Sheldon at War on BBC Radio Derby

Keen listeners to today’s BBC Radio Derby’s afternoon program will have heard a fantastic piece on the role that a Sheldon family played during World War One.

Maria Gyte, a resident of the village during wartime, kept a detailed diary of village life and how the war touched her family. Her son, Tony Gyte, was called-up to the Army in May 1917 at the age of 19, and killed near Ypres in Belgium six months later.

Brian Greasley and Ann Lomas talked to BBC Radio Derby about our village, the village school at which Maria was headmistress, and her wartime diary; an extract of the program can be heard below.

Sheldon Jottings – Extra

We hope you all had a really great Christmas.

The celebrations in Sheldon really started on the 17th with the ‘Old Folks’ Christmas Dinner at the ‘Cock and Pullet’. Thirteen of the over 65’s enjoyed the good company, excellent food, and good cheer at this annual event. The time passed all too quickly and Harold won the raffle. Thanks to Ralph for organising us all and Kath for her tremendous hospitality.

The following evening with the wind howling and the hail cracking against the windows a hardy group gathered in the Hall for the History Group’s annual Christmas get together. We were entertained and ‘educated’ by Simon Unwin with a slide and musical presentation interspersed with Simon reading his wonderfully evocative poetry. The whole was based on the story of the Magpie Mine and the surrounding landscape and was a real treat. Christmas food and drink followed and by the time we wended our way home the wind had dropped – or so it seemed!!

The Sunday before Christmas, and it was time for the Nativity procession through the village. It all started in the Church, where a large crowd had gathered, including many grandparents, relatives and friends who are always very welcome. As the Vicar was about to start, a donkey arrived to join us, it’s the first time we have seen Tony lost for words!! After being introduced to a charming Mary and Joseph, two year old Eliza and three year old George, and singing ‘Once in Royal David’s City’, thanks to Andrew H for playing the organ for us, we continued telling the Christmas story as we made our way to the ‘Cock and Pullet’. Here people left the warmth of the fire to join us in singing ‘O come all ye faithful’. With Alec playing the trumpet, William on the flute and Andrew Joly on the mandolin to accompany us, (thanks to them all, such a talented threesome!). After more carols, we arrived at Top Farm. The scene which met us was truly magical. Inside the barn were a sheep, hens, a turkey (yes! He’s still surviving!!), a calf and our donkey, were gathered around the manger with the star above it. Well done Top Farm, you created a wonderful Nativity that none of us will forget! The Christmas story reached its climax and Canon Tony gave us his blessing. Afterwards the memorable evening was ended with mulled wine and mince pies – thanks go to Julia, Michelle and Lindsey. Thanks to you all for turning out and taking part, even though it was so cold, to make this such a gloriously happy occasion which put us all in a festive mood. Only in Sheldon could one enjoy such a marvellous celebration of the Christmas story.

Christmas Eve saw many of us in church again for a candlelit Mass, led by Tony and Aaron. Lit only by the candles we were holding and those placed around the Church, the service was very atmospheric. A good sized congregation was swelled by some visitors to our village. Thanks again to Andrew H for playing the organ. Mulled wine and mince pies prepared and served by Julia, Michelle and Lindsey concluded a beautiful service.

Wow! What a lead up to Christmas in our lovely village!

A Happy and Healthy New Year to you all.

Sheldon Jottings for January 2014

Happy New Year everyone! We hope that you all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and have made all those New Year resolutions which no doubt we will all break! Unfortunately the deadlines for the Magazine do not let us report on the Christmas Nativity procession through the village and the festive season – more in next months jottings.

The “Great Gale” at the beginning of December certainly hit Sheldon hard, ripping off the side of a barn, taking tiles from roofs, blowing out the glass from a greenhouse not to mention the branches and trees damaged by the terrific wind. But apart from that Autumn and early Winter have treated us kindly so far – but we are still without gritting so we must hope that the rest of the Winter continues the same way.

Has anyone else noticed the flocks of starlings flying south over the village at sunrise and back again in the twilight each evening? They are apparently roosting overnight at the lagoons on Middleton Moor. A couple of residents have commented on the fact that the number of small birds, especially the sparrows and blue tits seemed to have declined this Winter and that the sparrowhawk has been particularly active. Is there a connection, or is it the normal predations of Winter?

We extend a hearty Sheldon welcome to Charlotte and Richard who have moved into Devonshire View, it was wonderful to see Charlotte attending and participating so wholeheartedly at the December Parish Meeting.

Brian’s book about the school here in Sheldon, This Remote Little School, has virtually sold out and looks as if it will need to be reprinted, still one or two copies if anyone wants one. He has even had an order from Japan! Ah, the wonders of the internet!

January and February are usually quiet months in Sheldon, except for the weather! However the History Group meets as usual. A cheery welcome is extended to anyone who would like to join us – it is always interesting and Julia’s cake is worth turning out for on its own! The Group meets on the third Wednesday of each month, so why not come and join us.

Dates for the Diary

Wednesday January 15th – History Group Meeting – 7:30 in the Village Hall. We will be showing a DVD of The Peak District on Film. There are a series of beautiful amateur and professional archive films which have been enhanced and re-edited to illustrate what life was like in our spectacular National Park in the past. We invite you to come and join us – our meetings are open to all.

No Vicars coffee morning this month.

The story of Sheldon’s school…now available in paperback!

Village resident and author Brian Greasley has written a super little book entitled ‘This remote little school – the story of Sheldon National School open from 1878 to 1935′. Those of us who were at his talk on Wednesday evening were able to buy a copy – it was a lovely big surprise for us all. If you were not able to come to either of Brian’s talks you have missed a treat.

Brian’s book is priced at £10, or £5 for Sheldon residents (excluding postage).

If you would like to buy a copy please get in touch with Brian using the form below. Be quick, they are selling fast and there are only a limited number!


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