Prestbury Parish Magazine
What’s different on Palm Sunday? (9 April)
We shall meet at the Infant School at 9.30am, walk up to church for a short service, then back to school for breakfast.
Christian Aid Week
Is there any chance you could help with the house-to-house collection during Christian Aid week in May? Have a word with Lisa Roberts or Sharon Macauly on Sunday morning or phone Gill Ashman.
This Month at Celebrate....
We continue looking at who Jesus says he is and then after Easter we start a new series on Surprise! Do come and join us at 9.30 on Sunday mornings.
Sarah Lyle and the team continue their expedition from the lowest point on Earth to the highest. They started at the Dead Sea in December and have cycled through Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran. They entered Pakistan on 11th February, and immediately were invited to play cricket with the border guards. They needed an escort throughout their journey in Pakistan, and their accommodation for the first few nights was on concrete floors in police stations. The road varied from straight to hairpin bends, flat to very steep, well made up to dirt track or mud bath. Across the desert in was single track with the sand encroaching on it; in other places it was shady and tree-lined, along canals, sometimes dual carriageway. The cyclists are noticeably stronger now than when they were in the early hills in Turkey.
They crossed into India on 1 March and had to abandon the van which they had bought in Jordan. They were struck with how colourful India is, how green the landscape – in total contrast to some of the countries they had travelled through. They also became more aware of the poverty. The weather varied between hot and sunny, drizzle, a sandstorm and pouring rain. Among the animals they have seen are oxen, water buffalo, camels and monkeys. The team left India and entered Nepal on 14 March.
For up-to-date information see the online diary on www.everestmax.com.
THE SHAPING OF A PARISH
Part 1: 1066 and all that ...
To most Cheltenham residents, Prestbury consists of no more than a twisting street of old houses on the way out to Cleeve Hill and Winchcombe. Even if you live here, the full extent of the parish can be a surprise. Some years ago, when we carried out a 20th century Beating of the Bounds, we found ourselves first negotiating a pig farm near Swindon village, then crossing the A435 near the (then Jardinerie) garden centre, and later picnicking high on the hill quite near the radio masts.
On the ground, the parish of Prestbury is a long thin rectangle, roughly four miles long and a mile and a half across. If we were laying out parish boundaries today, this is probably not the shape we would choose, but Prestbury’s boundaries, like those of most parishes outside towns, go back to the days of the Anglo Saxons. In those days each parish needed to be as far as possible self-sufficient, with a fair share of whatever natural resources the locality had to offer. So Prestbury stretches from the Cotswold ridge beyond Upper Hill Farm in the east almost to today’s mainline railway in the west, providing the parish with grazing land on the hilltop, woods for timber on the slopes and fertile land for crops in the valley. The two long boundaries are formed by streams, Hyde Brook to the north and Wyman’s Brook along the south.
The village lies right in the middle of its parish. When people first began to gather there we do not know, but in 1086 the compilers of the Domesday book found an established settlement with its own priest, and they rated its value at four times that of neighbouring Swindon. From the beginning, development centred around the mill stream, with water for domestic use and for power. Today, St Mary’s church lies close to the stream, and though no part of our building is dated much before 1200, the Domesday priest may well have ministered in an earlier church, however small and simple, on the same site.
Farmsteads clustered within the village, surrounded by the humbler dwellings of labourers. For a long time there were few houses if any outside the village centre, and the main thoroughfares within the parish served the flocks and herdsmen going between village and hill pasture, with narrower tracks for the men going out day by day to work in the fields. The line of Mill Street and Mill Lane was trodden out early by traffic to the mills; Shaw Green Lane is old too, its fluctuating width even today typical of an old drove road. The Burgage must have been laid out around 1249, when the bishop was granted a weekly market, and needed a wide level place to hold it. Deep Street is recorded in 1393; if we are to take the name at face value, some centuries of traffic must already have gone that way to wear it down.
People rarely travelled far beyond the parish, and most went on foot. Business or family connections might take some to Cheltenham, along the line of Prestbury Road. The way to Southam and beyond was along Church Lane, past the west end of the church and across Mill Lane to continue on the field path. Another track led from the end of Lake Street and northwest across what is now the race course towards Bishop’s Cleeve. For the few with business further afield, the road to London lay up Noverton Lane, via Stow. The modern Southam Road and Evesham Road did not exist.
The traditional village should boast a manor house, and Prestbury manor was already there when the Normans came to England. This was not today’s ‘Manor House’ on the corner of Lake Street (although that has an interesting history as a bakery, there is no evidence associating it with any manor), but a moated building to the west of Spring Lane. This imposing structure, one of the residences of the bishops of Hereford, was such a noteworthy feature in the landscape that it may even have given the village its name: Prestbury, ‘the priest’s fortified place’.
This is the first of three articles about Prestbury Parish.
Parish Annual Meeting
The Vestry Meeting and Annual Meeting will be on Sunday 2 April at 6.30pm. in St Mary’s Church, Mill Street
Please make every effort to attend the Annual Vestry Meeting and Parish Annual Meeting.
During these meetings Churchwardens, Assistant Wardens and PCC members will be elected.
Please see the church notice boards for nomination lists.
The Prestbury and Pittville Youth Charity (www.ppy.org.uk) AGM will follow on immediately after the Parish Annual Meeting. If you are a member, please stay on for what will be a brief meeting!
The Team Office
The Team Office has been relocated from Fr Stephen’s
study to its new location at St Nicolas’. Kay Porter, our Administrator,
will be in the Office as usual on Mondays 0900-1230, Thursdays 0900-1200
and Fridays 0900-1230. The Team Office phone number remains the same:
244373 or email
Fr Stephen has a new number at the Rectory which is
575649 or email
Memorial Service for Malcolm McKelvey
There is to be a Memorial Service for Malcolm on Sunday 18 June at 2.30pm at Christ’s Hospital, Horsham. If anybody would like to go, please contact Christine so that she can give the school a rough idea of numbers.
Saturday Lettings at St Nicolas’ Hall
The Management Committee of St Nicolas’ Church Hall is offering a special reduced lettings rate to groups that would like to book the Hall regularly on a Saturday at least ten times a year. The Hall in Swindon Lane is an extremely popular venue for daytime and evening activities Monday to Friday but the Committee would like to see more people making use of it at weekends. During the week there is a packed timetable which includes portrait painting and calligraphy classes, Marle Hill WI, pilates, aerobics, playgroup and toddler groups as well as Guides, Brownies and youth clubs.
Contact Tricia Wilson on for more information.
Christian Aid Week – can you help?
Christian Aid Week is from 14 to 20 May. We hope that our usual loyal volunteers will be able to help us and that others will join them.
On Saturday 6th May there will be a Christian Aid Fair at Holy Apostles’ Church Hall, London Road. We shall be running a grocery stall there and would appreciate donations and/or help. Details later!
If you can help in any way please let us know.
(St Mary’s) Gill Ashman
St Mary’s Upper Room
Many thanks to Lynda and Roger Hodges for repainting and curtaining the Upper Room and improving the cupboard spaces there. The room is used regularly by both church and other groups and it is now a much more cheerful place to be in!
Gloucestershire Police Male Voice Choir
We had a wonderful, light-hearted concert with a superb performance by the Gloucestershire Police Male Voice Choir and their soloist, Kate Barrett. Everyone sat tapping their feet and swaying to the music which covered everything from Gilbert & Sullivan to Andrew Lloyd Webber. To date the net profit stands at £533.88 – well done and thank you to all who helped and supported us.
This month’s meeting is at 7.30pm on Tuesday 25 April in St Mary’s Church. Mrs Dawn Firkins will give a talk ‘Up to speed’ on drug awareness. Please join us.
St Mary’s Bakestall and Traidcraft Stall
Our next bakestall will be a week early on Sunday 9 April (Palm Sunday) with contributions from members with surnames G-M. This will coincide with the new monthly Traidcraft stall, so please bring twice as much money with you!
If anyone would like to join the cake-making rota, please let us know.
Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews
Prestbury Parish Magazine - April 2006
The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Mary and St Nicolas Prestbury Cheltenham - Registered Charity No 1130933
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