Tag Archives: draycott in the moors

The Future is coming

The next ten years could bring big changes to Draycott, and could completely change the district from being a semi-rural district into a suburban ribbon.
Resident Mark Stewart has written this piece, warning that we just don’t seem to be waking up to these facts.
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Five years ago, I wrote on this website about the way we were all sleepwalking into a possible development explosion in Draycott-Cresswell. Three years ago, the late parish councillor Steve Jones added: “The biggest threat to Draycott is the Constellation Project development plan … around the A50 in Draycott-Cresswell”.
And, as far back as 2014, the VVSM group pleaded with the then village council to vigorously get behind an official ‘neighbourhood plan’, in order to pre-empt potential large development.

All these warnings were ignored at the time, by residents as well as the village council, and suddenly we are now faced with 350-to-500 new homes going up here in this village in the next two years, increasing Draycott’s population by a whopping 90%. And there is the distinct prospect of even more building to come following that.

And Draycottians are still sleepwalking.

More building to come

St Modwen Homes openly plan to carry on their current (Blythe Fields) development further, into ‘Phase 2 and Phase 3’, which will see them building almost as far as Cresswell, along the top of the ridge overlooking Draycott and the A50, with a mix of more housing and light industry.

Planned Blythe Vale / Northern Gateway sites

The grey line running vertically through this photo is the A50. On the left side of it Phase 1, in red outline, Blythe Fields, has already started. The next two phases (in yellow outline) will see building stretch almost as far as Cresswell Pumping Station.

You’d think this would be alarming – but nobody, either councillors or residents, seems to be paying attention.

Thanks to this apathy, the planning authorities see Draycott as a pushover.
Staffordshire Moorlands Council (remember the shocking way they ignored official & expert advice in 2015 in order to pass the Cresswell Blythe Park estate development?) have already approved more development here, percentage-wise, than in any other of its wards or parishes. SMDC planners are already making provision for Phase 2 and Phase 3.

Who is standing up for us?

The ones who really should speak up for us, our political representatives, have been barely visible in these planning matters. Our MP, Bill Cash, who represents both Blythe Bridge & Draycott, has only sent letters (nothing more), while our own Draycott village council, which should care most of all, has been slow, feeble and muddle-headed, to say the least.

Blythe Fields outline diagram

The current Blythe Fields estate of 180 homes (up near the roundabout in this photo) only fills 10% of the land already approved for development (in red outline) in the district of Draycott

So, because of such apathy, the current SMDC Moorlands Local Plan has been able to allocate virtually the region’s whole quota of housing for semi-rural areas in … guess where? …Draycott-Cresswell… An amazing stat.

The apathy goes deep. A few months ago, in view of the seriousness of the situation, a local resident put in a proposal to the village council, that one of its members should be appointed to take special responsibility for The Future (including planning matters) as a way of bringing some urgency into meetings. But the idea was rejected out of hand.
(Even though, at the same meeting, a councillor was indeed given a special responsibility – to monitor village odd-job tasks!  You couldn’t make these things up…).

Another example: we all know about the current traffic chaos caused by the works – yet back in the summer it took a some local residents to make a great fuss before councillors even bothered to react to the Highway Department’s plans.

Compare our Draycott representatives’ apathy to councils in places like Cheddleton, where similar proposals have brought councillors and residents out on street demonstrations and where they have twice defeated the proposals; and in Tean, where the village council is threatening judicial review against ‘excessive’ development.

And some residents are losing patience with their village councils’ inaction.  Recently, in Creswell, a village near Stafford, every member of the parish council was forced to resign when householders simply lost patience with their representatives, and demanded they step down.

Housing

Yes, of course, this country, and this county, desperately needs new housing, but it’s not quite fair to place so much in one area, surely?
But it’s simply a lot easier for authorities to shove housing, even in large numbers, into areas where they know locals are not united.
Belatedly (and well after the Blythe Fields building started), a ‘Parishes Together’ group has been established, where village councillors from Draycott, Checkley and Blythe Bridge get together to talk about joint matters of interest. But this initiative looks to be far too late in the day to stop large development; and right now it is still just a talking-shop.

Boundaries

One excuse Draycott village council put up at the time for its lack of action over the Blythe Fields development is that most of the ongoing (i.e. Phase 1) building works fall into the boundaries of Blythe Bridge & Forsbrook council.

Blythe Fields on Forsbrook Draycott boundary

The St Modwen developments cross the Forsbrook-Draycott official boundaries

Through a strange lack of logic in the way parish council boundary lines were originally laid out years ago, land that should properly be in Draycott was allocated to Blythe Bridge. (Last year a resident called for Draycott Council to request a change of boundaries – this was again rejected).

But, when it comes to massive planning developments on their doorstep (ones like Blythe Park), all affected councils have a full right to get involved. If Draycott Council say “it’s not in our boundaries, we can do very little”, then they are very wrong.

And Forsbrook & Blythe Bridge’s council‘s view? It actually supports the Blythe Fields development. (Keith Flunder, a district councillor for Blythe Bridge, said at the time of the application: “People in general are in favour”.)
And why shouldn’t Blythe Bridge people support it? It means loads more council tax for them (as much as £5,000 a year or more), and they will get few of the social and environmental problems – which will nearly all accrue to Draycott.

Doesn’t it matter to most of us?

Of course, the fact is that most of Draycott’s population simply don’t worry about these issues.
Year in year out they vote for the self-same groups of people in elections (or don’t vote at all); while (to be fair to the councillors) participation from all but very few residents in any major new initiatives in the village is lacking.
So, we may lack leadership, but then we also lack community spirit. (The local community-action group, VVSM, after some amazing achievements, folded in 2017 – mostly because no new support was coming along.)

Maybe it’s simply that we believe that we can’t change things, even if we wanted to.
In fact, on the village Facebook page, this resident’s view seems to be the most accepted:  “…find some positives! The houses are not cheap so it should bring some extra cash. Extra cash means an extra boost to local economy, and a better local economy means we get better produce, products, services (here’s hoping) etc”.  Some residents even believe that those who don’t like the idea of huge expansion ‘should simply get out of Draycott‘.
Only a couple of small voices ever object to the lack of protest, such as this one: “…after destroying some beautiful countryside, on the new housing estate they have built so far what can only be described as the most bland red-brick buildings imaginable…

Hello to the Future

So…… As it stands, planning decisions indicate the following:
The last census (2011) put the population of Draycott at 1000 but, in ten years time, it could well be 3000 (including Blythe Fields expansions).

One can predict that the village’s traffic flows, pressure on schools and doctors’ surgeries, and social disruption will all grow.
On the other hand, we may get a shop, and more business for our pubs… Is that enough?

However – whether we are happy with this vision or not -, should we really all sleepwalking into it?

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Ref:  Original Blythe Fields planning application

Want to comment?
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.

The ‘Waste’ of Draycott

In St Margaret’s churchyard lies the forlorn grave of a young woman.  On the inscription it says she was just 25 when she died; and she came from Draycott-Waste.  But where and what was ‘Draycott-Waste’?

Nineteenth century

The full inscription on the young lady’s gravestone reads:  “Here lieth the body of Margaret, Daughter of John and Dorothy Jeffries of Draycott-Wafte, who died August 13th 1806 aged 25 years”.  (In the old days, an s was often written in the shape of an f).
Hers is not the only grave to refer to this place.

The grave of Margaret Jeffries in Draycott in the Moors

The grave of Margaret Jeffries

We know that by the time that Margaret Jeffries died in 1806, there was already a farm called WasteGate; and a farm of the same name is still there today – in the fields behind Rookery Crescent in Cresswell, near to Painsley Farm.
But is ‘Waste Gate’ the same as ‘Draycott Waste’?

The 1801 ‘Smith’ map of Staffordshire gives another clue.  According to this map, there definitely was a place called ‘Waste’ in the southern end of Draycott parish; but… it is a fifteen-minute walk from WasteGate Farm….

Draycott on the Smith map of Staffordshire 1801

Draycott on the Smith map of Staffordshire 1801

As you can see in our picture, the 1801 map shows ‘Waste’ as being where the old Bird-in-Hand pub was, and it seems to consist of just a couple of roadside buildings – probably the ancestors of the Bird In Hand!
So, maybe WasteGate and Waste are actually two different sites, though they are quite close.

Meanings?

The term ‘waste’ is actually an ancient one.  It pops up quite often in the Domesday Book of 1086: we are told that it comes from the Norman word ‘uastę’and was used to describe any open or uncultivated space (though not necessarily devastated land, as it does these days).
So that probably explains the name of the tiny settlement of Waste in south Draycott.

But what is the meaning of WasteGate?  Well, believe it or not, one man who studied Draycott’s history a good deal has an interesting theory about this.
Reverend Healey, who was the vicar of Draycott between 1966-1977, wrote a short history of the village, and in it, he entertains the thought that the term WasteGate goes back to Roman times.
It is known that the Romans established a small outpost in Draycott as one of the stops on the road they built between Chester and Uttoxeter, so, in his booklet, Reverend Healey speculates that ‘WasteGate’ might be a corruption of ‘West Gate’ – i.e. it marks a folk memory of one of the gates of the little Roman fort from 2000 years ago.
It seems a far-fetched idea, but if Reverend Healey likes the thought, who are we to argue?

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This article was originally written by John Leavis.   If you have anything you’d like to see published on this website, just email it to us… and we’ll try to get it sorted. Do you know any other stories of Draycott-in-the-Moors?
(For more history stories of Draycott, click here).

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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)

Find the past in Draycott’s parish registers

Very few people will have noticed, but a major new book describing some of the history of Draycott-in-the-Moors has just been published.  Titled ‘Draycott Parish Registers 1669-1900’, it is a faithful transcription of 250 years of our church records – outlining christenings (i.e. births), deaths, marriages – and more.

These parish records had to be kept by law, and it was the local clergyman’s job to fill in the register every time somebody in the parish was born or died.

St Margaret's Church, Draycott in The Moors

The registers of St Margaret’s Church noted births, deaths and marriages for 500 years

You can imagine what a huge job it must be to copy and type up these registers.  One is working from old, illegible, fragile documents very often in Latin and very often written out by a priest who didn’t necessarily have easy-to-read handwriting!

The Draycott book alone is 250 pages long… and yet it was compiled by a volunteer, working alone.  The person who took on this huge task was Marion Hall.  Marion says it’s simply just what she likes doing, even though each register that she transcribes can take her over six months to complete.

Family history

As you’d expect, Marion’s interest in these papers began when she was researching her own family history. She told us that it took her four years to really learn how to do it – and then it turned into her all-abiding interest.  She would spend a third of her holidays in old record offices…
Of course nowadays, she doesn’t need to spend all her time in record offices.  Having bought a microfiche reader, she can purchase microfiche copies of old documents to take home and read there.

By 2002 she was ready with her first completed project – a transcription of the parish register at Fradswell, which was taken up and published by BMSGH.

Draycott

Draycott Parish Registers book front coverSo…  how did Marion come to choose the Draycott parish registers as a project?   She told us: “I don’t have a direct connection with Draycott in the Moors, but I have used the parish registers and other sources here in family history research – particularly the Lymer family.
“Some of my ancestors moved to Milwich and the Belcher family in the parish of Leigh were also in the family tree.  So, that’s how I came to be examining the Draycott registers, which are stored these days in Stafford.”

Unfortunately, the early registers of Draycott are missing, (this has led to some online trees showing incorrect connections in fact), and the earliest records for Draycott still existing consist of a single loose leaf of paper!

But, Marion explained that it’s just a matter of copying what you can. “One also has to check other contemporary sources to make sure everything is as correct as it can be.  Registers can have all sorts of mistakes.  For example, old marriage bonds are useful to verify names – especially if the clergyman used a style of handwriting which is extremely difficult to read.”

Draycott specials

For the local family historian, this book makes fascinating reading.  Names that you see in the district to this day pop up all over the 250 years of the records:  names like Bagnall, Perry, Warrilow, Tabberner and Shelley which come from local families that all go right back to the seventeenth century (and probably before that).

The most interesting thing in the book for the general historian is the number of people and families locally who were described as “Popish Recusants” – i.e. they remained Roman Catholics even when practising Catholicism openly was outlawed.  They were usually recorded as having been buried “on the north side of the church”.

Page from the Draycott Registers book

Page from the Draycott Registers book

And sometimes, just one entry can summon up a whole image.   On May 29 1834, the death of Joseph Cope is recorded as “An Idiot and Draycott Pauper, who died in the Dilhorne Workhouse.” What a terrible life he must have had.

Buy a copy

Being a very specialist item, the book has only had a short print-run, no more than a few dozen copies.
The publishers (the Staffordshire Parish Registers Society, SPRS) only have around ten for general sale.  They cost £5.50 + £1.51 postage.   When they are sold out, the work will be available as a (paid-for) download.
A cheaper way (in the long run) to get the book is to become a member of the SPRS: it costs £7.50 – for which members receive three registers a year. Those who join this year will receive the Draycott one as part of the deal.

And what of Marion?  Is she worn out after her endeavours?
Not at all.  “I am currently working on Bramhall and Marchington. I picked Marchington for my next project because some of it was done already, but it was very incomplete, and I have had to pay a number of visits to Lichfield to check what I have against the original records, and to extend what I have …  It will run to 300 pages, this one.  It will be my seventh published project!”

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A note on family history sources in Staffordshire
There are two separate main sources of these registers (unless you want to go to the Record Offices and use the original documents).  These are the SPRS and Staffordshire Find My Past (which works with the Staffs Archive Service to digitise their parish registers).  Each is independent of the other.
The FMP people are, unlike the SPRS volunteers, paid to do it (and Marion has noticed that errors do creep in to their transcriptions).   As yet, the FMP Staffordshire collection is not complete, and also will not cover all of Staffordshire, as some agreements are not in place yet.
The general editor of the SPRS series, Bob Morton, would welcome a call from you if you think you can help in this kind of work.

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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).

Draycott in the Moors style Xmas present

Thinking about Christmas presents yet?    We were looking for something that had a real feeling of Draycott-in-the-Moors about it, but were running out of ideas – but then we came across the Staffordshire Archives ‘Maps Collection’.

For example, you can buy a really good replica of Emanuel Bowen‘s Map of Staffordshire (1755) for just £3 by walking into one of Staffordshire County Libraries ‘Archives’ Services record centres (the nearest one is at Stafford).

Eman Bowen map of Staffordshire

A detail of Eman Bowen’s map of Staffordshire, with ‘Draycot’ in the centre

(If you find this photo too small to see properly, all you have to do is double-click on the photo itself, and it will double in size immediately. Use the ‘back-button’ to return to this page.)

Eman Bowen’s map is one of many old local maps that can be found at the Archives, but it’s good for people from round here because it shows Draycott so clearly – though it does call the village ‘Draycot in the Moor’ – the current spelling of the village came later.

The Paynsley estate is shown of course, as are Totmonslow and Cresswell (in the old typography – as ‘Crefswell’).  However so are Lees (now Leeses) and Huntley.

Lots of local history stuff is on sale, online as well as going in person, on the County Archives sales page   or enquire on the Archives contact page.
And there are no huge rip-off prices as there are on some commercial websites.
For the specific maps page, click here.

More present ideas?

If you have any other Draycott-ish Christmas present ideas, would you let us know?
We do know that John Clarke produces a delicious jam/chutney (‘Château de Cresswell’!) which is sold to benefit St Margaret’s Church… but we can’t think of anything else.
We’d be interested to know – just leave a comment in the comments box further down this page.

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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: helicopter ride / bus changes / cook needed / sad Izaak

News-in-brief of Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-September 2013
We have news of:  raffle winners take to the skies; all change on the buses; Draycott College needs a cook; Izaak Walton looking shabby; and the Moorlands Parish Assembly.

(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Up up and away

Sometimes when you win a raffle prize, you’re not sure if you really want to accept it…
Susan Hughes must have wondered that when she won first prize in the Draycott Fayre raffle – it was a ride in a helicopter!

Raffle prize winners in helicopter

All smiles – it’s quite an adventure…

However, the prize was taken up after all, and Jarrod Ford from Staffordshire Helicopters gave Susan and her husband Mark a safe tour around Staffordshire’s skies.

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Bus service reduction

Meanwhile, back on the ground, as we feared, the new timetable for the X50 bus, that did used to come through Draycott every hour, does indeed now show a reduction in service.  It is now only every two hours, though it does run Saturdays too.

An hourly service – to either Hanley or Uttoxeter – was perhaps a bit of a luxury for a small place like Draycott, but it was very useful…

There is more than the X50 of course.
Two other routes serve Draycott, and you can easily find their timetables by going to www.travelinemidlands.co.uk.   There, select the ‘Timetables’ tab; put ‘ST11 9AA’ in the ‘From’ field; tick the ‘All’ category; and click ‘Search’.  You’ll then see the timetables for the 249 (which goes through Cresswell too), and the 6A, 6B & 6c though you will have to walk up to Bill’s Garage in Blythe Bridge for them.
The 184 seems no longer to run; and the old 7 service is now gone (replaced by the X51) – the number is being used by a quite different run altogether.

Let’s hope we don’t lose any more services.

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Sad Izaak

We passed the Izaak Walton pub the other day, and it does seem in a sorry state.
It’s been closed for some nine months now, and although a caretaker is clearly keeping an eye on the place, it is starting to look shabby.

Izaak Walton pub beer garden

The Izaak Walton beer garden as it is these days

The beer garden is badly overgrown, and the car-park wall is crumbling.

Rubbish in Izaak Walton pub car park

Rubbish pile in the Izaak Walton pub car park

In the car-park itself, someone has clearly been gathering for various get-togethers, and just chucked their rubbish.
However, it’s good to hear that the local community action group VVSM did also think the place was getting to be an eyesore, and they have been making attempts to keep it tidy.

The parish council did enquire of the estate agents who are putting the Izaak up for let what exactly the future is for the pub, but just got the usual answer: the owners are still looking for a suitable tenant.
If you’re interested in taking on the Izaak, here are the details of the let.

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Cook needed

Schools are all back now, and it’s interesting to see that Draycott Moor College is advertising for a school cook.
The job is only twenty hours a week, and only requires twenty meals a day to be prepared, so it would suit a part-timer.

If you want to know more, contact headteacher Roger Flint on 01782 399849.

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Stepping issues up a level

By the way, the Moorlands Parish Assembly takes place next on Thursday 19th September.  This get-together is when all parish councils in the district come together to discuss issues of mutual interest.

If you think something local should go to district level, you can let our Draycott-in-the-Moors Parish parish councillors know if you go along to the next parish council meeting, which is on Monday 16th – just three days before the district assembly.  they may take your concerns on to the big meeting.

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To comment on any of these items, or suggest some new ones,  just use the comments box below.
You do not have to leave your email address (which is always kept private anyway), but, if you don’t, that means you might miss any feedback.

News of: council rules; house sale; garden; park for Draycott?

News-in-brief of Draycott-In-The-Moors in late-July 2013
We have news of:  new parish council rule; a ‘big house’ for sale; blooming garden; the issue of the Draycott playing-field.

(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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Parish passions

It is hard to believe, but passions can run very high at town council and parish council meetings – even in Draycott!  The last meeting of our parish council was described by one councillor as the “most disgraceful” he had ever seen. And a recent meeting of Cheadle Town Council also ended up in lots of objections and raised voices.

One theory for all this emotion (we are told) is that most of us feel little real control over things in our lives these days, but at least we can ‘get to’ and influence our grassroots-level councils. In a way, it’s great that small councils are getting so much attention.

However, these altercations can cause upset on all sides, so our Draycott Parish Council has decided to reintroduce one of its  rules – to disallow more than one question from any member of the public at its Public Participation sessions.
We’re not sure how we feel about this…

If you have a comment to make on this decision, please use the comments-box at the bottom of the page.

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Blooming gardens

The weather continues to surprise us, especially with its sudden torrential downpours.  One result of the heat & rain mix is that some gardens are really flourishing – and we thank all those households that are putting on really lovely displays in their front gardens.

Glyn's garden

Glyn’s garden

We saw this great example of a flower display in Sandon Road – nice one, Glyn!
(Incidentally, Glyn has just got engaged – so our congratulations to him on that too).

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Playing field for Draycott – or not?

Talking of the parish council, as we were, one of the issues it has been wrestling with for over a year now is what to do about the little playing-field in Draycott Old Road.
It has been offered to the parish council for the use of the local community – but what should the council do? (There is no other possible public green-space in the area for children to play in).  Accept or refuse?

A good while ago, the council rented it from the County on behalf of the community, but ownership of it has since passed to Draycott Moor College.
The college also offered use of the park, so, for a while, this playing field – which has a high fence and lockable gates – was opened and closed each day by a volunteer living in the road.  However, he had to finish, and no new volunteer has come forward.
Residents living nearby have reported “suspicious-looking” youths hanging around, and have expressed their unhappiness about it being left open, so it is thought quite necessary to lock it at night.
So the little park is now permanently closed.  It has no play equipment either.

The council will re-discuss the issue at its September meeting. It needs to decide once for all about whether it wants to ‘adopt’ the field.

If you have thoughts about what to do about the park, you may like to send them to the council, or to put your thoughts in the comments box at the bottom of this page.

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Seclusion for sale

Yet another of the area’s ‘big houses’ is for sale.
Fox-Brook House, up the lane opposite the Izaak Walton, is in a nice secluded spot, and is going for £450,000.

Fox-Brook House

Fox-Brook House

For all the details, see the Butters John Bee Agency website.

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To comment on any of these items, or suggest some new ones,  just use the comments box below.
You do not have to leave your email address (which is always kept private anyway), but, if you don’t, that means you might miss any feedback.

Heat warning…

It’s hot.  very hot.
And now the Met Office has issued a Level Three heat-warning for this area for both today (Thursday 18th) and tomorrow.   See Heat Health-Watch alert.
This means, basically, that the heatwave is now official in this part of the world.

Temperatures will be in the mid 20s Celsius – up to 90F in the old reckoning.  So… it’s on with the sun-cream, and even better, protective hats.

Horse in sun protection coat

One hot horse…

And it’s not just the humans that feel it.  We spotted this horse today near the footpath up near Marsh House (in the Stonehouses area, near the A50 roundabout) – and wondered why it was all covered up, on the hottest day of the year.
The answer is that:  it is wearing a ‘fly-sheet’, which gives protection against the biting flies which are around at the moment.  These flies can be vicious, especially for horses of just one coulour.  (It seems that flies are confused when they are confronted by the different shades of a multi-coloured horse).
But also, the sheet – which is very light – provides some protection against the sun.

So… be warned!

Draycott Fayre 2013 – report & photos

Well !  What a day…!
Sunday 14th July 2013 will be remembered as the day the Children of Draycott defeated The Vikings in battle, records were set for fund-raising (and hot temperatures!), some three hundred vintage vehicles filled the ground, around two thousand people attended – and the bar ran dry!

Draycott-in-the-Moors’ Summer Fayre & Vintage Rally 2013 was, by any standards, a terrific success – and well done to all the volunteers (under the expert leadership of John Clarke) who really were the ones who made it happen.

Carnage & pillage

The highlight of the day was the appearance of the Y Ddraig Viking re-enactment group.  They were brilliant.
Right through from setting up a realistic-looking camp, complete with cooking pots bubbling up a ancient vegetable stew, to displaying a brutal form of early hockey played 1200 years ago, and a display of ancient weaponry, they really played their part.

However, their Viking warriors made one terrible mistake – by challenging the children of Draycott to an open battle.  There could only ever be one winner in such a contest.

Viking versus Children battle

Draycott children charge the ranks of the Vikings…

The children suffered no casualties whatsoever… and only one Viking got away.

Photos gallery

An album of lots of photos of the day can be found by clicking here.
When you go to the link, just click the play button to start the slideshow; then we suggest you set the speed at ‘slow’, and don’t forget to click the ‘Show Info’ button to see the captions.  Have fun with the memories.

And, if you too have photos that you took on the day, we’d love to see them, and to then put them up on the gallery too.  Just email us with any photos you can share.

Local roots

Local organisations however were the backbone of the day.  The Draycott Sports Centre gets an honourable mention for setting up two temporary tennis ‘courts’ which were never empty all day, as youngsters queued up to have a go.
The district Girl Guide group helped the MC for the day, John Beardmore, to organise the games; and numerous groups, including the Draycott Women’s Institute, staff from Draycott Moor College, and members of St Margaret’s Church worked furiously on their different stalls to raise money for the day’s good cause.
A special mention must go to John Beardmore, who provided his usual funny and warm commentary.  He had not been so well recently, but we think he definitely perked up for this event…

We honestly thought, as we walked round, that the best thing about the fayre was that there was always something to do.  (After all, sometimes, one can go to a fair and you’ve done the lot in fifteen minutes … whereas, here, there was always something going on.)

Admittedly, having around three hundred vintage motor-cars, buses, tractors, wagons, motorbikes and traction engines on the site – all carefully looked after by their owners – was bound to keep most of us quite busy.
And for the kids, there was always the funfair and the magic shows…

A minor disappointment was that the promised Dakota plane fly-past didn’t happen.  Apparently, the plane had encountered a problem in an earlier display, and had had to cancel.
However, the Innringers handbells group performed twice, making subtle and fascinating music.

For a fuller list of who were the main draws, check our Fayre schedule page.

St Margaret’s

To give the event its full title, it should be known as St Margaret’s Draycott Summer Fayre, as the day is specifically to raise money to pay for the maintenance of the village’s parish church – which is almost 800 years old.
The event is also so named because it falls very close to St Margaret’s Day.

So therefore … the bottom line is: did the event raise a significant amount of money?

Well, the full accounts are not yet in of course, but with around a thousand people paying at the gates and probably another thousand (volunteers, participants etc) on the ground, that means the main stalls and the raffle-tickets salespeople (well done to them too!) must have done great business.
Organiser Daniel Newton, who was in charge of the bar, also saw his stock run completely dry (well…except for wine-spritzers, and we don’t count those) – which can’t be bad!

Anniversary

The Draycott Fayre 2013 was the twentieth of the modern era. The first, we are told raised just over £200 (!), while this one has surely exceeded not just that sum but also last year’s profit of £6000.
Let’s hope so – for the old church’s sake.

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Summer Fayre Raffle Results
Ist Prize (Helicopter Ride for 2) – Susan Hughes (ticket no 655) #  2nd Prize (Four tickets to Alton Towers) – Jenni Wooliscroft (754) # 3rd Prize (£40 Voucher to David’s Restaurant, Trentham) – Peter Smeed (317)
Other winners:  Julie Ingle (1732), a £25 Fuel voucher / Jane Meller, a Mount Nurseries voucher / M Cheadle (131), a Planter from Draycott Nurseries / Mrs Seymour (1456), a Shoetime voucher / Mavis Bullock (17), a Stoddard’s Travel voucher / Beryl Carp (1583), a Queens Arms at Freehay voucher / Olive Davis (217), a Draycott Arms voucher / Mrs Dyke (187), a Ford’s Of Blythe Bridge voucher / George Marsh (995), a Tesco voucher / Jack Cartlidge (1555), a gym-pass for 2 / Mrs Elks (247), a gym-pass for 2 / Margaret Plant (1049), a gym-pass for 2 / Steven Bedson (1625), a personal training session / Alistair Barton (760), a circuit-training pass for 2 / Diane Winfield (782), a circuit-training pass for 2 / P Beardmore (1445), a tennis lesson.

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And if you have a comment to make about the day – do add it, in the little coment box just below

St Margaret’s Fayre 2013 – schedule

Yes it’s that time of year again… so we can really start looking forward to Draycott-in-the-Moors’ very own carnival, fete, vintage-vehicle rally, show and traditional fair all rolled into one – the St Margaret’s Summer Fayre.
This year it takes place – in the centre of the village as usual – on the Sunday of July 14th.

It had been hoped to open on the Saturday afternoon this year too, but in the end, this proved too difficult.

Highlights of the Sunday include: a Viking re-enactment battle, a funfair, the ever-popular rally of vintage vehicles & machinery, country-games for kids (and adults!) to take part in, magic shows, and fly-pasts by a vintage aeroplane. And that’s just the highlights…

Saturday – the warm-up

On Saturday evening (July 13th), there is a pre-Fayre warm-up event.

From 6.30pm, a family-disco will get underway in the marquee on the main field, with local band Jacque Rabbit taking over the stage around 8.30pm.

Jacque Rabbit

Jacque Rabbit

Jacque Rabbit are known for their covers of 70s rock music, and also their entertaining act!
A full bar is available.   Tickets to this evening event are £4 – or £3 in advance – with children under-sixteen allowed in free.

Sunday – the main event

Sunday is the big day however – with entertainment in the main ring & the marquee all day long, food & refreshments (including a bar) available, and a chance to take part in traditional games…

The gates to the field open at 11am.  Admission on the day is £3.50, with kids under-sixteen coming in free; and car-parking is free.
Programmes will be on sale for 50p.

The main ring promises to be busy!  Not only is there a Viking re-enactment display from the Y Ddraig Group – where kids get a chance to take part in a Viking battle! – but a vintage tractor parade, and those participation games we mentioned (wheelbarrow race, anyone?).   Scratch tug-o-war teams will also get a chance to compete.

In the big-field itself, the funfair and vintage vehicles rally are the big attractions.
Hundreds of vintage vehicles are expected – with a strong representation from The Potteries Vintage & Classic Car Club in particular.
There will also be: a bric-a-brac stalls section (you need to apply beforehand for a stall);  Anthony Hammond’s amazing woodwork demonstrations, displays from Draycott Sports Centre members and Stone Young Farmers,  as well as magic and a Punch & Judy show from Ian Davis.
Remember: if you have a dog, bring it along, as there is a dog-show (at 12.30pm), which is free to enter on the day, and all are welcome.

In the skies, around 1.30pm, you’ll see a vintage Dakota plane, so long as the weather and conditions hold.

Dakota plane

The vintage WW2 Dakota aeroplane takes to the skies

In the marquee will be magic shows and Punch & Judy from Ian Davis for the kids, refreshments (with home-made yummy cakes), craft stalls (including Stuart Tunnicliffe’s paintings sale) and plant stalls and music, including hand-bell ringing displays from ‘The Innringers’.

As befits a fair that raises money for the ancient church nearby, today concludes with a religious service in the marquee.

St Margaret’s benefit

This fayre is important to Draycott – as it is the main fund-raiser of the year to help pay for the running costs of the village’s beautiful church.
St Margaret’s Church can be dated back to the 13th century.
Because it is so old however, running costs are very high.

The organisation and labour behind the fayre all come from volunteers, so that profits can all go to the fund-raising.

Older people may remember incidentally, that the fayre is a traditional event, and always takes place close to St Margaret’s feast-day. The whole holiday used to be known as the Draycott Wakes.

(Incidentally, if you’d like to see inside St Margaret’s Church – to see what you will be contributing to -, it is open to the public on the first Saturday of every month during the summer from 2pm-4pm.)

Contacts / details

For all queries, tickets and comments, phone 01782 396190 or email Organiser John (as we call him!).  That’s the same contact details for if you wish to take a stall or take out some advertising in the programme (just £10 for a space).

Dancers Draycott Fair 2009

Does anyone remember the Zazu dancers, who appeared at the fayre in 2009? (Thanks to JL for the photo)

If you are coming from outside Draycott, to find us please put ST11 9AE in your sat-nav, or simply find your way to Highfield Farm on the main Uttoxeter Road (it’s number 215) through Draycott.  The car-park will be signposted.

See you there!

Old Draycott website… is back!

Lots of people have asked us: whatever happened to the old Draycott website?
Constructed around 1998, on the ‘geocities’ server, it had lots of great old photos and brilliant summaries of periods in the village’s history.  However, it seemed to disappear off the web a few years ago.

Well… we can tell you that, thanks to the miracle of web-archiving search-‘crawlers’, it has been re-found; and is back!  It is not quite what it was, but, in essentials, it’s there.
What appears to have happened is that a web-archiving process searched back into the internet’s past to look for lost sites and lost pages, and managed to revive the text and shape of the old site.

Matt & Barry

If you can’t wait to take a look, click here for the old ‘Draycott-en-le-Moors Official Website’.

English: Draycott-in-the-Moors Post Office. (n...

Draycott Post Office, before it closed

The authors of the website were two guys who are still well-known in the village: Matt Pointon (who also wrote the book of the history of this parish); and Barry Phillips (who also wrote the book about how World War Two affected this area).   They clearly were helped by a lot of local people including Eve Robinson, the then postmistress.

A lot of the history facts on this old Draycott website are included in Matt’s book (which came later and updates & revises some of the facts).   However, here on this website, the facts are more in the form of easy-to-grasp lists, whereas the book is a proper, full history account.
You might say that the website is a good way to learn about Draycott – if you haven’t time to read the book!

The sad thing is that most of the wonderful old photos that were on the site when it was first constructed have been removed.  This may be due to copyright reasons.

Draycott history – at a glance

There are over thirty pages on the old website, including a ‘timeline’ of Draycott’s history, which goes back (says the website) to 900 AD, when the site now occupied by St. Margaret’s Church may have been a site of heathen worship.
There are other amazing facts too – did you know that in 1801 the population of the parish was 491, which is MORE than it was in 1931, when it had gone down to 481…

We are also glad to be informed on where the ‘lost pub’, The Royal Oak, was situated.

And for those of you doing projects for school, there are neat short summaries of the local histories of coal mining, tape-weaving (Draycott’s main industry in the nineteenth century apart from agriculture), education and the railways.
You would be better off reading Matt’s book for the deep history of the area, but this website is a nice start; and frankly there is so much stuff on it, you could still spend all day reading the articles here!

And for those of you who think you know everything there is to know about Draycott, why not try the ‘Draycott Quiz’?  However, you have to beware: you won’t know how well you’ve done, as, frustratingly, the answers page has not been archived.
Maybe someone can persuade Matt & Barry to go back through their old notes and re-find the answers for us all…

Photos

As we’ve mentioned, what is really disappointing is that the photos have been removed from the site.

Many of the photos were from the Joe Thorley Collection.  Joe farmed at Totmonslow Farm (where his family still reside), but he was fascinated by this local area, and, even as a young man, experimented with photography, so his collection was truly remarkable.
After Joe’s death in 1987, the originals were taken over and cared for by his sister Pat Whitfield.  Does anyone know where they are now?

There is a nice tribute by Matt to Joe on this webpage.

But, despite the hole left by the missing photos (and some missing pages), it’s nice to see the old website back, even in its truncated form.

And… a little bit on web-archiving

Internet Archive

Internet Archive HQ (credit: bigoteetoe)

You may have been surprised as we were to know that there are international organisations out there archiving the web.  Just in the same way as libraries archive old newspapers, these organisations are trying to save the best bits of the internet for posterity before they totally disappear.
There is a good summary of what’s going on on Wikipedia.

Interestingly, the organisation that seems to be behind the specific rescue of the ‘Draycott-en-le-Moors Official Website’ appears to be an American one – the Internet Archive, a not-for-profit digital library.

The idea of web-archiving is becoming more popular in Britain too, as The British Library is now planning to archive the whole world-wide web (!).
Even Staffordshire County Council is working alongside the UK National Archives Office to start preserving the best of the web hereabouts. See Staffordshire Web-Archiving Project

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