Fancy a chat over a cuppa?

Aiken House & Gardens: Warm & Cozy Christmas
OK ,,,,, so there may not actually be a fire but it will be warm!

The WI would like to invite you to a warm winter hub in the Chapel

Cartoon Tea Cup - ClipArt Best

schoolroom next Monday, and every following Monday in January

There will be free tea, coffee and biscuits available from 10-12.

Come and have a chat, share Christmas stories, play games, do a jigsaw, bring your newspaper or your knitting.

This invitation is open to all. You will be very welcome if you come with children, on your own or with friends.

We look forward to seeing you there.

In January 1923 Geddington and Newton WI was formed by a group of ladies from both villages. By February of 1923 there were 79 members!

Geddington & Newton was one of the earliest WIs to be created and the present WI committee is planning a wide ranging, year long celebration of the event . In particular we are proud to be honouring the women of the villages who were so forward thinking, exceptionally creative and socially aware.

It would be really interesting to know if anyone has any stories or memorabilia relating to the last hundred years, in particular any photographs of people or events. Was your relative a founder member perhaps?

Does anyone remember Mrs Berrill, nee Alice Winter Dryland, from Newton? She was the first president and served for many years, building the membership up to over 100!

Please get in touch via the Contact Us button if you have stories to share. We’d love to hear them.

Geddington and Newton WI ladies had the opportunity to explore the role of faith amongst the troops during the Great War when Helen Frost presented her stories and photographs from those years.

Helen’s enthusiasm and her professional approach to her subject gave the meeting a real insight into the shared experience of soldiers of all faiths and the role that Forces chaplains played in both the practical and spiritual life on the front line.

Members were impressed by the range of faiths and nations who stood together in a bond of brotherhood and unity of belief in care and respect for others. The stories of individual chaplains and their heroism were very moving and their resourcefulness and courage, in support of the men and women they served, very humbling.

Nurses too were important in those difficult moments when men needed to share their faith or to consider the battle ahead. Most men at that time carried a small bible or prayer book from their particular faith and there is more than one example of such a book sitting in the pocket over a soldier’s heart and saving his life amidst the gunfire and shrapnel.

Helen’s research into a little known aspect of life in the trenches widened our knowledge and understanding of faith, in its broadest terms, in the bleakest of times.

Author’s note: Of the 37 men from Geddington who died in action, 6 were choir members at St Mary Magdalene and their service is honoured by the marble plaque in the church.

Geddington & Newton WI and meets at 7:30pm in the Village Hall on the 2nd Wednesday of the month (except August). Do come and join us – you’d be very welcome!

Thank you to everyone who took part in our Jubilee quizzes.
Young and old showed that their knowledge of the village was impressive!

The adult quiz (The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Quiz) produced two winners with all answers correct and one very close runner up so we decided all three deserved a prize.

Runner up was: Jenny Moulton.
Joint winners were: Christine Treanor & Diana Hollywood.

The outright winner of the Junior quiz (Geddington Crown Jewel Hunt) was Isabella Freeman.
Well done to you all!

And here are the answers:

 The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Quiz
25th May – 2nd June 2022

1. Which king was Eleanor of Castile married to? Edward I.

2. Which gentleman of Geddington served two royal princes from 1609? Robert Dallington ( as Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Prince Henry and then Prince Charles, later Charles I)

3. Who inspected GVFB in 1981? Princess Margaret              

4. What was the original name of Malting Lane? Star Lane/ Kiln Lane/ Hipwell’s Jitty

5. The Star, The White Hart and the White Lion pubs still exist. What 2 other pubs in the village were ‘royal’?  1. Royal George , Wood Street 2. Royal Oak Named for the Oak Tree once standing by the Post Office

6. Which village family produced a Royal Academician, a royal seamstress and first female registrar ? The Freestone family of 1/3 West Street

7. Which King had a coronation parade at Geddington in 1201? King John

8. In 1194 King Richard entertained which King at Geddington? King William of Scotland

9. What was the name of the private school on Grange Road attended by both local and international (rumours of a Russian princess!) students? St Albans (run by Miss Sykes, daughter of Robert Sykes, farmer, of Geddington)

10. In which year were the first five street lamps installed? 1895

11. What was villager Ann Saddington known for? Lace making

12. What is the name of the Hall in West Street that served as the Village Hall for many years? The Oddfellows Hall

13. What was ‘The Pound’ and where was it? Used to secure stray animals and situated on Grafton Road

14. Where are the houses known as ‘Coronation Row’? On the right hand side of Grange Road going up from New Road

15. When was Geddington’s stone bridge built? 1250

16. Drunken Edward Allsopp was the last person to sit in the stocks. When was that? 1857

17. There was once a shoe factory in Geddington. Where was it?  Wood Street

18. Why was the new development off Grange Road given the name Skeffington Close? Robert Sykes, the farmer who owned it and sold it to the builder, was born in the village of Skeffington in Leicestershire

19. Everyone knows Bakehouse Hill but what was the name of the other bakery in the village and where was it?  Swingler’s Bakery – opposite the Post Office

20. John and Rebecca Cooper lived in the village all their lives; their daughters went on to serve at the court of which Queen? One daughter served Queen Alexandra  and four others went to the Queen of Norway’s court in Oslo.

21. What is now built on the land of the Royal Hunting Lodge? Castle Gardens

22. Just about the time Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne, mains water arrived in Geddington but which year was it? 1951


The Geddington Crown Jewel Hunt
Take a tour of the village to find Geddington’s Crown Jewels.

Bakehouse Hill
1. No:   2          Name/inscription…in 1832 nothing happened here
2. No:   6           Name…Abbot’s Barn

Grafton Road:
3. No:  4          Name: Church Farm House
4. No:  9          Name: Quaker Cottage
5. No: 15       Name: Holly House

Grange Road:
6. No:  12     Name –

New Road:
7.  No:  1A      Name –
8.  No:  19        Name –
9.  No    21       Name –
10. No:    1        Name: Woodfield
11. No:  5A       Name –

Lees Way:
12. No:       Name: Wayside Cottage

Newton Road:
13. No:      13       Name –
14. No:    14B     Name: Sunnyside
15. No:    19         Name –

Queen Street:
16. No:   39         Name: –
17. No: 44a      Name –

Stamford Road:
18. No:     37a      Name –
19. No:    39a      Name –

Skeffington Close:
20. No:    38         Name –
21. No:    39         Name –
22. No:    40         Name –

West Street:
23. No:     46        Name: Rose Cottage
24. No:     1            Name –

Now, take the third letter of the house on Lees Way – Y 

The first letter of the name of the house on West Street – R

The second letter of the house on Newton Road – U

And the first letter of the second part of the name of the house on Stamford Road – B

Then unjumble the 4 letters to find a valuable jewel for the Queen’s crown! RUBY

As many of you will know St Mary Magdalene Church has been without a priest in charge since Father Rob left earlier this year. At the recent Harvest Festival Service the Churchwardens, John Bennett and Jane Rowley, were pleased to make the following announcement:


 We are delighted to announce that, following interview, and with the agreement of the representatives of the patron and of the parishes, the Reverend Gillian Gamble has accepted Bishop Donald’s invitation to become Priest in Charge of the Parishes of Geddington and Weekley. Subject to the normal Church of England legal and administrative procedures, Gillian will be licensed by Bishop Donald in Geddington Parish Church on Sunday 3 February at 3.00 pm.

Gillian is currently curate in the Parish of St Peter and St Paul, Oadby, in the Diocese of Leicester. She will be joining us with her partner Sarah Treanor in February. Prior to ordination, Gillian worked as a youth worker for 13 years. Gillian writes:

‘Sarah and I, along with our dog Harley, are very much looking forward to joining you in Geddington and Weekley and to becoming part of the community.’

The Churchwardens will keep the website in touch with developments and provide more details about arrangements for Gillian’s arrival nearer the time.



The ten years of this decade saw huge shifts in global power, dramatic strides towards peace and reconciliation in eastern Europe and bitter renewals of old tensions in the Middle and Far East.

In 1981 the first Space Shuttle Columbia successfully completed its mission and with it consolidated the notion of mankind living in, working in and developing areas of space previously unknown.

Changes in leadership in Russia brought a new generation to power and, as bridges were built with the US administration under Ronald Reagan, words like ‘Glasnost’ and ‘Perestroika’ became commonplace here too. Power in Europe shifted as countries took the opportunity to break away from the USSR and become independent. In Germany the culmination of this process was the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, setting the scene for the reunification of Germany after many years of division.

In Britain the nation responded publicly to the Ethiopian Famine by supporting Live Aid, a startlingly ambitious transatlantic event which those who were there, or those who watched it on TV will never forget.

New ‘flats’, new curtains, new lighting, bigger stage…

Less ambitious, but drawing on similar talents, GADS continued its successful development as a society. There were new stage ‘flats’ to consider and new curtains to cost; the previous productions had left the society with a healthy bank balance of £600 and enthusiasm within the group was at an all time high. Car rallies, BBQs , after play parties and visits to other theatrical venues like Tolethorpe Hall were enjoyed by the members outside rehearsal periods and there was a very strong sense of camaraderie.

The support in the village and the locality was now so strong that a ‘Patrons’ membership had been introduced which brought in funds and gave those sponsoring GADS priority booking rights. Mr & Mrs Knight of Church Farm were among those ‘Patrons’.

David Holmes, Nigel Ball, Janice A’Ness, Claire Stone, Joanne James and Allison Crouch in ‘ I Remember Mama’

Early 80s productions included ‘Off the Hook’, a comedy ;     ‘I remember Mama’, a period drama and ‘Oh Clarence’, a Blandings Castle farce with reporting from the Evening Telegraph and Weekend Television. Receipts were good and membership increased. Two new aspects to GADS activities were in development at this stage. A Young GADS group had been considered for some time and finally in 1982 Young GADS was formed. It had 21 members and its first production was The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party  in the grounds of the Priory as part of that year’s Medieval Fayre. With the help of Keith Sexton, Paul Richardson, Ian Spencer and Sylvia Cook these youngsters would also take part in the Drama Festival later in the year.

At the same time the idea of a ‘Concert Party’ to give recitals, perform short sketches and revisit popular songs from musicals came to fruition and the members of the Society had another outlet for their talents!

‘Oh Clarence’ A Blandings Castle Comedy

In 1982 the GADS committee took another step; they introduced Honorary Life Membership in recognition of those who had served the society well for many years, giving freely of their time and talents. Those who were invited to take up membership initially were Bill Swan, Maurice Holmes and Mrs E. M. Moore. For each of them there would be two complimentary tickets for each future performance and an open invitation to attend all the society’s social events.

Quite a treat!

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the Space Shuttle programme, ‘Ring around the Moon ‘ by Frenchman Jean Anouilh was the choice for the November production in 1982. Boughton House agreed to allow photographs to be taken with the house as a backdrop, representing the French chateau in which the action takes place; action that focuses on satirising aristocratic life in the early 1900s. A trio of musicians were at the centre of the set ‘extrovertly’ led by Stuart Bowyer and the atmosphere was described by one reporter as ‘vivacious, ritzy and melodramatic’ . Alan Couch, Joanna James and Kay Marlow were highly commended but the best compliment was reserved for Sylvia Cook (Capulat) and Marion Sexton (Isabelle’s mother) as ‘a wonderful pair of old hens’

The impressive and well lit set gives an immediate tone of elegance and sophistication to Evan Roberts’ perceptive production which brings a new dimension to GADS repertoire so far’

All that hard work to improve the stage and the facilities had been worth it!

*****************************************************************************************************************                 If the photographs bring back memories of those taking part or you were in the audience, please share your stories with us. Leave a comment or send us a photo.

Were you a Young GAD? Does anyone have photographs of The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party?

More stories from GADS in May.



In 1978 Jim Callaghan was Prime Minister and Margaret Thatcher the Opposition; the Yorkshire Ripper had not yet been caught and several more women  were found murdered. In a similar weather pattern to this year, February of 1978 had brought dramatic blizzard conditions to the south west of the country. In the media, history was made as Anna Ford became the first female newsreader and in science a new baby by the name of Louise Brown made her appearance. Concrete cows also appeared in Milton Keynes, Nottingham Forest won the Division 1 League title for the first time in their history and May Day became a Bank Holiday for the first time.

In the theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita was premiered in London. Drama of another kind was on the minds of those in Skeffington Close. Skeffington Close was still the hub for GADS meetings and, while the committee personnel changed, the essential friendships within the group did not. In June 1978, as well as reflecting on the outcome of the spring production of ‘Ladies in Retirement’ and setting a date for the autumn production, the GADS committee were also planning a cricket match – Ladies v Gents. A soft ball was to be used and no ball tampering allowed!

Before another production could be staged however, the piano badly needed to have new castors fitted and the stage door needed door knobs. A budget of £10-12 was set.

There’s no record of the outcome of the Cricket Match but it was clearly amicable because a Car Rally was organised and took place the following month for members and their friends!

Appropriately enough the next production was to be ‘A Wild Goose Chase’ and one of the most important jobs was to write to the Chief Constable about borrowing a policeman’s uniform. How times have changed!

A Wild Goose Chase

A few new members were mentioned in the programme by the Producer Sylvia Cook : ‘Neil Whiteley…sense of humour and easy going nature ; Susan Vinci, playng the part of a young scots lass..with a name like Vinci that takes some doing; Lloyd Marlow playing P.C. Pond and keeping his wife Kay, Geddington’s Post Mistress, awake at night learning his lines. ‘ All three are seen with other established members of the cast in the photograph from the production.

The production was a success in more ways than one and enabled the purchase of new ‘flats’ and extra lighting equipment.

How the Other Half Loves

The production that followed was ‘How the Other Half Loves’ by Alan Aykbourn which would be quite an ambitious project , subject to much more hefty royalties than usual, but produced by the experienced Maurice Holmes. Admission would be 60p and programmes 10p. As well as the usual advertisement in the Evening Telegraph there were to be posters in the village and car stickers available. The play was a huge success.  The Evening Telegraph headline was  ‘Top Class Performance’  with a generous sprinkling of ‘hilarious’, outstanding’ and ‘excellent’ in the review.

GADS now had a healthy bank balance, an efficient lighting system, wide costume and props stock and good stage facilities. They were able to make donations to the Village Hall, Gardening Club and The Chapel. They also said farewell to Mr & Mrs Shaw, stalwarts of the society for some years, giving them a book on Northamptonshire as a memento of happy times.

When a production of The Boyfriend was proposed it was realised that the society was short of young male actors and there was a plan put in place to encourage young players to join the group .. and so the seeds for a Young GADS were sown. By now Keith A’Ness was Chairman and the reputation of the village productions was strong enough for the committee to notify Weekend Television of future productions in the hope that they would feature them in their broadcasts.

In ‘The Boyfriend’ Marlyn Davies featured in the article in the Evening Telegraph as Hortense, the maid, looking very glamorous and Kay Marlow was praised for her performance as Polly Brown, a poor little rich girl; a far cry from Kay’s day job as the postmistress! Also commended was Marion Sexton for the ‘admirable musical accompaniment’

A new decade was about to arrive and GADS would continue to grow in number, skill and ambition, providing quality entertainment in the village over the next 10 years.

If reading this article brings back memories, please take a moment to share them through our ‘Comments’ box.

Finally, Spring has arrived and we have come to the end of another year of website activity. The new style website is now 5 years old. Thanks, as always, to our sponsors who contribute to the maintenance costs and initiatives the website team plan. More importantly their visible support helps to create the awareness across the village and the wider community of what the website offers to all.

Our ‘hits’ continue to grow, but more steadily now, averaging around 5,200 each month, but spiking at over 7,000 when there are items of significant interest happening. Interestingly our Facebook link has also seen significant growth as people use the technology to link to other devices and receive alerts for new ‘posts’ on the site.

This year we continued our occasional series about people and places in Geddington and were grateful to Sally Barlow for sharing her father’s diary so that we could tell the story of Lee’s Way and the family that completely refurbished one of the cottages. It was particularly interesting because we had so many good photographs to link to the story.

GADs has been a village organisation for many years, started by several young couples who had moved into the village when housing was available in the new Skeffington Close. As we discovered though, the tradition of light opera and amateur dramatics went way back before the second world war. With patrons and supporters from the Boughton estate and the de Capel Brooke family in Great Oakley, the villagers of the time revealed a strong talent for music, theatrical design and public performance. Our GADs series continues with the ‘post’ about the latest decade about to the published. We now have a wealth of material in the Archive in relation to this popular organisation.

The Archive itself has been boosted by over 80 contributions from Steve Brown’s personal collection of Geddington memorabilia. We are just waiting to load the photographs to match the descriptors and hope that everyone will be able to enjoy these images of Geddington past.

David Valentine, who lived in the village in his early years and knows it well because he delivered the bread on a daily basis to many of the families, was kind enough to give up some of his time to help us plan a village tour (virtual and real), complete with anecdotes and additional information from the earlier years of the 20th century. That project is not yet complete and we would welcome anyone who might be interested in helping with it getting in touch.

Following on from the project done at Geddington School and as the anniversary of the end of The Great War approaches, the website team are planning a small event on 4th November where we would like to exhibit those records we have of life at the time and, of course, of those men and women who took an active part in the field of war. If you have any letters or memorabilia of any kind that you would be happy to share, please get in touch with Pam 742292 or Janet 726416 or via the Contact Us link on the home page.

Do you know someone who does not use the website and would like to? Look out for a session soon on ‘Finding your way around’ for those who may be unfamiliar with the set up.

We have decided to hold our AGM this year on 12th April at 7:00pm in The Star. Formal business will be brief and will be followed from 7:30pm by an open invitation to all our contributors and representatives from village organisations, indeed anyone with an interest in the website, to join us so that we can discuss the future style, content and activities of the website to best serve the village community.

We hope you have enjoyed what we have presented to you over the year; we hope you will continue to use the website and spread the word. If you can’t make 12th April, but want to pass on ideas or comments please use the Contact Us link. Best of all come along and have a chat with us on 12th April – we would appreciate hearing your ideas.

Happy Easter to you all.

The Website Team

In 1968 Harold Wilson was backing Britain, the Prague Spring shifted the European balance of power, America was embroiled in the Vietnam War, Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King was murdered and the musical ‘Hair’ opened on Broadway.

In Geddington, after a gap in productions due to illness, GADS got creative to raise the profile of the society across different organisations in the village. A 1-Act Easter play performed to the members of the WI proved particularly successful and alleviated the disappointment of having to cancel the spring production.

But the show must go on….and soon plans for a farce, ‘Double Wedding’, were underway and a date for the Play Reading was settled on. The production proved a great success with lead parts being taken by Margaret Stafford, Keith Tomlinson  and Jack Miller, seen below checking that their whiskey bottle really is empty! Particular praise was given to Mona Jones in her role as the coy, chapel-going maiden aunt. Producer Mary Rowles had worked her magic again.

The production of Two in the Bush that followed in March 1969 got generous praise from the press:

‘the entertainment value was enormous’

The cast of Two in the Bush 1969

‘they are certainly living up to their reputation’ 

                        ‘a very attractive and practical set’

‘Two In the Bush’ had the audience rocking with laughter’

As this was Sylvia Cook’s debut production, she and the cast must have been delighted; Michael Pell revealed his talent as a comic alongside Margaret Stafford and Dorothy Carver as two strong minded women, David Hawthorn as a convincing Brigadier and Joan Elliott of Newton ‘suitably vigorous’ as a former Major.

The next few years were uncertain as the society struggled to find a permanent producer and members willing and able to commit to the rehearsal time required. In the interim, play readings in members’ homes, social events and performances of 1 Act dramas to other village groups kept the thespian flame alive. Eventually in 1971, Maurice Holmes stepped in as an experienced producer and the casting for ‘The Bride and the Bachelor’ began. Though audience numbers were inevitably low after such a long gap between productions, the cast delivered the complex and witty storyline with some skill and those who had paid their 10p for a seat were well rewarded.   Do current readers remember the days of ‘Geddington Cross’ as the telephone code?!

By 1974 GADS was back on a firmer footing but decided to reintroduce membership subscriptions to reinforce the sense of ‘corporate identity’. The princely sum of 30p was duly asked of members! While those in the cast gained recognition on the stage and in the press, we must not forget the backstage team; Jackie Harker, ticket sales, Prompter Maureen Rushby, electricians Chris Stephenson, Bert Stafford, and Chris Kiernan and Wardrobe Loris Calver amongst others. The team work was very evident and the offer from Joan Elliott to do a ‘Buffet Supper at her home was ‘received with acclamation’!

Audience numbers were back up, membership was growing, finances were healthy and the Village Hall stage had been decorated by members. It was time for another production…’Not now Darling’ was a witty, sexy comedy involving ‘a blundering idiot and a stripper’. It was a huge success. Marlyn Davis carried off the striptease without scandalising the village residents. Well done to the producer, Sylvia Cook, and the supporting cast of Len Butlin, Eric Johnson, Lynette Bachnet, Stephen Exley, Jackie Kemp and Eric Saunders. Fur coats and the delights of seventies fashion featured strongly in the storyline … a great time was had by all and the after show party at The Star was also a great success.

Times were changing and Geddington and GADS were changing with them. The mixture of youth and experience and a great deal of talent in the cast, bound together with hard work meant the future looked bright for the village productions to come.

I hope you have all picked up the details of GADS’ next production; Alice in Wonderland in just a couple of week’s time.

Click to enlarge

As we look forward to a new production, it is also interesting to look back, as we said we would, to that first decade of productions that followed the establishment of the drama society for the village.

Yes, this really is the Village Hall stage in November 1959 for the production of  ‘When we are married’ complete with stag’s head and aspidistra!


As a newly formed group still trying to establish their reputation, the group were quite careful about the plays they chose to produce, about the financial commitments they made and the still unresolved question of whether or not to have raked seating and raised levels to the stage!

The years from 1957 to 1967 brought Rock ‘n Roll, the Beatles, mini skirts, John F Kennedy and the Cold War to the world. In Geddington the tradition of two productions a year became established and a significant decision was made to purchase lighting equipment so that it would no longer be necessary to borrow it. The company had a healthy surplus of £37 11s 4d in their account as a result of their second production, ‘Such Things Happen’ where the profit was nearly £22!

Programme from April 1958

‘Fools Rush in ‘ and ‘Ghost Train’ were the 1958 productions and, as membership of the group had grown, the Society felt more confident about staging more ambitious productions. The audience however were not forgotten and the decision was taken to invest in 100 cushions at 3s 6d each to ensure the comfort of those watching!

The cast of Cat on the Fiddle 1964

By now the meetings and rehearsals were taking place in The Star, membership was strong and those joining paid a small subscription. In 1960 there were 2 new members, Mrs Sylvia Cook and Mr Michael Baker. The Star had also operated as a store for props but a new home for these needed to be considered because the local mice population found the material ideal for their nests! However the show must go on… and Mary Rowles’ production of ‘The White Sheep of the Family’ was opened up to the Darby and Joan Club on the Thursday evening of the run… at half price.

By 1964 the membership was around 25, subscriptions were 2s 6d and the Production of ‘Cat on the Fiddle’ had produced record ticket sales of over £50. Consideration was given to raking the seating in the Village Hall and to creating a tiered stage … but first the question of curtains to cover the kitchen window of the Village Hall had to be agreed. Mrs Rowles, as the Chair, gave the authority for them, Mrs Curtis was to make them, but a sample had to be shown first to the Village Hall Committee!

Fool’s Paradise 1965

‘Goodnight Mrs Puffin’ and ‘A Fool’s Paradise’ produced by Keith Tomlinson were both a success in terms of both audience numbers and ticket revenue. The productions were now more sophisticated; new lighting, costumes and stage management facilities were in place but the Minutes clearly show that the essential informality of a group of friends running the society for the purpose of entertaining villagers was at the heart of what they did and one of the main reasons they gave their time and expertise to the productions.

Goodnight Mrs Puffin April 1965

With 20 successful productions now under their belt the GADS company could look forward to the next decade with confidence and their audiences were assured of an evening of entertainment whatever the genre of the productions.