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Wyenot News - The weekly News Magazine for Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Issue No. 111 - 6th September 2006
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This Week - [Tudorville Fun Day - A Walford Septemberfest]
[Llangrove Flower Show - Letters - Yippee! It's Christmas!]

[Broome Farm Cider Festival - Tim Ward Exhibition - Newent Onion Fayre]
[Heritage Open Day in Kempley - Heart of England in Bloom - Rugby - Weather Station]
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Heritage Open Day at Kempley Church

The Church of St Edward the Confessor, Kempley is one of a few local buildings which will be taking part in a series of English Heritage Properties Open Days, due to take place this coming Saturday, 9th September. Both Goodrich and Wilton Castles will also be open free of charge to visitors.

I went along to Kempley today, where local contractor, Roger Page has undertaken the task of cleaning the 'Jam Tart' window. Also at the church was local parishioner, Mrs. Dolly Jones, who was baptized in the font at St. Edward's, Kempley in 1918.

Below are photographs of the Church of Edward the Confessor and the preparation work taking place and of Dolly, standing by the font in which she was baptized - 88 years ago! Below the photographs is a brief history of Kempley Church.

The Church of St. Edward, the Confessor, Kempley - front view. DSC_5662

The east stone shrine. DSC_5591

Lectern and alter. DSC _5650

The Church of St. Edward, the Confessor, Kempley - south east view. DSC_5587

Roger Page cleans the 'Jam Tart' window. DSC_5605

Mrs. Dolly Jones by the font in which she was baptized in 1918. DSC_5625

The Rood Beam. DSC_5648

Outside view of the window. DSC _5654

The Jam Tart window. DSC _5599

The church of St. Edward the Confessor is one of two churches in the small parish of Kempley. Built 800 years apart. St Mary's, a Norman church, is one mile away and houses nationally important wall paintings and medieval artefacts. The story of the Church of St. Edward the Confessor in Kempley however begins much more recently:

In 1860, the 6th Earl Beauchamp, who owned the whole of the village of Kempley, built the vicarage to house the vicar from St Mary's, which was flooded so often that the peasants had moved. Also however, the Earl wanted to take on the nonconformists in the chapels of Kempley Green. In 1866 a village school was built in Kempley, followed by a temporary church, the Mission Hall. Constructed in 1876 opposite the blacksmiths shop, this has since become the Village Hall. The Earl then identified a field which was already known as 'Hollyness' as the site for a more permanent church. Unfortunately, he did not survive to see it started.

In 1902 the 7th Earl Beauchamp laid out the foundations for a new 'Chapel of Ease' but having started, he somewhat lost the developer's drive and engaged 25 year old project manager, Randall Wells. Wells was in the area working for the famous Arts & Crafts architect, W.R.Lethaby. Before he started work at Kempley, Wells was clerk-of-works for WR Lethaby's at All Saints, Brockhampton-by-Ross church and was greatly influenced by the teachings of William Morris and his attempt to recreate the craft traditions of the Middle Ages.

Although Lethaby used modern materials such as concrete at Brockhampton, architectural writer, Sir Nicholas Pevsner pointed out that Lethaby 'gave the church a medieval character without anywhere imitating the past.' So the young Randall Wells, who was also the brother of HG Wells, true to the Arts and Crafts ethos worked with local people and their skills. Lord Beauchamp gave Randall Wells a free hand and work on the church began in 1902 under the supervision of a local foreman carpenter Mr R. James, using stone from the Forest of Dean quarry near Blakeney, oak from Kempley, ironwork, nails, hinges etc. produced by the blacksmith, Geo Smallman.

Materials from the surrounding area were used and the church was built with the restrictions of a modest budget. The 7th Earl also imposed certain limitations. It is very unusual for example to have no east window. The Earl wanted the external stone relief, which is there in its place to be a kind of roadside shrine. He donated the two massive barley sugar wood columns, which can be seen by the altar. The church is in fact a little eccentric, which is part of it's appeal.

The terracotta tiles on the 'saddleback' roof at the front of the church now house a healthy population of crows. The stone figure over the entrance was chiselled in situ by the carpenter, acting as a complete novice stone worker, to the design of Wells and depicts Christ with bunches of grapes with the words 'Blessed are the peacemakers'

The massive roof beams were cut and shaped in the Cockshoot Wood at Stonehouse and the 'rood beam' figures were sculpted by David Gibb, who was the last figurehead carver at London docks. Feet were not his forte.

There is an unusual portrayal of the crucified Christ inside the church depicting 'Christ triumphant' with no pain, St Mary and St John. The 'rood beam' was gouged out by Wells, his brother Linley and friends, who used the brightest paint possible. They stated their artistic intention as 'not for the townsman but of rural rustic charm'. The figures were disliked by the Bishop and even today are not to everyone's taste.

The oak and mother of pearl lectern was made by Edward Barnsley and the candle holders by Ernest Gimson. The pews were made at Daneway studio joinery and show basic functional joints.

The big west window 'Jam Tart Window' with its diagonal stone grid is an idea taken from Brockhampton - the south transept window at Brockhampton having a lattice of concrete bars. The window displays extraordinary construction and is very definitely 'modern'.

In 1919 the entire village was sold to help with death duties after the Great War but the the Church was retained by the Beauchamp family and was given to the diocese of Gloucester. The building was finally consecrated by the bishop in 1934. The church was consecrated for weddings in 1942 and the graveyard was opened in 1981.

Heart of England in Bloom

Ross-in-Bloom may not have entered Heart of England in Bloom this summer but three communities kept the flag flying for Ross by entering the Britain in Bloom Neighbourhood Awards Campaign.

Last Friday saw representatives from the Nursery Road Community Gardens and Ross Court travelling to Birmingham with other members of Herefordshire in Bloom to see how they had got on. Ross Court and Rita Haggett's Nursery Road Gardens each gained a Merit Award, whilst the Garden of Remembrance gained an Improvement Award.

These awards are excellent and show that communities within Ross can follow the prestige for the town the Gold Award gave last year. The presentation ceremony took place in St Phillips Cathedral in Birmingham and was followed by a lovely lunch in the Council House. Mary Powell of Ross-in-Bloom, who accompanied the entrants, told us everyone had a wonderful but very tiring day, arriving back in Ross with all three entrants having gained an award. 'I went along with the entrants to show that Ross-in-Bloom may not have been able to enter this year but we give the utmost support to our communities in their efforts. I was delighted for all three entrants that they achieved such excellent results. They are a great asset to the town and are great ambassadors for the in Bloom Campaign. Well done all of you'.

If Margaret Lucas, the Chairman of Ross-in-Bloom, can find the three volunteers needed to work on the Heart of England in Bloom entry, Ross will once again be entering the campaign in 2007. Work towards this begins now, so anyone who wishes to help needs to contact Margaret in her shop in Brookend Street as soon as possible.

As a whole, Herefordshire gained twelve awards in this years campaign, despite Ross, Ledbury and Eardisland not entering. These include: Gold for Bromyard, Leominster and Hereford; two personal awards for individuals in Bromyard and Leominster; a neighbourhood award for a community in Hereford; two other special awards for Herefordshire Jarvis and St Mary's Catholic School.

The presentation evening for Ross-in-Bloom will be taking place at the end of September, with awards being given to many that know they have one, but also some who do not.

As usual, the full list of all local awards will be published in the local press later, but a reference copy list of the awards given so far can be seen in the Heritage Centre.

Rugby - Ross bury Ledbury

Ross had set themselves a tough pre-season schedule with Drybrook, Pontrilas and last Saturday, Ledbury, who sit some three leagues above Ross.

With the first league match in Bristol looming next week, Ross were looking for a strong team performance. Not content with taking on a side three leagues above them, Ross made their task doubly difficult by conceding two early soft tries that gave Ledbury a 12-0 lead after 10 minutes,faced with on paper superior opposition many teams would have folded. However this Ross team is made of sterner stuff and began slowly to get themselves back in the game with some strong forward play and Matt Jones,Matt Redman and Wayne Williams figuring strongly.

With the lineout functioning well, Ross were able to build some momentum up the right hand touchline. Tara Barnett peeled off and drove hard into the Ledbury defence and after Richard Russell and Craig Creed had secured the ball Dave Mince crashed over to score, giving a first quarter score of 12-5.

With the wind at their backs Ross dominated territory in the second quarter. However a combination of strong Ledbury defence and the pilling of two try scoring passes, Ross were not able to add to their score until late into the quarter. Once again the lineout worked well. The ball was secured by Joe Gittins, the maul was quickly formed and before the Ledbury defence could organize Tara Barnett had scored, giving a score of 12-12. The strong wind was now with Ledbury and Ross had to work hard in defence. The Ledbury three-quarter line looked dangerous but were well contained by Chay Brine, Adam Clements and Hugh Bellamy in midfield. However, the conditions started to take their toll and after a sustained period of territory and possession Ledbury scored giving them a 19-12 lead.

As the game progressed and tired defences spaces began to appear in the Ledbury side. After defending well throughout the game, the Ross three quarters began to look the more dangerous outfit with the ball in hand. With Alistair Rees and Chris Gage running hard and Dan Weston being as elusive as ever, Ross were sniffing a victory. With the Ross pack continuing to deliver possession Ross hit a purple patch with Alistair Rees, Baz Parker and finally Andy Hunt scoring three excellent tries to put the game beyond Ledbury. A consolation try went to Ledbury but by then the game was won with a final score of Ledbury 24 Ross 29.

Ross start their league campaign on Saturday 9th September in Bristol. There will be a bus leaving The Drop inn at 12.30 pm Please make the effort to come and support your local team.

Ross-on-Wye Weather Station Readings

Ross-on-Wye Weather Station is located by the tennis courts and bowling green at 'Crossfields' and is one of the important stations around the country which regularly sends data to the Meteorological Office. This is why Ross-on-Wye is sometimes mentioned on the BBC weather reports. It is currently still a manually monitored station and readings are taken twice per day by husband and wife team, June and Rex Swallow.

Figures for week commencing Monday, 28th August 2006
n Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
Sunshine (hours) 8.3 10.7 5.3 1.1 8.3 0.3 9.0
Rainfall (mm) 2.7 0 Trace Trace 1.6 2.0 0
Rainfall (inches) .11 0 Trace Trace .06 .08 0
Maximum Temperature (C) 19 19 19 22 23 20 23
Maximum Temperature (F) 66 66 66 72 73 68 73
Minimum Temperature (C) 13 10 11 14 15 14 15
Minimum Temperature (F) 55 50 52 57 59 57 59
Soil Temperature at 10cm Depth (F) 61 59 59 63 62 62 64
Soil Temperature at 30cm Depth (F) 64 64 64 64 64 65 65

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