Tag Archives: The Manor

A Vanished Past – Portrait of a Country Couple (5 of 5)

Part 5: Routine and Good Works

by Honor (Morgan) Berry

The pattern of their life was indelibly laid down even before they were married, partly through Jim spending all his working life in the same job, and also because lack of money set strict limits on the choices available to them, in common with many other people. War or peace made little real difference.

Their day began very early and by 5.30am Lucy had made the morning’s first pot of tea. Jim collected the buckets of water from the tap before he went off to work, that is unless the weather was so cold that the tap had frozen. Fortunately that only happened in the worst weather, and if a hard frost was predicted the previous evening, then it was provident to fill the buckets then rather than wait for the morning, otherwise there would be no water for the early morning tea, no bottle of cold tea for lunch, and no water in which to wash faces or hands or do the breakfast dishes, let alone the week’s washing if it happened to be a Monday.

Photograph courtesy of Mrs Lily Stanley & David StanleyJim went off on his bike down the village and stopped half way up the steep hill that rose up on the far side of the brook, where the Ironstone railway bridge crossed the road. As he and the other Ironstone workers arrived they hauled their bicycles up the steep embankment and onto the railway line to wait for the small tank-engine that pulled the van for them and their cycles the short distance to their work place.

Once Jim was away, Lucy’s day was her own until he returned at 3.30 for his dinner. The first thing she did was to cope with the daily chores. She started with the breakfast dishes and got ready for the Co-op milkman’s call. This sit-down-with-a-cup-of-tea visitation not only brought in the milk, but the news of the condition of the roads and the weather, and most important, details of what had happened locally in other villages overnight. It gave Lucy a head start in the exchange of news and in the circles of those who like her had an insatiable curiosity about local goings-on. Armed with her news she would barter with it later in the day.

Water tap outside Chapel Cottage 1930s cWm Gunn 2013Lucy was lucky to have one of the four village taps outside her front garden gate. Others who lived further away had to carry their pails as far as 75 yards – and this alone must have provided motive for not washing clothes more often than necessary.

Since Lucy had no sink she washed up in an enamel bowl. The water had to be boiled in a kettle and then some soda added to make the hard Oxfordshire water a little softer, and to dissolve the fat more easily. She never rinsed the dishes, for that needed extra water, but simply dried them and put them away with an invisible veneer of chemical still on them. The water was kept for a while in case there should be a further use for it.

Next the fire had to be cleared out, the ashes riddled, and the fireplace laid with screwed up newspaper, sticks and finally coal ready for lighting later in the day. This job had to be done before the rest of the house was cleaned because it raised so much dust. Once completed the rest of the cleaning could proceed in earnest.

The floors in Lucy’s house were ancient very uneven flagged stone, but she covered all her floors with shiny linoleum that was easy to clean with a mop. She had rag rugs, made from bits and pieces of hard-wearing fabric (men’s trousers and overcoats) sewn or woven together by women in winter evenings, which were cheerful in front of the fire, and they were simply shaken out now and then in the garden to get rid of the accumulated dust. In the early 1950s Lucy took a great step forward by putting down a fitted carpet in her living room. It was not new, but bought second hand from Mrs Cherry, farmer’s wife in Hornton who was moving house. Jim laid it and it ‘fitted where it touched’, but it was considered very grand by all of us. Lucy had no vacuum cleaner or Ewbank so the carpet was brushed with a hard broom to clean it. The carpet added a feeling of warmth, even if it did go up and down over the lino covering the irregular undulating flagstones.

Lucy did not have a great deal of furniture, so there was not much polishing to do. She had an ornate ebonised glass-fronted sideboard in her sitting room given her by the Davieses at the Firs over the road, a Pembroke table, a pretty set of balloon-back chairs, and a wonderfully painted grandfather clock. These all had to be polished with wax polish, since there were then no spray cleaners. By way of decoration she had a few watercolours, a stuffed squirrel in a glass case, and a large print of the Stag at Bay. A duster flipped across these served well enough, and the only other items in the room were the two armchairs that she and Jim sat in by the fire every evening. She exchanged these from time to time, swapping one for a chair thrown out by one of the people she worked for, or buying one that somebody was selling for half a crown. Lucy re-covered them when they got worn or when she was able to buy a cheap remnant from one of the market stalls in Banbury. Her upholstery skills were rough and ready, and the material was pulled across the most important parts of the chair and sewn in place, leaving some of the chair showing the old material. These parts were covered up by turning that side of the chair to the wall or covering the gap with a cushion, but the chair looked clean and new.

There was little to do upstairs. Before she had a sprung mattress the feather one needed shaking up to get rid of the lumps, but apart from that she had only to empty the chamber pot. Chamber pots, (sometimes called Jerries) along with wasps and a former boyfriend, were things that Lucy could not abide. She was happy enough to have a pot under the bed to use in the depths of night rather than go downstairs and out into the garden to use the earth closet, but she did not like to empty them.

This routine was generally how Lucy coped with her housework, but the pattern varied according to the weather, the time of year, the day of the week or other activities which took over. Like most people, Lucy did her washing on Mondays. That is unless it was pouring with rain. Then it had to wait until the weather turned, but if it was fine the process began by placing a big pan of soapy water and clothes on the paraffin stove to boil. Since it was dark in the kitchen Lucy did her washing in the garden, in a large bowl on a stool. Because of the effort of boiling all the water, one lot was used for many clothes and rinsing was kept to a minimum. A drubbing board was used and the action of rubbing the clothes across its ridges made Lucy’s knuckles red and the clothes clean. When the clothes had been pummelled about for a while, they were rinsed and wrung out, first by hand, twisting them hard to get most of the water out, and then put through the rollers of a mangle to extract the last drops. Finally the sheets and clothes were hung out to dry, held in place by pegs sold by the gypsies – made of split thin branches of wood from which the bark had been cleaned. It was at this stage that disaster could happen as the damp sheets trailed on the earth, or shirts got blown off the line by a gust of wind. The clothes had to be watched for fear of rain. As soon as the skies looked dark there were worried trips to the window or back door and as soon as it started spotting with rain, the washing, only part dried, would be hastily unpegged and bundled indoors with much tut-tutting and wondering ‘When am I going to do it now? Dratted weather’. If she got all her washing done by the end of Monday, she was doing well, and the ironing was generally left until Tuesday.

Washing and ironing for Lucy were not nearly as difficult as it was for women who had children, though Lucy found it trying enough, particularly the ironing which was fiddly. Heating the heavy flat irons on the grate needed judgment: hot enough to vanquish the wrinkles, not so hot that they would burn the clothes. Then speed and skill were needed to do as much of the ironing as possible before the iron lost all its heat and became useless.

By the middle of the week, with a good deal of housework behind her, Lucy took time out. She visited her family once a week cycling miles through country lanes to Hook Norton until she ‘took ill’ in middle age and used the bus instead.

Once a week she also visited her mother-in-law in Hornton – as long as they were ‘talking’. Old Mrs Eadon was sharp-tongued and intolerant of Lucy’s foibles, and did not soften with age.

Market day in Banbury was on Thursdays and Lucy always caught the Stratford Blue bus at 8.45 to go and do her shopping. A trip into Banbury needed some organising for there were few buses, and any activities in Banbury had to be fitted into these times. The buses moved very slowly, but Lucy enjoyed the chat and the news from the other villages when she was on the bus, so it was worth the effort.

Since Lucy’s day started so early she had usually completed a great deal by lunchtime. At about half past one, when she had washed up the lunch dishes and had a cup of tea in whatever house she happened to be, Lucy’s thoughts turned towards Jim’s dinner that he had at half past three after work. Everyday Lucy prepared a generous meal for Jim: tender roasts or tasty casseroles finished off with a pudding, and each day he ate but a miniscule portion. Lucy on the other hand did herself proud whether or not she had already had a midday meal.    She did not hold with people ‘going without’ – and neither did anybody else at that time. The shortages of money in the depression, and the rationing of food during the war had raised people’s anxieties about not having enough to eat. No one worried about eating too much and when supplies became available everybody was delighted. Lucy and many of her generation put on large quantities of weight. It became a norm, particularly for women in their forties and fifties, and was called the Middle Aged Spread. Nobody talked of its being unhealthy or unfashionable, it was just how things were and the women affected seemed very comfortable with their size.

The Evenings

Once Lucy had washed up after their main meal about 4pm her activities depended on the time of year. In summer Jim’s evenings were spent in the garden and Lucy might join him and potter about with the flowers. Jim was an excellent gardener and had long, neat rows of perfect vegetables. He grew sweet peas and chrysanthemums for Lucy to cut for the house during the summer and into the autumn. He also grew in addition to the normal green and root vegetables and legumes, shallots, Jerusalem artichokes and just a few black potatoes. If she felt like a stroll Lucy might visit the Astells to look at something Mary wanted to show her, or go and put some flowers on a grave in the churchyard, stopping on the way back to watch an evening cricket match, or even in later years, very daringly, have a drink in the pub if she had a friend with her.

Lucy did not normally go out in the winter evenings, not liking the dark. She enjoyed the cosiness of the winter evenings at home, particularly the long sit-down at the end of the day in the flickering dim light of the paraffin oil lamp. In the great open fireplace Lucy had hung up her collection of brass plates, horse brasses and kettles that caught the light of the fire and shone in bright contrast against the black beams where they were nailed. In front of the fire was a big bold steel fender with fire irons. But however cosy and traditional it looked, the fire gave out heat only immediately around it, so that unless you sat in Lucy’s or Jim’s chair on either side of the fire, you caught the draughts that swept down the chimney and eddied round the house. So, with the curtains drawn, and sitting by the fireside, she would write letters to the innumerable friends that she liked to keep in contact with, or read the women’s magazines which had been passed on to her. Once the BBC began to broadcast The Archers, she and Jim listened to it every day, and to the news that followed it on the wireless. Jim read his thrillers and histories, stuck stamps in his album and looked through the newspapers. If visitors called they stopped, and the caller was presented with a plate of cakes to eat, accompanied by a glass of South African sherry, or some homemade wine. Sometimes Jim enjoyed a game of cribbage or draughts in the winter evenings, but their days ended early and by nine o’clock Lucy was preparing Jim’s supper of pickled walnuts or onions to eat before he went to bed.

By nine thirty Lucy and Jim were in bed for the night. With the advent of electric lighting in about 1955, the process of retiring was made much easier than it had been with the candle which made shadows leap around the old bumpy walls, sloping ceilings and irregular beams.

Once in bed they slept, and there were not many nights when either one of them was still awake to hear the Church clock strike ten.

Lucy’s good works in the village

Although the pattern of her life was governed by housework, it was not Lucy’s first love. However often she repeated, ‘Oi loikes ter see it toidy’ she was relieved when it was done and was not above brushing the odd bit of dust under the carpet saying, ‘No-one wont notice that little bit’. As soon as things in the house were straight she would go out and ‘see to things’ in the village, which was her real passion in life. The lure of conversation and the promise of swapping news hastened her step.

Lucy had a heart that overflowed with kindness. If anyone needed a hand or wanted looking after she would be there offering help and food. She single-handedly looked after the needs of the oldest inhabitants of the village, doing their washing and shopping, undertaking their spring cleaning, collecting their pensions, and even decorating their rooms. Lucy also ordered their bottles of sherry or brandy from the wine merchants, for once they had a choice of the much lauded home-made wine or South African sherry they all opted for the latter whatever they said about the excellence of the former. The older women, Mrs Walden, pronounced Mrs Woaldin and Mrs Chapman were dependent upon Lucy’s unstinting generosity, time, and effort, and both were remarkably ungrateful for her kindness, chiding her for trivialities and calling her a ‘giddy thing’. They instinctively understood the extent of Lucy’s compliant nature. They promised to remember her in their wills but nothing ever came her way.

More rewarding was the work Lucy did with families who were much more appreciative of her willingness to save them from crises. Any slight qualms about her inquisitive questions were more than counterbalanced by her energetic goodwill. Before she worked with our family she had been cook at The Manor for the Stocktons, seen the Astells through their difficult and motherless years, helped the Blythes of The Firs in the 1940s when the four children were small, as well as lending a helping hand with the Rumps and even acting as midwife for an early birth. Lucy always became part of the families she was helping: she bustled around the house cleaning, scrubbing, dusting, hoovering, beating the mats ferociously on the washing line with the handle of the broom, washing and ironing. She did whatever there was to be done with never a second thought. She was unlike any other person in the village. It was a community which placed a very high value on privacy and was also very class bound, yet she was intimately involved in half a dozen homes from quite different classes and whether they were church or chapel made no difference. For some work she received wages, but often she did not. Lucy could never resist the urge to respond to a crisis or a cry for help, and she spent much of her time in this way.

Saturdays and Sundays

Mrs E E Eadon known as Lucy Eadon, Honor , Shân and Mr Jim Eadon in Chapel House gardenSaturdays and Sundays had routines all of their own. Saturdays meant shopping in Banbury in the morning and catching the half past twelve Sumner’s bus home. Afternoons were the time for village activities which anyone could join in such as fetes, jumble sales, decorating the church, doing the teas for cricket matches, and weddings. For Jim it meant the gardening, and doing the odd jobs that had accumulated during the week. Saturdays was the day when the earth closets were emptied. But this was only part of Jim’s Saturday activity, and he was usually found rummaging around his garden, straightening things up, or tying in the sweet peas that grew in profusion in his garden and gave off one of the most fragrant smells of summer. All activity ceased at 4.30. and by a quarter to five Jim was sitting alert in his armchair with a pencil poised to check the pools as the football and racing results were read over the wireless. Jim’s Saturdays were his own, but the same could not be said for Sundays.

On Sunday mornings Jim cycled to Hornton where he saw his parents for an hour or two and helped do the odd jobs that his mother had lined up for him during the week. After cycling back to Horley, he went for a drink in the pub with Harry Walden, who came to call for him, before coming home for his roast Sunday lunch. In the afternoon he read the papers while Lucy had a sleep, and after tea it was time for Lucy to get ready for Church.

There were two places of worship in Horley: the beautiful early English Anglican church at the top of the village on the hill, St Etheldreda’s, and the small, Victorian, Hornton stone Methodist chapel that was attached to the Eadon’s house.

Congregations in both church and chapel dwindled in the fifties, but there remained a core of loyal attenders. At St Etheldreda’s Charley Varney the verger, Lucy and her friend Mrs Tom Allington, the two churchwardens, the school teacher’s family, The Vicarage family and The Manor family. The religious convictions of the believers varied. At one extreme was Miss Gwladys Ball, a bluestocking aesthete, gaunt and gothic in her worship. At the other extreme was Lucy whose knees prevented her kneeling when praying and whose spiritual commitments did not prevent her sucking Mintoes during the sermons, unwrapping them noisily and glancing uneasily over her shoulder to see if anyone was looking.

Mr and Mrs Eadon at Chapel CottageFrom time to time Lucy’s thoughts strayed wistfully towards the Methodist chapel next to her house. Her Sunday evenings would have been easier if she worshipped there. They sat down a lot and she would not have to climb the hill up the village. It was cosy in the chapel, unlike in the church which was cold and draughty despite the huge fire roaring in the massive and antique stove at the back of the church. They sang rousing hymns in chapel and as it was a small building it made a cheerful noise.

Going to church also meant having a good look at who was there, and if they were not, the opportunity to speculate where they were and why. All in all the discomforts were worth tolerating; and there was the added bonus of feeling righteous as she walked down the hill with Charley Varney and Mrs Tom Allington, sucking Mintoes together.

Lucy was a very regular attendee at church. Her only absence was one Sunday when Donald Peers, heart-throb of the early fifties was on the wireless. She stayed at home and was thrilled to hear him sing ‘There’s a little white duck swimming on the water’, but she felt the guilt and did not do it again.

After church on Sunday there was only time to sit down for a while to tell a disinterested Jim who was at church and what they were wearing. Then it was time once again to wind up the machinery for the next week.’

—————————————–

Shân Morgan with Lucy Eadon on the birdbath at The Vicarage 1963 or 64Mrs Lucy Eadon’s role in the life of The Vicarage family was important in the 1960s, particularly to Honor who was young and said: ‘she kept our body and soul together – she had all the essential qualities for those times: she was cheerful, energetic, laughing and she counterbalanced the underlying sadness in our family.’

Frederick Jim Eadon 1903-1972  – Elsie Ethel Eadon 1907 -1975

Advertisements

A Vanished Past – Portrait of a Country Couple (2 of 5)

Part 2: Lucy – Married Life on the Square, Working at Bramshill

by Honor (Morgan) Berry

The Square in Horley was really a triangle. It was on a flat piece of land, about halfway up the long hill on which the village had been built. South of The Square a street of cottages and houses sloped down to the Sor Brook, and above, the Big Lane climbed towards Hornton. Both roads left from different corners of the triangle and from the third, the Banbury Lane went off in the direction of Hanwell.

Mr Jack HobbsIn the 1950s The Square housed a pub, a shop, and the Post Office. The phone box, which was erected after the war, was next to the letterbox, and the bus stop was on the north side of The Square. Where the main street led south was a village tap from which people who lived in The Square collected their water. There was a clattering of pails and shouting at intervals throughout the day as various families came to fill up, exchange the news and vent their feelings on the buckets that tipped and slopped.

It was as caretakers of Mrs Herbert’s thatched house on the Big Lane corner of The Square that Lucy and Jim made their first home. Mrs Herbert was living in London. They had rooms at the front and the parlour window gave Lucy a dress circle view of all that was going on in the village. Any traffic that was passing between Banbury and Hornton had to turn a complete right angle round the house so it gave her an insight as to what was going on in Hornton as well. But there was little traffic then: once a day a bus left for Banbury, and once a day it returned, but if anyone in the village was going anywhere they generally passed through The Square to get there, and Lucy’s keen eye missed nothing of the comings and goings of the Horley community.

Lucy and the Astells

The Astell family had suffered a grim loss. Mrs Astell had been killed by a lorry in a cycling accident on Warmington Hill. She left a husband and four children: Andrew, Peter, Mary and Janet. Janet was only six, so when Lucy stepped into the breach she had to provide a good deal of mothering as well as managing the house and preparing the food. She had much greater autonomy than at The Manor, and she entered into their family life with gusto and great good humour.

The Astells lived as tenant farmers at Bramshill Park Farm. The farm ran over a steep bank and along the fertile valley made by the Sor Brook called Ragnalls Bottom. We believed the village legend had it that the farm, before the reformation, had been a small outpost, or grange farm, of the Abbey at Wroxton, a neighbouring village. The golden walls of the farm and the lichen-covered mossy roof gave it a feeling of antiquity. It stood impressively beyond a small fenced area of grass called The Green Court where the geese were kept. On a bank above it the gardens spread – a gentle mass of flowering shrubs and beds that blended with and softened the outlines of the house.

To reach the Astells was only a short walk from The Square where Lucy lived, up the hilly Little Lane that ran past the farm. Each day Lucy’s journey followed the same pattern. She locked the door and hid the key before shouting a few words of greeting to anyone who happened to be about: ‘I say, it’s cold hain’t it? It’s still a-freezing. Watch them hicicles don’t fall off that thatch and ʹit you on the ʹead.’ she would shout cheerfully, and laugh about the icicles.

A muddy track led to the farmyard where the mullioned windows of the cowsheds looked across it. In a ditch on the left a wooden farm wagon lay abandoned. Hot and laughing she would arrive at the farm’s back door.

 

A Vanished Past – Portrait of a Country Couple (1 of 5)

Lucy – The live-in cook at The Manor

by Honor (Morgan) Berry

Lucy’s life began to take on a new shape when she came to Horley and she knew an independence that had never been hers before. As cook at The Manor her role was clear, and when her work was done, her time was her own.

The Stockton’s who owned Horley Manor were a family of local solicitors. They had two children – Miss Marjory and Master John as Lucy always called them. They entertained a good deal in a modest way and Lucy’s job was to cook the three meals a day that they and the household staff required. She also prepared afternoon tea, and made a quantity of soft, easily digestible food for the aged and infirm of the village that she and the maid distributed twice a week. Since in The Manor household master and servants ate the same menu and drank the same wine life was straightforward for Lucy. The fare was rich and tasty with meat three times a day and a good deal of pastry, gravy, butter, eggs and cream. The cakes tended to be substantial and the vegetables well cooked and traditional. Fish was not much in evidence and neither were raw vegetables, skimmed milk, and the muesli that we value so highly today. Pastas, pizzas, burgers and Chinese food were unknown, and the only foreign cuisine that occasionally appeared was what was called a curry. It was in fact no more than a beef stew with a teaspoon of prepared curry powder added. But curry with its strange flavours and hot spices were not entirely unknown. One or two men in Horley had been to India and tasted the food for real when they had done their soldiering as young men. Charlie Varney was one of them, but I do not recall his praising the food.

Lucy’s days as cook may have been some of the happiest in her life. Lucy loved to feed people and there was constant activity, companionship and good humour. She took pride in the Stockton’s successes and took a nosey interest in their goings-on, so her work was always satisfying, and if it was possible, her spare time was even better.

Lucy walked out with a number of young men at this time. One boyfriend, much in favour, fell from grace because some days after he had taken her out to tea, he tapped at The Manor kitchen window and asked her for the money for it. She counted it out from her purse and then hurled it at him. They never exchanged a word again though they both spent the rest of their lives in Horley.

Lucy’s favourite pastimes were whist drives in the winter, and in the summer gentle walks across the fields to a pub, a little tennis, and best of all, dancing in the gloaming on long warm evenings. It was while she was at The Manor that she met Jim Eadon. He and his friend Bob Gilkes played tennis with Lucy and her friend Violet, the maid at The Manor.

Jim came from Hornton. His ‘Dad’, a fine looking man with a waxed moustache and gentle ways had once been a soldier and had fought in the Boer War. He still had his red jacket to prove it. Because of his dad’s soldiering, Jim had been born in Wellington Barracks, Chelsea, but the family had returned to Hornton where his parents kept The Red Lion pub [or The Dunn Cow?] for some time. Jim worked on the North Oxfordshire opencast ironstone mining works. He worked with his father, and they were known as ‘Big Jim’ and ‘Little Jim’ – the latter taking after his tiny sharp-witted mother. That he never completely broke away from her dominance is not surprising, for she was a tiny dragon of a woman that could have dominated an army.

Jim was every bit as quick-witted as his mother, but he had shyer and softer ways and was happier with Lucy. He found comfort in her stock phrases of ‘make yourself comfy’, ‘that little bit don’t matter’, ‘ʹave another’, ‘noice, hain’t it?’, and, as evening drew on ‘we’ll be ʹaving a drop [a drink] hin a minute’.

Photograph from the Marchant-Hoy-Berry family collections

Photograph from the Marchant-Hoy-Berry family collections Mrs EadonAfter a respectable period of courtship and engagement Lucy and Jim got married in December 1933. Jim was 30 and Lucy 26 – rather older than most people on marriage in those days. After the ceremony at South Newington where Lucy’s family lived they returned to Horley to begin their life together. With her new status in life came changes: Jim would not let her cook at The Manor. He liked her to be at home in the evenings. Lucy left The Manor and moved down the lane. She and Jim lived in The Square and she went to work on a daily basis with the Astells who lived at Bramshill Park Farm. Jim and Lucy got on remarkably well. Lucy’s only slight disappointment was Jim did not eat much, but that did not stop her cooking too much for him.

When she had been cook at The Manor, she and Violet the maid had taken food to the poor and ill of the parish, and Lucy had seen the foul conditions that once active people had to live in if they were not able to look after themselves, and had no running water or sanitation. If they were weak they had to use any container as a lavatory, and they had no strength to empty it – harsh unpleasant details that are rarely recorded or spoken about. She and other women in the village were sensitive about the problems which the lack of drains created, and went to great lengths to keep their lavatories clean, using large quantities of strong- smelling disinfectants such as Dettol and Jeyes Fluid to disguise any unwanted smells.

 

A Vanished Past – The Final Glimpses

I choose this final story to show how much has changed and yet how somethings never change:

Lucy and JimIt is about Lucy whose family came from Ireland (to Hook Norton) when she came to work as the live-in Cook at The Manor. She married Jim (from Hornton) and they moved to a cottage in the Square, they then moved in to Chapel Cottage where they lived for the rest of her lives.  

Their story touches on how much slower and simpler life was and yet how much harder; such as fetching your own water and milk. Whilst today we rush in and out of Horley without giving it a second thought, we get frustrated if the broadband is slow and expect to be able to buy any type of food online and then get it delivered to our doors. We have so much more today that we take for granted.

“A Portrait of a Country Couple” by Honor (Morgan) Berry for her children Felicity and William when they were young, so they could know something of her childhood.

Shân Morgan with Lucy Eadon on the birdbath at The Vicarage 1963 or 64Mrs Lucy Eadon’s role in the life of The Vicarage family was important in the 1960s, particularly to Honor who was young and said: ‘she kept our body and soul together – she had all the essential qualities for those times: she was cheerful, energetic, laughing and she counterbalanced the underlying sadness in our family.”

(Lucy) Elsie Ethel Eadon 1907 -1975    Frederick Jim Eadon 1903-1972

Honor’s story about Lucy and Jim and will be posted over the next five days in these parts:

  1. Lucy – The live-in cook at The Manor
  2. Lucy – Married Life on the Square, working at Bramshill
  3. Jim – War Time
  4. Lucy and Jim’s Home – Chapel Cottage
  5. Routine and Good Works

You can view all the posts on the Modern History Page (under Village) :

  • A Vanished Past – Actors
  • A Vanished Past – A Time of Change (3 of 3)
  • A Varnished Past – A Carter, Cattleman & Farm Labourer
  • Now & Then – Old Ironstone Railway Bridge
  • A Vanished Past – Time of Change (2 of 3)
  • Now & Then – The Red Lion
  • A Vanished Past – Time of Change (1 of 3)
  • A Vanished Past – The Cowman
  • Who Lived in Horley in 1965?
  • Who Lived in Horley in 1965?
  • A Vanished Past – The Oil Man
  • A Vanished Past – Grocers
  • A Vanished Past – What’s in the Volumes?
  • A Vanished Past Vol.1 – Who Has Contributed, Who’s Missing ?
  • A Vanished Past Vol 2 – Who Has Contributed?
  • A Vanished Past – Introduction

Hope you’re enjoying these glimpses into Horley’s past? Some aspects have really changed and yet there is something enduring about our village community that still prevails today.

I have worked with Clare Marchant to “look inside” her book and share an overview of the contents, contributors and the stories of life in Horley earlier in the last century. Remember these are just glimpses, that we thought might interest you but there is so much more. It would make a wonderful Christmas present. Rgds Debra.

A Varnished Past – A Carter, Cattleman & Farm Labourer

Bagnall and England

William Cole Bagnall of the Manor and later Holly Tree Farm and David England (with trilby) Courtesy of Bill Griffin

David England (1866-1945).  David worked on the land all his life, variously as a carter’s boy, a cattleman and an agricultural labourer. He could probably turn his hand to most things, as workers on the land were expected to do.

[A carter was a driver of a horse-drawn vehicles used for transporting goods, they usually drove a light two wheeled carriage]

He had been born in Radway in 1866, into one of the many England families living there. David’s parents moved to Drayton for a decade or so, but by 1911 he was in Horley with his widowed mother, with whom he lived. He supported her until her death in 1929. She had her roots in Gloucestershire.

David England has been mentioned by several people as a ‘character’. Bill Griffin writes:

‘David England worked for grandfather [William Cole Bagnall] at The Manor as also shown by him being in the haymaking photo. I can just remember him working in the garden and on the farm at the little house [Holly Tree Farm]. I thought him rather quaint and old fashioned in that he often wore corduroy trousers which had plenty of material in the legs and he had a piece of binder string tied round the calf of each leg to stop the bottoms getting too dirty. (Binder string was the string used in the binder, the machine that cut the corn and tied it into sheaves. It was used for all purposes on the farm, usually second-hand after being cut from the sheaf at threshing and saved) The string tied round the legs used to be regarded as something done by the labourers and was used in cartoons etc. to denote a country yokel.

It just suited both parties that he came, was told what wanted doing, and just got on with it. It was, of course, a seven day a week job as there would be a couple of cows to milk, a couple of calves, a few pigs and some chickens to feed. But stockmen accepted that the job was a seven day job – they just did not expect days off every week as happens now. Times change but I am sure they are not so satisfied with their lives now as they were then.

I remember he was very good at handling bees. There were three or four hives in the orchard [at Holly Tree Farm] and David used to tend them and deal with the swarms. Grandmother also used to tend the bees. One of my treats of having tea at Horley was to have honey direct from the comb as I was very fond of the wax! I believe David was a bachelor who lived on his own after his mother died (not certain of this). Herbert Rump (a truly great character) took over when David stopped.’

Extract from A Vanished Past Volume 1 £15   Both Volumes and p&p £33. From Clare Marchant, Shaftesbury House, 15 Circus Street, Greenwich, London SE10 8SN or marchantclare@hotmail. Cheques payable to Clare Marchant.

A Vanished Past – Grocers

“History rarely repeats itself, but it often rhymes. …” Mark Twain.

Interesting to compare and contrast our “grocery shopping” experience now with then:

  • Home Deliveries:  First the shopkeeper had to visit all his customers to take down their orders (hardly anyone had a telephone in those days); then make his way to the town, buy whatever commodities were ordered, and then come back and make the individual deliveries. For all of this he made a modest charge. But to even think of him keeping all those orders separate in his head, in combination, of course, with some kind of record in the notebook he also carried, makes the mind boggle! All mental arithmetic; no pocket calculators.”
  • Village Shop: “At the same time the small grocery shops, whether in Banbury or the villages found themselves in competition with new large food outlets like Keymarket.”

Grocers

Alice Saunders and Maureen Eeles buy sweets from Mrs Oliver

Alice Saunders and Maureen Eeles buy sweets from Mrs Oliver, Photographs by John Saunders

During the war there was no village shop in Horley. Most people did best if they committed themselves to one grocer or another, and became a regular customer. Dossetts the Banbury’s ‘High Class’ grocers made pre-ordered deliveries to large households in the area.

Shortly after the war the elderly Mrs Roylance ran a little shop for a short while from her front room in Hillary Cottage. It was hard to keep going. Mrs Jack Oliver took it over when she left as cook of The Manor.

 

Mrs Jack Oliver serves Ann Saunders of The School House

Mrs Jack Oliver serves Ann Saunders of The School House

Mr Jack Oliver in the shop

Mr Jack Oliver serving in the shop and post office in The Square

In the 1950s the Gibsons of The Manor provided the village with a purpose-built Shop and Post Office in The Square which Mr and Mrs Jack Oliver ran and eventually owned, and which supplied all the basic non-perishable provisions that people needed. At the same time the small grocery shops, whether in Banbury or the villages found themselves in competition with new large food outlets like Keymarket.

Mr Jack Hobbs

The extended shop – below is a picture of Mr  Jack Hobbs of one of Varney’s Yard cottages, now Ivy Cottage, leaving the village shop. By 1965 the shop had closed and a Co-op van was delivering groceries on a Tuesday

Courtesy of Mrs E M Blakiston-Houston (previously Coles) & Mrs Margaret Coles of SheningtonCarriers to and from Banbury were very important well into the 1930s, bringing food and goods to many households. As late as the 1950s the Sumner family still provided a residual service for those unable to get to Banbury. Robert Pearson writes in more detail about the 1920s and 1930s: ‘….. there were other sectors of country life where horses still provided an essential service. The village had its own motorised bus service into the local town twice a week (on market day, which was on Thursdays, and on Saturdays), but the carrier service was still operated by a covered horse-drawn wagon, which was fitted up with shelving…This service also operated on the same two days, and in retrospect must have been a nightmare to organise. First the shopkeeper had to visit all his customers to take down their orders (hardly anyone had a telephone in those days); then make his way to the town, buy whatever commodities were ordered, and then come back and make the individual deliveries. For all of this he made a modest charge. But to even think of him keeping all those orders separate in his head, in combination, of course, with some kind of record in the notebook he also carried, makes the mind boggle! All mental arithmetic; no pocket calculators.’

Mr Philip Coles, the grocer, was a constant figure in the village on Tuesdays. He, his brother Ernest and his sister, Mrs E.M. Blakiston-Houston owned the village grocers shop in Shenington, and took their van round several villages collecting orders from each house and then after searching through the shelves stacked with groceries and boxes full of goods on the floor of the van, returning with a wicker basket full of the food. During and in the years following the war the Coles’ business thrived, but suffered with the arrival of supermarkets and their lower prices.

PS Since posting this one of the photo’s has been shared 2.7k times, you should be able to it

How many people remember when the local grocery shop looked like this?

Posted by Dave Matthews on Monday, 14 December 2015

“>here