January’s cold and dismal weather has followed us into February. At the time of writing we have had seven bouts of snow in Sheldon – admittedly for several of them we have noticed that the fields around Ashford have remained green whilst those ‘on the heights’ are white! Not only has it been snowy but it has been icy and the wind has been strong, causing us to experience a wind chill which has forced us back indoors. We have kept the bird table replenished and been rewarded with a steady stream of visitors – more blackbirds than we are used to among the collared doves, sparrows, goldfinches, chaffinches, great tits, blue tits and a solitary pheasant!. Ideal for the annual RSPB winter bird count.
To cap it all we lost the water supply for a day in early February due to a burst water main on Johnson Lane. By all accounts the engineers who came to it were asked by everyone passing them in their van what had caused it – patient men!
Those of us who could just throw another log on the stove or fire and toast our toes, often thought of those who were going to work, braving the slippery Dale although we were gritted on occasion by the Council. Colin, of course, never missed a beat, the milk was on the doorstep on time each day – thank you Colin. Phil and the lads at the garage always turn up as usual and the post drops through the letter box on time. The cows at Top Farm appear in the yard being fed as normal, but milking on really cold, frosty mornings can be no joke. Despite the adverse weather, life in Sheldon goes on as usual – worry not, we are told Spring is on the way……!
We can look forward to the Annual History Group Exhibition on the weekend of March 24th and 25th from 11.00am to 4.00pm each day. This exhibition in the village hall has become quite a fixture in the Sheldon calendar. Visitors often ask us if there is really enough history in this village to support such an extravaganza each year. The answer is yes! There is something new each year.
Mesolithic hunter gathering peoples were here in 7000-5000BC and left traces of a shelter and stone age tools at Stoney Low just south of the village. There are round barrows at Manor Farm – burial mounds from the Bronze age – and the Iron age hill fort of Fin Cop looms to the north. Sheldon is mentioned as Scelhadun ( from Scelf – a shelf or shelving terrain; Hoed – heather or uncultivated land; and Dun – a hill) in the Doomsday Book and a hoard of coins was found here dating to the twelfth century. The Senior Map of 1617 shows the village practicing a one field system and that lead mining was established. Farming and mining for lead were to be the mainstays of village life for many years. Do we need to go on! We could mention the Churches, school, various buildings in the village and two World Wars, all of which impacted on village life. There are over 1,000 documents in the Chatsworth Archives relevant to Sheldon and many others in the Derbyshire Record Office – Wow!
So come along to the Exhibition – learn something new about Sheldon and enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee and a piece of cake, a warm welcome and a pleasant chat. It is all free and you will see photographs and artefacts from Stone age tools to lead whorls, coins to pottery, and implements from a bygone era.
If you have anything you would like recorded in the Sheldon Jottings please let Bron or Brian know – we can’t report what we don’t know about.
The lucky Church Draw winner for this month is Ian Melland with no. 97
Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th March from 11.00am to 4.00pm each day in the village hall
Annual Sheldon History Group Exhibition. All welcome….
Friday 30th March = Good Friday