Sheldon Jottings for December 2014

Living in Sheldon we are all acutely aware of the wonders of nature around us. At dawn and at dusk each day during November we have been treated to a spectacular event. We first noticed it this year on the 2nd November and since then it has been a wonderful twice-daily sight as a great cloud of Starlings flies over our village. As it gets light they come from their roosting grounds on the far side of Longstone Edge on Middleton Moor, past Longstone and Ashford, over the River Wye and up over Shacklow Wood. They then fly over the village to their feeding grounds in the fields of Flagg, Monyash and beyond. The flock returns at twilight and although it can vary in size is a sight well worth seeing. For an even greater spectacle go to Middleton Moor and see the ‘murmuration‘ where the flocks are coming in from all directions, creating amazing patterns in the sky before settling down to roost in the reeds. It happened last year and should now continue throughout the winter months.

With the shorter days of winter the number of visitors to our area has greatly diminished. Several of our farmers have heaved a sigh of relief. Pete Bush, our Area Ranger, has been in touch and has asked us to include the following:

Over the last 3 years a number of stone stiles in Sheldon Parish have been badly damaged. At first I thought by cattle as some of the adjacent walls are not that robust, but it has continued to happen sporadically, with the latest attack resulting in 3 stiles being completely smashed with some large through stones being broken in two. Some of these stiles were built at least 3 generations ago, when they were most commonly used by local people coming and going to work.

Now they are used mostly for recreation by local people and visitors to the area and have to be stock proof whilst at the same time relatively easy for people to use. What used to be regarded as suitable is not always the case today and the Peak District National Park Rangers have worked with many farmers in the area to improve their gates and stiles.

There is often a dilemma in changing a stile to improve access as it may be a heritage feature but in most cases we are able to alter it sympathetically.

There are limited resources so we cannot tackle everything at once but if there are stiles causing problems please contact me:

Pete Bush
PDNPA Area Ranger
Tel: 01629 884992
Email: [email protected]

We all need to keep an eye out and report damage if we are out enjoying the Countryside; please contact Pete if you see anything untoward.

In mid-December last year the History Group met in the village hall for the Christmas ‘Do’. With one of the worst gales of the winter raging outside Simon Unwin entertained us with his ‘Story of Magpie Mine’ in music, pictures and verse. The atmosphere was tremendous – it was probably one of the most gripping and pleasurable evenings held in the Hall for many years. We are happy to report that Simon is coming once more on December 17th to entertain us with his latest extravaganza. Come and join us, entry is free, we all bring some food (savoury of sweet), some drink is supplied, and enjoy a great evening with neighbours and friends – you will be most welcome.

If you did not manage to get to Sheldon History Group in October when Martha Lawrence from Buxton Museum came to talk on the pre-history of our area then you missed a treat. It was fascinating to think how ourancestors were living so long ago.

On Christmas Day it will be Noel’s birthday. We wish you and your family a happy day Noel.

The planning application for the substantial development at Home Farm has been unanimously turned down by the PDNPA Planning Committee.

Finally, villagers can sleep safely in their beds in the knowledge that the recently vandalised ‘fence’ was nothing more than a piece of string that two cows, Daisy and Buttercup, got caught in. Neither of them will admit responsibility but keep blaming each udder!

Happy Christmas and a great New Year to you all and to our friends in Ashford.


Monday 1st December
Christmas Wreath Making Night – 7.30pm Village Hall
Contact Lindsey for information

Tuesday 2nd December
Vicar’s Coffee Morning – Cock & Pullet (with Church Meeting afterwards)

Tuesday 9th December
Sheldon Seniors Christmas Lunch – Cock & Pullet

Wednesday 10th December
Sheldon Parish Meeting – 7.30pm Village Hall

Wednesday 17th December
Sheldon History Group Christmas ‘Do’ with Simon Unwin – 7.30pm Village Hall

Sheldon Jottings for October 2014

Signs of Autumn are all around us. Most swallows have flown south, they went at the beginning of the month – rather early this year. The nights are lengthening and are becoming cooler – and the morning mists are with us. Some leaves are beginning to turn – and the gardens are taking on a distinctly autumnal air with the asters and other autumn flowering plants brightening the borders; the children have gone back to school….

The 7th of September was an important day for several people in the village. Andrew L was 21 and the family celebrated with an evening at Hassop Hall. Peter and Sarah celebrated their first wedding anniversary on the same day; congratulations to you all!

We are delighted to welcome the new residents of Rose Cottage. Melanie F and her beautiful daughter Ruby have joined us in the village and it has certainly made Oliver very happy! We hope they will enjoy being with us for many years to come.

The last Cream Tea of the year was held on August Bank holiday Sunday – a lovely sunny day resulted in a very successful afternoon raising £265 to swell the coffers of the village hall. Cream teas this year have again been a great bonus for the hall and our thanks must go to all those who helped in any way, setting up and decorating tables, putting out the signs and helping in the kitchen on the day – a great effort. Well done to everyone and thanks go to you all.

Much of the money raised through Cream Tea Days has gone to the refurbishment of the newly painted, newly curtained Hartington Memorial Hall – Sheldon’s village hall. It has been a long journey for the trustees and particularly Lindsey, who has shouldered the lions share of the work and Pat, who has kept things going as the work has progressed. It has all been well worth the effort. We are lucky to have such a beautiful hall with such a long history. It was, of course, the village school before being gifted to the village by the Duke of Devonshire; thanks to all those involved.

Unfortunately, we hear from the last Parish Meeting, that Sheila has decided to hang up her pens and retire as secretary to the Parish Meeting. For many years she has been there as a tremendous support for each chair – John H, Georgina and now Alistair. Her work has been exemplary, her efficiency legendary – Sheila we will all miss you sitting next to the Chair at the Parish Meetings; thank you so much for all your hard work.

Would someone please think seriously about taking over the role and serving our community?

The next History Group meeting on October 22nd takes the form of a talk by Martha Lawrence from Buxton Museum, on the prehistory of the Sheldon area. Our countryside is full of evidence left by the earliest peoples to settle here. Stone age flints are found in the fields, there are bronze age round barrows near Manor Farm. We can see Fin Cop, an iron age fort to the north of the village and Arbor Low – the Stonehenge of the North – is a dramatic stone circle just a short distance away. It should be a fascinating talk. We hope you can join us at the village hall.

Finally, a reminder from Bakewell Safer Neighbourhood Police Team, for us to take steps to better protect our vehicles from being targeted by thieves. Valuables such as sat navs are still being left on display, as witnessed by them at Chatsworth Country Fair on August 30th. So secure your vehicle properly, park in well lit, overlooked areas and remove any visible marks such as sat nav holder rings.

Dates for the Diary

Tuesday 7th October
Vicar’s Coffee Morning in the village hall

Wednesday 8th October
Parish Meeting 7.30pm in the village hall

Wednesday 22nd October
Sheldon History Group Meeting 7.30pm village hall.
‘Before history’ – a talk by Martha Lawrence of Buxton Museum. You will be most welcome to join us

Sheldon Jottings for February 2014

After our joyous Christmas festivities things may now seem a bit dull. However, we must look forward to Spring, with the days getting longer and the snowdrops even showing some white as they push through the waterlogged ground.

The balloons were out at Top Farm when Harold celebrated his 85th birthday at the beginning of January. He is still helping on the farm and when asked how he was, he replied in his forthright way ‘I’m feeling great – when I’m sitting down!!’ Belated Happy Birthday Harold.

Ken’s Bluefaced Leicester sheep were scanned the other day to ascertain how many lambs each was carrying. One ewe was carrying at least 4 – can she really deliver so many? The man who comes to do this job for the farmers is Gus Dermody of ‘One Man and His Dog‘ TV fame, where he does the commentary. His van with its vital equipment, says on its side ‘Don’t guess, get Gus’…!!!

Rosemary and Sam’s grandson, Matthew who is 12, has gained his First Dan Junior Black Belt in karate. He is the youngest ever junior to gain the Black Belt and he started the sport at the tender age of 7. Congratulations to him. His grandparents, and Mum and Dad, Sally and Martin are so rightly proud.

Welcome to Rhodri who has come to live next to Rosemary and Sam in the Old End of Yew Tree House. He has taken the job of River Keeper on the stretch of the River Wye between Ashford and Buxton. We are sure he will love the Peak District.

The village and Kirk Dale were gritted in the late afternoon of Saturday 11th January, presumably because frost was forecast for that night. We know that ice or snow make our exit from and entry to the village down to the A6 rather hellish. So we give credit here where it is due, to the powers that be for taking this preventive measure.  If they could only see the state of the beautiful new wall down Kirk Dale that was rebuilt a few weeks before Christmas. It is now down in 4 places (at least 4 accidents) and looks a sad and tragic mess. Cars have slid off the bend on the descent and collided with it, causing untold damage to the occupants and the vehicles and a cyclist also had some nasty injuries – all because this ‘rat run’ for commuters and our high altitude village have fallen off the list of the Council’s gritting routes. If we had spent weeks in appalling wet and cold weather creating this wonderful wall, only for it to be brutally assaulted by heavy metal we would be feeling so frustrated and deeply unhappy, wouldn’t you?

Remember there are no community recycling bins in the pub car park now.

Dates for the Diary

Vicar’s Coffee Morning – Tues 4th February
History Group Meeting – Weds 19th February

Sheldon Jottings for October 2013

As this lovely Summer draws to a close and Autumn approaches, we are enjoying late season sunshine and are getting up to misty mornings with those wonderful views of fog in the Wye valley with the sun on the hills beyond. The butterflies, Peacocks. Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, and Whites have all been seen on the buddleia and sedum plants in the gardens. Twenty one partridges were seen crossing the road at the top of the village joining the hens in foraging for food.

The bushes and trees are laden with fruit after this wonderful summer, blackberries in the hedgerows and the Mountain Ash trees looking resplendent with their red berries. For those plants which flowered early and were caught by the late cold weather, however, the story is a different one, there is almost a complete lack of sloes and only a poor crop of damsons on some trees this year.

Peter and Sarah were married on Saturday September 7th in All Saints Church, Mackworth. It was a wonderfully happy occasion, the setting was stunning and so was the bride, little Harriet was so pretty and Peter looked the happiest man alive. The church, which stands amongst fields, was beautifully decorated with spectacular floral displays. The simple, but moving service was attended by a large congregation of family and friends, some of whom had come from as far away as Scotland.

Afterwards the well wishers and the newly married couple attended a champagne reception at Langley Meynell a beautiful country house with extensive views towards Derby. Many of the guests also came to the new house in Sheldon for an informal gathering on the Sunday.  The Belted Galloway in the field behind their new home was one of their wedding presents, and is due to calve before Christmas. We look forward to welcoming Peter, Sarah and Harriet when they move to Sheldon in the near future.

The History Group Meeting on the 18th October was a great success, with friends from Great Longstone History Group joining us to listen to Ken Smith from the Peak Park give a fascinating talk about the recent discoveries and work to preserve the ancient monuments in the Park. From the discovery of a long barrow bronze age burial mound exposed when the waters of the reservoirs in the Derwent Valley were at their lowest to the amazing discoveries at Fin Cop and liberally illustrated with slides, the talk was enjoyed by all, as were the tea and cakes which were served during the evening.

We hear that Pauline is to leave us. She has finally decided to take the plunge and retire to her new house in Ireland before Christmas. She will long be remembered not only for her work in the village, on Sheldon Days, for the ‘Light up’, for the cream she always gave to Cream Teas and the wonderful scones she arranged to be delivered, but also for all the small ways she was always on hand to help people in the village. ‘Pauline’s been!’ was an early morning call in many households, part of life’s daily routine, always said with added emphasis on all those cold, snowy and icy mornings when we were not venturing out but somehow the milk would arrive on our doorstep. She will be sorely missed. We wish her well.

We hear that Claire’s fortieth birthday party went well. Congratulations Claire from us all!

Dates for the Diary



For the past year Brian Greasley has been researching the story of Sheldon School which was open from 1878 to 1935 and is now our village hall. This is the first of two illustrated talks during which Brian will speak about the building of the school, its opening, the mistresses and their successes and failures and the children and their highs and lows, misdemeanours, and punishments. Here is a chance to hear about a piece of the history of our small village not told before, much of it in the words of the people who were there.


Sunday 8th October – 9:00am Holy Communion
Sunday 15th September – 9:00am Holy Communion

Sheldon Jottings for March 2013

More sad news here when we heard David Melland had passed away. David was born in the village and had lived here all his life. He worked as a joiner and a builder and also on his smallholding, but will best be remembered for constructing the ‘Cock and Pullet’ which he opened with his wife Kath in 1996. Our sympathies go out to Kath and all David’s family. His funeral was on 14th February in a packed Sheldon Church and many, many more people who were standing outside had a corresponding service conducted by Aron, our Curate.

During all the icy and snowy weather we experienced in January and February our milk arrived on the doorstep as usual. Thank you Pauline for such a reliable service. Public transport can stop running, schools can close,  but Pauline battles through with her deliveries and these begin in the dark in the early hours of the morning!  Sheldon, sitting on the edge of a plateau at over 320 metres (1000 feet), gets real weather and amounts of snow unimaginable in places even just slightly lower in altitude. But we are not afforded the necessity of a council plough/ gritting lorry when it’s really needed. However, Sheldon people are made of stern stuff and we have some very courageous ‘essential workers’ – including a doctor, policeman, nurse and a DCC worker, who all bravely manage to get to work to help other people and provide vital services. Our unsung heroes /heroines – you all deserve medals.

Brian Greasley is researching the story of the school here in Sheldon. He has spent many happy hours at the Record Office in Matlock and has revealed a fascinating story of this little school. However, he is now asking for our help. If anyone has any photographs or memorabilia, or has been passed memories from that time,  he would be delighted to know. There are particular mysteries; the photograph taken of the children in 1896; medals which were given to each child to commemorate the Jubilee in June 1897; any photograph taken of the school between 1878 and 1970, even if the building is in the background. He would be most grateful for any help you can give. Please contact Brian on 01629 813055.

Exciting news about getting super-fast broadband to our village. The Monyash, Flagg and Sheldon broadband project has been approached by a super-fast wireless internet service provider. They have said that if we can get 40 households between the 3 villages to sign up to their super-fast broadband package, they will install all the necessary infrastructure and jump through all the potential planning issues on our behalf. There will be 3 tiers of service offered, with the fastest being 35 Mbps….approx 70 times faster than what most of us currently have! Watch this space for more information.

Andrew has been happily helping to renovate Colin ‘s 1947 Fordson tractor. Perhaps it will be in the next Sheldon Tractor Run?  Pat has recently celebrated a big birthday with a 0 on the end – don’t worry Pat as there are several who will be doing likewise this year! Perhaps they should have one big ‘knees – up’ to which all are invited? The other February birthday was baby Harriet who was one year old. Angie and Andy have a new addition to their family – Reggie, a new fox terrier puppy and adorable.

Dates for the Diary

Tuesday 5th March
Vicar’s Coffee Morning at the ‘Cock and Pullet’

Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th in the Village Hall
Sheldon History Display