Apr 2001
 
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RATTLE OF CHAINS Pt II
Previous installment in the March issue of the mag.
 
Judith was almost 10 when she joined the other girls of the poor neighbouring families harvesting the flax - monotonous and poorly paid work. Her eldest brother, Richard, found work where he could - at times labouring and ploughing the fields; and Thomas and William too toiled as labourers, all of them contributing when and where they could to the family table.
 
Perhaps fate did deal them a bitter blow - or perhaps luck had finally deserted them...At the Epiphany Sessions of the St Albans Liberty Quarter Sessions on 14th January 1814 the following entry tells the story... "On 12 January 1814 Thomas Millard and William Millard, late of the parish of Redbourn, labourers and Judith Millard, later of the same parish, spinster did "with force and arms at the parish aforesaid...(feloniously steal, take and carry away) four Bushels of wheat of the value of 30 shillings of the Goods and Chattels of one John Lines". Richard Brewer, servant to Stephen Raggett of Redbourn, miller, informed the Court that about 3am on 12th January, Richard, Thomas, William and Judith Millard came to the mill which he ground for them into flour.
 
Joseph Whitlock, tasker to John Lines of Redbourn, farmer, informed the Court that on the night of 12th January his master's barn belonging to Foster's Farm in Redbourn was broken open and about 4 bushels of wheat taken. From footsteps in the snow he observed from the smallness of the foot that one of the persons present at the theft was a woman. The plea - NOT GUILTY, and the verdict - GUILTY! SENTENCED TO 7 YEARS TRANSPORTATION!
 
Within 3 weeks Thomas and William were taken on foot in irons and disgrace from St Albans Gaol to Maidstone Gaol near London, and then shortly afterwards to Woolwich to languish from February to September with almost 500 other prisoners in the infamous foul-smelling hulk JUSTITIA. Finally on 1st September 1814 they set sail on the convict ship MARQUIS OF WELLINGTON and almost five months later on 27th January 1815 stepped ashore at Botany Bay and into colonial history. Thomas was now 25 years old, 5'7-1/4" tall, of muddy complexion, sandy hair and hazel eyes; and William was 23 years old, 5'6-1/4" tall, also of muddy complexion, sandy hair and hazel eyes. Almost one month after the crime, on 11th February Richard Millard too was captured and consequently tried at the Easter Sessions on 21st April 1814. John Lines of Redbourn, farmer, 4 bushels of wheat were taken from Foster's Farm. He heard that four persons viz Thomas, William and Judith Millard, already convicted, and Richard Millard, now in custody, had a like quantity ground at a nearby mill and suspected them of theft. The Plea - NOT GUILTY - and the verdict - GUILTY! SENTENCED TO 7 YEARS TRANSPORTATION!
 
Judith was delivered, shamed and ironed in an open cart to Northfleet and placed aboard the convict ship BROXBORNEBURY, and with 119 other female prisoners and settlers, sailed on 22 February 1814 in convoy with the SURRY, carrying 200 male convicts and settlers, for Port Jackson. What fear, trepidation and utter despair she must have felt in her heart as she began the long five months voyage into the unknown; knowing she would never see her beloved family or village again. She would begin her journey an innocent country lass, not knowing the likes of her 'travelling companions' - well seasoned and 'on the town' most of their young and old lives, who would fight tooth and talon, without fear or favour for stolen rations of food and ale. She would end her journey of lost innocence much hardened and experienced in the art of mere survival.
 
The ship encountered, at times, brutal weather and unrelenting seas and claustrophobia was a rampant feeling amongst the women remaining so long confined below decks as they were battened day after fearful day. Finally on 27th July 1814 the Broxbornebury landed her exhausted cargo into Sydney.
 
Richard remained incarcerated in the St Albans Gaol until January 1815 when he and another prisoner, John Hough, were fettered and carted from St Albans to Woolwich, to board the same hell-hole as his brothers almost one year earlier. There he worked a daily 10-hour shift in the government dockyards, stared and gawked at by tourists and townspeople and suffering the same shame, degradation and fate of 400 other "compulsory passengers". Eight months later, on 25 August 1815 Richard was e mbarked on the FANNY I with 173 other male prisoners, and a detachment of the 56th Regiment and sailed, via Rio for Sydney arriving on 18 January 1816. Richard by now was 27 years old, 5'10" tall, of sallow complexion with black hair and hazel eyes.
 
Final instalment in May Church & Village News.
 
Next installment in the May issue of the mag.
 
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HIGHLIGHTS OF PARISH COUNCIL
MEETING 19th MARCH

 
FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE We are supporting our local Farmers by closing all footpaths, but not the recreation ground unless we become a red zone.
 
30 M.P.H SPEED LIMITS SIGNS The position of these signs has been agreed by statute after the preliminary notification, which was circulated round the village before installation. To move any now would be a lengthy process to get the order modified. Where space between two signs on the opposite side of a lane, is insufficient for wide vehicles to pass through, adjustments are being made.
 
WAR MEMORIAL We have sought out the company that installed the original monument, asking their advise on how we can best preserve and care for the names on it. Restoration will then be undertaken as soon as possible.
 
RURAL WHITE PAPER There are major concerns this Council would like to open up to public discussion. They are the vital village services, i.e. shops, post office, pubs, schools, village hall and sports association. All of these have and will be under threat unless this community supports them. There are many ways this can be achieved so come to the open annual parish council meeting on the 23rd April at the village hall at 8.p.m. (St .George's Day). On that agenda we will also have transport in all its aspects. Remember, we won last year the best village community award, here now is a golden opportunity to show how we can support and even improve the total well being of our small village.
 
EXTRA DUST CART FOR LARGE RUBBISH This will be in the village on Saturday the 21st April, - 1st September and 27th October.- It will be at Parsons Close at 9 a.m. and then at the Village Hall Car park from 11 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
 
QUEEN'S JUBILEE How does the village wish to remember this very auspicious occasion? We really would like some feedback, ideas and here is hoping volunteers eventually.
M.W.
 
Please Note:
The Parish Council Meeting in June has been changed from 4th to 11th
 
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LUTON AIRPORT UPDATE
 
LLA have proposed that all modern aircraft that are equipped with Flight Management Systems and which at present fly the westerly Compton route will for a trial period of 6 months use the FMS route north of Flamstead. This means that the number of flights over the village will decrease by up to 38 per day, it is also possible that this will become the normal departure route for such aircraft. Obviously there will be objections. The downside is that all older aircraft will still use the present route and that night disturbance will continue to occur, although DHL are in the process of replacing the old noisy B737-200s. which will take time. DHL's decision to replace these is due to pressure from LLA who in turn are re-acting to pressure and complaints from the public and other groups.
 
The saga of the northern departure route continues and the decision will probably be made this summer, the parish council has been asked for their final comment on Olney 1L and have suggested that both be used on alternate weeks, the council believe that this is the most equitable solution and would result in other noise burden.
 
If you are disturbed by aircraft at night and wish to pass on your thoughts to LLA, simply make a note of the time and at your leisure ring 01582 395382 your message will be recorded, noted and acted upon. It does make a difference.
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A TASTE OF THE PAST
 
The brilliantly coloured new rhubarb is now in the shops and here is a different way of using it. Rhubarb pie and crumble always gave my mother terrible indigestion, but this jelly went down a treat with no problems - and it's such a glorious colour.
 
RHUBARB JELLY
 
21/2 lb bright pink, forced rhubarb
2 pints water
Caster sugar
Gelatine (7 leaves or a scant 2 sachets of the powdered kind)
 
You will also need a jelly bag, or a piece of muslin folded in 4 resting in a sieve.
Cut the rhubarb into chunks and put it in a saucepan with the water and 2 oz sugar. Cover it with the lid and cook very gently for about 20 minutes until it's thoroughly cooked. It is sure to collapse into lots of shreds - but this matters not a jot! It's the juice we want, not the shreds.
 
Scald the jelly bag, or the muslin, with boiling water and wring it out. Otherwise the precious rhubarb juice will soak into the material and go to waste! Rest the bag or the muslin over a deep bowl and strain the juice through. Don't press or squeeze it, or it will go cloudy. Let it drip through at its own rate.
 
Now measure 11/2 pints of the strained pink juice. Sweeten to taste with caster sugar - I find I need another 6 oz. If there is any scum floating on top, it's best to strain it again. Use some of the juice to soak the gelatine. I find leaf gelatine far easier to use than the powdered sort - just break it up to fit inside the saucepan. When it has gone soft and swollen, dissolve it over a gentle heat and add to the rest of the juice. Pour into a mould or a glass serving dish and leave to set.
 
Eliza Acton, 1845
 
Marian Pochin
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FOUNTAIN ACROSS INDIA
 
Well not quite across India but 306 miles of roads full of potholes, sand drifts, hills, dust and open sewers to negotiate; but vibrant and friendly, colourful and a wonderful experience, mind blowing in fact!
 
They say a picture paints a thousand words and to describe a journey from Agra to Pushkar needs a book written. Fortunately I have 360 colour slides to be condensed into a presentation, firstly to our JMI school then to villagers and organisations who would like to view the words painted on pictures and to hear the epic which involved a broken leg, fractured skull (not serious, thank goodness) amongst grazes and cuts and bruises and sore back-sides.
 
Yes it was a huge challenge, yes it was harder than I imagined but was it worth it - come to the presentation!! - once dates have been fixed they will be published!
 
John Fountain
 
The full story plus photgraphs can be found in the June Issue.
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