Biggleswade History Society Walk on Shortmead Street – Review

Advertised as : ‘Cracking Tales and dark Deeds in Old Biggleswade’  this walk was led by Jane Croot of Biggleswade History Society on Wednesday, 2 July 2014.

Dan Albone Plaque, Shortmead Street, Biggleswade
Dan Albone Plaque, Shortmead Street, Biggleswade

Having a busy life means less blogging – but here I am again! Recklessly writing children’s stories about my alter ego – a witch called Gwubbins, has meant slowing up on other projects. However, history will not be kept down and I could not resist a foray into the town of Biggleswade in Bedfordshire, England, for a walkabout with the Biggleswade History Society.

My connection to Biggleswade is through my grandparents who were the last of seven generations to live thereabouts. The walk was well attended and I felt at home with fellow enthusiasts as we listened to the stories Jane told about the infamous Shortmead Street, one of the oldest streets in Biggleswade.

The Sun Inn Biggleswade
The Sun Inn Biggleswade

Beginning by the modern bridge at the Dan Albone carpark, Jane related the story of a waggon that crashed into the River Ivel from the old (probably wooden) bridge that had been nearby in July 1787. Although I knew this story, she brought the incident alive and I knew that this walk and talk was going to be fun. Next she led us to the site of the old Sun Inn and explained how it would have looked and what this establishment would have meant to the coaches passing through and the employment opportunities that it gave the local people.

As we passed down Shortmead Street we were shown where the wharves for the canal goods once stood with old buildings and lost ale houses, although the Coach and Horses is still present. Jane gave an idea of where the wealthy lived and where the poor struggled. She indicated where Anchor Yard would have been, and there was no illusion, the home of my ancestors would have been rough and overcrowded. No wonder the expanding family moved out of the town, returning to the surrounding villages of Langford and Clifton.

Biggs Shortmead Walk_graveyard_03The bell ringers were having a practice so that Jane was nearly drowned out at the grave yard of St Andrews Church, where we were shown two distinct gravestones, one of the founder of Battersea Dogs home, the other a grim reminder of an inspector of bridges who crossed to the wrong railway line one day, consequently losing his head. The papers of the day claimed he left over thirty children and there was speculation that he may have had a family at every station, as Jane had researched his records and he was never at home with his wife on census day.

The gory story of the body snatchers was retold at the other side of the graveyard and we learned that a dead body had no value, so when the thieves were caught, they were only fined, and this was probably paid off by the London School of Medicine who were often desperate for bodies to practice on…..

We learned of horse thieves who were hung, stocking stealers who brawled in the pub yard and serious rioting which was quelled with copious amounts of beer. I can honestly say that I felt well and truly connected to the Biggleswade of my ancestors for about two hours that evening.

Many stories survive despite there being no local paper until late in the 1800s. This History Society has an excellent website and a passion for the town of Biggleswade. Sharing time with this group gave me an excellent insight into the past, and like all great experiences, I made new friends.


Diamond Seeds Podcast no 6

Podcast number six from Diamond Seeds
Diamond Seeds Podcast number six

More of the finest tunes, keep sending them in! All to

I hope you enjoyed Podcast number 6 – all the band info is here:

Track 1 Lew Bear ‘Echoes of the Past’
From his 2nd album “Down By The Riverside.” released on 16th June 2013.
True to the folk and roots genre, this album was recorded outside in the nature, entirely live. ‘this album manages to contain diversity whilst holding onto a central style and
theme throughout’
find Lew Bear online at :

Track 2 Sunday Driver ‘The Concubine Waltz’
From the album “The Mutiny”.
Cambridge finest! On line and hilarious interview on You tube.

Track 3 Tony Holborne (1584 – 1602) ‘The Honeysuckle’
Played at the Tudor Court.From the album “Good Companye” by Classical Communications Ltd, available at Anne of Cleves house, Lewes.

Track 4 Wind Up Birds ‘Good Shop Shuts’
From the album “The Land” on Sturdy Records. I will probably end up playing every track off this brilliant album.

Track 5 Tarantism ‘Turn it up’
From the album “Last Band Standing” in appreciation of Mels superb vocals. More to come in future podcasts from their new album “Music Music Music”.

Track 6 Nostramus ‘Lights Out’
From the album “Doomsday Dot Com” Spon at his cheeky best!

Track 7 UK Decay ‘Heavy Metal Jews’
From the album “New Hope for the Dead” released 2013. B side of single release

Track 8 The Cravats ‘X.M.P.
From the album “The Cravats in Toytown” 2012 Overground Records

Track 9 Ella Jo ‘He Who Dares Wins’
From the album “Alter Ego” 2008 Diamond Seeds Productions

Track 10 Natalie Duncan ‘The Devil In Me
From the  album of the same name released in 2012 by Verve Music (Universal)

Track 11 Silent Scream ‘Cinema’
From the album “In the Cinema” recorded in Helsinki, released 2010 on Stupido Records

Track 12 Gestalt ‘Razorblade’
From the album “Forge a new sound” on Eskimo Indigo Records …Anarchist Noise Beats…. BLINK – for the sake of mankind PLEASE release some more records…

Track 13 Belleruche ‘Limelight’
From the album “Rollerchain”  an undiscoverd classic album.

Track 14 The Record Covers ‘Mr Brightside’
I dont usually play covers but I love this acoustic version…This band is an acoustic duo from Rugbyy, Warwickshire stripping down big Indie,pop,rock, dance and even rap tunes  to two acoustic guitars and a vocal.

Pigs as Horses


Pigs for horses

‘In the autum of 1811 people doing business in Beford market had the surprise of their lives when an eccentric farmer came to market in a vehicle drawn by four large
hogs. It had been specially constructed and was smaller than most other conveyances on the roads.

The farmer who lived outside Bedford is said to have entered the town ‘at a brisk trot’.
Crowds seemed to come from all over the place to see the unusual spectacle. He took the vehicle round the market place three or four times, then drove into the yard of the Woolpack Inn, where the hogs were unharnessed in a stable and fed well from a
trough full of beans and wash. The farmer went to do his normal market business,
returing three hours later with his purchases. The hogs were harnessed again and
the farmer set off home. He, his vehicle and his hogs drove out of Bedford to cheers of
encouragement from people lining the streets.

The farmer had only been training the hogs for this sort of work for six months. An
eyewitness commented ‘it is really surprising to what a high state of docility and tractablity he has brought them’.  A well to do man was so struck by the novelty of
what he had seen that he offered the owner of the trained hogs fifty pounds for the conveyance and the animals. The offer was indignantly refused.

The demonstration may have been in part a protest against government taxes levied on various forms of livestock to pay for the Napoleonic wars. There had been earlier protests at taxes on animals. When the horse tax was imposed by William Pitt in 1784 a northern farmer drove his cow to market to show his contempt for the legislation.’
Based on a report in the Wakefield and Halifax Journal of november 1811.

Source:Bedfordshire Magazine Vol21 No161

Pigs pulling a cart
Pigs pulling a cart

© Ella Jo @Diamond Seeds 2012

Happy New Year 2013

Christmas and New Year were especially fun this year as we saw out the old 2012. I staggered up to an eminent archaeologist in the pub on Christmas Eve to give him a ‘hot archaeological tip’ which he took very good humouredly (I realized later when I totalled up the number of brandies I had consumed)…

Father Xmas 2012
Father Xmas 2012

The end of 2012 saw happy neighbourly gatherings, drinks with old friends and the opportunity to review all the hard work the year had seen…perhaps 2013 will see a reaping of the rewards! And to top it all Father Christmas popped in to say hello on his way to see a little girl down the road – making it a very special Christmas indeed!

Diamond Seeds Podcast Five

Diamond Seeds Podcast No 5 The Luton Scene
Diamond Seeds Podcast No 5 The Luton Scene
Luton Bands  - Past and Present

This is a special Diamond Seeds Edition showcasing the talent that has emerged from Luton, near London in the UK. The show covers bands that played in the town from the 1980s up until present day.

Here’s the info on the bands that had music played on podcast Number five!

The Kindred

Since their formation in 2001, The Kindred have delivered a melodic, yet, aggressive, occasionally tongue in cheek blend of Punk and Metal to the South East.

Members : Kirk (drums), Paul (Guitar, Vocals) and Rob (Bass, Vocals). Thjey  have released three albums to date. Between a heavy dose of gigging and writing the band have also had time to film their first music video for the song “Broken UK” off their last album “exacerbate.” Check them out live, that’s where they really shine. The album “exacerbate” can be found on itunes, spotify, amazon and all other digital download sites.

Drive Like Casey

DLC’s brand of “Electric punk rock” (NME) has earned them credible supports slots
2010 Saw the release of their mini-album “The Four Horsemen”.


Buy the album from here :

Nostramus Album Releases :

2011 Doomsday Dot Com 2010 Earthlights re-mastered

As ‘The Hidden Core’ (THC) – 2010 Dark Ambience

Steve Spon is the guitarist of UK Decay. Nostramus is completely different from the music of UK Decay, yet there are similar threads. Spon’s association with the musical underground and nineties rave scene meant taking the technological path, creating counter-commercial music using the development of music technologies. The influence of drum’n bass, which unfurled during 1995 at Exodus Collective Parties inspired him to focus on capturing moods and atmospheres in an invigorating new direction of his musical expression. Released in 2011, ‘Doomsday Dot Com’ transports the listener on a journey through themes, and rhythms of addictive music. Sound-scapes crafted from the modern world contain delicious tunes and intriguing samples. The album contains the 2003 White Label release ‘Hero Bamboo Stick’ which was a collaboration with ‘Check-One-Two’.

The Friction

The Friction pictures 1979 can be found:

The Friction formed in 1978: Cary Graves (guitar), Roger Holdstock (vocals), Colin Salmon (drums) and Mark White (bass). They organised and debuted at the infamous 1979 Luton Town Hall gig, along with the Statics, UKDK and the Clips. Luton Council immediately banned all ‘punk’ from its premises!
They played all the usual Luton venues: Baron of Beef, Christchurch, 33 Arts Centre, etc. and recorded “Murder” at Quest Studios, Luton.

The Knockouts

Instrumental punk and suited surf. From the previous line up of Luton Band Thrilled Skinny Go there to enter the crazy world of the Knock Outs. There’s nowhere else like it. for a taster of the film.


Members: Kath – Guitar, Tim – Bass, Greg – Drums, Mark – Vocals

Record Label: Lung Burn

For information and some more music –!/irritantuk  

The Rattlesnakes

line up was Blink, Phil Crum, Steve Lewis and Greg Herbert.

Rattlesnakes video!


What happened to Steve Lewis?  

The Adenoids Buy the CD – 15 tracks!  

Penumbra Sigh

Penumbra sigh was Steve Richards, Pete Keenan, Mark Pratten and Kaz, and a drummer unnamed. read here for the full story of how the Anti Nirex tape was made!

In the mid eighties the government wanted to open a nuclear waste dump in mid Bedfordshire. The company was called nirex. Luton Bands came together to make a tape as part of the protest. The tape was called ‘Dump it on Parliament’.

Almost as soon as the tape was released, the government dropped their plans but today this collection stands as a historical snapshot of Luton’s alternative musicians, community and culture of the mid-late eighties. In 2004 one of the original artists to have appeared on the tape, Bugsy – digitised and sent the UK Decay Com website the MP3’s to host, which we have hosted to this day, now twenty five years after it was originally released. In 2006 Spon re compiled and remastered using another recently found copy of the original, selecting the best quality to have survived the years of each track on the tape.

Click Click  

formed in 1982 after previous project “Those Nervous Surgeons”. They cut their first single later that year, Click Click continued until the end of 1989. Other members included keyboard player Jon Morris, guitarist Graham Stronach and lighting wizard Pete Hosier (Big Ant Productions) who remained with the group until the end. Since 1997 Adrian and Derek reformed and play on and off….Skin and bones was released in 2011.

The Flexy Boys

They play in pubs and clubs, bringing smily culture to grunge!

Find the Flexy Boys on facebook  

See them live:

The Defekters  

Four piece experimental psychedelic reggae, ska, punk. Formed 2007 – feel good, thought provoking songs and play festivals! Cara Jane the vocalist sometimes sings with  Ting and Ra and the Iries (she is not an offical member) –  a Reggae band from Luton worth checking out!

Occult Radio Disorganization

Adrian Smith, Spon and Gary Whitely produced this material for the Anti Nirex tape.


Read the history of the band here :

Rose out of Luton post punk days and worked a while. Took a 25 year lunch break and they reformed. Some gigs sometimes – good to catch – if you cant check them out on You Tube….


GESTALT started its life with Steve Sma5h and Stef Cox as a studio project with their first Release FORGE A NEW NOIZE on Eskimo Indigo Records back in 2009. Hoping they reform, release material and gig in the future….

Ella Jo

EJ the DJ – does a bit of singing too….. 

My Favourite Music Venue in Luton

The Castle Tavern – a great place to perform live or to watch bands play live



Patronymic Family Surnames

A patronymic is a component of a surname based on an earlier male ancestor such as the father or grandfather. Conveying lineage, patronymics names are still in use world wide. Patronyms pre-date the use of family names and can be found in many Celtic, English, Scandinavian, and Slavic surnames.Other cultures formerly using patronyms now pass on the father’s last name to his children, although patronymics are still commonly used as middle names in Russia.

In England, names ending with the suffix ‘son’ were often originally patronymic. The prefix ‘Fitz’ (from French for ‘son’), appears in English aristocracy from the time of the Norman Invasion, and in Anglo-Irish names. The name Fitzroy, meaning ‘son of the king’, was used by the illegitimate children of royalty, acknowledged as such by their fathers.

‘Mac’, meaning ‘son’ was prevalent in Scottish Gaelic, Irish and Manx, occurring as ‘Mag’ in Ireland. In Ulster, the Isle of Man and Galloway, ‘Mac’ was frequently anglicisized, eg ‘Qualtrough’ meant son of Walter and ‘Quayle’ meant son of Paul,(MacPhail). In Ireland, this truncation resulted in surnames such as ‘Guinness’. Colloquial Scottish Gaelic has other patronymics, still in use. An interesting crossover variation in the use of ‘Ó’ for grandson in Irish (anglicised as ‘O’) and ‘Ap’ for ‘son’ in Welsh. Thus ‘Howell’ from West Wales was derived from Uí Mhell of old Irish, which then became O’Well, then ‘Howell’ in their Welsh relatives.Thus ‘Ap Howell’ means ‘the son of the grandson of Mell’!

In Wales, before the 1536 Act of Union, all Welsh people used patronyms and matronym as the sole way of naming people. Welsh, used ‘Map’ which in modern Welsh is ‘Mab’, in contrast to the Celtic Scottish ‘Mac’. Up until the Industrial Revolution, the use of patronyms was still widespread, especially in the west and north of Wales. A revival of patronyms during the 20th century continues today. Because Cornwall was absorbed early on into England, patronyms are less common than toponyms or occupational surnames.

Meaning literally ‘son of the uncle’ in Old English , Eames meant maternal uncle. The term fell out of use after the Norman Invasion, although in the late 14th century poem ‘Sir Gawain And The Greene Knight’, the young Gawain addresses King Arthur as ‘myn em’. (part 1 line 356)

In the aristocracy or ‘courtly society’ there was a strong bond between uncle and nephew (Nave being a surname from the latter), and the forms ‘Eames’ and in America, ‘Ames’, probably survive from the relationship as a favourite or ward of an uncle. The alternative suggestion ‘son of Emma’ has been rejected, and the surname, ‘Neame’, certainly arises from the incorrect division of the customary form of address.

Mr H P Guppy in his ‘House of Family Names in Great Britain’ (1890), recorded Eames in only two counties, Bedfordshire and Somerset. ‘Numerous entries in the telephone directory show how tenaciously it has survived, spreading into North Hertfordshire’.
Bedfordshire Magazine Vol 17 number129 Summer 1979.

© Ella Jo @Diamond Seeds 2012

A Good Halloween

It was a Good Halloween, but I sort of missed it. Between writing and singing and choosing music,Halloween got a bit forgotten, even though I would have loved to have thrown a party! I hope it will come together next year!

I did find some great props for a spooky picture though in between taking pictures of my things for sale on Reckless Relic, so here it is for prosperity!

Picture for Halloween, the mask and the candle
The mask and the candle, a halloween picture

I have an Edgar Allen Poe book to go with this scene!

Time to gather fruit, walk through the swirly mists and navigate blindly through the fog! – Oh and light the fire of course!

Diamond Seeds Podcast Number 4

Diamond Seeds Podcast Number Four
Punk and Post Punk edition November 2012

November 2012 is the time and the UK is the place for Diamond Seeds podcast number four. With another ten tracks to warm the cockles of any old punk’s heart, and educate the youth, we picked some bands to show what a broad and satisfying genre punk can be.

We thank all the bands for their contributions and welcome all submissions – so any bands out there send in your mp3s! We only pick the best, but that can be difficult when the standard is so high!

Although Diamond Seeds only accepts well recorded music (usually), most of the bands featured in Diamond Seeds Podcast four are still doing live gigs and I thought it was important to alert the public that you can get out and see these bands play. (And a note to any bands featured : For any gigs that have not been included in the notes, please feel free to put your gig dates in the comments!)

Submissions are taken in MP3 form at

Below : Links to artists featured in Diamond Seeds Podcast 4

Norwich Anarchists Benefit CD from Now Or Never Magazine (Collapse by Riot Clone and Media Control by WORM)


UK Decay gig London Saturday 16th Feb, 2013 @ The Elektrowerks

Freedom Faction –

Sunday Driver –

Sunday Driver interview:!


The Adenoids

New Groove Formation
NGF Gig Date: Saturday, 6th April 2013, Venue: The Black Market, Location: Warsop,
NGF Gig Date: 19th May 2016, Venue: Bearded Theory, Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire,



Reckless Relic Goes LIVE!!!!

Well at last time to write my blog! Reckless Relic is now live and all the hard work is there for the world to see. Trips to find recycled packaging meant making friends with the washing machine shop who don’t mind unloading their packaging to us now and again.

Other projects are also taking off – soon my book ‘Journey of A Tarot Reader’ will be available on Amazon – when I can figure out how on earth to up load it – as it will be an e book! Much research has been going on to find out how to make my tarot books available – and it seems now that self publication is just too expensive. Despite my desire to reject the modern world – I have to embrace e books and I suppose its ok, although I would rather see my tarot books written in cursive handwriting on rolls of parchment!!Maybe if I make my fortune I could commission some especially, but in the scheme of things it doesn’t look likely!

Although I have never really been a fan of modernity I must admit that I do like some plastic – glasses frames, airtight boxes and buckets and bins (and where would I be without bubble-wrap?). I think that recycled plastic should be used for house tiles (as long as they are not flammable ). I particularly don’t like plastic toothbrushes as they are almost impossible to recycle (apart from cleaning up push bike parts – and after that what could be done with them?)

I am very glad that I have the opportunity with Reckless Relic to recycle objects from the past that were lovingly made, but wonder what objects we use today will have the same value in the future? I suppose I have always loved things that were made with care, appreciating ‘vintage’ before I even knew the stuff had this name!

More lovely things are waiting to be put up for sale, and I am hoping that I will be able to get through my living room to my sofa soon! – also winter is coming and I really need to get to the fireplace to light the wood burner, so more of my collection is going to have to go!

From a late 19th century natural history book for children

Page 112/3 By Sea-Shore, Wood and Moorland – by Edward Step, fourth edition

‘did you ever see a squirrel’s nest – ‘Squeggies’s jug’ it is called in parts of Surrey…..

 …it is not difficult to tame a squirrel and make a pet of him, but it is a needless cruelty to shut up in a small cage a creature that is in nature accustomed to scamper freely to the topmost boughs of the highest trees, and to take flying leaps from one tree to another. Men may sometimes be seen in the streets with a very docile squirrel sitting upon their hands and offering it for sale. Do not be tempted to purchase any of these, for what looks like tameness is in reality only a want of life and spirit. The poor creatures have been poisoned – not sufficiently to kill them at once, for that would not suit the dealer’s purpose. As a rule they die a few days after they have been purchased.

 I remember many years ago my brother purchased one of these very ‘tame’ squirrels, which seemed to be the perfection of docility. But a few days into natural health enabled it to overcome the effects of the poison, and at night it gnawed through the bars of its roomy hutch, and was loose about the house. I well remember catching it the next day – aye, and I did catch it! Though this happened five and twenty years ago, I still bear the mark upon my thumb where its front teeth met in my flesh. We caught it several times with difficulty, but it regularly made its escape at night. It seemed to be perfectly mad.

 This went on for more than a week, when one evening a strange cat got into the house. In the dead of the night the two creatures met and quarrelled. There was a terrible uproar up and down stairs, and much scattering of fur. In the morning we found both dead; and so ended my first and last experience of ‘tame’ squirrels.