Hello, and welcome to this month’s blog round-up, featuring all of February’s blog posts, an exclusive short story from thirty years ago, and an update on the Lost Pubs of Burton.
February began (or rather January ended) with an early morning trip down the Cross-City Line to Butlers Lane and Blake Street stations in Sutton Coldfield. It’s not often I travel by train in the dark, and I was able to experience an eerily-quiet Tamworth station on my way there. I saw the remains of an old mill and its adjacent mill pond, now a local nature reserve. I also saw the Sutton Coldfield transmitting mast, which is where my TV and radio comes from.
Following that, I took a return trip to the historical town of Newark-on-Trent to visit the other railway station in the town, Newark Northgate. I only walked to the station; I didn’t catch a train to or from there. I took the train to Newark Castle station. I had a walk around the town centre and also around the castle grounds, although the castle is undergoing repairs at the moment.
The third blog post of the month came from Hope, a village in the Peak District in Derbyshire. I was there for only three hours, most of which was spent ascending and descending Lose Hill, just over 1500 feet above the ground.
In the blog post, I alluded to being taught the legend of Win Hill and Lose Hill at school. Here, published for the first time, is the piece I wrote about it in January 1993 aged 11:
A long, long time ago in 626AD, England was divided into three parts:- Northumbria in the north, Mercia in the middle and Wessex in the south. There were also three kings, one for each part, King Edwin in the north, Penda in the middle and Ceowulf in Wessex. King Edwin stole some land from Ceowulf (who was dying at the time). Ceowulf’s sons were not amused and said to their father “Let him get away with it, and he is sure to take more land!” Ceowulf wasn’t listening, because he had died.Martyn, 1993
“What shall we do now?” asked Cynegils. “Hold on!”, said Ciuchelm, fumbling through Ceowulf’s things. “Aha! I’ve found his will. Let’s see what it says.” I leave half of the land to each of my sons. “Great!” said Cynegils, “Let’s share it now!”
Meanwhile, up in the north, Edwin was angry as usual. He decided to declare war on Ceowulf’s sons. He sent a message down to them, saying “I hereby declare war against you, because I’m angry.” The lads sent an envoy up called Eumer, who had a dagger hidden in his pocket, to check all the details of the war. Now, Edwin had a pretty loyal maid named Lila. When Eumer got to Edwin’s castle, he was just about to kill Edwin when Lila jumped in front of the dagger and died. Edwin was so upset, he ordered his guards to kill Eumer, and they did.
King Penda thought “Hmm. I’ve always wanted to kill Edwin. I’ll send my army.” By now, the contenders were on their way to the venue. Edwin’s army camped on Win Hill and the opposing side camped on Lose Hill. The battle went underway. Edwin’s army built a stone wall around the top of the hill. The other team marched up the hill, so the army of Edwin pushed the boulders down on them, knocking them into the River Noe below. The war came to an end. It was a draw.
The last post of the month was the penultimate unvisited station in Staffordshire; Cannock. I didn’t visit the famous Cannock Chase (it’s not the ideal weather for that in February), but I did visit a local nature reserve and had a stroll around the historic town centre. I also had a walk around the shopping centre, which sadly has more shutters than shop fronts these days.
In last month’s news, I mentioned that I would be working on the Lost Pubs section of the blog. Thanks to a great blog I found called Closed Pubs, I have found some more information on the more recently closed pubs in Burton. I have also updated the map with photos and more information on some of the closed pubs in Burton. The ones on the map with a beer glass icon have been updated, working on the others is an ongoing project.
Three trips are booked so far for March, including my first venture to South Yorkshire since Kiveton Park (if you don’t count stopping at Sheffield on the way to Hope), another station (or two) on the Cross-City Line and a trip which I was first going to do in March 2017, but an unfortunate bout of food poisoning meant it was cancelled. To find out where these places are, then you can follow the blog on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter. I only had twelve followers on there, and I don’t particularly want to use Twitter any more, so I deleted that account.