Rogation Celebrations 2010 in the Lambourn valley
On May 9th - Rogation Sunday, once again the parishes of Lambourn, Eastbury and East Garston, combined to hold services at stables and a farm, celebrating the ancient custom of asking for God’s blessing on crops and stock. We were fortunate in having The Revd Linda Hillier, who is a member of the Rural Officers team in the Oxford Diocese, to lead our services, which take the simple form of prayers, a hymn, readings and a blessing.
This occasion is a chance for us to learn about the rural economy enterprises on our doorsteps, as each host takes us on a tour of their premises and talks about their operation. Clive Cox at Beechdown Farm Stables at Sheepdrove, showed us his impressive yard and introduced us to his magnificent horses, before we moved to the gallops with spectacular views across the Wiltshire and South Oxfordshire countryside, to complete our service. At Eastbury we were again welcomed by Alistair Lidderdale to his delightful “picture postcard” cottage stables, and his highly entertaining Jack Russell, who delighted in all the attention he got.
At East Garston, Neil Walker gave a most interesting talk on Westfield Farm, which is an example of modern progressive farming. Apart from the very extensive arable operation, the farm has diversified by creating business premises which are let to various companies. Our service here was conducted in a showroom displaying children’s bedroom furniture and toys. Neil has also taken part in a scheme to provide green fuel to local power stations: the first harvesting of his willow plantation has just taken place. A point of interest to those from Lambourn, was that Neil leases his land from the Isbury Trust which supports the Alms Houses at Lambourn.
It is four years since The Revd Tony Cumberlidge introduced this form of Rogation celebration and we have been able to build on its success. This is a time for remembering that church and countryside have always enjoyed and perhaps needed, interdependence. Our grateful thanks go to Clive and Tina Cox, Alistair and Alison Lidderdale, Neil and Alice Walker and The Revd Linda Hillier.
____posted May 24th 2010____