Sunday, October 01, 2023

The rural poverty that caused the first bankrupt "Council" & the final home of the Welsh Socialist founder of the NHS, Nye Bevan

Back from a great 6.8 mile circular walk with Gill around Cholesbury Hill fort, Grim Ditch and The Ridgeway, courtesy of the Chilterns Society and Ordnance Survey app. 

Very quiet and peaceful. Lots of gentle ups and downs with nothing that strenuous but a good walking work out with lots of contrast. The iron age hill fort is is pretty obvious and fascinating, while the later iron age feature called the "Grim Ditch" is difficult to make out but I have seen it more clearly elsewhere. 

It is incredible to think how our ancestors built these these fortifications and boundary markers with the basic animal tools they had at that time. 

What was also fascinating is that Cholesbury was in 1832 the first "Parish" (somewhat similar to a modern day UK council) to declare itself bankrupt. This was due to dreadful rural poverty at the time which meant that the Parish did not have enough money from rates to pay for "Poor relief".  

At this time many  UK Councils across the Country are also declaring themselves "Bankrupt" (or rather issuing section 144 notices that they do not have enough income to pay for expenditure).

What I was astonished to find out was that this village was also the home of former Welsh Miner and founder of the NHS, Nye Bevan, while he was a South Wales MP at Westminster. 

The walk didn't go near his home, Asheridge Farm, where he died in 1960 from stomach cancer aged 62 but I hopefully tracked it down (see collage).  I wonder if I should come back to the area on the anniversary of the birth of the NHS in July? 

Recommend the Full Moon pub where we had coffee in the garden beforehand and I had a pint of London Pride at the end. 

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