OVERTON ORACLE

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

Nov 2003

PREVIOUS EDITIONS

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

Fire guts Knolton Bryn Mission

On Saturday, 27th September fire ripped through the former Knolton Mission Room. The blaze, which started in the late afternoon, was attended by fire crews from Wrexham and Ellesmere. No-one was hurt in the fire, but those who had previously worshipped there until a few years ago were devastated to learn that the building of which they were so very fond, had been destroyed.

Smoke was seen coming from the building at about 5.30pm and the emergency services were alerted by local residents. The fire crews were at the scene for three hours. The cause of the blaze which gutted this historic Grade II listed building, has now been investigated by fire officers and it is understood a full report has been made.

Knolton Bryn Mission was built in 1890 from a kit probably imported from America and perhaps costing about 300. In the words of the Bishop of Asaph it "was constructed to serve a less mobile community than today's, was never consecrated and was not designed for longevity."

Despite this it continued for over a hundred years to provide a place of worship and a meeting place for the Knolton community, who, with the passage of time, became ever more fond of their little "tin Church". Tales are told of concerts featuring Squire Yorke of Erddig entertaining a packed Hall with recitals on his musical saw. In the St. Mary's Parish Magazine of 1895 the then Rector praises the Choir for their excellent singing on Easter Day and records the receipt of several gifts - "four Hanging Lamps by Mrs. Swaine and Mrs. Neighbour, an Organ Stool by Mr. Walter Edwards and a very neat Pulpit by Mr. John Hughes in memory of his late father." It was also proposed to "fill the blank spaces between the windows with large Scripture pictures." All these items were still on display until a few weeks ago. Inside the Mission were pews and a collection of rush covered chairs obtained from Liverpool Cathedral, the seating of which the dedicated congregation had had re-covered some years ago at their own expense.

The story of the premature closure of the Mission by the PCC in October 1999, the ensuing bitterness of the congregation who had had no prior consultation, the changing of the locks, the Services held outside on the grass, the restrictive covenant banning further worship inside the Mission - all this was duly reported not only in the Oracle but also in local newspapers and even on television. Letters to the Bishop and even to the Archbishop emphasising the damage that was being done to the Anglican Church by this action received scant sympathy and in 2001 the Mission was put on sale with a 999 year lease for 15,000. And this was for a building which the survey commissioned by the Church authorities declared was "nearing the end of its useful life" and would "require extensive rebuilding", costing about 40,000!

In 1994 CADW granted the Mission Grade II listed building status and declared it to be "a well-preserved and well-detailed example of a corrugated iron Mission Church, of a type which is becoming scarce". With this in mind during 2002 the Community Council sought the interest of the National Trust, who, on inspection, declared it to be "a little gem, which must be saved at all cost." It was, however, too small to merit their purchase of it. In December 2002 a local councillor then negotiated with the Church authorities to buy it at a peppercorn figure with the idea of turning it into a Community Centre for Knolton in order to prevent further deterioration of the building. At the last minute the Mission was sold to a lady, who had already bought a similar Iron Mission Hall near Chirk some years ago. This too had been closed and was later converted into a dwelling. The new owner has had scaffolding erected in the interests of safety and, it is believed, has been instructed by Wrexham County Borough Council to submit an application for listed building consent to take it down piece by piece and re-erect it as it was before the fire. Perhaps the Phoenix will rise again.

Sponsored walk raises 215

On 7th September 2003, Barbara James, Paula Bottomley and sisters Alice and Emma Greville took part in a five-mile sponsored walk to raise funds for Nightingale House Hospice. Despite the forecast of torrential rainstorms, the afternoon was dry, bright and perfect for walking.

Paula said: "We wish to thank all our friends and neighbours who sponsored us in the walk, helping us to raise 215 for Nightingale House Hospice. Sian Greville and her daughters Alice and Emma provided us with transport to and from Felin Puleston in time to join about 35 other walkers, and also joined in a shorter walk. We all enjoyed the afternoon and earned our certificates as well as fulfilling your sponsorship. Thank you again for your support."

Overton Community Church News

For the time being, all future meetings will be held at 1 Hanmer Close, Overton at 7.30pm every Thursday. A night out somewhere is usually organised on one Thursday each month.

There were some excellent meetings during September and October, although numbers were slightly down because of holidays. God has certainly been in the place, and some very good worship, teachings and discussion have taken place. Everyone benefited from the series "Everyone a Leader."

November programme.

Thursday 6th November - Social meeting... coffee/cakes/chat Thursday 13th November - Teaching with Arnold Black Thursday 20th November - Cinema visit (probably) TBA Thursday 27th November -"Everyone a Leader" (speaker)

Feel free to telephone Eunice on 01978 710341 for more information. The programme for December is being put together, and will hopefully be in time for the next issue.

YOUTH CLUB NEWS

Overton Youth Advisory Committee and many adult volunteers provide a much-needed service for the youth of the village and the surrounding areas by running monthly Discos and a weekly Youth Club. Why not show your support by attending the AGM on Tuesday 4th November 2003 at Overton Scout Headquarters, Wrexham Road, at 8.00pm. Your attendance will be greatly appreciated.

Another Panther sighting!

At the beginning of October, David Bellis (Springfield Park) was taking his usual morning jog across The Bottoms when he caught sight of an animal ahead of him emerging from the long grass. It was Labrador in size, had a long tail and moved with a cat-like motion. It took a look at David and then disappeared into the wooded area of Pendyffryn. As David said: " I wasn't too sure who had the biggest fright!".

Have you lost a scooter?

A child's scooter was found abandoned at the Wrexham Road Playarea in mid -October. If you or your child has suddenly realised it's missing, then please telephone Mr R. Broadhurst on 01978 710698.

STARGAZER

A NICE DAY IN THE COUNTRY

Some years ago my late father had a golden Labrador dog that enjoyed jumping the garden fence, particularly when there was a bitch on heat within a five-mile radius of home. The trouble was that chasing them was hard work and several times when he was on the other side of the village to where we lived, the long walk home definitely did not appeal. So, he would pick on some unsuspecting motorist, preferably with children in the car, and when the door opened, leap in and refuse to budge. With no other option, and the children saying: "Ooh, isn't he lovely?" the long-suffering driver would look at the tag on the collar and drive him back home. Having reached his destination he would leap out of the car and sit outside the front door barking until someone let him in. He would then disappear inside without a backward glance to the Good Samaritan he had conned the lift from! Sadly it is a technique that has never worked for me!

Which brings me to a story from a friend of mine along similar lines. She was feeding her cat one evening - well, she had opened the can - when the Tesco.com home delivery van arrived in the drive. Abandoning the cat, the next ten minutes were taken up in unpacking the weekly groceries and when it was all put away she turned back to the cat's dinner. But there was no sign of the cat! When called the cat would always come, especially when food was on offer, but not this time. A search around the garden - nothing! Out into the street - nothing! About this time the awful truth began to dawn. The cat, apparently, like my father's dog, liked nothing better than a ride in the car and my friend wondered whether the cat had now moved up to light vans. A telephone call to Tesco's resulted in a promise to radio the driver. Two hours later the van reappeared in the drive with the cat sitting up in the passenger seat enjoying the drive. Apparently he had climbed into the back, fortunately avoiding the freezer section and resisting the temptation to try the delights of the next customer's shopping! "I'm sorry I've been a while" said the driver, "but I had other appointments to keep in Ellesmere and Oswestry!" So next time your partner fancies a drive in the country, order your shopping from Tesco's, put the partner in the back whilst the driver isn't looking and telephone the store sometime later!

Work starts on temporary surgery

On Monday 27th October, contractors moved in to construct the temporary accommodation for Overton Surgery in advance of major works involving the demolition of the existing building and the erection of a new, purpose built medical centre. Groundwork in preparation for the installation of the 'porta-kabins' had been carried out during the previous week.

The buildings, which will occupy the whole of the former picnic site in Church Road, will be fitted out and connected to services, and will provide all the current facilities until such time as the new medical centre becomes available. This is likely to be for a period of 10 months, after which, it is understood, the land will then be reinstated to its former use as a much used and very popular stopping-off point for visitors to Overton.

D-Day revisited

A pleasant surprise awaited Harry Evison (Bangor Road) and Ken Farrell (Springfield Park) at 7.30 a.m. on September 12th when they both found themselves catching the same coach from King St. in Wrexham to go on a four-day visit to the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, accompanied by their respective sons Steve and Michael.

From their hotel base in Caen they visited the huge German defensive bunker at Merville, now a museum, Pegasus Bridge, the British and Canadian invasion beaches (Gold, Juno and Sword) the famous Mulberry harbour at Arromanches and Omaha beach where the Americans landed and lost nearly 10,000 men in a desperate struggle.

On their tour they spent some time at two of the British cemeteries and the enormous American one above Omaha beach .to pay their respects. Ken said: "We were all glad to have had the opportunity to see these historic places and to recognise again the courage of these men, so many of them my own age, and their supreme sacrifice made nearly 60 years ago."

Promise Auction raises 2300

St Mary's Church Promise Auction held at the Village Hall on Friday 3rd October was a resounding success with 75 people in attendance and 90 'Promises' from local businesses and supporters.

The auction made a profit of 2,300 and the money raised is to be put to the new church organ fund, which will cost 25,000.

The Rector and the Parochial Church Council wish to express their thanks to all those who helped and attended the auction. A special thanks is extended to all those who donated a promise.

The Overton Quest, a pictorial quiz organised by Phil Humphreys and Anne Butt, proved to be very popular, attracting well over a hundred participants. Not all pictures were identified and some, it is now revealed, were hidden by hanging baskets!! The winner of the competition, which raised over 100, was Joanne Rodenhurst (Church Road). A complete listing of the answers may be obtained by telephoning Phil Humphreys on 710377.

FREE FLAGPOLES

Overton Twinning Association no longer requires the flagpoles at Overton Surgery which will be affected by redevelopment of Overton Surgery. If any village organisation would like a flagpole, please contact Alan Edwards on 710422.

It's a Farce!

Overton Amateur Dramatic Society is staging what promises to be one of its best performances. On Thursday 27th, Friday 28th and Saturday 29th November, it is performing "Bedroom Farce", by Alan Ayckbourn.

For Trevor (Mike Done) and Susannah (Linda Done), life together isn't exactly easy. Their volcanic relationship destroys parties, disturbs his parents, and most importantly, keeps everyone up all night. And this is the focal point of the play - the stage is set with three bedrooms, that of Trevor's parents, one of his old flames, Jan (Sue England) and the poor couple who hold the party that they so successfully ruin with their arguments, Malcolm (Roger Moore) and Kate (Kath Eve). That Trevor and Susannah are having problems is the catalyst of the plot, and we see their escalating animosity towards one another produce a chain of events, which keep everyone up into the small hours. Despite an unsuccessful night out at a restaurant, Ernest (Alan Edwards) and Delia (Joanne Kember) still manage an important meal in bed.

The play, directed by Mike Redworth, promises to be a hilarious adventure into some unusual night-time frolics. The last thing that anyone is going to do is the one thing that the bedroom is designed for! Tickets will be on sale at Rowlands The Chemist, High Street. All performances start at 7.30pm.

Diminishing interest poses threat to future of Village Hall.

James Glover, Chair of Overton Village Hall Management Committee is calling for your help to set up a new, dynamic committee to move things forward from the sound base that has been established by previous hard working teams.

Over the last few years the Hall has undergone a programme of improvements and modernisation which now makes it one of the finest in the area, due entirely to an enthusiastic committee that always rose to the challenge. James said: "Unfortunately now that everything is running smoothly, interest in the day to day running of the Hall is diminishing. If this situation is allowed to continue, it is believed this could have very serious consequences for the long term. Without new, young, enthusiastic members the Hall will stagnate and eventually the village will lose one of its best facilities." He added: "Please, if you want to see your Village Hall continue to prosper and improve, and more importantly represent your needs, a meeting of all user groups and interested parties is planned for Monday 24th November 2003, in the Parish Room, at 7.30pm.

Please telephone James Glover on 710413 for more details.

COUNTRY BEAT
by Constable Darren King

I believe that most people are aware that things change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. People over a certain age will no doubt remember when police officers always walked the beat, gave you a 'clip round the ear' if you misbehaved, and were generally respected. Those times are long gone.

Today most people just see the police as either an authority figure, there to stop your fun, or someone in uniform to vent your anger at when things go wrong. To certain sections of society this is the way it has always been. However, to the majority of people who are classed as law abiding citizens, what you may not realise is that the single most important event that brought bad feeling towards the police, was the invention of the motor car.

Before then, unless you were a victim, the only people to have regular contact with the police were criminals. But when people took to the roads and became governed by the appropriate legislation, if they did not abide by these laws, they found that they were suddenly on the wrong side them. Good people who had never been in trouble before were now finding that they were either being 'told off' or prosecuted by the police, resulting in an appearance at court. To some this must have been very upsetting.

Then back in the 1960's the invention of the dreaded 'Breathalyser' made things even worse. People found that they were not allowed to consume vast amounts of alcohol and still be safe enough to drive. They were stopped by police, arrested, appeared at court, and usually lost their driving licence. This widened the gap even further between the police and the public they served. Most people did not accept that the laws were there for safety reasons, and that it had been their own fault that they had broken these laws, and now had to suffer the consequences.

Unfortunately even after all these years, this attitude is still being displayed. Law abiding citizens still think that they are being 'hard done to' when either 'told off' or prosecuted for motoring offences. I find it disheartening that in the 8 months that I have been here; this is now the second (and last) time that I have had to warn parents about parking on the yellow lines outside the school. I am not remotely interested in being told things like, 'I'M IN A HURRY', 'THERE'S NOWHERE TO PARK', 'I'M JUST STOPPING HERE TO DROP THEM OFF', 'BUT THE CAR PARK IS ALL THE WAY DOWN THERE BY THE CHURCH AND IT'S TOO FAR TO WALK', etc, etc, etc. And for all those who think, 'HAVEN'T YOU GOT ANYTHING BETTER TO DO;" the answer is YES I HAVE, but I have to spend my valuable time re-attending the school 'baby sitting' people who should know better and think that they are exempt from the laws governing the rest of us.

The restriction lines were placed there for a reason, TO KEEP OUR CHILDREN SAFE. I have been totally fair giving 'friendly advice', but no more. Any person found parked, engine running or not, on the yellow lines outside the school, WILL BE PROSECUTED.

Of course if anyone wishes to discuss this with me in person, either for or against, my full contact details are as below. Please remember to only use these telephone numbers to ensure you get hold of me.

Thank you,

Darren King, Constable 1360. Community Beat Manager for Ruabon and Maelor Section. Telephone: (01978) 290 222 ex 5420. Fax: (01978) 294 771. E-mail: darren.king@north-wales.police.uk

Overton's Millennium Meadow - a green and pleasant place?
by Lesley Pugh

Overton Community Council has received many comments about the Meadow. It is being well used, the gates have been altered to accommodate child buggies and wheelchairs, trees have been made safe and the Meadow was mown recently.

Unfortunately, the very positive comments are being out-weighed by the complaints over the amount of dog muck. No other word better describes it and one could certainly not use many of the words others have used. The problem of faeces is an unpleasant but unavoidable by-product of owning a dog, and it is every owner's moral duty and legal responsibility to clean up after their dog. Many dog owners do clear up, but it is evident from the amount of mess in the Meadow that there are many more who don't. There have been tales of people driving up to the gates, letting their dogs out of the vehicle to go into the Meadow and foul, then return immediately to the vehicle, presumably to drive home. There are posh poop-scoops on the market, but a far simpler solution would be to always carry a few plastic shopping bags. It is also a good way to recycle the bags and clear up after your dog.

Apart from the obvious unpleasant odour and disgust of having to sit by or stepping into dog muck, there is also a small danger from the rare Toxocara canis infection. As the eggs of the Toxocara worm take over two weeks to hatch and become active, there are no health risks from immediately clearing up the mess. However, the eggs can remain dormant in the soil for up to three years if the conditions are right and because of their play habits, it is usually children who are most vulnerable. Tummy infections, diarrhoea, asthma aggravation, could result. If your own conscience does not prompt you to clean up, the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 allows most local authorities to designate public areas as poop-scoop territory. The Millennium Meadow is just such a designated area. Failure to clean up is an offence subject to a maximum fine of 1000; persistent offending could result in the owner and dog being banned.

Please dog owners, respect the fact that the Meadow is for all of the community to enjoy. It was never designed to be a dog loo, and the whole community contributes towards the cost of maintaining it. If anyone is seen allowing their dog to offend, say something to them. The dog cannot read, the poor creature is just happily doing what comes naturally. There are no excuses - fouling is unacceptable.

OVERTON IN TIMES PAST
A Brief History

This month sees the start of the serialisation of a book entitled "Overton in Times Past" written in 1992 by Brian Done (Asney Lane) and Betty Williams (Deva Terrace), to coincide with the village Charter Celebrations of that year which commemorated 700 years since King Edward 1 granted Overton Borough Status in 1292.

Both Brian Done and Betty Williams do not claim to be historians, but nevertheless both have always taken great interest in the history of Overton, and over the years have documented much information which together with contributions from local people enabled them to write this book. They have kindly consented to the book being serialised in the Oracle.

OVERTON BEFORE THE ROYAL CHARTER -1292

Very little is known about the history of Overton before the Norman Conquest. But it would be surprising with Chester, Wroxeter, Rhyd Park and Holt being so close if a Roman track of some kind did not exist in the district. The old people used to tell me that the short road in Knolton from Rhewl to Gwalia was known as Stryd Las and that it was of Roman origin. I have no documentary evidence to prove this but old roads called Stryd or Street do tend to have Roman connections.

There is no doubt that a small settlement existed at Overton before the Royal Charter of 1292, but one can only speculate as to its size, position and antiquity. It would certainly have come under the influence of the world famous Celtic Monastery at Bangor Isycoed. But this came to an end in 613 A.D. when after the Battle of Chester with most of the monks being killed, their only crime being that they had prayed for a Welsh victory over the Northumbrian King Ethelfrith. After this, Overton and Maelor Saesneg came under the Mercian sphere of influence especially when Kings Offa, Penda and Wlphere reigned, indeed Canon Howson suggests that Wlphere gave the Village its name (Wlfereton).

There was certainly a Saxon settlement in Overton, borne out by the discovery of Saxon coffin lids in the Churchyard. An early Saxon Church is also documented as having stood here.

However by the 12th Century it was again totally Welsh. In 1130 Powys was divided into two parts and Overton together with the rest of Maelor Saesneg were part of Powys Fadog and with the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284 and the creation of Flintshire by Edward I, Overton was included in this county where she has remained till recently with the making of the County of Clwyd.

NEXT MONTH: "The Year of the Charter"

Congratulations

Congratulations and best wishes to Derek and Pearl Edwards on the occasion of their silver wedding anniversary from all the family. Also Kath Dorey (Edwards) on the occasion of her 40th Birthday.