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Article of The Week

 

When Helmdon Still Had Thatched Cottages - 17th August 2020

The reminiscences of Cora Russell, born at Stone Gables, who remembered Bob Buckingham the butcher, Wilsons the builders, and Oakeys the bakers ...

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Advent Windows 2020 - 10 August 2020

Despite COVID 19 Ann Netton and Jenny Overson are very much hoping to turn Helmdon into a Living Advent Calendar for the sixth time this year with windows throughout the village decorated and 'opened' each evening between 1 December and Christmas Eve.  More info:  Ann Netten (01280 851168 apnetten@hotmail.com) or Jenny Overson (01295 760677 oversonjenny@gmail.com).

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Village Trades Of Nearly 100 Years Ago - 04 August 2020

In 1924 Helmdon had a boot polish manufacturer, a coal merchant, a saddler, a tailor, a cycle agent ...

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Countryside Walks - 26 August 2020

In 1988 Jean Spendlove drew an interesting map of country walks in Helmdon, with additional historical information. Whether you are a long time resident or new to the village you will find it fascinating.

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William de Kancia. Who Was He? - 19 August 2020

Well, he was known of enough to have a whole three-day festival named after him in 1982/3

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When The Village Had A Constable, A Molecatcher And Crowkeeper ...

- 05 August 2020

An extract from William P. Ellis's wonderful book on Helmdon in the C17 and C18 published in 1900.

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Helmdon Fellowship: Founded In The 1950s - 31 July 2020

It is with regret that Covid has caused meetings to stop for the rest of the year.  It has been a part of the village scene for so long and will be greatly missed by its members.

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More To Our Church Than You Might Think - 23 July 2020

Did you live in Helmdon in 1953 when stone coffins were found in the church, under what may have been a manor chapel? - 23 July 2020

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Remember this? The Threat Of An Industrial Estate In The Old British Rail yard on the embankments on the outskirts of Helmdon? - 15th July 2020

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More Press Cuttings Of The 80s and 90s - The fascinating Women's Club Scrapbooks have unearthed over 40 press cuttings, including this one about the sloshing good time had by all at the Helmdon carnival!

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Meets Will(s) Campiun The Master Mason Who Built Helmdon Church - 03 July 2020

An interesting article from the Four Shires Magazine.

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Astwell Castle & The Countess Of Huntingdon - 24th June 2020

A snippet written by Marjorie Watson whose husband found a 1700s coin on Stockleys.

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The Helmdon Youth Club - 19th June 2020

Remembered with great affection by all those who were members ... thank you, John Woodhams, for your sterling work.

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The Churchyard Yew  - 11 June 2020

You may have walked through the churchyard lately but have you looked at the historic old yew?

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Another Poem - 05 June 2020

written about The Chequers pub which used to stand opposite the school until the 90s. (one of our numerous press cuttings)

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A Lockdown Poem - 27 May 2020

Lee Alfandary has written a poem which sums up this dreadful period so succinctly ...

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Do You Remember Jack Ayres? - 21 May 2020

As well as reminiscences, collected in years gone by as well as in the current Lowdown Lockdown Reminiscences Project, we have had some obituaries given to us for publication. Do you remember Jack "Tiger" Ayres who worked on the railway?

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Village Reminiscences 2020 - 7, 14 May 2020
The first reminiscences of days gone by in Helmdon are published this week. More are in the pipeline. If you would like to contribute your memories, we should be very pleased to receive them at editor@helmdonhistory.com.

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The Flag Fund - 30 April 2020

With talk of the village flying a flag at the war memorial for the NHS (the lucky ones who are not in lockout will have to look out for this) do you remember the flags flying in Church Street nearly 20 or so years ago?

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Photo Gallery - 23 April 2020

Have you looked at this recently?  We have a great many pictures of people, places, school photos and sports teams, aerial photos of the village, buildings, the old railways ....  just click on PHOTOGRAPHS on the website index to your left.

 

Friends of Helmdon Church - 16 April 2020

You may not be a church go-er but you may wish to keep the church looking great, and the Friends of St Mary Magdalene are doing just that.  Read their history in a new article. 

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Village Reminiscences Project - 09 April 2020

Something to interest you when house and garden jobs begin to pall .. why not write about your experiences in Helmdon, perhaps about why you like living here, memorable moments, or about a particular incident or time in an organisation which you have enjoyed?  All contributions, large or small, will be welcome.  Written submissions will be willingly typed by  the editor@helmdonhistory.com.  Alternatively if you would like to submit  a video or speak on Skype or Zoom, email webmaster@helmdonhistory.com.

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The Railways of Helmdon - 27 March 2020

Much has been written about the Great Central Railway and the Northampton to Banbury railway.  This was Stuart Moir's contribution to the website in 1997

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Reminiscences of Michael Care - 27 March 2020

There have been parallels during this pandemic situation with the Second World War.  Be that as it may, Michael Care was evacuated to Helmdon during that time and never forgot his childhood, visiting Helmdon from his home in America several times during his life.

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Helmdon Wills (1603 - 1760) - 19 March 2020

We can learn such a lot from wills such as the endowment of a school in Helmdon in 1723 and land ownership.

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The Story Of Stutchbury - 12 March 2020

A town, and then a deserted village, read all about it .....

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The Sharon Belle Album - 06 March 2020

You most probably have read all about the American bomber which landed in an Astwell field in 1943,  but here are the mini-biographies of the men who died, as researched by Derek Ratledge.

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Oxford University Land - 27 February 2020

Did you know that in the Middle Ages the Oxford Colleges owned vast amounts of the land in this part of the country?  Magdalen College (together with, though to a lesser extent, Worcester College) held large tracts of Helmdon.

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Churchyard Grave Inscriptions - 21 February 2020

If you go up into the churchyard with visitors looking for a particular grave inscription do be aware that there is a plan showing the site of the graves in the church porch.   

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The Early 1990's Flag Fund - 13 February 2020

Do you remember this?  Flags flew for birthdays and anniversaries and raised money for the Reading Room.

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Reminiscences: Cis Terrey - 07 February 2020

Among the reminscences we have on the website is a contribution from Cis Terrey, who was born in  Helmdon in 1919. She used to fetch the German prisoners from the prisoner of war camp at Sulgrave to work on her father's farm.

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The (19 Village - 29 January 2020

A national census of population is held every 20 years, with the next census being in 2021.  We are lucky to have census data for early years in Helmdon 1841 - 1891 and the results are interesting reading, our village being one of predominantly agricultural labourers, lacemakers and  … but see for yourself when you click on the link and find out the total of people living in the village at certain census dates, and further links to names and occupations.

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New Helmdon Project - 23 January 2020

Ross Vicars has researched a fascinating new project, presented in booklet form.  It is called Helmdon in 1939 and 2019.  See the details here....

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Ten Years Since The Wind Farm Proposal - 16 January 2020

Do you remember the furore?  The Reading Room was so full at the protest meeting that some people gave up trying to get in and went home.

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The Bells Ring On ... - 10 January 2020

The bells of St Mary Magdalene Church still ring out for some services at Helmdon Church under the direction of Tower Captain Julian Partis, and have been doing so for hundreds of years.   Indeed, the church inventory in 1552 mentioned four bells and a sanctuary bell.

Do you recognize any of the names of ringers between 1958 and 1964?

Julian (01295 768917) would love to hear from you if you are interested in bell ringing.   

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New Presscutting - 03 January 2020

A new presscutting, this time about the GT Championship and the continuing success of Helmdon's Mike O'Brien and his aims for 2020.

    ...... and a Happy New Year from the website team to you all.

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  Press
  Cutting

Snow from Boxing Day till Mid-March - 19 December 2019

During my lifetime I can remember three very severe winters when skating took place on Astwell ponds.  The first was in 1929.  I have reason to remember this because when playing ice hockey I had my right hand skated over.  It cut the sinews at the top end of three fingers and they are still bent at an angle. 1946 was the worst.  It started snowing on Boxing Day and the snow remained with us until mid-March.  We had evening skating for weeks under the floodlights of two or three old cars.  You had to keep the engine running to charge the battery.  The local roads were all blocked, the Helmdon to Brackley road to a depth of eight feet in places.  Gangs of shovellers were organised.  No milk lorries got through from Buckingham for three days but Tony Smith and myself managed to get an old army four wheel drive lorry and we got the local milk to Buckingham, and brought a big load of empty churns back.  Twice we left the road and took to the fields. 1963 was bad enough, but by then there were mechanical earthmovers and local farmers had front-end brackets.

If you have enjoyed this extract, read more of

Jim Watson's reminiscences

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Happy Christmas! - 19 December 2019

We have enjoyed carol singing, Christingle, a pantomime, Christmas parties, a Christmas Fair (with Father Christmas in attendance), various Christmas lunches (some with excellent fare at The Fat Landlord), etc., but have you been round the village at night and seen the Christmas decorations and above all, the advent windows, the windows decorated by residents?  If you can't get out in the evening to look at the latter, go to www.helmdonparishcouncil.gov.uk and see them arrayed there.

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The Fairbrother Family - 13 December 2019

A snippet of news about the Fairbrother family, whose ancestor gave the village the Reading Room.

Helmdon School History - 05 December 2019

Former Head Geoff Ipgrave wrote extensively about the history of the school which he had gleaned from the school logbooks. There are many interesting entries.  For instance, in 1922, "As the Prince of Wales will pass the school the flag was hoisted." (He was on his way to the Grafton Hunt point to point).

Villager Anger Over Lane's Trashed Verges - 28th November 2019

Simon Harris is not the only one who is angry.  Read the press cutting of today's date.  It is to be hoped that a solution can be found.  (Just one entry from our comprehensive list of press cuttings)

1762 Militia Men - 20th November 2019

Men have been conscripted for war down the ages.  This document shows the main occupations of village men in the year 1762.

Helmdon's War Memorial Project - 14th November 2019

We have thought about the two World Wars this last week or so.  If you wondered about the lives of any of those men on our village war memorial as you stood in silence last Sunday, look at the village's war memorial project which was published in 2016 to commemorate the 100th anniversary.

The Public Houses Of Helmdon - 8th November 2019

1630 was the first mention of a Helmdon alehouse keeper in an age when water wasn't safe to drink and ale was firstly commonly brewed in small quantities at home.  Do you know the names of the four principal establishments selling alcohol in the village since that time?

Birth Of The Reading Room - 31 October 2019

Three press cuttings have recently come to light documenting the origins of our much loved Reading Room.  Did you know it was opened in 1888?  Here is the fullest account.

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Cutting

The Millennium Village Film - 25 October 2019

Nineteen years ago the respected Banbury historian Brian Little wrote about the WEA Local Studies Group's millennium film "A Year in the Life of a Village", calling it "an all embracing study".  Were you lucky enough to see one of the showings in the Reading Room? 

Some Twenty Years  In The Planning - The Origins Of The School Playing Field - 18 October 2019

Thanks to some old meeting minutes and press cuttings new to the website, here is a short resumé of how the school playing field came into being.

The Helmdon WEA Branch Down But (In Spirit) Not Out - 11 October 2019

The closure of the Helmdon branch of the WEA was sadly announced last year, so it was time to update an article written at the time of the 40th anniversary to include the next 19 years of this very busy, always interesting and enjoyable adult education branch.   The spirit of Helmdon WEA members still carries on with a local studies group and the maintaining and editing of www.helmdonhistory.com., and long may this continue.

Very Different Parish Officers - 03 October 2019

When  the village was served by a mole catcher, cow-keeper, crow keeper, haywarden, parish constable, peaskeeper .....An interesting calling, the peaskeeper.  It is to be hoped we never need one in Helmdon!

Textile Makers, As Well As Lace Makers - 27 September 2019

Perhaps you will already have realised that Helmdon was a lace making village, but do you know that in the 1700s it had textile workers?

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Helmdon Manor House Stood On The Site Of Manor Farm - 19 September 2019

Helmdon had three manor houses. This, the principal one, was probably fortified.

Prince Arthur Of Connaught Was One Of The Customers Of This Helmdon Tailor - 12 September 2019

How come? That we do not know.

Helmdon Was In Moral Decline - 05 September2019

Such was the state of the village before the Baptist chapel was built.

Murder In Helmdon - 30 August 2019

Murder in Helmdon and misadventure in Radstone ......

Helmdon Was A Lacemaking Village - 22 August 2019

In 1851 a third of the women were lace makers (there were also nine children under 10), no doubt supplementing the low wages of the agricultural labourers, farming being the main occupation of the men.

The Reading Room Was The Centre Of Wartime Entertainment - 15 August 2019
According to Malcolm Care, an evacuee to the village, who although he now lives in the US, still keeps in touch.
Did You Know That Helmdon Has "Listed" Trees? - 08 August 2019
At the bottom of Helmdon's index of Listed Buildings (which shows those of particular historical interest), are tree preservation orders.

 


Congratulations: Helmdon "Highly Commended" In Northamptonshire's Best Village Competition 2019
-
posted 02 August 2019

Not so many winners in this competition this year, just cups for small village, middle village and large village categories, but Helmdon won one of the two Highly Commended certificates.

Among many such awards in previous years, do you remember 2014?

                                           click here

 

A WI Trip To Portsmouth - posted 23 July 2019

No, no date, but a photo showing the fashion of that era though it is not a barrel of laughs!  The present members of Helmdon WI have more welcoming faces.  The branch has been in the village nearly 100 years and is still strong on national issues as well as providing a great social activity.

                                            click here

The Youth Club - posted 19 July 2019

Do you know who in Helmdon was awarded a Certificate in Recognition of Services to the Young People of South Northants?

                                             click here

 

Pubs In  Helmdon   - posted 12 July 2019

This article was written 20 years ago but the history up to that date hasn't changed, although now The Bell has changed its name to The Fat Landlord. 

                                             click here

To All Friends Of Joan McCann   - posted 08 July 2019

Joan is here from Australia and if you missed her this week she will be staying in the village again during the last full week of July, and will probably be at the village cafe on Tuesday, 23 July.

                                             click here

 

New South Northants Heritage Trail   - posted 05 July 2019

An exciting new prospect for serious walkers and ramblers, taking in local history as you go.

                                              click here

 

Do You Remember Len Wills? The Railwayman Who Pulled The Last Signal On The Great Central?   - posted 28 June 2019

Visit the cafe and see the signalman's lament.

                                               click here

 

Aerobatics Display at Carnival Time   - posted 17 June 2019

No, there won't be 2500+ people and a carnival parade as at the Helmdon Carnival in 2002, but there will be an enjoyable village fete  at Fountain House on Saturday 29 June, when all are welcome. 

                                               click here

Closure Of Helmdon WEA Branch   - posted 10 June 2019

                                              

This is a sad announcement. 

                                               click here

,,,, but the spirit of the WEA will live on in the Helmdon Local Studies group.

If you are interested in researching the history of the village (particularly at this time in gaining reminiscences from our older residents) please contact editor@helmdonhistory.com

                                               

The Birth Of The School Field   - posted 03 June 2019

                                                click here

She Wrote About The Characters In The Village, Not Realising She Was One herself   - posted 27 May

The reminiscences of Noreen White.

                                                click here

Keep The Bells Ringing  - posted 20 May 2019

They have rung for countless years and were re-dedicated in  1951.

New bell ringers wanted to keep them a-ringing. Contact Julian Partiss on (01295) 768917

                                                click here

A Continuing Tradition, Helmdon Looks After Its Oldies   - posted 13 May

Just as the Church and the Fellowship care for seniors in 2019 (albeit today concentrating on social activities) this was also the case in 1909, as this document shows.  Government pensions were just coming in but the NHS had not been formed.

                                                 click here

Meet Wills Campiun ....     - posted 03 May

.... the master mason who built Helmdon church

                                                 click here

Helmdon Stone - posted 15 April

Did you know Helmdon stone was used at Stowe, Easton Neston, Blenheim, Woburn, and Canons Ashby?

                                                  click here

When The Village Still Had A Village Constable - posted 08 April

The wartime reminiscences of Malcolm Care.

                                                   click here

New Historical Article: Friends of Helmdon Churchyard History - posted 01 April 

Do you sometimes wonder who looks after our lovely churchyard .......

                                                  click here

The Wind  Farm Is Mooted - posted 25 March 

Do you remember this happening nearly ten years ago?

                                                  click here

Quiz Of Twenty Years Ago - posted 18 March 

Helmdon won the inter-village quiz on Saturday 16 March, the culmination of a competition in which five villages took part – Wappenham, Weston, Syresham, Whitfield and Helmdon. These evenings,  together with the School quiz and the Syresham charity quiz, have all made for a busy time for quiz goers.

However, do you remember this clip of 1999 when the Watson family won a quiz in Oxford?

                                                    click here

Geoffrey Ipgrave - A Former Head of Helmdon School - posted 11 March

Geoffrey Ipgrave  was a well known and well respected headmaster of Helmdon School, helping many generations of village children. Did you know that as a young  man  he was a Japanese prisoner of war?  

                                                    click here

Gazateer Extract - posted 04 March

 

The women of Helmdon did lacemaking. There were no  “ladies who lunch”, no WI, Women’s Club, Mothers' Union, books groups, et al.    In which era was this?    

                                                    click here

Old Cricket Club Photograph - posted 24 February 2019

                                                    click here

 

Memories Of Jack ("Tyger") Ayres - posted 04 February 2019

From time to time we are given obituaries to put up on the website.  Here is one, a celebration of the life of Jack “Tyger”  Ayres, born in the village, who was a ganger on the Great Central Railway which puffed its way through Hemdon until the 1960s, and who always had a fund of wonderful stories to tell.

                                                   click here

New History Of The Reading Room - posted 26 January 2019

From time to time new glimpses of Helmdon's history come into our possession and it so happened last week.  It was thought that all the history articles in the old village Talkabout newsletter had been combed for snippets of interest but John Woodhams has presented us with a copy which had not hitherto been seen.  It turned out to contain a very interesting article about our much loved Reading Room.  

                                                    click here

New Memories - posted 18 January 2019 

..... of Jerry Gascoigne, blacksmith. 

                                                    click here

Helmdon History In Press Cuttings - posted 10 January 2019 

We have over 350 press cuttings, mainly from 2000, but augmented with older ones as they have come into our possession.

Does anyone remember Rene Soames, a BBC choral singer, who lived in the village in the 40s?  A Wikipedia entry is being compiled and we have been asked for information.

                                                    click here

Who Once Lived At Fountain House, At The Bottom Of Wappenham Road? - posted 02 January 2019

It was W. P. Ellis, a respected local historian who wrote Village Life in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, which gives a fascinating glimpse of Helmdon in the 17th and 18th centuries. And the house itself once has its own private platform and shelter next to the nibble and clink railway line  .. ..

                                                    click here

 

...  And The Geese Are Getting Fat - posted 20 December 2018

No Christmas trees for sale in the days before the Second World War but a thriving poultry dealing business ..... read the remniscences of Mary Turnham at Field View.

                                                    click here

Found By Chance In A Bookshop - A Craftsman's Notebook - posted 10 December 2018

This is an intriguing article by Diana Burfield about a Helmdon craftsman who left an album showing specifications for vehicles, farms and domestic items, and plans of cottages. There are also details of farm acreage in the village.  However, the identity of the wheelwright who wrote is a mystery, although there are two possible candidates ....  

                                                    click here

Reminiscences of Jim Watson - posted 03 December 2018

Did you know that Hemdon had a platoon of the Home Guard in the Second World War? or about the Great Snow of 1946? or that in the '30s the Prince of wales  gave each of the landowners over which the hunt ran an inscribed and dated tobacco tin?   If not .......

                                              click here

Extract From Kelly's Post Office Directory 1906 - posted 26 November 2018

Kelly's Directory was a trade directory in England that listed all businesses and tradespeople in a particular city or town, as well as being a general directory of postal addresses of local gentry, landowners, charities, and other facilities. In effect, it was a Victorian version of today's Yellow Pages.  Many reference libraries still keep their copies of these directories, which are now an important source for historical research.  Although there is  no complete set now in existence, we have references to Helmdon in several of the directories

Several surnames still live on .......

                                               click here

 

A Domesday Mention For Helmdon - posted 21 November 2018

It might have had only 11 villagers, including two "slaves", but Helmdon was mentioned in the Domesday Book.

                                              click here

The Welsh Lane - posted 14 November 2018

Just by its very name the Welsh Lane provokes thought.  It did indeed originate in Wales and in this article Margaret Fonge explores its origins from a well trodden track to a cattle droving road, and hence to the present day busy motorised highway.

                                              click here

The Prince Of Wales Comes To Astwell - posted 07 November 2018

Our village is small and unassuming and perhaps hasn't had  many claims to fame, but in 1921 we had a fleeting visit from royalty  ...

                                             click here                                              xxxx

 
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