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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Nigel Beware


I’ve always had a soft spot for the name ‘Nigel’ ever since devouring Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Sir Nigel’ and ‘The White Company’ as a child. (For those with time on the hands worth reading.) You can therefore imagine my shock and distress to find out that last year, no ‘Nigel’ was born and named as such in the UK. Nigel is going the way of the Dodo and the Great Auk.

Now, some great soul is doing something about it. The landlord of ‘The Fleece’ in the small village of Bretforton is organising a convention of Nigels. Nigellas, too, will be welcome. The question is whether it will be in the vein of a Viking funeral or a celebratory kindling of a great new fire giving birth to a phoenix called Nigel.
The Fleece
Which one looks the more ghostly?

Looking less haunted, though note the ice cream

If I was called Nigel, you can bet your bottom dollar I’d be there. But I’m not. I’m called Michael. So it’s a damn lucky thing I was there last weekend and enjoyed a pint of Wye Valley Ale and a large pork chop from the similarly endangered breed of ‘Old Spot’.

For anyone else, not blessed or cursed with the name of Nigel, Bretforton is well worth visiting, the Fleece even more so.

The earliest mention of Bretforton is recorded in 709 A D so it’s old enough to be haunted by a variety of ghosts. There’s Lola Taplin, a former landlady, who haunts the Fleece and throws glasses and food about. To my profound disappointment nothing happened as I tucked into my ‘Old Spot.’

Then there’s the C17th cattle driver, the non porcine Spot Loggins, who drowned and now haunts Spot Loggins Well in Bretforton House Farm.

It is said that anyone who runs around the Well three times blindfolded will lose everything they’re carrying. Try that in some parts of Liverpool and the result will be guaranteed.

I love lists like these. Who for example was Aluered? 

The village seen from the church graveyard, the dead centre of the village (sorry)

The Church, too, has its ghosts in the form of a phantom funeral procession. And tread its surrounding fields with respect. They are haunted by a woman holding her own decapitated head. She was murdered in 1707 and has never got over it.

So, just to end and to all those Nigels out there, enjoy the village, and enjoy your free pint of beer.

I love the roof ornamentation here.

 But beware—if you do all eventually  die out, Bretforton offers itself as ready-made postmortal home you may never escape from.


Maria Zannini said...

I'm cheating a little and decided to risk being online for a little while to catch up on your posts. Technically, I'm supposed to stay off the computer for two more weeks.

So how far is Bretforton from where you live? You visit such charming villages. We have nothing like that here. Well, we have drinking establishments and ghosts, but none of the quaint cottages. That makes all the difference. :)

Mike Keyton said...

Happy that you've read my posts, but STERN VOICE - follow doctors orders and get better soon.
We'd love one day to show you and Greg around. Bretforton for example is just over an hour's drive away.

DRC said...

What a lovely little village! and The Fleece looks my kind of place. Nigels should feel very privilaged. and I did chuckle at the comment about the dead centre of the village. I often drive past graveyards and think 'that's the dead centre of town'...

Mike Keyton said...

Thanks, D. I'm put in mind of that old pop song 'making plans for Nigel ' Was it XTC?