The Royal British Legion have decided that there will be no Poppy Selling this November, due to the coronavirus pandemic - a sensible decision in my opinion.
However, Poppy Wreaths are still available, the Legion will still be putting collecting tins at the usual shops, offices and pubs, providing this is acceptable to the owners and operators, as finance is still needed to keep the wheels turning.
David Hillerby. Poppy Seller & Member, Royal British Legion
Sedgefield News Distribution
I have been asked by some of my new Sedgefield News distribution volunteers, who kindly take batches of Newses out to the other deliverers, if people could let me know where they would like their papers putting in inclement weather. Some of you have already made your wishes known but there are many new houses now.
Also, a plea for patience. Please remember that some new delivery volunteers are now back at work and can often only deliver at the weekend. We try our best to get the News to you before the first of the month, but depending on when the first falls, it can be tricky.
I am still amazed by the number of people who volunteered to help out during the COVID crisis and some have even offered to carry on helping for the foreseeable future! Thank you all very much indeed. Do keep in touch! Judith Edgoose
Email: email@example.com Call/text: 07899 984464
A Warm Welcome and an Update from Sedgefield Baby & Toddler Group
We want to give a warm welcome to all the new families joining us here over the past few months, whether they are new parents welcoming their first baby, families welcoming new sisters or brothers, or families new to our area. We also want to send warm wishes to our members who joined us before lockdown and who made the first months of our group such a success.
The Sedgefield Baby & Toddler Group was created to give local parents and carers, as well as their little ones, an opportunity to socialise each week. We are eager to restart and reconnect with everyone, and we realise it's a difficult time for many of you with little ones.
Unfortunately we are not able to restart at this time as we cannot meet the necessary requirements for meeting indoors or outside. We will reassess the situation at the end of October. However, in the meantime we are expanding the scope of our Facebook page in the hopes of providing a virtual community. We will host weekly posts focused on our local area, and we also encourage both newcomers and existing members to use the page and the group as a resource to answer questions or to connect with other adults, something that can be hard to do if your hands are full with a little one! Likewise, if you are struggling, please also reach out to us and we will do what we can to help. You can join our group at www.facebook.com/groups/sedgefieldplaygroup/ If you are not on Facebook, we can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also wanted to pass on news about two other much-loved baby and toddler groups in Sedgefield.
We spoke to Jill from Wiggles & Wobbles, and she is considering whether to offer online sessions. Jill hosted weekly online classes during the lockdown that provided a lovely much-needed break for many of us, so let's hope that she decides to restart again. For the time being, however, she does not have plans to restart in-person sessions.
She will be sending an update once she has decided what to do, or you can also subscribe to her page at: www.facebook.com/WigglesAndWobbles/
On a sadder note, we spoke to the Sedgefield Library and understand that Boogie Beats will not be returning to the library, as the owner, Abbie, has decided to stop. We hope that we can speak for all the families that enjoyed clapping their hands and stomping their feet, in saying a big THANK YOU to Abbie for all of the wonderful songs, dances and stories. Many little ones grew from babies to toddlers and beyond, while enjoying time with you and Giggles each week. We will miss you.
Sedgefield News: from the past
by Martin F Peagam, The Time Traveller, for Sedgefield Local History Society.
150 years ago, in October 1870 the local newspapers carried reports of the death of a 'lunatic' and a farmer acting inappropriately...
A young woman, Jane McRory, aged 24 and married to a man living in Hebburn Quay, was reported to have died in the Sedgefield Asylum. The Coroner's Court heard that Jane had spent four years in the asylum at Paisley near Glasgow before being transferred to the Sedgefield Asylum on 3 August 1870. Staff at the Asylum said that Jane was very 'excited' and that she had been found dead in her bed early on the morning of Tuesday 18 October 1870.
The jury heard evidence and returned its verdict: 'Died from physical exhaustion, from acute mania'. One can only surmise at why she was in the asylum ('difficult' wives could be placed un an asylum at the request of their husbands) and whether her confinement there contributed to her death.
Also in October 1870 a local farmer was summoned to Stockton County Police Court, accused of assault of a young girl.
Mary Gibson had 'turned 14 years of age' when she was persuaded by friends to bring a summons against local farmer John Trenholm. Mary was working as a domestic servant to a widow Mrs Christopher. Mr Trenholme was executor to the will of the late Mr Christopher, so had cause to visit the house regularly. Mary alleged that on the evening of 5 October she was upstairs washing herself when Mr Trenholme let himself into the house, proceeded upstairs and attempted to kiss her. She resisted, ran downstairs and out into the street, with her dress in disarray. Mr Trenholme refuted Mary's version of events. There were no witnesses to the alleged incident, but a neighbour confirmed that she had found Mary in the street partly dressed, and had been told by Mary of what had happened.
The bench found Mr Trenholme guilty and fined him £2 and 5 shillings. Mr Trenholme declared he would appeal but the newspaper reports that he 'immediately afterwards paid the penalty'.
If you would like to know more about your local history, visit the Facebook site of Sedgefield Local History Society. Martin F Peagam, The Time Traveller.
More Manor House history
It is now nearly fifty years since The Manor House was the headquarters of Sedgefield Rural District Council though it is fresh in the memory of people who worked there or who had relatives who did. One such person was Maggie Pulle (nee Newton) now of London, who contacted The Manor House for a copy of the book 'Hidden In Full View' about the history of the remarkable building, researched and written by owner Ean Parsons.
Image: Harry Newton of Sedgefield Rural District Council in his first floor office at The Manor House, probably taken in the 1950's.
Other than his service in World War II, Maggie's father, Harry Newton was Finance Officer and later Deputy Clerk to the Council at The Manor House for the SRDC between 1935 and 1974 and the family lived in Sedgefield for some of that time. Maggie was interested in the 1949 photograph which is hung in The Manor House and is included in the book.
Harry's council colleagues Ralph Hall and Bill Young who he had often mentioned put names to the people in the picture in 2015 and identified Maggie's father. Maggie has been able to provide Ean with pictures, dates and documents which will be kept with the archives and she also mentioned other council officers and employees including Mr Burton, Frank Dobson, Barbara Shaw and Ronnie Murray.
A further coincidence came to light when Maggie discovered the onward life of the builder of The Manor House, Judge Robert Wright who went on to become Chief Justice of colonial Carolina in 1725. Maggie's American friend Cheryl recently moved to Summerville near Dorchester County, South Carolina where Robert Wright was also a plantation owner. There are strong connections as South Carolina has many places named after towns and villages in County Durham, including Sedgefield.
Church Clock Facelift
Friends of St Edmund's want to put the smile back on the rather sad faces of the church tower clock by having the faded blue paintwork re-painted and the fingers re-gilded with gold leaf. At the same time, they plan to give the ageing clock a long-overdue mechanical MOT to correct a technical quirk which causes the clock stay silent on its first chime.
The work would be part of a four-project preservation programme announced by the Friends for action 'as soon as possible', including repairs to the roof of the lychgate, damaged by lead-thieves and the installation of safety barriers on top of the tower to allow the popular rooftop visits (currently suspended on health and safety grounds). Major stonework repairs to various areas of the church are also needed.
All will need 'faculty' approval from the
Diocese of Durham before work can begin and that could take around six months.
The Friends, an independent group of volunteers whose primary role is to raise funds to preserve the fabric of the church, admit that the programme will severely deplete their financial reserves.
Repairs to the clock and refurbishment of the faces will cost an estimated £16,000 – largely because of the high cost of hiring scaffolding or skilled abseil specialists. The lychgate roof and stonework on the church itself will each cost around £3000 to repair and the safety barriers will need a further £1500.
Chairman of the Friends, Dr Alistair Irvine, right, thinks the benefits to residents and visitors to St Edmund's will far outweigh the expense, but like many organisations which have lost fund-raising events this year because of Covid-19, reserves are not as healthy as they were.
Despite the challenges, the Friends are very conscious of the fact that their primary remit is to conserve the fabric of the church to ensure it is in good order for generations to come, so donations of any size would be gratefully received.
If you can help, please contact Brian Mutch. Address, 6 Hasledon Grove, Sedgefield, TS21 2JW, Telephone 01740 622302, or visit www.friendsofstedmunds.org
The story of the Pickled Parson
In Sedgefield, many years ago, an apparition, known as the Parson used to wander near the Rectory. The Rector died about a week before the farmers tithes fell due, and his wife salted her husband, hid him in a room, received the tithes, and next day announced the death. The old Rectory was burnt down in 1792, and since then the ghost has not been seen.
100 years ago, on 22 October 1920, The Chester le Street Chronicle carried a copy of the verse (right hand column) telling the tale of The Pickled Parson.
The old tale was given a new lease of life recently when the Crosshills Hotel was re-opened as The Pickled Parson, seen here behind the Farmers Market.
Poem of the Pickled Parson
It is a hundred years and more
Since last the ghost was seen,
Beside the Church and Rectory,
And in the churchyard green.
The ancient church, the castled manse, in Sedgefield's little town,
Were haunted by a surpliced form
That wandered up and down.
And legend says that, long ago,
The Rector sick did lie;
He pined away, and dear it was
His time was come to die.
His mate a stirring house-wife was.
With heart of nether stone.
If grief she felt, or loss she feared.
It was of gold alone.
Bethink yourself. and she said
“'Tis but a week to-day,
The tithes come in, and if you die,
The farmers will not pay!"
“With listless look and feeble voice,
Replied the dying man.
"I leave it all to you, my dear!
You'll do it, if any can!
He turned his face unto the wall.
And shortly he was dead.
His wife bade still the house, because
“The Parson sleeps!” she said.
Good store of salt was in the house,
For Martinmas was nigh;
Two fattening hogs there were to kill,
Ready within the sty.
She piled the salt upon the corpse,
A mound of white she made,
And over it, as all were well,
A coverlet she laid.
And in and out she went, as though
The Parson were alive:
And all she told, he ailed right sore,
Yet soon would better thrive.
The tithe-day came, the farmers paid,
And each did kindly say
Madam, how does the Parson do?
"But ill indeed, today!”
The tithes secured, her object won,
She stored away the gold;
And in the morn, with well-feigned tears,
The Parson's death she told.
His grave was made in holy ground,
But still his restless sprite,
Where long unburied he had lain,
Was seen to flit at night.
Among the graves, beside the
Within the ilex 'grove;
And in the lane, the Parson's ghost
Was often known to rove.
Frightening belated villagers
The Church and Rectory nigh;
Till the house was purged by fire,
Then he at peace did lie.
Here come the Dooblies!
A new children's picture book that was inspired by a toddler's random comment is now available to buy. 'Here come the Dooblies' introduces readers to the wonderful world of the Alphazooblies, inviting them into the land of Cupboard, a place full of adventure and fun ways to learn and play with letters, words and pictures.
The book has been written by the Lines family from Sedgefield and began life early in 2010 when, with no context, three-year-old Charlie Lines said to his parents: “The Dooblies are playing with the blueberries.” His dad Chris developed the phrase into a story and six-year-old brother Ciaran illustrated it. All of this sat in a drawer for nearly nine years, until a chat with Bookends regular and author Norma Neal pointed the Lines family in the direction of local artist Kev Stevans of the Art Room North East.
An experienced illustrator of children's books, Kev took Ciaran's original artwork and developed it for publication. The rest of the family added suggestions, including mum Catherine and youngest son Samuel, who hadn't been born when the story was first written and drawn, and proved to be a good one-person test market!
The plan was to launch the book at the Bookends Festival, and although that cannot now happen, publication has gone ahead.
'Here come the Dooblies' is available for £4.99 at www.thedooblies.com or by emailing email@example.com. You can also follow the adventures of the Alphazooblies on social media: Twitter & Instagram @thedooblies and