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February 2020

January 2020

Warmer Days are Ahead

The days are drawing out, and the warmer days are coming. We still have a couple of months to go, but here’s just a few photos to remind us of what to look forward to.

Cublington church  BucksCublington church was built in around 1400 A.D. and has been little altered or expanded since. The village, once further down the hill, had been abandoned for nearly sixty years after the climate changed. The original site had become too wet and muddy to be practical.

The new village grew around the church, which had been partly built with materials from the old one.

Soulbury  BucksBefore the new road was built, going to Aylesbury from Bletchley meant I cut through Soulbury to avoid Leighton Buzzard. At the bottom of the village I would take the right turn that took me into the back of Wing. I took this photo from the field next to the turn, one August.

Soulbury is well known for its stone, a piece of the Peak District left there 450,000 years ago by a retreating glacier.

Shipton Brook bridge  BucksShipton Brook bridge was built just South of Winslow for the new Aylesbury to Buckingham turnpike that opened in 1722. In 1937 a new bridge was built upstream and the bridge was bypassed. I used to come here to play in the 1960s.


What’s in a (Place) Name?

Lillingstone LovellLillingstone Lovell.

There’s over 170 towns and villages in the North Bucks area, and each one has its own name. But what do these names all mean?

Nearly every one started off as a brief but clear description of a certain place, usually in the words of Old English, the ancient Anglo-Saxon language that was in use from the 5th Century until about about 1250 A.D.

There’s a dozen with ‘ford’ in their name, (this is an easy one to guess) but there’s 19 with ‘den’ or ‘don’, (both mean ‘hill’) and a massive 36 with ‘ton’ in the name. ‘Ton’ means a settlement or a farm, perhaps a village or an estate; a place with buildings.

Often somebody’s name would be part of the description; so Haddenham is Haeda’s village or homestead. ’Ham’ means nearly the same as ‘ton’.

Of all the places with ‘ford’ in their name, the ones with ‘Stratford’ in the name mean a ford where a Roman road or street crossed a river or brook. Fenny Stratford was a muddy or marshy crossing; Stony Stratford was a gravelly one.

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Norman is Well Preserved

Stewkley church is one of the most complete and remarkable Norman churches in the whole of England.

Unlike many other churches, it has retained its original layout and small Norman windows, and  although it was restored in Victorian times, they carried out the work with a light and sympathetic touch, even removing some dubious earlier additions.

The result is a church that looks very much as it did when it was first built, in the late 12th Century.

Stewkley church towerThis is one of eight carved figures at the top of the church tower. I don’t want to call them gargoyles because they contain no water spouts (the word comes from the French “gargouille”, meaning “to gargle”) .

But I hesitate to call them grotesques, the other term, as half of them represent the four evangelists, saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

This carving might be a portrait of a local; it was often the case.

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The Year in Pictures

Here we are in 2020, a new year but not a new decade, no matter what they tell you! Today we are having a look at some of the highlights from the last twelve months, and a few photos from the archives.

The HighlightsWeeding on the allotmentNew Year’s day last year was a fine day for a motorcycle ride. Though not too warm, it was dry and sunny. I rode up to the classic vehicle show at Stony Stratford, and when it finished just before lunch time I took to the back roads and ended up in Olney.

On the way I stopped at Stoke Goldington when I saw this fellow working on his allotment. I think he was starting the year as he meant to go on...

Detail  Earthly Messenger statue 03The only statue of David Bowie in the whole world is in Aylesbury, and it was a year old in March. There were strong links between Bowie and Aylesbury’s Friars music venue, and when David Bowie passed away in January 2016 there was a memorial event that drew over 3,000 people. A petition to create a Bowie statue was started that day…

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