16. Cropredy Station 1908

Starting at Eriksen's house at School Farm, Mill Lane. Mr and Mrs Stevens lived there for years, later they moved up to the end cottage, in a row on the left, coming up from the school. Mrs Stevens used to make pats of treacle toffee and we used to buy from her at 2d per four inch pat, or about that size. It was delicious.

The School House and School. Mr and Mrs Bonner were there for about twenty six years, then Mr Bonner died from cancer.

Cropredy Railway Station: What happy memories this brings back to me. One in particular, during the spring and summer months, when we were school children. Mother used to let us go down to the Station on Sundays, after Sunday School and Church, to see the baskets of homing pigeons being released by the Station master. They came from Leamington, or near, on the 12.30 train and we were allowed on the platform to see them let loose. Then they would fly around until they got their bearings and head for their home again. This was fun. Mr Miller was Station master at that time and he would say, "Now off you go home for your dinner."

The house at the bottom of the Station road, I think, was occupied by two ladies. I think their name was Ward. They were related to the Wards who lived in the first house on the opposite side. Elsie Ward was around my age and we were pals at school and Sunday school. Next to them lived Mr Harry Williams and his two sisters. I did not remember their parents, it seemed they had passed on before I knew them. Next to the Williams was Mr and Mrs George Pettifer and their brood: Charles, George, Flossie, Ernest, Harold and Lily. We were all friends at school and otherwise. Then there was the Prew family. Mr and Mrs Jack Prew and several others I cannot recall their names.

The house on the left with the letter box in the wall was occupied by Mr and Mrs Watkins. Mrs Kate Watkins nee Smith was a teacher at the school until she married. Sister to Mr Robert and Mr Willie Smith.

At the Manor farm, when I was a school kid, lived Mr and Mrs John Griswold. I think they had two or three girls, older than I, but I did know them to speak to. They later moved to Wardington and Mrs Francis, a widow lived at the Manor farm. She had a maid, Annie Upton from Great Bourton and when I was living at Prescote Manor, I sometimes had to take Mary and Freddie to see this lady for a few minutes, then I would stay and talk to the maid for a while and she used to make some delightful curried lamb and give me some.

Across the street the row of stone cottages that stand back, I cannot recall everybody who lived there, but I do remember the Parsons family quite well. Mr and Mrs John Cowley and the Stevens family who moved from the house where the Eriksens lived.

Then the houses close to the pavement [Copes Cottages]. Mr and Mrs Harry Pettifer, but no children. Mr Paxton. Mr and Mrs Alban Cherry and their large brood. Mrs Joyce Allitt and her daughter Susan. Doctor Bartlett rented one of their rooms for a surgery for many years. That was when he lived in Wardington. He later moved to the large Townsend House, Poplar Farm, where you went through a door in the wall. Doctor Bartlett made up medicines for us, at least he did before I left home. If anyone had an accident, usually a pony and cart was hired from Mr Bonham, and often Dad, or someone else would take the injured to hospital, or they would go on the train, if not badly injured. People often went on the train to visit at Banbury hospital. I was in the Radcliffe in Oxford when I was seventeen for an appendix operation, and my brother Percy and Charlie Hickman visited me by train. When I was at Mrs Hughes I used to walk across the fields, if I had to see the Doctor, or perhaps pick up medicine for the Hughes family.

The last house in this row lived Mrs Jane Pettifer and her son Tom. When she died Mother often used to make him a pudding and take it down to him. She maybe thought he did not do much for himself. He always seemed to be so lonesome.

Plantation House was of course my Grandparent's, with the stable and loft. I slept in that house many times. Next door there were more Pettifers. Opposite to them was Auntie Elizabeth and Uncle Tom Timms plus Cyril my cousin. He was two months older than I. Then later they moved to Chapel Green. Next to them lived Mrs Barnett a widow and in the next house Mr and Mrs Ernest Cherry and their daughter Laura.

The Brasenose Inn: Mr and Mrs Cummings and three daughters. One worked away, Elsie taught at school until she married and Lily taught in the Sunday school class. Usually she would read us fairy stories. She took the afternoon session. We went to Sunday school in the morning at l0am and then on to Church for the morning service. Then after dinner we went to Sunday school again from two to four. We did not go to evening service until we left school, but we used to go upstairs in Mother's room and watch and count the people who went by on the Green. Those we knew went to Chapel and the others to Church. This was quite a pastime. Also we would lay in bed and count all the inhabitants in Cropredy. In those days it was around 435 or so.

In the next house to the Inn [Constone] lived the Station master Mr Billington, wife and daughter Elsie, who went to school on and of£ She was delicate. Later on just after I left school they moved and Mr and Mrs Miller and their two daughters Daisy and Phylis came. He was the Station master for years. The blacksmith was just past his place and on the left there was a basket weaver's shop. Mr Gilbert's shop was up a grass slope next to the barn. The door was not level with the barn and it faced the Brasenose Inn. We children were allowed to watch Mr Gilbert at work. He sold his baskets from his workshop. I do not remember the Ozier bed opposite the school except that it was there, but I do remember the one on the Williamscote Road. We did not have time off from school, but Aunt Mary had me with her on a Saturday. She used to take me with her and I helped strip the osiers. There were a few gadgets there, I remember we put the osiers in one at a time in the slit at the top and then pull. This was to strip them. Mr Gilbert and his wife and three daughters lived in the house that Bill Harris lives in on the north side of the Green. The three girls were my special friends and I missed them when they moved to Coventry, just before I left school. I missed them so much. Mother and Mrs Gilbert were good friends for years. The blacksmiths were Andrew Taylor and his help Sidney Watts. Andrew used to lodge with Aunt Ellen Neal, until he and Sidney left for Canada.

On the right of the Green lived Mr and Mrs Golby at the first house. Major Slack at the next. Later Mr Selby and his daughter Ada lived there, and later still Miss Mary Lambert. Three other Selby daughters had positions away, but their governess lived at Cropredy with them. Major Slack was a wealthy bachelor [see Appendix 2], and he used to give parties for the village children very often. We used to have all kinds of games and each child received a gift. He had a housekeeper and she was a friend of Mother's. When Major Slack was ill he always wanted Dad to go and sit with him. Dad was with him when the Major died. It seemed to be the usual thing for Dad to do, as he was awakened very often by someone in the village who needed the Doctor. Major Slack's house faced the coronation tree on the Green and was on the left of where we lived.

The Selbys used to be in good circumstances. Their ex-governess Miss Tew taught the piano and she had a private school for better off people like the Hughes family. They were tutored by Miss Tew, until they were old enough to be whipped off to boarding schools. I do not know why Mary Hughes did not go to Miss Tew's. Mary was seven when I left them so she had to go somewhere to school. Her two older brothers and sister went to Miss Tew's and then when they were about nine or ten they were sent to boarding school. I cannot remember when Miss Tew retired, as I left the village, but on my visits home I usually saw Miss Tew and the Selbys. In fact Miss Ada Selby was often in Mother's chatting. She was very interesting I thought. Later the Selbys had to get out and their furniture was stored in Anker's barn. We all helped to carry some up there and Grandma took them into Plantation cottage. Believe me it was crowded, but they managed, and then they moved to the house on Red Lion Street, where they each died. My sister Gladys had four years tuition with Miss Tew at the piano. Dad paid for one quarters lessons for me but I got tired of it, as at nineteen I did not want to spend all my spare time practicing. Anyway I could not afford it. My sister does not play the piano any more, in fact she gave it to our nephew Gordon, when they went to Australia in 1969/70. Our brother Percy bought the piano during World War 1, when he was on leave from France, so Gladys thought Gordon should have it, and have his children taught music.

Prior to that we used to have sing songs at home and ask one or two neighbours in. At other times, we used to go over to Mrs Harris's and have singing there. I forget who played their piano, but we had enjoyable times. Aunt Ellen Neal also had people in, but I was not too keen on her musical evenings. It was an organ and only hymns were allowed to be played, Sundays and Weekdays. We weren't allowed songs on Sunday, during the week yes, so we were happy with our arrangement. Mother just loved music. She had a nephew who used to sing. He lived in Banbury and used to get a lot of engagements to sing at weddings. He had two others in with him. I forget what instruments they played.

At Cherry's at that time were Mr and Mrs Thomas Cherry and their family. I remember them all quite well. Across from them Dad's shoe shop, then the Harris family, who later had the post office there. Next to them was Miss Timms and then when she moved next to Mother, a Mrs Jakeman, a widow from Claydon, lived there until she died. Then next to her was PC.Havell and family and later the Bonhams.

All this of course is when I was at school. Years before I was born Mother spoke of an acrobatic family who had lived in Bonham's house. I think their name was Leglare. Anyway Mother said they were very nice people and after they left a Mr Borton lived there. He was a jeweller and used to do a lot for the school children like giving prizes and gifts. He used to visit the school I remember. Later he drowned in Clattercote pool. He had been warned not to go skating, but took no notice and the ice broke and he went down. Dad was one of the men who went dragging for his body.

The Cup and Saucer field we used to play in.

Now we come round to the Woodyard. Before Grandma moved there Mr and Mrs Waddoups and two daughters lived at Woodview cottage. Later they moved to Red Lion Street near Mr Edward Gardiner. Then Grandma moved to the top of the Woodyard. Mr and Mrs R. Sumner and they had Frank, Annie and Elsie. I liked them. They lived in the first house in the Woodyard and then later had a house built opposite Lambert's Home Farm. It was at the back of the first house in Red Lion Street.

In Church Lane was Mr W Godson the baker. Next to the Bakery was the Church Rooms and the library, where I got my books.

Mr and Mrs Harris and their two little boys had at that time lived in the house that was Aunt Mary's [Stonecote]. Mr Harris was the vicar's coachman, for the Revd Greenham. The Harris family moved onto the Green and Aunt Mary and Uncle Jack moved to Church Lane from Upper Prescote, where Uncle was carter for the Wayte family.

Next was the lovely old Vicarage and across the Lane a door in the wall led into the beautiful kitchen garden. The Vicar would allow people after church on Sunday, in the spring and summer, to walk through and enjoy the beauty of the flowers. Of course in those days we children were not allowed to race around. We had to walk sedately with our parents. Also we never played with toys on Sundays and NEVER NEVER sewed, knitted or crocheted on Sundays, but they were good old days compared with what we do now.

Beside the kitchen garden lived Mr and Mrs Bayliss, then Mr and Mrs Timms (the brother to Mr Thomas who married my Aunt Elizabeth). I cannot recall who lived in the end house. I think it changed tenants so often until my sister Mary Ann and her husband moved there when I was about 13. I did not go in there very much. I used to choose the time to visit my sister.

In the big house on the left going up High Street lived the well off Ankers. I remember Miss Anker so well and her paid companion. They also kept a maid. Dad got on alright with her as he used to make her shoes. She would never buy scrappy made store shoes. After Miss Anker died a Mr Hammond lived there and raised poultry, but I did not know him to talk to for I was living in London by then.

Mr and Mrs Louis Lambert and Mr Jack Lambert lived in the cottage almost opposite the Ankers. Mr Louis was the sexton at the church and he always rang the Curfew bell. He was a hard worker and well liked. In the row of cottages on the left going up the High Street, I cannot recall who was in the first [Arthur Pettifer's parents]. In the second was Mr and Mrs Tom Busby and children, then Mr Lucius Goodman and his daughter Kate. He only had one leg. Next to them lived Mr and Mrs Albert Watts and six children who later moved to Station Road Cottages. Next to them I think was Joshua Townsend but I am not sure. The end house Pettiphers.

The larger house across Newscut Lane was Mr Griffin's. Fairly well off. His daughter, a widow, and her two daughters Kate and Elsie were living there. Dad also sat with Mr Griffin when he was dying.

The next large house [Poplar Farm now Eagles] was Mr Henry Townsend's and later the Doctor's residence and surgery. Dr. Bartlett was the doctor at that time and he lived in Wardington. That is why Dad usually went to get him. After Dr. Bartlett died (after I had left the village) a Dr. Morton came and he was there for years. Mother used to call him Dr. Sunshine. He was so nice to her when she was ill. I went from London to look after her. I thought he was really nice.

Chapel Row: I cannot recall all the people, but I do remember Mr John Smith's Post Office, which was I think in the third house from the chapel. I rarely went inside for there was a small wooden door in the window, instead of glass. When this was closed we just tapped on it and Mr Smith would open it and say "How many stamps?" I am not certain about this, but I think the letter box was in the wall below the window. Regarding telegrams they were sent from the railway station from the signal box, where Uncle Tom Timms worked for over forty years.

Also in Chapel Row were Mr and Mrs Thomas Watts, Mrs Sally Adkins, Mrs Richard Busby and her several children, then the passage entrance in which there was a door just inside on the right and that led into a very small house. There was a young blind girl living there. I think her name was Annie. Through the passage and turn left were the Pargeters as I mentioned before. Then came Aunt Ellen Neal's back door.

Monkeytree House where a Miss Brand lived for years. She was Revd Brand's sister. She was fairly well off and did not mingle much. She would go to church every Sunday elegantly dressed with a long train. Miss Brand usually came into church when the Tommy Tinker bell was ringing and that was the last before the service started. She would walk so gracefully down the church always in black and her hands in a muff She seemed to glide down the aisle with her train swishing and then sat in the far side under where the old armour was on the wall [north aisle]. I used to be fascinated by her, but she never spoke to anyone. I do not think she mixed with anyone, but she was nice to me when I delivered her shoes to her and asked me in, but I felt very shy of her. She kept a maid. I do not quite remember the Revd Brand ,although at times I have a faint recollection of him.

The cottages opposite Monkeytree House [Poplar Cottages] I can remember a Mr and Mrs Tagg who lived in the first. I did not really come in contact with any of them, but the next three cottages on the left, I knew well [The Hollies, once Old Yard]. The first on the left lived Mr and Mrs Albert Shirley and their son Colin. In the middle one, Mr and Mrs Thomas Hawkes and daughter Doris and in the third was Mr and Mrs Wm.Hawkes, parents of Thomas and their daughter Emily who married my Uncle Stephen Cooknell. They had a grand-daughter living with them. She went to school about the time I did, and her name was Ivy Yates.

Down Creampot Lane [past R.Kings and Wam Pettiphers] in the second row near the pavement, I can recall the King family. I remember very clearly the night Mr George King returned from the Boer War, I think I was six or seven. Dad and several other men borrowed a gig without the horses, and met Mr King at Cropredy Station, who arrived on the last train, about 8 p.m. They had a torch light procession and the men pulled him through the village via the Green. Mother was on the Green with Edgar and myself. I thought it was just wonderful to see a torch light procession. Mr King was the blacksmith and his business was close to the wharf by the canal. He used to let us watch him at work as long as we behaved. The King family used to play their hand bells at different functions. We thought they were superb.

There was also a Wesleyan brass band. Mr George Neal who was Uncle Will Neal's brother played. I thought it was good, but have no idea where or when they practised.

Dad's helper Mr William Shirley lived beyond the Kings at the end of that row. In the two cottages just past him lived Mr and Mrs John Shirley, wheelwright, and Mr and Mrs Wells who had a daughter Olive.

The last house, Andrews Farm, was occupied by Mr and Mrs James Pargeter and children. The son of Mr Alfred Pargeter who lived next to us.

Starting from the Chapel on Lambert's side. The house on the left [now the Post Office] was occupied by Mr and Mrs Gardiner and their only child Florrie, who was one of my greatest friends. She later married and lived in Warwick opposite my Brother Percy, so when I visited my Brother I used to drop in and see Florrie and her two boys.

Next to them is Lambert's House, Home Farm. The house that Mr John Allitt had was at the rear of the present Lambert's house. I remember going to Allitt's auction sale with Mother. Later I think the old house was partly demolished and Mr Lambert had the present house built in the front near the street, during or just after the First World War. Mr J.W.Lambert remarried. His second wife worked at Squire Lovedays. I remember seeing them out for a walk when he was dating her. I used to see them together when I was walking down from Prescote Manor, they were always very pleasant and would stop and talk to me. They married and had one son. My sister used to take him out, when she left school, until she was 16, and she just loved him. Later when she married and had a son, she named him Clifford. Her son is now in Tasmania and has four children.

Past this house, towards the Jitty, was Aunt Betsy's and next to this a lovely old cottage with loads of gorgeous flowers in the garden. Here lived Mr and Mrs Richard Watts and their two children, Ethel and Tom. Tom was drowned in the First War. Very sad.

Going down the Jitty, Mrs Legg lived in one of the houses, Mrs Bill Harris's Grandma. The house, later facing New Place, was occupied by Mr and Mrs Elkington. Still going down the Jitty the first house on the left [behind 10 Red Lion Street] was Mr and Mrs Bernard Pargeter and the next Mr and Mrs Grubb. Mr Bernard Pargeter was the hair cutter and shaver at Mr Bonham's saddlery, on the Green, where Mr Pargeter the saddler worked. I think the girls relied on their Mother's to trim theirs. Mother used to trim mine at times. I don't think we went to a hairdressers until I was married, and then I had mine bobbed in London. I had such a lot, it was long and thick and done in a bun. My hats used to press on the hair pins and give me headaches, so I suddenly made up my mind the hair had to come off and I am glad I did. This did not sit well with Dad, but he got used to it. Mother was acceptable to change, but we had some laughs about it.

At the end of the Jitty the first house on the left in Red Lion Street, is where my Uncle Steve, Aunt Emily and the two children lived, for about six years. When Aunt died my Uncle took the children and went back to live with Grandma. At the next house lived Mr and Mrs Alfred Smith, Father and Mum of Robert Smith. Next to them lived their son William and his wife and two children.

Turning up the street from the Jitty. First, the Co-op shop managed by Mr Ted Taylor. Then the Red Lion Inn, landlords the Hadlands. Next Mr Newitt and daughter Edith and then Mr and Mrs Cave. Mr Cave was blind. They had a sweet shop and a few groceries. It was very small but a landmark for us when we had a penny or two to squander. Next was Mrs Dumbleton then Mr and Mrs James Bonham, Hilda and Harold. After Mrs Bonham died they moved onto the Green. Later Mr Bonham married Flossie Golby who worked at Bourton House and they had several children. Hilda went to school at the same time as I did. She died fairly young. Harold won several scholarships and eventually became a Headmaster at a boys school. The next house [number 2] Mr and Mrs Gardiner and at the end the Plumb family, after Hannah Smith(?). She used to talk to me when I went to see if Hilda was coming out.

At the bottom of Red Lion Street was the Lock House where Mr and Mrs Pratt and their two sons Ted and Tom lived. Later when the boys married Ted lived in Williamscote and Tom lived in Fern Cottage. He was in my school days the Truant Officer.

The three cottages on the right over the canal bridge, Mr Jack Tame had one. He worked for Prescote Manor. I cannot remember who occupied the other two, at least not when I was a schoolgirl. I knew who lived there later, when I worked at the manor, Mr and Mrs Bennett, Mrs Legg and a lady who lived in the third during the war only. At the two houses at Upper Prescote one was my Aunt and Uncle French in one and Mr and Mrs Wells and their brood in the other. These were quite spacious and more suited to larger families.

Now I am back in the village going Round Bottom. On the right was Mr Robert Smith's Woodyard and buildings and then their residence. Their two garden doors led into Hell Hole, or "Hello."

Then across from them were the Lambert's at the Wharf. They also had two doors in the wall. One for the back entrance and the other the front. This house was in the coal wharf and across from their wharf was the stone wharf. We used to play in there quite a lot and watch the barges unload. Occasionally the boat people would give us a ride as far as the lock. It was all so interesting. At the back of the stone wharf was Mr George King's blacksmith's shop. We used to watch them a lot, so even when we were village kids we had a very full and exciting life, I thought. I think taking everything into consideration that we all had a very nice childhood, even though we lived in a small community, we seemed happy and could always find something to amuse us.

Over the canal bridge in the house on the left lived Mr and Mrs Amos and their sons. I used to love Mrs Amos, she was such a nice lady. This brings us to the end of the village.

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