A SNAPSHOT IN TIME
Most of us are fascinated by our ancestors. We completely forget that we too will become ancestors. Because we live in such a diverse village I thought it would be a really good idea to collect together an Archive of the Parish of Cutcombe at the present moment in time. The reasons why we have come to this village from “outside” are varied and often, funny. As is the habit of the “farming families” house musical chairs. All of us have a story to tell and here is the first of them.
Mrs Eileen Webber’s Snapshot in Time
I was born Eileen Colman, 30/6/24 at Higher Crosses, Exton, daughter of Edward and Emma Colman(nee Quartley). We had larger families in those days I was one of 8 not unusual and being the 2nd eldest of a family of 8; my family consisted of twins 5 sisters and 2 brothers my grandmother had 21, she started in 1877 and was still having babies in 1905.
My dad was a carter, who ploughed and sowed the fields with 2 horses and did all the other farming jobs as well. He worked really hard for 24 shillings a week. He was charged tuppence a pint for skimmed milk, separated it was, no cream in it. We used to eat a lot of rabbit, don’t know if they were charged for catching them! My parents kept several chickens and also a pig for killing; not a bit of it going to waste, sausages, chitterlings and brawn. She used to stuff and roast rabbits, lots of stews too, probably why I can’t eat rabbit now. We really enjoyed them when we came home from school. She cooked on an open fire with a 3-leg crock-pot and a kettle. Mum used to sit and fry on a “Brandice” they were called, a really hot job, especially in summer. She used to brown the cakes by putting red hot coals from the fire on top; it was a big shallow pot with 3 short legs. I remember her lovely treacle pudding, always something hot and filling for when we came in from school- we didn’t starve. For school dinner we had pork or dripping sandwiches with butter scrapped on. Sometimes our lunches were stolen from our satchels by the Hollands, that used to live in an old shack at the very top of Exton Hill about ¼ mile from Exton Cross. We used to walk the 3 miles to school in all weathers and were never late once. The Short cut was through Kendle Green Farm, but if it was wet we had to walk to Stolford Cross & up to Exton Cross to keep our shoes or hob nail boots clean and dry for School. Our teacher, Mrs Burge a kindly soul, would warm us up something to tide us over when our sandwiches were stolen. I used to clean for her on Saturdays to earn a few pennies.
On Sundays we would
go to Exton Church Sunday School, taught by Mrs Ladds, a real Christian
Lady, in the afternoon we would walk to Gupworthy Chapel, about 2 ½
miles, it didn’t do us any harm, I would like to be able to walk
it now! My mum was from a family of 21, she was the 13th child, always
worked hard, and was a very good needlewoman, knitted lots of jumpers
for us. She used to go to jumble sales and alter things to fit us. My
granny lived until she was 92, what a great age then, she used to work
so hard and used to go up to the farm to do all their dirty washing.
My first job was
at Brushford and I came home every other week on my 3-geared bicycle.
Dad had a big garden and supplied all our vegetables. We sometimes used
to walk through Kendle Greens Farm fields, where Robert & Pauline
Takle now farm. The people who lived there were Mary, Winnie and their
brother Arthur Lock. I remember, Mary was married at Exton Church, they
walked back to Kendle about 5 or 6 yards behind each other, and we thought
this was quite funny! And she didn’t get dressed up for it! We
used to take eggs, cream and butter to their customers in the village.
One day my sister, Ursula, dropped the eggs on Exton Hill and laughed
and sang as they rolled all the way down the hill. I think she said
she was sorry.
Charles Woolmer’ Story
Born 16th August 1954 during a hurricane in Boston, USA. His mother Kate had rushed from Singapore to America so he would have American nationality (how things have changed) His parents Stanley an Architect and his mother, a teacher met and married in Singapore after the 2nd WW.
Stanley had been
a prisoner in the notorious Changi Prison and the building of the Bridge
over the River Kwai. Kate had escaped out of Singapore (Japanese hot
on her heels) through Indonesia, to South Africa on the famous 'Exeter'.
She spent the remainder of the war in America as a journalist. Stanley
helped rebuild Singapore after the war and built 'low cost homes' for
4 million people!!