We are in the year’s dark narrows. In the churchyard the yew – green-black and skittish with robins – is ruling the short days, the long nights. Wonderful seasons! I am still young and foolish enough to long for snow. I hope I always will be. In the meantime, the last leaves on the field maples lining the eastern approach to the village are banana yellow, the river threatens to break its banks and mirror out the grazing in front of Cuttenham Farm, coal fires burning in the great hearths of the Malt House scent the village high street.
Anne Crisp, an Oxford University trained historian, has been very generous with her time researching the history of Wilsford’s church. In time for our Remembrance Service, Anne identified two young men from this village who lie in continental graves, and who had been forgotten by our small village. Private Percy Stone, Somerset Light Infrantry, who died of his wounds in 1918 and Corporal William Cleverly, Royal Engineers, who stayed in France after the end of the war to pack up British equipment and ship it home, and died of pneumonia in 1919. Records show that William attended school until 14 (relatively late for the time), and that he lived at what is now Poores Cottage, from where his parents ran the village stores. Anne thinks Percy was a carter, and his father a dairyman. Christopher Beese, a former cavalry officer, read out their names at Wilsford’s Remembrance Service. Under duress, Christopher agreed to wear his medals for the occasion, awarded for his service in Bosnia, Oman and Northern Ireland. This was the first Remembrance service Wilsford has held for many years, but now the village has young men to remember there will be more.
Unsettling news. Two mares and two foals (the latter both born in the village) – have had their tails cut, crudely and mysteriously. The horses were not harmed, but they have been damaged, and it is upsetting for all of us in the village. The two mares have been the victims of sinister midnight events before – one stormy night last winter the gate to their field was opened and they bolted along the A342 to Rushall, where they were spotted and rounded up by an off-duty policeman. Another morning one was found with a puncture wound in its shoulder. The police are now investigating, and the village is on a state of high alert, as is the local horse-owning community. Patrols have been mounted, surveillance cameras installed.
If you are looking for a good local cause to support this Christmas why not donate food and / or funds to the The Trussell Trust, which provide food banks in towns and cities across the UK www.trusselltrust.org