Category Archives: arts

NEWS: TV barn / flagpole? / dance in Draycott / Covid recedes

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid August 2021
In this post we have news of…: Cow barn on TV / flags for village centre? / welcome to new dance-school / the effect of Covid.

For news of what’s on in our area at this time, please click here

_ _ _
Before, a barn; Now, a home

It’s a good bet that many people in Draycott watched the ‘Great British Home Restoration’ TV programme on More4 on Sunday night. It featured the Barn-On-The-Rocks house (opposite the Draycott Arms), which has been lovingly transformed over the last few years from an old cow barn into a family home.

Charlie Luxton, presenter, with Sarah & George Plant, and Bonnie (Pic: Channel 4)

Goodness though: what a lot of toil and trouble that Sarah & George Plant (and Bonnie the baby) went to, to get it done! At one point, as they dug down, they hit sheer rock before they expected to – that was a tough moment… All in all, a really interesting programme.

Barn On The Rocks
The barn, as it was originally

One important aspect, as far as the village as a whole is concerned, is that the 200 year-old barn still retains its character from the outside. The exterior conversion has been faithful to the spirit of the past, and that (for us, anyway) is quite important – thanks for that to the Plants.
For more reaction, check out the village Facebook page.
You can still see the programme (on Channel More4 catch-up); or do have a look at the photos, on the Plants’ Instagram account @thebarnconversion; or read the report in the Sentinel.
_ _ _
To flag, or not to flag

Draycott Council seems unsure what to do with the ‘Village Centrepoint’ (the patch of ground surrounded by posts on the central junction). Though residents have come up with more than a few ideas, the project seems to lack a co-ordinated approach.
The latest suggestion from the council is to place an eight-metre high flagpole on it. The idea has been costed and will come to around £600.

Flagpole at Draycott Church

We’re not sure about this.
There is already a flagpole one hundred yards away, at the church (see pic above), so why another put up another, very expensive, one so close?
Public flag placements are very symbolic, and are subject to a number of strict procedures – so is there an individual to be found who can do the raising, lowering and changing of the flags in the necessary frequent, proper and respectful ways?
The centrepoint has already been subject to vandalism (when some of the posts were broken, two months ago) – so how will the flagpole be protected?
And finally, does the village want a flagpole there at all? The councillors have done no consultation on the matter at all, and we feel they should.

Incidentally, don’t forget that Draycott Council is currently looking for volunteers to come forward to sit on the council. You have until September 6th to put in a letter saying you’re prepared to serve.
_ _ _
Welcome to the dance

Yes, welcome to the Garland & Pearce School of Dance & Performing Arts, which has now decided to take up residence at the Draycott Sports Centre after being based in Uttoxeter for some time. So, it sounds like we have our very own ‘Fame’ school!
Following their re-location in June, they are now underway with their classes, including a summer school (see our What’s On page for details).
Well done too to the Draycott Sports Centre, which is proving a very inclusive organisation, and is to be congratulated.

(By contrast to the sports centre, the so-called ‘communuity hub pavilion’ at the cricket club in Cresswell has barely made an impression on the life of the village. Surely the club needs to start fulfilling its promises…?)
_ _ _
Covid – receding?

Without wishing to tempt fate – who knows what is still to happen? – it looks like we are over the worst of Covid. But all of us will know someone who caught it, and suffered. Some of us will even know friends who died.

Across the UK, the stats show that more than 130,000 people have died of the disease during the pandemic so far.
Now, local stats have also been collated, and the figures for North Staffordshire show that, during the two worst periods, there were 25% more ‘excess deaths’ in the population in our region. This means that, for every 40 deaths, eight of them were ‘excess’ to the normal pattern, and nearly all of these were of Covid-infected people.
It’s a very sad statistic – and North Staffs was not even the worst-hit…

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to near the bottom of this page.
(The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight alerting you to the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

Council’s new (old) arms logo

Our Draycott village council recently decided it needed a logo for its official letterheads – so it chose to have the ancient arms of the Draycott Family.
But did they get the arms’ details right?

Call to arms
The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that, as of last year, the village council has started using a version of the old arms on its official documents. This design now appears on the council’s official minutes.

Why exactly the councillors felt they needed a logo after one hundred years of existence isn’t recorded, nor do the minutes record why they went for the ancient Draycott Family arms as its logo instead of designing a more modern image.
(The Draycott Family were the ‘lords of the manor’ here for more than 600 years, from Norman times until dying out in 1698.)

Nevertheless, the council did it, and, last autumn, even went one step further.
The council had decided to buy and install a new public waste-bin (for £250) outside the churchyard – and decided (for a little extra cash), to have their ‘new’ logo permanently etched on to it (see pic below) … A little more historical research was done, and finally all the councillors were sure that the logo was designed to their satisfaction.

Bin outside churchyard

But are the arms strictly accurate?

Confusion
It’s very easy to get confused in heraldry matters. Everything in it is defined down to the very tiniest twist of a tail. As we wrote about in a previous article, even the sign on the Draycott Arms pub is wrong in a tiny one of its details.
The council learnt from the pub’s mistake; the colours are now all correct. The shape of the cross has also been slightly changed from the council’s earlier version – in the summer 2020 version, it was a more of a ‘cross urdee’ (in heraldic terms), which is not the Draycott Family arms’ type of cross.

Patonce
But is the cross on the new logo right, even after this correction?
According to heraldry, the Draycotts’ cross is a ‘cross patonce’, in which the ends of the cross splay out in three extended prongs (looking somewhat ‘like an animal’s paw’). But the current council version has more ‘nippled’ or ‘budded’ ends, which you might find on a ‘cross bottonnée’.
If you’re interested, the Heralds Net website has a guide to all the many different types of cross.

The best place to look for evidence of what the cross really looks like is probably St Margaret’s Church, of which the Draycotts were patrons for 500 years. You’ll see patonces all over it, from the patonce cross over the porch to the patonces on gravestones (see photos below). The patonce is even more popular in Cresswell at St Mary’s churchyard, where many of the older gravestones show it.

  • Patonce cross surmounting St Mary Church
  • Patonce cross on gravestone at St Mary's

But the most authentic Draycott patonces are to be found on the tombs of the medieval Draycotts, in a side-chapel at St Margaret’s, the so-called ‘Draycott Chapel’. After all, here the history of the Draycott Family is preciously guarded; generations of Draycotts are buried here, from the 1200s right up to the late 1600s.
In fact though, the medieval sculptors could be a bit sloppy, so the shapes of the crosses can vary a little – but the fact is that, generally, the Draycott tombs favour the fully splayed ends of the cross.


So – what’s the verdict? Well, in the long run, the verdict is that the council has deviated, but only slightly, from what we might call the ‘true’ patonce cross: the arms of the council’s cross are fatter than those on the tombs, and the council has also underplayed the splayed effect at the ends.
(Curiously enough, the Draycott Arms Pub sign is more accurate in this particular regard).

Does it matter?
The truth is though – even after all this deep investigation – that it doesn’t really matter (except to a few nerds like us…) what the logo looks like.
The basic fact is that the council, just like the pub, can have any version it likes, with any colours and shapes it likes. Until the council actually needs to ‘adopt arms’ formally, an exact version is not a statutory or legal matter.
In our opinion, the logo is nice & bright, fairly recognisable to most local people, and has a deep connection with the village… and is accurate to the Draycott Family arms to, er, 99%!

So … what does everyone think of the new logo?
Do they like it?
Or would they have preferred a more modern or original design to represent the council?

***
Want to comment on anything on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

NEWS: buses return? / art competition / village centre / bright light / food bank

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late June 2019
In this post we have news of…: buses returning to the village? / an art competition for youngsters / new food-bank drop-off / Keg’s bright light softened / a centre-piece for Draycott?… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including the annual Draycott Fayre…  Check out the Events page)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & Cresswell & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

_ _ _
Buses are back! (soon)

It’s been a while since the last bus service ran through Draycott & Cresswell. When Staffordshire County Council withdrew its subsidy for the Number 12 eighteen months ago, that was that.
The only way at present to get a bus locally is to first walk to either Blythe Bridge or Tean.

Bennett's Number 4 bus

It’s been a while since we last saw a bus in the village

But it looks like that will change later this year.
This is because local village councils are now increasingly taking it on themselves to provide subsidies, and Draycott Council is itself now also going to experiment with the concept. Draycott is joining up with Fulford and Forsbrook Councils to provide a straight-through bus going Fulford – Cresswell – Draycott Level – Blythe Bridge and it will touch on Tesco at Meir Heath as well. There will be one (return) service three days a week.
Sadly, it won’t run through Totmonslow though.

The service, run by D&G Buses, will apply normal charges (bus passes will be accepted); and is likely to start in the autumn.

For a small council like Draycott, it’s ambitious – but very risky. The subsidy will cost Draycott £1800 (around a fifth of its yearly income) – though, if the service is a success, much of that will be reimbursed to the council.
So, for now, the service is only guaranteed for six months. This will be truly a case of use-it-or-lose-it.

The lead councillor on this project is Gordon Winfield. Why not contact the council to tell them what YOU think … or, even better, come along next Monday (July 8th) to the next council meeting and have your say?

_ _ _
Budding Picassos – it’s your time

There are now less than a few days for youngsters to get in their artworks for the Draycott Fayre Young-Art Competition.
The competition is open to early-years children (5 to 11 years old) and entries must be this Friday (July 5th).

The competition is just one of a raft of new ideas which are making this year’s fayre (which takes place in a fortnight, on Sunday 14th July) look so exciting. So, adults… get your little ones drawing, or painting or crayoning now – whatever they prefer!

The basic ‘rules’ are simple. Try to compose something on the theme of saving life on this planet; and create it on a piece of A4 size material, whether it’s paper, card, canvas, whatever.
When you’re done, post it through the letterbox at The Draycott Arms or at Blythe Bridge Library.
(For full terms and conditions, click here).

Go on…. try it…!    The entries get pride-of-place at an exhibition on the day of the fayre.

_ _ _
Drop off food, near home

The distressing news that so many children in this country now live below the poverty line continues to shock us all; and is a reason why food banks are still so well used by those who just can’t afford to keep going easily.
What is wonderful though is how generous the rest of us can be, and most food banks still get plenty of donations thankfully.
However, it’s not always so convenient for us to get our donations to the main food bank at Cheadle, which is only open certain days and has parking issues.
So, it’s good news that Christ Church (on Hollington Road in Upper Tean, opposite the Great Wood Centre) now has a collection box for the Foodbank at the back of the building. The church is open every day until about teatime when donations are collected by volunteers.
Well done to the folk at Christ Church.

_ _ _
A little place of pride

Draycott Village Council has decided to take seriously the idea of creating a ‘centre-piece’ for the village.
There is a small triangle of grass at the bottom of Church Lane (opposite the turn into Cresswell) which at the moment looks a bit scruffy and is just used for off-road parking; and Councillor Mark Deaville would like to see it used ‘artistically’.

Draycott Triangle – currently mainly used for off-road parking

So, the idea is to fence off the triangle with low posts (to prevent the parking) – but also to set within it some objects, which will let motorists know that they are passing through a village which has a sense of its own pride.
Quotes are being sought, as we speak, for the cost of installing such posts.

But what should be placed in the Triangle – if anything? Don’t forget that a large new roundabout is planned to be built right by the Triangle relatively soon, so motorists will be travelling quite slowly past the project and will get to see it well.
(We personally would love to see a village sign there – see our Village Sign Article).
Do you have ideas? Why not contact the council to tell them what YOU think … or, even better, come along next Monday (July 8th) to the next council meeting and have your say?

_ _ _
Electric light

Talking of village conservation, it seems that complaining to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council does sometimes result in action…
Some residents at the western end of Draycott were unhappy about the new LED illuminated sign outside the Golden Keg. They complained that its colour was garish and that the way it flashed on and off was disturbing to them in their nearby homes.

Well, it seems like the officers at SMDC agree with the residents … to an extent. They ordered the restaurant to stop the sign flashing.
So, in theory at least, the effect of the light should not be quite so intrusive now.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.
(The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight alerting you to the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

NEWS: vacancy deadline / council tax mess / banner of history / Local Plan debates

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late October 2018
In this post we have news of…: the council needs you! / council tax mess-up / Draycott’s history banner / debates at Local Plan inquiry …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a talk about World War One…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

_ _ _
Be a councillor… for six months…

Following the death of its vice-chairman, Draycott in the Moors Parish Council has announced that any resident who feels themselves suitable to fill the post should come forward and apply for a place on the council.
There won’t be an election; instead, any resident should just drop a line to the clerk explaining why they think they could be good in the role.

There are a few stipulations: you must live or work locally, be an elector etc (see councillor stipulations), but it’s all fairly straightforward.
Your note to the clerk should give a brief description of yourself and what your connection with the Draycott-Cresswell-Totmonslow area is and a line about why you want to be a councillor. If you are selected to the short list, you’ll be expected to make a short presentation about yourself to the councillors too. The councillors will then make a choice.

This is a great opportunity for someone who just wants to see up-close how local government works at the village level. So…. why not give it a go??
As there will be full elections next May, this post is only for six months (though the candidate can seek re-election then if they want, of course).
You have until November 9th to email the clerk (draycottparishcouncil@aol.co.uk); and you should be available on the evening of November 12th to see the councillors.

_ _ _
Banner of history

The History Weekend at St Margaret’s Church was a great success, with dozens of people coming from far and wide to check out the ancient building and also to join in the celebrations for its 750th anniversary.
There were some really interesting discussions too on the extremely unpredictable future of the St M’s: what really is going to happen to it over the next twenty years…and what can be done about it?

But the highlight of the weekend was the unveiling on the Sunday (Oct 21st) of a specially-made banner.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Draycott Craft Club – especially its leading lights, Jackie Knott, Pauline Clarke and Pam Hibell – had created it as a tribute, and it was unveiled by the bishop, who had arrived for the day.  It really is a simply terrific piece of work, outlining the history of the village over the last millennium, and has been beautifully made.  A credit to the makers, it now has pride of place in the church.

Unfortunately the church is kept locked most of the week, although the church is open for services on Sundays, so it can be seen at those times.
For more pictures of the history weekend, click here.

_ _ _
VVSM gets a hearing

Well done to Jacquie Leach (a VVSM supporter), who made sure that the controversial issues regarding Draycott & Cresswell did not just get swept under the carpet at the recent Moorlands Local Plan inquiry. The inquiry, based in Leek and headed up by a government-appointed inspector, took place over seven days at the beginning of this month.

Jacquie LeachOn the day appointed for discussion about Draycott district, Jacquie (pic, right) was there to speak up and debate the issues with the inspector. Jacquie told us that she felt compelled to give it one last shot.

She stood up and told the inquiry that that our district was in danger of being swamped – with 500 new houses in the pipeline and a large expansion of industry on the way, all of which would lead to a near-doubling of the population (and traffic) over the next ten years. She pointed out that much of the development was contrary to the regional Core Strategy guidelines. For more of how the day went, click here.

Let’s hope the government inspector listened, and gave her arguments full consideration.

_ _ _
Council tax mess up

We know now how much the new clerk at Draycott village council is to be paid. This was kept under wraps at first (why, who knows?) but it was bound to come out eventually because it has to be mentioned in the monthly accounts, and so it has.
(A council clerk is basically the ‘manager’ of the council’s business and, amongst everything else, also has to deal with all the new government legislation that keeps coming in).
Denise, who was appointed in May and will be part-time (4.5 hours a week), is to be paid £10 an hour, i.e. £200 a month.

Last year there was much discussion at village meetings over the rate of pay & hours for the clerk, (which has not gone up in many years). It’s a responsible, legally-fraught position, but while some felt that a clerk was not worth much more than the national living wage, others felt that the job had become much more demanding and therefore wages should be more in line with what other parish councils do (who pay up to £12 an hour).

person holding black pen wrting 'TAX'

Which leads us to … the council tax mess-up.

At the January meeting of the council, it was decided to go for a very large increase in the parish council’s demand for council tax – a jump of almost 12%… (!!) to cover an increase in pay & hours for the clerk. (It was pointed out at the time that it wasn’t strictly necessary, as there was enough money in the reserves to cover it, but the councillors went ahead anyway).
All over the rest of the country, austerity was still in place and other councils were deliberately trying to keep their council tax down – but Draycott Council went ahead anyway with this massive increase.

And then… the councillors changed their minds about the clerk’s pay-rate.

Again, we’ll never know exactly what happened – because the councillors’ discussion was in secret (why… who knows?) – but a few weeks later, the councillors reverted to offering £10 an hour. The then-clerk Kate Bradshaw resigned in disgust (not just about pay, but a number of matters); so a vacancy had to be announced – but a number of new suitable new candidates walked away when they learned the rate on offer.
Fortunately, eventually, Denise, a very able candidate, came along, and she accepted the rate of pay.

So… why exactly did we have to have the increase in tax foisted upon us???
In the end, the residents of Draycott parish were forced to pay considerably extra in their council tax for something that never happened.

It’s not even the first time that Draycott councillors have put large increases in council tax on us.  Over the last ten years, there have been inflation-busting demands for increases of 9.9% (2007), 11% (2009), 4% (2011), 14% (2012), a staggering 24% (!!) in 2014; 6% (2015); and this year (2018) 11.8%.
Don’t forget that, over this period, inflation was running only at rates between zero to 2.5%…

Roll on the elections next May!  We need new, common-sense, thoughtful representatives to come forward, stand for election and shake Draycott Council up; we really do.

***
Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: VVSM end / Anthony exhibits / best to Dave / trees success

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-December 2017
In this post we have news of…: VVSM action group disbands / Anthony Hammond exhibition / Dave Trigger’s operation / Xmas Tree fest goes well…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including loads of carol-singing get-togethers!!..  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
VVSM no more

One bit of news that residents may not welcome, but will certainly be welcomed by all the developers who want a bit of Draycott, is that the local community-action group VVSM has decided to disband (see their announcement).
It seems like not enough people were coming forward to help keep the group running, and the weight of work was just too much for the few people left.

It’s a great shame, as VVSM can rightly claim much of the credit for the fact that, back in 2009, the developers who wanted to build a gas power station in Cresswell eventually withdraw their application.
The group went on to hire legal teams to fight the next big problem, the Blythe Park housing estate application, and managed to expose an awful lot of facts that had been kept hidden and even misreported, thus slowing down the progress of those plans.
They also contributed to the general life of the community, installing a defibrillator in Cresswell among other achievements.

However, as VVSM say in their latest post, it does seem as though everyone in the district, from householders to politicians, now just think that there is very little that can be done about development issues… and have given up. This may explain why no new members have come forward.

It may be something we regret though. The housing-estate at Blythe Vale has now been approved as well the one at Blythe Park, so the developers will now next be looking hungrily at Cresswell ridge (on the skyline above Uttoxeter Road) where outline planning permission for further development is already approved.
Without VVSM in place, those developers will certainly have a much easier ride.

– – –
Fun with trees

Congratulations to Pauline & John Clarke, the organisers of the Draycott Christmas Tree Festival. Once again, they created an event that really did try to pull the local community together – and there really aren’t enough of such events in Draycott.

Among the groups that decorated, themed, and submitted trees were the Draycott Women’s Institute, the local cricket club, the bellringers group, Forsbrook School, the Draycott Brownies and more. Draycott Manor School did the event a compliment by putting in four trees!
The most thoughtful tree (we think) was the one from Forsbrook Primary, which was a Poet-Tree (geddit?) with poems written by the children hanging from the branches.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

However, as usual, it’s a shame that more groups, families and businesses did not take part.
Community spirit does seem to be declining in Draycott, especially compared to all the wonderful things happening in the villages surrounding us. What can be done to improve it?

– – –
Anthony gets exhibited

It’ll soon be the kids’ holidays, so if you’re looking for a quick trip out, why not try Newcastle-under-Lyme Museum? There is lots of stuff for kids there.
But the reason we mention the museum particularly is because local man, Anthony Hammond, has an exhibition on there at the moment; it runs until January 8th.

Anthony Hammond soldier sculptureAnthony specialises in carving sculptures out of tree-trunks, which he does with a specially adapted electric saw. Many of us will have seen him doing his stuff at the Draycott Summer Fayre.
He was recently in the papers for a fantastic carving of a World War One soldier (see right), which you can also see at Newcastle.
Well worth a visit.

Incidentally lots of you ask after his grandmother, local-legend Betty Hammond. Apparently, she is doing well at the moment, even if she is less mobile than she was. This Christmas will be her 104th!

– – –
Best wishes

One person who has been sadly absent from village activity for quite a while is Dave Trigger, one of the three councillors who represent this district on Staffordshire Moorlands Council.

Dave has a wealth of knowledge about local government and about engineering (his specialist subject) and he often brings a lot of common sense to the table whenever he has got along to a Draycott Council meeting in the past.

He has faced a major operation, which – everyone hopes – will go some way to getting him back on his feet.
If you still haven’t completed your Xmas card mail-out, you could add him to it…

***
Do you have news you’d like to see written up on this website? If so – just email us!

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment

NEWS: Church histories / roundabout update/ Boundary event / car park solution

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-June 2017
In this post we have news of…:  church histories on sale again / Draycott roundabout update / Boundary history event / cricket club solves car park issue…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Hog-Roast & Fete. Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Church’s every nook & cranny…

It’s great to see the re-publication of three definitive booklets about the history of Draycott St Margaret’s Church. Very few print copies of these works are now available; even reference copies are hard to find.

Some history-buffs will be already aware of two of the booklets: ‘Parish Church of St Margaret’ by June Johanneson & Ken Burgess (1989); ‘and ‘A Condensed History of St Margaret’s Church’ written by Bert Spencer using researches of Ken & Mollie Burgess (publ 1995). Bert’s booklet is the one to look at if you are new to the church; it picks out the main features and is nice and short (20 pages).

St Margaret's Church 1967, Goodier

St Margaret’s Church 1967 – drawing by Goodier

Of course, both these histories are developments of an earlier, 1967 work by Rev Charles Healey (the rector here during the 1960s), called ‘A Short History of St Margaret’s Church’.

However, the document that hardly anybody has seen up to yet is the ‘NADFAS Guide to St Margaret’s’ (1996).  Only three of these were published – as it’s a whopping 200 pages long and full of the very deepest details.
If you want to know every last meaning in any one of the stained-glass windows, or the material used in every piece of stonework, or the date of every piece of furniture in the church, then this is the work for you!!

NADFAS book, tiles

Even each floor-tile is described & explained!

Vera Marsh, a local parishioner herself, was one of the fifteen volunteers who compiled the research, which took two years to complete. Vera, who wrote the section about the stained-glass windows (and still worships at the church), told us that she is absolutely delighted that the tome is now finally available to all…

All these three publications have now been copied digitally to CD – and the CD is available for £5. Income from sales will go straight into the church’s repair fund. Email John Clarke or phone him on 01782 396190 for details.

And, don’t forget…
If you do love old churches, all are invited to go along to St Margaret’s Open Days – on the first Saturday of July and August and September between 2 and 4pm. Look for the ‘church open’ sign. There is always someone to tell you about the church if you wish to know more.
If you do buy this St Margaret’s History CD, you may even be the expert in the building!

– – –
Methodist history too

It’s not just Draycott … many communities across the region are beginning to realise the importance of the history of their old churches. Now that local schools and post offices are closing, and even country pubs are feeling the financial heat, an old church is sometimes the only place remaining that links us to our collective past.

Boundary Methodist Chapel

Boundary Methodist Chapel

Our local Methodists too have realised this and are celebrating the history of their tiny historic chapel at Boundary (Boundary is next hamlet along from Draycott Cross, so quite a few Draycottians will know the chapel well).
Every Saturday afternoon during August, between 2pm-4pm, the chapel will be hosting a history display with photos and memorabilia going right back tot when the chapel opened.

Do you have stories to tell, or can you help with the loan of any photos featuring Boundary or its residents or the chapel? It’s not too late. Just email Jenny, or phone her on 01782 394983

– – –
Car parking – sorted!!

Well done to Blythe Cricket Club!
The gates to the club’s ground in Cresswell are right on the brow of a humpback hill and in the past, when the club’s car-park was full, visitors to the ground have parked on the roadside.

Blythe cricket parking overspill

New parking overspill site for cricket club

But, as everyone knows, parking on the top of a hill which has a blind brow can be dangerous; and residents did ask for the club to do something about the problem before an accident occurred.
A secondary factor is that the club is a victim of its own success. The First XI is doing so well in the NSSCL Division One that more spectators are attracted to come to watch – making a need for even more parking space. The club said they’d try to come up with a solution.

Well – true to their word, the club has now solved the problem.
What the club has done has got permission to use the field opposite the entry – which is now functioning as an overspill car-park.
Well played, Blythe CC!

– – –
Draycott’s central roundabout (planned)

One of the big shake-ups for Draycott will be the huge increase in traffic coming along Uttoxeter Road when the proposed housing-estate & industrial-estate are built.
Industrial vehicles will not be allowed to go south from the new business-park because the roads in Hilderstone (the next district along going south) are too narrow, so all the industrial traffic will have to come through Draycott Level.
Because snarl-ups will be inevitable otherwise (see VVSM Highways Report), a huge new roundabout is planned for the centre of the village.

Proposed roundabout for Uttoxeter Rd/Cresswell Lane

Proposed roundabout for Uttoxeter Rd/Cresswell Lane

The diagram that has been produced by the planners & developers (see pic above) is a bit confusing though, and back in January one of our district councillors, Dave Trigger, agreed to research the issue and get some answers.
Not surprisingly, residents are wondering where that research is. However, the bad news is that Dave has been very ill since the beginning of the year and not been able to fulfil more the most basic of his duties… so residents will have to wait.
Dave is a highways expert, so he really is the man for the job.
In the meantime, we send our best wishes to him and hope he gets better as soon as possible.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: elections in / book success / accounts (?) / bowls club

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-June 2017
In this post we have news of…:  the recent election results / local history book success / council’s invisible accounts / bowls club open …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Fun Tennis Tournament. Check out the Events page)

For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Results are in

Well, that’s it for elections for a while (hopefully!).
Since last year’s referendum, we in Draycott have had a parish-council bye-election, a county council election, AND a general election. The next lot is due in 2019.

As for the results, Tory candidate Mark Deaville was re-elected as one of our Staffordshire county councillors for the Cheadle & Checkley ward (which includes us) with a whopping 56% of the vote. No-one else was in sight. Sadly, the turn-out was just a measly 28% of the electorate.
Soon after the election, the Conservative administration on the county council confirmed that Mark will resume his post as the county’s Cabinet member for highways. Congratulations to him.

In the general election, it was a similar story with Conservative Bill Cash storming home to be (again) our MP for the Stone constituency. Oddly, the trailing Labour candidate did get a huge increase his votes too – but that is explained by the total collapse of the local UKIP vote.

Weirdly, Mr Cash has just put up a new website – https://billcashforstone.wordpress.com/ – about his work in this constituency, but it is the most amateurish piece of work we’ve seen in a long time. It’s hard to believe he approved it.
Sadly, Mr Cash has turned off the comments function of this website; it would have been nice to be able to put a comment on!

– – –
Email a photo now

Our local library at Blythe Bridge has a photography completion running at the moment – and they are looking for photos of this whole area (including Draycott).
The idea is that the photos should be of a local quiet spot, somewhere where a person can just sit and contemplate the world. It could be your own back-yard, or it could be somewhere where you stop for a moment on your walks.

Draycott churchyard

A place to stop and think: Draycott St Margaret’s churchyard…

It’s easy to take part – just email your photo to the library – and you could be in with a chance of winning a prize!
Click here for the rules etc.

– – –
Successful history book

Congratulations to local boy Matthew Pointon whose book about the history of Draycott-in-the-Moors raised over £700 in profit.
Matthew, who took not a penny himself, asked for the profits to be divided equally among the two historic churches in Draycott – St Margaret’s Parish Church and St Mary’s RC Church at Cresswell.

The parish council, who put up the initial money to see the book published, decided such an achievement needed a special event to celebrate it; and a History Event was held at St Margaret’s on June 3rd.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

During the afternoon, Levison Wood, the chairman of the local history society, led a special history tour of the village, which was very successful; and tea & cakes were served (for free!!).  Alongside that were special displays remembering the long, long history of this village.

– – –
Bowls – a true Summer sport

One of the disadvantages of a lot of summer sports is that they can be cancelled because of rain. However, not so in crown-green bowls!
The sturdy members of the local bowling club in Cresswell pretty much carry on in the rain – unless it’s lashing down.

Sue Stepek, the club’s secretary, says the club is still keen to find new members – from absolute beginners to skilled champions.
Basic membership is £10 for the year, though that means you have to pay £1 each time you use the green. The clubhouse on the site was refurbished last year, so it’s a comfortable experience.
The great thing is that the green is pretty much open all the time; it’s sited at the entrance to the business park in Cresswell, so it is open 16 hours a day!

The club get-together is always on Thursday afternoon, so that is a good time to wander over and introduce yourself if you want to have a go, or get some guidance.

– – –
Invisible accounts

Lastly, you may have seen on the noticeboards that Draycott Council has finally published its end-of-year accounts, and we all have until Friday 21st July to examine them, and, if need be, query them.

Trouble is: how do you get to them, to see them?

Most local councils now put a print-out on their noticeboards, or publish them online.  This what next-door Milwich Council and Dilhorne Council have done. The government is urging every council to do it one of these ways.
Some councils (including next-door Hilderstone Council) even publish the chairman’s annual report online.

But not Draycott Council.  At least, not yet.
In this district, what we have to do is first apply to the council clerk for permission to see them, and then (presumably – but who knows?) we have to trudge round to an address somewhere just to see the papers.
Wouldn’t it just be simpler – and more democratic – to publish them online on the council’s website?
Please?

====STOP PRESS:  A week after this article was written, these accounts were published online after all – see Draycott Council Accounts 2016/17. Thank you to the council for responding to residents’ requests).=====

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

NEWS: AGM…not / Joe’s heritage / artwork / cricket on the up

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-May 2017
In this post we have news of…:  When is an AGM not an AGM? / Blythe CC on a roll / Joe Thorley’s heritage / artwork at The Arms …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a Grand Prix Dance Festival. Check out the Events page)

For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
You couldn’t make it up

An ‘annual general meeting’ is the high spot of an organisation’s year – with summaries of achievements, and a chance to review the past year and the annual accounts, and more.
So, the AGM of Draycott Parish Council is a big deal – after all, this council spends nearly £10,000 every year of local residents’ money, which they take from us in tax.
This year’s AGM took place on Monday.

Guess what?
There was no Chairman’s Report (the usual look-back at the council’s activities over the last twelve months); the annual accounts hadn’t been audited in time so we didn’t see them; and the reports from our SMDC district councillors didn’t happen either, because, er, they didn’t turn up. So … that is hardly what we call an AGM….!
How can we the public put sensible questions at an AGM if no reports and figures are forthcoming?

It is also the time of year when our local councillors need to be sure that their ‘declarations of interest’ (i.e. the things they do that might affect their role as councillors) are up to date.  So, as you do, we checked each one of them.  You can see them all for yourself, by clicking here.
Well, it turns out that not one of the current councillors (i.e. excluding Pat) has actually filled in the form correctly; and there was no form at all for one councillor – despite the fact that he has been on the council for over ten years!
Even worse was the revelation that hardly any councillor was able to think of anything when asked on the form for their “leading roles in community organisations”.

Some people think that this website is overly critical of the Draycott Council, but, honestly, this is simple stuff.  If, as a councillor, you take on the responsibility of spending ten grand of our money every year, surely you can start with getting the basics right…

– – –
Smashing Blythe!

Blythe Cricket Club First XI has, we are happy to say, got off to a cracking start to their season.  They were unbeaten until last weekend (when they succumbed to an unexpected reverse at Wood Lane).  Their home games, at their Cresswell ground, have been a joy to watch.
And all this without their professional, the Bangladesh international Mosharraf Hossain.  Mosharaf has been unable to take up his place because of the surprising recent success of his Bangladesh side, which has been progressing through international tournaments with ease!  One hopes he will be here soon though.

Meanwhile, work on the new £500,000 pavilion & centre goes on. It’s hoped that everything will be completed on time – i.e. in mid-July.  What a party that will be when it throws its doors open!

PS – don’t let the ongoing work at the ground put you off attending as a spectator.  The bar is (temporarily) in the annexe… and the beer tastes just as good.

– – –
Culture & beer

Sometimes when you want a quiet pint on your own, you might take a newspaper with you.  But what happens if you forget your paper?

Draycott Arms artwork
Well, at The Draycott Arms, they’ve solved that problem.  All you have to do is check out the art on the walls (see pic).  There are a number of interesting paintings on the walls, most of which have been submitted by local artists.  You’ll recognise the names of Jackie Knott and Alan Savage, just for two.  An absorbing 20 minutes can be spent doing it.

The art changes regularly, and much of it is for sale, so, if you are a culture-vulture, you know what to do…

– – –
Joe’s heritage

One of the great characters of this district was Joe Thorley.  Between the 1920s and 1950s, he was often to be seen out with his photography equipment – and his photos are well worth checking out if you ever get the chance.  He also collected paintings of local scenes, and thank goodness he did, or they might have been lost forever.

The View of Tean High Street taken from the Old Roebuck Inn by John Gosling 1832
The ‘View of Tean High Street taken from the Old Roebuck Inn’ – see pic, above – (painted by John Gosling in 1832) was formerly owned by Joe.  Joe, who was a local farmer – at Totmonslow Farm – left it in his will to his sister Pat (Whitfield), who then herself donated to GreatWood Community Hall in Tean, where it can be seen to this day.

The future of Totmonslow Farm – the imposing building on the right as you go past the Totmonslow sign on the way to Tean – was in doubt for a while after Pat died.  However, the good news is that there are plans to adapt the barns into flats, though the actual farmhouse will remain lived in by family members.  It’ll be nice to see the farm buzzing with life again.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

Sign of the dragon for Draycott…

Here’s an idea: how about a ‘village sign’ for Draycott… in the shape of a dragon?  The money is available to have it carved, so why not?

After all, village-signs are now very popular – neighbouring Fulford has had a very smart one since 2013. And we have the ideal site for it – on the roadside bank down from the church cemetery…

The money is available too.  A community projects fund has been set up by the Draycott Council out of a grant from the Lower Newton Solar Farm, and, so far, there are only a few ideas of what to use the money for.

Dragon-Draco-Draycott

But why a village sign in the shape of a dragon?
Well… here we have to examine the murky past of the village – and we find out that dragons have been associated with the village for a very long time!

There is the legend of an appearance of one in the village back in olden times, the second dragon connection comes through St Margaret of Antioch, the patron saint of our parish church as the dragon is her symbol…

And a big dragon connection with the village comes through the Draycott family, because a pun the Latin word for dragon (‘draco’) fitted the family name nicely! The most famous member of the family, Anthony Draycott, even had the symbol of a dragon-head carved on his own memorial church-pew.

To read up on the whole dragon & Draycott connection, read our article: Dragons & Draycott

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dragon sign

So, dragons do have an association with Draycott – but, is a dragon a suitable sign for a quiet village?
Well, dragons are not just devouring monsters, they are in fact known as guardians. The famous Welsh Dragon is a defender of the country, as well as a symbol of the inhabitants’ great spirit.
So, a dragon could be seen as the village guardian…

And what of the practicalities?
Well, we do have a local wood-sculptor who might be persuaded to carve a figure. Anthony Hammond is his name, and he is well-known to most of us in Draycott, being both a local man and someone who pops up regularly to show off his skills at the Draycott Summer Fayre.
Well… the community fund money does have to be spent on something, so it’s a thought, isn’t it?

Fund

If you too have ideas for what could be done with the Draycott Council Community Fund, just contact the council clerk; or come along to any council meeting – the public section starts at 7.30 – and make your suggestion to the councillors.


Reference: The story of the dragon that appeared in ancient Draycott appears in an article by Rev Thomas Barns entitled ‘On Some Ancient Sites in North Staffordshire’ which can be found in the Journal of the North Staffordshire Field Club Volume 42 (1908)

St Mary’s Cresswell is listed

It’s official: Draycott in the Moors is home to the very newest building in the country to be ‘listed’.
The Historic England organisation has now declared that St Mary Catholic Church in Cresswell plus its cemetery cross have enough historic significance to be worthy of a ‘Grade Two Listing’. And we must thank one man for the work in ensuring this award was made – the parish priest at St Mary’s, Father David Hartley.

Pugin

Father Hartley took it on himself to undertake all the necessary research and paperwork, in order to persuade Historic England (which used to be called English Heritage) that this recognition really was something they should apply.
Sure enough, just a month ago, the listing was awarded.

Of course, even its best friends would not describe St Mary’s as impressive or beautiful. It is more a simple and homely church.
However its history, and its association with one of the great names of architecture, is enough to warrant it a place.

Though it was only completed in 1816, it was the first custom-built Roman Catholic church in North Staffordshire for almost three hundred years.  Previous to this time, Catholics had had to worship in semi-secrecy, having been marginalised by harsh laws and some persecution.

However, it is the church’s connection with the great nineteenth-century architect Augustus Pugin that also persuaded Historic England to make the award.
# The church’s famous ‘Annunciation’ stained glass window of 1848 was designed by Pugin (manufactured by the Birmingham glass firm of Hardman).
# The tall standing cross out in the graveyard opposite is also thought to be by Pugin, though absolute final proof is still being researched.
# Disappointingly though, the baptism font in the church has now been definitively declared as NOT by Pugin.  Historic England says: The font’s “rather crude carvings are not typical of his work”!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Significance

We all knew of course that the church had a special place in the history of North Staffordshire, but, give credit to Father Hartley – he thought it had significance nationally too…

This achievement may also come as quite a surprise to historians in the county, who perhaps were not aware what we have here in little Cresswell.  Even the Pugin Centre at Cheadle seemed unaware of their man’s connection with St Mary’s; and we now expect the UK Pugin Foundation to sit up and take notice too.

However, ironically, this exploit may be said to be Father Hartley’s goodbye-gift to the area – as he will be leaving for another parish in two months’ time.
Good to say though that his enthusiasm has led to a rebirth of interest in the history of Cresswell; and the parishioners at the church are continuing the research, and are planning a St Mary’s history exhibition in July – which will be the second they have held this year!

Listing

These two listings (one for the church, one for the graveyard cross) bring the number of historic listed structures in Draycott in the Moors as a whole to thirteen.
If you want to see the complete list and to find details about each listing, click here

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)