(March 2007) 30 years old this month

The Sibford Scene was started in March 1977 with the following lines

We all stir into action with the spring, and SIBFORD SCENE hopes to keep everyone in Burdrop, Ferris and the Gower up-to-date with all the many village activities. The paper will appear monthly so please let us know what your organisation is doing. We shall also be glad to receive brief letters, articles, news, ideas and small ads. Contributions should reach the editor or the Rector by the 20th of each month.

Production costs will be about £20 a year. We want to circulate Sibford Scene free so that it reaches every household so we invite donations from organisations or individuals who think the project worth supporting.

The Scene started with Mrs. Jennifer Austing as Editor. The first issue was a single sheet printed both sides with items covering Dr. Agnew’s return from a year as a Flying Doctor in Australia, the Youth Club, when the fees were 7p for students and 10p for those at work, a W.I. Theatre trip and a proposal to form a “Sibford Young Wives Group”. Also included was…

Royal Silver Jubilee

After the public meeting in January, a small committee is now planning an exciting series of events for the Jubilee weekend (4th June – 8th June). Keep the dates free anal watch these pages for details.

It did not take long to grow into a multi page production and some regular writers to join in. Gardening tips have appeared quite regularly by several authors, most notably Geoffrey Law who contributed for many years as ‘Jardin’. In May ’87 ‘Nature Notes’ appeared for the first time and have done so ever since and many interesting. one off articles have appeared. The Scene soon benefited from some of our village artists and hand painted headings and cover pictures have appeared regularly, many by Mollie Mulley and Sheila Walsh. There follows a selection of items from past issues which I hope will be of interest.


In April 1986 strange goings on at the Meeting House were reported.

What — Sibford, Prime Minister?

“Whatever is going on?” everybody asked. “What are all these cables festooning the trees and crossing the roads?” There were people, equipment and cars everywhere. The Wykham Arms’ car park was full of BBC vehicles and its bars full of BBC personnel! The inside of the Meeting House looked more like a film set than a place of worship – full of scaffolding, flood lights, cameras, monitors and technicians galore – and so much coming and going.

It was all simply explained. Paul Eddington of ‘Yes Minister’ fame had been invited by the BBC to be Cliff Michelmore’s guest on the programme ‘Home on Sunday’ and, remembering his (happy?) days at Sibford Friends School and weekly visits to the Meeting House, he had asked that his choice of music be relayed from there.

By 10 a.m. on Wednesday 12th March the choir (from New College, Oxford) and musicians were installed and busy rehearsing. After lunch for about sixty at the Wykham Arms, the performance began and the cameras rolled – or whatever T.V. Cameras do, so that by 5 p.m. it was all over bar the clearing up.

Later in the spring, the cameramen will be returning to take some shots of the village, so please keep that litter down – or rather up! Then we must wait until June 22nd when the finished programme will be screened.

John Endersby.


There have been only four Editors of the Sibford Scene (with one or two early issues edited by the Rector and Frank Rollett) which shows a remarkable enthusiasm on their part, or a total inability to get rid of the job once started! At the end of 1985 Jenny Austing passed the job on to Barry Davies who continued in the job until late in 1992. Ray Henbrey then took over, having been working as assistant editor for some time, and continued to be the editor until his unfortunate illness. In 1996 Ray decided that he could no longer manage to do the job every month and suggested that the Scene should become bi-monthly. Adrian Lamb offered to edit the Scene every other month and Sibford Scene Extra was born in March 1997. This arrangement continued until Ray’s illness when I had to take over all the issues and decided that the Scene Extra should be ended. (We have only had one Treasurer!)

The first Sibford Scene Extra in March 1997 saw us congratulating Miss Kathleen Copley on her l00th birthday and a well timed article on the forthcoming lambing time.

The Scene Extra tried to find items to include beyond the scope of the Clubs’ and Societies’ events which make up the bulk of every issue and l pestered many friends to write. Many of the Village farmers contributed and we ran Mike Etherington-Smith’s diary of the course building for the Sydney Olympic three day event over the three years leading up to the event.


One of the more unusual articles from the Scene Extra came from my parents’ family archive:

Account of the great Snow Storm of January 18th to 19th 1881 written by Joshua Lamb a few days afterwards.

The severe weather which culminated in the great snow storm of January 18th to 19th having somewhat abated gives me an opportunity of recording some of the difficulties we have recently passed through. It was after many sharp nights during which the thermometer seldom registered less than 28 degrees of frost (Fahrenheit) [-16°C] that on the morning of Tuesday January 18th we found the wind blowing strong from the North East with ten degrees of frost; the gale gradually increased in intensity until it blew a hurricane and the cold was almost unbearable to the strongest and most enduring, no one venturing out of doors except those of us who had livestock to attend to or for some other reason, where compelled to do so.

About two o’clock in the morning the snow which had fallen a day or two previously and was perhaps two inches deep, began drifting and a clearance of all exposed places was soon made together with large quantities of dust from the ploughed fields which might be seen coming like a cloud towards you and ultimately lay many inches thick under all the hedgerows and in sheltered spots and in many places will require carting away when the snow has all melted. Great damage was done at this juncture to thatched buildings and ricks. About dinner time it commenced to snow and we were soon surrounded by the most terrific storm ever known by anyone now living in this neighbourhood. It came so thick and fast that it was impossible to see any distance in front of us drifting very much all the time. The snow blew into my face and neck and the warmth of the flesh partially melted it till it became one solid mass of ice and snow, my mouth, eyes and nose being the only parts visible when I reached home at night and at times they too were almost closed by it, great icicles formed even on my eyelashes and I found the effect of it for several days, my cheek swelling where one great cake of ice stuck all day.

We had got the turnip sheep in an exposed situation where hay racks and hurdles were blown (?) about like ninepins by the blast so we took them away into a meadow, where we found many of them snugly buried under the blow next morning. The storm continued through the night and all next day and closed about six in the evening having snowed continuously for about thirty hours.

All the roads which lay at right angles to the storm were liberally choked with snow and it took ten men a week to open them in our village, the drifts in many places being level with the hedges. A great number of lives have been lost in the snow, two strong men that I well knew were frozen to death, one of them being Henry Hosting(?) of Banbury who was out with a load of flour from Grimsbury Mill and was overpowered. on his return near Deddington and look refuge in a hovel where his body was found eight days afterwards. The other was a wool buyer of Oxhill named Allitt who was returning from the Banbury Twelfth Fair and was frozen to death between Epwell and Shenington.

The week succeeding the storm was also very severe, the thermometer generally registering 20 degrees of frost (Fahrenheit) [-11°C] each night and on one occasion it went below zero. [-18°C]

(That’s put last weeks snow in perspective – ed)


The Sibford Scene, I hope you agree, continues to keep the villagers informed of what is on offer from our clubs and societies as well as Churches and Village Hall events. With the Village Hall reaching 50 this year I look forward to reports of more varied events over the summer and to those of you who remember these articles, I hope they stand reading again.

I hope you have enjoyed this short and fairly random trawl through the archives and will be looking forward to another 30 years of the

Sibford Scene.

Adrian Lamb