A bumper issue this time, with information on forthcoming events, a round-up of recent problems in the village and a fascinating history of an old Birlingham family.
 
In this issue:
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1. Annual Parish Meeting, 11th May
 
The Annual Parish Meeting takes place this evening (Wednesday 11th May) in Birlingham Village Hall at 7.00pm. This meeting will be followed by the regular bi-monthly Parish Council meeting at 7.30pm. The Parish Council is your link to the District and County Councils and is there to protect the interests of the village. So do come along and have your say on village matters.
 
The Agendas for the meetings are available at www.birlingham.org/pc_info/pc_agenda_2016-05-11A.pdf and www.birlingham.org/pc_info/pc_agenda_2016-05-11B.pdf. The draft minutes of the last Annual Parish Meeting on 20th May 2015 are at www.birlingham.org/pc_info/pc_annual_2015-05-20.pdf and the draft minutes of the last Parish Council meeting on 16th March are at www.birlingham.org/pc_info/pc_minutes_2016-03-16.pdf.
 
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A reminder to everyone that there will be a meeting in Birlingham Village Hall on Monday 16th May starting at 7.00pm to discuss the development of a Village Design Statement. The meeting will cover:
  • What is a VDS and why do we need one?
  • What does it contain and what is the process for developing it?
  • How you can help in various working groups by volunteering your time.
We are looking for volunteers to help in the development of our VDS, so please come along.
 
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For their meeting on Thursday 21st July, Birlingham IW are undertaking a history walk around the village. Research into the history of the life and buildings of the village is underway but if you have any information, pictures, maps or stories about your house, the people who lived in the village or the life of Birlingham the IW Committee would be really pleased to hear from you.
 
Please contact: Caryl Mills (01386 751748), June Barke (01386 750949) or Felicity Collier (01386 751194).
 
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Now that spring has finally arrived and summer is around the corner the Flower & Produce Show Committee feel that it is time to give a gentle reminder of the delights of the village show. This year’s show will be held on Saturday 3rd September on Birlingham Cricket Ground – please put this date in your diary! Schedules will be delivered through your door by the end of May and will be available in the information point (telephone box). If you don’t get one or want more copies please contact one of the committee.
 
There will be a theme to some of the classes this year – the Olympics. These will be highlighted in the schedule but include the Floral Art, a decorated cake and an Olympic model made from Lego, for both adults and children.
 
Due to low numbers of entries the children’s classes have been amalgamated into one section, up to the age of 12. It will be important that the child’s age is attached to the exhibits so that the judges can make fair comparisons. All those over the age of 12 are very welcome to exhibit in the main classes.  
 
The hanging basket competition will be judged in the middle of July on the same basis as the last two years – all hanging baskets in Birlingham which are visible from the road will be judged unless you opt out. The date of judging will be announced separately.
 
There will be the opportunity for local craft or business people to have stalls. If you are interested in running your own stall please contact a member of the committee to find out more information. If you wish to donate a prize for the raffle we would be delighted to hear from you.
 
If you are able to offer any assistance with setting up and taking down tables and equipment, selling raffle tickets or taking money at the gate, we would appreciate your support.
 
Please contact: Caryl Mills and Kris Mills (01386 751748, caryl-mills@hotmail.co.uk) or Dave and Clare Kew (01386 553575).
 
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Graham Lunn from Yorkshire writes:
I am working my way through my family history and Birlingham seems to be a significant place at the far reaches of the research done to date.
 
Years ago I was told that my ancestors came from Denmark and settled in the Netherlands around 900AD. Some moved to England around 1500; the earliest record I have found is a Robert Lunn(e) who lived in Birlingham around 1550 and died in 1625. His son, also Robert, died in 1657 and was the father of George Lunn(e) in 1630, who was again born in Birlingham and became churchwarden. I  understand that his name is inscribed on a church bell. [Editor’s note: The inscription on the fifth bell reads ‘George Lunn and John Cubberley – Churchwardens 1689’.]
 
George married Elizabeth Cookes or Cook in 1662 and had a child Robert in 1669. Robert married Elizabeth Smithins in 1698 (living in Defford). They had three children, Robert, Elinour and Elizabeth. Robert (the father) died in 1709 leaving a very young family.
 
Robert (their son) was born in 1700, married Sarah Sherriff at Birlingham and had one son, Robert again, in 1731. This Robert died in 1794 and is buried at St Egwins Church in Norton. He married a Mary Rock in 1768 and they had a son John in 1771. John died at Polesworth.
 
Something happened to the family at this point, whether hardship or whatever, but they ended up moving to the new West Midlands factories, to become glassworkers in Oldbury. Whether this is connected or not I don’t know but they started having very large families; census records show upwards of eight children in one house. Their employer was The Chances Glassworks which owned 40 cottages in one street called Scotch Row; these cottages had over 300 persons in them.
 
One census record shows an 8-year-old child, an ancestor of mine, as a labourer at the glassworks. It is said that the air was so bad that it could strip the bark off the trees. We all moan about Health and Safety restrictions in the 21st Century; perhaps we would take a different view if we experienced life in a Victorian factory.
 
I have found researching my family history to be fascinating and shocking at the same time. I have gone from not even knowing the names of my grandparents to knowing the name of the churchwarden at Birlingham in the 1600s!
 
I would be delighted to hear anything more on my ancestors.You can imagine that a trip to Birlingham is on the agenda for 2016.
 
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Over the past few weeks there has been a spate of reports of antisocial behaviour in the village. This includes:
  • Litter. For many months now residents of Lower End have been experiencing regular littering of lager and cider cans. The cans are left on the roadside and in hedgerows or even thrown into the fields where sheep are kept. On one occasion 11 cans were picked up. If you see anyone dropping litter, please report it.
  • Dog fouling. There is a continuing problem with dog mess in the village, particularly around Lower End. If you are out walking, please clean up after your dog.
  • Graffiti. Some very poor graffiti recently appeared on the phone box and the road signs around Church Street. This was cleaned off straightaway but if you know who was responsible, please let us know.
  • Fly tipping. A large pile of rubble has been tipped at the end of Berwick Lane. If you see any vehicle going down the lane with similar loads, please make a note of the registration number.
All these problems, and more, can be reported directly to Wychavon District Council at www.wychavon.gov.uk/report-it but please also keep us informed at news@birlingham.org.
 
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The following planning application has been received by the Parish Council:
  • Lower End Farm, Berwick Lane: Extend and convert existing garage into a 2 bedroom holiday and short course let (Case No. 16/01045). Awaiting decision by Wychavon District Council. (Consultation period ends on 27th May.) Full details can be viewed on the Wychavon DC website at www.e-wychavon.org.uk/pl/pl.exe?cs=16/01045.
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