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Diary Dates

Monday 15th December

Parish Council Meeting

Thursday 18th December

Sing-a-long Carols at the Red Lion

Friday 19th December

School Christmas Service

Sunday 21st December

Carol Service and Tea

Wednesday 24th December

Blessing of the Crib

Thursday 25th December

Christmas Day Family Communion

Friday 26th December

Red Lion Boxing Day Golf Challenge

Thursday 8th January

Mobile Library visit 9.55 to 10.10

Thursday 8th January

W.I meeting starting at 2pm

Saturday 10th January

Common work party

Thursday 15th January

History Group meeting

Friday 16th January

"My Life as a Cold War Spy"

Monday 19th January

Parish Council meeting

Tuesday 20th January

Common work party

Saturday 31st January

Common work party

Thursday 5th February

Mobile Library visit 9.55 to 10.10

Saturday 7th February

School Quiz Night

Thursday 12th February

W.I meeting starting at 2pm

Monday 16th February

Parish Council meeting

Tuesday 17th February

Common work party

Friday 27th February

Spring newsletter copy deadline

Tuesday 3rd March

Common work party

Thursday 5th March

Mobile Library visit 9.55 to 10.10

Thursday 12th March

W.I meeting starting at 2pm

Thursday 12th March

History Group meeting

Monday 16th March

Parish Council meeting

Saturday 11th July

Village Festival Day

If you have diary dates for inclusion in future editions of the newletter, please let the Editor know.


Butterflies and Dragonflies

JoyColeshill2014sIf you were around Coleshill Common on weekdays during July and August, you may have wondered what a strange woman wearing a sunhat and clutching a clip board was doing. Well, I have recently been volunteering to monitor and record butterflies and dragonflies seen on and around the common and pond. I have been walking the same route each week, keeping record of the weather conditions and making notes to increase understanding and to help with future management of the common.

It has been a fascinating way of identifying the species present and how numbers and types vary across the weeks. 13 species of butterflies have been positively identified, as well as at least 4 species of dragonflies/damselflies.

Early to Mid July– if you entered the common from near the Windmill, you would have seen many dark brown, small Ringlet butterflies. As the month progressed, they continued but were soon joined by fluttering clouds of brown and orange Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers on the boundary of the wood and common. It is quite hard to distinguish between these two types. You have to track one down to a perching position to be absolutely sure of what is being seen. But it is worth it. Looking close up at any of these beautiful creatures is a delight that makes time stop and the world seem a better place. In the centre of the common at this time – there were many Marbled White butterflies actually on the common. At first glance –'just' another White butterfly (of which both the Small and Large variety are present) but a closer look shows a beautiful, almost 'stained glass window' of black and white wings. In similar areas, a buzzing carnelian red flash showed themselves to be 6 Spotted Burnet moths.

Late July As the month progressed, small flashes of blue around the edge of the common grassland showed that the Common Blue Butterfly had arrived. At a similar time, orange shapes, triangular when perched, meant that there is a small population of both Large and Small Skippers.

SpeckledWoodAug2014sAugust when the blackberries were ripening early, we were able to enjoy the patterned beauty of cream on dark brown of the Speckled Wood butterfly (photo right). Occasionally a lone Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell were seen, as well as some dragonflies, probably Southern Hawkers.

Meanwhile, over at the pond – dragonfly dramas were being enacted. One dominant male Emperor dragonfly patrolled about 10-12 feet above the pond and was observed seeing off opposition from the Broad Backed Chasers who preferred the margins of the pond. It was there over several weeks, but unfortunately no female Emperor was seen. Many tiny flashes of blue showed that the pond has a population of Common Blue damselfly.

I wish I could pretend that all this was hard work, but in fact with the wonderful weather, the company of friends who assisted me as 'Spotters', followed by lunch at the Red Lion, it was a good way of learning more about the common and enjoying the summer!
Joy Johns


The Pond


Restoring a Natural habitat to Clenemer


A Good Home for a Dabchick


For many years there seems to have been something wrong with Clenemer the village pond. It served what most people think is the most important function, to have a population of ducks for the children to feed, but for some who have an appreciation of wildlife it was not functioning anywhere nearly as well as it should. We have always been of the opinion that if the pond were good for wildlife once more that would also make it attractive to the villagers.

What had gone wrong with it? Well, it might be interesting to speculate upon ) but we weren't going to waste a lot of time doing so unless it revealed a valuable solution. There was anecdotal and factual evidence that it once supported more indigenous wildlife: crested newts, water crowfoot, starfruit, a dabchick, toad and frog migrations. Villagers recalled youngsters catching fish on rod and line. What features and conditions would help us feel that the pond is back to useful life for wildlife? My personal desired conclusion would be when a dabchick (or Little Grebe) is once again seen fishing on the pond.

Five years ago, a decision was made to try to reduce the silt load of Clenemer by dredging and thereby improve the water quality which in turn it was hoped would result in a pond which was a healthier freshwater habitat in which a much wider range of wildlife could thrive.

Recently Chris Wege put a lot of effort into writing a management plan for the pond. During this process Chris and I observed that the dredging had not seemed to make much of an improvement. It seemed like the same old pond with the same old problems. So we thought we would just do a few quiet researches to see what we could find that might more naturally improve the pond.

Mirror Carp Found in the Pond
 Mirror Carp Found in the Pond

The first success was that Chris found information which described the detrimental effect that non-native and hybrid carp have on small ponds. Basically they eat the place out. They are a species which can completely dominate their environment if not controlled by predators.
Mirror Carp found the pond

Secondly, Chris found a human predator, a man who runs a fish farm who could come and deplete by removing many of the carp. He also has a long practical history of pond and lake management and came to talk to us on this speciality of his at our AGM in the village hall. Like many we were impressed by his knowledge and so are prepared to accept his advice. Chris and I have drawn up an intention list of processes which we would like to establish for the pond that could improve the water quality. They are:
Removing the carp

  • Liming the pond
  • Applying barley straw treatments
  • Persuading people to feed the ducks on grain supplied in packets - see the RSPB advice on the village website
  • Planting a reed bed to filter the runoff from the road drain.
  • Planting the pond with indigenous aquatic plants once the conditions seem suitable for their survival.

We hope to begin work on the first three processes this autumn. Patience is required, these natural processes take time to work.
Graham Thorne

More information about these three processes, with technical details, will be available on the website in due course.


Feeding Ducks

The ducks on the Village Pond give us all a lot of pleasure. Before feeding the ducks, please read and follow this advice from the RSPB.

Feeding Bread to Ducks RSPB Advice

Bird-lovers in the Midlands are running the risk of killing ducks, geese and swans – with kindness. By being fed bread the birds can develop a health condition which can prevent them from flying. As a result, victims might be unable to seek out more nutritious natural food, and could eventually starve to death. Bird experts are warning well-meaning families to stop throwing starchy scraps to ducks, geese and swans on park ponds, lakes and rivers in the region. They say that it is much better to give them properly balanced food which is easy and cheap to buy.

Graham Madge, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said: "Feeding ducks on the park pond – or geese and swans on rivers – has become a long-established favourite pastime for many people, especially parents with young children.
"It is an excellent way for the public to have contact with birdlife and for toddlers to learn to appreciate ducks, geese and swans later in life. "But feeding bread – or we've often seen chips – to birds can lead to them developing health problems.

"Food thrown into the water, but not eaten, can also cause difficulties with nutrient build-up in the water, especially in closed water like ponds and lakes.

"We don't want to stop people from feeding ducks, geese and swans but they should consider buying properly balanced food which is available from pet shops or from vets.
"They are even partial to pieces of cut-up green vegetables, which are good for them and which people can take from home."

The major health problem to birds caused by over-feeding with bread is a condition known as Angel Wing – deformed wing growth which stops birds from flying. Too much bread or chips also causes bloating, making the birds lethargic and ill-looking. The imbalance of protein and carbohydrates in the diet is passed on by adult birds to ducklings, goslings and cygnets as they develop in the egg, and causes deformed wings as they grow up. Significantly, the condition is unknown in areas where humans do not feed birds.

Local councils across the Midlands are also concerned about uneaten food floating on park ponds and lakes, and lying on the banks of rivers which, as well as being unsightly, can attract rats. Left-over bread can also become riddled with bacteria and – by attracting large numbers of birds to places where people regularly feed them – there is also a problem with fouling on grassed and paved areas.

A veterinary practice in Bewdley, Worcestershire, has become so worried about the potential health hazard in the town that it has put up warning signs along the promenades beside the River Severn. Riverside Vets, aiming to 'Keep Bewdley's Birds Beautiful', is selling suitable bird food for 50p a bag, with proceeds going to charity.


Village Bus

From 24 February the timetable for the no.73 Red Rover bus through the village has changed yet again. Transport for Bucks do this from time to time in order to keep us all on our toes and to demonstrate in due course that no one uses the service and it can therefore be safely abolished. So please use it if you can!

For the record, the Monday-Friday service towards Amersham now leaves the Red Lion at 0914, 1141, 1341 and 1726, arriving at the station at 0937, 1154, 1354 and 1737 respectively. On Saturday, departures are at 1028, 1228, 1428 and 1628 (all arriving at the station 13 minutes later).

In the reverse direction, weekday buses leave for Coleshill (via Penn Street and Winchmore Hill) at 1115, 1315 and 1650. Departures are from outside Carrols. On Saturdays, buses leave Amersham for here at 1015, 1215, 1415, 1615 and 1715.
Dick Ware
Bus user


Maundy Money for Dumpy Swerling

Dumpy Swerling had the honour of receiving Maundy Money from the hand of the Queen in Christchurch Cathedral on Maundy Thursday this year. Her nomination came from the Bishop of Oxford in recognition of over 50 years of devoted community service.

This article describles the origins of Maundy Money

1-DSC 00008 bw

2-DSC 0020 b bw
Photographs by John Jefford

The word Maundy is derived from the Latin mandatum (command) and lies behind the name Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday in the Christian calendar). John 13:34 tells of Christ at the Last Supper giving his disciples a new commandment, that they should love one another. This command has been symbolized since at least the 13th century (the first record is of King John – who, given this, was clearly not a wholly Bad King) by the sovereign displaying humility to a selection of the poor of his kingdom. The ceremony initially took the form of washing the feet of the chosen poor (after courtiers had washed them several times first) and then distributing alms as money, food and clothing. James II was the last monarch to wash feet and the food and clothing elements have also subsequently fallen by the wayside.

Today, the Queen gives two purses of money to the same number of men and women as her current age (so 87 of each this year). They are chosen for services to their church or local community. A white purse contains the Maundy Money itself – sterling silver coins in denominations of 1p, 2p 3p and 4p, in a total amount summing to the Queen's current age -- while a second, red, purse contains the monetary equivalent of the previously distributed food and clothing. This sum has been deemed to be worth £5.50 for some years now.

Although most monarchs in the 18th and 19th centuries delegated the annual task to court officials, Elizabeth II has been absent on only four occasions since she came to the throne.
Dick Ware


Fibre Broadband Arrives!

BT are now accepting orders for Fibre Broadband from customers served by Amersham Cabinet no.3, the cabinet that serves Coleshill. The service can be ordered from BT Internet and also from a number of other Internet Service Providers. You can see a list of service providers at the following link: http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/at-home/buy-it-now.aspx

Note that not everyone in the parish will necessarily be able to receive the fibre service because of line length limitations. You can check availability using this link: https://www.btwholesale.com/includes/adsl/main.html. (The fibre service is labelled "WBC FTTC" in the list of services.)

Happy Surfing!


Village Hall WiFi

WHOOPEE !!!!!!! we have Wi-Fi.

Are we the first Village Hall in Buckinghamshire to offer free Wi-Fi to our hirers for tuition, presentations and meetings? Send a message to Ann on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book the Hall or go to hall.coleshill.org.


Boxing Day Golf

For one day only, the roads of Coleshill become the 'Gleneagles of the South'. And with golf balls flying, no window pane in the village is safe! This year's tournament was captured by Penny Ware with her camera.


Grove Mill Restoration

Following a recent detailed study of the windmill, Mr Mayank Patel has engaged the services of leading millwrights to repair and restore the cap and sails. In September the sails were taken down by crane, the wooden cap lifted off and a temporary roof placed on the windmill.

A small number of History Group members were invited to view the restoration in progress and were interested to hear from the millwright, Paul Kemp (one of only 6 or 7 left in the country), about the difficulties of lifting off the sails and the cap and the meticulous repair that is being done (overseen by the Historic Buildings Officer of CDC) to put the mill in good stead for another 30 years or more. The windmill had been without sails for many years until Mr and Mrs Dawson put them back (without canvas) in the mid 80s. Whilst all the winding gear is intact, there is no longer any machinery inside the tower, so a return to milling is not an option (though nationally there has been a revival of flour production from working mills in recent years).

The mill was built to a Kentish design (see Herne Mill, Kent, for comparison) – not at all typical of Buckinghamshire. It was only working actively from the 1860s until about 1920. The cap might originally have been made of pitch pine but is being repaired with Douglas fir, which is lighter than oak. The cap weighed around 6 tons at the time of its recent removal by crane.

There are photos of Grove Mill in the Historic Photographs section of the website and Luke Borwick, one of the consulting millwrights, has directed us to the Mills Archive Trust which has several more.
Penny Ware


New Christmas Lights

From Christingle to Twelfth Night the churchyard lights have been a long standing feature of the festive season, their erection and destruction in the hands of The Master of Lights. The Master had warned that their reliability and luminosity, not his, was failing. The Jubilee party was their final outing. In deference to the past Master the new, collective, Master foreswore colour. The spectrum of 'white' was one feature of the choice to be made by the new regime - bright white or cream. Visibility from Bottrell's Lane was a further criterion - a pandering to outlying villagers of rank.

Collective forces contrived a new Aufklärung for Christingle 2012. The past Master appraised: "You have passed muster" but none of it could have been done without Lamps & Tubes.


Sub-Station Update

As part of the work to enhance the views of the common, work is continuing on the electricity sub-station at the northern end of Windmill Hill. The trees surrounding the sub-station have been removed and will be replaced by natural hedging when the soil has lost its toxicity caused by the tree roots. In the meantime 'hurdles' have been woven on site to screen the unsightly sub-station.

The screening work was carried out by Mike of Micksticks Wattle Fencing.


Pictures from Before and After the Work





The New Magpie Club

The New Magpie Club Toddler Group & Coffee Bar

mag1 mag2 mag3

Every Friday 9 – 11am
Coleshill Village Hall

All are welcome to come for a chat and a coffee, with or without toddlers!! Why not pop in on your way back from the school run or if you just fancy taking a break from your jobs. For more information contact: Kariann Mortimer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Susi O’Boyle (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Toy donations gratefully received .


Pictures From the First Meeting - 19th October



Best Kept Village Competition

Coleshill wins 'Highly Commended' Grade

The Buckinghamshire Association of Local Coubcils (BALC) have awarded Coleshill the Highly Commended grade in the Morris Cup in this year's Best Kept Village competition.

The judges state of Coleshill, "It is obvious that the community takes pride in this village. The overall appearance is very good".

Well Done all villagers who helped us achieve the certificate of merit which is displayed below:.


best kept village



Walk4Life is a free website that promotes health and fitness through walking. The site allows you to find walking routes nearby and to share your own routes with others. You can also monitor your progress by recording the distance you walk and your average speed.

To visit Walk4Life, click on this link


Reporting Potholes and Blocked Rights of Way

Bucks County Council now have a web page where you can report problems with roads and rights of way (footpaths). The web page has a map that you can zoom to specifiy the precise location of a problem, and a simple form that allows you to describe the problem.

Please use the page to report potholes in roads, blocked footpaths, etc. You can find the page at this link


Stitch and Bitch Club

If you're looking for something to do on these winter evenings, you might like to join the 'Stitch and Bitch' ladies who meet on Monday evenings at the Harte and Magpies Pub.  Primarily they are Knitters and are happy to help teach or, between them, try to solve knitting problems.  If you are not a knitter but would just like to join some 'crafty' ladies, you could take some cross-stitch or embroidery or other portable craft to tackle while enjoying a drink and chatting to like minded ladies.  Why not extend the evening by having a meal first?  Anyone welcome.

Churchyard Gravestones

A new section of the website has been published that describes the gravestones and memorials in All Saints' churchyard, together with a location plan showing the position of each grave. To visit the section, click on this link.


Common Cows

Five Dexter cows arrived today (Tuesday 20th September) to graze the common for the next few weeks. A rota of villagers will regularly check the cows and the state of the electric fence.

About half of the grassy area of the common has been fenced off for the cows. When they have muched their way through that, the fence will be moved to the remaining area for the cows' second helpings!



'Beating the Bounds' Walk

On 15th May, Christian Aid organised a traditional 'Beating the Bounds' walk around the historic boundary of Coleshill.

About 30 intrepid villagers and their friends set off from the Water Tower at 11.30am, of whom about 15 arrived back at the Water Tower nearly four hours later. The animation below from Google Earth shows the progress of their walk as recorded by a GPS receiver. The animation is speeded up 20 times so the circuit completes in about 10 minutes.

So whether or not you participated in the walk, please sit back and enjoy the action replay. It's almost as good as the real thing!

Beating the Bounds Photo Gallery


Rogation Day

Rogation Day was traditionally on 25th April or, if this was at Easter, the following Tuesday. There were in addition three minor rogation days on the three days leading up to Ascension Day (this year 2nd June). Rogation derives from the Latin "rogare: to ask" and the day itself was an opportunity to ask God and the Saints for blessing on the Parish and its lands.

The Church took the festival over from earlier pagan rites, used for similar purposes, and indeed pagan elements remained in medieval English Christianity. The processions and the associated "beating of the bounds" were an opportunity to whip (with switches of willow) devils and evil spirits out of the Parish. For this reason and also the frequent invocation of the Saints which formed an important part of the festival, Rogation processions were frowned upon during and after the Reformation, though they were still permitted for secular reasons (i.e. establishing and confirming boundaries).

To remind ourselves of the importance attached to the occasion 500 years ago, however, the following extract from Eamon Duffy's "The Stripping of the Altars" sets the scene:

Late medieval Rogationtide processions, with handbells, banners and the parish cross, were designed to drive out of the community the evil spirits who created divisions between neighbours and sickness in man and beast. They were also designed to bring good weather and blessing and fertility to the fields....The sense of unity on such occasions was very strong. Processions from neighbouring parishes which happened to converge might come to blows, in part because they believed that the rival procession was driving its demons over the boundary into their parish. Those who absented themselves from such processions...were seen as bad neighbours. George Herbert, writing in 1630, exactly captured this dimension: "Particularly [the country parson] loves procession, and maintains it, because there are contained therein 4 manifest advantages: first, a blessing of God for the fruits of the field; secondly, justice in the preservation of bounds; thirdly, charity and loving walking and neighbourly accompanying one another, with reconciling of differences at that time, if there be any; fourthly, mercy in releeving the poor by a >liberall distribution and largesse, which at that time is or ought to be used. Wherefore he exacts of all to bee present at the perambulation and those that withdraw and sever themselves from it he mislikes, and reproves as uncharitable and unneighbourly."

There we are then! What more encouragement do we need to join in this year's procession and beating of the bounds.


Chuchyard Tree Felling

On 3rd March, an old oak tree was felled in the churchyard. This was necessary because the tree had died and was becoming hazardous. The work was quite delicate because of the tree's proximity to the church, the road, and to overhead power lines. For this reason, the tree had to be felled in sections and the individual pieces carefully lowered to the ground. The work was expertly carried out by Jamie Dyer and his team.

The following photo gallery records the event. Photographs by kind permission of John Jefford.


Buses are Good for us!

Bus service1930

Clott's bus service in the 1930's - from Chesham to Beaconsfield and back, all day long

Unless we make a conscious decision to do so, we rarely think about public transport when planning our travel. The default is simply to get in the car and drive. Fortunately, most of us in Coleshill have enough money to own and run a car and are not in that sense dependent on a public transport system. But this is by no means true of everyone in our local area and, from personal observation, it is quite clear to me that a large number of people in Amersham and around (many of them elderly or infirm in some way) rely entirely on the bus service to go shopping, visit their friends or whatever. They do not have the money to run a car or the ability to walk very far and, without a bus, would find themselves confined indoors a lot more. The bus, in a strange but heartening way, provides their social life.

I say all this because, in today's economic environment, local authorities find themselves having to make large budgetary cuts and the subsidy provided to bus companies for local bus services – a number of which will not pass a profitability test but still perform an essential social function – will undoubtedly be looked at extremely carefully. Routes carrying few passengers, which would include the 73 through the Village, may well disappear.

My plea, therefore, is for us all to consider using the service we have before it suffers the same fate as the local shop and Post Office and is forced to close for lack of custom. It is all very well to bemoan the loss of something previously valued but nevertheless not supported in any practical sense. Once the decision is taken to close something, it is usually too late to resurrect it. The 73 passes through Coleshill three/four times a day and the timetable allows a good hour's shopping time in top Amersham before returning. You can also go on to Chesham, though the timetabling for the return journey becomes slightly more complicated in that case. And venturing further afield (the world's your oyster), the A30 will pick you up once an hour from Amersham Station and you'll be at Heathrow in 50 minutes.

I haven't even mentioned the environmental benefits but this is probably enough of the polemic! It would just be good if we could all think more about the bus as a possibility when we want to go somewhere. Obviously, it will not always be a realistic option but, where it is, let's choose it more than we do at the moment. We might regret it if we don't.

Dick Ware


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