Overton’s Free Newspaper - issued monthly to over 600 homes in Overton

April 2004


The Editorial Team

Alan Edwards - David Burton - Ken Farrell - Lesley Pugh - Christine Stead
Jackie Evans - Euan Stevenson

Our reporters cannot be everywhere.

If you have a story contact any team member or ring 01978 710422


After a period of 6 years, Valerie Jones will be retiring from her position as Rector of Overton St.Mary's, Erbistock and Penley and as Dean for the Maelor area. The date of retirement has been set for the end of June, 2004, although a decision has not yet been taken as to who will replace Valerie.

Valerie has been the first lady to fill this demanding position, looking after the parishes of Overton, Erbistock, and Penley.

In addition to providing spiritual direction and leadership to the Christians in the area, Valerie has baptised over 100 babies, and convened at innumerable funerals and weddings in her 6 year period in Overton.

Valerie says "It has been a privilege to be beside people at sensitive times in their lives". She has the satisfaction of more letters and tokens of appreciation from people in local parishes than in any of the others she has served in.

Valerie is a remarkable lady - she was called to the ministry at the age of 48 when she undertook a course leading to a degree in Divinity at Bangor University.

Following ordination in 1985, she served in several parishes - Holyhead, Porthmadog and the Ceiriog valley.

She became a Canon in 2001 - the first woman Canon in the Church of Wales - quite an honour.
Valerie is looking forward to the freedom that retirement will bring, but admits that she will miss some aspects of the work.

She says: "The joys of the position have been many, including:

- The worship of God with fellow Christians
- the Christian development of children fulfilled in the link with the church school
- the privilege of being with people in their time of need and in times of happiness
- the actual Church of St.Mary's" - (which she adores and visits every day )

When asked what achievements she is proud of, she replies modestly that just fulfilling her duty to make the appropriate service available when people need the church.

However, in her conversation it is clear that she does derive a lot of satisfaction from introducing a ministry of prayers for the sick and she also speaks warmly of the efforts to maintain the fabric of the church which is so close to her heart, particularly :

- the millennium stained glass windows ( with community input )
- the new organ project which is now coming to fruition ( a wonderful effort by the congregation )

Valerie's husband, Canon Hywyn, who has been extremely active in helping Valerie, can't wait for her to retire - "I never see her" , he says, "she's fulfilling church duties day and night."

They are going to live in Ruabon, but their love of the church itself and the friendships they have made, ensure that they will not be strangers to Overton. They will be sadly missed by the Christian people of Overton, in particular, and in all the other parishes in the Maelor.

Ed: Members of the Oracle team, on behalf of the community, extend their best wishes to Valerie and Hywyn in their retirement.

10th Anniversary of Twinning Partnership

This year sees the 10th anniversary of the twinning link between Overton and La Murette, France. The event will be celebrated by a re-affirmation of the Charter which was entered into at special ceremonies both here and in France in 1994. 'Twinning Week' this year will be from 2nd - 9th August when Overton is expecting to receive 26 visitors from La Murette. In the meantime, the Association is preparing a varied programme for the week, which will include several outings, a special performance by young children of the village, and the international boules competition.


Dear Editor

We would like to thank the people who vandalised our car by the Scout hut on the 16th March. We have a 4 month old baby and are thrilled to have yet more expense to contend with this month.

Our friendly village vandals have smashed the wing mirror off, torn off door trims, broken the aerial and turned the rear wiper into a coat hanger.

Now.... our car isn't the newest in the village, it certainly isn't the best looking, but it's our faithful work horse and we love it!

So we will be looking forward to donations from the vandals for the damage caused. This whole incident leaves us very sad, especially as we think a lot about the village and its occupants.

Heugo and Victoria
Wrexham Road,

Dear Editor,

I am sure the community as a whole will be disappointed to learn that the Highways Authority has, yet again, thwarted another of the Community Council's attempts to make the village safer. There will be no introduction of a 40mph speed restriction from the Argoed Lane junction on Wrexham Road to the existing 30mph limit since this stretch of road does not fulfil the required parameters.

So where do we go from here? Surely the question of the excessive speeds of traffic entering Overton from all directions needs to be addressed. We cannot rely on the 'Authorities' to assist us so surely the only answer is the community itself.

If every single member of the community consulted their conscience would they be able to promise, 'hand on heart' that they themselves drive into the village at a sensible speed?
Come on now everybody, can you truly say that as you pass any of the 30 mph signs you are actually driving at 30 or less? If not, why not? Does your desire to be home/at work/at school a matter of seconds earlier, outweigh your desire to make our village safe? Or do you think that driving safely is something you cannot take the time to do?

Even if you are driving at less than 30mph are you still driving safely? I mean driving down School Lane at 29mph may be within the letter of the law, but can you honestly say it is a safe thing to do?

If you slowed down to 40mph at Argoed Lane before entering the village would it make you hugely late, or would it mean that if there were a pedestrian crossing the road to take the foot path down to the river, or a lorry driving in the middle of the road round the next bend, you might just be able to avoid hitting them?

In the words of the recent TV campaign, 'Kill your speed, not a child', and yes that means everyone who drives into the village including YOU.

If WE want a safer village, WE have to be prepared to do something about it!

Community Councillor J Kember
Springfield Park,

Ed: The Community Council has recently asked whether 40mph "advisory" speed limits similar to those found in Shropshire can be imposed on Wrexham Road from Argoed Lane, and outside the Trotting Mare Inn, Knolton,


by Constable Darren King

There were reports in the media recently about cash point crime, where organised criminal gangs are targeting machines to obtain PIN numbers and card details, and then subsequently emptying bank accounts. I do not think for one minute that this type of crime will spread to here, but you should always be on your guard when using cash points in more urban areas, and especially the big cities.

The news reported the latest scam where a device is placed onto the exterior of the machine, glued over the card slot. As you put your card in, the device, which is a small box and is very hard to distinguish from the rest of the cash machine, copies the serial number of your card. Then as you punch in your PIN number, a member of the gang will be stood near to you and memorises it. This is known as 'shoulder surfing', where they will either memorise the number or enter it into their mobile phone, making you think they are just sending a text etc. Gangs have also been known to place minute cameras onto the machine or nearby for this purpose also.

The worst thing about this scam is that you are not usually made suspicious as you get to use the cash point as normal, and even though you may notice someone stood close watching you who may have seen your PIN number, you think your money is safe as you are still in possession of your card. Unfortunately this is not the case. Within half an hour a copy of your card will have been made and as much cash as possible will have been stolen from your account. This could also go on for days if you do not check your account balance regularly. I am sorry that I cannot give you a better description of this type of device, but there is not one 'set design', and as I stated above, it looks like part of the machine.
If you think that the machine you are about to use may have a device fitted, do not put your card in and inform the bank and the police straight away.

Further to this, the other popular deception of this type that has not been publicised so widely is called 'the Lebanese loop'. This entails a 'V' shaped piece of plastic being placed into the card slot. You place your card into the slot not knowing, and punch in your number whilst being observed as above. But the plastic 'V' prevents the card from entering the machine, and you just think that the machine has 'swallowed your card'. Then while you go off to inform your bank, the gang member will retrieve your card and the plastic 'V', and then use your card to steal your money.

To help you contact your bank/ building society for this or any other type of offence, or if you lose your cards, here are the current contact details held by the police for each company.

ABBEY NATIONAL - 08459 724 724. ALLIANCE AND LEICESTER - 0500 313 233. BANK OF IRELAND - 00 353 1283 5019. BANK OF SCOTLAND - 0845 300 0344. BARCLAYS BANK - 0870 154 0154. BRITANNIA BUILDING SOCIETY-01538 399 135. CAPITAL ONE BANK - 0800 952 5458. CLYDESDALE BANK - 0990 168 654. CO OP BANK - 0845 600 6000. EGG - 01268 298 807. HALIFAX - 0345 203 099. HFC BANK - 0800 737 737. HSBC - 0870 540 0500. LLOYDS TSB-0800 096 9779. MBNA - 0800 062 062. NATIONWIDE - 0345 302 010. NAT WEST - 08706 000 459. ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND -08706 000 459. YORKSHIRE BANK - 0990 168 654. AMERICAN EXPRESS - 020 7633 6105.

Darren King, Constable 1360.
The Police Station,
Station Road,
Overton, Wrexham. LL13 OEF.
Telephone: (01978) 290 222. Fax: (01978) 294 771.
E-mail: darren.king@north-wales.police.uk



"Gentlemen do not read each other's mail", said Henry Stimson, U.S. Secretary of State back in 1931 when he banned the further deciphering of foreign secret messages. With this high-minded principle he stands quite alone in history.

The recent revelations by Clare Short of naughty goings-on by the respective Intelligence communities of this country and the U.S.A. have made for interesting newspaper reading and T.V. viewing. That there has been substantial bugging of the General Secretary to the United Nations should not have come as too great a surprise to anyone, least of all Kofi Annan who, despite his strenuous protests, must have been aware that this sort of activity has been commonplace for a very long time indeed.

How they do it, is what intrigues me. Gone are the days of relying on Mata Hari-type pillow talk or even hiding mini microphones inside telephones and under the carpet. Modern spooks use powerful uni-directional microphones which they point at open windows and they can even hear through closed ones by translating into speech the minute vibrations caused by sound waves on glass. Most vulnerable, though, is the humble mobile phone which can be used as a very effective bug merely by being left switched on. By simply tuning into the communications satellites security services can overhear anything and everything.

All this effort, however, must cost vast amounts of money. As you would expect, I have a much cheaper solution, but first let me retell a Cold War story.

In a small Welsh village a certain KBG agent was trying to locate a sympathetic local he had been instructed to contact and was furtively describing him to the landlord of the village pub. "Ah," said the landlord as realisation dawned, "You're looking for Jones the Spy".

Here then is my cut-price intelligence service. Simply move the United Nations HQ from New York to any village (and Overton would do as well as any other) and there would be no need for expensive equipment. A quick chat around the pub, the Club, the Post Office or the village shops and everything worth hearing would be quickly revealed. Don't say I am not brimming with brilliant ideas!

Piggot wins the Grand National with local horse
by Alan Jones

The Grand National Handicap Steeplechase takes place each spring at Aintree on the outskirts of Liverpool. The course is 4 miles 856 yards from start to finish and contains 30 obstacles. First run in 1839 at Aintree, each winner is feted as a hero and there are many tales of exceptional courage and bravery. There has been one triple winner, the legendary Red Rum and seven dual winners. One of the seven was Poethlyn owned by Mrs Hugh Peel of Bryn-y-Pys, Overton, trained by Harry Escott at Lewes in Sussex and ridden by Ernest Piggott, grandfather of Lester Piggott.

Poethlyn's first win was in 1918 in the third of three wartime substitute races, but which maintained the unbroken continuity of the race from 1839. Aintree, having been taken over by the War Office late in 1915, the National was transferred to Gatwick, the site of the present airport. There were seventeen runners for the race run over the full National distance, Poethlyn winning by four lengths. The following year the race was restored to its rightful place with Poethlyn installed as a hot favourite at 11/4, despite the fact that he had the welter burden of 12st 7lbs. on his back.

Again ridden by Piggott he was a ready winner in a field of twenty two, eleven of whom got round, fully justifying the confidence of his supporters and joining the elite who had won in successive years. It was Poethlyn's ninth victory in succession.

He was bred by the owner's husband, Major Hugh Peel, who had bought the dam Fine Champagne at auction for twenty five guineas. Mated with Rydal Head, the foal had been sold to a Shrewsbury hotelier for seven guineas.

Poethlyn was bought back by Major Peel for fifty guineas and the promise of the first salmon he caught on the river Dee that year and given by the Major to his wife. Born in 1910, Poethlyn died in 1940 aged thirty. He is remembered today by a row of eight houses in School Lane Overton named Poethlyn Terrace.

In 1937 each tenant of Bryn-y-Pys Estate was presented with a signed print by Major Peel. It shows Poethlyn standing in the park in front of the Hall together with a greyhound Bryn Truthful, the winner of the 1934 coursing classic the Waterloo Cup and owned by Major Peel. Poethlyn was buried, along with Bryn Truthful, in the grounds of Bryn-y-Pys Hall


  • The family of Eleanor Colley would like to thank all the friends and relations of 'Nell' for the kindness and sympathy shown to them after the death of their Mother. A special thanks to the residents of Parkside and also to the staff at Overton Surgery.
    Funeral donations totalling £400 have been given to the equipment fund at the new Medical Centre.

  • William Russell Jones of Cefn Mawr has contacted the Oracle in the hope that someone may be able to help him in the search for any descendants of a Thomas Griffiths born in Overton in 1842. Thomas's father was Samuel Griffiths, also born in Overton in 1816. Please Email details to williamjonesjonqms@supanet.com

    Alternatively contact the Oracle at 1 St Mary's Court, Overton.

  • The Oracle received an Email from Robin Gallagher who has in his possession an old oak table with instructions written underneath saying: "deliver to Lady Lowther.....?......?, Overton".
    If anyone has any information please Email details to robin_ gallagher@towngate.plc.uk
    Alternatively contact the Oracle at 1 St Mary's Court, Overton.

  • Did you know that March 10 was "No Smoking Day"? Did you make the decision to stop, and have you stuck to your resolve? The Oracle would like to hear of your endeavours. Since the budget, an average pack of cigarettes is £4.58 and at 20 cigarettes a day is £1671.70 per year up in smoke - the price of a good holiday. So, if you would like help, 'The Smoking Cessation Clinic' can be contacted on 01352 755543 or the 'Smokers Helpline for Wales' on 0800 1690169


A Brief History


Overton's Yew Trees

As the old rhyme tells us these are one of the Seven Wonders of Wales.

'Pistyll Rhaiadr and Wrexham Steeple,
Snowdon 's mountain without its people,
Overton Yew trees, St. Winefride's Wells,
Llangollen Bridge and Gresford bells'.

They probably became famous because of the number of them and their obviously great age. Difficult as it is to date them, it is thought that the oldest may be more than two thousand years old. Tradition has it that if one died it was always replaced and the baptismal register tells us that in 1836 'in the 7th year of the reign of King William IV, two Yew trees, the gift of Mr. Charles Studley, were planted, one near the lych gate and the other near the porch'. This latter was removed but the one near the lych gate flourishes.

Several reasons have been put forward for the planting of Yew trees in Churchyards:

1. In medieval times, bows were made of Yew and warriors of the village would rally to the Church as the stronghold and there find material for their weapons

2. Yew trees are poisonous and in the Churchyard would be out of reach of sheep and cattle

3. They are strong trees and would give the Church some protection from storms.

4. As the Yew is evergreen it could be a symbol of the immortality of the soul. Planted in a burial ground they would serve as a reminder of this.

During the last century a small Yew tree grew in the turret of the tower. It was a constant puzzle to visitors challenged to count the trees. No matter how often they tried, they usually missed this one. However, its roots began to damage the stonework and it was removed and with it the source of many a profitable wager!

Oracle Team Vacancy

Our aim is to provide you with a fresh and stimulating newspaper. To achieve this, the Oracle still requires a new team member to replace Christine Stead who left a short while ago to live in Cross Lanes.

The Oracle is looking for anyone, young or not so young, to assist with the preparation of articles for publication. As a team member you will find it interesting and rewarding. If you feel that you could find two or three hours a month to help out, and would like to become part of the team, we would like to hear from you. Contact Alan Edwards by telephone on 01978 710422 or write to him at 1 St. Mary's Court, Overton, Wrexham, LL13 0FA. You may also e-mail him at editor@.overton-on-dee.co.uk

St. Mary's Church
- Diary dates

April 17 - Coffee morning, 11 Sundorne, Overton, 10.30am

May 7 - Village Hall, Quiz Night

June 12 - Summer delight evening at Col. + Mrs Fitzhugh's

July 8,9,10 - Art and Craft Exhibition, St Mary's Church.

Community Church News
By Eunice Taylor

It was unfortunate but our news for last month didn't appear in the last Oracle. So we take this opportunity to say that we have changed our evenings to Tuesdays to accommodate some new people. We will stay with Tuesday evening until further notice.

The programme for April is as follows:

Tuesday 6 April no meeting
Tuesday 13 April Arnold Black speaking - healing
Tuesday 20 April guest speaker
Tuesday 27 April social evening

If you would like more information, or prayer for anything please feel free to call Sue or Arnold on 755909 or Eunice on 710341

Art and Crafts Exhibition
By Phil Humphreys

St Mary's Church will be holding an Arts and Crafts Exhibition in the Church on July 8, 9 and 10.

We would like you to display your work not previously exhibited. If you would like to offer your work for sale, we will take a small percentage of the sale for Church funds. We hope you will support us again this year. Enjoy yourselves preparing your work!

Further details to follow nearer the event.

New Beginnings
By Margaret Evison

The miracle of Spring has come
A little earlier this year.
The trees stretch up awakened,
To skies both still and clear.

The wintry snow fell briefly
The earth was cold and chilled
But after months of waiting,
God's promise was fulfilled.

Our baby sleeping softly
Within its mother's womb,
Awoke to cry out lustily,
And thus dispelled all gloom.

The daffodil proclaims it.
The hawthorn hedge bursts forth,
And every tiny living thing
Is chattering with mirth.

The miracle of Spring has come
Pronounced for all to hear.
A hope of new beginnings.
The start of a new year.

Overton Medical Practice News

We find it frustrating not being able to help you at times, but it is worth noting that between October and December 2003 a total of 112 patients failed to turn up for their appointments. And they never had the courtesy to telephone or call to cancel, thus making the slot available to others in need.

Please help us by cancelling an appointment that you cannot keep, for whatever reason, so that we can make it available to someone else. Of course that "someone else" could be you when you need to see the doctor quickly. By helping us, we can help you.

It is very important that your records are up-to-date and valid. If you have moved, even locally, or have a new telephone number, please let us know.


PC Daren King, North Wales Police is organising a series of Police Surgeries throughout the Maelor. You are invited to attend and discuss policing matters at Overton Police Station on 30 April 2004 between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.

Can you help?

Norman Knapton, from Ontario, Canada, and as an old resident of Overton (56 years ago) contacted the Oracle by Email to ask if any of our readers can identify the young lady in the photograph who is playing with his son Paul and daughter Judy on the banks of the river Dee at Erbistock in 1955.

He and his wife would appreciate very much any help you can provide. They can be contacted by Email at overton@rogers.com

Alternatively you may contact the Editor at 1 St Mary's Court, Overton, who will forward the information for you.

More news in brief

  • Congratulations to David and Laura Evison on the birth of their daughter, Harriett Anna-Lowri
  • Overton Community Council, concerned about the increasing problem of dog fouling in Overton, has sought the help of the Public Protection department of Wrexham Borough Council.
  • Overton Community Council has planted 7 trees in the Millennium Meadow to replace those lost over the years and has made arrangements for Phase two of the wildflower meadow to be sown in April.
  • Overton Amateur Dramatic Society is holding a "Wig Amnesty"! If you have borrowed a wig from the Society please return it to Mr James Glover, Bank House, High Street Overton as soon as possible.
  • Ray Jenkins from South Africa is researching his family roots and has established that his great-great grandfather (John Jenkins) was born in Overton-on-Dee in 1849. His father was William Jenkins and mother was Sarah. He believes that there must have been a farm in the area owned by the Jenkins family around this time or even before. If you can help, he can be contacted via Email at rayj@aviation.denel.co.za or via the Editor at 1 St Mary's Court, Overton.