08 August 2022

Two interesting houses in
Comberford are on the market

The gate lodge at the entrance to Comberford Hall is currently on the market (Photograph: Hunters, Tamworth)

Patrick Comerford

Two interesting houses close to Comberford village, between Lichfield and Tamworth in Staffordshire, are currently on the market for sale through local estate agents. The Lodge at the entrance to Comberford Hall and Waterloo Cottage on Elford Road are in Wigginton and Hopwas civil parish in Lichfield District, about two or three miles north of Tamworth and about five miles east of Lichfield.

The Lodge on Hallfields Drive at the entrance to Comberford Hall is a three- or four-bedroom detached bungalow on sale through Hunters of Tamworth, 6 Victoria Road, Tamworth, B79 7HL (Telephone: 01827 66277), with an asking price of £450,000.

The Lodge is situated at the entrance to Comberford Hall, with views across open fields. It is described by the agents as ‘detached character property’ that is ‘packed with charm and character, spacious throughout and offers an abundance of internal space.’

The house on the former grounds of Comberford Hall is being sold freehold.

This bungalow includes: entrance hall, living room, kitchen, sitting room, three bedrooms, study or fourth bedroom, conservatory, cloakroom and a family bathroom. To the front is a detached garage and driveway and there is a delightful enclosed garden to the rear.

Waterloo Cottage in Comberford is surrounded by open farmland (Photograph: Henley Charles, Handsworth)

Waterloo Cottage on the east side of Elford Road, is surrounded by open farmland. It stands on the opposite side of the road and north of the entrance to Comberford Hall and just south of Tollgate Lane and the entrance to Comberford village.

This freehold detached house is an impressive country residence and dates from ca 1815, the year of the Battle of Waterloo, which gives the house its name. It is being sold through Henley Charles estate agents of Birmingham, with an asking price of £895,000.

The house stands on almost an acre of gardens and grounds close to Comberford Village just outside of Tamworth and surrounded by open farmland. There are gardens on three sides of the house, with mature gardens, rolling lawns, a south facing raised paved terrace, an ornamental pond, and views and direct access to the surrounding farmland.

This accommodation provides nearly 3,000 square feet. Inside, the house offers the charm of a period property. There is a reception hall on the ground floor and three reception rooms: a formal drawing room with open fireplace, sitting room with Inglenook fireplace and a lounge with log burner. The farmhouse-style kitchen has a dining area, and there is a separate utility room and guest WC. The home office study has separate access to the gardens.

On the first floor, the gallery landing leads to access to five bedrooms, all with fitted wardrobes, two bathrooms and a storage cupboard.

In addition to the main house, a detached one bedroom and bathroom annex could be used as a home office or gym. A brick outbuilding provides storage for machinery and pond equipment.

Comberford and the Tame River corridor have been described as ‘something of a biological hotspot’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford; click on image for full-screen view)

Naturally, I have long been interested in the historical, archaeological and architectural heritage of Comberford. But some years ago, a biodiversity audit of the Tame and Trent River Valleys in Staffordshire by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, based at the Wolseley Centre, also described the part of the Tame River corridor at Comberford as ‘something of a biological hotspot.’

It referred in particular to Manor Farm, with its damp riverside pasture with a large oxbow lake and a pond that is graded a Biodiversity Alert Site. Great crested newt, grass snake, water vole and otter have all been recorded there and there are anecdotal reports of white-clawed crayfish from the River Tame at the Comberford Brook confluence.

Manor Farm is part of the Entry Level Scheme (ELS) and Sheepwash Farm is part of a Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS).

The report’s recommendations included creating a river island using living willow branches from the Manor Farm landholding, and undertaking surveys and monitoring for crayfish, water vole, GCN, otter, grass snake and barn owl.

Referring to the living large woody debris at Comberford the report said the landowner was happy to leave the tree in position and to monitor this feature that provides additional habitat for fish, invertebrate species such as crayfish, and otters. In addition, a pond at Comberford known as ‘The Gravel Pit’ had been stocked with coarse fish.

The recommendations for Comberford in the biodiversity audit of the Tame and Trent River Valleys in Staffordshire by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, based at the Wolseley Centre, which describes the part of the Tame River corridor at Comberford as ‘something of a biological hotspot’

Praying with USPG and the hymns of
Vaughan Williams: Monday 8 August 2022

Saint Dominic (1170-1221) is commemorated in the Church Calendar on 8 August … a statue outside the Basilica of Our Lady of Fair Havens and Saint Dominic in Valletta (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

Today the Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship remembers Saint Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers (1221), with a Lesser Festival (8 August). Before this becomes a busy day, I am taking some time this morning for prayer and reflection.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, whose music is celebrated throughout this year’s Proms season.

In my prayer diary for these weeks I am reflecting in these ways:

1, One of the readings for the morning;

2, Reflecting on a hymn or another piece of music by Vaughan Williams, often drawing, admittedly, on previous postings on the composer;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’

The shrine of Saint Dominic in Saint Dominic’s chapel in the Basilica of San Domenico in Bologna (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Matthew 10: 5-13 (NRSVA):

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. 9 Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for labourers deserve their food. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.’

Today’s reflection: ‘The Five Mystical Songs,’ 1, ‘Easter

Ralph Vaughan Williams was the composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores, a collector of English folk music and song. With Percy Dearmer, he co-edited the English Hymnal, in which he included many folk song arrangements as hymn tunes, and several of his own original compositions.

This morning [8 August 2022], I have chosen the hymn ‘Easter’ by the 17th century Welsh-born English priest-poet George Herbert (1593-1633).

For the weekdays this week, I am reflecting on ‘The Five Mystical Songs,’ composed by Vaughan Williams between 1906 and 1911. He conducted the first performance of the completed work at the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester on 14 September 1911.

The work, taken as one, sets four poems by George Herbert from his collection The Temple: Sacred Poems (1633).

Many of George Herbert’s poems have become hymns that are well-known and well-loved by generations of Anglicans. They include ‘Let all the world in every corner sing,’ ‘Teach me, my God and King’ and ‘King of Glory, King of Peace.’

He was the Public Orator at Cambridge for eight years, and spent only three years as a priest before he died.

Herbert was a younger contemporary of Shakespeare, and lived at a time when the English language was expanding and developing its literary capacities, aided by the publication of the King James Version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.

Like most Anglicans of his day, Herbert sought to steer a middle course between the Roman Catholics and the Puritans. Perhaps he appealed to Vaughan Williams because were both men were creatively preoccupied with that age-old conflict between God and World, Flesh and Spirit, Soul and Senses.

Vaughan Williams wrote his ‘Five Mystical Songs’ for a baritone soloist, with several choices for accompaniment: piano only; piano and string quintet; TTBB chorus, a cappella; and orchestra with optional SATB chorus, the choice Vaughan Williams used at the premiere.

Like George Herbert’s simple verse, the songs are fairly direct, but have the same intrinsic spirituality as the original text. The first four songs are personal meditations in which the soloist takes a key role. They were supposed to be performed together, as a single work, but the styles of each vary quite significantly.

Vaughan Williams has divided George Herbert’s poem ‘Easter ’into two parts to provide the first two songs, ‘Easter’ and ‘I Got Me Flowers.’

The setting for ‘Easter’ by Vaughan Williams is elaborate in design and Michael Kennedy ascribes its richness of orchestral detail to ‘Elgarian prototypes.’

1, Easter

Rise heart; thy Lord is risen.
Sing his praise without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand,
that thou likewise with him may’st rise;
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part with all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name, who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is the best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song pleasant and long;
Or since all musick is but three parts vied and multiplied.
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

The Basilica of San Domenico seen from the cloisters … one of the major churches in Bologna (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayer:

The Collect:

Almighty God,
whose servant Dominic grew in the knowledge of your truth
and formed an order of preachers to proclaim the faith of Christ:
by your grace give to all your people a love for your word
and a longing to share the gospel,
so that the whole world may come to know you
and your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Monday 8 August 2022:

The theme in the USPG prayer diary this week is ‘International Youth Day.’ It was introduced yesterday by Dorothy deGraft Johnson, a Law student from Ghana.

The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:

Let us pray for young people across the Anglican Communion. May we encourage them to fully engage in the life of the Church and treat them with dignity and respect.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org