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March 2020

Devon is in Bucks

Austin A40 Devon

The Monday Photo

This early 50s car is an Austin A40 Devon and I found it parked up in Granborough a couple of weeks ago.

They were a popular car; 274,000 of the Devon were sold in the six years they were in production, which started in 1947.

This car was one of the last to be made. In the 1950s you might have seen an A40 Devon on the North Bucks roads, cruising at 45 or 50mph; this car did 70mph flat out. That wasn’t a bad top speed for the times.

It isn’t a big car, but the four door body was thought to be ideal for small families. Like many cars then, it had trafficators fitted.

Instead of the modern set up of a pair of amber indicators at the front and two more at the back, they had an arm (the trafficator) that hinged out of the side of the car and lit up amber. There’s one on each side of the Austin Devon, hidden between the doors.

I have no idea why this was preferred to the modern set up. Can anyone tell me?

Armchair Exploration 1

Horn Street  WinslowSheep Street, Winslow.

Part 1
Armchair exploration? No, I don’t mean putting your arm down the gap at the side of the chair and finding a fluff covered peanut, a biro that doesn’t work, and a bit of that mouse the cat brought in last year.

What I mean is, we can explore North Bucks without leaving our front rooms. The county is full of things to go and see, but until we can do that freely again we can explore it in other ways, and not just online.

I’ll show you how to look back in time, explore tiny back lanes and rural villages, and even find Roman roads. There are many more than you might expect, and I was very surprised to find that one minor Roman road goes through my back garden!

There’s lots to see, but don’t forget to take notes of what you’ve found; one day it will be okay to go and see things for yourself again.

Continue reading "Armchair Exploration 1" »

At Home With the Wanderer

The North Bucks Wanderer (that’s me) isn’t wandering much further than the end of the garden at the moment, so I’m a bit stuck for my usual method of going to the actual place and seeing for myself. When I was there I'd take photos, just for that post.

But I’m going to carry on posting, and I’ll be using photos from my archives, instead of taking new ones.

Meanwhile, you can explore North Bucks here, online. There are over one hundred posts on the North Bucks Wanderer blog, from all over the area; just look in the sidebar.

Tomorrow’s post will show you how to explore North Bucks (and any other part of England if you like) from home, then you can look forward to going and seeing for yourself, when we can all do that again.

The Miser’s Head

Miser's head

The Monday Photo

John Camden Neild was a recluse and a miser, and this less than complimentery carving is of his head. It’s on North Marston church. It’s a recent carving, made when the 15th Century tower was restored in 2004-2005.

John Camden Neild had lived in Chelsea, but when he died in 1852 he was buried in the chancel of the church; he had owned property in the village.

He left most of his fortune  of £500,000 (worth £29 million today) to Queen Victoria, even though he had never met her.

The Queen used the money first to see that Neild’s servants were taken care of, then had the chancel of North Marston church restored and had the new East window installed with its fine stained glass.

Then she bought the Balmoral estate in Scotland and had it remodelled, at a cost of £31,000.

This head is a label stop; it’s on the bottom edge of a label (or dripstone, or hood mould); a carved stone ridge above a church window that directs rainwater away from the glass.

When this Grade 1 listed church was inspected a few years ago, the tower was found to be in very poor condition. Some of the eight inch thick facing stones were down to two inches or less.

Specialist stonemasons Boden and Ward made a fine job of restoring the tower, (there's more about it at the link) and carved this head, and the one of John Schorne that’s on the other end of the label.

Just Stop

All the stops

The Monday Photo

Have you ever had to put all your efforts into something and said you were “Pulling out all the stops”? This phrase comes from church organs, and how they are played.

Those knobs with the curious names you’ll see on an organ are the stops. When you pull out a stop, it allows air through a certain set of organ pipes. The more stops you pull out, the more pipes come into play.

If you pull out all the stops, the organ is making the greatest noise; making the greatest effort. That’s where the phrase comes from.

These stops are on the organ of Adstock church. Some organs have great banks of stops, but at Adstock the organ is in a small church; it doesn’t need to be very big.

The church, dedicated to St. Cecilia, is Grade 1 listed.