The Snow Queen

Written by Anne Saunston:

Once again, travelling theatre group This is my Theatre are visiting St James’s Church to perform The Snow Queen.  

When her friend is stolen by the cold-hearted Snow Queen, Gerda must find the strength and courage to travel across the lands to save him. An array of characters along the way will guide and aid her journey but can Gerda bring the warmth of summer back to her friend?

With live music, song and characters all ages will love, this beautiful adaptation will warm hearts this Christmas!

Anyone who saw the theatre group performing The Tempest or Jane Eyre this summer will know how imaginative and exciting their productions are, and this one is not to be missed.

We don’t expect snow on the night, but would suggest you wear warm clothes and sensible shoes!

Venue: St James Church, Roydon Road, Stanstead Abbotts SG12 8JZ

Date and time: Friday 3rd December, 7.00 pm

Tickets: £15 (£12 for under-16’s)

Tickets available from:www.thisismytheatre.com 

(Running time 1 hour 15 minutes)

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Advent Carols by Candlelight – St James’s Church 

Written by Anne Sauston: 

Sunday 28th November at 4 p.m.

Make a start to the Christmas season by attending this service, held in St James’s Church – the old village church between Stanstead Abbotts and Roydon.

The atmosphere of this beautiful church, lit simply by candles, helps to remind you of the wonder of the Advent season and the coming of the celebration of the birth of Christ. We sing Advent Carols, such as “Oh come, oh come Emmanuel” rather then Christmas Carols, which makes it even more special. We are happy that the Priory Choir from Royston will be with us to help with the singing, and everyone is welcome to stay for tea and mince pies afterwards.

There are no lights around the church, so wear warm clothing, sensible shoes – and bring a torch!

Remembrance Day service

Remembrance Sunday 14th November 2021There will be 2 Outdoor Services for Remembrance Sunday in the Villages around the War Memorials.

The Great Amwell Remembrance Service at the War Memorial on the New River will start at 10.15am.The Stanstead Abbotts Remembrance Service at the War Memorial at St Andrew’s Church, Cappell Lane will start at 10.45am.

The Services will last approximately 30 minutes and all are welcome to come.


The St Andrew’s Service will be shared via Zoom as part of the regular Online Sunday Service from the 3 Churches Benefice. A link can be found on the website www.3churches.net

St Margarets Fireworks night – Review

Gaby Wilde:

Last weekend was the St Margarets Fireworks night.

It was absolutely fantastic, I attended with my family and I am glad that I did.

There was a huge queue out the front but it moved quickly and was well managed. It was £6 for an adult to enter.

I honestly don’t think that I have ever seen so many people in St Margarets, it was great to see such a fantastic turn out after such a difficult couple of years.

The Fireworks display was brilliant, very advanced for a village display.

Congratulations to the organisers, I look forward to attending next year and seeing many more displays.

Scroll down to see some of the pictures that we got….

St Margarets Station Art

Written by James Marinos:

At French & Jupps we strive to support our community through the sponsorship of innovative ideas, partnering with community lead initiatives that make our local and surrounding area so vibrant.

In acknowledgement of the hard work of all those involved with our latest sponsorship it brings us great delight to announce the unveiling of the refurbishment of St Margarets train station in Stanstead Abbotts.

The refurbishment of St Margarets station and signal box was a concept driven by The New River Line Community Rail Partnership. The Community Rail Partnership (CRP) was formally established in January 2020 by local authorities, community groups and organisations working in partnership with Greater Anglia and other rail networks to enhance station platforms up and down the country.

At the centre of this initiative for our local area is Katie Goldthorpe, CRP Officer for the New River Line which covers all stations from Hertford East to Broxbourne. Katie not only works for the organisation but also lives in Stanstead Abbotts and had long thought that the signal box could be transformed at St Margarets. It was when she joined the CRP in 2020, she seized the opportunity to do something with it.

To commence the process, Katie contacted French & Jupps to propose sponsoring the redesign of the station platform with art, which was enthusiastically received by director Paul King. From there the campaign was launched on the Stanstead Abbotts community Facebook page in addition to posters being pinned up on village noticeboards requesting submissions from people within the area to submit original artworks the redesign.

The response was fantastic, with local residents and two local primary schools St John the Baptist and St Andrew’s Primary School getting involved. The result is stunning with the twelve art pieces in a variety of mediums being chosen and printed by local company Universal Signs.

Katie’s work doesn’t end there. She had also been working with Rosemary & Robin to bring new life to the station through a planting scheme introducing foliage onto the station platform. The tireless work of all involved culminated in the annual station adoption award being granted at the unveiling by Alan Neville, Community Engagement Manager, Greater Anglia.

Overall, the day was a great success, enhanced further by the generous offering of cakes and refreshments provided by local businesses Libby’s Coffee Shop and The Galley Hall pub in a true reflection of community spirit. 

We believe the results are spectacular and that the return to travel from our local station is made all the brighter as a result of their hard work.

To get involved and support this local cause on some of their upcoming projects, you can contact The New River Line Community Rail Partnership on: newriverline@hertfordshire.gov.uk 

You can also follow The New River Line Community Rail Partnership on Facebook and Twitter

Fireworks night at St Margaretsbury

Wondering where you can go to watch the fireworks?

St Margaretsbury recreation ground are offering a bonfire and fireworks display that is set to be a fantastic night for the whole family.

Where is it?

The display is taking place on the St Margaretsbury recreation ground in St Margarets (SG12 8EH).

A quick and easy way to get directions is to scan the barcode below on your phone.

How much will it cost?

You can pay card or cash at the gate entrance.

  • £16 Family of 4
  • £6 Adults
  • £4 Under 14 yrs
  • FREE Under 3yrs

What time is it?

The Gates to the grounds will open at 4:00pm.

The mini funfair and bar will also be open at 4:00pm.

Then the bonfire will be lit at approximately  6:30pm

The display will finish around 7:30pm depending on actual start time.

Outcomes from the Neighbourhood Plan Heritage Report

Written by Robert Bennett:

The Heritage subgroup of the Neighbourhood Plan met for more than 2 years, reviewing a wide range of material and collatinghistorical and archaeological evidence within and adjacent to the settlement area. 

Whilst the protection of the Heritage that we do have, and the broadening of our understanding of what that Heritage implies (its value) was a priority for the Heritage group, there is further and really exciting potential to the work we have begun. This is the ‘what happens next’ part of the project.

Engagement with Heritage can build a sense of community where knowledge and activities are shared amongst thatcommunity, this is our ‘Sense of Place’. 

This relies on the careful dissemination of information in a way that allows engagement and reflection. Equally new skills can be developed by those who do engage, for instance, and at the most simple level, where information has been made available on the Village Facebook page, community members have asked how they can access LIDAR imagery, the Heritage Gateway, or the early maps on the National Library of Scotland website.

In all cases this information was made available with an offer of further help and support if needed.

Beyond engaging our community on the internet there is a massive potential and interest in ‘on the ground’ activities. Whilst community engagement in field-walking or test pittingmight help settle questions such as “Where were the earliest settlements?” or “What is the date of the linear settlement along the High Street?” there are also tangible benefits for those who participate.

They can gain new skills and understanding, they become empowered within the place where they live.

It must be acknowledged that almost all of the working group areas have this potential, it is the point where showing you care about your community feeds directly back to the participant in terms of their worth.

It is the point where the ‘they’ of expertise joins the ‘we’ of community in interpreting and understanding the past.

We are currently in a dissemination phase to our work. A series of posts have been made to the village Facebook page that covers both the distant and recent past. These have included explanations of field names (Osiers and Slap Ladle), changes to roads, the Mesolithic finds made in digs in the settlement areas, the Stanstead Abbotts residents who were listed in the Ware Poor House census, the Anglo-Saxon origin of St James, the changing layout of the Red Lion and the Anglo-Saxon monastic burial ground at nearby Nazingbury.

In all cases we have tried to keep the information up to date and with simple citations where the community can read more.

The ability of the group to move into a more pro-active phase would rely on some key factors including: sufficient levels of interest from community members (which is already indicated), access to funding to meet the requirements of any project, access to expertise to help us realistically plan for a programme, train participants, review outcomes and help us to disseminate findings in a meaningful way.

If anyone is interested in getting involved, contact us via the Neighbourhood Plan website https://www.stansteadabbottsneighbourhoodplan.uk/ or our Facebook page.

The Evergreens

Written by Rosemary Imroth:

 The 19th of August our first meeting since lockdown was really special – firstly it was in the delightful garden of Ruth Swallow and at the same time, we were able to wish Kath Baker congratulations on her 100th birthday a few days before.  

Kath celebrating her 100th birthday

She has been a member of the Evergreens for so many years that no-one can remember exactly how many! A second garden party was held on Monday 13th September but due to rain, we were royally entertained in the conservatory and massive breakfast room of Hill House. 

Our host was our President, Jonathan Pilkington, and he made us so welcome, as he does every year. We are now meeting regularly at Stanstead Abbotts Parish Hall on Mondays. from 2 till 4pm.  

Anyone over 60 is welcome to join us.  Each session costs £1.50 and includes tea, with bread and butter and cake.

Have you met the Vicar?

Written by Reverend Dr Sarah Forrest:

I am the Reverend Dr Sarah Forrest the new priest in charge of Great Amwell with St Margaret’s and Stanstead Abbotts…” I’ve been saying that for a whole year, but what a weird year it’s been!

I’ve met a lot of folk in the villages, but I’m so aware of the folk I haven’t met yet. I arrived with my family at the Vicarage in August 2020 and started working in September last year. We opened the churches for the first time since lockdown, and very carefully with socially distancing tried to restore that pattern of prayer and worship in the buildings which everyone had been missing so much.

November saw us in lockdown again, we reopened in December, and we were closed again for Christmas. The churches only reopened in the end of May so it hasn’t exactly been a normal start to being a priest in the Three Villages. 

But although the church buildings have been quiet, the church hasn’t. We know that the church is really the people, the family of God, rather than just the building, and we’ve been meeting online, outside, and in church whenever we can.

You may have seen me walking to school in the morning with my youngest, and it’s been a great thing to be able to join the community as a mum as well as a priest.

The churches have continued to work in and with the schools, doing online collective worship, getting creative by using the school grounds and the churchyard as places to explore Christianity and to spend time seeking God in learning and worship.

You may have taken a stroll through St John the Baptist churchyard and found our Experience Easter Trail, and been able to explore the Easter story. We’ve had to be creative about how we do things!

We’ve also got practical, and we opened the 3 Churches Foodbank Hub, delivering food to those in need in the Villages from the Hertford & Ware Foodbank.

We have been working to welcome people coming into our villages to live in East Herts Housing’s interim accommodation at the Rectory, by supplying ‘Welcome Packs’ and general household items to people who have either been at risk of eviction or made homeless.

As Christians we believe that God walks with us in the good times and the bad, that he cares about everything that happens to us, because he made us and he loves us.

We are starting to do those things that really fill us with hope, like baptisms, weddings and celebrations, but not everybody is ready to celebrate yet. In the last 12 months I have conducted a lot of funerals, met with a lot of grieving families, and walked with people in the valley of the shadow of death. Church can be that important safe space to talk about our grief and to find God’s comfort. 

It’s such a time of waiting at the moment, but waiting doesn’t mean we don’t have hope. We still haven’t quite got everything back to normal, and I guess we all realise that normal will have to be a ‘new normal’. I

t’s been a time of change for everyone, and as we wait and watch, we pray. We pray for our community, our schools, our neighbours and everyone, especially those who are sad, lonely, struggling, sick or in pain. We pray for God’s peace and healing, and then we go out and see what we can do to help!

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