Run No 809

Sunday, 11th March 2007

The Red Lion, Milton Bryan

Hares: Ringer & Private Parts






The first true Spring day of the 2007 Hashing season encouraged only a moderate assembly of runners - no I tell a lie, not runners, pedestrians. Even the usual knitting circle were in danger of being FRBs. A few stalwarts, notably Shaggy and Capt F., were conspicuous as potential recipients of the Good Crack award - and just where has the GC award got to?

A dearth of senior committee members resulted in the Circle being called by Hash Haberdasher, Lady Penelope. BOF and Stallion owned up to an anniversary - but BOF seemed to need a calculator to work out which one. The Hares warned of hazards from roads, horses and sheep - lambing season is with us - and the On Out was called. The fairly obvious trail was picked up quickly, and the first falsie run by (the as yet unnamed) John, who completed a lap of the duck pond on the way back. The trail across the field, via the first of a regular series of number checks, brought us to a held check at the crossing of a potentially high-risk road, so marshalling was enforced. Safely negotiated, we set off on the road to the village of Battlesden - the village several Hashers remarked upon as never having heard of before - so for their (and your) benefit...

The original Church of St. Peter and All Saints at Battlesden was built in the last quarter of the 13th Century, but when the Black Death struck the village in 1348, the vicar died and the church became empty. It was however built on poor foundations, needing the addition of a large number of buttresses in the 15th Century. A manor house, constructed in the late 16th century, was associated with the family of Lord Bathurst before he sold the estate to Sir Gregory Page in 1724. The estate was later inherited by Page's great-nephew Sir Gregory Page-Turner [is this a joke?.... Ed] in 1775. In 1864 the Elizabethan manor was demolished and Battlesden House, a huge Gothic chateau style house, was built in its place. The house had 40 rooms and a large ballroom and cost £40,000 to build. Sir Joseph Paxton, a Bedfordshire man who also built the Crystal Palace, laid out the 50-acre grounds and built the lake. The owner, Sir Edward Page-Turner did not like the house and never lived there. Instead he leased it out to a wealthy coal owner, David Bromilow, who went to Leicestershire in 1878, the house remaining empty until its demolition. In 1885 the 9m Duke of Bedford bought Battlesden House and demolished all except the ground floor, which was used as a nursing home during the First World War and a maternity home in the Second World War. The remains of the principal house were demolished after the war leaving the coach house. In 1949 the church re-opened when a local benefactor gave some money for the purpose.

Now the road to Battlesden has next to no traffic on it - it leads only into and out of the village - except for the time we were on it; six vehicles passed us, all heading to the aforementioned church for a late-starting service.

Back to the Hash. In Battlesden village, Shaggy was tempted by a field full of sheep and lambs - will he never leam? Field was perhaps not the most accurate description; water meadow would be closer to the truth, and shiggy was dealt out plentifully - a false trail of course. The true path led inevitably past the Church and onto Battlesden Avenue, a tree-lined path leading to/from an impressive set of iron gates by the coach house.

The tardiness of the Hash meant that the run was now seriously behind schedule. Although a short cut was offered - and taken by a few walkers - the majority of the pack elected to complete the planned run, even though this would mean extending the run time to about an hour and 25 minutes - we are proud of you Hashers for sticking with it. Marshalled across the hazard road for a second time, we set off for a brief excursion into the Woburn Estate, before looping back into Milton Bryan. White Rabbit and Pussies Galore managed to go astray, and needed assistance from the local populace to find the way back to the pub.

Down-downs were awarded to the Hares, and to BOF and Stallion for their anniversary. Secret R.A. Shaggy punished Hashers various for shoeism (admiring another Hasher's running shoes), admiring returnee Cunning Linguist's glutimus maximus - no prize for guessing who that was (doing the admiring that is), etc. etc. (he said, forgetting what the hell happened after that).

OnOn to Toddington next week - the day-after-St. Patrick's-day-run

Ringer and Private Parts