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Calling All Railway Buffs - (posted) 02 December

You might like to know that Volume 2 of my history of the Stratford upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway has just been published, again with many references photos and maps relating to Helmdon.  

Details are as follows:

Lightmoor Press, Lydney  ISBN-13: 978-1911038467 – 328 pages – many b& w illustrations maps etc -  56 pages of colour illustrations.

Covers the years from the formation of the S&MJR in 1909 through to the present day.Price £35

Barry Taylor

New Researcher (Humphreys name) - (posted) 21 November 2018

                                  click to researchers' list

Old Photo - (posted) 20 November 2018

This picture was sent by Sue Donaldson.  She says in her e-mail:

I have attached a postcard which was in the possession of my grandfather Charles Gibbons, we think it is of the Helmdon Cricket Club and from the clothing worn by the men and women it was probably taken in the 1930s.   We wondered whether the man in the back row far left might be Arthur Humphrey  and the two lads sitting on the grass far right and also in the back row second from the right could be Gibbons men.  Also, is the man in the back row third right a Duncombe – just a hunch?  We haven’t had the postcard long, there are no other clues on the back unfortunately but we would be interested to know your thoughts or whether you have any cricketing information from that era?

Can anyone help?  Please use the message board so that we can see your reply as several people may well be interested, and then we can contact Sue.

Ringing Remembers - (posted) 08 November 2018

On 11th November, 100 years since Armistice, bells will ring out in unison from churches, cathedrals, in villages, towns and cities across the country. To mark the centenary of the First World War, a campaign called “Ringing Remembers” was initiated to recruit 1400 new bell ringers across the UK in honour of the 1400 bell ringers who lost their lives during WW1. Amazingly, over 2000 new bell ringers have signed up to learn to ring across the country. Church bells remained restricted during the war and only rang freely once the armistice was declared on 11th November. It is hoped that all the church bells across the country will be rung to celebrate this centenary.

Our Benefice bells will ring as follows: Helmdon 9.30 – 10am, and 7.05 – 7.30pm Lois Weedon 10.10 – 10.40am, and 3.30 – 4pm Syresham 12.30 – 1pm Wappenham 12.30 – 1pm Whitfield 11.30am – 12.00 noon, and 2.30 – 2.45pm


"Sharon Belle" Relative To Attend Remembrance Service - (posted) 08 November 2018


Sharon Belle relative to attend Remembrance Service

For some years now, in addition to remembering the men of Helmdon that died during the two World Wars, Helmdon has also remembered the US Army Air Corps men that died when their B-17 bomber, the "Sharon Belle", crashed with the loss of all ten crew near Astwell Castle Farm on 30th November 1943; the pilot of that fated aircraft was Capt. Richard W Pugh.

In 2009, after several years of investigation by Derek Ratledge, a memorial was unveiled next to Helmdon's War Memorial to commemorate the crew - this was a year after the "Sharon Belle" crew first became part of Helmdon's Remembrance Sunday. Although no longer living in the village, Derek has been a regular attendee at the Remembrance Service and has been in touch to point out that this year marks the tenth anniversary of their inclusion and that we will be joined again by Capt. Pugh's great niece, Beth Pugh. Beth is making a return visit to Helmdon, having first come to the Remembrance Service when the Memorial was unveiled in 2009.

New Press Cutting - (posted) 04 November 2018

From: The Brackley & Towcester Advertiser of 02 November

"Archaeologists Ready to Dig Up County's Past"

The Brackley & District History Society - (posted) 03 November 2018

This society holds regular monthly meetings with a talk on a history topic associated with the local area wherever possible. The Society aims to encourage the preservation of historical knowledge and objects of local interest.

Meetings are held on 1st Wednesday of every month at the Methodist Church Hall, High Street, Brackley at 7.30pm.   Visitors and new members are always welcome. Cost: Members - Free or Visitors - £3

Further information: Karen Gees, Secretary, Tel: 01280 702837
The Minutes Secretary, Tel: 01280 703166

Syresham History Society Programme - (posted) 03 November 2018

The History Society meet on the 1st Tuesday in the month, 7.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. at the Village Hall. Visitors and new members welcome to join us for the year, or for single meetings.  Annual Membership £12.00; individual meetings £3.00, Raffle prize each month.

Clerk: Mrs Samantha Hosking, 2 The Terrace, Biddlesden, Brackley, Northamptonshire, NN13 5TR

Telephone: 01280 851178 e:mail

News From Joan McCann In Australia - (posted) 26 October 2018

This article about a former resident of Helmdon was in the local Shepparton, Australia, newspaper recently.  Joan grew up in the village in the 1940s when for eight years her Dad was minister of Helmdon Church.  She has visited Helmdon  many times over the years, and is hoping to come over next summer and stay for a few nights in her old bedroom at the former Rectory, now Helmdon House.

Click here for Joan's reminiscences about Helmdon


The Commemoration of the Life of a Suffragette in Towcester

From: About  My Area

Author: Sue Hamilton

Published: 12th October 2018

Commemoration of the Life of a Suffragette in Towcester – Marie Louise Weller (nee Ashby) at  Towcester Cemetery, Brackley Road, Towcester NN12 6HJ on Saturday 20th October  2018 at 10.30am with Towcester Evening WI

A short ceremony of commemoration at Towcester Cemetery followed by tea/coffee and cake at Towcester Library with a mini display of Marie Louise’s life.

Background information: Marie Louise Ashby was born in Towcester in 1878 and married George Weller in 1905. 

She was a very active Suffragette; she took part in breaking windows in London and spent some time in Holloway Prison.

She is buried in Towcester Cemetery along with a certificate and a special badge given to her by Mrs Pankhurst for her part in the Suffragette struggle.

Marie Louise’s Great Nephew and his daughter, Mayor and Mayoress of Towcester, members of Towcester History Society, WI members and interested parties from our community.

In this important year of commemorating the work of the Suffragettes, the WI, as a woman’s group, thought it was only fitting to celebrate the life of our very own Suffragette from Towcester. 

It will be the anniversary of her burial at Towcester Cemetery on 20th October 2018.

New Press Cutting - (posted) 26 October 2018

From The Army & Navy Gazette of 26 March 1921

re: The Prince of Wales Comes to Helmdon


Brackley History Society programme - (posted) 09 October 2018

Wednesday 3rd October  David Mico  - A History of the Railways Through Brackley

Wednesday 7th November  - The Eleanor Crosses

Wednesday 5th December Xmas refreshments and Steve Ferneyhough - Brackley Morris Men

Wednesday 2nd January  -  Carolyn Hunter - Mary Leapor

Wednesday 6th February   -  AGM + Gerald Lesinski  - The Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick


We meet on the dates above at Brackley Methodist Church, 7.30pm our talks  usually last about 45 minutes with 15 minutes for questions (if any) and then refreshments afterwards.  Membership is £15 - Visitors are always welcome £3 each visit.  If I can be of any further help please do not hesitate to contact me either on the History Society Website or  kg@karengees.plus.com  tel no  01280 702837.

Karen Gees

Secretary and Membership Secretary

Towcester Studio Band and Towcester Choral Society in concert “100 Years Since the World War 1 Armistice” - (posted) 08 October 2018

Towcester Studio Band and Towcester Choral Society in concert “100 Years Since the World War 1 Armistice”

Towcester Studio Band and Towcester Choral Society in concert “100 Years Since the World War 1 Armistice”
Towcester Studio Band and Towcester Choral Society will present an evening of music which includes:

  • excerpts from The Armed Man;
  • Zadok the Priest
  • Colonel Bogey on Parade
  • The Dam Busters
  • Hymn for the Fallen
  • many popular songs of the day

This will take place in St Lawrence Church, Towcester at 7:30pm on Saturday 10th November 2018
Ticket: £10 (accompanied under 16’s free) - including a glass of wine or soft drink –are available from Colemans of Towcester and Towcester Library
Proceeds from this concert will be donated to support local charities.


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