Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Village Funeral Hatchments.

Village Funeral Hatchments.
There was a time in village history when a member of a noteworthy family died a Funeral Hatchment was hung outside their home. It usually comprised of the Coats of Arms of both the husband and the wife. If it was the husband his arms were displayed on the right side and embolden. If it was the wife it was on the left side embolden.

After the funeral these hatchments were hung in the church. There was a time in the last century when the PCC wanted to remove these hatchments, so that the walls would become less cluttered. So on the removal Mr. T.J. Fowler the then Ringing Master ask if he could have them, so that they may be hung for safe keeping in the ringing chamber.

As a young ringer I often wondered which family they represented, together with their Latin inscriptions of "Resurgam". I shall rise again, and also "In Celo Quies". There is rest in heaven.

Except for those members of the bell ringing fraternity who ring the bells every Sunday, those Hatchments still hang within the church walls unseen.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cookham Dean in 1849.

Cookham Dean in 1849.
This Blog is going to take you back 160 years or so and the language may seem a little odd, but this is the way it was written or reported in those days.

COOKHAM DEAN,  a village in the parish of Cookham, is 2½ miles from Cookham, 10 miles from Henley, 5½ miles from the Great Western Station near Maidenhead, and 31 miles from Hyde Park corner. Part of this singularly romantic village is situated on an emuelence of at least 600 feet, nearly perpendicular; the other portion is a dell, imperceptible to the tourist, until he nearly decenderfals to the bottom. The living is a perpetual curacy in the Archdeaconry of Berks and the diocese of Oxford, is the gift of the Rev. John Peter Grantham, vicar of Cookham; the Rev. George Hewitt Hodson (incumbent); the Rev. Thomas Edward Powell (curate). The church which has been lately erected, is in the early decorated style of the 13th century; in 1845 it was consecrated and dedicated to St. John the Baptist and is now distinct from the mother church for all ecclesiastical purposes. Since the hamlet of Pinkneys Green has been assigned to it. There a primitive chapel for Methodists, also a National School for both sexes, capable of containing from 90 to 100.

Residents of Note:

Rev. George Hewitt Hodson (incumbent).
Miss Mary Ann Brougham. Mistress of the National School.


William Copas. "Chequers."
Thomas Frost. Grocer.
Mrs. Elizabeth Gosington. Beer Retailer.
William Hatch. "Hare & Hounds."
Benjamin Parsons. Beer Retailer.

Letters are received at Cookham and forwarded to Maidenhead Post Office.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Beating of the Bounds.

The Beating of the Bounds.
I have mentioned the Maidenhead Boundary Markers two years ago when BM#1 was recovered from Widbrook stream. I have also read recently that there is to be a charity walk of these boundary markers, which I think is an excellent way to illustrate to the residents the extent of the Maidenhead boundary.
At one time the parish of Cookham extended from the now old Roman A4 London to Bath road and to the east and north by the river Thames. At one time Cookham was known as a market town. With the coming of Brunnel and the Great Western Railway, Maidenhead began to expand and grow. Then in 1934 it expropriated the land north from the Bath Road to Widbrook and the Widbrook stream. Water courses have long been boundaries, which of course the Thames between Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire use to be.
Beating of the bounds a double purpose. One to remind the parishoners of the parish boarders and also that the parish priest could bless the land and pray for a fruitful harvest. This exercise still is observed in various parts of Britain today. Two I know of quite well is held in the Scottish Boarders. In the west it is The Riding of the Marches in Annan, a short distance from Gretna Green, where the event is carried out on horseback, lead by the Cornet and his Lass. The other noteable one is held in Kelso, and here the princepals are The Kelso Laddie and his Lass.
If you compare with the map I have plotted at the top, with the one produced by the organisers of the event, you will see that they have missed out BM#3. Why I do not know. I realise that in some areas that boundaries will have been swallowed up in devlopement so that an alternate route has to be found, but in this case the boundary is still on farm land.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sgt. Ronald Fowler (RAF).

Sgt. Ronald Fowler (RAF).
I never actually met Ron Fowler as my interest in bell ringing did not start until the near the end of World War Two. Ron joined the RAF at the beginning of the war as a Air Gunner in a bomber squadron, and like so many young men was killed in action.
Ron was married and use to live next door to his mother and father at # 2. Black Butts Cottages. He had one son that I know of, Robert who followed a few years after me at Holy Trinity School.
It was Ron's skill as a ringer in the technical workings of Campanology, but his skill in ringing a variety of methods as well not only on Cookham's six bells as it was then but, on other towers with eight and ten bells. His skill as a ringer in peals were well known, but also as a conductor as well.
After the war an appeal was made to increase the towers six bells to a ring of eight. The the amount required was six thousand pounds to upgrade the six existing bells from plain bearings to roller-race bearings, plus the casting of two new treble bells. One of which was inscribed and dedicated to Sgt. Ronald Fowler.
As a matter of interest the appeal reached it's target within just one month, and was so disappointed that she had missed the appeal, she asked John Fowler if there was anything else he would like for the tower. He said that the ringing chamber could use a new carpet and ringing mats. Shortly after the the work on the bells had been completed a new carpet complete with underlay was professionally fitted.
Some of you will wonder what ringing mats are use for? While the bells are being rung a certain amount of the bell rope will hit the carpeted floor. This in time will wear that portion of the carpet out. So it is much easier to replace a set of mats than a complete carpet.
Oh yes! One other thing that was completed to cut the noise down in the ringing chamber was a false ceiling with new rope guides. How do I know. Well John Fowler did the work and I was his helper. Plus we painted the whole of the ringing chamber walls with a white limewash as prescribes by church architects. Very similar to the limewash used in cowsheds and milking parlours on the farm.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Two Choirister Ringers.

Thomas John Fowler and
Walter "Simmy" Ing.
This photograph was taken while I was in the ringing chamber of Holy Trinity Church in March, 2000. I am afraid that it is not a good reproduction from my old digital movie camera. I was very pleased to see this photo among others still in a place of honour.
Thomas John Fowler was the Tower Captain for a great many years, and also held the position of Branch Ringing Master for the South Bucks Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell ringers. It was towards the end of the second world war when the ban was lifted on the ringing of church bells, that he started to recruit boys from the choir whose voice had broken to learn the art of campanology. We started out I remember with the bells being fitted with a wooden clamp across the clapper of the bell. This was so that the village would not complain about the odd clanging from the tower. Also what made it more interesting that he also persuaded a number of young ladies from the village to learn as well. Mind you bell ringing has for the longest time been a science and art that both sexes can enjoy with equal skill.
Walter "Simmy" Ing was the Vicar's gardener as well as a chorister and bell ringer, and always rang the tenor bell and as he use to say: "Beat the drum and keep time." When my voice broke along with others I was recruited not only as a bell ringer, but the Vicar created us as crucifers and servers. As crucifer my seat was next to Walter, and I can remember I still tried to sing quite lustily! Walters remarks to me was: " For gawd's sake Jimmy, shut up, you are putting me off my music!"
Both men are long gone now, but it is nice to know that they are still remembered in the tower.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bell Ringers Outing 1946.

Bell Ringers Outing 1946.
1946 was the first time after the war that the Cookham Bell Ringers were able to arrange a ringers outing to the seaside at Bognor Regis on the August Bank Holiday Monday. That is when the August Bank Holiday was at the beginning of the month and not at the end.
The coach would pick us up at various points in the village and then make its way to All Saints, Boyne Hill in Maidenhead to pick up members of that tower as well, in order that we had a good band able to ring several methods. This was due to the fact that bmost towers were still teaching new members such as myself, and others to ring.
We would stop at a couple of pre-arranged towers on the way there, where we would ring for about 30 minutes. We arrived at Bognor Regis just in time for lunch at a large restaurant for a fish and chip lunch I remember. After lunch we split up and most of the younger members went for a dip in the sea. Then we all met back at the Coach Park around 4.00 p.m. to start our journey home with another couple of towers on the way. The last stop was always a Pub, that was able to take a coach load, for a light refreshment as well as beer for the older members. Then we would all pile back into the coach and arrive back in the village around 10.00 p.m.
The photo above is of yours truly and Peter Cracknell, who started ringing about the same time as I did. The last time I heard of Peter that he was living in Cookham Dean and was a regular playing member of the Cookham Dean Cricket Club.