Northampton Mercury 07 June 1912
CASTLETHOHPE CHESTNUT TREES.
“To the Editor the Mercury”
Sir. I have been residing report of a meeting of the Highway Committee of the Newport Pagnell Rural District Council, which was held Wednesday, May 29, when a matter relating to Castlethorpe was brought on. With your permission, I should like review the situation and give my opinion thereon. At the entrance the village from Hanslope and the railway station stand four chestnut trees, all that now remain of a fine avenue them, which, for several centuries, have been the pride the village, and. in recent years, have been admired by many who used the station, from whence splendid view of them was obtained, which in spring, when they were full flower, was a magnificent sight.
Some years ago lightning partially destroyed one them, and few years later during a heavy gale, one was blown down. This unfortunate occurrence gave rise to the feeling by a few that the remainder were longer safe. The Parish Council took the matter in hand, and the Lord the Manor (Mr. E. H. Watts), to whom these belong, with view having them removed or properly lopped. The latter consented to do, and had the work put in hand forthwith, but for some reason (possibly a misunderstanding on the part someone) the trees, instead being properly lopped, were really mutilated, until there was very little besides the lower portion of the trunks left.
Many were the expressions of regret at such drastic work. Some two years have elapsed since this was done, and the trees are now slowly This year there are nice lot young growths on each, but now, we who cherish such mementoes of the past, are threatened with another blow.
There appears be section in the village who would, if it was in their power, demolish all such relics, and do what they call modernise the place. It is this party who cry: “Cut them down and remove them, widen the road, and thus bring the approach to the village up-to-date.'’
I notice our Rural District Council, representative mentions it as dangerous spot, and that an accident has occurred there.
Sir, within the memory of the oldest living inhabitant one accident only has occurred there, that which Mr. Richardson speaks. Since that happened, several alterations have been made there. The Railway have placed a lamp in such a position to illuminate the bend in the road, and also a piece of paddock that formerly made the road bend rather sharp has taken away and footpath made for pedestrians, altogether making the approach the village very good both for vehicular traffic and for foot passengers. Surely this is therefore, but poor excuse for wanting the road widened.
The Parish Council acknowledged the manorial rights of Mr. Watts in the first instance, and from what transpired they that his wish is to let the trees remain. Now they appear to be ignoring these right; and taking upon themselves the power over them, and trying to make either the Rural District Council or the County Council to take the matter in hand and have the work done.
It seems me sir that if the Parish Council have just awoke to the fact that they must look after the public’s safety in their parish, there are several parts which are real danger spots without dealing an imaginary one as this is in order to get a pet idea of theirs carried out.
I maintain this should not done for two reasons firstly, being in the opinion many an absolute unnecessary job would be a total waste money the part of the several Councils that would be involved according to Mr. Young's suggestion. Secondly, demolish a landmark that has stood for hundreds years, and those acquainted with local history is of unfold interest, would very wrong.
I hope lord of the manor will stand by those who long for the preservation, and such links with the past, and use his power to prevent the suggested scheme being carried out. Surely there are some gentlemen on the Councils mentioned who will not consent to such drastic steps being taken without first thoroughly investigating the whole case.
With apologies. Mr. Editor, for trespassing on your valued space.
A CASTLETHORPE RESIDENT.
Northampton Mercury 14 June 1912
To the Editor of the “Mercury”
Sir, I was surprised read in your evening paper that even a suggestion of removing those dear old chestnut trees had been mooted. Why, it would be positively nothing short of sacrilege.
Surely some very strong measure should taken promptly to prevent such thing.
Up to now I personally had not heard of it, but should be one of the first to protest, although a bird of passage (my business makes me so). I am fond of the village, and should, indeed, regret anything in the shape of up-to-dateness: its oldness and unlikeness a town is its greatest charm.
While thanking you in anticipation for your courtesy in publishing this, I beg to subscribe myself, yours.
The Retreat, Castlethorpe, Bucks June 7, 1912
Northampton Mercury 21 June 1912
CASTLETHORPE CHESTNUT TREES.
To the Editor of the Mercury
Sir,With your permission may I have word or two the above subject?
I was delighted to read the two previous letters in your valuable paper, and as an outsider I would say to the friends at Castlethorpe, “Bravo! stick your guns and save what remains those once splendid trees.”
We who have travelled up and down the L. and N.W. Railway missed the lovely old trees badly last springtime, but I think we missed them more this season, for never in recent memory can there have been a season in which the chestnut and other trees have bloomed more profusely.
I used love to see this lovely beauty spot of nature, and all the problems nature that we turn over in thought this one of beauty sometimes seems the chief Beauty of form, sound, colour, and device in every direction; beauty soaring on every wind; beauty covering almost every scrap of earth in nature, and even the pebble at our feet. Could we but unlock all the History wrapped in it, it would carry us back to the childhood of the world. I contend, therefore that the commonest flower within itself is a study and is an autograph from the hand of the Creator, whether grown in the garden or among the rocks, or on a chestnut other trees.
If this is so should we not be very careful and not spoil the beautiful trees more than can help. Now first think of it : Those lovely old chestnut trees at Castlethorpe must have taken at least over 800 years to grow, and then to be topped until there is very little left .If one or two of the heavy brunches had been cut and made a bit lighter there would been no danger to anyone.
A part of their former self would return, if, instead of taking them away, the present young growth was thinned out to a few leaders by a man who knows his work. Might I suggest that the L. and N.W. Railway Company asked to see the lord the manor Mr. E. H. Watts and try to save the trees.
With your permission, I should like sound the note of warning a little further. This cutting and lopping, and not replanting, means to us as nation less trees less water. The lack water is perhaps, the greatest physical defect of Palestine to-day. Why? Because this destruction trees has been caused the custom of the shepherds cutting down the branches from the trees for their flocks. The charcoal burners and others also do a lot of harm by cutting down and not replanting. Austria couple of decades ago found that her streams were going, and now she is replanting and getting her streams back again. The same could be said about Spain. Prussia, and France, but France is so strict about this cutting that anyone cutting a tree down is bound by law to plant another.
In 50 years France has planted 3,000,00 acres of the pine alone. A century ago a lot of land was only swamps and dunes, but now, through the planting of these pines, this same land is the most beautiful garden and vineyard country in France, and in the place of the once profit less hills are neat, pretty, and prosperous villages of foresters, gardeners. and viticulturists.
Well, what do I mean by all this; Why that we hope that good old Castlethorpe will spare her trees, and let us try and get our friends to do what they can to spare the trees everywhere. Of course, I know we must have timber, but for every tree we cut down, let us plant two young ones.
Yours, E. BURMAM
Arcade and Kerr-street
View of The Chestnuts towards the junction for Hanslope and Station Rd.
Parish Meeting 15 April 1915
Letter be sent to the Highways Committee asking them to appoint a deputation to meet the parish Council with a view to having the old chestnut trees removed and other improvements.
Parish Meeting 22 March 1920
In the opinion of this meeting that it would be a great improvement to have the old chestnut trees removed and steps be taken to obtain the sanction of the Lady of the Manor.
The clerk write Mr Thomas County Surveyor as to reason for not completing the work of repairing the road near the old chestnut trees.
Parish Meeting 12 July 1920
That the clerk write Messrs. Carter Jonas & Son and if possible arrange an interview in reference to the following:
As to the ownership of the old chestnut trees with a view to getting the later handed over to the Council to enable them to widen the road and improve the entrance to the village.
Parish Meeting 18 March 1926
The Chestnut Trees at the entrance to the village should be removed and the road widened & asked that the County Council be approached regarding same.
Mr Evans complained that on account of the road being widened opposite his house it has caused water after a heavy fall of rain to run over the path into the house & asked that the matter be referred to the Council.
Parish Meeting 05 March 1927
Chestnut Trees - A suggestion was made that the Council obtain legal opinion regarding having the trees removed which are claimed as property of the Lady of the Manor.
Parish Meeting 16 April 1929
The cutting down of the Chestnut Trees and widening the Roadway as suggested by Mr Richardson at the Annual meeting was discussed. It was resolved no action should be taken.
Parish Meeting 29 November 1935
Chestnut Trees - The clerk was then instructed to write a further letter to the County Council, referring to the Chestnut Trees. Stating the disclaiming of trees by Lord of Manor, and the permission to take steps for improvement.
A letter was read from the Bucks County Council asking for the trees on the North side of station to be lopped, as they were a danger to traffic and injuring the roadway. The Council decided to write to Whatton & Sons of Hartwell, asking for an estimate for the lopping of these trees, and also asking a quotation for the clearing of old Chestnut Trees.
Parish Meeting 10 February 1936
An estimate was then considered from E. Whatton & Sons Timber Merchants, for the removal & uprooting of the decayed trees. The Chairman strongly moved that this work should be done if possible. For the sum of £14-10-0 it was resolved that the clerk inform Whatton of Hartwell to start work without delay. This was carried.
Parish Meeting 29 May 1936
The clerk was ordered to write to the County Council thanking them for the improvement made to the road and footpath, following the felling of the old Chestnut Trees, by the parish Council. Also stating that this Council could see room for a little clearing up yet to be done.
Parish Meeting 05 September 1949
A letter was presented from ,Mrs E. Nichols, secretary of the Branch of the W.I. asking if that body would be allowed to plant red chestnut trees on the green where old chestnuts a few years back had been felled and cleared away on being dangerous to the public through age. It was thought it would vastly improve the main entrance to the village and asked for the Council’s support. On discussing this it was considered a matter for the County Council and the clerk was asked to pass the letter on to the County Council.
Parish Meeting 19 October 1950
Tree Planting: The Women's Instute for sometime past intended planting May trees on the grass verge known as the Chestnuts.
Permission had been granted by the County Council and the Highways Committee, asking the Parish Council to accept liability for the trees, after planting.
The Council agreed to accept liability for the trees at such time as they were properly planted and protected.
Parish Meeting 21 November 1950
It was known the W.I.had consent to go ahead with their planting of the trees already agreed to. The chairman had been approached by the W.I., as to whether the Council would agree to erecting protection railings round the young trees.
It was realised by the Council, that this could be an expensive job, and in view of the heavy demand on a very small spending power, it was thought well to ask the Financial Officer if the Council were in order in spending money in this way. The Council were agreed in meeting members of the Women's Instute.