest hour!

These buildings were not there at the hour of one’s triumph, but the church is recognisable.  That said, the Church of England was young Harry’s doing, a sort of Halxit.

Oh, and perhaps you could relay to the Duke of Cambridge that if he thinks his little brother Harry is troublesome, he should just think about how mine turned out.  Six wives indeed, and two of the poor wenches put to death.  And his progeny were little better (at least I am not known as “bloody Henry”), though my Queen and I are proud that our niece is still known as Good Queen Bess.  By the end of my reign there was peace with Scotland, strong ties with the new super power Spain, and a stable, prosperous, wealthy kingdom that had never had it so good.  Yes, we do spin at the Abbey, too!

Pray visit us soon,

Henry VII R

Transcriptions of blue plaques

Founded in 1678 by MISTRESS HESTER HODGES for the teaching of male children in English, Latin & Greek languages

This mediaeval church in the decorated Gothic style was built and extended during the 13th and 14th centuries


Nb Whiskey Mac on the Coventry Canal at Polesworth on a frosty morning.

A chilly visit to Polesworth, in northern Warwickshire.  This includes a bit of local history, some old buildings, shops, and some canal history, and revisiting a court case. Continue reading “Polarsworth”

Lest we forget: Pte. 1680 H.S. Sanders

Further exploration of the men commemorated on the war memorial in the churchyard to St James, Ogley Hay.

The bald fact is that Private Hubert Sedgwick Sanders was killed by an enemy sniper on 5th May 1915, during fierce fighting for Hill 60, in the second battle of Ypres.  But there is more of local interest to this story of a brave young man who sacrificed his own future so that others could live theirs, ours. Continue reading “Lest we forget: Pte. 1680 H.S. Sanders”

Up the junction


Recently, I passed through Fazeley Junction (twice), which is still a busy little place, despite the A5 by-passing in the early 1990s. Fazeley is essentially part of Tamworth, but is useful for boaters, boasting a Tesco Express, Chinese, Indian, and Bangladeshi restaurants and takeaways and a couple of pubs. There is also Tameside Nature Reserve, of which more another time (maybe).  And it’s not so far to Asda, M&S, and other shops in the exemplar Thatcherite planning zone that is Ventura Retail Park. Continue reading “Up the junction”

More weirstones

Continuing my exploration of locks and weirs on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.  Last time I left off above Bratch Locks.  I may do something about that flight another time, but here I take up the story at Bumblehole Lock, in Wombourne, Staffordshire, including some cautionary tales about Botterham Staircase Locks.


Note that the weir is more of a kite shape.  These things really do look quite vicious. Continue reading “More weirstones”

The weir stones of Brindley

Recently, I posted about weirs at locks on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, inspired by Ray Shill’s book Silent Highways.  It seems to me that the chief engineer, James Brindley, and his assistants were experimenting with weir design along this stretch of canal, so here are a few images taken at various locks from Compton, Wolverhampton, down to Stourport.  Most folk don’t seem to notice these bits of engineering – I have seen them not noticing.

circular weir Compton Lock s
“Circular weir, Compton – the circular weir was installed at many of the earliest locks on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. It is a design linked to James Brindley.” (Ray Shill)

The image above is from my earlier post, and is apparently one of the first built on this canal.  But they are not all circular, or walled off in similar ways. Continue reading “The weir stones of Brindley”