Sibford Scene Archive

Sibford Scene 451 March 2023

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Cotswold Close play area

The Sibford Ferris Parish Council is working to refurbish the play area. Within the next few weeks the old fencing will be removed and replaced by a neat picket fence with two gates. The play house will be taken down as part of the plan for new equipment. A new baby seat will be installed. It is planned to replace the wooden elements in time, but the beautiful slide will be retained, as we know it is popular.

We will keep you informed of changes, as there may be an occasion when the play area will not be available.

Ginny Bennett
Sibford Ferris Parish Councillor

Warm Hub Mondays

Come and keep warm in the Village Hall on Monday mornings, socialise with friends, and make some new ones. Lots of activities will be on offer including cards, scrabble or just come with your artwork, magazine or simply come along for a chat. Refreshments will be served. We would like to thank the Town Estate Charity for funding this initiative meaning there is no charge for Villagers to take part.

Nature Notes

On walking along the footpaths through the fields where Maize was grown last year I was surprised how many of the wild flowers (weeds) were in flower even during the very cold spells in January and February. Particularly noticeable were the blue Speedwell flowers. There are more than 20 species of Speedwell found in the UK but many are rare. If the plants are growing as weeds in arable fields they will almost certainly be the Common Field Speedwell which was introduced to the UK in the 1800s. If the plants are growing amongst grasses on roadside verges or in lawns they are probably the native Germander Speedwell. It is thought the name Speedwell derives from ‘speed you well’ as the plant was considered a good luck charm for travellers.

Megan Gilkes has commented on the large numbers of Lapwings she has seen in the fields around Sibford this Winter. Lapwings have declined in numbers by about 80% since the 1960s and it is now a Red List species for conservation purposes. Numbers during the Winter are supplemented by large numbers of visiting birds from northern Europe. Lapwing eggs used to be collected on a large-scale as food but this caused such a decline in numbers the Lapwing Act of 1926 prohibited this practice. Numbers recovered following this but from the 1940s changes in farming practices are thought to be responsible for further declines.

Andy and Gill Newbold

Did you know? - the church

A gate in front of a brick wallPhotographed by Colin Lamb, this springtime picture of Holy Trinity Church entrance with porch was voted the Villager’s Favourite from the 66 pictures submitted in the Photographic Competition to select the pictures for inclusion in the 2023 Village Calendar. Thanks are due to Opus Property Services Ltd – a village business who kindly sponsored the first three months of the Village Calendar.

Diagram, engineering drawingThe original church did not have the porch as we can see in the original architect’s drawing. A plaque, set into the internal wall in the porch records that it was erected in memory of Miss Elizabeth Dix who died in 1897. However, there is no record of her being buried in Holy Trinity Church graveyard. Elizabeth, known as Bessie or Betsy by her four sisters regularly worshipped at Holy Trinity Church and ran the Boys Sunday School with her sister Sarah. Text, letterThe Dix’s were a prominent local family living in Swalcliffe and Epwell as well as Sibford. Elizabeth and her sisters frequently visited their relatives in the locality travelling in a horse driven cart.

The picture also features the two wrought iron entrance gates and the magnificent cherry tree that flowers so beautifully in the springtime. I have discovered that the recently refurbished gates replaced some wooden ones which had fallen into disrepair. Whether they, and the cherry tree are memorial features I have not been able to establish – any further information would be most welcome.

Maureen Hicks

Above, you may see one or two items of historical interest from this edition. To see the whole edition, click on the front-page image to download it as a pdf.