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Boxing Hares & Lucky Brush Out of the Chimney in Shudy Camps

Posted By paddy

I thought this was rather a good shot of these thatched boxing hares and the sweeping brush emerging from the chimney of this thatched property we swept recently in Shudy Camps. At the other end of the chimney was an unusual flame effect gas fire, which was constructed like a wood-burning stove, but without a door on it. Most unusual and something I had not seen before.

I know that you are thinking why do hares box in the first palace, well I’ll tell you all about it. Firstly it is not the male hares who box each other to win the right to mate with females as many people think, instead it will be a male and female who box each other. This happens when a male hare has been over zealous in his pursuit of a female in order to mate with her. What usually occurs is that the over persistent, unwanted attentions of the male become too much for the pursued female. For example the male might have chased the female across fields for some time in an attempt to mate. Eventually when the female has had enough of this, she’ll turn around and try to fend him off the persistent male suitor and a fierce boxing match will ensue! This mating behavior normally takes place in March giving rise to the expression, “mad as a March hare”.

I particularly liked this photo of boxing hares, which seems to be a rather common subject for thatched animals in this area. But why do hares actually box with each other? Why does this happen in the spring, giving rise to the expression ‘mad march hares’? Apparently, Hares do this because they are now in mating season, with the males (bucks) seeking out any females (does) that have come into season. The boxing usually occurs when a male is being too persistent with a female, chasing her across fields in an attempt to mate.

Thaxted – Unusual Stovax Brunel Green Enamel Multi-Fuel Stove

Posted By paddy

There seems to be a Stovax theme to my recent blogs, and this week is no different. Having said this, I do like an enamel stove, I think they hark back to the continental enamel stoves of the earlier part of the last century, the Godins, Miruses etc. A number of moden manufactures still produce enamel stoves such a Aga, Franco-Belge and this example a Stovax Brunel Multi-Fuel Stove in dark Green Enamel. I think they look so attractive and are easy to keep clen due to their smooth, glossy finished, I’m surprised they are not more popular and that more manufacturers don’t make them. In fact, Aga used to make an enamel version of the Little Wenlock Multi-Fuel stove but stopped production some time ago now as it didn’t sell very well. Most strange!

Stovax are a British company established in 1981, based in Exeter, and are the largest manufacturer of stoves and fireplaces in the UK. Stovax also manufacture a number of other stove brands including Yeoman, Dovre, Nordpeis, Lotus and Varde.

Debden – Stovax Swe 44 Wood-Burning Stove

Posted By paddy


I swept this stove just the other day in Debden and at first glance I thought it was a Jotul stove of a type that I had not come across before. I think it was that distinctive door handle, which is very similar to those found on many Jotul stoves. It turns out that it is actually a Stovax Swe 44 Wood-Burning Stove, a model I had never encountered before and the only one in the area that I sweep. The customer told me that it was a rather old stove and that it was installed a long time ago. I had a quick look on the internet and I couldn’t find any details for the Stovax Swe 44, so I’m thinking that it is no longer in production and probably hasn’t been manufactured for quite some time. It is probably and import from the continent as I am aware that Stovax do this with a number of different European brands, bringing them into the UK to sell over here.

Stovax are a British company established in 1981, based in Exeter, and are the largest manufacturer of stoves and fireplaces in the UK. Stovax also manufacture a number of other stove brands including Yeoman, Dovre, Nordpeis, Lotus and Varde.

Two Amazing Historic Medieval Churches Discovered Whilst Sweeping for the Diocese of Chelmsford – St Thomas’s and St Peter’s-on-the-Wall Bradwell-on-Sea

Posted By paddy

Here are some very interesting medieval churches that we have come across whilst sweeping for sweeping for the Diocese of Chelmsford. They are quite a long way from home that’s for sure! These are from a visit we made to sweep the Rectory at Bradwell-on-Sea. There are two medieval churches in Bradwell-on-Sea, the parish church of St Thomas’s and St Peter’s-on-the-Wall. The rectory lies down the lane from St Thomas’s and towards St Peter’s-on-the-Wall, which is down a long track towards the sea.

St Peter’s-on-the-Wall is a real gem of a church in the most atmospheric and enigmatic of locations. It is a grade 1 listed building and is believed to be among the oldest largely intact Christian churches in England; it is still in regular use. It dates from the years 660–662. The chapel is used regularly by the nearby Othona Community, in addition to Church of England services.

 According to Bede (who wrote his history in the early 8th century), a ‘city’ named Ythanceaster existed on the River Penta. The Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall was almost certainly originally built by Bishop Cedd in 654. It was an Anglo-Celtic church for the East Saxons, set astride the ruins of the abandoned Roman fort of Othona. The current structure was most likely built around 654–662, incorporating the Roman bricks and stones. In 653 Cedd travelled south from Lindisfarne to spread Christianity at the behest of Sigeberht the Good, then King of the East Saxons, and, having been ordained as a bishop, returned the next year in order to build the Chapel, and probably others too. Following the death of Cedd in October 664 from plague, the Chapel became part of the Diocese of London.

No further record exists of the Chapel being used until 1442, when the local clergy reported to the Bishop of London that it had been expanded slightly, with a small tower above the porch with a bell in it. However, they did not know of its origins, and it was unusable, having been burnt. It was repaired and returned to regular use alongside the parish church in Bradwell-on-Sea until at least the Tudor period (16th century) before falling into disuse as a church again and being used as a barn—the position of the wide barn doorway, now filled in, can be seen on the south side of the nave. In 1920 it was restored and reconsecrated as a chapel; it achieved Grade I listed status in 1959.

St Peter’s-on-the-Wall is sited on the western entry gate way of the Roman Saxon Shore Fort of Orthona. Othona or Othonae was one of a chain of Saxon Shore forts located all around the coast of southeast Britain. The Old English name Ythanceaster for the locality derives from the Roman name.

 The fort of Othona is in a typical late 3rd century style, and was possibly constructed during or shortly prior to the Carausian Revolt, making it contemporary with the forts at DubrisPortus Lemanis and Gariannonum. According to the early 5th-century Notitia Dignitatum, which is the only contemporary document mentioning Othona, the fort was garrisoned by a numerus fortensium (“numerus of the brave ones”). Othona’s location at the edge of the Dengie Peninsula was ideal for control of the estuaries of the rivers Blackwater and Colne, the latter leading to the important city of Camulodunum (now Colchester). The fort’s shape was roughly trapezoidal, with rounded corners. The stone rampart was 4.2 metres thick, indicating a tall superstructure, and enclosed over 2 hectares (4.9 acres). A single exterior ditch surrounded the site. Although some of the Roman building material was reused in the 7th century Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall, enough of the rampart survived until the 17th century, when it was described by the local historian Philemon Holland as a “huge ruin”. It has since been largely swallowed by the sea, leaving scant remains on view.

The Saxon Shore (Latinlitus Saxonicum) was a military command of the late Roman Empire, consisting of a series of fortifications on both sides of the English Channel. It was established in the late 3rd century and was led by the “Count of the Saxon Shore“. In the late 4th century, his functions were limited to Britain, while the fortifications in Gaul were established as separate commands. Several Saxon Shore forts survive in east and south-east England.

During the latter half of the 3rd century, the Roman Empire faced a grave crisis. Internally, it was weakened by civil wars, the violent succession of brief emperors, and secession in the provinces, while externally it faced a new wave of attacks by barbarian tribes. Most of Britain had been part of the empire since the mid-1st century. It was protected from raids in the north by the Hadrianic and Antonine Walls, while a fleet of some size was also available.

However, as the frontiers came under increasing external pressure, fortifications were built throughout the Empire in order to protect cities and guard strategically important locations. It is in this context that the forts of the Saxon Shore were constructed. Already in the 230s, under Severus Alexander, several units had been withdrawn from the northern frontier and garrisoned at locations in the south, and had built new forts at Brancaster and Caister-on-Sea in Norfolk and Reculver in Kent. Dover was already fortified in the early 2nd century, and the other forts in this group were constructed in the period between the 270s and 290s.

 St Thomas is also a very interesting medieval church and is itself grade 2 listed. The chancel and south porch are 14th Century work, however the nave was rebuilt in 1706 and the west tower was added at that time.Further changes took place in the Victorian period with the north organ chamber being added and some restoration work being completed by Chancellor in 1864. There is a pleasing contrast in the different building materials used and blending of different architectural styles. The chancel and organ chamber are constructed from flint rubble and septaria, whilst the nave is built from brick and stone and the tower is exclusively made from brick with Limestone dressings. The plain red peg tile roof is also a very pleasing feature. The west doorway has some interesting dog tooth molding above it. There are also a number of fascinating wall brasses on the north wall, (1) Margaret Wyott 1526, woman in a pedimental head-dress. (2) early C16 shield of arms, 3 owls and a sinister quarter impaling 4 bars on a bend of 3 scallops. (3) Thos. Debanke 1606 – inscription. (4) Johannes Debanke 1601. The church is well worth a visit, particularly if you are considering visiting the atmospheric church of St Peter’s-on-the-Wall – So much history and beautiful architecture, what’s not to like!

Newport – Stovax Regency Wood-Burning Stove

Posted By paddy

I do see a lot of these around the local area, even though they look very traditional and somewhat antiquated. Surprisingly these appliances are still in production. This is the Stovax Regency Wood-Burning Stove, I recently swept this example at an address in Newport. They are similar in many ways to the combination stoves that are made by other manufacturers, notably Dovre, Nordpeice and Hergom. Many people like to burn them with the doors open so that they have an open fire experience as opposed to a wood-burning stove. However, although aesthetically pleasing, I should not think that this is a very efficient way of burning fuel.

Stovax are a British company established in 1981, based in Exeter, and are the largest manufacturer of stoves and fireplaces in the UK. Stovax also manufacture a number of other stove brands including Yeoman, Dovre, Nordpeis, Lotus and Varde.


Sewards End – Woodwarm Fireview Insert Wood-Burning Stove

Posted By paddy

This is something I don’t see a lot, a Woodwarm insert stove. I sweep a lot of Woodwarm appliances, as can be seen from my previous blogs. The Woodwarm freestanding Fireview is a common stove and I also sweep a number of examples of the Woodwarm freestanding Double-Sided Fireview, but I have never come across a Woodwarm Fireview Insert stove before. This example that I sweep at an address in Sewards End is rather a tidy stove that warms a rather large room effectively.

Not knowing much about Woodwarm Stoves I have done a little internet research and found that like many stove manufactures they are based in the West Country:

The Workshop,
Wheatcroft Farm,
Devon EX15 1RA



The manufactures are actually called; Metal Developments Ltd and it is their range of stoves that are termed Woodwarm. The company make a range of stoves, notably the: Phenix, Fireview, Wildwood, Foxfire, and the Kalido Gas.

The companies blurb on their website stresses a concern for environmental issues: Here at Woodwarm we have dedicated over 30 years of production to our customers and very experienced dealers and fitters to tell us what you want from your home fire. We pride ourselves on the ability to respond to both customer needs and government legislations while using cutting edge technology to ensure reliability and workmanship throughout. We strongly believe that it is thanks to our immensely hard-working sales outlets that we have become a market leader in Clean Burning Wood and Multi Fuel heating.

We are very lucky to be located in the beautiful Devon countryside. Environmental issues are always foremost in our minds; we cannot afford to ignore the evidence of global warming. Wood is a sustainable fuel boasting the fact that it also carbon neutral, for this reason we have developed the Wildwood range, a dedicated wood burner range that does not drain the planet of its rich resources. “Please see our environmental policy for our commitments to the future”

Why Woodwarm? We are not the cheapest fire on the market this we are the first to admit, we cannot compete with the mass-produced meaningless market, and so because of this we won’t. Some of our fires are still in use some 30 years on, what else do you have that’s still working at 30 years old? We know how to keep the glass clean, even overnight, we know how to get the maximum use from your fuel, we are unrivalled in our boiler, canopy, fuel, colour, leg, handles, plinth, pedestal, options because we are hand-made here in the UK. You will buy a house for comfort and as an investment, your choice in a stove should be the same.

Hundon – Town & Country Thornton Dale Multi-Fuel Stove

Posted By paddy

I do sweep a lot of these Town and Country stoves, this example which I recently swept in Hundon is the Town & Country Thornton Dale Multi-Fuel Stove. The most common models that I come across being the Little Thurlow, the Bransdale and the Thornton Dale. I don’t think they are the chimney sweeps favourite stove to sweep, as they have to be largely dismantled to access the flue. This is not so bad, but if the vermiculite bricks are cracked, as they frequently are, the stove is difficult to reassemble. This said, all the customers who I sweep for who have Town & Country stoves swear by them for their fuel efficiency and heat output. In fact, I have not come across a customer who has a Town & Country stove who is displeased with their performance. Well each to there own!!!

Town and Country Fires is a family run business based in Pickering on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. Once farmers, the Thurlow family took the big decision to diversify and as a consequence started the stove business in 1977.

Gaining a wealth of experience over the years and using a combination of old and new techniques has led to the company developing and manufacturing some of the best, energy efficient, solid fuel and wood burning stoves in the world.

Town & Country stoves

1 Enterprise Way
Thornton Road Industrial Estate,
Pickering, North Yorkshire. YO18 7NA

Telephone: 01751 474 803
Fax: 01751 475 205


Heta Ambition 5 Wood-Burning Stove Swept in Shingay-Cum-Wendy

Posted By paddy


I sweep an awful lot of Heta stoves, the vast majority of which have been installed by Cut Maple Stoves from New England Sturma. Most of these tend to be the Heta Inspire 40, 45 and 55, the 45 in particular. However, the other day I came across this rather attractive, modern Heta Scan-Ambition 5 Wood-Burning Stove, a model of Heta that I have worked on only a small number of times. I have seen examples of this stove in Clare, Great Bradley, Western Colville, Haverhill and Saffron Walden where there are a few examples. But it is not by any stretch of the imagination a common stove. Like all Heta stoves, it was a dream to dismantle and put back together following cleaning, but its internal configuration is quite unlike any other Heta Models. It is rather an attractive looking contemporary stove I’m sure you will agree. The customer is certainly pleased with its appearance and performance, telling me that it is very efficient at heating the room as well as being pleasing to the eye.

HETA is a family-owned business, located in Lemvig near the west coast of Jutland in Denmark. This is where HETAs stoves are developed and manufactured from idea to finished product. Today, HETA is selling stoves to customers in 22 countries. HETA was founded in 1972 with Erik Bach at the steering wheel for the first many years. Today, Erik’s two sons, Carsten and Martin Bach, are heading the company.

For the first couple of years, the company produced hot water containers, refrigeration plants, tanks for fishing vessels and feeders for agriculture. In 1984, HETA started a collaboration with L. Lange & Co, a Danish iron foundry in Svendborg, founded by Lars Lange, a manufacturer of old cast iron stoves since 1850. After a few years later, HETA acquired L. Lange & Co’s activities.

In 1989, HETA developed the first of a long series of modern stoves, which laid the foundation for all the stoves in HETAs current range. Today, HETA also manufactures stove inserts, pellet stoves, aqua stoves, thermal mass stoves and outdoor stoves to quality-conscious consumers, not only in Denmark but worldwide.

Heta Stoves

Jupiterej 22

DK-7620 Lemvig



Great Henny Suffolk Another Beautiful and Historic Medieval Church Discovered Whilst Sweeping for the Diocese of Chelmsford

Posted By paddy

Recently we revisited one of my favourite Medieval Churches, St Mary the Virgin, Great Henny, to sweep the chimney at the vicarage. The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Henny sits on top of a headland with commanding views over the Stour Valley. It is an ancient place of pilgrimage, with its distinctive Oak shingles on the spire, which can be seen above the surrounding fields for miles. A truly beautiful location. If you have the opportunity to visit the church, look for the carvings of mediaeval musicians on the roof beam ends. The pair nearest the chancel are a priest with incense censer, and possibly a deacon with the incense box. There are also two carved demons who guard the chancel. Absolutely fantastic! It is such a beautiful, isolated rural location too, so is well worth a visit.

The church at Great Henny exhibits sections of 11th, 12th and 14th century work, but is most notable for its oak shingled broach spire roof, which is a real rarity. The church is also notable for it rather remote rural location and is set some distance from the village. It is very picturesque viewing the church across the corn fields with its lonely spire striking up on the skyline. Like many isolated rural churches in East Anglia its location describes the ravages of the Black Death, where whole villages shifted their loci away from their original site to escape the effects of the pestilence. The church roof is also notable, dating from the 15th century it exhibits moulded tiebeams, and braces and queen post trusses. The tower shows three stages of building activity, dating from the of 11th, and 12th centuries.

Elmdon – Hergom E-30M Wood-Burning Stove

Posted By paddy

On my rounds I see very few of these Hergom Stoves, I can think of only two other examples of this make of stove which are both different models and one of which is a large combination stove. This example is one of their more contemporary models, the Hergom E-30M Wood-Burning Stove. The customer states that it is a very efficient stove and throws out plenty of heat, warming the room satisfactorily on even the coldest of winter days. This stove is fitted in what is a very old thatched cottage, with plenty of exposed beams and an old inglenook fire place, and although it is a very contemporary stove, it is strangely not out of place in this setting.

Although the name Hergom would suggest a Scandinavian stove manufacturer, these stoves are actually made in Sabtander in Spain. The companies advertising blurb tells us that: Hergom’s appliances are well designed, efficient with a sophisticated double combustion system. Through there innovative internal structure Hergom stoves provide maximum heat and fuel performance with minimal emissions of unburnt particles into the atmosphere. Hergom is one of Europe’s largest and most established manufacturers of cast iron stoves and cookers. Their stoves are forged its state the art foundry in Santander in northern Spain, with Hergom owning their own foundry they use the finest cast iron as the primary material in their production stoves, they understand cast iron and its resilience as a material for hearth and fireplace products. Durability, unique forming and thermal initia give cast products the edge in the market.

The company manufacture a range of different models of stove including the E20, E30, E40, the Mnachester, the Crafytsbury, the Glance, the Mallorca, the Sere Inset and the Laredo.

Industrias Hergóm

S.L. Soto de la Marina,




+34 942 587 000