Category Archives: General

Summer 2022 programme

Wednesday July 20th1:00pm,  

Thais—Massenet,                                      Eva Mei 

When the most voluptuous, sought-after courtesan in the world meets an ascetic monk whose life is devoted to God, you know erotic sparks are going to fly. It’s a delight to the ear just as much as to the eye. , 

Wednesday August 17th1:00pm,  

Aida—Verdi,                                               Pavarotti 

With its cast of hundreds, thrilling score, and sweeping tale of love and heroics in ancient Egypt ,  

Wednesday September 21st1:00pm,  

Girl of the Golden West—Puccini,     Domingo 

A 19th-century mining camp during the California Gold Rush. Bloodshed, a crooked poker game, a snowstorm, and a near lynching ensue before Minnie and her bandit-turned-lover can ride off to start a new life.  

October 19th1:00pm, 

Porgy and Bess—Gershwin,                  Willard White 

When Bess is abandoned by her violent lover, she turns to the kind crippled beggar, Porgy for support, 

Ribble Valley trip

Local History group made another trip to the beautiful Forest of Bowland and Ribble Valley areas of Lancashire.

Here are some photos: click on any photo to see the slide show.

Past Social Highlights

2019 Highlights

The Annual u3a CHRISTMAS LUNCH

(in December at Christ Church Ministry Centre)

Although the weather was quite awful outside, those at the Christmas Lunch didn’t really notice – they were generally just too busy enjoying themselves!

Click or tap on any photo in the gallery to run it as a full-size presentation.

Photos courtesy of Alan Nolan


In June:  Our ‘Antiques Road Show’ was a great success!

It was a full house at Aughton VH in late June for our ‘Antiques Road Show’ style social evening. After a delicious hot buffet supper, local auctioneer/valuer, Mike Litherland, then went through the antiques & curios that members had kindly offered to bring along for display & valuation. It was a most entertaining & interesting evening.

Mike rounded matters off by presenting some of his own items, including a pair of samurai horse spurs and that Victorian kitchen essential – a ‘serving spoon warmer’!

Click or tap on any photo in the gallery to run it as a full-size slideshow presentation.

Photos courtesy of Peter Gateley


In August:  Our ‘Song & Dance Social’ – a great evening!

Following a splendid hotpot supper, we had a great evening’s entertainment provided by local excellent guitarist/singer KEN WATERS. He played lots of our favourite songs, to both listen to & join in singing with, plus plenty of dancing too. A particular thank you to Diane & Jim Higgins for their marvellous CHA-CHA-CHA to ‘Under the Boardwalk’ – very much enjoyed by the audience!

Photos courtesy of Alan Nolan


2018 Highlights

Anniversary Celebration – 19 May, organised by the Anniversary Working Party

Summer Social 2018 – 31 August, organised by the Social Subcommittee

15th Birthday Celebration & Groups Showcase – 13 October, organised by the Anniversary Working Party

Christmas Lunch – 14 December, organised by the Social Subcommittee

Click or tap on any image below to run a slideshow.

16 May 2022 – Greek Mythology

In this session, we started Greek Mythology by returning to creation mythology.

This involved Zeus and the Olympian gods’ take over of the universe from the Titans.

We made the point that the Greeks portrayed their gods and goddesses as powerful figures but also with ‘human’ failings such as jealousy, vindictiveness, lustfulness etc.

We looked at two contrasting aspects of Zeus’ character as the powerful protector and guardian of the universe and social order but also an unbelievable ‘womaniser’, vindictive and cruel and sometimes petty minded with regard to anyone who offended him.

Choir and Recorders Summer Concert

Saturday 2nd July at 7.30
‘Baby Boomers!’  Come and join us – the Choir Group and the Recorder Group – and enjoy a whistle stop tour of history and music from 1945 to the present day. From The Festival of Britain and the Queens Coronation through the Sixties, the Millennium and Covid – singing all the way. More information about ticket sales nearer the time.

Save the date!  

Let’s welcome in the May.

6th. May.

We welcomed in the May by updating our Group photographs. Many thanks to Adrienne and Frank

  • today’s dances:-
  • The whim of the moment 1791
  • Let’s welcome in the May a June Jones dance.
  • Indian Queen 1701, an old favourite.
  • Lord Caernavon’s Jig, a 4 couple dance
  • Irish Lamentation, a 1735 longways dance. Waltz time.
  • The Maid peeped out (at) the window, a 1651 traditional dance with lively music.
  • The Otters Pool another June Jones choreographed dance. (NB The Liverpool connection)

13th. May Elfrida recording.

  • Pilgarlic 3 couple longways x2.
  • April’s Lady 3 couple in circle formation (last of my Birthday requests)
  • New Exchange 3 couple Playford style with simultaneous corner crosses!
  • Brighton Review longways -a bit tricky with limited dancers.
  • Indian Queen 

20th. May Elfrida recording again.

  • St. Andrew’s gardens longways.
  • Which way now? A June Jones composition. 4 couple longways involved diagonals and stars, quite fun & easy, the music from Razzmatazz, tune Close Encounter.
  • Wibsey Roundabout – 5 couples in a circle, not done this for a while but we all managed.
  • Trip to Sheringham 4 couple square set x2
  • Auretti’s  Dutch Skipper longways.

27th. May

  • Prince Regent a 3 couple dance, with pousettes. 1811-1820 the Prince Regent for King George IV.
  • Which way now. See last week.
  • Delia (the amorous Goddess) 3 couple dance by Ellen Taylor. Elegant!
  • Double Jubilee a 3 couple Gary Roodman choreographed dance with music by Dave Weisler.x2.
  • (Pay) No Taxes 3 couple dance great tune.

“Ageing Better” Research Project

Our latest Guest Visitors at Horizons – Dr Dorothy Tse and Dr Nicola Van Rijsbergen – came from Edge Hill University to tell us about their interesting and relevant research titled Ageing Better  aimed at promoting  “healthy ageing and behavioural change within communities”.

The dates and venues for the workshops are as follows:

Dementia and Memory: 30th September, Scout Hut at Christchurch 1.30pm to 3.30pm

Physical Activity and Active Mind: 21st October, St Michael’s Church Hall, Church Lane 10am – 12pm

Emotional Health, Ageing and the Social World: 11th November, St Michael’s Church Hall, Church Lane 10am – 12pm

If you would like to get involved in this project, please contact our Health & Wellbeing Group Leader, Julia.

Click on the poster for more detail on this exciting opportunity and Julia’s email address.

If you missed the introductory talk at Horizons on 27 May, here is the Presentation from our Guest Visitors.

 

 

May 12 2022 – Visit to Leighton Hall, Carnforth.

We had a lovely trip to Morecambe and Leighton Hall on May 12.  The sun shone for us and the wind blew – but not too strong.  We started with morning refreshments at the famous Midland hotel, a walk down to the jetty, and back to say hello to Eric Morecambe – then time to board the coach again.

From there a comfortable journey to Leighton Hall where we were given a guided tour and the history of the house and family – which was fascinating.  Following that, some of us had tea and cake or took a walk in the walled garden until the owls were ready to show us what they could do.

We were back home at a nice time around six o’clock.  A good day was had by all!

The Galapagos Islands

Wednesday April 6th

Our u3a member, Bill Hale, gave a fascinating talk about “The Galapagos Islands” illustrated as usual with his stunning photographs.

Large turtle at the sea edge on background of a tropical landscape

Astronomy and Astro Physics

Wednesday, 2nd March 2022

This meeting was rescheduled from January, and was well worth the wait. Visiting Southport u3a member and leading light in Southport Astronomical Society, Bob Mount presented a fascinating Introduction to Astronomy and Astro Physics.

Rocket Science: Getting to the Moon, Mars, & Beyond

Wednesday, 2nd February 2022

We were delighted that the Science Group meetings resumed after having to postpone January’s meeting due to Covid.
Our own member, Edmund Moynihan, presented :-
“Rocket Science: Getting to the Moon, Mars, & Beyond”

The Float Glass manufacturing process

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021

Colin Redwood told us the story of how the manufacturing of window glass developed from the 1800s up to the modern Float process.

The Float process was devised and developed by Pilkingtons and has since become the single, universal process, totally revolutionising the glass industry.
The incredible and vast uses of glass in the world was made possible by having the Float process.

Butterflies of West Lancashire

Wednesday, 6th October 2021

Butterflies of West Lancashire – Peter Gateley

Peter Gateley told us about the lives of the Butterfly populations in our area of Lancashire. How they have coped, or otherwise, with huge developments in industrial and farming practices.

Film Appreciation Restart

The Film Appreciation Group will be restarting on 23rd May at 9.45 for coffee followed by the film which is A Good Year based on the novel by Peter Mayle. See the website Group Page for further details.

It is a good film which will take place in the big room. The charge is £2.00.Colin and I look forward to seeing you.

Regards Pat Morton (Group Leader)

April’s dances

1st. April

  • Drive the cold Winter away 1651 a most appropriate dance for the arrival of Spring. A 3 couple dance.
  • Bonny Cuckoo another hint of Spring a 4 couple, Gail Tickner dance 1995.
  • Jamaica a traditional 4 couple dance from 1670.
  • The Braes of Dornoch, a 4 couple dance.
  • The Prince Regent, a 3 couple dance, danced x2. From 1812/13

8th. April.

  • Midnight Ramble a longways dance from 1773 pub. Thompson..
  • Pluck me a Fig, a choreographed dance by Anna Rain 2011.
  • Hit & Miss a 2 couple dance Playford style from 1651.
  • Duke of Kent’s waltz, a longways dance
  • Lord Caernavon’s Jig from 1651.

No dancing 15th.

22nd. April.

  • Birthday Reel, an acknowledgement of recent Birthdays including The Queen’s 96th.
  • Childgrove a longways dance requested by Elfrida.
  • Chocolate Cake a nod to Easter last weekend!
  • Lady Lucy’s maggot, a June Jones choreographed dance in honour of her cat Lucy.
  • St. George’s Day, a 4 couple dance, in square formation, danced x2. Tomorrow being St. George’s Day.
  • Lord Caernavon’s Jig, a 4 couple dance.

29th. April

some more of Elfrida’s Birthday choices.

  • Wooden Shoes, a longways dance.
  • Amazonian Archers, Playford 1703.
  • Bonnie Lads & Lasses, a longways dance.
  • Eastbourne Grove, we danced this in February as one of John’s Birthday requests.
  • Waters of Holland, a 3 couple Pat Shaw dance from 1971.
  • Solitaire, a longways dance.

The Science, the “Lies” and the Truth about Martin Mere

Wednesday, 1st September 2021

After a Covid absence of 18 months, we were once again able to meet in person, complete with a new leadership team.

Martin Mere

First up was Bill Hale, who revealed the Science, the “Lies” and the Truth about Martin Mere – the Lake, not the Wildfowl Trust!”

Notices

                     Future Meetings                    

We  have now concluded all our meetings at Haskayne Village Hall,and after the trip to Bodnant Gardens N.T. in June ,we shall take a Summer break.

All future meetings will be at the Scout & Guide H.Q. building on the 3rd Monday of the month.

The schedule for the rest of this year is :- 15.8.22: 19.9.22: 17.10.22:  21.11.22: 19.12.22.

The competition for August is Topic 1   a Summer Flower Garden

Topic 2. a Black & White image of Clouds

Any suggestions you may have on both competition topics and items you would like to see discussed at meetings would be much appreciated.

 

 

 

May 22 Competition

Topic 1   Composite Picture  click for slideshow

Topic 2 Woodland Path   click for slideshow

Drama Group Production Tickets

There are still a few tickets available for Saturday 14th May for “Old Boilers”  followed by “End of the Pier Show” at Aughton Village Hall.

This is the latest production brought to you by the Drama Group for your entertainment!

Tickets are priced at £8.50 and are available at Horizons or by telephoning 01695 227503 or 01695 578207.

Supper is not included so don’t forget to bring along your own drinks, glasses and nibbles etc.

We look forward to seeing you.

Southport Flower Show – Discounted Tickets

Southport u3a are creating a Show Garden at this year’s Southport Flower Show (18 -21 August).  It  will be built and managed by their Gardening Group to celebrate the u3a’s 40th Anniversary. It is the aim to include many aspects of the diverse nature of the u3a as features in the design.

Alongside the Show Garden will be a u3a Stand enabling the promotion of the u3a in general and to talk to existing and prospective members.  Southport u3a’s  “Performing Groups” will also be playing on the Music Stand at times throughout the Show.

In recognition of this support for the Flower Show, ALL u3a members will be able to book tickets for the show at a specially discounted rate of £18, compared to the gate price of £27 using the promotional code, ‘u3a’ when buying tickets on the website  Southport Flower Show.

Drama Group Next Production – May 2022

The next production for the Drama Group is a comedy play “Old Boilers” by Adrian Cale followed by “End of the Pier Show” at Aughton Village Hall on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th May.

Tickets are priced at £8.50 and are available at Horizons or by telephoning 01695 227503 or 01695 578207.

Supper is not included so don’t forget to bring along your own drinks, glasses and nibbles etc.

We look forward to seeing you.

21 March 2022 – The Devil in British Folklore completed

The session completed the topic of the Devil in British Folklore by finishing the sub-topic of the Devil making pacts with humans.

In return for worldly gain, the Devil could claim the souls of his victims.  We covered the ways in which the Devil could be outwitted and the human prey escape his clutches.  He was foiled by an assortment of parsons, school teachers and “ordinary” working people.

March country dances.

4th. March

  • Monday Night longways dance.
  • Mount Hills             ditto
  • Friday Square ( now we have the right day!) a June Jones 4 couple dance, with promenading & plenty of action.
  • Holborn March longways dance.
  • Bonnets so Blue     ditto
  • Indian Queen         ditto
  • Rostillion                ditto

11th. March

  • A sprightly start with Well Done Jack 1718 reconstructed by Andrew Shaw, a longways dance.
  • Eastbourne Rover a 3 couple dance, one of John’s Birthday requests.
  • De’il Tak the Warr a more gentle pace from 1721. A 3 couple dance.
  • Monday night, see last week.
  • Maiden Moor, to a jolly tune & 4 couple dance.

18th. March

  • The 1st. of April 1780 longways dance pub. Thompson.
  • Upon a Summers day Playford style 3 couple dance 1651. A most appropriate dance as it’s warm & sunny outside.
  • Irish Lamentation a longways dance from the Walsh collection 1735. A beautiful tune.
  • Essex Byways a contemporary 3 couple John Wood dance with Grimstock Heys. danced x3.
  • Greengage a longways dance of some complexity!. Choreographed by Brooke Friendly & Chris Sackett 2014.
  • Princes Park

25th. March

  • Grimstock a 3 couple dance with a selection of “heys” Grimstock, arches & Circular.
  • Drive the cold Winter away, 1651 3 couple dance
  • Bonny Cuckoo a 4 couple contemporary dance 1995 by Gail Ticknor, danced x2
  • My Lady Winwood’s Maggot 1728. A Maggot being someones favourite or a fanciful idea (not the slimy creature) dance x2
  • Upon a Summer day, follows on nicely from Drive the cold Winter away,

 

Visit to Brockholes Nature Reserve – 8th March 2022

Four members of the group enjoyed a bright sunny morning at this reserve which is managed by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust.  Highlights included good views of a Stonechat and a brief glimpse (by one member of the group) of a Kingfisher.

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of 38 species recorded on this occasion.

Continue reading

27 February 2022

Peter Gateley gave us an interesting talk about the trees in St Anne’s Churchyard.🌳🌳      This was followed by refreshments ☕ 🍪 and a game of prize bingo.

 

Speaker Meetings

Please note that Speaker Meetings take place on the first Thursday of the month at the  Scout & Guide HQ, starting at 11 am and lasting just over an hour. Last orders for tea and coffee 10.45 am. All the usual Horizons facilities (apart from the book stall) will be available until then.

A large audience gathered on Thursday 9th June to hear David Hearn’s fascinating talk about Sir William Brown. One of linen merchant Alexander Brown’s four sons, William was born in Liverpool but moved with his family to Baltimore, then returned to Liverpool in 1810 and married his wife Sarah. They had 9 children, and William outlived all of them.

William’s extensive interests covered shipping, banking and railways, and by 1836 he was turning over £10 million a year. $1 in every $6 of US overseas trade was handled by William Brown’s companies. Several office buildings were built in Liverpool, including the library and museum we see today, and William Brown Street is the only street in Europe which consists entirely of public buildings. In spite of this William was not well liked and was rather an introvert, however he was well known for his philanthropy.

More dates for your diary (please note there are no Speaker Meetings in July or August):

1st September     Roger Blaxall – ‘A Police Spokesperson said …’

6th October         Mike McKennaInvictus Games involvement

3rd November    Philip CaineFrom Barrow to Baghdad

 

Please keep an eye on newsletters, enews and website for the latest information.

Pam Ball


See Pam’s Past Speaker Meetings for info on previous events.

Please email any ideas for Future Speaker Meetings to Pam Ball, our Speaker Meeting Organiser,  at:

speakerteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk  or phone 07974 749362.

Indoor Meetings 2022

Indoor Meetings 2022

No meeting in January.

______________________________________________

Steve Halliwell

Tuesday 1 February 2022

As it was the first day of the Lunar New Year (also called the Chinese New Year), we had fortune cookies, followed by Steve Halliwell talking about his work as a local history detective.

 

 

______________________________________________

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Have you walked around Liverpool and wondered who created the many splendid bronze statues of people from our history?

There are monuments too that commemorate people from the past.

We were visited by Tom Murphy, one of the leading sculptors and painters of recent times, who is responsible for creations including The Hillsborough Monument Memorial and The Liverpool Pals Memorial. He  told us about his work.

______________________________________________

Tuesday 5th April 2022

Jean Gidman visited us to give an illustrated talk about Richard III and the Stanley Family and the extensive research she has done.

 

21 February 2022 – The Devil in British Folklore contd

In this session, we started with the legend of Faust and then traced the same theme of the Devil capturing human souls into British folklore.

There is a common theme of the Devil capturing human souls by exploiting human weaknesses and sins:

  • Being disrespectful of the Sabbath;
  • A love of gambling;
  • Greed;
  • An obsession with hunting and other pleasures.

Disgruntled clergymen feature prominently in the Devil’s prey.

It was also possible to fall foul of the Devil through no fault of one’s own e.g., the Devil objecting to the intended plans for building projects.

We also considered folktales in which the Devil was cheated of his prey by clergymen and others who were too clever for him.

Two aspects of the Devil’s character are evident in these tales:

  • a powerful, dangerous figure
  • a figure of fun who can be relatively easily outwitted.

The first aspect may derive from older mythology concerning the Devil as a pagan god.  The second aspect may derive from later Christian anti-pagan “propaganda”.

We’re back…….new dances from February 2022

On 4.02.22 we danced: Some of Geraldine’s Birthday requests.

  • Royal Meeting to the tuneful Scottish nightingale.
  • Roll the Line
  • Mirror Me a 3 couple dance.
  • Valentine’s Day 1650.
  • Sailor’s Wives a 3 couple dance by our own June Jones.
  • Farmer’s Joy by Joseph Pimentel.

on 11.02.22 we danced were we left off last week….

  • Farmer’s Joy
  • Valentine’s Day (nearly at the big day!)
  • Sailor’s Wives.
  • Come let’s be Merry 1726 a 3 couple dance.
  • The Spaniard – Thompson 1777

on 18.02.22 we didn’t dance Storm Franklin!

on 25.02.22 we danced:

  • Champagne by Sue Stapleton from Wirral. A longways dance.
  • Love’s Triumph x2 a 3 couple dance from 1710.
  • In the fields of frost & snow 1710.
  • Moonlight a 3 couple dance.
  • In the whim of the moment 1791.
  • Lord Carnarvon’s Jig

Year 2022

Wednesday June 15th 2022

Tosca

Tosca from Rome

Tosca

“Beautiful cinematography and great performances throughout. I first checked this out from Netflix, watched it several times and then reluctantly returned it. I couldn’t get it out of my head and so, finally got a copy for myself so I could watch any time I wanted!!”

Filmed on location in Rome, 1976.

Real elements of nostalgia here, to see Domingo in full flight. His refulgent voice is one of the enduring joys of this film of Tosca.

Synopsis: click here


Wednesday May 18th 2022

Ariodante

David Alden’s English National Opera production of Ariodante caused something of a stir on its first appearance in 1993.

Ariodante – Handel

*****Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 December 2000

… feel … yes, feel the pain of Anne Murray when she grasps the air with Ariodante’s hand as anguish, disapointment and despair overtakes her in scherza infida … its worth buying for just this one aria … as fine and involving as opera can make you, the audience, feel … there.
The production is subtley surreal but with one foot still firmly placed where it would have been in Handel’s time. Everything is right; sets, lighting, cast … and of course the wonderful. timeless myusic of Mr. H!
You watch what you think is just another opera DVD but you are left at the end with a breathless sense of occassion… marred only by the thought that you have to wait a little while to calm down … to play it again.
More please ENO!
synopsis:click here

Wednesday April 20th 2022

Der RosenkavalierDer Rosenkavalier – Strauss

(Der Weiner Staatsoper)

‘One of the most enjoyable operatic performances available on DVD. What makes it so outstanding is primarily Carlos Kleiber’s conducting which is far more expressive and dynamic than anybody else, including the famous Karajan. You can watch how much he enjoys conducting this opera. The production by Otto Schenk is by far the most loyal to the opera by Strauss with none of the modern additions or interpretations that other directors are trying to make their mark with.  I have watched this particular production in Vienna on a number of occasions and I have found it always stunning.

Synopsis: click here

Visit to Hesketh Outmarsh – 18th January 2022

Five members of the group enjoyed our first outing of 2022 to the RSPB site at Hesketh Outmarsh.  It was a beautiful bright frosty Winter morning with occasional misty patches but mostly clear views over the marsh and across the Ribble Estuary. A total of 26 species were recorded.

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of species seen:

Continue reading

Dancing Fools

Musical Theatre Group is back!

Please come and support your u3a Musical Theatre Group as they endeavour to get back to doing shows. The pandemic has hit the group hard, so their numbers are low at the moment, but they still have a show to present to you.

Although not a musical, the “restart” production – “Dancing Fools” –  had songs and dance from Musicals both old and new, with other items that took you back and comic songs and the like.

It may be that you have not been out much; well now’s the time that you may wish to. Tickets were great value at only £5 each. “Dancing Fools” took  place on Friday 25th March at 7:30pm and Saturday 26th March at 2pm and 7.30pm at Aughton Village Hall. The bar was open and there was a raffle to help the u3a.

Please look out for flyers at Horizons for future shows and give them to your friends.

For those on Facebook, why not join our Facebook Group Page (www.facebook.com/groups/1420169631596658) to keep updated on what we are doing.

You may wish to join us on or off stage as a member. Whatever you decide to do, we look forward to seeing you soon.

The Choir is looking for an Assistant Musical Director!

Our present Choir Group musical director, Paul Dickie has successfully led us for the past 18 months and in spite of the challenges of covid we organised and performed the u3a advent service under his direction. However, to secure continuity for the future we would like to bring in someone else with the necessary musical knowledge and creative skills to assist Paul, help take the choir forward and build on our success.

We are a very friendly, sociable group with 30 members and like to sing a wide range of music including; Musical Theatre, Folk, Sacred and Popular. We enjoy the challenge of three part singing as well as a good unison sing-a-long at most of our sessions.

We give one formal concert a year in the summer and organise the annual U3A Advent service. We are also regularly invited to sing at several local nursing homes.

We meet every Wednesday morning at Aughton Village Hall from 10 am until 12. (Broadly following school holidays). We have a well organised team who take care of admin, finances and hall bookings.

If you are interested in finding out more then please contact choir leader Ann Henders 07847 364330.

Please note there is no remuneration for this role.

Indoor Meetings 2021

Tuesday 5th October 2021 – Census and Sensibility

Stephen Bennett presented a light hearted look at local history census returns 1841-1911


Tuesday 2nd November  The Co-Operative Retail Business

The co-operative selling began in Lancashire, perhaps some members remember their family ‘divi’ number.

Stephen Caunce talked about the history of the people’s own shop.


Tuesday 7th December 2 15 p.m.Hq.  Trouble at t’Mill Again!

Ecy thump! the workers have gone to the ‘Village Square’ to celebrate Lancashire Day.

A taste of Lancashire food, a toast to Lancashire, and Sid Calderbank entertained us with Lancashire tales, dialect and songs.

15 November 2021- The Devil in British Folklore contd

In the session we continued the topic of the Devil in British Folklore in the context of the other world creatures we have been looking at.

We had previously grouped the topic, for convenience, loosely into 3 categories

  • Legends and tales linked to unusual landscape features, very similar to features attributed to giants.
  • Attacks on Christianity
  • The devil looking for human souls, making deals and pacts and collecting his dues for them.

This session we completed looking at the second category of attacks on Christianity including church buildings and then started the search for human souls.

1/.  Attacks on Christianity

There were attacks on church buildings particularly the towers and church bells.   Most of these were unsuccessful.

a/. We looked at examples of the throwing of stones/boulders.

  • The devil stone in Staple Fitzpaine Somerset where a huge boulder was thrown by the devil to try to destroy the church, the stone was left behind and shows the Devil’s claw marks. It was said there was treasure underneath it.
  • Kirby Lonsdale where the Devils’s Punchbowl is said to mark the spot where the Devil destroyed a church using a boulder,
  • Rudston, Bridlington, Yorkshire where there is a prehistoric 25 feet high standing stone in the church yard which was ‘thrown’ by the Devil.
  • Evesham, Worcestershire, the Devil twice tried to destroy the Abbey. The Bishop Egwyn, was watching and prayed.
  • Canterbury, the Devil tried to carry the entire town to hell. Canterbury was rich and sinful in medieval times
  • Mayfield, Sussex – The Devil was sent packing by St Dunstan. St Dunstan was working as a blacksmith when the Devil visited him disguised as a beautiful woman, he spotted the cloven hooves when her dress rode up and he grabbed the Devil’s nose with hot tongs.
  • Auchtermuchty Fife – the Devil tried to carry off people from the church as they were so pious. He came in the form of a Calvinist Minister but was betrayed by his hooves and was thwarted by an old man.

We discussed why there were these stories.  They show the power of Christianity, the one true faith.  Early Christianity pitted against the Devil, the Devil is relatively easily outwitted.  The Devil may be big and scary but put your faith in the Church and you will win through.  The Devil cannot compete against the church.  The power of the sign of the cross and prayer

b/.  We looked at some examples which went against the usual tales

  • Oxfordshire – The Devil helped two brothers to build churches at King’s Sutton, Adderbury and Bloxham. This featured a hardworking and honest mason Devil, who got no pay back .
  • Warwickshire – the Devil helped at man in a legal battle against a dishonest landlord. The Landlord said, ‘let the devil take me if this is a lie’ and the devil did.
  • Berkeley, Gloucestershire – a witch was taken by the devil when she died despite the efforts of the church to prevent it and her repenting, and her body being wrapped in chains. Do not get complacent, there are dire consequences of sin.  If you put yourself in the path of the devil even the best of the church cannot save you.

In these tales we learnt about the nature of the Devil, he is powerful, resourceful, endlessly scheming against the church, will take you to hell if you let him, relatively easily outwitted by the god fearing and the alert.

2/  The Devil Goes in Search of Human Souls

This is a powerful and scary Devil

  • Widdecombe, Devon. Widdecombe Jack pledged his soul to the Devil and was taken from out of the church.  This a may have been ball lightning and been a tale which evolved from a  real event.
  • Shepton Mallet, Somerset – an old woman was taken by the Devil. She had been working on Sundays.  She went to the priest to ask for help.
  • Aldbury, Herefordshire. Sir Guy de Gravada pledged himself to the Devil in exchange for the secrets of alchemy.

Next Session will look at Faust

Visit to Martin Mere – 14th December 2021

The final Bird Watching Group visit for 2021 was to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust site at Martin Mere.  Eight members of the group enjoyed an excellent morning’s visit despite the mist hampering visibility at times and a total of 43 species were recorded.  Thanks to new group member Ken for these pictures taken at Martin Mere:

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of species seen:

Continue reading

Visit to Pennington Flash – 30th November 2021

The weather forecast for the day had not been good with rain and heavy cloud expected and this put some of our members off but five members turned up anyway.  The rain cleared after the first fifteen minutes and conditions improved further during the morning and we were rewarded with sightings of 47 species, our highest total for group visits this year.  A particular highlight was catching a glimpse of a Kingfisher.

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of species seen:

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Christmas Lunch 2021

After the cancellation of the u3a Christmas Lunch in 2020 because of Covid, we were so pleased to get together once again. The Social subcommittee pulled out all the stops to arrange a lovely meal courtesy of Martin’s Caterers and dancing to the music of the Phil Shotton Trio with vocalist Adee Lifshitz.

All the photographs show that the afternoon was a great success and that everybody will be looking forward to the next Christmas social to be held on the 9th December 2022.

 

Drama Group – “Death by Paintbrush”

Thank you to everyone who came to see our performances, in spite of the awful weather.  It was lovely to see so many guests had dressed in keeping with the era of the play.

The Drama Group appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you again next year.

Here are a few photos which Bill Soens kindly took for us during rehearsals.

2021 Advent Celebration

We are pleased to announce that the 2021 Advent Celebration will take place in Christ Church on Thursday 2nd December at 11 am.  Rehearsals have been going well and we hope that you will join us once again to welcome the Christmas season.  Do come along and join the Choir and the Recorder groups for a good Christmas sing.

Appeal…
If you are coming to the Advent Celebration on 2nd December, the Ormskirk Food Bank would be extremely grateful for donations which you can leave at the back of the church.

More info:
ormskirk.foodbank.org.uk

Donations of any of the following items would be particularly appreciated:

Rice
Pasta
Instant coffee
Tea
Tinned veg & fruit
Breakfast cereal
Tinned meat
Soup
Pasta sauce
Biscuits
Snacks
Shampoo
Deodorant

Advent Celebration

We are pleased to announce that the 2021 Advent Celebration will take place in Christ Church on Thursday 2nd December at 11 am.  Rehearsals have been going well and we hope that you will join us once again to welcome the Christmas season.  Do come along and join the Choir and the Recorder groups for a good Christmas sing.

Appeal…
If you are coming to the Advent Celebration on 2nd December, the Ormskirk Food Bank would be extremely grateful for donations which you can leave at the back of the church.

More info:
ormskirk.foodbank.org.uk

Donations of any of the following items would be particularly appreciated:

Rice
Pasta
Instant coffee
Tea
Tinned veg & fruit
Breakfast cereal
Tinned meat
Soup
Pasta sauce
Biscuits
Snacks
Shampoo
Deodorant

Visit to Burton Mere RSPB – 11th November 2021

The weather was mostly good for this visit which was attended by six members of the group.  The water near the reception area was disappointing with less bird species than we usually see, but as we carried on it got better.  A total mof 26 species were recorded.  The Ravens and Buzzards were particularly impressive.

Raven

Buzzard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of species seen:

Continue reading

Digital Photography Notices

NEW MEMBERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

If you are experienced in Photography/Photo Enhancement, please come and share your knowledge with us.

If you are new to Photography, we are a friendly group who will always be pleased to help with advice on Camera equipment and how to take better pictures.

Submitting Competition Entries – a reminder

Please ensure that your competition entries are submitted in the correct format – i.e. as JPEG files – and at a resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels.  Please also remember to rename the files to include your name and the competition topic, e.g. Joe Bloggs – September Topic 



 The meeting in December is our Christmas Party

We will judge the entries for the December competition and then enjoy the tasty morsels  provided,

We will then judge the Winner of Winners of competitions enjoyed during the lock down period.

Entertainment will be provided by George ???

The cost of this extravaganza is £5.00 (inclusive of normal room hire charge)

Should you wish to join in with the festivities and were not at the November meeting to add your name to the              list, please contact Alan Starkie no later than  Sunday 21st November so that we can finalize catering                             arrangements

 

Visit to Mere Sands Wood – 12 October 2021

We were not so lucky with the weather this month with cloud and light rain for most of the morning.  Nevertheless it was an enjoyable visit for the six members who attended.  The visitor centre and the car park have been much improved since our previous visits to Mere Sands but unfortunately several of the hides have been vandalised and only two were available for use.   A total of 21 species were recorded.

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of species seen:

Continue reading

18 October 2021 – The Devil in British Folklore

This session we continued the topic of the Devil in British Folklore in the context of the other world creatures we have been looking at.

In the previous session, for convenience, the topic was loosely grouped into 3 categories, though there was some overlapping

  1. Legends and tales linked to unusual landscape features, very similar to features attributed to giants.
  2. Attacks on Christianity
  3. The devil looking for human souls, making deals and pacts and collecting his dues for them.

In folklore the devil is very different from the one in the bible.  We speculated on who the devil may be, the origins and purpose of these stories.

  • They are good stories, often it is known these are not why a feature is there, but it is entertaining.
  • Provide explanations of geographical features
  • Memories/echoes of pagan spirits/gods.  These were venerated at sacred sites and it has been suggested this is where these stories have originated.  In cases they may have been changed into the devil by the Christian Church.

1/. Legends and Tales Linked to Unusual Landscape Features

We recapped and finished the legends and tales linked to unusual landscape features, very similar to features attributed to giants and were used to cover unusual things in the landscape by dropping stones, threatening to destroy certain towns etc.

  • Tunstall, Norfolk:- the Devil stole the church bells.
  • Eldon Hole, Derbyshire:- the Devil’s escape route to hell.
  • Cockcrow Stone, Wellington Somerset:- prehistoric standing stone under which the Devil buried treasure.  If you were there at a specific time coinciding with the crowing of a cockerel you could dig up buried treasure
  • Callow Pit, Southwood, Norfolk:- contained an iron chest filled with gold.

There are a number of stories relating to raising the Devil

  • Cymbeline’s Castle, Ellesborough, Bucks.
  • Druid’s Stone, Bungay, Suffolk
  • Devil’s Arrows, North Yorks.
  • Longcompton, Warwickshire; North Leigh, Oxfordshire.

These had rituals involving circling the hills, stones etc for a set number of times, sometimes backwards, counter to the circling of the sun in the sky etc.

The number seven recurs in the tales

  • In Tarrington in Herefordshire the devil can be raised by walking backwards seven times round the preaching cross whilst reciting the Lord’s Prayer backwards.
  • In Stoke Edith in Herefordshire the devil was said to be able to be raised by walking seven times round the church and then looking in through the keyhole.
  • In Chanctonbury Ring (an Iron Age hill fort) in Sussex the Devil could be raised by walking seven times round the hill on a moonless night

We looked at an extract from ‘Folklore, Myths And Legends Of Britain’ Geoffrey Ashe et al, 1973, covering the Horseman’s Word from Scotland.  This covered the initiation into a secret society, which when successful gave control over horses.  This was from around 1870-1930’s.  There were Celtic horse cults which may be the precursor of this.  There had to be an odd number, preferably thirteen, special knocks, oaths taken, a ‘minister’ who oversaw the ritual etc.

2/.  Attacks on Christianity

We started the second category covering attacks on Christianity and how Christianity developed his character.

We looked at several ones relating to churches including

  • Towednack Cornwall:-  the Devil stole the stones from the church tower.
  • West Walton :- The Devil flew off with the church tower but dropped it as it was too heavy.
  • East Bergholt, Suffolk:- the Devil prevented the people building a stone tower attached to the Church.

These often included church bells.  Bells have their own identity and personalities and in bell ringing they have names.  They were believed to drive away evil spirits and protect against storms.  They are also used to mark the important stages of life; birth, marriages and deaths.

u3a Open Day on 23 October 2021 – postscript

Firstly, many thanks to everyone who came along to help on a bright but cool day. Whether it was Leaders and Coordinators showcasing their groups, the Catering Team serving tea, coffee and biscuits, the Welcome Desk and Membership Teams dealing with newcomers and returning members, or music and dance groups entertaining us throughout the afternoon, it all added up to make the day a success.

There were also many others, too many to mention, who played a vital part in planning, preparing and running the event – agreeing a date and venue, inviting groups to join in, liaising with GLs over attendance and table layouts, advertising the event, producing name plates and signage, arranging tables and chairs (and putting them away).

And of course the day wouldn’t have been the same without the many members and friends who attended – we hope they enjoyed what they saw and will join more of the group activities on offer.

To accompany the Open Day, we produced a full colour Brochure, listing all the groups and illustrating a couple of groups from each of eleven ‘categories’: culture, dance, fitness and exercise, indoor games, language and literature, making things, outdoors, performance, social, sport, and technical. The idea is to open people’s eyes to the wider possibilities within our u3a than just the usual groups they attend. Thank you to all who contributed to the brochure and its production.

There are plenty of brochures now available for Group Leaders to pick up at Horizons and then hand out at their own meetings, along with a schedule of when and where the groups meet. You can also download a pdf version of the brochure here. There is also an online version of the groups schedule which is kept up-to-date.

From the Relaunch Team and the Communications Team

Indoor Meetings 2019-2020

Tuesday 1 October 2019 – Historic Graffiti

Love it or loathe it, graffiti is not a modern day phenomenon. You may be surprised where some historic graffiti has been written, and what it says, some of it in Latin. Dr. Colin Penny’s illustrated presentation of graffiti from our past will enlighten us.

Tuesday 5 November 2019 – Lancashire’s Home Front in W.W.2 plus a commemoration of D.Day.

Professor Penny Summerfield joins us with her research in an illustrated presentation about life on the home front during W.W.2. Our afternoon continues with a film recording of an emotive and dignified trip to France with a small number of D.Day veterans. The veterans share memories of the largest amphibious invasion in world history when some 160,000 Allied troops landed on the Normandy coast, 6th June 1944.

Tuesday 3 December 2019 – A Winters Day

Our seasonal meeting with Local Historian Alan Crosby.

Tuesday 4 February 2020 – Trains, Cranes and Dinky Vehicles plus the Waltzer and Sweet Treats

Les French from the Hornby Trust joins us to to talk about local man Frank Hornby’s humble beginings to his skills simplifying engineering for children.

Tuesday 3 March 2020 – Read All About It!

Reports in our local newspapers early in the 20th Century.  Kathy Donaldson will relate some of the news from the Liverpool Mercury, The Daily Post and the Echo.

We also heard some of the news of the time reported in the Ormskirk Advertiser.

Gallery of Past Walks

walkers_rufford_2016_512

Monday  walkers by the canal at Rufford, September 2016

walkers-haskayne_2014_512

Monday walkers in Haskayne nature reserve, June 2014

 

Visit to Lunt Meadows – 14th September 2021

Wood Sandpiper and Dunlin at Lunt Meadows

Eight members of the group attended our first visit following the Summer break.  It was a perfect late Summer morning for this visit and a total of 31 bird species were recorded.

Highlight of the visit was seeing a Wood Sandpiper, a first ever sighting by our group of this uncommon wader on it’s migration South for the Winter.  Two of us managed to get ‘record shots’ which enabled us to confirm the identification following the visit.

Some more pictures of birds seen at Lunt Meadows:

As well as the birds lots of butterflies and dragonflies were to be seen enjoying the sunshine – here are a few that stayed still long enough to be photographed:

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of species seen:

Continue reading

Re-opening

Welcome back to everyone who has managed to make it to the last two meetings in July and August.  It was wonderful to see so many of you.

In July 2021 we were delighted to welcome back the famous Bill Evans to entertain us with his video 📺and comedy 🤣😂😆clips then, with the gorgeous weather, we were able to take refreshments ☕🍪outside.

August saw Peter Gateley giving us a wonderful presentation on Garden birds which was very interesting.  Sadly the weather was not at its best but everyone was happy to continue catching up with each other over 🍪 and ☕

In September we had a bit of variety with some poetry, a quiz,  a game or two of Bingo and homemade cakes.

 

Autumn – Winter 2021

 Wednesday October 20th at 1.00pm

 Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann) is the most enduring ‘serious’ opera from a composer otherwise better known for his sparkling operettas. It’s not hard to see why: Offenbach’s witty and highly melodious music finds the perfect vehicle in the Romantic, richly imaginative world of the storyteller E.T.A. Hoffmann. Offenbach adapted Jules Barbier and Michel Carré’s play, in which Hoffmann is cast as the deeply flawed teller of his own tales. The composer’s death shortly before the opera’s completion has resulted in a number of alternative versions – but this multiplicity has done nothing to dull the irresistible appeal of an opera in which music and story come together in a deeply satisfying whole. 
 
 
 

Opera Appreciation Group  

Winter 2021/22 Programme

length

Wednesday

October 20th

1:15pm

Tales of Hoffman—Offenbach

A superb recording with Opera National de Lyon from 1993. It features a cast of top singers with the choir and orchestra of the Opera National directed by  Kent Nagano

 120 mins

Wednesday

November 17th

1:15pm

Don Giovanni—Mozart          (Zurich Opera)

This is a thrilling performance. It is deeply attractive on a number of levels, the stage (and screen) presence of the central male duo: ……Those two are funny and sexy, often both–delicious to listen to and to look at.

182 mins

POSTPONED

Wednesday

December 15th

1:15pm

Der Rosenkavalier – Strauss (Der Weiner Staatsoper)

any discussion of this DVD must begin with the superb conducting of Carlos Kleiber. From the first bar of music, you know you’re in for an altogether different “Der Rosenkavalier.” His is an extraordinary approach: spirited, agressive even — and it is wholly successful. wonderful.

193  mins

POSTPONED

January 19th

1:15pm

Ariodante—Handel         (English National Opera)

Without a doubt’ this is Handel at his best. A sublime score and a great production

178 mins

 

June and July 2021 visits

As we look forward to the Autumn and what we hope will be a full and uninterrupted programme of visits, a brief report on the June and July visits which were still affected by some Covid restrictions:

June 8th 2021 – visit to Speke Hall (National Trust)

The site was only partially open because of the pandemic with one way systems in place and no access to the Mersey Estuary shore so sightings were limited to what we could see from the grounds.   Nevertheless it was an enjoyable visit attended by eight members of the group and a total of 23 bird species were recorded.

July 13th 2021 – visit to Marshside (RSPB)

A good day for our final visit before the Summer break.  Eight members of the group attended and a total of 34 bird species were recorded.

In addition to the birds it was lovely to see this Six-spot Burnet Moth newly emerged from the chrysalis on the stalk below:

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full lists of species seen on these 2 visits:

Continue reading

16 August 2021- The Devil in British Folklore

In the session we started a new topic of the Devil in British Folklore in the context of the other world creatures we have been looking at.

The devil in this context is different from the biblical one, he is not a fallen angel, nor is he Lucifer.

There are different origins and a vast collection of stories and legends.

For convenience the topic was loosely grouped into 3 categories, though there was some overlapping

  • Legends and tales linked to unusual landscape features, very similar to features attributed to giants.
  • Attacks on Christianity
  • The devil looking for human souls, making deals and pacts and collecting his dues for them.

We started with the first grouping

1/.  Legends linking the Devil to unusual features in the landscape covering things like hills, rocks, glacial erratics, including natural and man-made features also covering prehistoric structures.

They come from all over the country and there are a huge selection of them:-

Devil’s Night Cap, Studland, Isle of Wight.

Bronescombe’s Loaf & Bronescombe’s Cheese, Okehampton, Dartmoor.  Bishop Bromscombe was travelling to Widdecombe became lost and hungry was tempeted by bread and cheese offered by a stranger.  The bishop’s servant spotted cloven hooves and pushed the food away which flew into the air and when they landed formed the rocks known as Bronescombe’s Loaf & Bronescombe’s Cheese

Hel Stone, Dartmoor:- used by the Devil in a game of quoits with King Arthur.

Hurdlestones, Somerset:- used by the Devil in a game of quoits with the Giant of Grabbist.

Broad Stone, Tidenham, Gloucs.:- thrown by the Devil in a contest with Jack o’Kent.

White Rocks, Garway Hill, Herefordshire:- failed attempt by the Devil & Jack o’Kent to dam the weir at Orcop Hill.

Stiperstones Ridge & the Devil’s Chair, Shropshire.

Lea Stone, Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire.

Hartforth, North Riding:- Devil’s failed attempt to destroy the town.

Devil’s Arrows (prehistoric standing stones) Boroughbridge, Yorkshire:- Devil’s failed attempt to destroy Aldborough.

Hell Gill Beck, North Riding:- the Devil building a bridge across the beck.

Devil’s Apron Strings, Casterton Fell; Apronfull Stones, Settle:- stones dropped by the Devil when he was building the bridge at Kirby Lonsdale Carl Crag, Seascale, Cumbria:- formed by the Devil when he was trying to build a bridge between Cumbria and the Isle of Man.

Holes of Scradda, Esha Ness, Shetland:- formed by the Devil.

Semer Water, N.Yorkshire:- stone-throwing contest between the Devil and a giant.

Six Hills (Iron Age burial mounds), Stevenage, Herts.:- created by the Devil when he tried to destroy Stevenage.

Devil’s Shovelful (prehistoric burial mounds), Shobdon, Herefordshire:- created when the Devil tried to destroy Shobdon.

Pyon Hill & Butthouse Knapp, Herefordshire:- formed when the Devil tried to destroy Hereford.

Devil’s Spadeful, Bewdley, Worcs.:- formed when the Devil tried to destroy Bewdley.

Cley Hill, Wiltshire:- formed when the Devil tried to destroy Devizes.

Silbury Hill, Wiltshire:- formed when the Devil tried to destroy Marlborough.

Silbury Hill:- formed by the Devil when he was digging the Wansdyke.

Devil’s Ditch, Berkshire; Devil’s Dykes Cambs. & Herts; Devil’s Dyke, Sussex:- all created by the Devil.

Devil’s Churchyard (stone circle), Minchinhampton, Gloucs:- failed attempt by the people to build a church.

Devil’s Den (prehistoric chambered tomb) Fyfield Down, Wiltshire.

This version of the devil had a lot in common with the stories about giants.

  • Large and very strong.
  • In some tales easily outwitted often by a cobbler.
  • Throwing things and missing the intended target leaving large hills or holes
  • The devil did a lot of dropping of things from his stonemason apron, apron ties breaking, this comes up all over the country.
  • Some amusing stories.
  • Earth moving civil engineering type stories
  • Whilst he may not be friendly with humans he is not obviously evil, cunning, nor greatly feared

There are a lot of stories around the River Severn and the boatmen may have been carrying the story as they travelled.

Next time we’ll finish this grouping, and speculate on who the devil may be, the origins and purpose of these stories.

Then we’ll move on to the second category and look at how Christianity developed his character.

18 July 2021- Giants in British Folklore and Mythology contd

In the session we discussed the role of the mythological heroes taking over from the gods in their constant battle against the giants.

Gilgamesh from Sumerian and Babylonian myths fought the giant Humbaba, the guardian of the cedar forest. Humbaba was friendly with the gods and was installed as forest guardian by Enlil (the father of the gods). Enlil cursed Gilgamesh for killing his guardian. Possibly we could put Humbaba in the same category as the co-operative giants from the early creation myths?

Fionn MacCumhaill from the Irish Celtic myths was held captive by the Giant of Lough Our on the eve of Samhain, but then later released in a weakened state. Possibly this is a version of the cycle of the season mythology, with the Giant representing winter, and Fionn as the sun god, released in time for spring?

We moved on then to see the way in which the hero versus giant myths filtered down into folklore, with stories of local folk heroes who also killed their giants- King Arthur, Jack the Giant Killer, the humble widow’s son who killed the Red Ettin and rescued the King of Scotland’s daughter.

Drama Group – update

We’re delighted to tell you that we now have new dates for “Death By “Paintbrush” – 26th and 27th November at Aughton Village Hall.

All tickets have now been sold but if you would like to add your name to the waiting list for cancellations please get in touch with Megan and John Tomlinson on 01695 578207.

21 June 2021- Giants in British Folklore and Mythology contd

The meeting continued looking at how giants connect to the natural world and feature in the landscape in British folklore.

The Role of the Giants in Folklore:-

1/.  So far in the topic the giants we have looked at have been relatively benign and involved in engineering type projects, providing an explanation for the landscape and large buildings or structures.

We recapped Wade’s Causeway, North Yorkshire:- constructed by Wade and his wife Bel.

Churches at Putney & Fulham, London, were built by two giantess sisters who only had one hammer so threw it across the river which according to vulgar tradition was the source of the place names, they called out instructions to each other ‘put it nigh’ and heave it ‘full home’ when they wanted the hammer.

The Wrekin, Shropshire:-

(a) created by two quarrelling giants

(b) created by a Welsh giant who intended to destroy Shrewsbury but was outsmarted by a cobbler who met him on his way to do the deed.  The cobbler had with him a large number of worn out shoes in need of repair and told the giant he had worn  them out walking from Shrewsbury and it was too far for the giant to get to.  The Wrekin is the large shovelful of earth the giant was carrying to dump on Shrewsbury and left behind when he abandoned his trip.  There a lot of tales of cobblers and tailors outsmarting giants.

2/. Some tales of giants have origins in real people and the tales grew over time, they were larger than life characters

Llowes, Powys:- the castle at Hay-on-Wye was built by a giantess called Moll Walbee.  Matilda/Maud de St Valery:- the real life counterpart of Moll Walbee; married to William de Braose who built Colwyn Castle and Painscastle in the time of King John.   She was a very shrewd woman who successfully defended Painscastle against the Welsh.  She features in Welsh folktales as a giantess and her husband a giant.

Piers Shonks:- in real life the Lord of the Manors of Brent Pelham & Barkway in Hertfordshire; according to folktales (a) he was a giant (b) he killed a dragon.

Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke:- possibly the real life counterpart of Jack o’Legs , a giant who was said to live at Weston, Hertfordshire.

3/.  Some giants were not so well respected or benign

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall:- a giant stole the people’s cattle, sheep & hogs, the giant would wade across the causeway and seize them and tie them round his waist.

Portreath & Godrevy Point, Cornwall:- a giant called Wrath captured and ate fisherman and sank ships.  He lived in the sea.

Blackgang Chine, Isle of Wight:- a giant named Chale captured, roasted children over a charcoal fire and ate them.  This continued until both he and the Chine were cursed by a holy man.   There is no giant there now but it remains a forbidding place.

Nether Stowey & Stogursey, Somerset:- giants who lived under a huge mound of earth terrorised the local people, grabbed cows and the like and then developed a taste for human flesh.  They were eventually overcome but people were always wary of the area, a dangerous place to be around.  It is suggested that these sort of tales were harking back to creation mythology; chaos and destruction being overcome.

3/.  Heroes and Giants

These tales go all the way back to Babylonian myths, Odysseus and the cyclops etc.  It can be traced into folktales but on a more modest scale.

Jack:- killed the giant who lived on St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall by digging a pit, a stone was put over the hole.  The giant stood on the stone and fell into the pit.  There are a lot of stories of Jack the giant killer.

Sir Bevis of Hamtoun (Southampton):- according to a C13th romance killed a dragon and fought a giant. He spared the giant’s life and accepted him as his servant. In some accounts, Sir Bevis was a giant himself.  This tale includes a horse called Arundel, which may have originally been Hirondelle which was a popular name for heroes horses.

Tom Hickathrift:- an enormous man who killed the giant who lived on the Smeeth at Tilney, Norfolk.  There is an enormous stone in the church yard reputed to be his grave.  He was dull and lazy at school, grew to a great height, he was 6ft tall when he was 10 years old and ate five normal children’s food.  When he grew up, he took a job in a local brewery transporting barrels of beer.  There was a giant in Smeeth who robbed and killed all who trespassed on the area.  Tom had to take a long detour to avoid him.  Being lazy he decided to take the direct route, ended up fighting and killing the giant.  The giant had lots of gold and silver so Tom was rich for the rest of his life.  This tale may have had its origins in the rights to land disputes.

Sir Guy of Warwick:- according to a C13th French romance, in Saxon times Sir Guy fought a giant called Colbrand who was the champion of a Danish force encamped at Winchester. Guy killed the giant and saved the people from the Danish threat.  He went to the Holy Land and was so affected by his experience  when he returned home he lived as a hermit and begged for food from his wife who did not recognise him.  She died not long after he did and they were buried in the same grave.

 

Next Session.  We shall complete the topic of giants and then move on to the Devil in Folktales

Friday 17 June ECD Zoom

This Friday we enjoyed the following dances:

Portsmouth / Star of Kintra (Trevor Monson) / The Lovers’ Knot (Jim Kitch) / The Gypsy Round (Eric Leber)

The Recruiting Officer / The Haymarket (June Jones) / Rostillion