Heritage sites such as Chedham’s Yard exist in their stories; every nook and cranny, every hammer and tong has a story to tell, some fact, some fiction, some myths, some superstition.
Chedham’s Yard is a prize-winning heritage site and an exceptional example of a traditional village blacksmith’s and wheelwright’s workshop dating from the early 19th Century. Family run for five generations, it was restored by hard working volunteers with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and BBC ‘Restoration’. Discover: Chedham’s Stories is a story-trail mobile website offering a unique insight into Chedham’s Yard’s past through historical and folklore stories and personal reminiscences, gathered by local musician Kel Elliott and transformed into vivid story-songs.
Sue Steward of New Leaf Images
Live & Local
This project is the result of many hours work by lots of people. Thank you to the following people for their support:
The volunteers & trustees of Chedham’s Yard, The people of Wellesbourne, Rev. Wendy Biddington and the community at St Peter’s Church, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire County Council – Laura Taviner & Alex Holmes, Wellesbourne Women’s Institute, The Discover: Chedham’s Stories project group.
Interviewees: Stephen England, Eric Lawley, Iris Herwin, Charlie Gilbert, Heather Cox, Margaret Taylor, Dot Entwhistle, Janet Hall, Michael and Linda Dane, Pat and Tony Bright, Cilla Cook, Krys Pietrecili, Marion and David Johnston, Brian and Pat Partridge, Gary Stocker, Cameron Higgins, John Sheffield, John McKenzie Roy and Doreen Garbett, David Close, Mike Mckee, Alexa Buffey, Sara Serpell.
Discover: Chedham’s Stories was funded by Warwickshire County Council’s Tourism Event Fund.
Brian and Pat Partridge
Pat, Sheila & Mac
Marion & David Johnston
A few of the local businesses in the area...
14 Warwick Rd
Warwick CV35 9ND
Warwick CV35 9RN
The Touch Down Cafe
Wellesbourne CV35 9EU
Newlands Caravan Park
Warwick CV35 9EN
Cycle Route Warks
11 Bridge St
Warwick CV35 9QP
3 / 5 Bridge Street
Warwick CV35 9QP
8 Newbold Rd
Warwick CV35 9NZ
Wellesbourne Aviation Group Museum
Warwick CV35 9EU
Warwick CV35 9LX
1 Chestnut Square
Warwick CV35 9QS
Dawn to Dusk
6 Ash Tree Cl
Warwick CV35 9SA
Walton Hall and Hotel
Walton CV35 9HU
Hunscote Farm Shop
Warwick CV35 9ES
Warwick CV35 9ER
There is a lot of folklore surrounding the blacksmith and the devil, including the Legend of St. Dunstan. This song combines a few of the more famous tales, listen out for the sound of the bellows, these are the actual ones used at Chedham's today.
I believe that in order to be creative you need the right environment. A walk in the garden at Chedham’s Yard brings with it a feeling of peace as it calms the mind. Maybe this was Bill’s creative space, helping him to create all of his beautiful carvings.
The yard has many fine examples of everyday items converted into something else, nothing was ever thrown away. I wonder if Mrs Chedham ever grew tired of finding her things down the yard. Is that her sewing machine table now being used as a lathe?
In the 1960s the yard was obsolete, abandoned and left exactly as if someone had gone out to lunch and never came back. For over 40 years it slept undisturbed until it was gently woken by good fortune and hard work. A real-life sleeping beauty story.
The decline in business at the yard would have been tough for the Chedham family. This song is from the perspective of Bill’s mother as she tries to reassure her boy that things will be okay as her husband works hard to keep them fed and sheltered.
As the world around them changed, many blacksmiths and wheelwrights found themselves out of work. They had to adapt to survive, this was the end of the chain, they no longer had a useful trade to pass on to their sons and daughters.
The restoration of the yard was a labour of love, it took hours and hours of hard work and the dedication from many volunteers. Each of them had a different reason for devoting their time to the project but all valued its importance in celebrating the past.
The regimental mascot and badge of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment was called Bobby, an Indian blackbuck antelope. The regiment kept live antelope as mascots for around two hundred years. I like to think he was also a comfort to those at war.
Bill Chedham was one of Wellesbourne's characters. People had a lot of love for him but described him as a menace on his bike, riding around the village at 0.1 miles per hour with very little regard for the Highway Code. I think he may have the the right idea...
After visiting the yard early one morning Kelvin was in awe of how peaceful and beautiful it was so rushed home and wrote this piece of music. We've added the voice of Janet, one of the volunteers, listing the birds and flowers found in the garden.