News and Updates for Eardisland Memorial Walks

Newsletter - February 2020

Summary

An expectation that in general, interest in the First World War would tail away with the passing of its centennial year did not materialise. The sentiments surrounding Remembrance last November remain much as in the recent past, judging by factors relating to media across the board and of course the arrangements leading up to the annual ceremony at the Cenotaph. On the Walks’ project, our only real yardstick is the sale or theft of guide brochures – the former of which has been considerable.

The viability of our Walks depends on their respective conditions, which through the year faced challenges relating in particular to potato growers – more so outside Eardisland, though nonetheless bad for the Walks’ reputation and the project’s objective.

The only way to go is, of course, forwards. In 2020 we hope to achieve better results for the project set against the background of a changed Herefordshire County Council, mindful of the cost-effective benefits arising from enabling access to the countryside. Meanwhile, the project is grateful to all landowners and/or tenants who have accepted our Memorial Gates on their property and who generally ensure safe access and unimpeded passage on Eardisland Memorial Walks.

Situation, information and events

Each of our 13 soldiers has a Memorial Gate, with two remaining subject to commemorative openings. Pte John Herbert Davies (Walk No. 9 with bike option) emigrated with his brother to Canada in 1911. They lived at Lower Burton Farm, where the project has replaced a standing structure with John’s Memorial Gate. John was killed in action fighting in the Battle for Mount Sorrel on 14th June 1916; he served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force which played a key part in the British Army’s success. (We plan to open the gate early this summer.)

E team at Lower Burton - Pte John H Davies Gate

E team worthies and Stan Blatchford looking deservedly pleased at the Pte John Davies Gate.

Pte Rudolph Morris lived at Manor House, then Porch House in the centre of the village. He joined the Cheshire Regiment having worked in Warrington at the start of the First World War. Rudolph was wounded in 1918 while fighting Turkish troops in Palestine, and by the time he recovered his regiment had been moved to the Western Front. He rejoined them there, but on 21st August was killed as a result of mis-directed British artillery fire. The Manor House gate bears his plaque which shall be commemorated in due course. The event will include a short walk (Walk No. 6) around the village.

During 2019 we commemorated four of our fallen soldiers beginning in April with John Charles Morgan. He lived in Shirl Heath and served with the 1/4th Bn. Royal Welch Fusiliers, a pioneer battalion. He and two others were killed by artillery fire whilst out as a work party during the Third Battle of Ypres, or Battle of Passchendaele on 26th August, 1917. His Memorial Gate – in fact a stile – was opened by Major Allan Harrhy, President of Herefordshire British Legion, who served with the South Wales Borderers, a unit linked to the disbanded Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

From just up the road from the Shirl Heath Auction Rooms, the Walk continues through a part of Kingsland parish, then down through Monkland, returning to our War Memorial via Rhydimoor and Burton Court by road. It’s an interesting and little used route: buy Walk No. 5 for a full explanation.

The Pte John Charles Morgan Memorial Gate in Shirl Heath

The Pte John Charles Morgan Memorial Gate in Shirl Heath.

In May, the Walks project and Dovecote Trust joined the Eardisland Twinning Association and their visiting French guests from La Vieille Lyre. M. Robert Mille, the Birmingham-based French Consul and his wife Margaret arrived to unveil a plaque dedicated to the 20 Fallen Great War soldiers from La Vieille Lyre. It now adorns the garden wall of Eardisland’s Dovecote in a tranquil place facing the millstream. With remarkable precision organised by the Bell Captain, Eardisland’s church bell tolled 13 times as the names of the Fallen were read, and the Consul unveiled a French tricolour from the plaque. The event concluded in the village hall where those present enjoyed a splendid English tea, and an exhibition featuring our own lost lads. A second plaque bearing their names as well as those who named on the War Memorial who died in action during the Second World War will be mounted close to La Vielle’s War Memorial this coming May.

Unveiling the memorial plaque to the Fallen of La Vieille Lyre

Unveiling the memorial plaque to the Fallen of La Vieille Lyre.

Late June saw the commemoration of Stanley George Hughes of Little Broom Farm. His is a popular route (Walk No. 3), taking Broom Lane to Pembridge and passing Staley’s home on the way, then back on the footpath following the line of the River Arrow.

Stanley appears to have left home early in the War to join the Royal Horse Artillery in Woolwich. At some stage, he rebadged to the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Fusiliers, which became part of the British Salonika Force deployed in Greece in late 1915. Winter weather was appalling and the following summer stifling. Malaria was endemic among the trench positions. Wounded whilst fighting on the Struma front and admitted to hospital, Stanley contracted malaria and died as a result on 23rd July, 1917.

There was a good turnout of villagers and visitors at the commemorative opening. The gate was unveiled by a retired British Army officer who lives in Herefordshire, and who served in both the Royal Ulster Rifles and the Royal Irish Rangers, which perpetuate the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Stanley Hughes gate opening

Pte Stanley George Hughes Memorial Gate, by the weir.

In August we had the pleasure to open a gate commemorating Pte William Webb in Monkland. William was born in Kingsland, but initial research put him at Streamford Cottage, 1,000 m east of the village on the Leominster road. The Walk passes the current house. It’s a ten-miler (Walk 13) exploring Pinsley Brook and passing close to Kingsland as well!

William Webb Walk

William Webb Walk, Kingsland.

William served with the East Lancashire Regiment, which suffered disproportionate losses - even in a conflict notorious for its casualty rates. He was killed in action on the 31st of March, 1918, during the early stages of the German Spring offensive. The East Lancashire Regiment has long gone and to maintain the connection with its descendent unit the brass plaque was sponsored by retired soldier Mr Roy Thomasson, from The Lancashire Regiment, Prince of Wales Volunteers.

The Memorial Gate’s unveiling was conducted by Mr Ray Hunter, a former Commander in the Royal Navy. Ray is now the managing trustee of the Pippin Trust – which has been extremely generous in supporting the project. Monkland Parish Council laid on a huge feast of sandwiches and cakes to make the occasion special.

Parishioners from Eardisland and Monkland at the Pte William Webb Memorial Gate

Parishioners from Eardisland and Monkland at the Pte William Webb Memorial Gate.

Just ahead of Remembrance Day, on 9th November we completed the Memorial Gate aspect of the project, by commemorating Pte Ernest Morris of the 5th Kings Shropshire Light Infantry, (5KSLI). The KSLI and Herefordshire Regiment were closely affiliated and many Herefordshire recruits served in several battalions. We connect Ernest with Staunton on Arrow, (Walk No.12). Ernest took part in serious actions including the Battle for Hooge, the first incident where gas was used against the British. At some stage Ernest suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh, from which it appears he later died on 18th September 1915.

The unveiling was conducted by Lt Col Andrew Trelawny, who is both The Rifles Regional Secretary for the Midlands, Secretary and a Trustee of the Shropshire and Herefordshire Light Infantry Combined Charitable Trust. This organisation has been extremely generous in supporting the Eardisland Memorial Walks project.

The Ernest Morris Walk joins Eardisland with Staunton on Arrow via Pembridge and is about 10 miles long. You might also start in Pembridge by the Arrow bridge car park and complete a circular , or for a shorter but really pleasant bash begin in Staunton at the Memorial Gate as shown in the picture and complete a walk around the village. You’ll pass Grove Cottage where Ernest’s father lived.

Pte Ernest Morris Memorial Gate opening

The Pte Ernest Morris Memorial Gate, 9th November 2019; people from far and wide attending.

Future intentions

Much will depend on finance, and updates will be published as appropriate. A routine of inspections will be established to ensure that signage is still clear and in place (some have been removed this past year.)

Where rights of way are impeded illegally and where ownership is clear, we trust that a report to the respective Parish Council will engender support in terms of their applying influence to gain a quick fix. However regrettable, it’s apparent that taking matters into local hands is the most practical way forward. We have reached the stage where Balfour Beatty, on behalf of HCC and by extension we taxpayers, can mobilise just two men and a van to maintain 2,176 miles of footpaths and byways! Heroic this might be, but while backlogs build up, deterioration increases and funding is further squeezed. The prospects are bleak.

Involvement

The E team has been instrumental in manpower provision to date, including installation of the four Memorial Gates pictured. Diane Lee keeps our brochures distributed and the shop volunteers help in sales. Many thanks as ever – and to those who support the project in other ways – including users. Our goal remains: to make our place a better place - the village our 13 soldiers left to fight and die for.

Eardisland Parish Church, Armistice Day 2019

Eardisland Parish Church, Armistice Day 2019



Newsletter - December 2018

Summary

With the national focus on the Armistice Centennial, it was important for the project to ensure that Memorial Gates commemorating our local Herefordshire Regiment fallen soldiers were opened formally. The event, held on 10th November, was followed that evening with a Victory Supper, held in the Village Hall.
Graham Madeley continues to research the lives of World War 1 soldiers related to people in Eardisland - and those villages through which Memorial Walks pass. A one-page biography is produced and a copy given to the WW1 serviceman’s descendent.
Over the winter, waymarks will be checked to ensure required replacements and that directions are clear and accurate. Walkers observing and reporting defects will be especially welcome.

Situation, 3rd December 2018.

  • Privates Thomas Cook and John Lewis Memorial Walks were ‘opened’ along with the modest ceremony, which attends the unveiling of brass plaques on respective Memorial Gates. Three Walks remain to feature our distinctive oak kissing gates, made possible by the generosity of Hereford Community Foundation’s Pippin Trust.
  • Guide brochures continue to be available at the Community Shop, Rita’s Tearooms and Arrowbank Caravan Park. Certain copies can be picked up from a number of pubs and cafés in surrounding villages. Over the summer, a brisk replacement effort has hopefully kept pace with demand, demonstrating a gratifying level of interest in the Walks.
  • Relating to the September Newsletter, Private John Charles Morgan’s Walk (No.5, 7 ½ miles) takes you up to Shirl Heath and then to Monkland and back. The new Memorial Gate is in fact a stile and is situated close to where we believe John was born. The summertime snags on this Walk, due to cropping, inadequate signing and access issues are diminished and it's now a pleasant bash overall - with the chance to visit Monkland’s pub and cheese shop as a bonus! There is a second route: the William Webb Walk (No. 13, 10 miles), which again passes through Monkland taking a different direction. The whole area between the B4529 road from Eardisland to Leominster and the A44 between Bainstree Cross, Monkland and Leominster; part of the River Arrow’s floodplain, appears to be wholly ignored by walkers. With EMW waymarks in place, pastures cut back and arable fields clear of crops - now is a good time to explore the area!

Private Thomas Cook opening – Cadets are from Lucton School and a section was included in visitors attending

Private Thomas Cook opening – Cadets are from Lucton School and a section was included in visitors attending


Lt Col Andy Taylor, opening the Thomas Cook Memorial Gate

Lt Col Andy Taylor, opening the Thomas Cook Memorial Gate


Air Vice Marshal Mike Smart opens the John Lewis Memorial Gate

Air Vice Marshal Mike Smart opens the John Lewis Memorial Gate


The crowd at the John Lewis Memorial Gate

The crowd at the John Lewis Memorial Gate


John Charles Morgan Memorial Gate under construction

John Charles Morgan Memorial Gate under construction. Stan Blatchford, centre, is our indispensible construction specialist. Lou Davies is the supportive farmer/landowner (left) who is allowing us to erect the Memorial, and has been kind enough to provide materials as well as tea and cakes! Graham Madeley, right, is site overseer.


Candleholder for Armistice Day

Candleholder for Armistice Day, hand made by the Administrator at Choices Foundation. One was made for each of our Fallen, and used in St Mary the Virgin Church.


The silhouette display in St Mary’s Church

The silhouette display in St Mary’s Church, designed and photographed by Jay Watson


The Village Hall, ready for action!

The Village Hall, ready for action!

Future intentions

  • A break is welcome, and in the New Year we shall we looking for ways in which to expand the project. The Memorial Gates programme will continue, otherwise the plans remain as stated in September.

Involvement

We remain grateful for help and support. E team members once again do the heavy work; Dianne Lee ensures that brochures are available.
In November, the Victory Supper proved to be a great success. This was due to the inspiration and drive of David Wallis, while Sue Wallis, Mandy Vernon and the team of amazing ladies involved in preparing, cooking and serving about 90 three-course meals simultaneously would have impressed the banqueting manager of any major 5 star hotel!
So many thanks to Wendy Priday, Diane Lee, Jo Watson, Rita Kirby, Patricia Gill, Wendy Cross, Helen Simpson, Elaine Harper, Gail Madeley and Hannah Vernon.
Phil Milchard and Graham Madeley helped set up the venue, with Alan and Martin constantly helping throughout.
Graham Madeley additionally directed and produced an extraordinarily imaginative quiz featuring aspects of the War, uncovering an equally impressive array of esoteric historical knowledge amongst the diners.
The Village Band played period music masterfully during the course of the evening, which finished with Mr Roy Wallis, the celebrated pianist, leading the New Village Choir in a hearty rendition of famous First World War songs.
Again: many thanks to all.

Poets’ corner

Here are two WW1 related poems. Thanks to Pat and Allan Newcombe for The Village Memorial, sent by her cousin.

The Village Memorial

No one passing could help but see
Thomas Eden, William Bewdley, James Llewellyn and young Ted Lee.

Nothing has changed, the hens go scratting
Round the humps of the village green;
There in the sun sits an old man plaiting
Hurdles of alder with grass between.
Teazles are drying and cocks are crowing,
People are calling "M'dear, m'dear!
Freely and fine the gossip's flowing -
But Thomas Eden's not there to hear.

Nothing is altered, rooks still quarrel,
High in the elms over Bewdley's loft,
Still the meadows are plagued with sorrel,
Still the clover springs green and soft.
Evening passes with gentle fingers,
Starshine falls on the sycamore tree
And under the leaves, the moth-light lingers -
But William Bewdley's not there to see.

So little alters, girls are kindly
And boys are feverish, bold and mad.
Eyes still worship and hearts leap blindly
And none but the old are stern and sad.
Feet stir blithely above the grasses,
Laughter, out of the heart's rich store,
Lightly quivers and lightly passes -
But James Llewellyn will laugh no more.

Nothing has changed, the hens are scratting
Round the stumps on the tawny green.
Farmer Ingleby's Matthew's batting,
Landlord, Ernie, has made 15.
The lads are laughing, the girls are prinking
All's the same as it used to be -
Yet I couldn't play there and not be thinking
"No more cricket for young Ted Lee".

Here where life runs lustily, crudely,
This were heartbreak to stand and see
Snatched forever to silence - Bewdley,
Eden, Llewellyn and young Ted Lee.

The second is a poem perhaps written from a trench position somewhere on the Western Front. The original, handwritten document, is held by Alex and Peter Atkinson. Graham Madeley researched the writer: E.L Pharzyn was an officer in the 1st Norfolks Regiment.

An initiation to the New Armies
Ypres Winter 1914-15
By E.L. Pharogyne
(After “If” – with apologies to Rudyard Kipling.)

If you can find your way to scattered trenches,
Lost in the inky darkness of the night,
And now fall into the mud which quenches,
All that is left of ardour for the fight.

If you can wade and never tire of wading
Knee deep to another mile of clammy ooze,
If you can stand constant serenading
Of German shells and not give way to booze.

If you can leave for days inside your funk-hole
And sing eternally of Leicester Square
And live the cramped life of a poor old dead mule
With all the patience of a Flanders mare.

If you can make a meal of plum and apple
And wash it quickly down with well-stewed tea
If you can force in your mouth and brain to grapple
With mud stained doles of called MACONOCHIE.

If you can spend your night in mainly digging,
More useless trenches for the rain to fill
And then return to find your best friend swigging
Your craved for long’d for, one and only Jill.

If you can be polite when Minnie crashes
Among your sand-bags at the break of day
Or smile to watch a whiz-bang as it smashes
The work of many hours in spiteful play.

If it amuses you to fight the Boches,
If you delight in the rain and blood and clay
if you can love the ‘Staff’ in their galoshes
And watch your best friends taken day by day.

If you are keen to try a fall with glory
And count the horrors lost in victory one
No matter if you’re Socialist or Tory
you hurry up and take my place my son.



Newsletter - September 2018

Summary

The main event was drawn by being a part of Armed Forces’ week organised by Leominster Council. The project took the opportunity to open the Pte Harold Speke gate in the centre of the village, and take his Walk across to the weir and back via Broome Lane. Also, on 8th August, we opened Pte Harry Smith’s gate at the culvert about 200m past Broom Farm going west.
The project comprised a good deal of preparatory activity for about a year: it’s time therefore to look ahead and carry it forward. This might identify chances for readers and supporters to become involved should they see a opportunity.

Situation, 20th August 2018.

  • The Walks are all waymarked. They include Pte Ernest Morris’(Walk 12), who lived up in Staunton on Arrow. It’s 10 miles in all, but there are options in driving up to Pembridge, or even Staunton, and picking up respective loops. Start at the bridge in Pembridge, or at the stile at the bottom of the field leading up to the church in Staunton. Checked early in August, the grass in all the meadows in Staunton has been cut and you’ll be able to follow the riverside without impediment.
  • The Pembridge loop is OK, but when you come east along the lane from the cross roads by the Arrow bridge – Staunton end – and reach the Rowe Dyke you might find it tricky. The Herefordshire Council signpost is missing and you might watch your footing the immediate 25m or so of path. It could be obstructed. If that’s the case, just walk on up the lane for 300m and turn right into Leen Farm. Everything is well marked and you’ll find the EMW sign up on your left, inviting you to turn left and pick up the footpath.
  • Pte William Webb’s Walk 13 is another 10 miler, passing through Monkland and Kingsland. A great walk, but when waymarked in June it was obstructed in places by high grasses and overgrown edges, especially when following the line of Pinsley Brook west from Cholstry. But it’s still doable and should improve when Kingsland’s very active and effective Parish Footpath Officer gets on the case. Coming in from Cobnash, following the Pte Thomas Cook Walk, a potato crop obstruction has been dealt with by Hereford Council in July and the Walk’s passage to Shirl Heath made viable. Another EMW, Pte John Charles Morgan (Walk 5) is only 71/2 miles long and takes in Monkland, passing the Cheese Shop and Monk pub which are both pleasant distractions. This Walk is more or less clear. (Please note the PS to this newsletter.)
  • The Harry Smith Memorial Gate is a standard project kissing gate. The inscribed brass plaque has been paid for by the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers Association. Their chairman was on hand to unveil the plaque and the turnout included villagers, ex Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers and a group from Ludlow. The village did a Harry Smith walk back in March and it's still, in all places, viable.

  • The E-Team installing Pte Harry Smith gate

    The E-Team installing Pte Harry Smith gate


    At the opening the Pte Harry Smith gate

    At the opening the Pte Harry Smith gate


    Visiting former Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers

    Visiting former Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers


    Lt Col Bob Carruthers opens the gate

    Lt Col Bob Carruthers opens the gate

  • Very, very many thanks to the Pippin Trust and Herefordshire Community Foundation for their generous contribution to our Memorial Gates initiative. We can now feel confident that each of our Fallen will be similarly commemorated, and that the quality and reputation of the project can be enhanced.

Future intentions

  • We have timber enough for another batch of three Memorial Gates, and plan three more afterwards. The plan is to install the first three by Armistice Day in November. We’ll take it from there according to several factors but the plan – now funded - WILL work.
  • To move the project on beyond November, partnering with other parishes and organisations is being contemplated where objectives are linked to Herefordshire’s sustainability in rural areas. This ties in to Eardisland’s Neighbourhood Development Plan’ E12 policy dealing with Rights of Way and connectivity, and Councillors are always welcome to discuss ways by which EMW can implement relevant parts of their Plan. Or anyone else too!
  • Please make a dairy entry for 10th November’s First World War supper in the village hall. Details are still being firmed up but it could be a good old fashioned bash just like your Granny had - or in many cases - her Granny! That said, we’re still looking for volunteers to get the show on the road. Please leave your name at the shop or Dovecote post-box.

Involvement

Thanks again to all those who helped the project this past month or so, relating in particular to ensuring that stocks of guide brochures are kept up, and the brains and muscles of Eteam members.

Research

Simply repeating: any information on our 13 fallen soldiers or relatives of parishioners, or any contextual stuff relating the First World War in Eardisland would be very welcome.
If you have a relative who fought in the First World War, and if you like, please let us know. We’ll research the individual and hopefully produce a short biography for you.
Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

PS

Obstructed paths are alluded to above. They are common outside the parish but still affecting Eardisland Memorial Walks. These illegalities are regrettable and you can go to herefordshire.gov.uk if you get annoyed. Search ‘PROW report a problem’ and do so if you have the knowledge, skills and counter-cunning to navigate the site.
You might also download the Ramblers’ Pathwatch app. You don’t have to be a member and it allows you to get a fix on the map, take a picture, note a description and report it on the spot. I’m assured it reaches respective local Ramblers’ groups, which do what they can to report the issue and even help with a fix.
If you are not having success with the herefordshire.gov.uk website and can describe the problem and its location, send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for forwarding. While paths in Eardisland are navigable and in good condition overall, if you notice an infringement, please send details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and copy This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Here’s a copy of the relevant Right of Way Act to help define what you should expect on the Walks:

  1. Ploughing and cultivating
    The following should not be ploughed or disturbed if they can conveniently be avoided:
    • Cross-field footpaths and bridleways.
    • Footpaths or bridleways at the edge of the field.
    It is within the law to plough or disturb the surface of a footpath or bridleway which crosses a field if it is not convenient to avoid it when sowing or cultivating a crop. But, it must then be made sure that:
    • the surface is made good, to at least the minimum width, so that it is reasonably convenient to use, and
    • the line is apparent on the ground, to at least the minimum width, to anyone using it.
    This must be done within:
    • 14 days of the first disturbance for that crop, or
    • 24 hours of any second or subsequent disturbance, unless a longer period has first been agreed, in writing, by the highway authority.
    It is also within the law to disturb a footpath or bridleway during an excavation or engineering operation, but only if you first get written permission from the highway authority.
  2. Crops
    Crops, other than grass, must not be allowed to grow on or overhang the minimum width of any footpath, bridleway, or any other right of way at any time, so as to inconvenience the public or prevent the line of the right of way from being apparent on the ground.
  3. Minimum widths
    If the width of a path is recorded, then that is the minimum width; if the width of a path is not recorded, then minimum width means for:
    • a footpath, 1m across the field, 1.5m on the field edge;
    • a bridleway, 2m across the field, 3m on the field edge;
    • other rights of way, 3m across the field, 5m at the field edge.
    These cultivations apply only to the law on ploughing and cultivation - they are the minimum requirements to safeguard against court action. They do not affect other aspects of the law on public paths and do not limit the public's established rights of passage in any way.
  4. Responsibility
    It is the responsibility of the occupier of the holding to comply with the law, regardless of who carried out any works on their behalf. The highway authority (county or metropolitan district council) can take action against persons not complying with this legislation, by doing the following:
    • Prosecution.
    • Enter the land and carry out necessary works itself. Costs will be recovered from the occupier.

Meanwhile, please take care to follow the Country Code, in particular where you see evidence that farmers and landowners are doing their best to keep paths up to regulatory standards. It’s perhaps a tad sanctimonious to ask for special care on paths named after our parish Fallen, but it’s less contentious to suggest that caring about the health of children who might come into contact with dog turds lying around the paths is reasonable. This is apparent especially in the meadows immediately beyond the Pte Harold Speke memorial gate in the centre of the village. The County Code’s basics are always highlighted in the guide brochures.  

Newsletter - June 2018

Summary

Some Newsletter, five months following the last! Apologies. In fact, quite a bit has been going on, mainly with the preparation of gates: their installation and commemoration, and the waymarking of more Memorial Walks. The Parish Footpath Officers organised two village walks, both well attended. Memorial gate openings relating to Thomas Cook and Stanley Hughes mentioned in February’s ‘Future intentions’ remain in that category!

Situation, 14th June 2018.

  • All the walks have been reconnoitred. Twelve have been waymarked. That named after Pte William Jones of the South Wales Borderers has its memorial gate in place behind Pembridge church. William lived in Bearwood, which in 1918 was part of Eardisland parish which explains how his name came to be inscribed on Eardisland’s war memorial - and not that of Pembridge. Visitors or indeed anyone might choose to drive up to Pembridge and make a circular trip beginning and ending in the village. The complete walk starts and ends at Eardisland’s War Memorial as normal.
  • The gate installed – or rather reinstalled – is a renovated wrought iron piece brought from a state of total dilapidation to something rather splendid due to the skills of blacksmith Owen Mabbort whose workshop is in Shirl Heath, (check ‘Gates’ on the Home page for an image). William Jones’ gate is distinguished by a brass plaque, attached to the gate and mounted on a piece of Eardisland grown oak
  • The project thanks Jacqui Thomas of Pembridge’s Parochial Church Council for all her help in bringing the installation about. A ceremony was held on 30th May,100 years from the day that William was killed in action in France. He was 19 years old and the church bell tolled 19 times. Lt Col. Bridget Rose, who is President of the Pembridge branch of the Royal British Legion, was present while Major Alan Harrhy - who was a serving officer with the South Wales Borderers and is now President of Herefordshire Royal British Legion - unveiled the plaque. The project is extremely grateful to both.
  • Then on 5th June a further gate was opened, this one made from oak and dedicated to Pte George Roberts of the Grenadier Guards. It stands at the high point on Burton Lane, between two of Eardisland’s footpaths. The opening took the form of an interlude during a village walk organised by the Parish Council’s footpath officers, Sue Wallis and Jo Watson. The plaque was unveiled by George Robert’s great niece, Mrs Mary Robinson of Leominster and her two sons, both of whom served in the British Army. Mrs Robinson spoke movingly, calling the gate a tangible expression of the esteem in which we hold these heroes and their courage and self sacrifice for the benefit of mankind and for their country.” The event was covered by BBC West Midlands and made the Evening News’ programme. What made the walk aspect really special was the cream and scones tea laid on in the Village Hall and thanks are due to Mandy Vernon, who made them all as well as Diane Lee and Anne Whiting who made sure everyone present had enough.

Future intentions

  • On the 27th June and as part of Leominster Council’s Armed Forces Week programme, we have a walk organised for our Harold Speke route from the centre of the village to the weir and back via Broom Lane. We hope it will be as well attended as other walks to date. We also hope to be joined by visitors, including those attracted to a gate opening – one dedicated of course to Private Harold Speke. Harold lived at the Cross Inn, tried to join the Army when underage; failed, and then managed to join later but perhaps formally still too young to enlist. He was killed near Passchendaele during the eponymous Second Battle. So, the gate is a monument to this lad and it’s appropriate to be in its position. A practical detail: notices which have found their way pinned to the old gate can in future be better read by passers-by when pinned to the swanky new board adjacent to the gate.

Involvement

Many thanks as ever to ETeam personnel for helping with heavy work. Otherwise, (repeating the last newsletter), the project would be grateful for volunteers to act as custodians (kind of) for each path. They would check on upkeep, ensure waymarks are correctly in place, clean up and burnish plaques, and generally ‘own’ the path. This will not impact or substitute the responsibilities of the Footpaths Officers or Herefordshire Council. Marking the paths outside Eardisland can be much like one of those old TV programmes featuring the adventures of pith helmet wearing Major John Blashford-Snell ( if you were around in the 1980s), but we are only asking volunteers to walk and report on reasonably cleared paths.

Research

While again repeating things: any information on our 13 fallen soldiers or relatives of parishioners, or any contextual stuff relating the First World War in Eardisland would be very welcome. It could be that it features in a supper night planned for 9th November when menus, music, film and artefacts (as yet unknown) will be enjoyed by willing participants having a memorable experience in the village hall.
Correspondence should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Newsletter - February 2018

Summary

Matters have slowed during January, mainly for administrative reasons, although preparation for a memorial gate dedicated to Stanley Hughes was completed. A snag in planning a route through part of Kingsland has altered selected routes for two memorial walks although this will not affect any of the project’s staged objectives. Activities will accelerate as the weather improves.

Situation, 5th February 2018.

  • Pte Stanley George Hughes’ gate has been installed. It is situated just west of the Weir on the riverside path to Pembridge. The memorial walk takes Broom Lane up to Twyford, crosses a field to the main road and turns back to Eardisland using the footpath following the line of the River Arrow, which is picked up just after the bridge in Pembridge. Waymarks are in place. The bulk of the funds used for oak, and of course the gate’s making, has been provided by the Royal Irish Regiment.
  • Pte Thomas George Cook’s walk is waymarked, although with some additions required to ensure that the route is made clear for walkers without a guide brochure. The memorial gate is in position on the parish border with Kingsland, accessed via Lyme Lane. The walk is our longest at 16 miles, but it takes in some grand stretches of paths and views above Shobdon, plus a recommended stop at the Riverside pub in Aymestrey. Alterations make available a bar area – so it’s not all restaurant seating - and the tables outside are ideal for use in good weather. An option might be to arrange a pick-up at the pub, although walking back includes a good route following the direction of the River Lugg to Kingsland, and then back over fields and roads to Eardisland.

Future intentions

  • Opening ceremonies will be arranged both for Thomas Cook from the Herefordshire Regiment and Simon Hughes (he lived at Little Broom) who served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. Invitations will be sent out as appropriate and anyone from the Parish with good intentions is welcome to come along.
  • A walk named for Harry Smith will be waymarked. It goes up to Street Court farm, over the old railway to Shobdon and back via a path around the aerodrome. Likewise, a walk dedicated to William Jones which takes in his home in Bearwood will be waymarked over the next two weeks.
  • Guide brochures will be available at the community shop, Rita’s and the Caravan Park in Eardisland.

Involvement

Many thanks to Ronnie Steed, Reg Curtis, Phil Milchard and Sandy Ross for their work in installing the Stanley Hughes’ gate. As usual, Stuart Staples put all the furniture on with the precision needed to make it swing.

The E-Team installing Pte Stanley George Hughes’ gate

The E-Team installing Pte Stanley George Hughes’ gate

Graham Madeley is, apart engaging in the research activities relating to our soldiers and thus key to the overall aim of the project, in charge of assuring that the oak used for the gates is prepared to memorial standard. Without space provided by Bill Tong, this activity would be severely constrained. Elaine Harper edits the guide brochures and ensures that the author’s ramblings make sense and maintain consistency with the highest standards of syntax and grammar. Where not, it’s the author’s fault!
The project would be grateful for volunteers to act as custodians (kind of) for each path. They would check on upkeep, ensure waymarks are correctly in place, clean up and burnish plaques, and generally ‘own’ the path. This will not impact or substitute the responsibilities of the Footpaths Officers or Herefordshire Council.
There are also tasks to do with guide brochure production and distribution which volunteers might be interested in.

Research

OS Maps up to editions revised in 2005 show a footpath – though not a Public Right of Way – from Shirl Heath (Woodgate Farm track) to Eardisland, in fact entering the Parish by the Thomas Cook gate. It’s shown clearly on older maps including the Series 2 used in the guide brochures. If anyone recalls walking this path, or has heard of it being used, please let us know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.