News from Water Stratford

ARCADIAN OPERA PRESENTS GOUNOD'S ROMEO AND JULIET - Water Stratford Old School Hall once again looks forward to welcoming our local Opera Company, Arcadian Opera, as the soloists rehearse for the production of Gounod's Romeo and Juliet. I'm sure we will all enjoy hearing the wonderful arias floating through our village!  Following the extremely successful and internationally recognised production of Ethel Smyth's The Wreckers in October 2018, we are pleased to announce that we are now supported by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

Tickets for the productions on Saturday 19th October at 7.30pm and Sunday 20th October at 3pm at the Roxburgh Hall Theatre, Stowe, Buckingham MK18 5EH can be obtained from  or villagers are welcome to contact Deborah for tickets.

Deborah Wright

FIELD SUPPER IN THE OLD SCHOOL On 12th July, more than forty villagers gathered at the Old School in Water Stratford to mark the centenary of the sale by auction of the Water Stratford Estate. Guests stepped back in time upon their arrival as the splendid 1915 Model T Ford took centre stage on the gravel drive – Nigel kindly even took guests for a spin – what a way to start the evening! People had to be encouraged to move inside in the end, but they were glad they did because a sumptuous feast awaited in a hall bedecked with red gingham and lanterns for the occasion. Memorabilia from the time adorned the walls, including the original 1919 Plan of the Water Stratford Estate and copies of the individual sale lots. Hearty food was consumed and drink flowed while chat and laughter rang in the air. A quirky raffle raised more laughs as well as funds, before we moved on to the surprise event of the night: a rousing singalong of tunes from the era (thank you Martin for playing the pianola wonderfully).  More than £500 was raised for the Old School. Thanks to all who contributed!

For those who missed seeing the 1919 memorabilia, Howard is assembling much of this into an album and it will be placed in the church for villagers to browse at their leisure. There will be photos of then and now, together with a transcript of the 19th July 1919 article from the Buckingham Advertiser with all the details of the Sale.

As always, these things cannot happen without hard work from people behind the scenes (before, during and after).  Many thanks to Pat and Chris, Leah, Gerard and Ria, Howard and Judy, Jill, Philippa, Deborah and Andy, Rachel and Nigel, Fiona and Chris, Susan, Dawn, Mike, Catriona, Martin, Rob, Anna and Eleanor.  An excellent team event!

Leah Jones


HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY SUMMER GARDEN COMPETITION - The annual Summer Garden Competition took place on 15th July 2019, and was judged by the head gardener at Buckingham Garden Centre. There were 12 entrants in total, with an equal split between Water Stratford and Tingewick. The winning gardens were also equally split, with 3 winning in Tingewick and 3 in Water Stratford. Many congratulations go to all the winners, including from Water Stratford Sarah, Barbara and Steve, and Jean. The judge said he thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the gardens and that each entrant should be justly proud of themselves. Thank you to everybody for taking part.

Amanda Abbotts


HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ANNUAL SUMMER SHOW - The Horticultural Society held its 95thAnnual Summer Show on 24th August. It was a record year with 45 individual exhibitors producing 460 entries between them across the various classes. This was more exhibitors and entries than ever before. In addition there were 85 entries in the junior classes from local children. On a hot summer’s day lots of people from the local area and further afield came to view the exhibits. With classes covering flowers, vegetables and fruit, handicrafts, cakes and jams, flower arranging and photography there was much to see and admire. Visitors could also see a display of old horticultural tools, peruse a variety of stalls, have a go on the tombola and raffle and enjoy delicious tea, coffee and home made cakes. The Show closed with the presentation of Cups and Best Exhibit Certificates to the worthy winners by the Society’s President.

Barbara Prideaux

Congratulations to all the entrants who created an impressive display, and especially from Water Stratford to Susan, who won the Cup for the most points in the flower arranging classes, and to Barbara, who won the Cup for most points in the general flower classes, another Cup for the Best Exhibit in the general flower classes and a Shield for the resident of Tingewick or Water Stratford with the most points in the Show.

CHURCHYARD HORNBEAM - On 19th August we said farewell to the magnificent hornbeam on the northern edge of the churchyard, considered by local experts to be one of the finest specimens in North Bucks. Sadly a succession of dry summers killed it and it became dangerous, so had to be felled at enormous financial as well as environmental cost.  Reverend Professor Joseph Bosworth, compiler of a seminal Anglo-Saxon dictionary and a former Rector here, and his second wife are buried near its base; as its girth suggests that it is between 100 and 200 years old, it may well have been planted to commemorate the death of Anne Margaret Bosworth in 1863 or Joseph himself in 1876. Thanks are due to Sarah for organising and Chris for overseeing the work, to Guy for arranging the finance and to everyone who donated towards the cost.

Mike Edwards

SUMMER AT ST GILES - Our two summer services have been memorable. In June, we sang a selection of lovely hymns chosen by Liz, and then, because many people were going to be away for her last service here, Chris spoke movingly about Liz's time with us and our gratitude to her, and Sarah presented her with beautiful flowers; Pimms and nibbles were provided by Guy. In July we gathered for Lammas, another imaginative service devised especially for us at our request by Liz (the Water Stratford Rite?), during which we all took part in a bread-making session and each took home an individual mini-loaf to bake (they were delicious!). Liz was given a card containing messages of thanks from many parishioners and a mug printed with a photo of a Christmas service in St Giles – photo by Liz, another of her talents we are going to miss. (Most of the donations towards her leaving present have gone towards a gift from the whole benefice.) Di brought prosecco, nibbles and a celebratory cake inscribed with the words 'Thank You'. Liz was delighted to learn from Mike that she is our longest-serving priest for a hundred years! We hope she leaves in no doubt about how much we have valued her time here.

GOODBYE AND WELCOME - Our good wishes go with Mike and Liz, who have moved on after twenty-one years here, during which they have been friendly and supportive members of our community, contributing to and helping organise village events, and also helping with church cleaning. We hope they will enjoy the travelling they have long looked forward to. A warm welcome to the new residents; we hope they will soon feel at home and will be very happy here.

CHURCH SERVICE AND ROTA - There will be a Harvest Service on Sunday 20th October at 11.15am. We are fortunate to have Revd Canon Glyn Evans, Rural Officer for the Oxford Diocese and Regional Director (central England) for the Farm Crisis Network, coming to lead this service. Some will remember that he kindly stepped in at the eleventh hour to lead our first Plough Sunday service some years ago, a memorable and well-attended occasion.

Fiona will arrange flowers and Sarah and Nicky will clean.

Sara Edwards