Wrington Revisited - A series by Bill Crook                 May, 2020
www.wrington.net
Wrington website History
Bill, a regular visitor to the website from New Zealand. He was born when his family were living in Lawrence Road. He and his other relatives living in New Zealand Keep in touch with Wrington news viaI the website. On his visit home in 2016, we met in All Saints’ church <http://www.wrington.net/allsaints/2016/billcrookvisit/> and he went across the road to spend time with Trevor Wedlake, whose contributions to the website, about growing up in Wrington, must have sparked off the idea in Bill’s mind for this present series. Indeed, he’s already written a fascinating piece about how, as a 9-year old at Wrington School, he heard from the headmaster of the death of King George VI. He writes “ A muffled gasp went round the room and one of the older boys fainted. It didn’t mean much to me at my age but … we were told we could go home early that day, YIPPEE !!!
Wrington Revisited. 1948. The prime minister was Clement Attlee and it was the year Mahatna Gandhi was assassinated and the Berlin Airlift began. The Axbridge Rural District Council built 14 new council houses in Silver Street, now known as Lawrence Road. Our family moved into No.1 and, just as a memory prodder, the following families took residence, in order, up the road. Crook, Vowles, Wilkins, Hillman, Frappell, Martin, Moss, Owers, Dewsberry, Cummings, Mellott, Fear, Cox and Steadman. Does that ring a bell or two? The village had two shoe shops (Millard and Parkes), three grocers (Farley, Amor and Cook), Amor also had a drapery shop managed by Miss. Milton. One clothes shop (Farley), one general merchandise (Parsley), A post office (Phillip may wish to confirm if Mr. Whitehouse was postmaster in 1948), two motor repair shops (Kingcott and Richards (?) ), Mr. and Mrs. Cox ran the paper shop on Station road and Mr. Waite ran the school on School road. Wedlake and Bathard each had a butcher shop, one with sawdust on the floor!! Mr.Edwards was the chemist and two doors down from his shop you could watch Clar Lane shoeing horses. I’m not sure if Angus Spalding had opened his electrical store at this time. Miss. Bathgates’ Cuckoo Workshop was still out West Hay and Mr. Bruncker was caretaker at the Memorial hall. Tom Bush was a builder and the fire chief. Lloyds bank had a branch by Amors and Burnetts had a sawmill behind the memorial hall. Yates made coffins and Mr.Biggs (School Road) made the headstones to go on top! Dr. Bell made house calls and Burnetts built houses. Three postmen (Mr. Hurley and two Ferris brothers) and one postlady (Ivy Davies) delivered letters five days a week, a steam train delivered coal to Clements coal merchants on a Monday and Clements coal merchants delivered coal to our place on a Wednesday. Marshalls delivered milk on Saturdays. Organs operated a printing business in “The Dring” and grew delicious Orange Pippin apples in an orchard where Garstons now exists. Mr. Bollinger(?) ran “The Bell”, Bert Clarke was landlord of “The Golden Lion”, Mr. Holland(?) operated “The Plough” and Bridie Sherbourne was the personable landlady of “The White Hart”. Resident policeman Constable Hebditch kept an eye on law and order. Legal matters were handled by the High street firm of Bennetts and dental matters by Mr. Calder on his weekly visit to Mrs. Shapleys’ home. Ah! Mr. Calder and Mrs Shapley, to us kids the lesser of the two evils was arguable! Colonel Lee cut a dash striding through Broad street with his walking stick whilst Mr. Hurley, the postman, cut men’s hair at his home in Station road. For their hair needs ladies could visit Vera Bugden in her Ladywell home. A bakers’ dozen of the best tea cakes was available at Sullivans bakery and their birthday cakes were iced to perfection by Art Badger. Across the road another bakery was run by Mr.Coles. Jack Sperry operated a general carrying company specialising in agricultural products and Wrington Vale nurseries, managed by Bill Ridley, grew tomatoes and lettuces opposite the White Hart. A man whose name escapes me grew anenomes, commercially, in a field at the top of Iwood Lane. In those DIY days Tincknells hardware, by the railway crossing, was the place to visit. Spiritual needs were met by three churches in those days. All Saints’ was the architectural showpiece and important place of worship but both the “top” and “bottom” chapels were a valued part of the overall well being of the parish. More of that later. To be continued……….. Footnote: Readers, my articles represent recollections not reflections of events or places visited. I use a little poetic licence so may not always be entirely correct especially timewise. If you have any comments, corrections or additions please feel free to contact at <bill.crook17@gmail.com>. I would love to hear from you.
RESPONSES RESPONSES PART 2 PART 2 PART 3 PART 3 PART 4 PART 4 PART 5 PART 5
Wrington Revisited - A series by Bill Crook - Responses Website homepage History index page BACK TO PAGE 1 PART 2 PART 3 PART 4 PART 5
www.wrington.net
Wrington website History
Jo Lewis - barely minutes after Bill’s piece was uploaded ! I would like to thank Bill for his piece relating all the Wrington businesses in the village when he first moved into the village. I was born in Council Houses, Kings Road, Wrington in 1949, moved to Congresbury at 7 months old but came back to Wrington when I was just seven. I lived in 20 Silver Street, later Lawrence Road. with my Dad Jim Edwards and Mum Lil and there were 6 of us kiddies. We had the best place in which to grow up, with our house at the top of the road with only fields from then on, what a playground we all had! A few of the names, recollected by Bill, I didn’t recognise but the majority I did. We were well served with shops and amenities considering Wrington wasn’t a large village at that time. I worked in the school holidays and Saturdays at Farleys and then later the mushroom farm before leaving school, happy days. I look forward to any more reminiscences from Bill should he (I was going to say put pen to paper, showing my age now even if I hadn’t mentioned it above!) decide to carry on. George Collins - Thank you for this, a good read! Philip Whitehouse - What an interesting series of parade of memories Bill Crook presents. To correct him a little, my father became Post Master in 1951, immedately before us the Post Office was occupied by the Thomas family. (for a time,in fact, we - and my mother's parents, Bert and Louisa Howells -- were running two Post Offices simultaneously - Magor "across the water" and Wrington. Happily, Magor still possesses its PO) .My parents, having fallen in love with the place, returned to Wrington in 1956, and we lived at Cox's Green,and remained in the village until 1959. But I remember my arrival at Wrington school as a rather shy, timid boy of six. What a culture shock ! Migrating to a bush part of Australia eleven years hence was of no comparison ! It was during Mr Waite's regime:. The teaching staff were : Ms Gunning, the infant teacher who, from memory, also instructed in Scripture, Ms Green - into whose class I was ushered, Ms George and Mr Webber (I have used a rather anachronistic "Ms" as I am unsure of the ladies' marital status). I came from a south Birmingham Primary school (Hall Green) and in those days, I think, regional differences in accent were probably more marked. I remember being struck by the broad Somersetshire accent, particularly in Morning Assembly when the Lord's Prayer was sung. "For Everrrr, and Everrrrr, Arrrrmen". Still, I settled in reasonably well and became quite happy: Going to the pictures at the Memorial Hall. Going into both Somerset Bakeries and Cole Bakery and demanding a "penny bun"- which I usually got. Climbing the quarry and playing in the woods (now all out-of-bounds, I noticed, when we visited a few years ago) After Mr Hurley retired cycling to Yatton, via "The Rhoddy" to get a haircut . And there was a railway. We arrived when the lines onward from Wrington were being removed, but we managed to cadge a ride (Anthony Parsley and myself) on the footplate to Burrington before they were. The 1953 Coronation was another Big Deal (another anachronism). The School went to visit the Naval Review at Spithead where we cruised around the assembled warships and, of course, visited HMS Victory:- wonderful for a small boy. Then there was a Children's party the length of Broad Street. There was always a Children's Day each year, unless my memory plays me false, but perhaps it still happens. A Fancy Dress Parade and games at the "Rec. All good. Kind regards, Philip W. Jo Lewis Lovely memories evoked when reading Part 4 of Bill Crook’s memories – thank you Bill. We Edwards children attended the Congregational Chapel and yes, enjoyed the outings to Weymouth, sorry to hear Bill didn’t get to go on these! Always a wonderful day on the beach - Dads rolling up their trousers for a paddle, knotted hankie on top of their heads if the sun was too hot. At the beach, Dads carried (very carefully) a tray with proper teapot and cups, for the mums’ tea, ice creams (of course), swimming (or, in my case, trying to) in the beautiful clear blue water, finishing the day at the fairground where the coaches parked. Fish and chips (and a trip to the loo) at Castle Carey on the way home. Lots of singing and laughter on the coaches. Magical outings made all the more precious as many, in those days, didn’t get to go far from the village. I have seen a photograph of my Great Aunt Phyl and other villagers on an open top charabanc, taken many years before, an outing arranged by the Methodist Chapel I believe so this tradition was long lived. Did I see this on the Wrington website I must take another look? Such simple pleasures now but what a very happy time was had by all and Weymouth is still my favourite seaside town. Best wishes, Jo
BACK TO PAGE 1 BACK TO PAGE 1 PART 2 PART 2
Wrington Revisited - A series by Bill Crook
PART 3 PART 3 PART 4 PART 4 PART 5 PART 5
Wrington Revisited - A series by Bill Crook - Part 2                June, 2020
www.wrington.net
Wrington website History
1949. NATO is established. West Germany is formalised as the Federal Republic of Germany and east Germany becomes the German Democratic Republic. Mao Tse-tung proclaims the establishment of the Communist People’s Republic of China. The district council had built another ten houses in Silver St. These were occupied, clockwise from the top, by the following families:- Porter, Todd (son of whom acquired the obvious nick name Sweeney!) Neath, Clements, Bell, Brooks, Crook, Dagleish, Parsons and Cox. The Brooks family moved to Gatcombe within a year or two and were replaced by the Harse family. Commercial changes now occurred with Molly Richards opening her “emporium” where “The Bell” once was and Mostyn moving his business to shedding behind the shop. Mr. Parkes closed his shoe business and the Tringhams converted it into something akin to what we now call a “convenience” store. Mr. Tringham deserves a space in the village history for two innovations primarily aimed at his younger clientele. Firstly, his home- made ice blocks. Word soon got round that after school kids could get a FREE ice block that afternoon and another FREE one the next day. After that they were available at the bargain price of ONE FARTHING each!. More importantly Mr. Tringham introduced the local population to MONKEY NUTS. Monkey nuts, they became the talk of the village, especially amongst the kids. For a few pennies you could get a little bagful of these new delights. Each sawdust textured and tasting shell usually contained two kernals and that’s what you got, plain and unadulterated! Their popularity soared and they would eventually became known by their American name…..PEANUTS. To us they remained monkey nuts. Meanwhile Wrington Vale Nurseries was undergoing a change from lettuce and tomato producers to mushroom growers. As Gatcombe was being developed a plantation of black currents below the new mushroom houses ensured continuing work for local women. Somewhere in this time frame Owen Mathlin opened a butcher shop next to Shapleys. The same Mr. Mathlin used to hand dig the area now known as Hannah More Close and grow potatoes. All harvested almost single handedly by Owen. On a Saturday evening you could go to Mr. Mathlins’ home (near Branches Cross) where his wife, May, would sell you a dozen of the best home -made faggots in the west! I had heard that as a young man Owen acted as a stockman delivering sheep to New Zealand on what would have been quite a long voyage. Around the same time a local, likeable rogue, lets call him Teddy, was summoned to appear before the Axbridge Magistrates Court on a charge of stealing a few bales of hay from a farmers’ barn. On the day of the hearing Teddy rode his bike from Wrington to Axbridge, parked his bike against the wall of the courthouse and went inside. The case for the defence being somewhat weak resulted in a conviction and Teddy was sentenced to ten days imprisonment. Police delivered him to Horfield prison in Bristol. Given two days off for good behaviour Teddy was released and returned to Axbridge by the police. He found his bike exactly where he had left it whereupon he mounted his trusty steed and simply peddled back to Wrington. There was some talk that the rear wheel was slightly damaged but we’ll never know because Teddy never spoke about it! Sadly, history is not always pleasant. I recall on several occasions when I was six or seven years of age coming across the following situation. Either going to, or coming from school, a group of older children would be outside the home of a local businessman. Some were throwing stones at the large brown gates of the residence, at the same chanting what I thought was “dew, dew, dew, something, something”? Not understanding what it was all about I think I might have joined in the chorus. I use the word “something” because I simply can’t remember what was said. Later in life and learning about recent history the true sinister meaning of the chant hit me like a brick. To this day I carry a share of innocent guilt for joining in. Lulsgate aerodrome was still just that. A few aero club Austers and Cessnas flew around and/or towed the occasional glider into the sky. A new Gloster Meteor jet fighter might sweep across the sky from time to time but you would be just as likely see Frank Board on his way to sweep someone’s chimney. By todays’ standards the sky was quiet. The streets however were a different matter. 24 homes in Lawrence Rd. meant a lot of kids and a lot kids meant a lot of noise and a fair share of mischief. What on earth kept them entertained? I’ll take a look at that later. To be continued. Footnote: Thankyou George Collins for your appreciation and thanks Jo Lewis for your comments. The fields were a very important part of growing up in Wrington and will be covered later. Cousin Simon (Warkworth NZ) reminded me that the anemone grower was Mr. Thayer.
Wrington Revisited - A series by Bill Crook - Part 3                June, 2020
www.wrington.net
Wrington website History
Wrington Revisited 3. 1950. India becomes a Republic. The Group Areas Act (Apartheid) comes into effect in South Africa. Communist North Korea invades South Korea. Mother Theresa establishes Missionaries of Charity in India. Starting school in 1948, It was Mrs. Gunning, our primary teacher, who crafted us kids from Silver St. (and others, of course) into a class and a community group. Most pupils stayed in the same learning and social bubble through to the age of twelve. I was part of this particular bubble and so this is their story as much as mine. To five year olds room 1 was big, very big. It needed to be because there were about 25 people in that space consisting of 22 kids, Mrs. Gunning and two other very important people. Two people who were to influence, to a greater or lesser degree, the future of all the kids in the class. I refer, of course, to Janet and John. Together they appeared on little brown cards about 10cm x 20cm with characters coloured red and yellow and with the first simple written words of English printed in black. This is Janet Janet has a cat This is John John has a hat. …….. or something like that!! There were a dozen or so of these cards which progressively became a little more challenging. Each child would be taken in turn and coaxed by the motherly and very patient Mrs. Gunning. As it happened I was relatively quick learning to read and was pleased with my own skill level. Handwriting, however, was a different matter and one that I have struggled with for ever. In room 2 it caused me some grief. First the pens, then the nibs and then the ink. I could never get them coordinated! Teacher, who shall remain nameless, would write screeds on the blackboard and we had to copy them onto paper. Well the pen went one way and the ink went the other way and I just couldn’t keep up. Teacher grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, dragged me to the front of the class, sat me down at another desk, clipped me under the ear and said “now, get a move on”. Tears came to my eyes but they prompted no mercy from teacher who said “get that paper wet, my boy, and you’ll get another clip under the ear”! Some 18 months later I was found to be short sighted and for a while was known as “four eyes”. How I loved school. Something to look forward to was the annual children’s day. The day began with a fancy dress parade starting from the railway station and making it’s way to Broad Street. Here the judging took place, not only for the best dressed, but also to choose the Carnival Queen. I don’t know what year it was but the only Carnival Queen I can remember was Joan Day. After judging, the parade continued on to the recreation field before dispersing. Children’s sports followed which included egg and spoon, three legged and sack races as well as the traditional 100yards and long jump events. First prize, sixpence. Second prize threepence and Third prize the princely sum of one penny. But wait, there’s more. The day was completed by the childrens’ tea in the Memorial Hall. Each kid took his/hers own cup, spoon and small plate to enjoy sandwiches and cakes. Jelly and ice cream may have been served but I can’t remember. One thing I do remember was that wherever there was food and kids there was the ubiquitous Mrs. Bryce. Before moving to Silver Street we lived in Rose Cottage, by the church. It was two dwellings then and Mrs. Bryce lived next door. Mrs. Bryce was a regular film goer to Mr. Cattermauls’ Monday and Friday nights’ picture show at the Memorial Hall. So were me and Mickey Owers! Mrs. Bryce sat at the back (One and three pence) whilst me and Mickey Owers sat in the front rows (Eight pence). Mrs. Bryce liked westerns and her enthusiasm was infectious. As the Indians tightened their stranglehold on the wagon train and when all appeared lost the cavalry would appear from over the hills. As they charged to the rescue Mrs. Bryce would urge them on. “C’mon our side, c’mon our side”, she would yell with glee. I can hear her as I write this. After 70 years what finer tribute? Mr. Cattermauls’ cashier at the picture show was Ivy Davies, the post lady no less. Miss. Davies’s mail delivery route was not an easy one. She had to plod to the top of Wrington Hill, down an unnamed lane into the rather isolated and lonely walking track at the bottom of the warren to where there used to be a goldfish pond (might still be there) and up and over to the top of the hill road. Then down to the village, every day, rain or shine. For some reason and I know not why Miss. Davies was known locally as Ivy K’Davies. As cashier she was always well made up, impeccably dressed and she had a penchant for wearing her cardigan over her shoulders. Ivy was also missing one or two fingers on her right hand but this was no hurdle and she made the flicking of coins across the table into an art form. Her act was as good as some of the films I saw! And I saw quite a few films. It was films like “Gone with the wind” and “Across the wide Missouri” with their powerful and poignant theme tunes that stirred within me a love of music. What the musical arrangers of Shenandoah did for the American west, so later I would learn, Dvoraks’ New World symphony did for America. To be continued.
Wrington Revisited - A series by Bill Crook - Part 4                June, 2020
www.wrington.net
Wrington website History
Wrington Revisited 4. 1951. The Archers and The Goons are broadcast for the first time. Dennis the Menace appears in The Beano comic and Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. This was probably the first hymn learned by infants either at school or Sunday school. I associate this hymn with All Saints’ in general and their Sunday school in particular. At 2pm (I think) the Sanctus bell would toll calling us to Sunday school. Off we’d go in our Sunday best to share an hour, of what, I don’t remember! Well, I do remember the Rev. Talbot reading excerpts from The Robe. I’m sure he meant well but a bit out of touch as we say today. I do remember staring aimlessly around the magnificent church structure wondering why we kept praying? The summer outing was a key point for the kids and the three churches. It was disappointing for us that All Saints’ could only get to Weston-Super-Mare while the two chapels made it to Weymouth or even Bournemouth. I remember on one outing getting badly sunburned at what used to be The Pool. We were there with Dorothy Drew, remember her? Onward Christian soldiers Marching as to war With the Cross of Jesus Going on before. This hymn reminds me of the Methodist bottom chapel. A little older so slightly improved memory. The hymn, as you would expect, was also a favourite of the tambourine bearing Salvation Army groups that used gather up the road on a Sunday night to spread God’s word. Scorned by some, to me they were part of a time. A time which may have been as good as it would ever get. “Sunday” school was held during the week in the evening. The main organisers were Mr. and Mrs. Millard who lived near Butt’s Batch. I can see them both in my mind’s eye especially Mrs. Millard who always had a gentle smile on her face. Mr. and Mrs. Maidment lived in one of the Alms houses in Langford. Mr. Maidment gave a talk or several talks about Methodist missionaries in the South Pacific. His words were illustrated with coloured pictures projected by a lantern slide. I distinctly remember three of those images :- (1) A three masted sailing ship taking personnel and supplies to the Islands. (2) A modern oil tanker used to take personnel and supplies to the Islands. (3) A picture showing “poor Captain Cook being killed” in the Friendly Isles! (Hawaii) Mr. Maidment was a quiet spoken and well-versed gentleman who totally believed in the work carried out by the Methodist missionaries. If he were alive today I could tell him their efforts were not in vain. Auckland has the largest Polynesian population in the world and the Methodist legacy is very plain to see. Methodists took their kids to Weymouth! NB. In New Zealand “the Islands” is a collective term for the different neighbouring Island nations. eg Tonga, Samoa Etc. who share this region with us. Now the Now the day is over night is drawing nigh shadows of the evening steal across the sky. Our bubble is a little older now, still at primary school but somewhat independent. To cater for this group the Congregational top chapel established a little social club called Christian Endeavour. The meetings were held at night starting at 7pm. The leader was Mr. Davis who happened to live in Rose Cottage where we once lived. It started with a little service followed by some home craft workshops. Sometimes the service went a bit longer than the kids could handle. One evening just as we thought we were going to the craft room Mr. Davis suggested we bow our heads and close our eyes. This was too much for one young lady who exasperatedly exclaimed “Oh no, not another bloody prayer”! In modern parlance I still LOL when I think of this moment. Going home was bit of a challenge for some of the kids because it was twilight or dark. The walls of the top dring made a great enclosure for the bats to practice low flying skills. And what else did bats do? They got in your hair, so run Mary, Run! The myth was still real to some. Three different churches each providing religious education as best as they saw fit. I don’t how successful they were, if indeed, you could measure success but I’m sure no one came away any the worse off for their participation. Stalwart of the Congregational church was Clifford Marshall of Rydings farm. If there was one man, one place, one institution that played an overwhelming part in the nurturing, education and development of the children of Wrington it was Cliff Marshall and his Rydings farm. Get your wellies on, we’ll go there next time. To be continued. Footnote. Thankyou Phillip Whitehouse for your contribution. The time to which you refer is at the furthest extent of my memory although I do remember you starting school. Similarly I have been reminded that Coles bakery had been Hydes bakery and that Wedlakes butchery had been Kings butchery. I remember Butcher King because he used to buy the holly wreathes that my father, Alfred Crook, made at Christmas time. If I and/or my sister was there when he called in he would give us two shillings each. A generous man. My impression was that his business then operated in Congresbury or Yatton To be continued.
Wrington Revisited - A series by Bill Crook - Part 5                July, 2020
www.wrington.net
Wrington website History
Wrington Revisited 5 1952. Death of King George VI. Death of Eva Peron aged 33 years. Dwight Eisenhower is elected 34th. President of the United States. “All things bright and beautiful”. What could be more stunningly “bright and beautiful” to a child who sees a hedgerow full of primroses for the first time. And, indeed, for each time thereafter. What Mum didn’t receive a little posy of primroses whose short stems were crushed by the tight grip of a small child not wanting to drop the precious gift? The freedom to wander over Rydings Farm was granted by the goodwill of Cliff Marshall and any further mention of Rydings will be simply “the farm”. After a few escorted forays into the magic primrose world the children would be next introduced to the awe inspiring bluebell wood. Wordsworth might well have mused “ A host, a crowd of Bells so blue”. Fortunately the bluebells have survived the practices of modern farming methods. As I recall, the brook rose up from Wrangle Spring situated in the coppice well below Barley Wood gardens. From there it made its way under two bridges before proceeding under the bridge on Silver street and then on, unseen, until joining the river Yeo at some point I’d never visited. The area from the first bridge to where the brook meandered past the orchard, in front of the rickyard, was the free kindergarten to a generation of Wrington kids. The first bridge had a wooden structure attached to its’ north side so that planks could be slotted in to form a dam. This theoretically would create a deep pond for dipping stock. How this quite worked I have never yet fathomed! An oak tree was on the south side with branches spreading over the brook. The bank to the water was a little steeper here so the site was used more as a picnic area than a paddling one. I fell out of the tree once into the water. If that happened today some twerp would want the tree cut down. It was just before the second bridge where most of the action took place. Just before the bridge was a little waterfall behind which was formed a pool of a few square yards. The bottom of the pool was sandy but the edges consisted of black smelly mud! The mud provided anchorage to the water cress which grew in abundance and served as building material for the older kids to dam the flow of water over the falls. Hours were spent here, carefree and content. On the grassy banks older siblings showed the younger ones how to make daisy chains. It was in this environment we learned the names of the flowers, trees and birds. Some years ago I wrote a poem as a self introductory address to a service club. I would like to share these verses:- Childhood then, tho’ poor, was good We played quite freely in field and wood We knew the birds and their habits We knew the fox, the hares, the rabbits. We knew the trees, the flowers and clover We had a dog whose name was Brinsea! In summertime we’d walk for miles We’d never heard of paedophiles The roads were narrow, the hedges tall Here and there an old stone wall Over which in those halcyon days The cattle and the sheep did graze. After flowing under the second bridge the brook dispersed itself over a wider area forming what we now call wetlands. This marsh grew reeds in profusion as well as water cress and the stately Kingcup flower. Like the Bluebell, the Kingcup had a very short “shelf” life and was usually left where it was. The reeds however offered a very handy option for making hideouts. I remember seeing some quite remarkable huts made from interwoven reeds. Such building was usually done after school. We called it the rush hour! It was also home to the occasional reed warbler who had a silly habit of involuntarily rearing a young cuckoo rather than its own chicks. How many different species of dragonfly skipped from stem to stem? Moorhens darted from cover to cover and hawks circled high overhead. And then the brook reformed itself and continued on to where it provided a shallow crossing between the council houses and Mr. Marshall’s orchard. On one occasion five or six of us were up a tree, pinching apples, when we were caught red handed by Mr. Marshall. He ordered us down from the tree and marched us back to the farmhouse. The back door was down a narrow passageway between the house and the farm dairy. Once at the back door our exit was blocked by the presence of Lena (I think that was her name). Lena was a snappy dog and most kids were afraid of her but I don’t think she ever harmed anyone however this was not the time to find out! After a stern reproach for our mischief, Mr. Marshall offered us a choice of punishments and said “Well, lads, what is it to be? Shall I get my stick and cross it over your backsides, or shall I put you in my car and drive you up to Constable Hebditch’s place”? The reply was instant and unanimous, we’d take the hiding! Of course, Cliff Marshall did neither but the lesson was soundly given and, in my case at least, uncharacteristically bravely taken. Whilst on the subject of pinching apples, across the road from the farm lived Commander Lawder. Commander Lawder also had an orchard and in that orchard was a tall tree with branches that slightly hung over the road, quite high but not beyond the ingenuity of boys who fancied a Sweet Morgan (or was it Morgan sweet?) apple. The method on this particular occasion was to throw a heavy piece of stick attached to a length of string in the hope that if we didn’t loosen an apple at least we’d get the stick back. After an unsuccessful period of time a face appeared over the wall. It was Commander Lawder, he said “hello boys, want some apples? Why don’t you come in and get some”! Say no more. Included in the buildings on the farm was the horse stables. These were the indoor shelter for two solid Clydesdales, Kit and Duke. What part did they play in the interaction between farm and kids and how did they help to ensure that……. All is safely gathered in ‘ere the winter storms begin? To be continued.
Wrington Revisited - A series by Bill Crook - Part 5 footnote                July, 2020
www.wrington.net
RESPONSES Wrington website History
Footnote: Cobber Whitehouse remembered the school trip to Portsmouth (1953 or 54) and so do I. It was HMS Victory which fascinated me the most. The little headroom throughout the ship but especially on the cannon decks bothered me particularly. On the main deck was a plaque which read “Here is where Nelson fell’. It was raised about 2 inches from the ground and was at the base of one of the three masts. For years I thought Nelson had fallen from the crow’s nest at the top of the mast!! Revisiting that fine vessel in 2016 I told this story to a guide who then pointed out that the plaque was now at ground level. It transpired that visitors occasionally tripped over the plaque and then insisted on getting a photo of “Where me and Nelson fell”. This was considered somewhat disrespectful towards the national hero so the obstacle was lowered to ground level. A delightful story, don’t you agree? In June 2016 my wife and I arrived at Gatwick airport, she from Auckland and me from Cyprus. We were on our way to visit my brother Derrick and his wife, Sheila, at Torpoint and Portsmouth was on our route. So what town is situated between Portsmouth and Torpoint?. WEYMOUTH, yes WEYMOUTH. Jo Lewis, your sentiment towards this seaside town is shared by me. There used to be a miniature steam train by the carpark and it was always a “must go on” ride for me. I don’t remember a fairground. I did go on a Methodist trip plus others by the skittles and darts clubs. Of course, the coaches always stopped at Castle Carey but not just for fish and chips! After the stop the singing got better and louder. “Ten green bottles” and “She’ll be coming round the mountain” were all part of the fun. No village memory tale would be complete without paying tribute to the Blagdon Lioness Bus Company. Goodness knows how many villagers were transported on how many trips all over the country on a Lioness coach. Anyway, it did seem appropriate to spend some time in Weymouth. We walked along the empty beach and I had a sense of vague familiarity but not much else. Not the best of weather considering it was June. And then I saw it! I said to Kathy “Look, Punch and Judy”. Didn’t mean much to her but it changed the whole day for me and the memories flooded back. Oh, and it was a Monday which explains the lack of people.
RESPONSES RESPONSES
Wrington Revisited - A series by Bill Crook - Responses 2                July, 2020
www.wrington.net
Wrington website History
Jo Lewis Thank you Bill for the latest in your memoirs of growing up in the village. I followed, in my mind, every step you took across the fields, over the bridges, into the streams, hedgerow primroses and bluebell wood! Also Farmer Marshall’s orchard where I remember there was one old tree that had fallen but continued to grow; they were the only apples I could reach to scrump! My payment one day for helping myself to an apple or two, on my way through to get home, was to be chased by the geese, I never knew they could run that fast! Before they caught up with me, I noticed a gate at the back of one of the Lawrence Road houses, Mr Porter’s maybe, and dashed through there! I never took the short cut through the orchard again! It’s so lovely to know that the children who lived in the village, at that time, have most of the same memories and, indeed, I know many of Mum’s generation did the same.