The return trip from a making day in the North provided the opportunity to re-visit the last villages on my section of the Jurassic Way to search out possible starting points for the final stories.
The first visit to Welford with P some months before had led to The Wharf Inn and a notice board listing local walks. Having read about The Welford Arm of the Grand Union Canal I was interested to find a story to represent this. The notice boards and village website provided information about boatmen, business men and their lives. I was drawn to the story of Mary Gilbert who ran the Inn and continued to expand the business her husband began after his death.
In Elkington I found the village notice board but little else! Surrounded by fields and sheep only one or two farm buildings seemed to make up this tiny settlement. After taking the photographs, I discovered farmers listed in Kelly’s directories and eventually happened upon a report examining large scale sheep grazing in the sixteenth century. Apparently many flocks were pastured on deserted village sites such as Elkington and an individual called Sir John Spencer emerged as the most renowned at this time!
The tiny village of Winwick on the other hand was home to a church on a hill, a hall and a manor. The village website and additional local history sites provided a wealth of information about owners of the manor, rectors and their families. I became drawn to the story about Juliana Poole who started the Winwick Orphanage for boys in 1877. Further detail about the orphanage, the school master and Juliana was found through online census listings.
Having worked on this project for three months, making site visits and sharing our findings through the blog, on Saturday we met in the depths of the Northamptonshire countryside. The photograph shows the spot near Sulby that we identified as the middle point of the North and South Jurassic walks.
Sulby parish notice board in the middle of a wood and the middle of the Jurassic walk.
Passing through Overthorpe and Warkworth I became aware of traces of memories collected along the edges of the walk and the potential to employ these decorative shapes within the construction of a final piece
So, what should the project be, or what could it be?
Here is our starting point: each artist will explore 44 miles of the Jurassic way route; Tamar from the south, where the walk originates in Banbury, and Philippa from the north working from Stamford to the mid-point.
We will work to some initial pre-determined criteria that will enable the final piece to have some sense of cohesion. We may or may not work in isolation, but the concept, content and theme will be the decision of the individual.
The project may culminate in an artists’ book, two volumes that come together as one – either physically or conceptually.
And so the project begins.
Whilst we haven’t actually identified what the main output will be, we do know that it will be based on the 88 mile walk called the Jurassic Way – a route along the limestone ridge that joins our hometowns of Banbury and Stamford. The project will hopefully enable us to further develop our collaborative practice, and at some point we will meet in the middle.
So, the first task is to try and piece together the entire journey so that we can accurately gauge the middle point. Luckily for us there is a set of leaflets that give a breakdown of the mileage for each specific section, this, in theory should make life easier.
It the calculations are correct, the midway point is half way between the villages of Welford and Sibbertoft.