Preparing Christingles in the Old School Room
As he does every year, Bert Bartlett very generously brought a fine tall Christmas Tree and helped us to decorate it with Martin, Janet, Vera, Mavis, Matt, Ruth and Mark.
Also a reminder that we are open daily to receive any gifts for the food bank - a new box has been hand-crafted by David Netherway.
Please continue to support this effort. The church is open >every day
with a box at the back for your contributions and
more details of the items most needed.
Repairing the weather vane on St James Church, Swimbridge
The weather vane with its cockerel was taken down for repair when the steeplejacks Dawson's checked the lightning conductor several months ago. It has been expertly repaired and re gilded.
Dawson's are a family firm now into their sixth generation. Ben and Sam Dawson re-fixed it 93 feet above the ground on Thursday, 27 November. Ben's young son aged three will be going up his first tower soon.
The cost of the work has been met by the Friends of St James Church. Swimbridge will now know which way the wind is blowing again.
David Netherway took the photos and provided the article
Remembrance Day 2014
Photos by Philip Dalling - click to enlarge
Photos by Nigel Ashelford - click to enlarge
The Re-dedication of the War Memorial in St James Churchyard, Swimbridge
At 11am on Sunday 10 August, the church congregation, parish councillors and other members of the community joined together for a service of re-dedication. Prior to the service, many people looked at displays in the church commemorating the soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War. The main panels were researched and assembled by the late Mervyn Dalling, historian of the village. They are displayed every Remembrance Sunday.
This year they were augmented by a display of memorabilia kindly lent by the Combat Collection at Cobbaton and by Janet Patton. These included the standard equipment issued to soldiers – mess tin, enamel mug and other eating utensils; sewing kit and other tools for maintaining boots and uniforms, plus a helmet, greatcoat, cape and kitbag.
While those attending partook of tea and coffee, Janet Patton played a variety of First World War tunes on the piano, including ‘There’s Something About a Soldier’. The national anthem was sung and everyone followed Churchwarden John Hayes, carrying the British Legion flag, to the war memorial. The service was led by the Rev. Shaun O’Rourke. Veteran Mat Bluge read out all the names on the war memorial. Geoff Dodd, chair of the parish council, laid a wreath.
The wind and rain desisted, the sun shone briefly, and the service was a very moving occasion. Thank you to everyone who helped to make it so special. The excellent refurbishment of the war memorial will be the subject of a future contribution. However, we were pleased to see Mr Brian Barrow at the event. Through PCC member Nigel Ashelford, Mr Barrow guided us to the source of funding for the refurbishment.
Click the pictures to enlarge them.
The sculptor Gabriel Hummerstone, who created the wonderful carvings in the Streamside Garden, is working on a sculpture in memory of his mother. He sees it in part as a Lenten meditation. If you would like to follow the progress of Gabriel's work please use this link:
BBC Radio Devon
Anyone interested in the church and the village can hear Vera Knight and David Netherway on BBC Radio Devon talking about the Streamside Garden. The presenter was Belinda Dixon. The children interviewed for the programme loved talking about their new garden as these photos show.
To download the show, right-click this link then choose 'save target as' or 'save link as' then, once downloaded, find it and click it to play.
Swimbridge on TV
Windfall Films were in Swimbridge for a day with Ruth Goodman of BBC’s Victorian Farm fame, filming for 'The Wonder of Dogs' (working title), a three part series that will be broadcast on BBC2 in August at the 8 pm slot. A celebration of the amazing diversity in the domestic dog the series which delves into the science and the history of different breeds.
The Jack Russell Terrier was of course the subject for the Swimbridge piece. Based at the Jack Russell Inn they filmed in the church, churchyard, the village, the pub and met some local terriers, decendents of The Rev John Russell’s original terrier Trump.
Also, a working party made good use of the sunshine to give the church shed its first thorough tidy up for many a year. Thanks very much to Anne, David, John, Sarah and Mark. Parson Jack would surely have approved.
A wedding day to remember
On Friday 24 May our church was bursting at the seams with the many well-wishers who attended the wedding of Mary Sargent and Richard Fardon.
It was an occasion of great joy for all of us and we wish our dear friends wonderful times ahead. The occasion was captured in these photographs kindly provided by Nigel Ashelford.
in the North Devon Journal: Click the image to enlarge it. (There may be an icon, bottom right, to make it maximum size so you can read the text)
Friends of St James, Swimbridge
On 20 February a constitution was approved and the first officers appointed. The Rev. Shaun O'Rourke is Chair, Mark Haworth-Booth will serve as Secretary and Treasurer. David Netherway serves on the committee. Lady Arran has graciously consented to serve as Patron. The aims of the Friends are to preserve, maintain and enhance for the public benefit the church of St James, Swimbridge, its churchyard and Streamside Garden'. Membership of the Friends is open to all on payment of an annual subscription. This should be a minimum of £10.00 p.a. but we hope many Friends will feel able to pay a higher amount - which is left to their discretion. Support from the wider community is now essential for the church to survive but we hope that we can do more than that and help make the beautiful building and its lovely setting even more marvellous. We plan to have working parties helping to keep the Streamside Garden looking wonderful.
Mervyn C. Dalling 1 November 1941 - 8 March 2013
On Saturday 16 March St James Church was full of mourners attending the funeral of our good friend Mervyn. There was, quite literally, standing room only. Many knew Mervyn far better than I, but I should like to pay tribute here to Mervyn as the unofficial but very fine historian of our village. He modestly referred to himself as an 'amateur historian' but his dedication to proof and truth was superior to some professional historians I have come across. He was a lifelong preserver of historical records, including all kinds of memorabilia and photographs - many of which he took himself. He generously shared his knowledge and collections with anyone who took an interest. He kindly allowed me to copy important historical texts and photographs.
Mervyn took part in the first season of the Swimbridge Q&As launched in autumn 2011. Alongside John Hayes, Mervyn spoke on the first evening on 'Swimbridge Village and its History'. The event included a slide show of photographs of Swimbridge taken by Mervyn in 1965. No one present will forget his marvellous anecdotes of a Swimbridge childhood in the 1940s and '50s. St James church was central to that childhood and to Mervyn's later life too. On the second evening, Mervyn spoke on 'The Rev. John Russell – breeder of the Jack Russell Terrier, huntsman, founder of Swimbridge School and parish priest here for 48 years (1832-80)'. His presentation stressed the amount of important work undertaken by Russell for his parishioners - Mervyn even gave us the precise numbers of baptisms, weddings and funerals conducted by this vigorous and dedicated clergyman, who was far more than the huntsman and dog breeder familiar from myth. Russell also, of course, founded two Chapels of Ease, at Cobbaton and Gunn, so that members of the congregation who lived far from the village could worship closer to their homes, and he also founded Swimbridge School. It was entirely fitting that children from the school, led by their headmadmaster, Garry Reed, should present a 'radio play' about Parson Jack and the school. They also sang a song Mervyn had composed (to the tune of 'Clementine') in honour of Russell. Then the children did something Mervyn was not expecting. They sang Happy Birthday to him - Mervyn had celebrated his 70th birthday a few days earlier. It is true to say that Mervyn was moved to tears. We shall not forget him.
Rogan Haddock who lived at Hannaford and passed away in January generously left a legacy of £10,000 to St James Church.
His gift to the church has been very gratefully received by the PCC who have yet to decide how best to use this legacy in his memory. Leaving a legacy to our church is a way to ensure that St James will be here for the community for new generations to come. Thank you very much, Rogan
St James Church Streamside Garden Project Costs and Grants Summary
The vision was to create a public space for in our community and our visitors to enjoy from a part of our St James church yard which had been fenced off for over 100 years.
Development Stage: 2006-2010
Before we could start work all consultation, planning, and other consents had to be in place to satisfy the Lottery for our Stage 2 application. There were fees and some expenses for essential professional reports, design and Diocese, District Council, and Environment Agency approvals.
This cost of about £1300 covered by Lottery and Devon County Council (Cll Edgell) grants and donations and volunteer time.
Delivery Stage: 2010-2011
A National Lottery Grant award of nearly £50,000 through Groundwork UK from its Community Spaces fund allowed it to go ahead. Lottery grants can only be spent on the approved work and claimed for actual expenditure after the work has been completed. All work is subject to strict Lottery procurement rules overseen by our appointed professional landscape architect.
The grant was supplemented by individual donations and many hours of volunteer work by church members and supporters in the community. The overall cost of the construction and landscaping work was £50,352. Of this some £23,000 was for the new metal railings and public footpath surfacing.
Dedication and Official Opening: December 2011 and June 2012
It was a Lottery condition that there should be a project launch event to celebrate the achievement with our community for which they gave a £240 grant. This covered expenses, printing and the accommodation expenses for the garden builder, who provided entertainment, and his family
Sustainability Stage: 2012 onwards
To ensure the project continues to serve the community the Lottery awarded up to £3500 (of which £3486 has been claimed) towards specific expenditure. Further grants were given by local funders who wished to support the garden in the community. These were South Molton Rotary Club £250, Barnstaple Bridge Trust £ 1200, North Devon District Council (Cll Lane ) £100 and Devon County Council (Cll Edgell) £750
This funding has provided garden maintenance equipment and training, a shed alarm, a gazebo, the Swimbridge school children’s carved stepping stones poetry project, the leaflets, scientific/environmental equipment for use by Swimbridge School, and will provide school and pre school environmental teacher training and continuing garden community project work led by the Pre School.
It was a condition of the Lottery grant that we employed an independent lead professional for the project delivery. This was provided by David Wilson Partnership landscape architect Peter Leaver. His fees throughout were paid by the Lottery.
No payments were made to the project leader, project members or volunteers for their services.
There is likely to be a small balance which will be retained in the PCC Streamside Garden account for use for future development, maintenance etc. Full details of the accounts are available from the Treasurer if required.
David Netherway February 2013