Parishes Magazine – February 2022

A very warm welcome to the Wilson family – Gabriel and Linzi, teenagers Dylan, Evie and Maddie (and not forgetting Chief, the new puppy!) – who moved to Brook Close in November.

Another big thank you to everyone who took part in our annual Carols Round the Village, all those who:
• decorated the church so beautifully with flowers on all the windowsills, pedestals and ledges; decorated the Christmas tree and crib and made a spectacular grotto for Father Christmas in the Snug!
• dressed up in wonderful costumes and played their parts so enthusiastically!
• sang so loudly (especially the descants – Maggie, you kept that talent quiet!) that those isolating at home could hear the carols from their houses!
• provided refreshments after the Carol Singing – delicious mulled wine, mince pies, sausage rolls, hot sausages and chocolates!
• bought, wrapped and organised all the presents for the children, which rounded off a very happy evening.
A wonderful turn-out with over 60 from the village, plus friends and families, from babies to octagenarians!

This year was special for many as we were allowed to hold family gatherings and see loved ones at Christmas with no imposed restrictions. However, with COVID cases rising in the local area, people were being extra cautious, to avoid the risk of catching or passing it on, to make sure they were able to celebrate with their families and loved ones. Fortunately, Father Christmas thinks of everything! Family bubbles could visit him through a secret door into his grotto, keeping everybody safe and well. He used his magic to create a cosy living room with twinkling lights, a candy cane tree and piles of presents for the children. And then like magic he was gone…!

For the past few years, the VPS has put together a document which shows all that has gone on within the village. This is published on the Winterbourne Stoke Facebook page, if you can’t access it there, it is also available on the Parish Council website and the Village Hub notice board. If you’d like a copy emailed to you, please contact

A bright new sign is now up on the gates to the churchyard! We have given the kitchen a makeover and there is now lots of space for activities and notice boards filled with decorations that the children have been busy making, as well as photographs of all the events and activities that have been taking place. There is tea/coffee/sugar, as well as biscuits and there are plenty of mugs in the kitchen. Do drop in with friends and help yourselves (there is an honesty box for donations) and make good use of the Village Hub – it is for everyone to use and enjoy!

The “Village Pantry” is now up and running! You can easily find it at the back of the church and please feel free to donate any tinned or dried food stuffs. If you’re short of something, please help yourself, swap it for something else (non-perishable) or make a donation in the honesty box. As well as essentials there have been some lovely items both appearing and also disappearing! At the end of the month everything that is left over will be donated to the local food bank and be replenished for the following month. Any donations will go to replenishing the pantry.

A Christingle workshop was held in January and enjoyed by all who took part – particularly the sweets! There are some lovely photographs on the Village Facebook page.

We are planning to hold coffee mornings once a month. The first of these will be on Friday, 28th January at 10.30 in the Village Hub. All are welcome – come and see the Village Hub if you haven’t already – and we would love to see friends from other villages within the Benefice as well.

Thank you to everyone who donated their Christmas cards, which were used to make cards and gift tags for Christmas 2022 at our first meeting this year. If you’d like to come along and join in, we meet on the last Tuesday of the month at the Village Hub. The next meeting is Tuesday 22nd February at 7.30pm.

The Village Preservation Society AGM will take place on Thursday 24th February at 7.00pm by Zoom.
Exciting times are ahead and our first AGM has come around so quickly. The VPS was set up at the start of the pandemic as a means of providing self-help within the village. Since then, we have expanded to provide the community with a range of facilities, activities and entertainment for everybody, most significantly, reviving the Events Committee which had been dormant for several years.
The VPS represents the whole community and has now built a firm foundation, fostering relationships with a variety of organisations. It’s been fulfilling and fun doing so, with lots still to do! We have many new and exciting things in the pipeline, so if you would like to be part of this and feel you have any particular ideas/skills/talent or general enthusiasm you can bring to the village, or if you would like to represent a business or organisation that would like to become involved, we would really welcome your input and also be very pleased if you would like to join us!
Nomination forms can be downloaded (or hard copies obtained from the committee) and need to be submitted to the Secretary by Sunday 20th February 2022. In the event of more than one nomination for office, there will be a vote at the AGM.
It would be fantastic to see as many people as possible at the AGM. We are mindful, however, that many are still cautious about meeting in large numbers; many also have young children, so it is more appropriate, this time, to hold the meeting by Zoom (which is increasingly becoming the norm), which means you can attend from the comfort of your own home! If you would like to attend, please email so we can send you the Zoom link.
If you have any questions or need help or assistance to set this up, please contact us.

Following last year’s inaugural pancake flip, we will be holding a pancake race on Sunday 27th February at 11.30am. The Golden Frying Pan Awards will be presented to the winners of the Under 10s and the Over 10s and there will be pancakes for all to enjoy in the Village Hub after the races. More details will be on the Facebook page nearer the time.

We are in the process of buying a projector, screen and speakers with the Lottery funding. Roger and Harry Palmer have lots of plans in the pipeline, which will be announced shortly.

A Spring fair is planned for the Sunday 3rd April. We are looking to sell cake and refreshments, to hold a Plant Stall (Garden and House plants), have an area where you can purchase seeds and plant them in pots ready to take home and many other exciting things. As the weather warms and you’re out in the garden dividing and clearing, if you have any plants that you can spare these would be most welcome on the stall. If you have any other ideas, or you’d like to take part and help out please could you let us know either by contacting a committee member or by emailing us at the VPS email address.

Thank you, again to Andy Shuttleworth for providing this month’s Village History – Part 2 of Fanny Adlam
I was fascinated by the story of Fanny Adlam and the Bile Beans and wondered what had become of her. Part of this interest was due to a tragic event in the village sometime earlier, which I will write about next month which also involved the Adlam/Adlem family.
Fanny married a chap called Frank Smith Blewden, a labourer, in Shrewton in November 1905. Frank was born in 1877 and lived in Jessamine Cottage in High Street, Shrewton with his mother. Fanny and Frank seem to have set up home in Shrewton, but I don’t know where. They may have both moved in with his mother. On 15th November 1908, Frank and Fanny’s first child, Vera Maud Smith Blewden was christened in Maddington Church. Sadly, Fanny died shortly afterwards and her burial is recorded in Shrewton on 8th December 1908. Death during, or shortly after, childbirth was common at the start of the 20th century; childbed and puerperal fevers were often the cause.
Sadly, I can find no record of Vera beyond her christening date. It is probable that she also died shortly after her birth; an all too common event at that time. Frank went on to join the army as 21206 Pte FS Blewden in the 5th Bn Wiltshire Regiment. We know he was involved in the landing at ANZAC Cove in early August 1915 during the Gallipoli campaign and was probably involved in the attack at Sari Bair. Frank was lucky to survive, as the Turkish counter-attack wiped out half of his battalion. His unit were eventually transferred to Suvla Bay, before moving back through the Helles bridgehead to Port Said and the Suez Canal. He and his unit subsequently moved eastwards to Mesopotamia in February 2016 (modern day Iraq), where they were involved in the failed attempt to lift the Turkish siege of the British Garrison at Kut al Amara. It seems likely that Frank was badly wounded around this time, just before the British Garrison surrendered on 29th April 1916 – something described by one British historian as “the most abject capitulation in Britain’s military history. We know that Frank died of his wounds on 26th April 1916 and he is buried in Plot VI. E.13 of the Amara Left Bank Indian War Cemetery in Al Amara, Iraq. British military hospitals were clustered on both banks of the Tigris at this time, so it seems likely that Frank had been moved back from the front to one of these after he had been wounded. Almost a century later, the British Army were back in Al Amara.

Winterbourne Stoke entries
Olivia Dutton collates the news from Winterbourne Stoke to submit to the Parish Magazine. Please contact her on 01980 621247/07760 618078 or The deadline for going to print is noon of 16th of the month, so please make sure to send it to her by 14th of each month.

Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council