Paxtonvic’s Blog

Just another weblog

Little Paxton bells leaving the tower June 28th and June 29th 2011

Here at last are some pictures of the historic days when the four bells in Little Paxton bell tower were lowered carefully out of the bell tower and into Taylors of Loughborough van.

Im sorry that some of the pictures have the wrong date and time on them from my camera… I should have turned it off when taking the shots.  I will edit out  some of the dates off but wont on some as it would spoil the picture.

First out, on a very wet June 28th ( thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure) the  1669 bell with the words ” God Save The King” WH and RC appeared. It was the second bell in the original peal.

The king being Charles 11.

The 1669 bell with the word ” king” from God Save The King.

WH refers to the church warden William Hedding and RC refers to Robert Colton, church warden. ( Thanks to David Broad’s book on Little Paxton for the information) Though not mentioned, the Vicar at the time was Rev Beridge.

Broad states that the maker of the second bell is not known but possibly by Thomas Newman.

Bakers workman Jamie steadying the 1669 bell as it is lowered.

Next out was the 1713 Hedding bell – the third bell in the original peal.

Queen Anne was on the throne.

Broad’s book states that the third bell was made by Stamford foundry of Tobias Norris where Tobias Norris 111 was in charge at the time of casting.

Its  inscription is:  Will —HEDDING CHW 1713

( a descendant of the above William Hedding?)

The 1713 Hedding bell descending slowly

The Hedding bell safely on the floor

Next out was the 1791 Taylor’s  bell ( the fourth bell) with the inscription:



The 1791 Taylors bell outside in the sunshine waiting to be loaded onto the Taylors van Wednesday June 29th 2011.

Last out was the oldest bell – 1610. James 1st was on the throne.

Broad states that it is the treble bell by Richard Holdfield.

The inscription reads:


After much searching I have found out what it means:


I have found that St Marys Ashwell  Church ( not very far from here in St Albans Diocese) have nearly the same inscription on their 1607 No 3 bell thus:   “sonora sono meo sono deo”.

Also, at St Nicholas Church, Much Munden  in Hertforshire their 5th bell has the same inscription with the date 1621.

Why was this inscription popular in the early 1600’s??

Three bells lowered down.

Paxtonvic with the 1791 and 1713 bells

Alf Gower, one of our present church wardens with the Taylor bell.

It is great that he and fellow warden Ken Bowles will have their name soon the new bell we are having cast by modern day Taylors.

Myself and Alf bidding bon voyage to the Taylor bell Wednesday June 29th 2011.

We look forward to seven bells being delivered….. one new bell being cast, one of the old virgin bells being the clock striking bell, the other three originals in the new peal of 6 which will include  2 bells sourced by the Keltek Trust for us from Ireland and from another location.

We hope the bells will be ringing again by mid November.

The next part of the project is lifting the old bell frame higher up the tower to preserve it.

June 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Little Paxton Bells…

A spot of heavy rain and thunder didnt stop work on the bell project today… lots of interesting shots of various work will appear tomorrow hopefully on paxtonvic… but for tonight its an early bedtime as gonna be on Radio Cambridge early in the morning ( well, c 9.00am maybe) and thats very early for me!

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nick’s sermon for June 26th on the theme of gardens

Here is  the sermon Nick Gellatly  preached at Little Paxton church this morning on the theme of gardens….well worth a read.

A sermon for Gardens Sunday

Genesis 2: 8,9 and 15-19

Revelation 2:7; 22:1-5

John 19:41-42; 20:11-16

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight O God, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells, And pretty maids all in a row.

I’m not quite sure if Mary’s garden is open today, but if it is, you will be able to see for yourself her approach to gardening. If it isn’t then there are 16 other gardens in the village you will be able to enjoy during the course of today.

As we have heard from our readings this morning, gardens play a big part in the bible and so warrant several mentions. A garden is where our Christian story began and it is where it ended – or perhaps more appropriately, began again – with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A garden is in many ways a metaphor for our faith. It gives sanctuary and peace, it requires love and attention yet gives so much back and it is a reminder of simpler times in a world of great complexity. Those opening their gardens today are opening more than the plot of land at the back of their home – they are offering hospitality and the hand of friendship and sharing what they have created with those who visit.

May I simply offer one piece of advice – don’t eat the apples! We’ve had the thousands of years since Genesis to work out the kind of trouble that might cause. The prophet Ezekiel said: “You were in Eden, the Garden of God … you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you …  so I cast you … from the mountain of God.”

But the prophet Isaiah declared that one day we would find our way back: “The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

A garden is a place of  joy and happiness, a place of peace and security. On his last night on earth, Jesus sought the peace of a garden — the Garden of Gethsemane. It was in this garden that Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”

Following the crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathea, along with Nicodemus, took the body of Jesus and prepared it for burial. John tells us, “Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish Day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.”

And it is in this garden that we find one of the most moving scenes in scripture, an image of grace and joy. That moment of recognition when Mary hears Jesus call her by name. In an instant, Mary’s mourning turns to joy, and her sorrow gives way to gladness.

This is the demonstration of the truth of Jesus’ promises. The promise that he will see his followers again, the promise that their grief at his absence would turn to joy, the promise that he would not leave his followers to struggle on alone. This one scene captures all of the joy that we, as disciples of Jesus Christ, experience at Easter, and throughout the year, and on this open gardens Sunday, as we celebrate the fact that Christ is risen — Christ Jesus lives today!

And it all takes place in a garden. Now, I know you don’t need me to tell you what a garden is – but let’s think for a moment about the definition. I looked up and it said this:

‘a plot of ground, usually near a house, where flowers, shrubs, vegetables, fruits, or herbs are cultivated’.

Now I am sure that most of us are cultivated, that none of us would like to be thought of as vegetables;  so perhaps it is stretching the metaphor a little far to suggest that we are ourselves gardens.  But if you can make that leap in your mind, then let’s ask ourselves this – as Mary put it – (not that Mary), ‘how does your garden grow’.

Are you ripe for cultivation, a place of beauty where others come to find peace, somewhere the flowers can bloom? Or are you an ornamental garden, only used for display purposes? Or a patch that has run to seed and where the path has become overgrown?

Because while it may be difficult to stretch the metaphor to thinking of ourselves as a garden, we certainly are the sunshine, the light – as Jesus said in Matthew’s gospel: ‘You are the light of the world … let your light shine before others’.

I don’t know whether the bells about be installed in the tower are silver – and I suspect that there are no cockle shells involved – but I do know this,  because it is demonstrated by the CHUFT project – each one of us, as individual members of the body of Christ, has a responsibility to work together to make our church a living garden, a watered garden, a cultivated garden where all people have a chance to grow in love and faith and knowledge of God.

So as you look round the gardens this afternoon, keep Mary, Mary quite contrary in your mind and reflect upon the question she poses: How does your garden grow?

As it was in the beginning, is now and forever more shall be, world without end. Amen.

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Little Paxton Open Gardens- The Result ( nearly) !

What a fabulous day in the village – hot but great fun and all very worthwhile.

It’s hard to know quite how many people came to view our 16 splendid gardens but the latest total raised is over £1,200 which is a magnificent total.

So many thanks to everyone who opened their garden, served refreshments and made our visitors so welcome. We finished off with some dancing from local  dance group ” Heartsease” in the vicarage garden and they once again delighted their audience with some charmingdances from across the UK.

Here are some pictures:

Surprise visitors… they were very well behaved

Heartsease dancing with rope

Heartsease dancing with their hoops.

Alison all ready to serve lunches – complete with sheepy pinny.

Tomorrow a workman from Smiths of Derby is coming to take the old clock mechanism away… some of the parts date from the 17th century ( I think they do) and it will be great to have the clock working again. The clock  face is in very good order thanks to generosity of villagers several years ago but now some of the mechanism needs updating and repair. On Tuesday Taylors of Loughborough the Bell Founders are coming to remove the bells from the bell tower… that will be fascinating too to see these ancient bells at close quarters.

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dddington Village Fete – a great afternoon out

I hope the organisers of Diddington Village Fete were very happy with the fruits of all their hard work.

A large number of people came to the small village off the A1 near to St Neots to enjoy a real traditional village fete and a superb exhibition about Diddington and surrounding villages. Dave Dodman had spent hours preparing  wide ranging exhibition including fascinating accounts from people who were born at the Polish camp in Diddington during the  2ww. Even a representative from the Polish embasy came along.

Outside of the village hall there were lotsw of stalls and attractions including the Fenland Light Railway. I didnt risk sitting on one of the carriages but it was fun watching it go up and down the edge of the field.

Great day out… here are some photos.

The cross made by Polish people whilst living at Diddington during the 2WW.

The Fenland Light Railway in action  Gauge 1

The excellent exhibition in Diddington Village Hall.

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Little Paxton Open Gardens – one day to go!

I must admit that Im getting quite excited about the Open Gardens Day tomorrow inthis splendid village of Little Paxton.

Im sure Im not the only one putting the finishing touches to the odd flower bed here and there and watering ( in an economical way of course) the pots.

15 gardens will be on view in the village and the idea is that when a visitor arrives at the first one, they buy a programme ( £5.00) which admits them to all of the gardens.

Lunches will be served at the Vicarage Garden in St James Road  from 12 noon by an army of ladies from the parish who have refined the art of selling food to the masses.  I do have a wedding at Dddington at 1pm so will be absent with leave for a while but look forward to the remainder of the afternoon back in my garden.

The ladies of Heartsease will be dancing c 5.30pm on the front lawn of the Vicarage – a rather nice English way to round off the afternoon.

Lets hope for a lovely afternoon and good wishes to the many others groups in this part of the world who are having fetes and open gardens this week-end.

One of my old grandad’s favourites – an hollyhock

June 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Diddington Fete

Just off to Diddington Village Fete having had my fill of local history at Little Paxton… tis all go this week-end.


They are trains you can ride on at Diddington… wonder if I will be brave enough to ahve a go??

June 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Local History Show at Little Paxton Church – today June 25th!

There is a great local history show at Little Paxton Church today – running until 5pm. There is loads of fascinating info about the village and generally about the St Neots area. It is all very well presented by the St Neots Community Archive Group.

If you are in the area and like history… why not pop along?


The scaffolding leading out from the west tower… all ready for the bells to come down on Tuesday…

June 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Come into the garden……

Three days to go to the Little Paxton Open Gardens….Sunday June 26th…. lunches from 12pm at the Vicarage at 24 St James Road and there are 15 gardens around the village to enjoy. Its going to be great weather too!

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thoughts for Trinity Sunday

Thoughts for Trinity Sunday.



A little boy came home from church ( obviously his mother hadn’t been too!) and said that the Vicar told them God was everywhere.


This is indeed true, said his mother.

“Is he in the oven when it’s hot?” he asked

“Yes, indeed” came the reply.

“Is he in the cupboard with the cups in?”


“Is he in the fridge when the door is closed and the light off?”


The boy thought a moment, “ Is he in the tea-bag tin  with a sheep on the front?”

By now his mother was getting irritated with him  and snapped “ Of course!”


And the boy  slammed the tin shut and announced triumphantly “ Got him!”

Mother has a lot more explaining to do!


As humorous as this story may be, there is some truth in it when we reflect on how people view God. There has always been a tendency in Christian history to think that God is small enough to put into a tidy  package which we  are able to control and understand completely.


The Christian creeds evolved over the centuries after Jesus life, death, resurrection and ascension. There had often been bitter squabbles amongst early Christian theologians about the nature of God.  Conflicting teachings arose about the nature of God and  his relationship to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The creeds were an attempt to draw a line under these disputes and made black and white statements about the nature of God which, in view of the tremendous number of conflicting opinions in the early years of the Christian faith, were arguably  very necessary .

Here is article one of the Church of England’s 39 articles written in 1553:


“ There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness, the Maker  and preserver of all things, visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, the  Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.”


Quite when  credal statements and Church doctrines become an  attempt to wrap God up into tiny packages is hard to say.  Is it fair to accuse these statements of trying to create God in our own image and make him a tame, sanitized God, reducable to a few sentences? Or are they helpful in helping us to understand the nature of a God who is three persons of one substance?

Whatever that might mean!


However we understand the doctrine of the Trinity, it  has to be said that it is the only doctrine in Christian belief which has A Feast Day  given over to it. All other Christian festivals observe a specific historical event. Pope XX11 in 1334 ordered the festival to be observed annually on the Sunday after Whitsunday, what we now call Pentecost Sunday. It has been universally observed in the Christian church ever since. Thus the custom of observing a special feast in honor of the Trinity became increasingly popular in the northern countries of Europe.3 Several synods prescribed it for their respective territories in France, Germany, England, and The Netherlands. In the thirteenth century the orders of the Benedictines and Cistercians adopted the annual celebration of the feast. It was kept on different Sundays in different places, until in 1334 Pope John XXII accepted the festival into the official calendar of the Western Church and ordered that henceforth it should be held everywhere on the Sunday after Pentecost.4


What can we make of the teaching of the Trinity?


I believe that when we speak of God as The Holy Trinity; when we refer to doctrines of the Trinity; when we worship God as Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit; when we bless and greet and baptize people in the name of the triune God; we should do all this with great humility, realizing  our God is so much more than all these words can ever express.


We shall never be able to capture God; to put God in neat package of our own making. God will  always remain more than out own words and  doctrines, our beliefs and expressions of worship.  God is the Holy Wholly other God. That means that there must always be a mystery about God which is tremendous in the sense that it is awesome and overwhelming. The mysterious, Holy God is light years greater than our capacities to explain or understand God.


The Theologian  Hans Kung, in his book “ Does God  Exist” makes this point quite well by relating this story: There was a Bavarian parish priest who announced to his congregation on the Feast of The Trinity that this was so great a mystery, of which he understood nothing, that there would unfortunately be no more sermon”


I’m not so humble as him! Just a few more thoughts.


Having affirmed the deep mystery of God – reflecting that great sense of awe which  Isaiah  had in the reading – is there anything we can say of God to bring Him nearer home to us?


Yes, of course there is – in the person of Jesus Christ. Christians  believe that God came close to us in the human person – Jesus of Nazareth. When we come to know Jesus, then we come to know of God. The Holy Spirit, working in Gods Holy Word, in the sacraments, in every day life, helps us to know and see Jesus, Gods Son.


How one plus one pus one equals one remains a mystery. The relationship that exists between the three persons, yet one Godhead, are not spelled out in detail in the bible. So, the triune God – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are known through a life of worship, and service rather than in very wordy doctrine. Although our  God language is important, all of our attempts to understand God with out minds remain partial and incomplete.


Once upon a time, so the story goes, there lived six blind men in a village.


One day the villagers told them: “ Hey, there is an elephant in the village today”

They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided that even though they could not se it, they would go and feel it anyway.


All of them went to where the elephant was. Each of them touched the elephant.


“ An elephant is like a pillar” said the first man as he felt the elephants leg.


Oh  no, “ said the second man, touching  the elephants tail, “ It is like a rope”


“ You are quite wrong, “ said the third man, “ touching the elephants trunk, “ An E is like the trunk of a tree”


“ Its like a fan” said the fourth man touching the E’s huge ear.


“ You are all wrong,” said the fifth man as he touched the belly of the elephant ,” Its id definitely like a huge wall.


“ No, it is a solid pipe “ said the sixth man, touching the E’s tusk.


So each had their own idea of what an elephant is like based on their own unique own experience.


It can be just like that with our own understanding of God.


Some of us may say God is like a Father – providing us with what we need, but maybe with elements of chastising us when we go wrong, keeping us on the straight  and narrow path.


Some of us may say God is our Mother – birthing us, nurturing us and caring for us.


How careful we have to be here of stereotypes of mother and father and how different people may have experienced their parents.


Some may say – God is like our brother, sister, friend, companion.


Some may say God is like the wind – we feel God without ever seeing what God is like but know the effect he has on our lives. Others may use images of a butterfly, a flower, a rainbow, a rock, a stone, a mountain, a thunder storm, the sea,  or fire.


For some it might be sensing God in an early morning sunrise or the quietness of a summers evening. In the smile of a young child or the tenderness of someone we are close to.  There may be many simple events that we translate as movements of God’s love.


Some may feel comfortable talking about God primarily in terms of Jesus – God’s Son. So strong may be their sense of companionship with Jesus that to them God is best expressed through Jesus language. Others may prefer Holy Spirit language, especially those deeply nurtured in the Pentecostal experience of God.


We cannot package God up into one description. There is always so much to discover about God, we must always keep exploring. Maybe this  Feast  of the Holy Trinity can help us to remember the tremendous breath and depth of God’s reality and prevent us from wrapping him up into a tidy package.

It reminds us there are many ways we can relate to and experience God – and that in Christian tradition these ways have for centuries focused on God as Father, Son and  Holy Spirit.


We are on a life-long journey of discovery of the God in whose image we are created. We are invited to share in the joy of the God who created us, who saves us, forgives  and makes us whole, who strengthens us and leads us into truth.


Let us ask God The Father, Son and Holy Sprit,  to draw close to us in the coming days and strengthen in his service. Amen

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment