15 December 2022

Names and sculptures in
Stony Stratford with
stories from the past

A series of sculptures represent the work of Edward Hayes in Stony Stratford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

Walking regularly between Stony Stratford and Galley Hill these days can be somewhat treacherous, with packed snow that is only half-thawed, and hidden patches of ice underneath.

A slower pace and more alert eyes means I am paying a little more careful to everything around me, and has even left me wondering about some of the place names in the housing around here.

Galley Hill takes its name from the gallows that once stood here, while places like Bunsty Court keep alive mediaeval placenames that might otherwise have been forgotten in 20th century housing developments.

But two names have caught my attention in recent days, following my return from that quick visit to Dublin that turned out to be quite an escapade.

Could The Carne have any possible associations in its name with Carne in Co Wexford, near Lady’s Island halfway between Rosslare, where I lived briefly, and Carnsore Point, on the very south-east tip of Co Wexford, where in the late 1970s and early 1980s I was involved in sit-in protests on the site of a proposed nuclear power plant?

Indeed, could the Hayes have any links with the many families in Co Wexford with the name Hayes?

My thoughts were nothing more than mere flights of fancy.

Local historians say The Carne in Stony Stratford takes its name from Christopher Carne, a smallholder and innkeeper at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Carne was one of three renowned protesters who led a revolt against land enclosures by Henry Longueville in the second half of the 16th century. An appeal to the Lord Chancellor in 1584 succeeded and Carne was considered a local hero.

Queen Elizabeth I granted to Christopher Carne and his wife Ann a messuage called the White House with a piece of land near the Barley Mow Inn which was close to the river. The Carnes held the land until 1604.

As for Hayes, beside York House, it takes its name from Edward Hayes, who founded the Watling Works on that site in 1854.

Hayes (1818-1877) was born in Manchester and served his apprenticeship there before moving to Wolverton in the early 1840s, to work with the London & Birmingham Railway Works at Wolverton.

Initially, his works in Stony Stratford produced agricultural machinery, but Hayes and his son, also Edward Hayes, moved into marine engineering, and they built over 100 boats between the late 1860s and 1925.

The boats built in Stony Stratford included steam yachts, tugs and launches, built for both national and international customers.

A series of sculptures represent the work of Edward Hayes.

Of course, there was an Irish connection there too: Sir Ernest Rebbeck, chairman of Harland and Wolff in Belfast at the time the Titanic was built, was once an apprentice at the Watling Works.

However, I have uncovered Irish links in other placenames in Stony Stratford, including Augustus Road, Egmont Avenue and (albeit remotely) Latimer. But more about these placenames in the days to come, I hope.

The Carne in Stony Stratford has links with protests but not with Carne and Carnsore Point in Co Wexford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Praying in Advent with Lichfield Cathedral
and USPG: Thursday 15 December 2022

‘God gathers his people for a purpose – that we may look for and point to his light’ (Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar) … dawn breaks on Stowe Pool beside Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

There are just ten days to go to Christmas Day. Before today gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.

During Advent, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, The reading suggested in the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced by Lichfield Cathedral this year;

2, praying with the Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar;

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

‘Arise, shine; for your light has come’ (Isaiah 60: 1) … a December dawn at the Rectory in Askeaton, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Isaiah 60: 1-3 (NRSVA):

1 Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
2 For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
3 Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawnn.

‘For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples’ (Isaiah 60: 2 … December darkness on the way between Stony Stratford and Galley Hill (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

The Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar:

Think of this passage (Isaiah 60: 1-3) as a summons – like the people of Israel, God gathers his people for a purpose – that we may look for and point to his light, about to be revealed for all to see. As we prepare for Christmas spend some time praying for all in darkness, that the light of hope may dawn, and all may come to the light.


O Lord Jesus Christ,
who at your first coming sent your messenger
to prepare your way before you:
grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries
may likewise so prepare and make ready your way
by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
that at your second coming to judge the world
we may be found an acceptable people in your sight;
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion:

We give you thanks, O Lord, for these heavenly gifts;
kindle in us the fire of your Spirit
that when your Christ comes again
we may shine as lights before his face;
who is alive and reigns now and for ever.

Additional Collect:

God for whom we watch and wait,
you sent John the Baptist to prepare the way of your Son:
give us courage to speak the truth,
to hunger for justice,
and to suffer for the cause of right,
with Jesus Christ our Lord.

USPG Prayer Diary:

The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘Walking Together.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Right Revd Maria Grace Tazu Sasamori, who became Bishop of Hokkaido in Japan in April 2022. She shared her reflections on this year’s Lambeth Conference with Archbishop Justin Welby.

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

Let us pray for bishops in their role as leaders and pastors. May they be sensitive to their flock and judicious in their judgement.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

‘Spend some time praying for all in darkness, that the light of hope may dawn, and all may come to the light’ (Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar) … December darkness and lights in central Milton Keynes (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

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