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Masthead showing parish logo, followed by photos of the two pubs and the church

Click for Parish Council Website A PDF version of the entire Millennium Book is available on request from the Parish Clerk (parish-clerk@berrickandroke.org.uk).

About this Book

When the Millennium celebrations were just a twinkle in the Committee's eye, some sort of late 20th century Domesday Book seemed like a good way to record life in our community at this point in time. Little did we realise at that stage what a huge community undertaking this would be. Unlike the original 1086 version, where the record of the villages was compiled against the will of the people by external evaluators for potentially sinister purposes, this volume has been created through the collective and willing efforts of the villagers themselves, and painstakingly assembled by amateurs. This short introduction outlines the structure of the book and the way it developed. In his Foreword, the Chairman of the Parish Council has already sketched the nature of our small rural community, and the pages between these covers are designed to present a contemporaneous snapshot of life here at the turn of the Millennium. Although not designed to be a complete history of the villages, Susan Radice's historical and contemporary depiction of our community sets the context for the main section, Property Entries, which follow next. This comprises entries from the villagers themselves, but, before moving on to these, a brief account of how this process took place is needed.
After setting the parameters within the Committee, the next task was to visit each house to explain what the Berrick and Roke Millennium Book was about, in order to engage interest and solicit entries. The community was divided up between Committee members, and their challenge commenced. Occasionally, people were found to be at home on the first visit, but this was rare. More often, many subsequent attempts were necessary before entries were obtained.
Eventually, as deadline after deadline approached and passed, more drastic measures were adopted. One or two depositions were dictated in The Chequers, a couple acquired by telephone interview, and – with increasing desperation – two or three over drinks and canapés at various village Christmas parties! We apologise, in hindsight, to our victims and hosts for this serious breach of etiquette, but, in mitigation, we did not want to go to press without being sure that everybody who wished to had made their contribution. Each property has been allocated half a page; this includes information about the inhabitants (top left box), and a photo of the property. Owners were invited to supply their own photograph if they had a favourite shot, and a few took this option; these photos have been scanned into their entries. The other photos were taken by us – amateur photographers with rather basic digital equipment. The main – and most interesting – part of each entry is a short piece, written by anyone (or everyone) at home, about any aspect of their house, their family or their view of life in their village. We are a diverse community, with many different expectations and aspirations, and so it is particularly gratifying that out of a total of 125 properties we have 113 entries from individual householders – a 90% hit rate! We were also delighted that some of the entries were written by children, breaking the monotony of word processor fonts and adult-think. For ease of reference, each entry is placed alphabetically by house name.
In the Community Activities section, the book records some of the elements that make up village life. Recent research tells us that the social health of a community is indicated by the number of individual activities in which inhabitants can become involved. Given our small size, we must score very highly on this scale! Reference data appears at the end of the book. In order to locate houses geographically, the maps, drawn by Paul Bayntun, show their relative positions. Each property has a number, which relates to its place in the alphabetical index of properties. You will note that in this list each property is represented, even if the householder chose not to make an entry. The second index is more useful if you wish to refer to an individual family, as this is recorded in alphabetical order of surnames; this list consists of those who made an entry. A digital version of this book, together with extra photos, for which there is no space in this book, are being recorded onto a CD ROM, which also contains some of the Berrick Christmas Carols composed by John Hyde. A final plea! You will see from the long list of Acknowledgements how much time and energy people have put into this project. So, please don't judge us too harshly for being amateurs in publishing, but, in browsing through the results of our combined efforts, please do celebrate the richness and diversity of our community at this momentous point in history.

The Millennium Book also contained useful maps of the Parish as it was at the turn of the century, obtainable via the links below:-

Happy browsing!
Derek Shaw Editor, December 1999