NEWS: great history / church meet / daffodils! / council tax / no postbox

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid February 2016
News of…:  successful history exhibition in Cresswell / parish council sets tax / crunch meeting for St Margaret’s / missing postbox / flowers in bloom…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a talk on wartime fashion… Check out the Events page)

– – –
History exhibition brings up rarities

The history exhibition in Cresswell at St Mary’s Catholic Church on the weekend was a real revelation, and, if you missed it, you missed a treat (and we’re not just talking about the cakes!)

There was a marvellous display of artefacts, some of them 500 years old, and lots to learn about the history of Cresswell and the church – with some very friendly guides.
Rose Brooks, who used to be a teacher in Tean, did a ‘powerpoint presentation’ which was very informative; and there were some modern picture-scenes, sewn and stitched by members of the congregation.
There was even an ancient phonograph, which played wax-cylinders of the greatest hits of Gilbert & Sullivan!

For many local history enthusiasts though, it was a real eye-opener, as many of the items had never been seen in public before, having been donated especially or been found in attic-searches.

Complete Works of Drexel, book

A little damaged, but looking not bad for 350 years old

A seventeenth century book, which was in surprisingly good condition, seeing as it had been subject to damp, took second pride of place (after the vestments, which dated back to Tudor times).
The Complete Works of Jeremias Drexel’, published in 1643 (in Latin), was one of the items stored in an ancient oak-chest that was discovered by accident, hidden behind a wall in a local farm over a hundred years ago. It’s since been lying around in a box in the jumble in the St Mary’s Church attic since, so this is the first time it’s seen the light of day in many years.

We’re told that the exhibition, which was set up as part of the church’s 200th anniversary celebrations, was so successful that it might be repeated – especially for all the people who missed it this time around.

– – –
St Margaret crunch meeting

Talking of local churches, our other one, St Margaret’s CoE, hosts a very important meeting next month.  It concerns nothing less than how local Anglicans wish to define a vision for themselves over the next few years – in other words, how they see their role in Draycott in the 21st Century, and what they intend to do about it.

The new vicar, Revd Jonathan Roberts, has been in post only a few months, but it’s clear that he wants to sort the ‘Big Stuff’ quickly.  If you are a practising Anglican, you’ll want to be there.
The meeting takes place on Wednesday 16 March at St Margaret’s from 7.30.

– – –
Weather talk

Well, we love nothing more than talking about the weather – so there’s been plenty to talk about recently, though some of it quite worrying.

Daffs in Cresswell

However, Nature can be relied upon to be cheerful too.
We’ve never seen snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils all blooming at the same time, but if you take a quick walk around Draycott area, that’s exactly what you’ll see.
It cheered us up.

– – –
Anyone seen a post-box?

The missing post-box near the old Bird In Hand Pub on the road south to Hilderstone is, umm, still missing.
It was stolen in November, and has never been recovered.
The Royal Mail did say at the time it would be replaced, but no new one has appeared.

At least Draycott Level was more fortunate when its post-box was knocked down by an errant motorist back last year. It was replaced in just days.
Maybe the Uttoxeter Road postmen and women put in a good word for us!

– – –
Council tax

Something we don’t like to talk about (unless we have to) is council tax.  Draycott-in-the-Moors Parish Council has been wrestling with what level their part of the tax should be set at.

As we know, Staffordshire County Council  was going to set it at a 1.95% rise, but has taken advantage of the government’s permission to add on an extra 2% (for increasing costs in adult care), meaning we all will be paying an extra 3.95% to them as of April.  Meanwhile, the Staffordshire Police Service will be charging no extra for their portion of the council tax.

So… what did Draycott Parish Council set their rise at?  As the clerk, Kate Bradshaw, explained to the councillors, the parish currently raises £8000 in tax every year and usually spends £8000 a year.  The councillors decided, as there is £2000 in the reserves, that therefore it will be a zero rise in their portion of the council tax this year.

This sounds sensible, but the CPALC, an advisory body for parish councils, always warns that local parish councils’ reserves should try to anticipate the cost of a snap by-election (as well as emergencies).  The last by-election in Draycott cost £3000 to mount, so… you do the math, as they say.
It’s a slightly risky decision.

Meanwhile, it’s strange to hear that a south Staffordshire parish council, Burntwood Town Council, is raising its council tax by a whopping thirty per cent.
The last council to raise tax by a similarly huge amount (25% in this instance, in 2014) was … Draycott Parish!

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