Warminster Trip 1984
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- Special Bonus! Listen to the band's first live performace of 'Warminster Night' at the Star Rock Club in June 1984.
Spring/summer ’84 was a busy time for newly formed C E IV. Visiting rehearsal studio and performing gigs were topping the list and a trip to Warminster already booked for September!
We had a gig list of 7 songs. Five were written by us and two were cover versions. ‘Warminster Night’ was fast becoming a favourite with fans and one which we enjoyed playing. Our interest in Warminster had come directly from Arthur Shuttlewood’s books. Arthur’s writings had made it all so interesting and magical and we just had to see the place, after all we had written a song about it, so let’s have a look! The original line up of C E IV, Chris, Bruce, Brian jnr and me booked tickets for the train and headed south in an attempt to bring Arthur’s books to life!!
Olde Cheese House Cottage
We decided to stay in a rural area (better for skywatching) close to the town so we booked a cottage in Upton Lovell for a week 22-29th September. Mrs Dyke of Beechcroft farm rented us the Olde Cheese House cottage in the village. She was a lovely elderly lady who looked after us; she would put notes through the door early in the morning asking if we wanted a run into Warminster that particular day!
The cottage was second from the right of a terrace of four, with a small garden at the front with a larger garden at the rear. I remember the stairs leading to bedrooms were very steep and at least once I took a tumble down them……. without a drink!
Beyond the back garden was a field full of cattle. Just a few yards from the cottage was a railway level crossing with bells and clangs which kept us awake during the night, until we got used to it. Day one we wandered around the village to get the feel of the place. Upton Lovell was small so it didn’t take long to get to know it. It had a beautiful medieval church ‘St Augustine’s’ complete with graveyard and of course the Prince Leopold Inn where we downed a few beers and on one occasion took on and beat the local darts team, obviously with a bit of luck! The local people were very friendly and always had time to stop and chat! I seem to remember fruit trees were abundant at the side of the road. The plums in particular were excellent!
We hadn’t seen much of Warminster when we arrived. We had boarded a bus to Upton Lovell immediately we got off the train, so it was Monday morning before we headed back into town! Again we used the bus but soon found out it was easier and quicker for the four of us to use taxi’s wherever we went!
We thought it a quaint little town similar to some of the market towns in Scotland. I remember asking a girl, I think it was a small ‘Tourist Centre’, if she knew anything about the history of UFOs in the town? She just stared at me saying she hadn’t a clue what I meant! Of course it could have been my Scots accent!
I got a map of the town and surrounding area, along with leaflets, etc, and we headed off to take in the sights. We got some postcards and groceries before heading back to the cottage around tea time. Obviously we would visit Warminster on other occasions before heading back to Glasgow.
We travelled quite a bit around Wiltshire and of course Stonehenge was top of the list. Unlike today it was easier to get close to the stones, only a rope stopped visitors from walking into the circle, much more ‘friendly’ than it is today. First surprise was how small the actual circle was! We took lots of photographs and wandered around wondering who erected the stones and why?
Salisbury was very interesting with its beautiful Cathedral and old architectural buildings. Salisbury is no stranger to pop/rock events and Buddy Holly’s visit in March 1958 surely tops the list!
We viewed the ‘White Horse’ from the roadside and took in other interesting sights! The taxi drivers were full of patter and certainly kept us going with various stories as we travelled around the county. Weather was good and helped make the journey’s more pleasant. The average day was spent travelling around, getting back for tea-time, a pint in the Prince Leopold and skywatching late evening! Not forgetting the odd game of football near level crossing!
On one occasion while visiting Warminster we found ourselves on a hill on the edge of town. We hadn’t a clue what it was called (Battlesbury we later learned), but we did have an excellent view of surrounding countryside.
Our main skywatching was done from Upton Lovell close to the cottage. With no town lighting to bother us, the sky (weather permitting) was crystal clear. We spent hours skywatching here, mostly until the early hours.
We did view strange lights on two occasions. Orange ball shaped objects moved slowly over some hills NW of Upton Lovell and star like objects moving together on another occasion. No sound was heard on both occasions. Obviously many satellites were spotted too.
On one particular evening we heard strange sounds. Around 11.30pm while doing a regular skywatch, we all heard a sort of low ‘groaning’ sound. It was difficult to pinpoint where the sound was coming from. We all stood close together quietly listening and came to the conclusion it was all around us. It got louder and lasted about 3 minutes. Still haven’t a clue what it was. It was scary and I think we retired early that night ha! Making sure doors and windows were secure! Obviously we were well aware of the Army’s presence in the area so who knows what they were up to. I have no doubt they are responsible for causing a high percentage of UFO reports in the area possibly including what we had witnessed.
Warminster got the title, some think it still has, of being the UFO capital of the UK. I feel this label is more romantic than factual. Nevertheless we all love the mystery surrounding the place and we certainly have a passion for Ufology. However until we get real proof, whatever form that might take, then the romance will have to do.
Copyright © 1984
Brian A. McMullan
Brian J. McMullan
For C E IV