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The GREAT Great Chishill Sloe Gin Competition 2024

Every year the Bellringers organise the Great Chishill Sloe Gin Competition and this year it took place on Feb 22nd and was followed by a prizegiving party on Saturday 24th.
This was open to anyone and all it required was the production of a sample of some home made Sloe Gin or any other spirit flavoured with fruit.
There were 4 entry categories this year - Nouveau (made with 2023 sloes), Vintage (made in previous years), Ringers' Delight (any fruit flavoured spirit) and a new category - Low Alcohol Delight (as Ringers' Delight but made with low alcohol). The party was open to everyone, entrants and non competitors and was an oportunity to sample all 43 entries!
As always the judges had to devote themselves to sampling and commenting on all the samples. The results of their deliberations are ....
Roger Truett
Ivan Sharpe
Stella Russell
Iskra Sharpe
Alison Truett
Lisa Mackenzie
Ringer's Delight
Ringer's Refresh (0%)
Lucy Goode Creme de Cassis
Stella Russell Marmalade Gin
Alex Farrow Gooseberry Gin
Sue Cooper Cranberry & Soda
Stella Russell Rhubarb and Elderflower Gi
Sue Maynard Damson Gin
Neil Heywood won the prize for the best presentation.
Thank you to everyone who had a part in the competition and who came to the party which raised just over £400 towards maintenance of the bells of St Swithun's

The Yarn Bombers 2023

Any one who has been out and about around Great Chishill and Barley will have noticed that the post boxes have now got Christmas Themed hats! These have been produced again this year by the members of 'Knit Barley'.
This year they are supporting 'hyh - Herts Young Homeless' a local charity which offers free support to vulnerable young people in Hertfordshire.
If the 'bombing' has made you smile please help others this Christmas by donating either at Barley Shop or by clicking here.

The BIG Help Out 2023

On Monday May 8th, just after the Coronation, communities all over the country did all sorts of voluntary work for the common good. Here in Great Chishill the PC organised a 'Community Litter Pick and Hedgerow Audit'.
At 9.30 about 30 people including whole families turned up on the Plaistow, and armed with plastic bags and disposable gloves they set off in all directions in and around the village picking up all manner of rubbish.

An hour later they were all back with the haul that you see in the pictures A great turnout and well done to everyone involved, but sad that so much was found.

The Great Chishill Sloe Gin Competition 2023 - Results

The Sloe Gin Competition judging took place on Thursday 23rd February followed by the Results Party on Saturday 25th. The party took place in the URC schoolroom and was deemed by everyone to be a great success. Overall, it raised just under £500 for the Bell Fund. Thanks go to everyone concerned, particularly those involved in the judging who were compelled to sample all 40 or so entries!
Nouveau Category
Robin Dibblee
Kathryn Farrow/Stella Russell
Lucy Goode
Vintage Category
Neil Heywood
Alison Truett
Stella Russell
Ringers Delight
Stella Russell
Lucy Goode/Roger Truett
Neil Heywood
Helen Whitehead

Robin proudly displaying his winner's medal

The Yarn Bombers are Back 2022

The talented people of 'Barley Knitters' have been busy again, creating these lovely pieces to brighten our days and raise money this year for Buntingford Food Bank. They say 'If this has made you smile, please help others smile this Christmas by making a donation' on their Just Giving Page or donate at Barley Shop.

The Platinum Jubilee in Great Chishill

The Platinum Jubilee weekend saw the folk of the Chishills out and enjoying themselves, celebrating not only 70 years of the reign of Her Majesty but also being able to be together again.
The weekend started with Pimms and Prosecco O'clock in the grounds of the URC, with a licensed bar, live music from Maggie, a BBQ, a crown competition and finally the lighting of a hastily arranged 'beacon'.

The following day, there was a short service in the church to dedicate the newly refurbished bells 5 bells and the new 6th bell. This was followed by 40 minutes of bell ringing to coincide with the ringing of the bells of St Paul's Cathedral.
In the evening, there was 'Scottish Dancing' on the patio of 12 Heydon Road. This was well attended and 'entertaining'!

Then on the Saturday, there was maypole dancing in the garden of the Pheasant and the presentation of Jubilee mugs to the children of the parish.
The highlight of the day was however the Morris Dancing by the Great Chishill Morris Dancers - a group put together from scratch in just 6 weeks.
On the Sunday, the weather was not so kind for the celebratory event at the Windmill, which reduced the turn out, but those who did go along had an enjoyable afternoon. (Would someone like to send some pictures please). There are lots more pictures in the Photo Album available HERE

The 2022 Sloe Gin Competition

The annual Great Chishill Sloe Gin Competition took place on Thursday 24th February. This year there were 42 entries across 3 categories, all of which were sampled by the judges!
This was followed on Saturday 26th by the Sampling Party, when everyone had the opportunity to try the entries themselves. This year, thanks to the virus, things were a little different to the usual, with the event taking place in the Village Hall. Also, as a break from tradition there was a raffle, a sale of the table decorations, and an auction of the winning entries of the 'Vintage' category. The whole event was run to raise funds for the Great Chishill Bell Restoration Project and more than £730 was raised.
Full results below
Nouveau Sloe Gin
Vintage Sloe Gin
Ringers' Delight
1stStella Russell1stIvan Sharpe1stSue MaynardMedlar Brandy
2ndTrudie Adcock2ndIvan Sharpe2ndKathryn FarrowCrab Apple Vodka
3rdSue Maynard3rdIvan Sharpe3rdRosi MaslinStrawberry Gin
    3rdIan SandersDamsony Gin
Stella Russell Nouveau
Sue Maynard Vintage

The Great Chishill ADVENT CALENDAR 2021

With Christmas just around the corner, the Advent Calendar has started. Displays opening up all around the village.
You can follow the opening 'windows' by clicking HERE.


























Christmas Day

The Yarn Bombers are Back (December 2021)

The talented people of 'Barley Knitters' have been busy again, creating these lovely pieces to brighten our days and raise money for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity. They say 'If this has made you smile, please help others smile this Christmas by making a donation' on their Just Giving Page or donate at Barley Shop.

The Chalk Pit (autumn 2021)

Not many people seem to know about the Chalk Pit which is located on the footpath from New Road through to the path leading to the Icknield Way from Heydon Road. Over the last year, Robin Dibblee has worked tirelessly, with the help of some other volunteers, to start to turn this overgrown dump into a village amenity.
Robin writes
Chalk Not Clunch
As Peter Wiseman’s slides record, late Victorian Chishill was desperately poor, with chalky soil and bare of trees, chopped down for fuel. The Chalk Pit was dug in the hope that a valuable building material, Clunch, might save the day. Unfortunately there was only flinty chalk - and the Pit had closed by 1900.
Thereafter, the Pit became a scrap-heap for the village, increasingly infested with an invasive creeper that killed off trees by draining the roots of water and crowding out the leaf cover with dense foliage. New Zealand is eradicating this creeper over the entire South Island.
The Pit Club took up this challenge by removing the scrap, using its value for reduced costs from the skip company. The creeper is piled up, awaiting disposal. The cleared rising ground has been planted with 150 indigenous free trees from a conservation charity. It was necessary to remove further scrap for tree planting, for which it is hoped the Parish Council will pay for costs of disposal.
The Bowl has now been opened up, with the footpath meandering through. Footfall has increased five-fold with people taking short-cuts from Heydon Road to New Road. It is unique in being a wooded environment in what is otherwise bare downland across other village footpaths.
Nick Kiddy the farmer leases this land from County Farms and has to pay rental for no return. He has been a ‘kindly landlord’ to the Pit Club, allowing the environmental improvements which make the Chalk Pit a special place. It is hoped the Scouts will use it for meetings and woodcraft - and maybe even have the Bowl a setting for a Chishill Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Not Fly-Tipping!
Anyone passing out of the village down New Road on 30th April could be forgiven for thinking that there had been some fly-tipping! However, the pile of rubbish from the chalk pit - mainly old corrugated iron and other metal junk, was put there by a team of volunteers, using 11 wheelbarrows to move the rubbish, mainly collected up by Robin, up to the road ready for same day collection by skip lorry.

The Windmill Moves Again!

from David McKeown
In February 1956, a severe winter freeze followed by storm winds damaged the tail of the windmill to such an extent that it could no longer be used to turn the windmill into the wind. Now, almost 65 years later, the mechanism and tail structure has been repaired so that it can proudly turn itself again.
On Sunday September 27th, Bill Griffiths, our millwright, untied the mill and let a stiff NE wind spin the fantail to turn the mill on its post about 120°. You can see a video of this momentous occasion here.
If you drove past in the following week you couldn't fail to notice the new view the windmill presented. Then about a week later, Bill set it free in a gentle westerly breeze and the mill dutifully turned gently back to face Barley once more.
The operation of the tail mechanism is a major achievement as Great Chishill Windmill becomes the only open-trestle postmill in the country that will drive itself into wind. It is yet to be decided if this will in future be for demonstration only or if the mill can be allowed to turn automatically as it did for the 60 years before that fateful day in 1956.
The main sails are completely separate from the tail mechanism and will not be turning anytime soon as a further restoration programme is required to put them in working order.

Good News for Sport in Great Chishill

from Martin Hague
Great Chishill Cricket Club has won grants (from Sport England) to develop a Junior section for 2021 and a grant to support a 'redevelopment' of the pavilion, working with the Playing Fields Association for the initial review.
At the same time GCCC, working with the PFA, entered a global competition to have a full architectural and engineering design for a redevelopment of the pavilion.
The pavilion from the Great Exhibition was replaced by the current pavilion in 1973 so is now 48 years old.
We now know that Great Chishill has won the competition and the formal process will begin soon! The prize includes all architectural designs, drawings and virtual reality views, as well as consultancy with a structural engineer to facilitate redevelopment of the pavilion, together with guidance on grants available for such work.
The Cricket Club and the PFA want this to be a facility for the whole village. In its 150th Year, the Cricket Club wants to provide a legacy for the next 50 years for a modern inclusive pavilion.
So they would like to hear from other sporting clubs in the village. How could a redeveloped pavilion benefit other clubs or societies? This is an opportunity to add in other sports facilities for the whole village, be it taking part or spectating and supporting family members.
Please send details of your sports, clubs and ideas to the team to allow us to incorporate them into the design for the redevelopment. Contact Martin Hague ( )

The Village Advent Calendar

This is not an advent calendar as you may know it, and there are no chocolates behind the doors, BUT, many people in the village have prepared 'windows' which will go on display over the countdown to Christmas. Each day another 'window' or two will 'open' building up to a total of 35 displays on Christmassy themes all around the village. So get out and about around the village over the next few weeks to enjoy a real community Christmas spirit.

Click on map above for bigger version
The first to 'open' was 'Hanging out the Stockings' at The Manse, 7 Barley Road,

ending with 'The Stable at Bethlehem' at the Chapel on Christmas Eve. There is not enough room here to list them all but you can see the complete list here or on the December Newsletter.
If you can't get out to see them yourself you can still enjoy 'opening' a window each day by Clicking Here

Threat to our lanes

It has come to light that there is a planning application for a VERY large barn at Langley Park Farm. As the farm is small compared with the size of the barn it is assumed that it will be used as a hub for collection and distribution of straw, most likely for Ely power station. This will inevitably leed to a large increase in the number of heavy goods vehicles on our little roads - there is no way to get to a main road from Langley without using very small roads. Planning application here.
A lot more information available here.

Great Chishill Open Gardens

Every two years residents of Great Chishill open up their gardens for all to see, raising money for St Swithun's Church. This year of course this was not possible due to the virus, but people sent in pictures of their gardens and Andrea Quigley has done a magnificent job of putting them all together into a really impressive youtube video. You can view it here and make a donation through the 'Just Giving' website to help support the church fund.

Angus racks up the kilometres

You may have seen Angus Gent out, looking very sporty on a bicycle lately,and wondered what he was up to, apart from keeping fit!
He is racking up the kilometres helping his nephew and family to do 4000kms of physical activity in 31 days, raising money for Alzheimer's Research. This debilitating disease contributed to the death of Angus' nephew's granny. All this activity is called 4thousand4granny and if you would like to support Angus and his family in this fundraising effort you can do so by following this link.
Although the 31 days are now up and the family has raised over £6000 they would still welcome donations towards find a cure for this debilitating disease.

Local Treasure Hunts/Quizzes

Phil Maynard created a small 'Treasure Hunt' as a little bit of fun for residents of Great Chishill to do when out doing their bit of daily exercise. This proved to be quite popular with more than 30 people/households taking part. Following on from that he has set up two more. The third one has just been released, but still requires walking around Great Chishill. All three produce the letters of an anagram of something Chishill related.
Email Phil on for any of the questions.
All can be done individually or as a 'household', are suitable for any or all members of a family, can be done without touching anything, and don't need to be done in one go, or even on the same day. All of the clues are set somewhere within the bounds of Great Chishill.
No lockdown rules need to be broken to do it.
For the clues and more info, email Phil Maynard at


Tess Gent thought that the children of the village would like to show their understanding, gratitude and thanks in this difficult time, however young, so she distributed a letter and or a heart to the children around the village and they all coloured one each in their own rainbow style.
It was something a little less stressful or dull than school work, possibly more meaningfu, and didn’t involve staring at a screen AND their parents did not have to be involved!
The banner lights up at night as a reminder that the NHS works on whilst we are tucked up in bed.

Rabbit Rescue
Rabbit Residence Rescue was founded by local resident, Caroline Collings over 20 years ago and became a registered charity in 2012. The rescue is run by two fully trained animal care assistants and a small but dedicated team of regular volunteers. Rabbit Residence is proud to be a high welfare rabbit rescue which exceeds requirements of the Rabbit Welfare Association, RSPCA and PDSA and we have been nominated for several charity awards over the last few years.
We house around 70 rabbits at any one time on our third of an acre site purchased by a kind supporter for the rescue to be run from.
Each year we rescue, rehabilitate and rehome over 150 unwanted or neglected pet rabbits, working alongside other rescues nation wide to help those rabbits most in need. All of our rabbits are fully vaccinated and neutered and we conduct home checks prior to rehoming.
We are a non-euthanasia rescue and have sanctuary space for those rabbits who are not suitable to rehome due to ongoing health or behavioural issues.
Rabbit Residence has worked with the Royal Veterinary College on studies aiming to improve rabbit welfare and have been featured in local and national magazines and newspapers as well as being interviewed on local radio. We are pleased to be able to offer work experience to students over 16 from local schools and colleges and also offer placement to veterinary students. Website: Email:

Bowls Club Final
One of the village’s most keenly fought contests climaxed on 5 March as the Bowls Club staged its annual knock-out competition final. Over the winter season, two dozen entrants were whittled down to two finalists; Jean Hatt and David Bannister. After a ding-dong match in which the lead changed hands several times, David, who may well be the club’s oldest member (we don’t like to ask) pulled ahead with a 4-point margin in the ninth end and finally triumphed. Coronavirus rules now apply at the club, so Jean and Bob congratulated one another with a cordial elbow-bump.

Pop-Up Pub a Huge Success!
Great Chishill Cricket Club is looking forward to a memorable 12 months as the club celebrate its 150th year. The celebrations started off with a Pop Up Pub in the URC schoolroom on Saturday 15th February. There were 2 ales, a range of bottled lagers, wines and spirits. An exciting menu was served and the people of Great Chishill and beyond, starved of our local pub, turned out in great numbers to support the venture. At least 70 people were able to enjoy a choice of Chilli, Game pie, Sausage and Cider casserole, Gnocchi and Spinach or Fish pie. A further 100 propped up the bar, fairly consistently from 5.00 to 11.00! The Schoolroom was buzzing. There was a fantastic atmosphere. Thanks goes to everyone who supported this venture for the cricket club. As a result of their generosity in the region £1000 was raised. It was so successful that there is a plan afoot to do it again - watch this space!
As for the cricket, Chairman Andrew Drury announced: “Our aim is simply to leave a legacy for future generations to enjoy cricket in our village. In April we will be launching the ‘Chishill Chief’, our very own junior section. We will be offering coaching and games for local children from 4 -11 to nurture their interest and love of the game. We are also planning to install an all weather net facility for everyone in the village to use, young and old! We have a number of other events planned for the year, so please do keep an eye out. For further details, or if you would like to be a part of the celebrations or support the club in any way, you can contact Angus”.

Senior's Tea 2019

The annual Senior's Christmas Tea took place in the village hall on 19th December. As usual it was well attended, and a good opportunity for folk to get together socially. Neil Heywood was on hand with his camera - he even managed a selfie. You can see some of his pictures here

The Windmill is 'Saved'
From David McKeown (10 October 2019)
On Thursday October 17th, Historic England (HE) published its listing of Heritage at Risk for 2019. Prominent in the press release was this:
'Saved – Little Chishill Mill, Great and Little Chishill, South Cambridgeshire
…The Great Chishill Windmill Trust has carried out three phases of renovation with grant support from Historic England and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. The local community is passionate about its history - funds were raised to repair Little Chishill Mill at the same time as fundraising campaigns to replace the roof of Little Chishill Church and to repair the parish church. The Mill has now been removed from the Heritage at Risk Register.'
We should all pat ourselves on the back for congratulations like that from HE. A huge ‘thank you!’ to all who helped in whatever way.
There is still work to be done on the mill, of course. We are awaiting connection of the tailfan to the wheels and then a continuous campaign to keep our mill in fine fettle for the next 120 years begins. There is also that dream of restoring the internal machinery so that we can grind grain once more! But the publicly announced recognition by Historic England of a job well done is very good reason for us all feel proud! Top picture by Peter Homent, lower ones by David Kckeown Click on a picture for bigger version.

Saturday 8th June had a very wet morning which didn't bode well for the planned celebrations for the windmill reopening. However, only a couple of hours before the start, the rain stopped and the sun came out - and so did the people! Richmonds supplied a shuttle bus taking people from the village hall car park down to the windmill, where a drinks tent had been set up and nibbles were brought around. The winmill looked very fine, with bunting flying from the ends of its newly renovated sails. Proceedings opened with an introduction by Hazel Heydon -chair of the restoration committee- who made a welcome speech with the tempramental microphone. David McKeown, the project manager said a few words too, as did Trudi Hughes from Historic England Heritage at Risk. The late Jim Brearley who had conceived the project in the first place with Jeff Gill was remembered in a speech by Jim's son Simon before unveiling a bench in his memory.
Then the highlight of the afternoon when the windmill was formally opened by the cutting of the ribbon by Great Chishill's Internationally famous ex resident, Sam Smith.
The shuttle bus then returned to transport people back to the village hall where a spendid tea had been laid on. There was a raffle, various windmill related items on sale including a limited edition of a drawing by a young New Zealander who is a 10th generation descendent of the first Mr Andrews to own the mill! This limited edition of 100 pictures were brought from New Zealand by his grandmother, Viv McCulloch who had come especially for the event.
See pictures from the event here

St Swithuns Day Celebrations

Our church in Great Chishill is dedicated to St Swithun, and his 'day' is the 15th July. This year it was decided to celebrate St Swithuns Day but as the actual day fell at a weekend when there were lots of other things going on, the village celebrated a week early and for a whole weekend.
The weekend started with the ever popular 'Pimms o'clock' evening with a live Jazz Band to help it along. There was a flower festival in the church on Saturday and Sunday, and on Sunday a family treasure hunt, a bike ride to Brent Pelham. Sunday afternoon saw the garden of the URC packed with people for a barbeque and cream tea, accompanied by 'The Elderlies'.
To round off the weekend there was a 'Songs of Praise' evensong in the church.
Neil was at some of the events with his camera and some of his pictures are available on the Photo Album pages. However, if you were there and you took some pictures, please email them to me so that I can include them too.

An Evening of Live Music and Cocktails

Tess Gent writes
Over 60 people came and enjoyed a selection of 12 cocktails, naughty but nice nibbles and beautiful singing from Maggie Mather-Hill and Lindsay Crawley on her saxophone.
The URC Schoolroom lent itself perfectly to becoming a cosy cocktail bar and we opened the doors into the chapel where one was able to relax, listen and chat amongst friends. We are always thrilled when we have friends and friends of friends from other parishes and villages further afield who come and enjoy one of our events.
We are delighted to have raised in excess of £1000 in aid of St Swithuns kitchen fund. It is always a great pleasure to host these events when we received such encouraging comments and we can't thank those who come, for their immense enthusiasm, amazing generosity and continued loyal support.
Click here to see more pictures (by Neil Heywood)

The Windmill Project is Nearing the End (Autumn 2018)

We have not seen much change in the appearance of the windmill over the summer. We needed to gain further Listed Building Consent for work on the tail and for handrails on the stairway. We also had to await the availability of our millwright, Bill Griffiths – a very busy man, as befits such a brilliant professional – but now we are on the final push.
Bill and his assistant, Klaine, will be dismantling the tail assembly during the first week in November. They will take the bottom carriage away to be rebuilt in their workshop over the winter months. We will, however, be looking for volunteers to help with repair and repainting of the superstructure so if you’ve joinery or painting skills we’d love to hear from you. Please contact
When the millwrights return in February, they will rebuild the tail including a new fan that will drive the windmill to face the wind and we will complete the track on which the carriage will run. The stairway will also be repaired and have handrails fitted. Finally, in Spring, repairs will be made to the sail stocks (those large arms that you see at the moment) and the sail frames will be re-fitted.
That will be it. Get ready for the Grand Opening on Saturday 8th June
More about the history of the windmill.
Please visit our website to see our progress.

The Villages Remember
On Sunday 11th November the bells of St Swithuns rang out in remembrance of those from our villages who gave their lives in the 2 World Wars and in commemoration of 100 years since the end of the First World War. Firstly they rang half muffled - an eerie sound (as per tradition on the occasion of the war memorial service). Then at 1230 the bells will were rung again joining with thousands of other bells ringing all over the country at the same time. This was part of the national marking of the end of the First World War. Some more of Great Chishill bellringers rang the bells at Heydon for this too. In the evening the bells will rang again, this time at Great Chishill and Chrishall as part of the 'Battles O'er' Commemoration.

The gathering at the war memorial was the biggest that has been seen in the village for many years. The service was conducted by Rev Simon Hall from King's College School, and the 'Last Post' and 'Reveille' bugle calls were performed by a young lady from the same school.

The Midsummer Ball
Tess Gent writes
Saturday 16th June saw the return of Great Chishill's Midsummer Ball, raising money for St Swithun's Church. Months of what must have been very hard work by the organising committee culminated in a truly spectacular event, enjoyed by 250 friends and neighbours on a beautiful sunny evening.
Taking full advantage of the weather, welcome drinks were served on the playing fields as the guests arrived in an array of stunning black tie outfits – it turns out that we all scrub up rather well!
The party continued as we sat down to a delicious meal in the marquee adorned with fabulous tropical flowers, fruit and flamingoes. There was plenty more fun (and importantly, fund-raising) between courses with games, raffles and an auction of promises all featuring great prizes.
Having already eaten more than might seem prudent in our highly tailored outfits we then discovered the cheese and sweetie carts which were the perfect after-dinner treat. After posing for some quick pictures at the photo booth, live music from the wonderful band “Fred's House” lured us on to the dance floor where an energetic crowd remained until 2am!
Enormous thanks must of course go to the generosity of many local businesses who kindly sponsored the tables, the beer and the bar which contributed hugely to a fantastically successful evening, raising a staggering £14,000
Emily Hanson was there with her camera - click on the centre picture below to see the pictures taken in the 'photo booth' on the night and here to see other photos from the ball.

Photo Booth

Why was the road closed?

Heydon Road was completely closed outside the church in order to facilitate the connection of water and sewerage services to the church.
As this picture shows (click on it for a better view), this entailed digging a very big hole - 11 feet deep when this picture was taken, and still not got to the sewer.
Unfortunately for anyone wanting to get from one side to the other there was a very long diversion (about 5 miles), either via Heydon and Chrishall or New Road and Barley.
The road has now re-opened and the church will be able to benefit from water and toilets for the first time in its very long history, thanks to the huge effort that has gone into fund raising.

Friday 20th April was the date of another popular fund raising event, helping to further the St Swithuns restoration. The wonderful Cambridge University Ceilidh band had no problems in getting people up on to the dance floor in the village hall on a beautiful warm, spring evening.
Supper was provided by the ladies of the village - Coronation Chicken and rice, and chocolate brownies. Altogether a very successful evening - thank you to everyone involved. Watch this space to find out how much was raised.

Sloe Gin Competition - The Host is a Winner
The annual Great Chishill Bell Ringers Sloe Gin Competition took place on 22nd February with the party and prize giving two days later.
Neil Heywood not only hosted the party but was pleased to find himself presented with 1st prize in the 'Nouveau' category, and 3rd prize in the 'Vintage' category. Other winners were, in the 'Nouveau' category, 2nd Roger Truett and 3rd Peter Wiseman. Ian Sanders from Barley came first in the 'Vintage' category, with Ivan Sharpe second. In the 'Ringers Delight' category, Geoff Miles was first with his Damson Brandy, Stella Russell second with her Damson Gin, and Ivan Sharpe came third with his Quince Liqueur. Elaine Knobel -Forbes won the 'Presentation' medal. Altogether there were about 60 entries, raising £313 towards the bell fund.

Telephone 'Exchange' - In Memoriam
Great Chishill's only telephone box - A Grade II Listed Building (Yes really!) - has been renovated. BT removed the telephone facility a couple of years ago, but the Livings family have given it a complete makeover as a memorial to Mike Livings, a Great Chishill resident for over 40 years, who passed away in February 2017. The family have repainted it in the proper red colour with the crown picked out in gold. Inside they have put shelves and stocked it with books. The idea is that residents can use it as a book exchange, swapping books as and when they feel like it, for no cost at all. A big thank you to the Livings' for turning what had become an eyesore into something to be proud of.

Christmas Tree Festival - A great Success
Saturday and Sunday, 9th and 10th December saw the first Great Chishill Christmas Tree Festival, held in and in aid of St Swithun's Church. 25 Christmas trees had been decorated, each by a different group from the village, and a considerable amount of effort had obviously been put into each one. Lots of people turned out to enjoy them despite the snow fall on the Sunday.
Tess Jill and Angus would like to thank most sincerely, not only all the organisations, clubs and groups of people having fun for exhibiting their Tree, but also, all those who supported us over the weekend, by coming and by helping and appreciating lovely music and a beautifully decorated church. We raised just over £1000 for Parish Funds

Seniors Enjoy Their Christmas Party (2017)
On Thursday 7th December the senior members of our community gathered in Great Chishill Village Hall for their annual Christmas Tea Party sponsored by the Parish Council. Neil was there with his camera and the photos (click here to go to the Photo Album) show that a great time was had by all, with lovely food, some great chats and quite a lot of laughing!

Thank you to everyone involved in making it such a great success again, and to the Parish Council for paying for it.

Fly Tipping - again and again!
There has been more incidents of Fly Tipping in our area. The pictures below show a mix of builder's and household rubbish down May Street and Little Chishill Lane. It is sickening to think that there are people who do this and even more so when they despoil our lovely countryside.
Some GOOD NEWS however - it appears that one of the perpetrators was recently caught red handed and the police involved!
If you come across dumpings in Cambridgshire you can report it online at For Essex (Uttlesford) it is and for North Herts it is

Archaeologist Tells of our Local Past
Report by Ro Gadian
On Saturday 14th October Professor Carenza Lewis talked to an enthralled audience about the history and archaeology of Great Chishill. Carenza Lewis has appeared on many popular TV programmes on history and archaeology, and she ably showed her talent for bringing the past to life.
Taking a panorama from the top of St Swithun’s tower as her starting point, she led us through a fascinating journey of discovery covering the Icknield Way, the prehistoric landscape – with aerial photos showing evidence of Neolithic enclosures all around the village. She told us about the discovery of a nearby Anglo-Saxon cemetery, where it seemed the victims had been decapitated!, a massive defensive system across Cambridgeshire, of which Bran Ditch (running from Heydon to Fowlmere) forms a part together with Devil’s Dyke and Fleam Dyke. She painted a vivid picture of Great Chishill as a village on the borders, between the wooded hills in the south and the marshy lowlands, and of the nuclear villages to the north and the dispersed villages to the south. She told us about the development of the village, The Stonk, a medieval moated manor, holloways, strip lynchets, lost fields and much more.
It was a wonderful evening, and following the talk there was a lively question and answer session, with everyone enjoying drinks and nibbles. This event celebrated the start of our Heritage Lottery Fund project, to repair the church tower and provide new facilities.

24th September 2017 saw Vyckie and myself (Tracey) take on the Berlin Marathon for the breast cancer charity Walk the Walk. We had a fabulous weekend with our team and have already raised £2000 this year so far. We did it in our bras to raise awareness of the charity - we took on the challenge #beatberlin42 and did!

Skylark Concert

Yet another St Swithun’s restoration fundraising event took place in the church on 22 July with a recital by Skylark, a group founded by singer Jude Short and keyboard player Roger Lilley. Skylark have been entertaining audiences for 20 years, supplemented more recently by Ondrej Cais (trumpet) and Mike Lewis (double bass). Their style could be called bar jazz – cool, smoky, and intimate. Skylark’s repertoire is wide, American song book standards, tango, bossa nova, and even two songs by Jaroslav Ježek, aka Czechoslovakia’s Gershwin. Many songs were arranged by Roger Lilley to showcase Jude’s clear soprano and Andrej’s cool, usually muted trumpet, two voices which blended happily together in many of the numbers. Latin America is a profitable hunting ground for the group, with songs from Uruguay and Argentina featuring among the more familiar Brazilian numbers. The Czech songs added a further note of the unfamiliar; everyone knows ‘Summertime’ but it’s a fair bet that this was the first time ‘Ze dne na den’ was heard in Chishill!
Skylark give their time freely, so the community owes them a huge vote of thanks - the evening raised a splendid £800 towards the restoration of St Swithun’s, according to the concert’s organiser Angus Gent.
Picture and review by Neil Heywood

New Vicar for our Villages
At a service in Chrishall church on 26th July, led by the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell and the Archdeacon of Stansted, The Venerable Robin King, The Revd Dr Anand Sodadasi was installed as Rector of The Parish of The Icknield Way Villages.
Anand and his wife Shailaja come from Andhra Pradesh, South India, where they trained theologically and worked for 12 years as full time ministers. Anand was ordained as a priest in his Indian diocese in 2001 and both taught in a theological college for 5 years, training the ordinands. Anand went to Oxford in 2004 to do a Ph.D and the family joined him soon after. He worked as a Duty Priest in the Diocese of Oxford, while the children Stephen and Serena completed secondary schooling. Then they moved to the Borderlink Parishes, Hereford where Anand has been Rector for 7 years. Shailaja trained as a dispenser and worked in a pharmacy, while volunteering in the chaplaincy department of Hereford Hospital before being licensed as a Reader for the Borderlink Parishes.

Great Chishill Annual Sloe Gin Competition

The Annual Sloe Gin Competition (the oldest one in Britain) judging took place on 23rd February into the early hours of Friday morning, and the party and prizes ceremony took place on Saturday 25th February.
After much consideration and extensive tastings, some of the usual people won prizes (Stella Russell carried off 3) but it was good to see new names in the winners list.

More pictures
Nouveau Class
1st Prize
James Truett
2nd Prize
Stella Russell
3rd Prize
Peter Wiseman
Vintage Class
1st Prize
Tony Rushbrook
2nd Prize
Neil Heywood
3rd Prize
Hilary Goodall
Ringer's Delight Class
1st Prize
Neil Heywood
Bramble Whiskey
2nd Prize
Stella Russell
Sloe Vodka
3rd Prize
Stella Russell
Crab Apple Vodka

Are you interested in local history?

We're looking for volunteers to help us produce a more interesting leaflet interpreting the history and heritage of the church, as part of our heritage lottery funded project to repair the tower.
It doesn't have to be just about the church fabric, it could include the bells, the war memorial, the churchyard, were there any interesting vicars? etc. etc.
If you'd like to help then please get in touch with Ro Gadian (email
Look forward to hearing from you.
The picture on the left shows the church tower after it collapsed at the west end - more information required!

Our Senior Villagers Celebrate Christmas with Sumptuous Tea

The Chishills' senior members celebrated Christmas on 15th December in the village hall with a wonderful tea funded by the Parish Council and organised by the team of ladies shown here (Liz Parkes, Janet Crouch , Eileen Murrell and Sue Price).
Neil Heywood was there with his camera and he took lots of pictures which can be seen by clicking here or clicking on the 'Photo Album' tab above.
and our Young People Celebrated too..

The Great Chishill and Heydon Children's Party was held in the Village Hall on 11th December. More han 50 children and the families were entertained by the marvellous Stripey Wipey. Father Christmas interrupted his very busy schedule to fly in specially! Thank you Father Christmas.
The Youth Club enjoyed a Disco & Pizza night on their final club of the year - with DJ Simon supplying his brilliant music. Instead of party treats, the young people made donations of food for the Hitchin based homeless hostel ‘North Herts Sanctuary’. As a result Dan was able to deliver a large box full of food to this worthwhile cause.

'Rickshaw Challenge' in Great Chishill

On 18th November the One Show’s 'Rickshaw Challenge' did its final leg of the 470-mile journey from the Scottish market town of Jedburgh to central London, all to raise money for 'BBC Children in Need'.
On this last day, their route from Duxford took them through Chrishall Grange, Heydon, Great Chishill, Shaftenhoe End and Barkway.
The rickshaw was pedalled by six young riders, all of whom have been supported by 'BBC Children in Need' funded projects. The One Show presenter Matt Baker was on the road cycling alongside the team offering support and advice throughout the journey.
There was a good turn out by the people of Great Chishill to cheer them on their way through the village on this final leg from Duxford to London. More information here
Photos © Neil Heywood Click on picture for larger version.
If you took any pictures, please email them to

Windmill Work Started

A team of Rotary Club volunteers, from Saffron Walden and Royston, cut turves at the windmill site on 17th October marking the start of restoration of the landmark.
The main aim of the Great Chishill Windmill Trust is to preserve the mill in a stable and weather-proof condition for future generations to enjoy. A second phase seeks to make it fit to turn into the wind to allow the restoration of the sails without risk of overstressing the structure.
Whilst permission must be gained for work on the Grade II listed building itself, the committee decided to start visible work on the site by uncovering the fantail track. This is the circular track on which the tail assembly wheels travelled as the mill turned into wind around its central post.
David Telford, President of the Saffron Walden Rotary Club said: “We were happy to help out on such a lovely day with a glorious view and passing interests. Hopefully the exposure of the tail track will add momentum to the restoration project.” Everyone greatly appreciates their splendid work which has brought us a step closer to seeing this icon move with a purpose once more.

Pink Event a Great Success

St Swithun’s Church was pretty in pink for the second week of October, bathed in pink lights to herald operetta trio ‘Pink Champagne’s lively evening of song, laughter and audience participation for St Swithun’s Appeal Fund. Together with our sponsor’s Pinkster gin (and tonic) from Barley, pink champagne and pink-themed canapés the audience of 100 settled down to enjoy a programme ranging from the ‘Champagne Trio’ from Strauss’s Die Fledermaus to an Ivor Novello tribute and extracts from Lehar’s Merry Widow. With a well supported raffle, the £950 raised takes the Appeal Fund over its initial target of £50,000 in two years! The Appeal Committee extends a huge thank you to all who have supported events over the last 2 years.

Dancing for the Windmill
Last year, Wendy and David McKeown organised dance lessons for absolute beginners with all proceeds being donated to the Great Chishill Windmill Trust. This was a great success and £1000 was added to the fund. The original dancers persuaded Wendy and David to run more lessons through the Autumn and Winter. They are held in Great Chishill Village Hall at 7.30 to 8.30 on Friday evenings.

So, if you have done a little ballroom and Latin dancing but would like a refresher, please contact David at If you are an absolute beginner, still get in touch as we have a gentle pace of learning so that anyone with rhythm shouldn’t find catching up too difficult. These are fun sessions with emphasis on enjoyment – we are not after medal performance, just to be able to get around the floor with confidence.

Victorious Season for GC Cricket Club!
The Great Chishill Cricket Club season came to a close with promotion into the Senior League Division 3, for only the second time in its history!!
Winning the penultimate game with authority and dominance against promotion rivals Wilbraham’s. Sadly the final game of the season was rained off at the half way stage, the only rain loss of the season.
As a club 31 different players have been chosen to represent the side over the 18 games that were played. At the close of the season the club had the second leading wicket taker with 29 wickets, the highest run scorer with 764 runs, the top fielder (wicket keeper) with 24 dismissals and greatest not out batsman in the league with 8 not outs, not too bad for a small village team, beating Royston on all counts!
The annual dinner is being held on Saturday 8th October, tickets are selling rapidly so book yours now through Angus at
Indoor nets will be running in the New Year, so don’t forget to dust off your kit then! New members are always welcome so don’t hesitate to contact Angus for details.

St Swithun's - SOME GOOD NEWS
Great Chishill DCC (responsible for the care of St Swithun’s church) is delighted to announce the award of £29,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This first-round funding means that HLF has endorsed the outline proposals and earmarked funding, as well as contributing towards the costs of the initial work. Once we know what restoration work is needed we will submit detailed proposals to HLF in a second-round application later this year.

St Swithun’s is an important example of an intact medieval parish church, whose history is strongly linked to that of the village. The church is grade II* listed, reflecting the significance of its architecture and heritage. The tower has suffered various mishaps over the years; it caught fire (affecting the roof and floor under the bells) in the disastrous fire of 1798, when 80% of the village was destroyed. The tower began to crumble badly in 1884 and the top fell off in 1891. It was rebuilt in 1896-7 at a cost of £865, but without the original spire. Now it is suffering serious damage as a result of water penetration through the upper flint walls, especially the East face.
You can read the full press release here.

SPORT RELIEF came back to Great Chishill
On Sunday 20th March, 140 people turned up from far and wide and took part in the Great Chishill Sport Relief Event. The sun shone, the WI served freshly baked cakes, Wobbly Wayne bought along one of his bouncy castles and we were all set for a great time.
Everyone seemed to have a great time, as they walked, ran or ambled either 1, 3 or 6 miles around a scenic Great Chishill route.
The final total of funds raised will not be released until June (when the sponsorship pages close), but on the day, and coupled with great events organised by Chishill Chimps and the Youth Club, over £1000 has been raised so far. Thank you all for your tremendous support, you were amazing!
Pictures from the event available on ourSport Relief 2016 page.

Sloe Gin Competition

The annual Sloe Gin Competition culiminated in the Tasting & Results Party on Saturday 20th February 8.00pm at Hall Farm by kind invitation of Peter and Jean Wiseman. As usual there was a big turn out and a large number of entries to be sampled!
J Cartwright and Fred Kuenzi took 1st and 2nd places in the 'Nouveau' section with Sue Maynard and Mike Livings coming a close joint 3rd.
Peter Wiseman took 1st place in the 'Vintage' section with Neil Heywood and Angela Patrick getting joint 2nd and Bob Hatt a close 3rd.
In the 'Ringers Delight' category S Kea-Strachan won with 'Sloe Gin Liqueur', Neil came 2nd with his 'Damson Brandy' and C Williams' 'Damson Brandy got the 3rd prize.
A great evening was had by all and £260 was raised for the 'Bell Restoration Fund'
More information about the bells and bellringing in Great Chishill

Crafts in the Barn
The now traditional Craft Fair in Great Chishill, took place on Saturday 5th at Lynchetts Farm with kind permission of Tom and Ellie Mead.
Local Crafts, Christmas Trees & Wreaths, Christmas Cakes, Hot Dogs & Christmas Baking all went to make a successful day, raising £423 which will be divided evenly between St. Swithuns restoration fund and the Windmill Fund.
A big thank you to everyone involved!

'Heydon Hell Raisers' win Great Chishill’s Musical Quiz Night!
Taking the lead by just one point, ‘Heydon Hell Raisers’ beat ‘Team Dog-Minion’ to win the musical quiz night held on October 17th in support of the St Swithun’s Appeal. And there was just one point between 2nd and 3rd place, so a closely fought contest!
Masterminded by Maggie Mather, questions covered a wide range of music from Bond themes through voice types to ‘Musical Consequences’. Recorded excerpts were interspersed with performances by Maggie, with Lucy Maynard.
This hugely entertaining evening has raised £1,300 towards essential church repairs. St Swithun’s Appeal Committee thanks Maggie and Lucy, the Russells for running the bar, Elaine Knobel-Forbes for running the kitchen and all who kindly helped with cooking, raffle prizes, ticket sales and setting up.

Action Packed Fund Raising Weekend

Midsummer Ball

A huge and very heartfelt thanks to all who came, enjoyed, supported and contributed to the wonderful evening that raised £9,500 for the church refurbishment appeal fund. We (the organisers) have received many emails and texts and have had many a conversation reflecting on an evening that was enjoyed by so many in our community. We have noted suggested for another time!
A directory of our sponsors for the evening is available here. There are some very useful and very unusual contacts for women; hats, bags and scarves, wonderful for all occasions. Excellent hair dressers for men and women, bespoke jewelry (ideal for a gift). Step in Time is highly recommended for anyone who suffers any kind of pain, particularly back, knee, neck and feet problems. North Norfolk Disabled Holiday homes, idyllic spot for an ideal and easy holiday. Please do take time to have a look you never know what you may find.
Mad Hatters Tea Party

We were delighted that so many people of all ages came to enjoy the music of Saffron Walden County High Jazz Band, the story teller Gillian McClure, the tea, the BBQ and bar and the activities at the Mad Hatters Tea Party which raised about £1000. Taking the total to over £10,500 raised over the weekend.

Windmill Celebration Day
On 13th June the Great Chishill Windmill Trust held a Celebration Day which was attended by around 150 people! The day was packed with a wide range of activities including a dance demonstartion, scone making demonstration and a detailed report on the plans for refurbishing the windmill.
The children's art competion was also judged and prizes awarded to William Troutbeck, Harriet Scott and Eleanor Ferrie. £519 was raised from a raffle and sales of Wicken Mill flour. More information about the windmill can be found at and here

Going, Going, all Gone

Sunday 17th May saw the next in the series of fund raising events for St Swithun’s church refurbishment appeal.
The smell of a BBQ and the promise of a celebrity auctioneer, David Palmer, known for his multi coloured waistcoats, from 'Bargain Hunt' and 'Flog It', mobilised the community with outstanding enthusiasm.
From 10.00 there was a torrent-not a steady flow- of people bringing their items for sale and by 12.00 the Village Hall was rammed full of 418 lots, all the sellers hoping that they had found treasures in their sheds.
Three wonderfully entertaining hours later all was gone, one man’s rubbish had become one man’s treasure (124 sellers and 98 buyers)!
David Palmer had us bidding for our own goods, buying stuff we really did not want, but most importantly, giggling all the way home at the fun and entertainment we had all enjoyed that Sunday afternoon. By the time the final accounts are signed off we will have raised about £1800 for the appeal.
A really magnificent community effort. Thank you! I must also thank all of the helpers for all of their wonderful efforts on Sunday as they worked tirelessly all day. I certainly need to rebuild friendships before suggesting the date is booked again for this time next year.
Now we have the Midsummer Ball and the Mad Hatters Tea Party on June 20th and 21st to look forward to.
Angus Gent

Village Hall Renovations Complete
Great Chishill Village Hall has been closed for a few weeks for renovation. The works are now complete and the hall was officially re-opened on Friday 10th April. Renovations included the installation of new lights, a new floor and acoustic panels.
The Hall is available to hire for village and private events. See below for viewing availabiliy and booking details.

How times have changed!
Elizabeth Allford has sent this in.
My mum, Muriel Baker, nee Gunnell, who was a member of this parish all her young life sadly passed away on 30th November 2014 aged 88. She was married in St. Swithins church on 14th May 1951. Sadly, my dad passed away earlier this year, in March. They were happily married for 62 years. She was born and grew up at the Old Bake House Maltings Lane and has many happy memories of village life which she spent her life recounting to us. As she had a deformed left hand with only three fingers, she had to get special permission from the Bishop to wear her wedding ring on her right hand. When she was interviewed to be married, she was almost outraged by the vicar’s question, “Are you entitled to wear white?” Of course she was! How dare he suggest/think otherwise! She was horrified.
How times have changed!!

Potholes and Fly Tipping
If you come across a pothole which you think is dangerous, please report it to the Police using the 101 number.
Non dangerous potholes should be reported to the County Council Highways by using the form that can be found at

To report Fly Tipping you can use This link.

Bellringing is good for you!
Click on this logoA recent report by the Churches Conservation Trust & YMCAfit, featured on BBC Breakfast recently, has highlighted the benefits of ringing church bells. The report recommends bellringing to improve agility, co-ordination, and reaction times, tone core abdominal muscles and glutes, work biceps, quads and calves with minimal force and develop muscle endurance. The church in Great Chishill has 5 bells and although they need a lot of work done on them, they are rung every Wednesday evening and for church services and special occasions. If you would like to try it, the Great Chishill ringers would be very pleased to see you and show you the ropes (pun intended). Wednesday evenings at 7.30. More information about the Great Chishill bells

Reporting Crime - a new number
You can now contact Cambridgeshire Constabulary on 101 for all non-emergency calls. The 0345 456 456 4 number will remain in use alongside 101 for several months to allow people time to get used to the new number.
The change comes part of a national programme to make 101 the single non-emergency number in England and Wales, giving residents an easy-to-remember number to contact local police wherever they are.
The call system is designed to recognise where you are calling from and connect you with the local police service. If you did not want to speak to your local force, or the force area you are in, you will be given the option to be connected to different one.
The number change does not affect the way that calls are handled and we will continue to take non-emergency calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Please continue to call 999 when an immediate response is needed because a crime is happening, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, or someone is in danger.
To give anonymous information call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

The Chishill Windmill

The County Council wanted to dispose of the windmill and both the District Council and the Parish Council declined the offer to take it on. Fearing that it would be sold on the open market, several Great Chishill residents have formed the 'The Great Chishill Windmill Trust'. You can read all about it on their website  
Inevitably there is a wide range of opinion on what should and should not be done. If you have a comment to make on the subject, click on the 'Have your say' button and have your opinions published on this site.
See what has been said so far.
Read a fascinating history of the windmill, its role in the village over the years, and the people who owned and worked in it.

Need a lift? You can call on us!
Royston and District Community Transport offers door-to-door transport for people living in Royston and surrounding villages. The scheme is aimed at groups or individuals who are unable to use conventional public transport for reasons of age, frailty, impaired mobility or the lack of public transport, and who do not have the use of a car.
Our volunteer drivers use their own cars to help transport people to hospitals, doctors and other medical and social appointments. Our minibus and MPV are suitable for wheelchair users who cannot transfer to a car. Pru Burton, our co-ordinator, will be happy to help you get to where you need to go.
Passengers pay 50p per mile direct to the volunteer car driver, with a minimum charge of £4-50 for journeys of up to nine miles. The scheme requires 48 hours’ notice for journeys, but will always try to help in an emergency.
RDCT would also be delighted to hear from any car drivers in and around Great Chishill who are able to give a few hours a week to help the community.
Royston & District Community Transport is a registered charity, based at Royston Hospital, and can be contacted on (01763) 245228 between 9am and 3pm, Monday-Friday.
Coronation (2023) - The Villages Celebrate
Although the weather was not very kind for the Coronation Weekend, there was a big turn out for the celebration events.
Starting on the Friday evening with a party in the grounds of the URC with live music from Mark Laferty, a Scottish piper and Scottish Dancing in which villagers joined in.
On Saturday afternoon the St Swithun's bellringers rang the bells in Heydon, Elmdon, Chrishall, Langley, Clavering and finally at Great Chishill before joining the packed pub for the Coronation Dinner.
Sunday saw another big turnout for the Barell Rolling competition - beer barrels were rolled from the Chequers pub in Barley to the Pheasant, stopping at the windmill for a Tug-o-War between the two villages.
Monday was possibly the climax of the weekend when Great Chishill's own Morris Dancing team - a team made up of villagers most of whom had not done anything like this before but have been practising since Christmas - gave a very impressive display in the road outside the Pheasant.

Lots more pictures on the Album pages


The major project to renovate the 5 old bells of St Swithun's, Great Chishill, and add a 6th bell, is now complete. Work started on 12th January and was completed on 29th April, and rung for the first time 'for real' on 3rd June to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.
The project cost £105,000 (inc VAT which should be recoverable) and was paid for by the bellringers funds raised since the Millenium, fund raising events, donations, and £22,500 in grants.
We are exceedingly grateful to everyone who contributed in any way to the success of the project and in particular to the people and organisations listed by clicking here.
A full description of the project, its history and its progress with pictures can be seen HERE
Our Bells and the Death of Her Majesty
On the day of the Queen's funeral, we successfully rang a quarter peal on the half muffled bells. This took about 45 minutes of continuous ringing timed to take place before the 11am funeral service in Westminster Abbey.
This quarter peal consisted of 1260 changes of the order of the bells ringing, without stopping, so it was a concentration challenge to say the least. This quarter peal was a momentous occasion because it was the first one ever to be rung in Great Chishill on 6 bells.

Now we are 6 (May 2022)

The 5 bells of St Swithun's left on the 3rd February for a total renovation at the bell hangers near Oxford. They came back to us, with our brand new 6th bell on 21st April. The picture shows the new treble bell, upside down all ready to ring at the test ring that took place on 11th May. So we now have 4 bells made in 1686 (James II), one made in 1841 (Victoria) and one specially made for us in 2021 (Elizabeth II).
The clock will be reinstated as soon as it can be arranged with the clock engineer.
It is important to note that none of this work is paid for from church funds., but from our own fundraising, grants and donations.

Ringing bells is very much a skill, an enjoyable mental and physical activity, open to everyone, church goer or not, all ages, ethnic groups and religions. So if you would like to learn to do this old, traditional and very English skill, please give Phil Maynard a call on 838311 to arrange to have a go at one of the practices.
If you are interested in more information about ringing or details of the project, have a look at the GREAT CHISHILL BELL RESTORATION PROJECT page.
If you would like to make a donation to the fund see our JustGiving page and don't forget to tick the Gift Aid box which gives us another 25% from the tax man.

Snowdrop Event 2022

Thank you to everyone who helped or came along to the BELL RESTORATION PROJECT fund raising event on 12th February.
A chilly but sunny day, and those who came were rewarded with lovely displays of many different varieties of snowdrops, their whiteness offset beautifully by the yellow of the aconites. Tea, coffee and hot soup was available to help against the cold. In total it boosted the funds for the project by just over £500.

The Mill Released to Turn into the Wind!

See a video of the moment of release here
and lots of pictures from the day here

Click on the images above to see full size video

On Sunday 15th, 'Windependence Day', people came from far and wide to see and celebrate the release of the tail fan of our windmill. There was a party atmosphere with a raffle, picnic food stall, bar provided by The Pheasant, and music from The Melodybeats. At 2 o'clock, David McKeown, chair of the trustees, pulled the string installed by millwright Bill Griffiths. The tail fan was then free to rotate and as the mill was not quite facing into the wind at the time, the fan immediately started to spin and the mill slowly but surely turned into the wind.
The final count up is not in yet but it is thought that the event brought in around £1000.

Time to be Creative again

from Hilary Goodall
Following the success of the Write Here, Write Now project earlier this year, it was a good time to put something together about Christmas for display in the village phone box. This has now been done and some of your poems are available to view in the windows of the phone box.

Poo and Litter Bins

New dog waste bins have been installed in the village, one in May Street and one in Hall Lane. A new litter bin also added on the playing fields. With 4 poo bins in the village now there is even less reason for not disposing of dog waste properly. If your dog fouls - PICK IT UP. Whilst on the subject of dogs, please be reminded that dogs are NOT ALLOWED on the playing field - however good they are!
The Annual Sloe Gin Competition (2021)

Every year Great Chishill bellringers run a Sloe Gin competition, raising money for the refurbishment of the bells of St Swithuns.
Due to the virus it was thought that the competition would have to be cancelled, but such is the tenacity of Great Chishill residents, the competition did go ahead, albeit in a different format.
So, if you made sloe gin last autumn and have registered to enter it into the competition you need to get your
If you have made some sloe gin this season and were planning on entering it but failed to register in time, remember that one of the categories, apart from 'Nouveau' and 'Ringers Delight' is the 'Vintage' category, so this year's production could be entered next year.
The Annual Sloe Gin Competition (the oldest one in Britain) judging took place on 27th February but was available to watch on Zoom. Sadly the tasting party could not take place.
After much consideration and extensive tastings, some of the usual people won prizes (Neil Heywood won 2 and Stella Russell won 2) but it was good to see new names in the winners list.
Nouveau Class
1st Prize
Neil Heywood
2nd Prize
Lisa McKenzie
3rd Prize
Stuart Wiseman
Vintage Class
1st Prize
Fred Kuenzi
2nd Prize
Hilary Goodall
3rd Prize
Neil Heywood
Ringer's Delight Class
1st Prize
Maggie Last
Berry Brandy
2nd Prize
Stella Russell
Damson Gin
3rd Prize
Stella Russell
Apricot Bullace

More information about the bells and bellringing in Great Chishill.

Great Chishill Pavilion

from Great Chishill PFA & GCCC.
Following on from the announcement in November regarding the potential redevelopment of the Great Chishill Pavilion on the sports field, to bring it up to date and open to other sports and pass times. The Playing Field Association(PFA) along with Great Chishill Cricket Club (GCCC) would like your input to a “fun” survey of how the areas is used and how you, residents would like to see it used for sports.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK wide lockdown have delayed the original plans for the design work and options for the pavilion, so to help the planning and to get your input, the architects involved have designed a way to get your views. They have produced a sketch diagram (click on it for bigger, printable view) of the area around the sports field and pavilion, and they would like you to draw and write on the diagram how you use, and would like to use, the sports field and surrounding area.
There is no fixed way to do this. It is open for your view and interpretation. The results will be added in to the design and development of the pavilion, no guarantees that all can be accommodated but best efforts will be made, some ideas may be more long term …..
So, have some fun and let us know your views.
The return details are on the plan along with some ideas and guidance.

Local Apple Juice

Bob Hatt says
Available now, all pasteurised and will keep 2/3 years.
Please let me know whether you want any boxes.
Also available new design tea towel (47cm x 73cm with enhanced border and hanging loop) £6
and notelets 2 for £5
Please collect from 49 Barley Road. If you don't have transport I will deliver

The Yarn Bombers are back!

The ladies of Barley Knitting Group have been busy again, decorating our post boxes for charity.
So, if this has made you smile please help others smile at Christmas by making a donation to The Trussell Trust-Letchworth Food Bank.
You can make a donation via justgiving or the Food Bank Charity Box at Barley Shop.
Look out for more in the area.

Villagers’ words archived for posterity

from Hilary Goodall
All the contributions from the Write Here, Write Now community writing project for Great Chishill have now been sent to the Manchester Writing School, at Manchester Metropolitan University. They will be included in a new archive set up at the Manchester Poetry Library at MMU.
This archive has been created to record poetry written nationally from the earliest stages of the pandemic up until June 30th 2020, with a collection of the work commissioned by Carol Ann Duffy (poet laureate, 2009).
Our poems will sit alongside contributions from established poets such as Roger McGough, Ian McMillan, Carol Rumens and many more, as well as Carol Ann Duffy herself. They will now be preserved to be read by future generations.
The archive is keen to have all our work, poetry or not, as a communal collective project, as they said, they are ‘part of the same conversation … I’m sure there’s poetry in the prose too’.
Many thanks to all.

Local Policeman Runs Half-Marathon for the NHS

from Priscilla Woollard
Our family have lived in the village for 35 years and we have two children, Tom & Georgina. Historically, Tom has played both for our village Football and Cricket teams.
Tom, as a Police Constable, decided to run a half marathon on Thursday 30th April wearing full riot gear, marking the 100th birthday of Captain Tom Moore as well as fund raising for our wonderful NHS. His route was from Royston Police Station to Accident & Emergency Department at Addenbrookes Hospital. His sister Georgina was his support, following by bike (which she has not ridden for over 15 years), carrying water and high energy drinks. Tom completed this in just over three and a half hours and at the moment, his Just Giving page has reached £2,600.00 plus gift aid.
See the BBC Twitter report here .

Windmill Update May 2020
David McKeown writes
It feels very strange to be writing an update as this world-wide pandemic still has many of us confined to our homes. Nonetheless, things are happening with the Trust and the windmill, perhaps not at the speed we would wish, but still in the right direction.
The restoration itself has a little way to go yet - we wish to see the automatic tail system operating, bringing the mill into wind, and edge boards fitted to the sails so that they can turn once more in a demonstration. We also need some repairs to the upper floors to make them safer for visitors. Our millwright, Bill Griffiths, has all of the above on his ‘to do’ list but, until he can purchase appropriate supplies, progress is limited. That doesn’t mean that the Trust has 'ground to a halt’. We formed a team of guides and started training just before the lockdown so will be ready to show visitors round once guidance on visiting enclosed spaces is defined and announced.
You can’t fail to notice our windmill as you approach the village from Barley and it is certainly looking splendid in the sun. So, why not stop by, or better still, take a walk on the footpath that runs around the fields at the back and picture the old beauty close up? Chris Shaw from Huntingdon took this cracking photo of the mill at sunset.
There are also a few paintings of the mill that you may have seen. So here’s a little challenge to all looking for light relief in these days of lockdown - visit the windmill, let your creative juices flow and send us a picture, be that drawn, painted or photographed, that sums up this 200 year-old wonder. We will publish them on our website (provided you give permission) and the best will go to the archive to be preserved for future generations.
Please send your images to before June 30 and they’ll be kept for posterity!

The Great Chishill Sloe Gin Competition 2020

On Saturday 22nd February the great Great Chishill Sloe Gin Competition party was held at Stackyard Cottage, kindly hosted by Jean and Peter Wiseman.
This very popular annual event raises money for the bell fund. There are 3 categories - 'Nouveau', 'Vintage' and 'Ringer's Delight' - the first two being specifically for Sloe Gin and the 3rd any spirit based fruity tipple.
Ivan Sharp
Ivan Sharp
Robin Dibblee
Ivan Sharp
Don Leitch
Stella Russell
'Ringers Delight'
Ian Sanders Damson Gin
Ivan Sharp Victoria Plum Vodka
Stella Russell Marmalade Gin
Stella Russell Marmalade Gin
Great Chishill Bellringers would like to thank everyone from IWP and beyond, who supported the 2020 Sloe Gin Competition, kindly hosted, both for Judging and Results & Tasting Party, by Jean & Peter Wiseman. The event raised a record-breaking £457!! Huge thanks due to all competition entrants as well as Results Party attendees.
All the IWP churches with ringable towers currently rely on the Great Chishill team for special events. Aspiring or returning ringers (we know you’re out there) from other villages always welcome to join practices Wednesdays 8.00-9.00 pm either St Swithuns Great Chishill or Chrishall.
More information about the bells

The Christmas Tree Festival 2019

The Christmas Tree Festival was held on 14th and 15th December in St Swithuns Church. There were 25 trees decorated by the various organisations, clubs and societies in the village, on the theme of Christams Carols. In addition, there was a full programme of music to accompany the event.
The event was started and finished with the ringing of the bells
At least 300 people visited the church at some time over the weekend and the organisers would like to thank to everyone who contributed in some way to this successful event which raised £600 for the church and £200 for Chrishall School.
Click on the picture to see some of the pictures that Neil Heywood took of the event.

Woolly Christmas Post! (2019)

Last year, if you were walking or driving around Barley during December you may have been surprised to see that the six post boxes in the village had been yarn bombed with a Christmas theme. This year the yarn bombers are going further afield to include the post boxes in Barkway and Great Chishill. The Barley Knitting group meet on the second and fourth Wednesday evening each month at The Chequers pub in Barley, wanted to use their knitting skills to help others.
They have set up a Just Giving page to raise funds for the local charity, Herts Young Homeless (HYH), because nobody should be homeless especially at Christmas. HYH is a unique charity in Hertfordshire providing services to support vulnerable people. Their focus is on preventing homelessness - from education in schools and family mediation, through to supporting 16-24 year olds in their first homes or caring for adults of all ages who have mental health issues and housing needs.
So if the yarn bombed post boxes make you smile or even laugh out loud please donate via the just giving page
They will also be selling yarn and knitted goods in aid of HYH at the Christmas Market at Barley Town House on Saturday 7th December from 11am-4pm. Note this will still leave time to visit ‘Crafts on the Hill’ too.
If you would like more information about the Barley Knitting group please join us in The Chequers or email

The Clock Chimes (properly) Again

September 2019 The Clock on the church tower is something that we all take for granted - until it is silent. For some time now it has either been silent or has not sounded right.
Thanks to the generosity of people in Great Chishill this has now been put right and the clock sounds it's old self again.
The clock is approximately 120 years old and has been ticking away for most of that time, wound manually once a week. Few people ever see the actual clock, but if you Click here or on the picture you can get a better idea of what goes on up the ladders in the tower.

Great Chishill Cricket Club 2019

It has been a funny old season. We took voluntary relegation last season to reduce our travelling around the county (and our carbon footprint), so we were unsure what to expect. The season has ebbed and flowed; from being top of the league after week one to languishing in the relegation zone after week six. Now, as the season ends we are secure in the top half of the league, safe from relegation and promotion. One constant is that we still have the best teas in the league! It has been really pleasing to have over 30 players represent the village and in particular to have two local youngsters, Ian and Harry, playing regularly for us. We have managed to get eleven players out on the pitch every week, thanks to Guy’s stoic efforts . We thank everyone who has supported us this season, through good times and bad. We look forward to seeing you at the dinner. Next year is a very special season, as it will be our sesquicentennial (150th anniversary). We are planning a number of events to mark the year, and to enhance the club as a legacy for the future. We hope that you will support us in our celebrations. Click for the full fixture list.

The Windmill Reaches its Turning Point

Wed 19th June, 1130. from David
Just returned from watching Bill pull the windmill round a few feet. It moved without any nasty noises or displacement of timbers!

from David McKeown
Though it may not be able to grind the grain for a few years yet, the first phase restoration is slowly reaching its conclusion. The large wooden clamps lying on the ground in the photo have now been fitted to the sails but the mechanism that connects the tailfan to the carriage wheels awaits the return of Bill, the millwright. He is sharing his time between two mills at present so we have periods of inactivity - but we will see the mill moving soon.
Click on the windmill image below to download Peter Homent's drone video (note that the way that this downloads and runs will vary between browsers and operating systems).

More about the history of the windmill.
Please visit our website to see our progress.

More work at the Church

from Ro
You may have noticed that the church has had further repair work to the exterior – the area between the tower and porch on the South side. These walls were suffering from damage similar to the tower, with significant cracks in the walls and buttresses, and missing or damaged flints which let in water, potentially leading to long term damage. We’re pleased that this has all now been repaired to the same high standard as the tower. The channels which run round the base of the church and take the rainwater from the downpipes were cracked and leaking. These have also been fixed, so that will help reduce sources of damp in the church. We were able to pay for the work from our remaining HLF grant. We had some money left over (once all the bills were paid and VAT reclaimed), but it could only be spent on tower repairs and damp reduction.
To get some idea of the work that was needed on the tower, and made possible by the Heritage Lottery Fund and a huge effort by the fund raising committee and the people and friends of Great Chishill Click here.

We hope to start on the next phase in the summer. We want to create an open space right across the back of the church, for the use of the whole community for meeting and events. The floor and pews will be taken out, a new kitchenette / servery area installed and a new limestone floor laid, plus associated electrical and heating work. We have most of the funding needed, but we will take up the offer of an interest-free loan from Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust so we can complete the project without too much further delay.

Following the theft of the Post Box in Heydon Road on 27th October 2018, Royal Mail put a new one in on 22nd March 2019, after a wait of 5 months.
Royal Mail had originally said that 11 January was the date for reinstatement of the box, but that was cancelled 'due to the lengthy authorisation and approvals process!'
In response to a complaint to Royal Mail made on 23rd January, they replied 'We’re currently investigating the matter. These investigations may involve contacting other departments – to get the answers we need and assurance that action is being taken to put this right.

Then in mid March they said 'I can confirm that, after making enquiries with the Collection Planning Manager, we believe the above-mentioned area does warrant the re-installation of a new post-box.
As a result, we're liaising with the Highway Authority to obtain clearance for the proposed site, as well as contacting the utility companies to ensure that the proposed site doesn’t interfere with existing pipes or cables, etc. This process can take a number of weeks to complete but we’re hopeful that we'll be able to install the post box within the next twelve weeks.

The old Post Box had been in the same location for at least the last 50 years.

Sloe Gin Competition 2019

The Annual Sloe Gin Competition took place on 21st February. There was a staggering 55 entries which presented quite a challenge for the 3 anonymous judges. (They may have been the ones staggering at the end of the judging!). The tasting party, kindly hosted by the Wisemans at Stackyard Cottage, was, as usual a huge success and an opportunity to taste any (or all!) of the entries. The event raised a total of £370 towards the bell fund. Huge thanks to Peter & Jean, the judges and everyone who participated or helped.
FirstMartin Hague
SecondTuppa Wiseman
Hilary Goodall
Chris Bates
ThirdRobin Dibblee
Mark Avogadri
FirstIan Sanders
SecondMarlene Bates
ThirdFred Kuenzi
Ringers' Delight
FirstLucy Goode - Crème de cassis
SecondIvan Sharp - Sloe and Quince
ThirdNeil Heywood - Quince Liqueur
Ruth Dibblee - Damson Gin
FirstNeil Heywood - Quince Liqueur

Find out more about the bells and bellringing in Great Chishill.

Ancient Finds Boost Windmill Funds

On Sunday 7th October, around 100 people armed with metal detectors, led by Zoë Williams of Pink Wellies Metal Detecting Group set out to search 250 acres of land surrounding the windmill by special permission of the landowners. Zoë impressed upon the detectorists that they should leave no holes, hollows or mounds when they dug, leaving the ground as they had found it.
Within 3 minutes a Roman coin had been unearthed. This was only the start - during the day plenty more Roman and Mediaevel coins were discovered. Coins were not the only things discovered - the most striking find of the morning being a near perfectly preserved bronze-age spear tip or arrow head.
Quite a few bronze age artifacts were found and although we can't say that there was a village or dwellings here it shows the area was well used in the period 1200 – 4000BC.
Of more direct relevance to the windmill was a lead weight. Shield-shaped weights of this type are described by the British Museum as mediaeval trade weights used in the early days (1200 – 1600AD) of the standard weight system of pounds and ounces (avoirdupois). The photograph shows that this one has a windmill stamped into it so we guess it was specifically for grain or flour.
A lovely seal matrix from the 14th century was also found which warranted registration with the official finds office.
By 5 o’clock, most folk had dragged their weary bodies from the fields but all expressed their pleasure at detecting in such wonderful countryside and on such a perfect day. To add to this satisfaction came the news that they had collected over £1500 for the windmill. This will go a long way to paying for the annual maintenance so we are truly grateful to all who took part in this alternative style of fundraising event.

Windmill Cycling Club
The Windmill Club is a Cycling UK affiliated group. The club is based at The Pheasant. Rides take place twice a week - approx. 20/25 miles on a Monday afternoon/evening and approx. 30/45 miles on Thursday mornings, usually in the lovely quiet lanes surrounding this area.
During the summer months rides sometimes start at locations in Suffolk or Norfolk and take in places such as Aldeburgh, Southwold or Wells. The pace is leisurely and there is as much focus on good companionship, conversation and coffee/pub stops as there is on cycling.
Each ride costs £3.00 and the proceeds are donated to various charities at the end of each year. So far, over £5,000 has been raised.
For more details of The Windmill Club's rides please take a look at their blog.
New members are always welcome.

9000 New Homes Proposal for HEYDON

Heydon Parish Council have issued the following statement.
South Cambridgeshire District Council has received a 'pre-application proposal' from the owner of Heydon Estate, to give an initial view on the possibility of a major development around the village, that could include about 9000 new dwellings. At the moment there is no planning application.
South Cambridgeshire District Council Planning officers have stated that the suggestion of new homes in this location will not be supported at this time as they are not included in the new Local Development Plan which guides development in the district until 2031.
Work is due to start in 2019 on the next Plan, between South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council, and if this land, or any other substantial area of land, is submitted for consideration then a meeting of the village will be called to discuss the way forward.

The land involved would be the fields on the right and left hand sides going down Fowlmere Road from Heydon, and a large swathe of land on the left hand side, around the golf course and stretching across to the Barley Road, and some land on the other side of the A505.

Mobile Phone Mast Proposal
The Parish Council have received a letter from a company called Waldon who are proposing a telephone mast on Hall Lane and given until 20th June for comments! The Parish Council discussed this at their regular meeting on 21st June. See the PC website for more information. ( any comments to or email the company directly.
Letter to PC and Details.

Great Chishill Open Gardens 2018
June 10th started out overcast but as 2pm approached the skies cleared giving way to a glorious afternoon and evening - perfect for the Open Gardens afternoon. This was the fifth time that this biennial event has been held, raising money for St Swithun's Church. The church was the starting point where for £5 visitors were given a green wrist band so that they could visit any of the 8 gardens open for viewing in the village. Teas were available at Rectory Farmhouse, ice creams and other delights at the URC schoolroom and Indian nibbles served at the Rectory.
The event raised £840. Click here to see pictures from the day.

What IS that noise?

9.45pm, July 25th, The Pheasant garden. The sound started from over near Bull Meadow, got closer and closer and continued away towards Reeves Pightle. At the same time a largish bird flew over. A quick visit to the web confirmed our suspicion. Yes - it was a Nightjar!
Nightjars are nocturnal and are out looking for food - moths and beetles - at dawn and dusk. They are similar in size and shape to a cuckoo or kestrel. They are migrants, arriving April/May time and leaving in August. They are on the RSPB amber conservation list and are not normally found in this area - Thetford Forest being the nearest known habitat.

Nottingham Cathedral Choir

As part of the continuing fund raising for the restoration of St Swithuns, Great Chishill resident Lisa Mackenzie organised for the choir of which she was, and sometimes still is, a member to come to our village and give us a wonderful concert of sacred music. Led by their conductor Alex Patterson they gave a mix of pieces without any accompaniment. 'Wow' was probably the word most used by the audience who were held spellbound for the whole evening.
The concert was helped along by drinks and nibbles, and a competition to guess how far the choir had travelled in 5 years. As yet we do not know how much was raised towards the restoration, but thanks go to everyone who had anything to do with the event.

The Great Village Litter Pick
On Sunday March 25th (2018) a band of a dozen or so turned up at the URC to do something about the rubbish that is dumped in our highways and byways. Organised by Tess and Angus Gent, the URC supplied gloves, rubbish bags and litter pickup tools. In a couple of hours an enormous quantity of rubbish was collected, some on which is shown in this picture. Apart from bits of cars there was a very large number of glass and plastic bottles and aluminium drinks cans.
It would be nice to think that we will not need to do this again for a while.....
Back at the URC a lovely tea had been laid on which helped to make it worth doing.

Burns Night for St Nicholas

85 guests from far and wide attended the Little Chishill Church Burns Night celebrations in Great Chishill Village Hall on Friday 26th January 2018. The organisers would like to extend their sincere thanks to all the volunteers who helped before and during the evening; also, to Peter Pirie, who held us all spellbound, with his inspired renditions of a Toast to the Haggis and Tam O’Shanter. Following some enthusiastic dancing to Jump the Vortex, the event closed with the time-honoured rendition of Auld Lang Syne.
With some generous donations, the evening raised £2,000 for Little Chishill Church Fabric Fund and a big thank you goes to all who supported the evening.

The Windmill and its Surroundings
Inspection of the timbers of the mill has revealed both good and bad news. The main supporting timbers (side girts) are less rotted than feared and, with simple steel straps and plates across a couple of cracks, should last at least another 100 years. The corner upright posts have all suffered quite badly with the constant ingress of water and all need attention. It looks, though, that we will not need to replace them as the millwright has a plan to cut 50mm from their outer faces and ‘plate’ them with new green oak to give the required strength and surface on which to attach the new weatherboards.
What was not expected and is the cause of significant extra work was the condition of the main horizontal weather beam that supports the wind shaft holding the sails. So much rot has occurred at its ends that it is no longer securely attached to the corner posts and has tilted forward under the weight of the sails. The sails have had to be removed, the wind shaft propped up and the weather beam removed. The repair to the weather beam will require the addition of a steel joist to give real strength to the structure.
Tony Andrews has taken photos of the removal of the sails. See them here
History of the windmill
The unexpected damage has pushed the total repair estimate up to £118,000 but having granted the project £15,729 towards costs before discovery of the extra work, Historic England’s funding committee reconsidered the position and agreed to increase the grant to around 70% of the requirement. Together with the Sponsor a Board money, other grants and contributions, there is now have sufficient to complete the structural repairs and make the mill weatherproof once more. This will remove it from Historic England’s 'Heritage at Risk’ listing and return it to its position as a public attraction.
On Sunday 14th October, and quite co-incidentally the morning after archaeologist Carenza lewis' talk on local history, 51 keen metal ‘detectorists’ of the East Coast Searchers group gathered on Tom Duke’s field on the Little Chishill Road to see what evidence they could find of our predecessors.
Klaine Feagan is currently working on the repair of our windmill and came up with the idea of bringing his colleagues to see what they could unearth that would add detail to Chishill’s long and varied history. The group is based around Manningtree though one couple had travelled from Padstow, Cornwall to join in! Tom kindly agreed to them using his 40-acre field, the sun shone and everyone had a grand time. At the end of the day, Sue Clark, Chair of the East Coast Searchers, said that it had been a very productive and enjoyable event. As well as ancient buckles, clasps, musket balls, spinning weights and buttons, a well-preserved wax seal stamp was found. Coins were also numerous, including a fine looking Roman piece thought to be from the reign of Constantius II – AD 337 to 361.
The group kindly donated some of their finds to the Windmill Trust for display in the mill. They, and Tom Duke, generously waived all expenses and charges donating all proceeds to the windmill restoration – a magnificent £792.50!
Pictures of finds and of the day.

£196,000 Lottery Grant!
A couple of years of hard work organising fund raising events, filling in forms, producing policy documents, and plans for community involvement etc has paid off! The DCC have been awarded £196k of National Lottery support to carry out the urgent repairs to the church tower.
A smaller grant in March 2016 was used to investigate the cause of water penetration, which has plagued the tower for many years damaging the fabric of the mediaeval tower arch which is now crumbling badly.
Following this work will start towards the end of August raking out the tower flint work on all elevations, re-pointing with hot lime mortar, consolidating the fabric, improving water shedding from the tower, removing internal plaster and providing better ventilation to help the tower dry out.
The project has also been given funding to install basic facilities, an accessible toilet in the tower together with a water supply and drainage. This wonderful and much loved building will then be more useful to the wider community for meetings and events.

The Fete 2017
On Saturday 15th July the Chishills' annual fete was held on the playing field in Great Chishill. A warm but not so sunny afternoon brought out the villagers for fun and games, competitions, face painting, tractor rides, Bar-B-Q and of course tea and cakes! Neil was there with his camera and you can see more of his pictures from the event by clicking here. Clicking on any picture will load a bigger version.
Liz Parkes writes 'Many thanks to everyone who entered the Annual Heydon & Great Chishill WI Fete Quiz. Over 100 people took part and of the completed entries received back, 3 people got 100% of the answers correct.
Congratulations to: Andrew Drury, Lisa Mackenzie and Philip Gough.
All 3 names were entered into the draw at the WI meeting on Tuesday 15th August and Philip Gough was the ultimate winner of the WI hamper. It was lovely to hear the positive feedback from a number of you on how much you enjoyed completing the quiz and we will definitely be running another one next summer!

New Faces in the Pheasant
On 3rd May (2017) ownership of The Pheasant passed over to the Wickens family.
Debbie (Debs) and Mark became the new licensees and moved into the flat above with their two children Joshua aged 6, Evalyn aged 3, and Louis the dog. The family have moved here from Potters Bar. Mark, had to give up his previous job as a builder due to a knee injury and saw The Pheasant as an opportunity to start a new career and move to the countryside. Debs was a 'stay at home mum', a role that she still plays as well as being a full time landlady!
Initially they intend to keep things pretty much as they were, but to gradually put their own stamp on the pub. The first change has been the removal of the 'no children' policy so that families will feel more welcomed. In the longer term there are plans to extend the pub and relocate some of the facilities like the dart board. Mark is very keen that the 'pub is the hub' in the village and that everyone will feel at home there.
Food is now being served 7 days a week (except Sunday evening).
Steve Lemon - the very popular chef who used to work at the Pheasant with the previous owners HAS RETURNED and launched an exciting new menu!

Ceilidh Success
On Friday 21st April the village hall was filled the music of the Cambridge University Ceilidh Band. These very talented musicians and their superb 'caller' had people up and dancing all evening. It was truly amazing the way that people were able to dance dances that they had never even heard of before after just a few minutes of 'run through'. A lovely Coronation Chicken supper followed by Chocolate Brownies further helped the proceedings. There was a licensed bar, a raffle and 'heads and tails' and the whole event raised in excess of £1100 for the St Swithuns restoration appeal.


The Good Old Fashioned Auction
The auction was another fantastic fundraising event, with a great deal of quality goods and some with interesting provenance; a deck chair from the Titanic, in a round about way... a car, a dress sword, a tuck box used by the prefect who had Jeremy Paxman as his "fag" and plenty of other weird and wonderful objects!!
All in all another really entertaining and successful day. Angus would like to thank all of the wonderful people who helped raise over £1000 for the church appeal.

Rocking for Breast Cancer
This year sees Tracey Greeman take on another challenge for the Breast cancer charity 'Walk the Walk'. This year it will be the Berlin Marathon in September, as well as volunteering on the night of this year's London Moonwalk.
Tracey has been raising money for this charity since 2010 and has surpassed £13750 and hopes to exceed £15000 by the end of this year.
This year's fundraising event was a BAND NIGHT in the held at Great Chishill village hall on 29 April. There were three live acts. Tracey says 'I would just like to say a big thank you on behalf of Walk the Walk to all the lovely people who attended the Charity Gig on 29 April. You raised an astonishing £1300 for this breast cancer charity. A few people have asked me for my justgiving page link, here it is - thank you xx' Click here

It's a What?
On February 6th at around 1115 this unusual meterological phenomenom was seen immediately above Great Chishill. According to our weatherman contact it is called a circumzenithal arc (CZA).
CZAs are formed when sunlight refracts through horizontal ice crystals at such an angle that the light enters the crystal through its flat top face and exits through a side prism face causing the distinctive upside-down rainbow effect. They are commonly associated with Cirrus clouds where ice crystals readily form.
Circumzenithal arcs are actually quite common as these types of clouds occur throughout the year, however we only sometimes see them as they are usually obscured by clouds underneath
In order to be able to see a circumzenithal arc, a combination of atmospheric conditions must coincide just right. The height, depth and position of the ice clouds must be right as the cloud needs to be at a specific angle convex to the sun. The position of the observer is also important since its visibility can vary greatly over short distances.

Windmill Progress

The year 2016 turned into a momentous one for the windmill - on December 14 the Trust was granted Listed Building Consent (LBC). This is key to taking active steps to bring the structure to a stable and weatherproof state for its long-term preservation. The state of the trestle upon which the whole structure depends is of primary concern. Millwrights have been commissioned to construct and fit restraining irons and plans are in hand to repair, protect and paint the woodwork after which we can perhaps relax a little during winter storms. At present, the whole mill moves sufficiently to give concern that it could rock itself off the supports and collapse.
The LBC also covers removing weatherboards covering the main side supporting timbers (the side girts) that are known to have damage and rot. This will involve erecting scaffolding which may be extended to the roofline so that the lost weatherboards can be replaced and the tarpaulin permanently removed.
Another major turning point was active encouragement from Historic England. The Head of the Buildings at Risk section and his Senior Surveyor met with the Trust on December 21 and gave very encouraging advice on seeking funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (Resilient Heritage grants) and the Architectural Heritage Fund (Project Development grants). These specifically address the problems that charities have in creating a broad-based committee structure and a working method connecting with the community and education needs of the district. The major grant funders do not consider preservation of the structure itself a charitable cause in its own right - the heritage site must take a meaningful place in the education and recreation of the community. The Trust therefore seeks to engage actively with schools, community groups and parish activities to create a self-sufficient amenity for the benefit of all.
The Great Chishill Windmill Trust has a lease on the mill until 2139. Clearly, laying the foundation of an organisation with the necessary objectives and such an horizon is no mean feat. We need more people to join the committee to take it into this next phase - people with good ideas who are prepared to give a little of their time to establish strong courses of action. In particular, we are looking for those who could help build links to schools and the National Curriculum; anyone who could liaise with funding organisations; and someone to oversee the actual work programme. If you think you could help, in whatever way, to make this fabulous piece of our rural past an active amenity for the local community please contact the Secretary of the Trust - David McKeown, 838087 or, who would be pleased to explain further.
More information on this site and on the Great Chishill Windmill website

'Crafts in the Barn' Returns

The popular Craft Fair was held at Lynchets Farm in New Road on 3rd December. This was again a very successful event - great atmosphere, and lots of people came from the village and afar. £676 was raised for the church and the windmill. Thank you to Tom and Ellie Mead for the use of the barn at Lynchetts Farm. Father Christmas, Noah the Donkey and the Hand Bell ringers helped create a lovely Christmas feeling.

The Village Remembers

The annual Service of Remembrance took place on Sunday 13th November and was well attended, with nearly 100 people turning out. The service was led by Simon Bailey who is Chaplain to British Horseracing, and the Last Post was sounded by Stefan Butlin. This remembrance was particularly poignant as it was the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in which 4 young Great Chishill men died.
Read more here
Photos © Neil Heywood Click on pictures for larger version.

Great Chishill Windmill Cookbook
The cookbook containing 52 recipes submitted by the Chishills residents and friends is now available to buy at the modest price of £7.50, with proceeds going to the Windmill Restoration Fund.
Available from Hazel on 838254 or More information on the website

Comedy Duo Event
August Bank Holiday weekend saw two events in Great Chishill - the first the wedding of Fiona Russell to David Hall - Congratulations. The reception was held in a marquee at May Street Farm by kind permission of Pamela and Terry Ingles.
Fiona's parents, Stella and Nigel generously allowed the use of the marquee the next day for a fund raising event for St Swithuns Church.
The event was billed as 'Having a Laugh' and consisted of an afternoon of entertainment by comedy duo Danny Platton and Pat Nearney. More than 100 people were entertained all afternoon by this very talented couple who sang, played guitar and washboard, reminding us of many of the 'old songs' - 'My old man's a dustman', 'Wild Rover', 'Black Velvet Band' etc. There was some stand up comedy - jokes mainly based around Norfolk (with accent to match), and some very funny mime.
A splended lunch of pulled pork burgers with all the trimmings (crackling, stuffing, apple sauce etc) followed by apple crumble and custard, was included in the ticket price - well done to all involved. It was a lovely sunny day and a good opportunity for a village 'get together for a good cause.
The event raised a total of £1085 for the church restoration fund and a further £100 was raised for the Teenage Cancer Trust as a 'thank you' for the use of the field.

The Great Chishill Auction 2016

From chandeliers and chaises longue; rocking horses, pedal cars and bicycles to garden furniture, golf sets, guitars and a croquet set, the St Swithun’s Appeal ‘Good Old Fashioned Auction’ had something for everyone.
TV auctioneer, David Palmer, rattled through over 300 lots to help raise £2,000!! This brings the Appeal Fund to within about £5,000 of the £50,000 2 year target set in December 2014.
The Appeal Committee would like to thank everyone who contributed by selling, buying, making tea and cakes, portering, clerking, barbequing and more, to make a successful village event.
Photo by Gordon Brown

Trumpeter helps raise funds for St Swithun's

Audiences the world over have enjoyed Crispian Steele-Perkins’ trumpet performances. He’s played the Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, New York’s Carnegie Hall and now, St Swithun’s Church Great Chishill! An audience of 150 packed the church on Friday April 15th to enjoy this concert generously sponsored by two local people in which Crispian was accompanied by talented local organist Richard Carr.
As well as winning new fans for trumpet music, around £2,500 was raised for the St Swithun’s Appeal Fund, taking funds raised so far to over £41,000. St Swithun’s is on the English Heritage ‘At Risk’ register, in urgent need of structural repairs.

Dance for the Windmill
Six months of lessons were put to the test on Friday March 18th when the Group held its first dance in the village hall. All passed with flying colours – in fact one experienced dancer said that she could not identify any obvious beginners!
Wendy and David, the teachers of the Group, opened the dance to villagers and others and 34 dancers arrived to enjoy the event. Ballroom and Latin dances were played throughout the evening so having sped round the floor with a quickstep, dancers could catch their breath with a rumba. Waltz and jive were particularly popular. A good time was had by all, one villager remarking that it was refreshing to attend a dance without having disco music blasting at you.
People gave generously to the Trust contributions box and we were able to announce at the end of the night that the whole dance lessons initiative had made £1000 for the fund. There was also a raffle for St Clare Hospice where Wendy and David’s teacher, Peter Sturt, had recently died. We are sure that he would have been proud to see many of his former pupils and those taught by former pupils dancing the night away.

Kings Men a Huge Success
The music scholars of Kings College Cambridge - the 'Kings Men' - delivered a splendid concert in St Swithuns on Sunday 6th December.
The programme consisted of a mix of secular and sacred music, sung to a packed church. There was plenty of refreshments available as well which all went to make a most enjoyable evening.
The concert was in aid of the church restoration fund - which needs to raise aver £200,000 - and raised an amazing £2,500. To see more about the restoration work needed, Click here
With thanks to Gordon Brown for the picture above

Church Report Not Good News
The church had its 5 yearly architech's inspection last August and at an open meeting in St Swithun's church on 30th June the full extent of his report was revealed.
For hundreds of years the church has stood as a local landmark and the centre of the community. It has withstood attacks upon it by Oliver Cromwell, a devastating village fire and the collapse of its tower, but now it is falling into disrepair due to the ravages of time. The architect's report calculates that around £200,000 needs to be spent on it in the next 5 years.
Your can see the presentation and how you can help by clicking here.

Forthcoming events to support the cause include Royston Choral Society in concert March 14th, Music Quiz Night, Parish Cricket Tournament, Summer Ball, Rugby World Cup celebrations and more,
Suggestions and offers of help welcome!
And now.. there is a Facebook page. Visit it Here
For more information on the proposed restoration or to make a donation to the fabric fund, please contact Appeal Committee Chairman, Angus Gent on 01763 838941 or our Parish Manager Erica Debnam on 01763 837272 or

How to Lose POUNDS and Gain POINTS
On Friday 12th September, the Police were in the village and 29 out of 79 drivers discovered that this is the possible reward for driving through Great Chishill at more than 35 miles an hour. One of them was determined to achieve both results and maybe more, by doing 50mph.
Cambridgeshire Police WILL be back with more rewards soon - you have been warned!

District Councillor Re-elected
In the local elections on 22nd May the results were as follows
Jose HalesLib Dem 1,132
Angela Patrick Lab 139
Clive PorterUKIP 318
Joshua VanneckCon 323

'Youth Club' visits the Troop

click for the bigger pictureThe 'Youth Club' (men over 50 who are in the village on a Tuesday) and their wives, visited the Kings Troop on 10th April.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery is primarily a ceremonial unit of the British Army, quartered at Woolwich. It is a mounted unit and all of its soldiers are trained to care for and drive teams of six horses pulling each of six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns used today to fire salutes on state occasions.
More about the King's Troop and pictures from the visit available here

What is this man doing?

This photo was taken at 3.30am on 26th August, in our neighbourhood. If you know him - call the police on 101.
A lesson here for all of us - your oil tank is a target for thieves. It appears that the method is to take it in large can fulls so you may not even notice it has gone, but look out for spillages and a strong smell of oil. Be Vigilant and if you think a crime is being committed call 999.

The tenor bell (biggest) in St Swithuns
Peal Success

On Saturday 10th March a group of visiting bellringers successfully rang a peal in St Swithuns. The ringing of bells has for centuries been a way of not only calling people to church but to ring out in celebration. It was a happy coincidence that this peal happened as churchwarden Janet Crouch and her husband Brian celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary, Jean Wiseman had a 'significant' birthday, and Claire Maynard celebrated her engagement.
Ringing a peal is not an easy thing to do. It involves ringing the bells in different orders on each round of 5 rings (in our case) 5040 times! (factorial 7 for those of you mathematically minded). Not only does that involve a lot of concentration and energy but it took 3 hours to complete.
The bells of St Swithuns are very old (4 of them cast around 1640) and not easy to ring so it proved to be quite a challenge. Ringing peals at St Swithuns is a very rare event - in fact records show that it has only happened twice before - in 1913 and 2004.
For more about bellringing in Great Chishill visit the bellringing page.

Speed in Gt Chishill - and pay the price!

On 6th January, 4 drivers received endorsements and fixed penalty notices for speeding in Hall Lane. This was in just an hour. All four were doing less than 40mph. Three other people were cautioned. So, if you speed in Great Chishill, be prepared to pay the penalty.

Home thoughts from abroad

Click here to go to the page
Following an email from Australia from a descendent of a Little Chishill family, we have created a new feature - 'Connections'. This will be where information about anyone who is connected with the Chishills and nearby villages but has moved away can publish their information - linking up with their past, and who knows, reconnecting with long lost relatives and friends. Click on the picture to go to the 'Connections' page.

Trading Standards
The Trading Standards pages of the County Council website provide information about how to get advice on consumer issues and how to report concerns; it provides advice on the most common problems reported including scams and rogue traders, and tells residents about the issues they are currently tackling. The pages include links to their most recent articles to help avoid the problems that residents are encountering.
Currently, these include 'Issues with second hand car sales', 'Domestic appliances and electrical equipment', 'Home security alarm sales', 'Scams' - including the computer virus scam (see below), 'Under-age drinking' etc.
Visit the Trading Standards website for more information
There is also a business section which provides information on how to seek business advice on trading law issues which might be relevant to small businesses operating locally.
Business pages.

The Computer Virus Scam. Many people in the area have received phone calls from companies claiming to have been monitoring their computers and have detected viruses. This is a scam. Trading Standards have issued a press release about this and what to do about it.

Time for Ringlets

If you thought that a ringlet was something you did to your hair, see what Jack Harrison has to tell us about the butterflies that we may see around our villages.

Footpath and Byways Hedging

Our Footpath Officer would like to remind or inform everyone who has property which borders a footpath/bridleway/byway that it is their responsibilty to keep their hedges cut so that they do not restrict the passage of walkers, horse riders or, in the case of the byway, vehicles.

Don't skip it - give it away

How often do you throw things away that you are sure 'someone could make use of'?
I discovered recently that it is very easy to find a home for things that I don't want or need anymore. By signing up to the local branch of 'Freecycle' you can find a home for almost anything. I recently gave away my old kitchen units, kitchen worktop, and even a dishwasher which had broken down! (The recipient knew that it didn't work). Isn't that better than hiring a skip or taking things to the dump?

You simply create a message saying what you have to give away (and it must be GIVEN away) and sit back and wait for emails from people who might be interested. To find out more visit the local website. There are branches at Letchworth and Stevenage too.