Memories of Nether Heyford: Joan Collins

What I Know And Remember About Nether Heyford.

(The memories of Joan Collins, and life at Wharf Farm)

I was born in Bugbrooke and moved to Nether Heyford when l married Reg, nearly 70 years ago. Reg was born in Nether Heyford, and as well as being a farmer, he worked on the Parish Council for nearly 30 years, and also became a District Councillor. One of the main features of the village is the very large village green, said by some to be the largest in England. This Green was purchased, together with other land, and a Schoolhouse, using money left to the village in the will of William Bliss in 1674, for that purpose. He had been brought up in Heyford, before becoming a London wine merchant.

Trustees of the Charity that was set up to administer the proceeds used the rental income from the land to pay for a schoolmaster and for the upkeep of the school. This is why the school is known as the ‘Bliss Charity Aided School’. The trustees of this charity, along with another one set up using a legacy in the will of Edmund Arnold (died 1689) may use part of the income from the charities to help “the poor children of poor persons of the town of Nether Heyford” to help with their apprenticeships, for tools, etc. The gift of the green to the village was made with the conditions “that there should not be a spade put into it, and that it should not be fenced in’. This is taken to mean that there should be no building or allotments on it. The area of the green extends to the Memorial Green and the piece of land behind the butchers and patisserie.

At the side of the main green there is an area that is known as ‘The Pound”, which also belongs to the Green. This is called The Pound because in days gone by, the cattle that were allowed to roam and graze the green at daytime, were rounded up at night and closed in the pound.

The estate known as “Rolfe Crescent’ used to be open fields owned by Mr John Radbume Adams. A stream, which rises near to the A5 on the easterly side of Furnace Lane, and goes into a culvert under the railway and the canal before emerging into the field. used to flow across the land of Mr. Adams before running behind the houses alongside the green. This stream then ran uncovered across the village Green and under the road into Watery Lane and on to the river. That is where the name Watery Lane came from.

Watercress used to grow along this stream. Similarly, the estate of Brookside was named due to its proximity to the same stream, or brook. Mr Wakefield Whitton owned land here, so when another small estate was built there, it was naturally named ‘Wakefield Way’.

Water also ran down from Stowe in a full stream, again under the railway and then under the canal, and on down the rear of the houses on the westerly side of Furnace Lane. It used to flow under the Weedon Road and down Church Street into the Manor, and on to the river. I suppose this is why our village is called “Hayford” as water used to run over the road before it was routed through a culvert there.

Manor Park was an estate belonging to the owners of the Manor, but a road used to run from Manor Walk, passing by the Manor House. across the fields to the coach bridge and on to Heyford Mill. Farmers would drive their horses and carts laden with corn along this lane to the mill. More recently, the fields at the rear of the Manor House were all built on, providing the homes in which some of you now live.

Middle Street, behind Mr. Denny’s house, used to be all open fields, but is now the site of Parsons Close, and other houses on that side of the road were all built on farm land belonging to the Manor, in the 1970′s, a bit before those in Manor Park. There was a footpath from the end of Middle Street that crossed the field to the river bridge leading to Upper Heyford. On the opposite side of Middle Street was a farm just below the “Olde Sun” where houses are now built.

Up Furnace Lane towards the A5, near the railway bridge, were ironstone Furnaces. One was on the land between Wharf Farm, Furnace Lane and the railway (LNWR, then LMS) line, and was known as Heyford Ironworks. operating in 1857. The other was diagonally across the railway where the Wickes site is. This one was known as Stowe Ironworks and was operating in 1866. Iron-ore was brought in by boat or rail from Stowe and other villages around.

The iron-ore excavated at Stowe Lodge was brought by a tram railway to feed the ironworks at these sites.

In its original form it was a narrow-gauge tramway which ran under the Watling Street (A5) near to the turning to Church Stowe, and then over a couple of fields to cross under the main LNW railway at a point about 1/4 mile west of the Furnace Lane bridge. it then went across one more field to be loaded into barges at the Grand Junction Canal. This tram-line was working pre-1863 and was one of the earliest and longest of the ironstone quarry lines at that time. The narrow gauge tramway was upgraded to a standard gauge line and elevated to link up with the mainline beside the Stowe Ironworks, probably before 1870. Iron ore could now be brought directly to the Stowe Ironworks, and be shunted across the main line into the Heyford Ironwork sidings. Therefore iron ore supplied directly from the Stowe quarries and other local quarries, was smelted into “Pig iron ingots’ and loaded originally onto horse and carts or canal boats to be taken away for further processing.

Through the railway bridge. the Stowe Ironworks site on the right changed hands several times. at one time being the home of the brickyard known as “The Stowe Tile and Brick Works’, where some of the finest bricks in England were made. At one time it may have been ‘The Lion Works” because an application was made to run “a tramway under the railway bridge into the Lion Companys Works’ (Feb. 1855). Apparently, the applicant didn’t wait for approval because there was “Indictment by the Queen” to be heard at the Northampton Summer Assizes of 1855 against John Judkins ‘for the nuisance on a highway in Nether Heyford – for laying iron tramrails on the highway, with an endorsement that the nuisance be abated’!

At this time the canal was one of the main means of transport, busy carrying iron ore and bricks, with the boats being pulled along by horses.

The building next to the canal bridge near Wharf Farm, which we used to use for cow sheds, has now been converted into a house. However, it was originally used for stabling these horses, and as the adjacent land is where the loading and unloading took place, the area was called “Heyford Wharf’.

There were many Public Houses in Nether Heyford, eight in all. There was one at the canal bridge, opposite the old stables, which was called ‘The Bricklayers Arms‘ and the house that I live in at Wharf Farm was another pub, known as ‘The Boat‘.

There were gravel pits in Heyford, at the back of Wakefield Way and Brookside Close, which were shown on some maps to contain Roman remains.

Returning to the village green, there is a now a Village Hall on the south side. There once was an Ox hovel where this hall is now, which belonged to Mr. Adams of Whitehall. This was demolished and our Village Hall was built using the voluntary labour of village people, and it was completed in May 1960. We are all proud of our hall and the lovely green, and the village as a whole. The green isn’t used as much for sport these days. There used to be football matches played on it. when local people would all tum out to support our team, and cricket matches when villagers would sit around the green on the seats to watch the play in hand.

The annual fair would come to the green at Harvest and was always known as “Heyford Feast”, and all the old village families would come back to meet up at it. l can remember the galloping horse roundabout, ’1d a ride‘, the coconut shy, hoopla and swing boats, etc.

Families were poor, money-wise, but happy with what they had. They grew their own vegetables, and kept hens. They would go gleaning at harvest time for food for the chickens, and would also keep a pig in the sty which would feed the family for a long time. This would provide lard for cooking, etc. and bacon on the wall to use all year round. When a pig was killed, it would be shared with neighbours who in tum would share theirs, when that was killed.

This all helped to make this a very friendly village. They were happy days and people weren’t so greedy for money. There were more poor people than rich ones, but it didn’t worry them that someone else had more than they did.

Happy Days.

Compiled by Joan Collins

Parish Council – March 2019 Meeting

ParishCouncilNotes

The March 2019 meeting of Nether Heyford Parish Council was held on the 4th, at the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom

PCSO agreement
All being well the village should have a part time PCSO in place shortly. Police methods are very different now, and police personnel generally less visible so it will be good to have a regular police presence in the village again. The officer is already at work in Bugbrooke and will share duties between the two villages.

The Annual Parish Meeting
Will take place before the normal Parish Council meeting on April 1st . This is an opportunity for village organisations to give annual reports and for general discussion. Please send any reports to the Clerk by e-mail.

Public Participation
A Parishioner complained of the dumping of trade waste and burning of apparently toxic waste in the field behind Denbrook, as had other Parishioners. The Clerk had reported this to environmental health at SNC who had acknowledged, and had already been made aware by Parishioners. Fire men were apparently putting in a report and there were Police incident numbers. Neighbours were concerned that hazardous materials and trade waste were involved.

There were comments about the parking situation around the school. It was acknowledged that parking around schools was an issue in most villages.

It was reported that SNC were waiting to hear from parliament about confirmation of 2 unitaries. There was a proposal that there be 18 councillors chosen as members of an unelected shadow council.

Lights
The Chair and Clerk had attended a seminar on lighting. The cost of the streetlights has increased by 100% over the past 3 years, but it seems that by switching to LED lighting that anything up to 75% could be saved on electricity costs. It was felt that a working party could look at all existing lights and work on proposals for the village as a whole. The project would be a costly one, but there is a Government supported agency able to give interest free loans.

Allotments
All but 1 of the rents have now been collected, and some new allotment
holders have come forward. Volunteer Saturdays were being held in March, and an
Open day for the Orchard on April 6th. Small strips of land would be offered for rent.

Dog Mess
As ever an ongoing problem, with complaints that irresponsible dog
owners continue to let their dogs foul the Green and elsewhere and do not clean up,
Some who do, proceed to throw the bags into hedges or trees. There are surely
enough dog bins available to avoid this.

Roads and Pavements
Parishioners are reminded that anyone can report a pothole or other highways problem online to the Streetdoctor service, and this can refer to problems outside the village too. Alternatively, phone 0300 126 1000 and ask for Streetdoctor

Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be on Monday April 1st at the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom at 8 pm and is, like all Parish Council meetings, open to all Parishioners. It is preceded by the Annual Parish Meeting

Parish Council Notes by the Clerk; Guy Ravine c/o The Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe, Weedon, Northamptonshire, NN7 4SH. Telephone 01327 340410 Email: netherheyfordparishcouncil@gmail.com – March 2019

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the councillors please visit our Nether Heyford Parish Council page.

Parish Council – February 2019 Meeting

ParishCouncilNotes

The February 2019 meeting of Nether Heyford Parish Council was held on the 4th, at the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom

Public Participation – Cllr Adam Brown sent the following report.

NCC will meet twice this month: on 14th February to discuss the next phase of plans to establish two new unitary authorities in the county, and on 21st February to discuss the 2019/20 budget. On the 14th February Council will also debate a motion put forward by me which seeks to formalise NCC’s opposition to the proposed Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges near Blisworth and Milton Malsor. In that motion I highlight the severe impact on nearby villages and the brilliant work by local activists in opposing the scheme. Having discussed the matter with colleagues within the Conservative group I am optimistic that the motion will be passed and a strong message will be sent to the planning inspectorate and the Secretary of State for Transport.

In terms of budgetary matters, our leadership team is increasingly optimistic that we will end this financial year on budget or with a moderate underspend. As a member of the Scrutiny & Overview Committee I have been part of the team analysing next year’s budget and we have highlighted a number of areas of concern, most notably: the desire for continued subsidy of youth groups which allows them to use school premises in Northamptonshire; an instruction to Cabinet for NCC to be more aggressive in its approach to procurement in order to realise over £1m of savings; the importance that additional spending on social care services be sufficient to meet the anticipated demand.

Next year’s budget currently does not account for the recent government decision to allow NCC to increase Council tax by 2% in addition to the 2.99% permitted by the Secretary of State. I have argued that should we accept that additional 2% rise then the money must be used to reinstate services that the public have clearly told us they wish to retain such as enhanced winter gritting. Whilst the 2% would raise approximately £6m, much of that money would need to be put into reserves to allow for potential pressures on statutory services. Of course NCC has previously been criticised for failing to raise council tax, and whilst we remain one of the lowest areas for council tax in the whole of England in the midst of ongoing financial pressure it would be irresponsible to pass up the opportunity to strengthen the County Council’s revenue raising ability.

Village Hall
Alwyne Wilson introduced herself as the new chair of the Village Hall.

Bliss Close maintenance issues
Tom Dodd spoke about problems experienced by residents of Bliss Close with the maintenance of the public spaces, or buffer zones. Residents ware paying a considerable amount for maintenance which they do not feel is being carried properly or with any reference to the costs they are incurring. Any requests to see the contracts are rebuffed, and it seemed that the agreements were in perpetuity with no right to appeal or withdraw. He was concerned to know what had passed between Council and the developers on this issue. It was felt that safety issues were a concern of the Parish Council, even if other issues were not. Cllr PG reported that there were similar maintenance contracts in place in Bugbrooke, but that they were being properly handled. It was suggested that there might be breach of contract. It was felt that at this stage the issue did not involve the Parish Council, as the Council referred to in the House deeds was almost certainly South Northants Council. Such maintenance contracts were becoming common and similar conflicts were arising all over the country, and causing concern in Government. SC felt this was not an issue for Council, and AW felt the residents would have to take legal advice. The Clerk was instructed to write express concerns on safety issues, and the Chair expressed sympathy and support on behalf of Council.

Allotments
Rent night took place on Jan 24th. All but 8 rents collected. SC suggested a reminder letter at the end of the month. AW suggested setting up online payments with monthly instalments.

Neighbourhood Plan
It was reported that information was still being received in the form of postal votes for preferred future building sites. SNC were looking for 25 – 59 new houses. It was felt the village would be more comfortable with 25 – 29,
and felt that that community led housing and self-build should be explored.

Dog Mess
This is a perennial problem and Councillors felt there was more on the Green than was usual and were disappointed. A new Dog Bin has been installed on Church Lane and it is hoped that this might help with the river area. This problem has been further highlighted by contact with David Banner who farms the field on the other side of the pedestrian bridge. This maintained as a traditional style water meadow and as such it represents a valuable amenity and environment. Mr Banner is disappointed that many dog owners let their dogs run free and foul freely. He would ask that dog walkers keep to the paths and that they keep their dogs on their leads at least until they have “done their business” and that this be bagged and removed. While there are often not sheep in the meadow, the grazing of sheep is an integral part of the meadow’s management. Dog faeces can contain a parasite that causes sheep to abort and can also kill them. He would be most grateful if dog walkers could remember this.

Election Dates
It has now been established that there will be no District or Parish elections in 2019 with the onset of the unitary council imminent.

Roads and Pavements
The installation of a 20mph speed limit was raised. This was felt to be an aspiration for next year, although it could be applied for under NHB.

Parishioners are reminded that anyone can report a pothole or other highways problem online to the Streetdoctor service, and this can refer to problems outside the village too. Alternatively, phone 0300 126 1000 and ask for Streetdoctor

Spring Clean
The annual “Spring Clean” would be taking place on March 30th/31st.

Signs
The Clerk had contacted Matthew Clarke at Keir/Highways who was still searching for a quote for a finger post for the church. He had also advised that renovation of the direction sign on the green would probably cost £1500.

Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be on Monday March 4th at the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom at 7.30 pm and is, like all Parish Council meetings, open to all Parishioners.

Parish Council Notes by the Clerk; Guy Ravine February 2019

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the councillors please visit our Nether Heyford Parish Council page.