Village news from Helen Price – 18th April 2019 Part 1
Published 15 April 2019
Kings Bromley Historians
Richard Stone, local historian, described Offa, our subject for the evening, as a ‘most gallant youth’ according to contemporary writing. Born around 740, he became king in 757 by overthrowing Beomred, the other contender to the throne of Mercia. His wife, Cynethryth, was the only wife of a king to have her image on coinage. Offa himself established the rate of coinage, 12d to the shilling and 240d to the pound, the practice which existed until 1971.
Offa is best remembered however for his dyke, which stretched for 177 miles, forming a boundary between the Welsh and English. It was approximately 20 feet high and 100 feet wide, including a ditch on the Welsh side and a palisade on top. Different parts of the dyke were built by separate teams of workers using slightly different methods of construction. He died in 796 and is buried in Bedford.
As it happened, our meeting was on the day of the funeral of our founder, Ivy Butcher. We marked the occasion by raising a glass to her memory.
Our April meeting is an outing to Tissington Hall and our May meeting will be preparation for the 100th anniversary of the Kings Bromley Show.
Kings Bromley Wednesday Club
The Chair began by thanking Gillian for letting us hold this month’s meeting at the Royal Oak and for providing us with tea and coffee.
She then introduced our speaker, Kevin Reynolds, who provided us with an insight into the weird and wonderful world of the Dragonfly – the Devil’s Darning Needle! So called because for centuries people believed that dragonflies came in the night to sew the unsuspecting sleeper’s eyelids together! A similar myth existed in the USA but in this instance, dragonflies would visit those who told lies – sewing their lips together while they slept! An unfair reputation – dragonflies being harmless to humans as they neither bite nor sting.
Kevin went on to explain that dragonflies have inhabited the earth for some 300 million years. Today there are some 6,000 species of dragonfly worldwide with 40 – 50 species here in the UK. Staffordshire is home to some 30 species including one of the rarest in the UK, the White-Faced Darter. He then outlined the life cycle of the dragonfly. A life spent mostly underwater – first as an egg and then as a nymph. They leave the water only to mate and reproduce. Adult dragonflies are supreme fliers with a voracious appetite feeding on midges, mosquitoes, flies, bumble bees, hornets and each other. The males are very territorial chasing and fighting off their rivals.
Kevin concluded by reminding us that while dragonflies are harmless to us, we are harmful to them, and that we need to both protect their current habitats and create new ones.
Next meeting – Wednesday May 1st. Visit to Stratford upon Avon.