Sheldon Jottings for June 2016

We all heard the very sad news in April that Ian Fletcher had died suddenly. He appeared to be making a good recovery at home after having heart surgery, when he was taken ill and rushed into hospital.  Ian spent his whole life in the village and had farmed at Johnson Lane Farm for much of that time. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the village and local area and the folk who lived here. He often attended the History Group meetings with Peter and Christine. Our thoughts go to Doris and the family at this sad time.

The weather continues to alternately please and then disappoint, but one bright spot in the village are the plants for sale again outside Yew Tree House – a sure sign of spring. The swallows and house martins duly arrived in mid to late April but once more there seem to be fewer than in the past.  The village seems to come alive again at this time of year with daffodils on the greens, the sounds of lambs and lawn mowers, the cows out in the fields – all sights we have waited for throughout the long winter. One sad note about ‘our’ pair of beautiful song thrushes – they seem to have lost two of their fledglings within two days of each other. They were almost fully grown but were found in different areas and one had obviously flown into a window.

Our second Cream Tea Day on May 1st raised over £230 for the Village Hall funds – another very creditable effort. Well done and thanks to all those involved particularly to Pat and Wendy and to young William. Also to those husbands who stepped in to help at the last minute because illness had created a ‘staff shortage’!  The splendid new sign on the gate certainly takes us into new realms of advertising!

Also because of illness, the Bunting Evening was also depleted. (This horrid virus has really been very difficult to shake off).  However, 5 ladies did manage to make it and many more metres of bunting were created to replenish our stock for Sheldon Day. Thank you ladies.

Plans for Sheldon Day on Saturday 23rd July are now well advanced and we hear that a new caterer is due to sustain our visitors with delicious home-made beefburgers, bacon sandwiches and a hog roast.

This month the History Group will be visiting Horsborough – a Romano-British site at the ‘bottom’ of Deep Dale where, incidentally the display of cowslips and orchids are again a delight.  Little is generally known about this site and, led by Ralph, we have the opportunity to learn more of its secrets. We will meet at White Lodge car park at 7.00pm on June 15th. This will be the last meeting of the year and our thanks go to all involved in making this such a successful village activity.

We have had another burglary in the village where certain items were taken from outbuildings during the night. Fortunately, the culprits were soon caught red-handed with the items and they were subsequently arrested.

The lucky winner of the Church Draw for May was no 4 – Jane Slater. The draw is now entering its second year and Kath would like to gently remind people to please renew their payment. Remember you have to be in it to win it!


Wednesday June 8th – Sheldon Parish Meeting in the Village Hall 7.30pm
Wednesday June 15th – Sheldon History Group at White Lodge car park 7.00pm
Wednesday June 23rd – EU Referendum voting in Village Hall 7am – 10.00pm

Sheldon Jottings for December 2013

After so much rain here over the last few weeks we were treated to one or two frosty mornings, creating black ice. As we all know, Kirk Dale can be treacherous in bad weather, not only because it is a long steep hill but there are narrow, severe bends nearer the bottom and no pedestrian pathway. Already we have had a car collision – into the lovely new wall being rebuilt. So, the thorny question of whether high altitude Sheldon should have a decent council gritting service is raised once again as winter approaches.

We hear that Noel is settling in to a new home at Ashgate. We wish him well and Happy Birthday on Christmas Day. Adrienne continues to cope well with her worsening sight problem, even to the extent she can still do much of the housework – all those brasses get polished regularly she told us.

Next year it will be 100 years since the outbreak of the first world war and the BBC will be launching a programme on this. BBC Radio Derby have been collecting information in our area because of Sheldon’s famous Maria Gyte Diaries, and Anne and Brian have given short interviews; the programme is due to be shown next February.

This month we have a note from Alice Ford, daughter of Andy and Angie at Lower Farm:

Having recently returned from Durban, South Africa, I am now living with my parents whilst on the hunt for a new job. I am very much enjoying my time in Sheldon, especially as it’s the first time I have actually stayed here, but having swapped monkeys and the odd snake for sheep and the occasional pheasant, it’s definitely going to take a little adjusting to. I won’t even begin to comment on the weather! I am a programme manager in the international development field and have been very lucky to work in both Swaziland and S. Africa over the past 4 years.  I’ve had some incredible experiences, having travelled to Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania and around S. Africa, with some beautiful photos to go along with it – perhaps I could put a few up on the website? I look forward to meeting you all in the village and I’m sure the Christmas season will provide plenty of opportunities.

Please note, there will be no Christmas Day Church Service or Sheldon Light Up this year.

A very Happy Christmas to you all and to all our friends in Ashford.


Tuesday 3rd December
Vicar’s Coffee Morning in village hall at 10.00

Wednesday 18th December
History Group Christmas ‘do’. Simon Unwin will entertain us with history stories

Sunday 22nd December
Nativity Procession. Start 4.00pm at church and finish at Top Farm in the Barn – with refreshments

Tuesday 24th December
Christmas Eve Service in Church at 6.00pm

Sheldon Jottings for September 2013

It is almost September and the last of the hay is in. The swallows and house martins are preparing to depart from Sheldon on their momentous journey south to warmer climes. Their exuberant chattering is a wonderful country sound and we are sad to see them go but we always look forward with great anticipation to their arrival again next Spring. A badger was seen snuffling its way down the village street the other evening. It eventually wound its way between the cottages to the fields so we hope it found its way home. We have had wonderful Summer weather this year and it has been marvellous to see so many grandchildren enjoying the delights of Sheldon especially the hens, cows and calves, sheep and lambs, horse and foal, dogs, pigs and of course Bernard!

The final Cream Tea Day of the year took place on August Bank Holiday Sunday and was another success with over £150 collected for village hall funds. After a false start the weather was kind in the afternoon with visitors sitting outside enjoying their teas. Our hard working band of helpers enjoy seeing and chatting with our ravenous customers (many of whom have walked a long way) – its just less interesting when you happen to be on washing up duty!

Sadly Ralph will no longer be delivering the Peak Advertiser which he has delivered voluntarily for the last 20 years in all weathers. This is a remarkable record and service to the community. His cheery whistle and friendly chats as he wended his way through the village on his rounds will be sorely missed. Ralph – many, many thanks. His round has been taken over by the Taberner family.

The £12,000 worth of building work on the Church is now complete. The building has had pointing work, renovated guttering and the undercroft entrance made safe and secure. The work has left the Church with nothing in the coffers so hard times lie ahead.

Our website goes from strength to strength and has reached 27,000+ hits over the last two years from all over the world! How can we possibly have so many avid readers? Is it nostalgia for village life we wonder? We, of course, know there are many disadvantages of rural living, but we, who live in Sheldon, know that the advantages considerably outweigh them.

After the shed break-ins in our area we must all be extra vigilant and think seriously about our security and of fitting a shed alarm. Drive and shed alarms are available at a cheap subsidised low cost from the local Safer Neighbourhood Team at Bakewell Police Station (open 9.00am – 1:00pm Mon – Sat).

The Parish Meeting held during the month decided not to allocate Sheldon Day funds until the meeting in October, when fewer of us will be on holiday. The equipment is now stored away in Ken’s barns ready for another year – we must thank Ken whole-heartedly not only for storing this not inconsiderable amount of ‘stuff’ but also again this year for the use of his fields for car parking. Sheldon Day could not operate successfully without the support and generosity of all the residents of the village.

Peter and Sarah are getting married on September 7th in All Saints Church, Mackworth, and hope soon to be in their lovely new home here on the farm. We wish them and Harriet a long and happy life together.

Dates for the Diary

History Group Meeting

Wednesday 18th September
7:30pm at Hartington Memorial Hall

Speaker – Ken Smith – Peak District National Park Authority’s Senior Conservation Officer. A rare chance to learn more about the Ancient Monuments of the Park and gain a new perspective  on the area in which we live.

Magpie Mine Open Day

Saturday 14th September
12:00pm – 5:00pm at Magpie Mine

The Peak District Mines Historical Society are running tours and have a stall selling mugs and publications, amongst other things. Why not wander over there, it is so much part of Sheldon’s history, and you never know you may join them in preserving our industrial heritage.

St Michael and All Angels

Tuesday September 3rd – 10:00am Vicar’s Coffee Morning at the Cock and Pullet
Sunday 8th September – 9:00am Holy Communion
Sunday 15th September – 9:00am Holy Communion
Sunday 29th September – 10:00am The Benefice Eucarist to celebrate St Michael and All Angels

Sheldon Jottings for August 2013

The Fell Race was a great success, not so many runners as previously but considering the hot weather it was not the best conditions for running such a gruelling race. Almost 100 runners was considered a very good turnout. What impressed the Sheldonians was the great atmosphere of enjoyment, friendly rivalry and excitement. It was also superb running – to walk round the course would be enough for us! Congratulations must go to Phil and his team for their flawless organisation.

Sheldon Day 2013

Sheldon Day 2013

Sheldon Day thankfully dawned cloudy and cooler than the sweltering, humid temperatures we had been experiencing. As usual the village swung into action and one of the most colourful and action-packed village fete days began. To arrive and park with the help of John, Mick and Phil then walk through the village in its wonderful setting was a totally unique experience. You pass the cake stall – irresistible, a cream tea – superb, Ethel back with her stall, splat the rat, pick a golden nail, buy a card or painting, take a luck dip (really for children but it is amazing how many adults have a go). Then browse the book, plant and bric-a-brac stalls, listen to the band, try to win a bottle or chocolate or many other delights and you are still only half way round. On past the Church with its stunning floral display, go wang a wellie, inspect tractors, engines, produce and animals. Have a go on the coconut shy, watch or show your canine friend in Sheldon’s truly unique dog show, learn about our village history and catch – or drop – an egg. Watch the mass of coloured balls rolling down the street and enjoy many other delights such as pork sandwiches and ice cream…the list is endless!

There were some incidents. One dog show competitor in the ‘ 6 hairiest legs class’ took one look at the opposition and bottled out! Ian had someone bring back a ‘bad ‘ coconut! A cake left on the cake stall to collect later was ‘exchanged’ for an ‘inferior’ (costing less) one! The first prize of the day, however, must go to the sight of Bernard the turkey, sitting in the front passenger seat of Oliver’s Landrover being driven back to his pad with one claw hanging nonchalantly out of the window – ever the survivor!

This magnificent day was organised by a village of some 80 inhabitants – it never ceases to amaze us how it is done. Thanks to Andrew and the organising team for another most successful year and our congratulations to everyone who was involved. The preliminary totals have been posted – well over £3,100 has been collected for our various necessary causes in the village. As a visitor from Australia wrote in the Church visitor’s book ‘Well done Sheldon!’

The Tractor Run on the Sunday was also a great success. We counted 25 tractors of all ages taking part including the Police tractor. What a stirring sight they were as they all roared out of the village.

We have a newcomer to our beautiful and lively village. A steady flow of admirers have been to visit Shelly, a foal, who was born during the weekend of 6-7th July at Rose Farm. She is the first foal to be born there for many years and is owned by Pat and Ralph’s grandson, Matthew. Despite this and the excitement of Sheldon Day, the cycle of the farming year goes on with silage and some hay gathered, sheep have been shorn and all the 101 maintenance jobs are being done.

On a very sad note we hear Wendy S’s mother died during Sheldon Week – we send our deepest sympathy to Wendy and her family at this difficult time.

Georgina informs us that Derbyshire County Council has let her know that the bottom of Kirk Dale will be closed from the 19th until the 21st August for ‘tree work’. We will all need to use alternative routes into and out of the village during these 3 days. DCC insist that this section of road is called Trueblue Lane and not Kirk Dale as we all know it (they say Kirk Dale is our colloquial name for it – how wrong can they be! We all know Trueblue Lane as a track, certainly not vehicular, don’t we?). Thank goodness our parish chair pursued where exactly DCC meant when they said Trueblue Lane would be closed!!!

Dates for the Diary

  • Parish Meeting – Wednesday 21st August in the Village Hall
  • Cream Teas – Sunday 25th August from 2pm in the Village Hall
  • There will be no Vicar’s Coffee Morning or History Group Meeting in August

Sheldon Jottings for January 2013

We were all so sorry to hear that John Herbert had sadly passed away at Ashgate Hospice on Sunday 9th December, following a courageous battle with cancer.  This is a huge loss for our small, close-knit community, and we are all deeply saddened by the news.  John was very much a leader within our village, and someone who brought people together.  We will miss him greatly.

John, a retired Professor of Journalism who previously worked for the BBC, had served tirelessly as Chair of Sheldon Parish Meeting since 2002.  In this role he undertook a great deal: chairing meetings, compiling the newsletter, checking minutes, dealing with village correspondence, consulting residents and serving as Chair of the Village Hall Trustees.  As most of you will know, John compiled the wonderful Sheldon Jottings every month, which appeared not only in the Parish Magazine, but also on our village website and have been read by almost 18,000 people from all over the world during the last 18 months; a remarkable achievement!

But John was much more than simply Sheldon Parish Meeting Chair.  He performed a vital role leading the community and binding us together through both troubled and happier times.  He always made himself available for anybody to contact him, or ask for his help and advice.  He was approachable, open and honest.  Up until recently, John was also serving a third term as a Parish Member of the Peak District National Park Authority, having been elected by Parish Councils from across the National Park.  As a Parish Member of the Authority, he had a particular interest in issues of importance to people and communities across the National Park, such as planning and enforcement, and the rural economy.  Holding this position into a third term, illustrated the high regard in which John was held by Parish Councillors in the local area.

John gave up hundreds of hours of his precious time on an entirely voluntary basis, on behalf of our community, and 2012 marked his 10th year as Parish Chair.  In January 2012, John received a Matlock Mercury New Year Honours award for his community work.

At the time of writing, John’s funeral is due to take place at St. Michael and All Angels Church, Sheldon, on Friday 21st December.  Following the service, the whole community will come together for a celebration of John’s life in Sheldon Village Hall.  Our thoughts are very much with Margaret and the rest of John’s family at this sad time.

Our next jottings will report on the Sheldon Traditional Light-Up, which we very much look forward to and also the carol service in our beautiful church.  The next vicar’s coffee morning is on the first Tuesday in February in the Cock & Pullet.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year.