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January-April 2005

A silent ball of vivid green light was seen crossing low in the sky over Eardisland, from east to west, viewed from the centre of the road close to the centre of the village, on Sunday 20th February at 10.05am. It was travelling at phenomenal speed (and was not a balloon or any mechanical object). It appeared in a bright clear sky, on a dipping horizontal, trajectory.
A request was placed in the Hereford Times for information or explanation. Two people said they had seen the phenomenon but did not know what it was. One lady saw a report on Bristol local news that a sighting was made there. However, the answer was provided by a local astronomer. He phoned and said that the sighting was a rare one of a "sporadic meteor" (if found, it becomes "a meteorite"). It is especially unusual to see such a bright one in daylight. The aura may have been the result of the heat it generated. It may have been 250 km away. It is much more frequent to see them in the night (as night showers). This one was travelling at perhaps 40km a second and reports have been sent to the British Astronomical Association; a detailed report will follow in due course. It may have been only 10cm in diameter and would gradually have disintegrated, when it would have appeared like a firework. It was also seen over Ireland, Landsend and Brittany. He added that colleagues he had spoken to said it was a once in a lifetime sighting and they would have given their right arms to have seen it.

Portrait of a Parish
The third video production in our trilogy is now well underway. The film makers have now covered the work of several village based craftsmen, hop picking by hand, the Morris Men; the Duck Race; village memories; hedge laying; and the examination of three timber framed buildings (both externally and internally). We are most grateful to everyone who has assisted so willingly to date; we have been able to illustrate many important facets of parish life and also record one building which has been overlooked by every expert to date, and which may prove to be one of the oldest and most important in the village. All will be revealed when the video is completed. The film makers will return again in the early spring to complete further sequences. The video will be completed and ready for distribution by the end of the year.
Work is also nearing completion of the proposed photographic record of about 200 village properties. These are accompanied by relevant text, where we have information about them. We are grateful to all those who have responded to our request for such information. If anyone has an objection to their property appearing in the book (to be published by Print Plus of Hereford) please let us know. There will be a chance to check the entry of properties as soon as page proofs are received. These will be displayed in the village hall so that any corrections can be made. This will be advertised as soon as a date can be fixed.

Twinning with Lyre
A suggestion was made in recent editions of the Parish Magazine (Nos. 85 & 86) that Eardisland should be twinned with la Vieille Lyre, in Normandy. It is thought, on reliable historical evidence, that by 1189 the Abbey of Lyre was enjoying the income attached to the Church of St Mary in Eardisland. It is also recorded that in June 1269 there was an appropriation by John, Bishop of Hereford, to the Abbot and monks of Lyre, of two portions of the greater tithes of the church in Eardisland.
In response to the article, Ruth Brinton Bivand kindly translated a letter outlining the idea into French. This was duly sent to the Mayor of La Vieille Lyre, to see if he and his council colleagues would be interested in pursuing the idea of a twinning procedure. A telephone call was received from the mayor stating that he and his colleagues were indeed very enthusiastic about the suggestion. He said that La Vieille Lyre is a small town of about 650 people. It is situated on a river; it has many historic monuments (although little is left of the Abbey), some of which date to Roman times. He will send a copy of a booklet about the town and we have sent him a copy of our book of Eardisland. He even suggested a possible meeting between representatives of our two communities in due course.
It is thought that if the matter is to develop fruitfully, it would be best if the Eardisland Parish Council could support it. The matter will be discussed at future meetings and decisions made. In addition, a meeting will be held with members of a group who have successfully twinned with a town in France to learn more about what is entailed and how to proceed. The Mayor of Lyre remains enthusiastic for the project to succeed.

The History Video
The new video produced by the Oral History and Archaeological projects Group will be available shortly. It is designed for Key Stage 2 (Upper Juniors). It shows how children, under supervision of adults, can undertake valuable research in any locality. The video uses Eardisland to illustrate the ideas and methods that can be adopted.

It lasts 30 minutes and will have its premier showing in a March. These photographs were taken during filming by Squirrel Productions of Cheshire.

More details of the video will be provided when it becomes available.

The AGM was held on Thursday 17th January in the White Swan. All those interested in the developments of the Club are most welcome to contact new Secretary Bill Price in Eardisland. It was announced that the new ground should be ready for play in June of this year. More details will be posted when the programme has been decided. Membership is £5 for adults and £1 for those 16 and under.

The work at Burton Court has closed for the winter months but it is hoped to resume in the early spring. Among the work to be done will be some surveying and mapping of areas of interest (including the orchards and major trees); field walking; photographic work; excavations (including work under the supervision of Herefordshire Archaeology, later in the summer) and researching artefacts and documents. It is hoped to start the new programme in March. More details will be posted once work restarts.

Oral History News
The OHG has put up a display of photographs for the Jubilee Exhibition in the church in February showing events in the village between 1952-2002.

We have included copies of publications written by parishioners, (books and pamphlets)
items relating to them, from newspapers or magazine. We have a secure cabinet to place them in, and the opening preview evening was well attended.

It is now open to the public daily in St Mary's Church.

Research by the OHG continues and there are regular meetings held in The White Swan.



Should Eardisland be twinned with the Normandy town of Lyre la Vielle?

Historians have made clear (see Norman Reeves, The Leon Valley p142/3) that following the Conquest, by 1086 the Manor of Eardisland passed to the Abbey of Lyre, in Normandy.

The Abbey had power to appoint the vicars to Eardisland (and presumably collect appropriate tithes) from that date. About 150 years later, in the reign of Edward 3rd (1327-1377) the Abbey created a vicarage. There is a record that in 1367 the visiting Bishop was informed that the vicar of Eardisland had very cramped accommodation and no garden in which he could walk in solitude or grow basic crops. He was provided with a piece of land from the rectorial glebe.

The monks of Lyre retained their power to appoint vicars until Henry 5th ended their rights to do so. He transferred these to a Carthusian Priory in Shene, in Surrey, which he had founded in 1414.

It may be that Monks Court had been the meeting place of the manorial court until this time.

The Priory of Shene was suppressed at the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry 8th, when the Manor of Eardisland came into lay hands for the first time.

It is apparent that the connection between Eardisland and Lyre was a strong one for over 300 years. If the two were twinned, it would revive a fascinating historical link; it would provide opportunities for young people to see their community in a wider perspective; it may generate tourism between members of each community as well as the opportunity for many new cultural exchanges.

I am unsure as to how such twinning procedures are established but perhaps the matter could be further investigated if it was felt that it would be of benefit to the parish and parishioners. Could someone visiting the area could make enquiries?

Paul Selfe.