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Prestbury Parish Magazine

February 2013

Cover photograph:
Staying the Course
by  Fr Mike French


Staying the Course

Editorial Team Corner

A Mission Statement for the Magazine

Team Vision – the future

Ash Wednesday 2013

Community Corner

Bishop of Tewkesbury to retire in March

Welcome back Peter Greaves

“The Way” (part 1)

Prestbury Memorial Trust News

Winter Draws On

Walking Group programme

Prestbury Flower Arranging Club

The Mill, Mill Street

Praying Through Lent 2013

Report of Deanery Synod

Works of Man

Some articles from this month's magazine have been included elsewhere in the web site:

The Registers

The Calendar for this month

The Diary for this month


Staying the Course

Ignacy Jan Paderewski was a Polish pianist who gained worldwide fame in the late nineteenth century. At the age of 12, in 1872, he had been admitted to the Warsaw Conservatorium, graduating in 1878 and making his musical debut in Vienna just nine years later. In 1891, he travelled to the United States where he was hugely popular, and it was there, after a lunchtime concert, that a small boy is said to have climbed onto the stage as people were talking and brought the room to a standstill with a very rough attempt at ‘chopsticks’. The immediate response was outrage at the unmusical interruption and anxiety for the valuable piano the child was hammering. But the pianist was unperturbed. Quickly joining the child at the keys he began to improvise a brilliant and beautiful tune around what the boy was doing. All the time he whispered in the boy’s ear “Keep going, keep playing, don’t stop, don’t give up, don’t ever give up”.

Lent, as everyone knows, is a time of discipline. Whether you are planning to avoid a luxury item such as chocolate or alcohol; being intentionally counter-cultural by giving up television or social networks; or following a more traditional line of replacing certain meals with times of prayer; you are bound to encounter some inner resistance. It may even be that you slip up through forgetfulness or habit or a moment of weakness. The advice in such situations is not to waste time in regret or self-recrimination, but simply to return to your discipline. Those who believe in Jesus find that it is his way to take us from one beginning to another, and if we fail then it serves as a reminder that we are human. Our efforts are often clumsy, less than impressive, and others may even find them unwelcome. But by his Spirit he is present. He delights in us. He weaves around our offering something creative, unpredictable and beautiful. And all the time he whispers in our ear, “Keep going, don’t stop, don’t give up, don’t ever give up”.

Fr Daniel



Editorial Team Corner

Staying the Course is our February theme. For many, LENT is about committing to a challenge. Felicity Bayne‘s article highlights support available for ‘the challenge in prayer’ over a sustained period of time. Richard Gould highlights the need for preparation in his forthcoming challenge.

At the same time as working on our Magazine, I have begun the process of negotiating reduced monthly fees, on behalf of my Father, who has Alzheimer’s disease and lives in a Nursing Home. The journey of Father’s illness began with the diagnosis of vascular dementia in 2007. In 2009, he was further diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. By this time, my parents, in their late ‘80’s were living in an apartment with 24 hour support in an E. Cheshire resource for elderly people. Father was an engineer and loved numbers! With support, he set up a small bridge club. Determined to retain independence, he regularly caught the bus into town. As he gradually declined, he surprised the Memory Clinic Psychiatrist by never asking for a wheel chair, or any other equipment. He prepared for the memory tests…which he hated, for they made him feel a fool. He was painfully aware that his brain was failing him.

From October-December 2011, he rapidly declined. I moved him just before Christmas to an emergency bed in a nursing home. Within two weeks I was included in the task of drawing up his End of Life Care Plan. He required two care staff to predict and provide all his care as he was no longer able to work out what he needed. To our delight, he was still soldiering on at Easter. He was at the beginnings of building relationships with the staff…who were working out how to communicate with him. He then resumed feeding himself and recognised family members. He is now 92, and has fun teasing the staff. His once garbled language can develop into occasional short sentences. He is stable. It took the staff some six months to work out the most appropriate routine for him. As I write, he is ‘very well’. The commitment shown to Father by the Nursing Staff is mirrored by his perseverance and endurance. He will not give up and demonstrates the words in Romans 5:3 ‘We also have joy with all our troubles because we know these troubles produce joy’.

My challenge is to keep Father at this resource which is taking most of his savings. I will need the same perseverance as he has shown.

I would like to thank Fr Daniel and Wanda Delves for encouraging me to write about Father. I have learnt from them that a personal story can be of significant interest to others. If you have a story that you consider may be of interest, please seek views from others. It can be uplifting to receive feedback.

Our theme for March is New Beginnings, and for April/May, Love and Marriage.

We are producing 9 magazines this year, and as from March the cost will be 60p. The increase will cover production costs of 55p per copy. Thanks to all of those involved in selling 450 copies of the Christmas Magazine! Our magazine calendar from 2013 =
monthly magazines: Feb, Mar, June, July, Oct and Nov…
double issues = Apr/May, Aug /Sept, Dec/Jan.

Jean Johnson



A Mission Statement for the Magazine

When the Editorial Team took on our Magazine in June 2012 we decided it
would be helpful to renew our sense of what we are trying to do, what the
magazine is actually for. This will give us a focus and help us when we have decisions to make about content:


It is good to be starting a new year with a clear sense of purpose and we hope that you, our readers, share our sense of excitement about the magazine as it continues to serve our church and community.

Fr Daniel and the Magazine Team


Team Vision – the future

It is three years since PCCs first discussed a shared Vision for North Cheltenham Team Ministry. It is now time to review where this process has taken us, and think about what needs to happen next.

It is a good time to be thinking about this as our Diocesan Synod recently agreed to adopt new objectives for the Diocese set out in a document called “Journeying Together”. This incorporates an initiative called Effective Ministry in Every Parish (EMEP)*, about which we will be hearing much more during the next few months.

The review of our Vision process needs to be carried out initially by a small group of people led by a member of the clergy. Ideally this team will include representatives from each of our different congregations and the Churchwardens.

St Mary's comprises several distinct congregations. While it is clear that each congregation enjoys and relates to its own particular form of worship, we are still all part of one church family, and also part of a larger Team Ministry. For any family to grow and develop it is important that they know each other and communicate and work well together.

This group will need to meet fairly soon to review our Vision so that a report can be prepared for the Annual Parish Council Meeting in April.

Please do prayerfully consider if you could be a part of this group and if you feel you could, speak to Fr Michael, Fr Daniel or one of the churchwardens at St Mary's or St Nicolas.

*Effective Ministry in Every Parish (EMEP) is the key Diocesan strategy to shape and provide for ministry in each of our communities. For more information see the new-look Diocesan website

Mary Turner, Churchwarden


Ash Wednesday 2013

Lent begins this month on Wednesday 13th February. All communicant members of the Church of England are encouraged to attend a service on Ash Wednesday as part of their own personal preparation for Holy Week and Easter. The services in Prestbury will be:

10.30am Said Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes in St Mary’s
7.30pm Sung Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes in St Nicolas

In the rest of the North Cheltenham Team Ministry there will also be the following services which anyone is welcome to attend:

7.00pm Said Holy Communion at St Lawrence, Swindon Village
7.30pm Sung Mass with Imposition of Ashes in All Saints

Holy Week and Easter

We are looking forward to having Bishop Michael with us in the North Cheltenham Team Ministry during Holy Week this year. He will also be confirming candidates during the Easter Vigil and leading us in our Easter celebrations. Look out for more details of the special programme of services and events.

Farewell to Bishop John

Bishop John is retiring from his role as Bishop of Tewkesbury (see article) and all are invited to attend a farewell service for him and Rosemary. This will be in the Cathedral on Saturday 2nd March at 4.30pm. Do ask if you would like a lift; it would be good to share transport!

Fr Michael


Financial concerns

In 2010 the Diocesan Synod agreed a financial plan for the period to 2015 which set two key targets:

1. To clear the deficit
2. To not reduce stipendiary numbers to save money

It is of great concern that the Diocesan Synod was told that, by the end of 2012, we were already £400,000 below the target. The Diocesan Board of Finance has taken the decision to make £317,000 of cuts to support services in 2013. This will mean at least 5 permanent staff at Church House in Gloucester will be made redundant. The Board of Finance has also warned that, if things do not improve, further cuts will be required by 2015 and at least £300,000 of these will have to be from parish ministry – i.e. the number of full-time priests will have to be cut.

To meet this financial challenge, parishes and deaneries are being urged to make the payment of Parish Share a priority. ‘Parish Share’ is the amount which parishes contribute towards the cost of ministry. Effectively it is the contribution we pay towards covering the employment, housing and training costs of our clergy along with a small amount which contributes towards the cost of the support that parishes are given by Diocesan staff.

How much do we pay?
How much we are asked to pay depends on how many clergy we have. In the North Cheltenham Team Ministry in 2013 we will be assessed on 3 full-time clergy and 2 Non-stipendiary assistant clergy. The total cost for this is £173,600. The PCC’s of North Cheltenham have all prayerfully considered how much they feel able to commit to in 2013 and the total we have committed is £159,230. Clearly that is a shortfall and means that we are ‘taking from the pot’. Although that is embarrassing, it is acknowledged by the Deanery and the Diocese that this is an historic anomaly which arose when the North Cheltenham Team was formed. Effectively we have more staff than we can pay for, but that does not mean that we should not be striving to contribute as much as we can.

What does this mean for us?
Each of the PCC’s in North Cheltenham has increased from 2012 the amount it is committed to pay in Parish Share in 2013.  Prestbury (St Mary’s and St Nicolas combined) is committed to pay £112,320. This amount is our first priority, after that comes the cost of heating, lighting and maintaining our churches and the cost of running our services and of our ministry and mission in Prestbury. This will put our parish finances under a considerable strain and we must even be prepared to be told that we are not ‘balancing our books’ but having to rely on reserves.

What can we do?
I am sure you can understand why we must all regularly and prayerfully consider how much we give as individuals. All those amounts are greatly appreciated but they must be realistic and they must, if at all possible, regularly increase. The number of people who have joined the new Parish Giving Scheme is really encouraging; thank you all! What is also greatly appreciated is that many ticked the box to say that their contribution would increase each year. This only happens after the member of the scheme receives an annual letter detailing the amount of the increase and so it is possible to ask for the amount you give to remain the same. However, now that we are into the second year of running the scheme, increases are beginning to come through which will greatly assist our financial situation. Our treasurers also report very positively on how the scheme has improved cash flow and reduced the burden of collecting Gift Aid.

If you would like to talk to someone about the Parish Giving Scheme, or about our financial situation, please do ask one of the clergy, Churchwardens or treasurer.

Prestbury £112,320
All Saints £27,810
Swindon Village & Cheltenham St Peter   £12,750
Elmstone Hardwicke with Uckington £6,350
Total for North Cheltenham: £159,230

Fr Michael



Community Corner, the Prestbury Village Stores

We launched the Community Corner in the Prestbury Village Stores in April 2012. Since then we have met every Tuesday morning between 10.00-11.30 am. The idea is to come and have a cup of coffee or tea, exchange paperback books, have a chat and, most importantly, meet new friends. Everyone is welcome.

Prestbury Community News & Changes 2013:

Our village is well catered for, as a range of social functions is held each month:

  • Monday Luncheon Club, once a fortnight
  • Welcome on Wednesdays…tea and cakes 2.30pm onwards at St Nicolas’ Church, Swindon Lane….look out for dates in the Parish Magazine
  • First Friday of each month - coffee and socialising at The Royal Oak in The Burgage.
  • The Library is holding a monthly community event on the last Tuesday of each month. Please make a note of this and go along, as there will be no meeting in the Prestbury Village Stores on this Tuesday

What a choice for everyone! No need to be lonely, whatever your age. Please come and join in, you can be sure of a warm welcome.

The following people will welcome you at Community Corner on Tuesdays, in the Prestbury Village Stores:

February     Lynda Hodges
March Vivien Kinnear
April Wanda Delves
May Ann Michael Cole
Reserve Hazel Berry

Community Corner is in urgent need of a bookcase…please contact Doreen Morris if you can help with this request or if you have any further enquiries.  I look forward to meeting you….

Doreen Morris



Bishop of Tewkesbury to retire in March

The Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd John Went has announced that he will retire from his role of Suffragan Bishop at the beginning of March.

Bishop John and his wife Rosemary have been in the Diocese of Gloucester for 17 years under two successive Bishops of Gloucester, the Rt Revd David Bentley and the Rt Revd Michael Perham. Highlights of his time in office include sponsored sleep-outs to raise money for homeless projects, leading pilgrimages and confirming people into the Church.

Bishop John said: “As Rosemary and I approach 17 years in the Diocese of Gloucester we look back with great joy on our time in this wonderful part of the world. We shall both miss the busy and richly varied life of a bishop, but after 17 years look forward to a fresh challenge and fresh opportunities. We give thanks to God for these very special and fulfilling years in mission and ministry in the Diocese of Gloucester.”

Bishop John will return to parish ministry and will be licensed as a house for duty priest in Latimer and Flaunden, Buckinghamshire on 17th April.

The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael Perham said: “Bishop John has served the Diocese of Gloucester as Bishop of Tewkesbury for 17 years during which he has shared his Christian faith effectively, engaged with other Christian churches, helped men and women along the road to ordination, retained a passion for the mission of the Church in a changing world and been a loyal friend and colleague to many. He and Rosemary will take with them to Buckinghamshire the gratitude and affection of the Diocese of Gloucester.”

There will be a farewell service in Gloucester Cathedral on Saturday 2nd March and all are welcome to come along.

A process now begins to explore whether there should be a new Bishop Suffragan of Tewkesbury. The Diocese will explore that informally and also, more formally, through the Bishop’s Council and the Diocesan Synod, and needs to make a case for a new appointment to the national Dioceses Commission. If there is a decision that the post should be filled, the appointment will be made by the Queen on the nomination of the Bishop of Gloucester, who will draw around him a group to advise on the appointment.

For more information, contact Lucy Taylor, Diocesan Communications Officer, 01452 835515,


Welcome back Peter Greaves

Well, here I am again - back in Prestbury as Organist and Choir Director at St Mary's. When I left in 2008 to move to South Devon I thought I was bidding a fond farewell to Cheltenham, but HSBC had other ideas and I returned to Gloucestershire in 2010 as Deputy Area Commercial Director. For the last two years I have helped out at St Nicolas' and also spent time as Organist at Down Hatherley, which is where I now live. When I received a call last October to say that David Smith was leaving, it didn't take me very long to agree to come back! I am very grateful for the warm welcome I have received which has helped me to quickly settle back into life at St Mary's.

So what are my plans for 2013? Now the busy period of Christmas is over I will be working with the choir to broaden our repertoire - with new anthems, a new setting for the eucharist and the odd new hymn as well. It's always good to have new members and I am delighted Gill Cartwright has recently joined. Choir practice remains on Fridays evenings 7-8pm.  If you're interested in joining us, please have a word or simply come along!

Peter Greaves


“The Way” (part 1)

Starting in late April, Richard Gould, a Prestbury resident, will be walking the ancient pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. We’ve asked him to write about his thoughts on the trip and on his preparations. His sponsored charity is the Cheltenham Housing Aid Centre. He writes:

I can’t remember who it was but I once heard a great British actor of yesteryear talking about how finding a prop, such as a walking stick or a particular moustache, was the basis of “finding” the character they were about to play. Oddly enough this went through my mind recently in an outward-bound store. I’d found the perfect rucksack for my next walking trip. From the moment I put it on I was that long-distance walker as I strode around the store. I felt the thrill of setting out on a journey where I’d be carrying all I’d need for five or six weeks of walking on my back. I’d be travelling from St Jean Pierre de Port (translated as “St John at the foot of mountain pass”) in the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela on the west coast of Spain, some 500 miles. The Camino Francese, “The Way” of the medieval pilgrim was calling.

The origin of the pilgrimage lies in the discovery of the bones of St James the Great during the 9thCentury. By the 12th Century it rivalled the other great pilgrimage routes to Rome and Jerusalem. Some of the parishioners of St Mary’s, Prestbury will know the route well having walked parts of it in 2006.

With three months to go, I’m really enjoying the preparation. Not the physical training needed to drag myself and my pack 15 miles a day. Not the organising of charity fund raising. Not the detailed planning. Not learning enough Spanish to get by. Although I’m doing all these things I’m talking about what’s so important to the dedicated walking anorak. Choosing the kit is what I mean. I’ve let myself wallow in the sheer lexicon of outdoor technological pleasure; “moisture wicking polyester lining”, “angel wing movement”, “three season with good torsional resistance”. With hundreds of websites to visit I could spend hours a day just doing research on what to buy.

Ultimately, the name of the game is weight reduction. Well, maybe a bit about comfort and cost but mostly about weight reduction. Experience of walking in Europe tells me that the only heavy item you need is a good strong wooden staff to deter the local dogs. On this sort of long-distance walk the maximum weight limit should be 10kg. This is for two reasons. Firstly, when you want to fly back from your destination anything above 10kg can cost you a fortune in additional luggage charges. Secondly, if you’re walking for any length of time, especially uphill, then a 10kg rucksack will be as much as you want to carry. Don’t forget that the water needed for a day on the trail might add 20% to the load.

Having the right kit is important. My old school rugby master insisted we wear clean, identical kit. When we took the field in a tight phalanx we felt like a team. We felt like rugby players. Just as importantly, we looked like a team to the opposition. In our mind we were two scores up, even before kick-off. Simple. When you know your walking boots and jacket will keep you dry no matter what the weather, and your rucksack fits you perfectly, then it means you’re psychologically “up for it”.

This theme of getting yourself properly ready is integral to the message of Lent. This is the time when Christians prepare for Easter through fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. In the same way that being well prepared for a long walk makes the journey more enjoyable, then Christians who prepare through Lent can celebrate Easter all the more fully.

I’ll need to prepare my cardio-vascular system and get my feet toughened up and the only way to do this is to get out and do some mileage on hard roads. I’ll let you know how I’m getting on next time.

Richard Gould


Prestbury Memorial Trust News

2012 has been another memorable year for the Trust. The highlight would have to be the Jubilee celebrations. Even the weather co-operated that day. A big thank you to all who made donations for our table top sale in March, and those who collected Echo Wish tokens. Events like these help raise our profile and swell our coffers. As usual, the year ended on a high note with our Christmas tea party in the W.I. hall (see photo below). We had 74 guests and were entertained by Oakwood Junior School choir, and, right on cue, Father Christmas materialized, bearing gifts to boot! Prestbury W.I. served up a splendid tea for us. Our three coach outings remain very popular and were fully booked.

The Trust’s other activities listed below continue to be well supported, but there are always places for new members.

We are surprised and a little puzzled by the number of people in the village who have never heard of Prestbury Memorial Trust and all the activities we organise. We hope that regular contributions to the Parish Magazine may help rectify this.

Here are some bare facts. The Trust has been in existence since 1949 and is a registered charity. It is based in the Warden’s Bungalow at 10 Deep Street. The bungalow is a registered WW2 Memorial originally built as a home and clinic for Prestbury’s district nurse. We run a 16-seater white minibus with our name emblazoned on it.

Our activities include:

  • A visiting warden service
  • Lunch Club
  • Weekly grocery shopping trips
  • A Carers' support group
  • An Extend exercise group
  • An Art & Craft group
  • Birthday visits
  • Minibus and Coach outings

The Trust depends almost entirely on volunteers. At present we would like to hear from anyone with a bit of spare time willing to drive our minibus. We are always looking for volunteers wanting to help out with our groups.

Date for your diary
Wednesday 27th. March. Spring coach outing which will include a W.I. tea.

If you would like further details about any of the above please contact me on 579097 or

Richard Mason


Winter Draws On

At the opening night of the latest CHADS production, held in Prestbury Hall, it looked as if we were in for a good evening, and we were not disappointed. Michael Brick, as MC, gave the opening announcement, and then it was time for the show.

The red curtains opened and we were introduced to the full colourful company in a bright opening number. Then there was a disturbance in the audience, as two elderly members pushed their way forward and up onto the stage. They were visiting the local chemist shop with a seemingly endless and surprising list of questions concerning items stocked in the shop, such as: Do you stock remedies for heartburn? When asked the reason, came the answer that the couple were about to get married, and were planning to use the shop to provide prospective gifts for their wedding present list. It is not often that one sees zimmers included!

This was followed by a sketch entitled “Making a Splash” and presented the Prestbury Synchronised Aquatic team, direct from the recent Olympics. The curtains parted to reveal a three foot high length of blue material stretched across the stage. Behind were the performers, all splendidly attired in their swimming hats, goggles and bathing costumes. They moved, gyrated, rotated etc to an array of tuneful music. However, imagine the panic as Jaws appeared, with perfect timing to that synonymous tune. I was amazed at how well it was done, especially when using The Dambusters’ March for one of the hilarious sequences. It was one of the funniest things I saw last year.

Three of the young ladies had their turn in “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and proved to be up and coming stars of the future for the company. The scene changed to the dreaded “Bates Motel.” On a very cold night, a nun and a clergyman arrived, hoping for a night’s lodging, as their car had broken down. A potential problem, of only one room being available, room 666, was solved, as they agreed to share this room. The clergyman, the perfect gentleman, took the couch, leaving the nun the use of the only bed. Complaining of the apparent cold she received one extra blanket; this was soon doubled. Then, as she still complained of the cold, she suggested that the Good Lord would not mind if they behaved as a husband and wife for the night. The exasperated padre then said “In that case you can get your own bloomin’ blanket!” The youngsters told their jokes in the style of, “What does a frog do when his car breaks down?”  The answer is at the end of this article. “Songs of Praise” followed, with the choir trying to choose hymns for their service based on a single word called out by their new young and innovative vicar. Subjects, such as Worship and Star were presented, and a variety of hymns were offered in response. However the mention of the word Sex produced a stumbling block and a deathly silence followed. Then the senior lady from the choir broke into song eliciting from the chosen word “Memories.”

The show ended with a mini pantomime, involving pirates, fair maidens and Moody the cow, complete with milkmaid and cream. The pirate captain pursues the fair Gobby (you have to take my word for that) and, after much ado, seals his troth. We in the audience were happy to join in with cheering, booing and some well-mannered heckling, as we witnessed fights on the high seas and on land. But it all ended happily, to much cheering from the well entertained spectators.


Pictures by Edward Wyatt

The entertainers included five members of the Brick family – Rhiannon, Hilary, James, Michael and Noel, Alex and Nick Moore, with his mother Sylvia McKenzie; Miriam and William Barnes, Jenny and Maurice Newman, Marion Beagley (the inspired producer) Jonathan and Helena Bennett, Sophie Bestwick, Wendy Thomas, Sue Weston, Brian Wood, Jerry Porter, Eleanor Knight, Avril Keen and Mike French. Trevor Andrews drew the programme cover picture.

There were thanks all round, followed by a choice of drinks with a snack of bread and cheese, and a raffle; all to end a lovely evening. Well done to every one and a welcome £1,000 cheque for the Simply Vicky charity.

Answer: He gets toad away!

Tudor Williams


Walking Group programme

Since we started our walks in May 2012, about a dozen of us from across three churches have enjoyed a lot of fun and socialising whilst puffing up hills and negotiating stiles. This year we are trying to put the walks on a more regular basis so that people can put them in their diaries. All walks leave St Nicolas’ car park at 9.30am unless otherwise specified, and passengers are asked to contribute £2 towards petrol and parking costs.

February 16th: Sherborne – an easy walk of about 2.5miles on estate paths and pavements when we hope to see the snowdrops. It is likely to be muddy. There will be the opportunity to have a coffee stop at the village stores in Sherborne. Details from Janet Waters.

March 16th: Bourton-on-the Water and Lower Slaughter. This is the cancelled November walk which follows several marked ways in this attractive area of the Cotswolds. Details from Gill Wood  and Janet Ford.

April: Details to be confirmed . Leaders: Gill and Nigel Woodcock.

May 18th: Queenswood: a local walk of 3.5miles with some climbs to enjoy the bluebells and the views across the Severn Vale. Details from Gill Wood  and Janet Ford.

June 15th: Adlestrop - you’ve read the poem now see the platform sign! This is a pretty 5-mile walk with two gentle climbs. There is an opportunity to visit Daylesford organic food shop known as the Harvey Nick’s of the Cotswolds, so credit cards required! Details from Janet Waters.

The walks will be announced in the pew sheet, but do come along and join us.

Janet Waters


Prestbury Flower Arranging Club

The Committee look forward to welcoming old friends, and, we hope, some new members, to our first demonstration of the year on Monday 25th February, by Laura Leong, entitled “Contemporary Craftwork”. This will be Laura's first visit to our club so we are all looking forward to seeing some new ideas.

Our meetings are held in Prestbury Hall on Bouncers Lane and commence at 7.30pm, with the hall open from 7.00pm. The demonstrator’s flower arrangements are raffled and refreshments are served at the end of the evening.

Do visit our website for information on forthcoming events and information about the club, including lots of super photos of past demonstrations.  Alternatively, contact Lindsey McGowan or Fenella Botting  for further information.

Lindsey McGowan



The Mill, Mill Street

Many of the inhabitants of the parish, particularly of the older parts, have chosen to reside here because of the beauty and history of the surroundings. Prestbury village in particular is home to some very old buildings which were, in the past, central to its function and growth. We have decided to begin a short series of articles which focus on some of the buildings of historical importance in the parish. Many of these would have been linked to the church and frequented by its parishioners. We begin our series with an article about the Lower Mill, situated on Mill Street behind the church. At harvest time it would have been a focus for the village, alongside the church. Our first article has been contributed by the Revd Norman Baker.

The Revd Norman Baker is a Methodist minister who, in retirement, has found opportunity to give time to his interest in local history research. This has led him to engage in a course of study with Exeter University on Village and Parish History and he is now engaged in research on the Lower Mill, Home Farm and Prestbury’s farms and fields. He moved to Prestbury six years ago and is Secretary of the Prestbury Local History Society.

“Mills have been a feature of our village since before the 13th Century. At present we know of Lower & Upper Mills but there may have been a third water mill and perhaps a windmill.

Both mills are on the same Mill Stream, the Lower Mill being on Mill Street, downhill from the Parish Church and the Plough Inn. Although there has probably been a mill on the site since the 13th century our earliest reference to the Lower Mill by name is in a deed of 1745.
There is nothing about the building which we now see which would indicate that it was a mill except the name. There is no mill wheel, no workings inside or out, and no mill pond.”

The red brick part of the structure was the house which was occupied by the miller and his family. It is described in 1903 as containing 3 bedrooms and an attic, sitting room, kitchen and pantry. (One miller and his wife had 9 children!). The Mill itself was the long stone building with its gable end on to the road. According to the 1903 sale particulars, it had three floors: a Corn floor, Mill floor and Ground floor. It would probably have been the normal mill layout; the grain was lifted in sacks onto the corn floor at the top of the mill on a hoist operated from the mill wheel. The sacks were then emptied into bins (garners), and the grain fed down through a hopper to the millstones on the mill floor below. The milled grain (flour) is collected as it emerges through the grooves in the runner stone from the outer rim of the stones and is fed down a chute to be collected in sacks on the ground floor. If you look closely at the old photograph you will see a door at wagon height where sacks of grain and flour were loaded.

A look at the 1883 OS map shows the position of the mill pond stretching from the mill eastwards to the footpath from the church to Shaw Green Lane.

It is usually assumed that the rectangular space between Mill Street and the red brick Mill House was the space where the wheel turned. Looking closely at the old photograph, which is probably early 20th century when the wheel would almost certainly have been in position, it is clear that the wheel, which is described in the 1903 sale particulars as ‘a large overshot water wheel’ was not on the south gable. The conclusion is that the wheel was fixed to the northern gable, away from the road.

For about 50 years the miller was John Cole. The 1831 sale details show him to be the tenant and the Cheltenham Examiner records his death at the Mill on 6 Feb. 1882. He is described as ‘miller and baker’ so presumably over that period the premises were used as a bakery and mill.

The Lower Mill functioned for about 600 years before becoming a victim of the industrial revolution.  Towards the end of the 19th century the decision was taken to extend the working life of the mill as a profitable business by installing a steam engine to drive the millstones. (Perhaps this happened in 1882 when John died and the mill was prepared for a new tenant.) The chimney showing in the old photograph emitted the smoke from the coal fired boiler.

Eventually, by the turn of the century, milling, even with the help of steam and more millstones, became unsustainable for a small, local mill such as this. Around 1913/14 the mill was converted to a laundry run by the Kitchen family. The laundry looked a good alternative because it could make use of some of the facilities, but that too proved unsustainable. The whole suite of premises was therefore converted into a private residence in the early 1920s by Christopher Capel.


The Lower Mill continues to have a very central place in the life of the village as stones from the mill form the base of the village War Memorial. The inventory for St Mary's Church compiled by John Baghot de la Bere III says “the well weathered stones which form the base of this [War] memorial were part of the 'old mill' in Mill Lane and were given for this purpose by Major Christopher Capel."  We know that at the time the Lower Mill was owned by Christopher Capel but not the Upper Mill, therefore the old mill referred to is the Lower which was being reconstructed at the time.

(If you would like to see a water mill in action there is a fully restored mill at Stanway which is open most Thursdays through the year and daily through June, July and August.)

I have recently started researching the history of Home Farm and have come to the conclusion that the changes in the farming life of our parish are such that it is important that we gather together a history of all of our farms and fields. If anyone has memories, photographs, or records connected with farming in the parish I would be very pleased to hear from you.
The Prestbury Local History Society meets on the 4th Monday of each month except August and December, at Prestbury Library at 7.30p.m. Guests are welcome to all meetings. The full 2013 programme and details of the society can be found on the website

The Revd Norman Baker
 01242 583187,  


Praying Through Lent 2013

At Glenfall House, during Lent this year we are offering two different opportunities for you to grow in prayer. The first is LEARNING ABOUT PRAYER

On Tuesday evenings there will be an opportunity for you learn about and experience different approaches to prayer from five different speakers who are passionate about their subject. Further information can be found in the House leaflet and on the House website. Each evening will begin at 7.00pm with a welcoming cup of tea or coffee, the speaker will lead us through a particular style of prayer, and the evening ends after an experience of prayer, at 9.00pm:

19th February: Revd Henry Morgan “You’re better at prayer than you think you are!”
26th February: Frances Pavey “Prayer and Movement”
5th March: Revd David Runcorn “Praying the Jesus Prayer
12th March: Canon Paul Iles “Prayer and Stillness”
19th March: Revd Katie McClure “Prayer and Healing”

There is no need to book, and there is no charge, though donations are invited. If you would like to have dinner at 6.30pm at Glenfall House beforehand, please book this with the house (normal charges for dinner apply).

The second opportunity is a JOURNEY IN PRAYER
On Sunday evenings we are offering an opportunity for you to talk with a Prayer Companion – a spiritual director – in a one-to-one conversation about your own faith life and prayer. Prayer doesn’t always come easily to us and it is often difficult to integrate our prayer life and our daily life. The Journey in Prayer can help. It is ideal for people with work, home, family and financial commitments, who would never be able to go away for a traditional retreat

At these meetings, Companions will suggest texts to help you (normally from scripture) to be used for prayer before the next individual meeting. On the days in between, the commitment is to put aside time each day for personal prayer. Further information can be found in the House leaflet and on the House website. To join in the Journey in Prayer there is no charge, but you do need to book a place.

To book your place, or to find out more about either of these events please contact Glenfall House, Tel: 583654 or

Felicity Bayne, Chaplain at Glenfall House


Report of Deanery Synod meeting of 15 November 2012

The November meeting of the Deanery Synod was held at the United Reform Church at Warden Hill, and chaired by Revd Dr Tudor Griffiths. There were two major items of business.

Natalie Hill, Church Buildings Officer, representing the Diocesan Advisory Committee explained her role and how she may be able to help individual churches. Her wide brief ranges from the arrangements for the installation of solar panels on church properties to energy audits, improved Diocesan website design, specifically online applications for faculties and possible related training on heritage crafts.

Ben Preece-Smith, Diocesan Director of Finance, spoke about The Parish Share. In a nutshell, each of the Cheltenham Deanery churches needs to raise more money in order to pay their way. Since we, and other areas, have not been covering the necessary costs, cutbacks of office-based people are taking place in Gloucester and over the next three years there will also be cuts in the number of stipendary clergy in the area.

Jonathan Mackecknie-Jarvis will retire from the DAC and all his other responsibilites in April.

Sue Read



Works of Man

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you have established; what are human beings, that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honour.
         Psalm 8: 3-5, NRSV

For many, these verses will bring to mind some occasion when the stars seemed particularly clear and bright, a frosty night perhaps, deep in the country with no city lights to hide the stars. Against the immensity of the night sky, human existence and all our activities seem no more significant than the frenetic busyness of an ant-hill. For me at least it’s not a frightening thought; on the contrary, it brings a deep sense of peace and reassurance.

Sometimes, music works in a similar way, unlocking profound responses to what matters most, buried realms of truth and value, deep emotions. Religious music in particular seems to touch even non-believers, witness the huge audiences who flock every year to hear Handel’s Messiah or St Matthew Passion, and indeed the frequent use of religious music as a soundtrack to accounts of natural disasters, or to heighten the impact of fictional drama. Is it the music itself that draws this audience, or does it call up glimpses and memories of faith? This question came sharply into focus for me as I listened to the Radio Three programme “Private Passions”, which works on a similar format to “Desert Island Discs”. One guest, a non-believer, chose so many pieces written for church use that the presenter asked him, “Listening to this music as an atheist, what is in your mind?” His answer left me more puzzled than before: he said, “The works of man.”

Just what did he think of as the sounds of Bach, Tallis, Britten, filled his ears? A shining new bridge? the exploration of space? new frontiers in heart surgery? Or did he visualise a water-source poisoned by industry, wounded children in a war zone, a slum on the edge of a city where rich and poor communities live in mutual fear?

What is the truth about man? Is it possible that the sense of peace conveyed by Psalm 8 can withstand our knowledge of such horrors? For the psalmist, the problem is one of humanity’s significance only, not of our potential for good and evil. To address that we need to look further, first to the prophets of the Old Testament who dared to express the idea that God was faithful even if his people were not. Hosea above all sees a God who loves his sinful children with the immediate and personal love of a human parent: “it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks... How can I give you up, O Ephraim?” [Hosea 11:4,8]. To his hearers, this may have seemed an impossible vision, but to us, living in the light of the New Testament, Hosea’s vision has become fact. At the heart of our faith is the resounding affirmation, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” [John 3:16]

Yes, we can take the vision in Psalm 8 for ourselves, and enjoy it. Giant or ant, demigod or monster, it is not for us to make a judgment about humanity. God who created us, who gave us free will, knows the best and the worst of which we are capable. And he loves us.

Beryl Elliott




Welcome on Wednesdays

We meet at 2:30pm each third Wednesday in the month, for refreshments, conversation and good company, in the comfort of St Nicolas’ Church Room. We now have a fairly regular group of friends joining us, but are always ready to welcome any new visitors.

Janet Ford



Friends of St Mary’s, Prestbury

Annual General Meeting
The AGM will be held at 7.00pm on Thursday 21st February at St Mary's Church. Mulled wine and sausage rolls will be served beforehand. All Friends will be welcome.

Bridge Evening
We will be holding a Bridge Drive on Saturday 23rd February in Prestbury Hall, Bouncers Lane. The plan is for players to arrive at 6.00pm, have a drink, and then play a few rounds of Chicago. Then have a break for supper and continue with further rounds of Chicago.
Tickets to include a drink and supper are £15.00. They are available from Jim Mackie  and Phil Dodd  or by e-mailing



Prestbury Mothers' Union

The next meeting, on Tuesday 26th February, will be our AGM and Eucharist. We meet at St Nicolas' Church at 7.30pm and everyone is most welcome.

Sylvia McKenzie, Branch Leader



Mothering Sunday at St Mary's -
10th March 2013

We would like to ask for your continued support with our Mothering Sunday posies this year.
Anyone kind enough to donate a few posies can bring them to St Mary's on the morning of Saturday 9th March and place them in the water buckets provided by the font.
For further information, please contact Becky Marks.
Many thanks, once again, for helping to share the joy of Mothering Sunday.




Protecting the Environment of Prestbury and Southam

PEPS-NET are pleased to announce they have a new website:

To become a member you should visit!get_involved/c1yzj

You may also attend their monthly meetings which are held in the function room of the Plough Inn at 7:30pm on Mondays. The next two are on 4th February and 4th March.

Matthew Parker



Sponsored by The Spirituality Network for Gloucestershire,
a body in association with Gloucestershire Churches Together


Do others come to share with you their hopes and fears about their Christian pilgrimage?

Have you felt that God may be calling you to ‘companion’ others in this way?

Have you considered whether training might develop your gifts?

Why not come and talk about the possibility of joining this course?
The two-year course starts in September 2013 based at
The Marist Centre, Nympsfield, near Stroud, and is open
to clergy and lay people of any denomination.

Come to the taster day on Wednesday 17th April 2013 at Nympsfield.
Cost £20 including lunch. To book or for more information contact
Ann Morris Tel: 01453 878515
or Anne Solomon email:
Limited numbers, early application advised.

Closing Date: 15th June 2013, after which we will have a reserve list.




Prestbury Open Gardens

Plans are progressing to hold Prestbury Open Gardens on 8th & 9th June, so please tell your family and friends. Our last opening in 2011 raised £3,730 for church funds and we would like to repeat that. Visitors love the variety of gardens they see in Prestbury, both large and small, and the cream teas in St Mary's are an added draw. If you would like to open your garden, or know anyone interested, please ring me

Janet White




St Mary’s Bakestall

The new list of names and dates is now on the notice board in the porch. We could do with a few more volunteers to maintain our number of generous bakers!
From the January Bakestall £50 has been sent to Mission Aviation Fellowship. Have you seen the magazine about their work on the table at the back of the church?

Margaret and Linda



Christmas Collections

At the Christingle Service in December £265 was collected for The Children’s Society. At other services £1,851 was collected at St Mary’s and £309 at St Nicolas’, totalling £2,160, and this was shared equally between our 5 charities: Save the Children; Noonan Syndrome Association; Cheltenham Open Door; Cotswold Riding for the Disabled and the Parish of Prestbury.  £250 was raised for World Vision in lieu of individual Christmas cards.

Gill Wood




Prestbury Parish Magazine - February 2013

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The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Mary and St Nicolas Prestbury Cheltenham - Registered Charity No 1130933

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