Link to Headley page - Index to other Volumes
Headley 1066-1966 - The Holme School
"Hartie" - Harriett Rowswell, 1879-1965, born in
My time in Hollywater and Standford during the 1950s
Memories of Moor House Farm between the Wars
Early Days at Mellow Farm
Headley Miscellany is published by The
© The Headley Society and the Authors
The serialisation of Canon Tudor Jones's Headley 1066-1966 in this issue covers his fascinating chapter on the Holme School and other early examples of education in the parish.
We conclude the experiences of Myra Treharne (née Pedrick) during her time in the area. Here she contrasts her experiences in Hollywater with those in the more salubrious surroundings of Headley Park and Headley Wood which she told us of previously.
Another e-mail correspondent from abroad, Cherry Forray of Seattle, tells us of the grandmother, 'Hartie' Harnett, who was born in Arford in 1879 when her father worked as a gardener for Mrs Elizabeth Windus of Arford House.
And we end up with two different views of farming in the north of the parish: from 'Eddie' Morgan who lived at Moor House Farm between the wars, and from David Hadfield who still farms at neighbouring Mellow Farm today.
I would like to thank all those who have contributed to this edition in particular Marilyn Metcalfe for her help in relating Myra Treharne's article to present-day Hollywater; and Nicky Wilson, current occupier of one part of Moor House Farm (though not the 'Top End'!), for producing the articles of both Eddie Morgan and David Hadfield.
The Headley Society welcomes the submission of articles for future editions of Headley Miscellany - please contact Jo Smith on 01428 712892, or by post at 19 Kay Crescent, Headley Down GU35 8AH, or contact me by e-mail.
the late Canon J.S. Tudor Jones
In Volumes 1, 2 & 3 of 'Headley Miscellany,' we published the first eight chapters of 'Headley 1066-1966,' written by the late Canon J.S. Tudor Jones in 1966 upon his retirement as Rector of Headley. The next excerpt from the same booklet covers his observations on the Holme School …
Today we take the presence of schools so much for granted, that we can easily forget that there was a time when education was neither compulsory nor free. What happened to the children of our village in those days?
Apparently there were several little dame-schools scattered about the parish where reading and writing were taught, but these catered for very few children, and those only the fortunate few whose parents could afford to pay a few pence a week for their schooling.
William Voller, who was 73 in October 1772, remembered being taught to read by Widow Steele, who kept a little school at Whitelady's House at the Park Gate. At the opposite end of the parish in the early eighteen hundreds there was a small day-school kept by a man who lived in a cottage at Hollywater, and John Pink, born in 1803, used to tell how the boys took their place in class according to the way they said their multiplication table. About this time, too, there was a school at what we now know as the Wheatsheaf, run by a Mr Kersley of Headley Wood; another run by Caleb Parnham, first at Heath House and afterwards on the Green, and a third at Standford kept by Mrs Piggott. I believe she lived at Reynolds, opposite Standford Corn Mill, and her pupils were taught French; that is to say, they could count up to twenty, and chant the days of the week, and the months of the year! At the end of term it is said she treated the children to a piece of cake and a sip of wine.
Later in the century there was a school for little children at Moore House, on the road to Frensham, one at Standford built by the father of Mr George Warren for the 'Bible Christians', and another built and supported by Mr H. H. Allen of Eveley (now Standford Grange) in connection with the Plymouth Brethren's Iron Room.
All these schools have long since disappeared, but one has survived and flourished for more than two hundred years, the one founded in 1755 by Dr George Holme, Rector of Headley from 1718 to 1765. This generous and far-seeing man obtained half an acre of 'the Lord's Waste' from the Bishop of Winchester (Lord of the Manor of Bishop's Sutton) on which to build a school, and a house for the Master, and endowed it with the revenues from fifteen acres of land at Linstead, two acres at Thurstoes (Whitmore Vale) and property at Ashe in Surrey.
The first trustees of the Charity were:
the Rev Joseph Browne, D. D., Rector of Bramshott,
the Rev Duncombe Bristowe, D. D., Vicar of Selborne,
the Rev Edmund Yalden, Vicar of Newton Valance,
the Rev Richard Yalden, Rector of Greatham,
the Rev Richard Willis, Rector of Hartley Maudit,
Richard Turner of Headley (Yeoman),
William Collins of Headley (Yeoman),
and the Foundation Deed stated that "Dr Holme (for the common good of the said Parish of Headley and for furthering and promoting the useful education of young persons of both sexes of the said Parish of Headley, more particularly of such children as are or shall be born of poor and indigent parents) has for some time past instituted and set up a charity school in the said Parish for teaching and instructing 12 poor children of either sex of the said Parish (or in case of a deficiency of such children therein, of poor children of the Parishes of Bramshott and Kingsley in the said County) in such principles of learning and knowledge as are most proper for such young persons, that is to say, the boys in Reading, Writing and Common Arithmetic, and the girls in Reading and Writing and Arithmetic and in Sewing and Knitting."
Any number of children could attend the school, but only 12 could
benefit from the Charity; the rest had to pay. There is no record of the amount
they paid in those early days, but James Barnett, when an old man, said that
the fees were sixpence a week in 1830, but reading and sewing were extras, and
cost twopence more. In 1874 the very young Mr Laverty seems to have found that
the financial arrangements for the school were all rather vague, and needed
to be put on a sound business footing, and so he and the other Trustees drew
up a new scale of fees, as follows:
|Two children||3d||4d||6d||1s. 6d|
|Three or more||4d||5d||8d||2s. 0d|
an interesting commentary on the life of our village then, both socially and economically.
Dr Holme's school was at first called Headley Charity School, and consisted of the house for the Master and one room (now used as a Staff Room) known as The Gallery, because the fixed benches were arranged on a series of steps as in a theatre. This gallery remained until about 1930, and many middle-aged Headley people still vividly remember their introduction to the world of learning in this room.
Just over one hundred years after its founding Mr Ballantine Dykes drew up a new scheme for the administration of the school. Dr Holme had envisaged the Trustees as serving for life and when their number was reduced to three by death-no provision was made for resignation or removal-those three should immediately elect five new trustees to make up the original number of eight; the Rector 'for the time being' automatically being one of the eight. Mr Dykes' revised scheme of 1859 named the Rector, the Churchwardens, the surviving trustees and not more than five subscribers of £1 each as being responsible for the running of the school. The children were to pay, with the exception of 12 poor children, who would be educated free as a reward for good conduct or proficiency of work. The Conscience Clause was to apply; that is to say, the children need not attend church nor receive Catechism instruction; and the school was to be open for Inspection.
In 1871 Mr Dykes enlarged the building by the addition of the room which now forms the northern half of the large room divided by a partition. (Scholars of the early part of this century remember that in their day a dusty, moth-eaten, red baize curtain was the only division between the two rooms. It was, of course, anything but sound-proof, and those who sat near it could communicate with the neighbouring class through the holes!) This addition was paid for partly by a building grant of £71. 5. 0. from the Treasury, and partly by a voluntary 6d. rate from parishioners. By accepting a Government grant the school became a Public Elementary School under the meaning of the Education Act of 1870, and was called officially the Headley National School. The voluntary rate brought other consequences. Since they had helped to pay for enlarging the school, parishioners quite naturally assumed that they should take some part in its management, and almost the first task that faced the new Rector, then only 25 years old, was to point out to them at a Vestry Meeting that they could claim no jurisdiction over the National School, which remained as before in the hands of the Rector and Trustees. Instead of forming "a Council and Committee for the Management of the schools" the Vestry was induced to limit itself to the appointment of a "Council for the management of the education of the poor children of the parish", and the first members were The Rector, the Churchwardens, Mr Allen, Mr Dixie, Mr I'Anson, Mr Gay, Mr Langrish, Mr Lickfold, Mr Parker, Mr Petar, Mr Phillips, Mr Price, Mr Warren and Mr Woods.
Mr Laverty certainly had some difficult problems to face during
his first years as Rector. There were now four different groups of people concerned
with the School:
(1) The original Trustees administering the Holme Charity.
(2) The Rector.
(3) The trustees (i.e. subscribers) of Mr Dykes' 1859 scheme.
(4) The Education Council of the Parish formed to raise funds.
Who, therefore, was responsible for engaging and paying the Master?
There was also a further complication in that there existed a separate Infants' School, in the house at the other end of the Green now part of the Square House, founded and built in 1824 by a Mr Wheeler in opposition to Dr Holme's School. He was a curate here who, when he left the village, joined the Roman Catholic Church, and when Mr Laverty arrived in 1872 the Infants' School seemed to be no man's property, since Mr Wheeler's family never claimed it, and Mr Dykes had apparently taken it over and run it with the National School. Eventually, after a great deal of correspondence and legal advice, the Infants' School was sold in 1878 and the money used further to enlarge the National School by the addition of three more classrooms. The sale of the little school also helped the Education Council in another way, for with all the children being taught under one roof, they need only employ one fully Certificated Teacher instead of two, and so saved themselves £30 a year.
Finance must have been a worry to the Council, for their Income
and Expenditure were very difficult to predict. There was a guaranteed £13
or £14 a year from the original endowment, but the rest of the income
was made up of voluntary contributions, the voluntary rate, the 'school pence'
paid by the parents of the scholars, and a Grant from the Government, which
depended upon the result of the Annual Examination by H.M.I. and the attendance.
In 1873-4 for instance, the estimated grant of £40 proved too optimistic
as "there were more failures than we expected", and the actual grant
was £30. 16. 0. For the following year the Council attempted to budget
|Estimated Expenditure||Estimated Income|
|Mr Fillmore (Headmaster)||100. 0. 0||Balance||13. 0. 0|
|Miss Harrap||50. 0. 0||Endowment||13. 0. 0|
|The Infants' Mistress (This was before the Infants' School was sold) Burraston||14.10. 0||Grant (say)||40. 0. 0|
|Assistant Teachers||15. 0. 0||Pence (say)||20. 0. 0|
|Expenses||10. 0. 0||6d. rate||103.10. 0|
|189.10. 0||189.10. 0|
The failures of the previous year were explained by the fact that only two
girls were sent in for the examination, whereas there ought to have been thirty,
as there were boys. The trouble was that the girls were kept at home to mind
the babies, and so Mr Laverty brought forward to the Education Council a scheme
for taking care, during school hours, of children under three years old. "And
this new Babies' Department could be worked with one woman if we employ the
girls who will then be set free to come to school. We shall get their service
for nothing; for their grant will amount to 18/-, which we do not now get; as
for paying the woman we should charge the babies 1/2d. or 1d. a day. The advantages
to parents are:
1. Better for babies.
2. Those who have an elder girl will have no expense, for she will receive more than they pay for babies."
This plan was approved by the Council, but whether it ever came to fruition I have not been able to discover!
What bad old days those were in some ways, and yet what an inspiring example of public service was set for us by those men of Headley, who spent their time and energy in ensuring education for the children of our village long before it was provided by the Government.
They spent their own money too. Many of the old accounts show that after paying the Master and his assistants, and buying equipment, cleaning materials, coal and bavins - a lovely old Headley word - there was a deficit at the end of the year which was paid out of their own pockets by Mr Dykes and Mr Laverty.
Apparently some rate-payers objected to the 'voluntary' rate, which helped to swell the funds, but Mr Laverty pointed out that if a School Board were to be formed, a compulsory rate would have to be imposed and it would be much higher than the 4d. or 6d. they were already paying.
In spite of all these difficulties money was found for prizes for the children who did well at the annual Inspection, and there is an illuminating list for July 1873:
|Hori Chandler Std. VI (The Monitor)||
|Smith's and Major's Geography||
|History of England||
|Jones' Standard Arithmetic||
|John Heywood's 3d. Atlas||
|George Hack Std. II|
|Jones' Standard Arithmetic Part 1||
|Reader for Standard III||
|John Heywood's 3d. Atlas||
|Sarah Burrows (Infant)|
Little Sarah at least was still allowed to enjoy some relaxation!
Her Majesty's Inspector for that year reported favourably on the work and said that the discipline was good, but that the scanty attendance of girls in all the classes was to be regretted.
In those days it was common practice to make public the Inspector's Report after his annual visit, and several of these reports are printed in the early Parish Magazines, but for records of the first of the dozen or so men who have been Headmasters during these 200 years, we have to rely largely on oral tradition.
The Parish Clerk in 1752 was Nathaniel Bayley. He had been a schoolmaster, and when Dr Holme built and endowed the school he appointed Nathaniel the master, and he and his son and grandson were clerks and schoolmasters of Headley until 1861. Bayley the third, although apparently retired, was in actual possession of the school buildings when Mr Dykes became Rector in 1848, and it was only with great difficulty that the buildings were recovered, and then only by allowing Bayley to retain them for his life. When he had signed the deed, he threw down the pen, burst into tears and said, "I've signed away my birthright".
'Old Nat', as the first schoolmaster was called, had two daughters, Sarah and Anne; three sons, William, Nathaniel and John; and two half-starved lurchers, who went with him everywhere. When he rang the bells for weddings he used to ring once towards the Robin Hood, once towards the Holly Bush, and once towards Frensham Road. Then when he got his fee he used to say to his wife, "Come along, Hannah, we'll all go and have some'ut to drink". He was very fond of beer.
John Matthews (1790-1875) the last Pound-keeper who lived at 'the old shop at Hilland', remembered being at school for two or three years under Nathaniel. The father used to teach at one end of the room and the son at the other. It was the best school for miles around, he said, and children used to come from all parts.
William Bayley, who succeeded his father in 1798, was reputed to have a very violent temper, and was described as not fit to be a schoolmaster. He had a long black ruler, as heavy as iron, for ruling paper for writing-there were no printed copy-books then-and with this he would hit the boys. Denyer, a boy from Liphook, used to plague him, and he tried to hit him with the ruler, and missed when the boy ran away and dodged, but cut a piece of another boy's ear right out. Mr Henry Knight, the carpenter and builder of Arford, told this story to Mr Laverty, and old Mr Eli Shrubb remembered William Bayley walking up the road to Church hitching up his breeches, one hand in front and the other behind. He was bitten by a mad dog in 1807 and as a result, it was said, at certain times of the year he could not bend!
Mrs George Cole (Fanny Fullick) said the first shilling she ever earned was given to her by Mrs Bayley, the schoolmistress, for knitting. As she had always heard you should put money in the bank, she put it in the bank in Curtis Lane, and never saw it again.
William Bayley died in 1819 and was succeeded by his son William, who was followed by Furness, his son-in-law. From 1861 to 1867 the Headmaster was Mr Pollard, whose 12 year old daughter played the harmonium in church.
When Mr Laverty arrived the Headmaster was Mr Fillmore, a young man of thirty. He had been trained at Highbury and his salary was £95 a year. For this, in addition to his normal duties, he had to train a pupil-teacher, conduct evening-classes and play the harmonium in church. He was a very tidy man, and could sing a comic song rather well. In those days there were regular concerts in the school-room, the profits from which seem often to have been used to defray the expenses of the Parish Magazine. After one of these concerts, at which 220 people were present, the following paragraph appeared in the Hampshire Post for December 17th 1880:
"Our correspondent thought the two pieces rendered by Mr Fillmore were in rather bad taste, and not in unison with the rest of the programme". The programme was made up of readings, songs, recitations, and whistling, and Mr Fillmore sang The Little Brown Jug, and the Brewer's Only Daughter. Mr Laverty thought the article was written in spite, and the following month the paper made amends: "The Rev. W. H. Laverty, in favouring us with the above programme, desires us to state that, in calling upon Mr Fillmore, the Chairman, Mr Edmund Woodthorpe of Grayshott, said that though as a rule he declined to take notice of anonymous correspondents yet he felt he might break through the rule on the present occasion. To the Hampshire Post last month there had been sent a notice of Mr Fillmore's songs which was incorrect. There was nothing objectionable whatever, except indeed to one who altogether objected to comic songs; but he grieved to say that there were people who did object to all fun and jollity. The Chairman's words were interrupted more than once by loud cheering from all parts of the room."
Mr Edwards followed Mr Fillmore, and then in 1890 came Mr C. H. Beck, a man still remembered with respect and affection by many Headley people. He "reigned" for thirty-three years, and with the Rector and the Clerk (Mr William Gamblen) worked hard for the good of the village. Indeed he was the ideal village schoolmaster, who entered wholeheartedly into every aspect of its life. He set a very high standard of work and H.M.I's reports were always good, resulting in the highest possible Grants. He ran evening classes in English, Art, Science, and Handwork, organised entertainments, and ran a club for the lads of the village. For many years he was on the Committee of the Horticultural Society which he and Mr Laverty founded, and he proved to be a very good Organist and Choirmaster. In the first year of his appointment he robed the choir, appealing to 'the gentry' for money, and a local paper reported that "a full choral service is now taken in place of the somewhat dull monotone". There is a record of the choir treat for August 1890. They went to Bentley to catch the 7.30 a.m. train for Southampton and then on to Cowes for lunch. From there they went by train to Ryde where they spent the afternoon, returning home via Portsmouth and Liphook and reaching Headley at 10.30 p.m. Some day!
One of the most interesting features of Mr Beck's time at the school was the
annual Bird and Tree Competition. This was run by the Royal Society for the
Protection of Birds and was organised on a county basis all over England. A
team of children selected one bird and one tree each, and observed them in detail
throughout the year, drawing sketches and writing essays. From 1911 to 1925
the judges' comments are full of praise for the work of the Headley children.
"The Headley papers are like the eager, intimate talk of boys and girls
telling of what has genuinely interested them; so natural and spontaneous. They
are written with a real feeling for nature which tells that something in the
heart as well as in the head has been awakened to a true outlook on wild life."
"Drawings are most exceptionally clever and artistic, firmness of touch and delicacy of colouring being very noteworthy."
"All the papers begin with appropriate lines of poetry wonderfully well selected. If all those of past years have been preserved the school must now have a considerable anthology."
In 1918… "It is interesting to learn that the Headley school-children gathered herbs and flowers for making ointments and medicines for the soldiers and sailors," and in 1922 Florence Courtnage, who studied the beech tree, noted the use of its nuts in medicine, and as a coffee substitute. She also wrote, "On Beech Hill Common are a number of beech trees planted by Bird and Tree boys and girls now so well grown that birds can nest in them."
In 1924 Edgar King (Mrs Wakeford's nephew) watched some blackbird nestlings all day, having his meals brought out to him, and found that the male and female visited the nest 168 times. The judges remarked, "It is hard to deny the shield to a School which can furnish a boy like that."
Year after year the children won medals and certificates for excellent work and were frequently placed second in the whole county, until at last in 1919 a team consisting of Grace Budd (now Mrs Worman), Stanley Dicker, Lizzie Heather, William James, Beryl Kemp, Annie Kenward, Felicia LeFeuvre, Ivy Parfect, and Maggie Watts, won the County Shield.
It would be interesting to know how many of the prize-winners of those days still cherish their medals and certificates. Among them were Edward Warner (the present Verger) and his brother Eric, Leonard Carter, Gladys Hounsome, George Blanchard, Elsie Wood, Ellen and William Heather, Henry Passingham, Dorothy Eddey, Arthur Dopson and Florence Maidwell.
Mr Beck retired in 1926, aged 66, but this gentle and unassuming man had worn himself out in the service of the people of Headley. He lived for only three years more, dying three months after Mr Laverty, who had written in the Parish Magazine about him, "We have worked together excellently well for over 30 years." It was certainly the end of an era when these two outstanding men had gone.
From 1923 to 1926 Mr F. C. Beadle was Headmaster. He came from Bristol and had had experience chiefly in Grammar Schools. His time here was spent chiefly in experimenting with the Dalton plan, a system of independent study, and he soon went out to South Africa as Principal of a College.
The last of the old-fashioned village school-masters was Mr V. A. Amos. He was a very talented but unpredictable man, an excellent teacher and very artistic and capable with his hands. Everything that he did, he did well, taking up fresh interests with burning enthusiasm until he tired of them, and turned to something else. At different times he ran the Sunday Schools and the Scouts; took up book-binding and weaving; built lily-pools at his own house, the Rectory and the School; produced plays and pageants; and illuminated two beautiful lists for the church, of past Rectors, and of benefactors. He became a licensed Lay Reader in 1927 and travelled all over the Deanery preaching and conducting services, yet when he died in 1949 he was an avowed agnostic, leaving directions that no religious service was to be held at his burial.
He was the last Headmaster to take an active part in village life, and actually to live in the village. The School is now controlled by the Government, being taken out of the hands of the Church when the County demanded that an impossibly large sum of money must be spent on building and modernisation.
But still, carrying on the tradition of more than 200 years, the present Headmaster, Mr Lea, and his staff devote their lives to the service of our children as their predecessors, named and unnamed, have done throughout the generations. And still there are children in The Holme School whose ancestors were taught there when it was opened in 1755.
To be continued in the next issue
by Cherry Forray of Seattle, Washington, USA
This is the story of my grandmother, who faced adversity with courage. From my childhood, I remember she had the name 'Grayshott' on her front gate. I never knew about her earlier life then.
My grandmother's name was Harriett Rowswell. She was named Harriett after her grandmother, but went by the name "Hartie" instead. Hartie was born on 9th January 1879 at Arford Lodge (now Ivy Cottage) in Headley. Her father was William Harnett, born in 1847, in Whiteparish, Wiltshire. He was a kind and gentle man. Her mother was Susannah Powell, born in Norfolk, in 1844. Susannah was said to have been adopted by a wealthy family. William and Susannah were married in 1868. After they married, Susannah, who was well educated, taught her husband to read and write. Susannah and William made sure that all their children went to school and received an education. In all, they had eight children, Hartie being their sixth child.
William Harnett is listed in the 1881 Headley census as being a "gardener and domestic servant". He apparently worked at that time for Mrs Elizabeth Windus of the publishing firm Chatto and Windus, who then owned Arford House. William and his family moved several times, but they must have lived in Headley for at least six years, since Harriett's name, along with three of her sisters, is listed on the Headley School's exam list for January 29th 1885. That year, Susannah gave birth to her last child. Hartie's parents then had five girls and three boys.
Every Sunday, William and Susannah would take their family to church in a small horse-drawn carriage. Hartie drew a lot of strength from her religious upbringing. It is what helped get her through the hard times in her life. The family apparently moved to Buriton in 1886. Arford House was advertised for lease that year. Tragedy struck the family in 1886. William, the oldest son and namesake of his father, drowned at Buriton. He was 14 years old.
Frederick Rowswell, was born in 1876. His family came from Somerset. He was
the youngest of four children of Thomas and Jane Rowswell.
Around 1890 to 1900 the family moved to Hampshire. Fred's older brother, Arthur, opened a bicycle shop in Grayshott, and the family lived there, above the shop. Arthur Rowswell is listed in the 1903 Grayshott directory as being a 'cycle agent'.
Arthur married Hartie's sister, Annie. They moved to Petersfield, where Arthur opened another bicycle shop. Frederick then managed the shop in Grayshott, and continued to live there with his parents. Later, his sister, Helen, married Fred Lingley, who owned a sweets, tobacco and newsagents shop in Grayshott.
By then the Harnetts were living in Midhurst, where Hartie was working as a lady's maid. Fred liked his brother's young sister-in-law. He wanted to get to know her better. So every Sunday, Fred would ride his bicycle all the way from Grayshott to Midhurst to be with Hartie. Finally, in January 1907, Hartie and Frederick were married in Midhurst. Now that she was married, Hartie would move away from the countryside and family she loved so much to the town of Romford, Essex. Fred opened a bicycle shop there.
By August, 1914, Hartie and Frederick had four children: Fred, born in 1908, Win, born in 1909, Harold, born in 1911, and Edna, born in March, 1914. On August 4, 1914, England declared war on Germany. The First World War had begun. Hartie hardly had time to think what this would mean for them. In addition to having four small children to care for, her husband was ill with pneumonia. She had to take care of her children, nurse her husband, and try to run the shop as well. Frederick was getting worse. He needed to see a doctor, but there was a shortage of doctors, because so many had been called up for the war effort. Hartie managed to get Frederick to a hospital, but he never got to see a doctor. He died on 14 August 1914.
Hartie was 35 years old when her husband died. She had four small children,
ranging in age from five months to six years. With no pension, or other income,
how would she manage? Hartie was a strong woman, but she needed help. Her church
came to her aid. Her landlord lowered the rent. Her neighbours helped her. So
did her family. Her oldest sister, Em, who was married but never had any children,
said she would take Winnie for a while. Her brother George, who was a schoolmaster,
said he would take Freddie.
Then Hartie's mother learned that Em and George were making plans to keep Win and Fred. They thought Hartie would not be able to care for all her children. Susannah wrote to her daughter, "Whatever you do, don't let your children be split up." Hartie had no intention of letting her family be split up.
Since Hartie lived behind the shop, she could care for her children and run the shop too. She ran the shop for over twenty years, and raised her children herself. Sometimes, she would work until 11 o'clock at night, repairing bicycles or finishing other jobs. Then she would collapse on her bed and fall asleep in the clothes she had worn all day, too exhausted to take them off.
Hartie drew a lot of strength from her faith. Every Sunday she would take her children to church. It took a long time, when they were little, to get them all ready. They didn't always make it in time. When that happened, Hartie, pushing a pram and with her other children in tow, would walk around Romford until she found the Salvation Army band. Then she and her children would join them, and march around, cheerfully singing hymns as they went.
Although they didn't adopt Hartie's children, Em and George did help by taking them during the summer school holidays. Em took the girls. She lived in Datchett, near Windsor. George took the boys. He was now headmaster of Penner School, near Harrow. Sometimes the children would visit their cousins in Petersfield, and their grandparents in Midhurst. Fred sent his mother a postcard of 'Hindhead, Gibbet Cross', on 14 August 1916. He wrote, "Dear Mother, This is where we have been this afternoon. We have also seen the sailor's stone as well. We went to the Huts Hotel in a bus. Saw Ivy [his cousin] in the post office and then walked to the gibbet. Came back to the Cross Roads (or Huts Hotel) and came back in the bus. Love from Freddie." Three days later, on 17th August 1916, his grandmother, Susannah, died.
After Susannah died, William moved to Petersfield to be closer to his daughter, Anne. He would come by train to visit Hartie and his grandchildren in Romford. He died in 1923. William Harnett is buried in Midhurst, alongside his wife, Susannah.
Hartie wanted her children to go on to grammar school, but school wasn't free then after the age of 12. Their only option was to earn a scholarship. All four children passed the exam. The headmistress of their elementary school was very impressed with Mrs Rowswell's children. She would tell people that Mrs Rowswell had four children who all earned a scholarship. Then she would add, "If Mrs Rowswell had ten children, they would all have earned a scholarship!"
By 1938, Hartie's children thought it was time to help their mother retire. A new chapter in Hartie's life would begin. Fred was now a language master at his old grammar school, and he liked to travel in Europe. In 1938 Fred took his mother on a trip to Switzerland with him. It was the first of many trips to Europe that Hartie made with Fred, who never married.
A year after that first trip, England would declare war on Germany, and all of Europe would be engulfed in war once again. In 1942, Hartie became a grandmother for the first time. Her oldest daughter, Winifred, gave birth to a baby girl. That baby was me. My grandmother had seven grandchildren altogether, and today there are nine great-grandchildren, six living in the United States, and three in England.
Harriett Rowswell died in 1965, at age 86. She is buried with her husband, Frederick Rowswell, in Romford Cemetery.
In researching my grandmother's story, I have been inspired by her. I have learned many things about her, including why she named her house 'Grayshott'.
Myra Treharne (née Pedrick) continues her story
In Volume 3 of 'Headley Miscellany,' Myra told of her time with the McAndrew family in Headley Park and Headley Wood up to the time of her marriage in August 1949. Here she tells us of a very different situation.
After our wedding we returned to Hampshire. We had planned
to live with an elderly lady who lived at a bungalow called St Margarets in
Headley, where I was going to be her combined companion and helper. Unfortunately
just two weeks before our wedding she changed her mind, thus leaving us with
nowhere to live.
Before our wedding I had stayed with Ted Muff, his wife and son Barry in Lindford, who were very kind to me.
ed worked with my husband Pat [Dennis Nash] at Lindford Garage. Shortly after this Pat changed his job and went to work for Mr Meckiffe who had a business in Farnborough, where he looked after the fleet of vans and delivered goods to shops, hospitals, stores and even prisons. Pat's parents lived in No.1 Robin Hood Cottages near the Robin Hood Pub at Standford and Mr Meckiffe lived in the cottage next door.
The only place Pat could find for us to live was in two rooms of a cottage in Hollywater where two sisters, Daisy and Emmie Fisher lived. I had no idea what this accommodation was like, and knew nothing about the sisters. I wanted to cancel the wedding until I could see the place for myself, or found somewhere else to live. It was very hard to find accommodation after the war. My Father had died two months before the wedding so my brother Edwin gave me away. One reason we carried on with the wedding was because my Mother had already suffered by my Father's death and we did not wish to put her through any further trauma.
We received many presents from our family and friends, and one from Mrs Pester who kept the stores in Standford.
On our return from our wedding we first called on Pat's Mum. She gave us some milk and groceries to keep us going until we were straight.
When we arrived at the bungalow it appeared to be in the middle of a field with a long path up to it.
On knocking at the door a tall woman answered and said, "Oh come in Pat, and I presume this your wife Myra?" Pat introduced us, and Daisy Fisher said she would show us to our rooms as no doubt we were tired after our long journey.
I was shocked when I saw the interior of the cottage. Daisy opened the door of what was to be our living room. There was a primus stove for cooking, and she said that when we had registered with a coal merchant we would be able to do our cooking on the fire in the grate. She told me I would soon get used to cooking on the primus stove.
Also in the room was a table with an oil lamp on it, two chairs, an old sofa, and a little cupboard to keep our utensils in.
Off this room was a door leading to our bedroom. This contained an old iron bedstead with no bedclothes, a dressing table with a mirror, a small wardrobe for our clothes, and at the side of the bed a pail with a lid on it! I just did not know whether to laugh or cry.
I asked her if I could use the toilet. She said yes, and told me to follow her. She went out through her kitchen, which contained a dresser, a scrubbed top table, two old armchairs, two chairs around the table and a black leaded range. This led through to a room containing a big boiler that had to be lit underneath to warm water. The floor was flag stones. Daisy went on outside and showed me a small shed - the outside "loo". She said, "Here it is Myra, but in future you must use your own newspaper, and I will give you your own nail to hang it on." The loo was sited beside a small river (the Deadwater River). I could not believe my eyes or ears that people were still living like this. I had been so used to luxuries at Headley Wood and Headley Park, and even at home we had electricity, running water, washing facilities, and above all flushed toilets.
I asked Daisy where I could wash my hands and face. She said that as we were by the river I could use that, but to be careful in case I slipped in. She said that in the morning Pat could get me a bucket from the river to wash both myself and the dishes.
We unpacked some of our things so we could get at our bedding. Pat lit the lamps in both rooms. We checked there was enough water for our morning cup of tea, and then went to bed wondering what our first day in Hollywater would bring!
Pat still had a couple of days holiday left, so the next morning he fetched water from the river and then Daisy took him over to the people next door to show him the well where he could fetch water for making tea and for use in cooking.
I looked out of the window and the countryside around was lovely, but I could not imagine how I could possible manage living in such conditions.
Daisy would not allow us to bring the car inside the gate, saying it would cut up the grass! That first day Pat took me down to see his Mum at Standford and to see his boss next door. Pat's Mum took me to register my Ration Book at Pesters Shop in Standford and arranged for me to obtain fuel from Mr Irvine. She was so good to me.
Later we went back to "Riverside" as the cottage was called and sorted out our belongings. Pat showed me all around the place. I felt I could not let him know how I felt about living there; I would just have to make the best of it. Daisy's sister Emmie was blind, and I felt sorry for her.
When Daisy came home from work she set the table for their meal. They kept their food down in the cellar. I heard her shout at poor Emmie because she had taken a tomato from the cellar. I found out later how she treated her poor sister.
They kept chickens, and I am terrified of anything with feathers. I was shocked to see the chickens running all over the kitchen. They would perch on the mantle-shelf, the chairs, and worst of all, on the table! Every time I wanted to leave the cottage, I had to pass these chickens. One day when I was leaving the cottage to go to Whitehill, I shooed them all out with my handbag. Daisy asked me what the problem was, and told me off for frightening her chickens. I told her I was scared of feathers and that it was not hygienic to have 'filthy birds' in the house. She replied that her birds were not filthy, but from that time on she kept them out of the kitchen.
I joined the midweek services at The Iron Room with Pat's Mum. I enjoyed going there. The members were all very friendly. Emmie was a member too, and sat near to me. Although she was blind, she knew all the hymns. As time went by Emmie told me how mean and nasty Daisy was to her, although by this time I had heard and seen for myself.
One day, I decided I really wanted a proper bath. I asked Daisy if I could have one, and she said I would have to fill the copper boiler with water from the river and use our own fuel to heat it. I had to bring a big tin bath inside the scullery and fill it from the boiler. I was told that afterwards I must be sure to empty the water onto our own waste heap not hers!
Soon after this, she stopped me when I was about to hang my washing on the line. She said she would give me my own line at the back of the cottage as she did not wish people to see knickers and men's underwear on her line - as this was visible from the road.
There were some very nice people living in Hollywater, who I met and spoke to quite often. I remember Venus Cooper and her sister. Her sister was badly disfigures on the side of her face, so she always wore a headscarf to conceal it.
When passing through the kitchen one day, I saw Daisy with a book in which she was writing something down. She tried to close it quickly so that I could not see it. I apologised for disturbing her, but she said it was alright, and she was just entering some dates.
When I got back, Emmie was sitting near the table holding Daisy's book. She asked me what it was, and I said it contained a lot of girls names, the dates of weddings and the dates of the birth of children. It turned out that it was so she could tell whether the date of the babies' births were long enough after the weddings! She was certainly a very strange person.
There were a lot of gypsies on the common land at Hollywater. I would pass them when going to Whitehill, and although they were not very clean in their appearance I do not think there was much harm in them. Most were quite polite.
We decided to go home to my Mother's for our first Christmas, as the thought of the home comforts were very appealing. I was looking forward to having a nice long soak in the bath, and having electricity and flush toilets! We had a wonderful time, but when we got back to Hollywater, Daisy was waiting to tell us that we had been burgled. This was a horrible shock, as our rooms were in a terrible mess, and our wedding presents were all scattered everywhere. The police came back the next day and told us they thought gypsies were responsible, but that they could not prove it.
Before very long I found I was pregnant. Pat was thrilled, but the thought of having a baby in the cottage horrified me. We tried putting our names on the housing list at Alton and Farnborough, but were told that many people were living in worse conditions than us.
My Mother wanted to come and stay with us just before the birth, but I did not want her to see how we were living. I kept making excuses to keep her away, but she was determined. Daisy said it would be alright for her to stay, so I had to give in, and two weeks before the baby was due she arrived. When she got to Hollywater she could not believe we were living in such a remote place, but I thought to myself wait until you see "Riverside". We got to the crossroads and I told her to follow me. We walked down the lane first of all, then reached the gate to the field the cottage was in. I thought she was going to run off. She said, "You are joking, aren't you Myra?" and I said, no this is where we are living and we have to make the best of it. I said it was alright because the people around were friendly. I warned her not to say anything to the Fishers when we went inside, as we would still be living there after she returned home. She told me that she had no idea of the life we were living-she thought it seemed like living in a cave.
My Mother settled down, and eventually my daughter was born and we called her Glenys. When I took her home, Daisy made a fuss of her, but it didn't stop her telling me that I could not wheel the pram through her kitchen as she did not want tyre marks on her lino.
Eventually, when Glenys was seven weeks old, Pat came home one night and told me he had found a flat in Farnborough. It had gas, electricity and running water! It was to cost £2.12.6 per week more expensive than the £1.10s. a week we were paying Daisy, but I didn't need much persuasion to take it, even if it seemed a lot of money, so take it we did!
And so Myra moved away from Hollywater in the summer of 1950, and soon after that, in February 1951, back to Wales when her brother got a cottage for her and Pat in Aberdulais, 'next to the Falls'. She still lives in Wales, with her second husband Les, and has fond memories of the people and places around Headley.
Edna Madeleine Morgan (née Hall)
Edna Madeleine Hall was born at 'Rooks Cottage' on the Churt Road and lived at 'Moor House Farm' (known at that time as 'Stream Farm') from 1923 until 1935.
John Azor Hall, my grandfather, had always rented farms but, although in 1923 he was only fifty-seven years old, he did not enjoy good health and was reliant on his three sons to cope with the heavy work of running the farm. His eldest son had remained at home during the First World War but his two younger sons had served with the forces. With two unmarried daughters still living at home and three married sons, each with one child, he needed a larger acreage for them all to get a reasonable living.
One property for sale in the area was just perfect for his requirements. It
consisted of one hundred and thirty acres of arable land and water meadows -
a fair stretch of the River Wey winding its way through lush grassland. There
were cowsheds, stables and pigsties, a granary on staddle stones and various
The housing was even more ideal - one house and three adjoining cottages. He acquired a mortgage, and in September 1923 the family moved in. The farm was to have been a new beginning - but sadly, his illness worsened and in the following January he died.
During the 1920s and early 30s, making a living was difficult for people in all walks of life, and the farming community suffered considerably, often having to sell crops and livestock at a loss - no such luxuries as guaranteed prices and Government grants. However for we three children growing up in such idyllic surroundings life was fun and full of adventure.
My widowed grandmother continued to live in the 17th century parlour wing, which was always referred to by the family as 'Top End'. All the farm business was conducted by the three sons, Azor, Sidney and Stanley, in the kitchen where a huge roll-topped desk contained all the ledgers, invoices, receipts, etc.
The house was at that time divided into four - next to 'Top End' were three cottages, each with five rooms and a larder, occupied by the three brothers in order of their birth. The rooms at 'Top End' were larger and it had a front door which was never used. Mrs Hall senior worked and lived in the kitchen; the large back room was used only rarely, for family gatherings such as Harvest Suppers.
In those days all the water had to be drawn from a well [as it still is today, but now by electric pump!] and carried to the houses in buckets. The well was situated in the rick-yard outside the garden hedge. All the families had a woodshed halfway up the garden, and behind the woodsheds, discreetly screened by hedges, were the toilets. The 'bogs', as they were commonly known, were just buckets with a seat on top, housed in dark cobwebby shacks; and the door of ours never seemed to shut properly.
The General Strike of 1926 was a great talking point, but did not affect the family much as we always had home-grown vegetables available, and milk, eggs and poultry were plentiful, along with an abundance of rabbits.
During harvest time, anyone with a shotgun was welcome to shoot the rabbits both for sport and food. One particular occasion I remember well - a hundred and nine rabbits were shot from a ten acre field of oats. We carried them home on poles, and after everyone had taken all they could cope with, the remainder were sold to the local butcher for the handsome sum of fivepence each.
One uncle made 'bullets' from molten metal for his catapult - and many a pheasant dinner resulted from his accuracy! A keen fisherman, this uncle taught the children to fish with home-made fishing rods. They would catch roach, perch or occasionally a small trout. Freshwater crayfish were caught on wire mesh frames and, cooked alive like lobsters, they made a tasty meal.
Coal was usually used for the kitchen ranges as it gave a more constant heat, but during the strike wood was used instead, and that spring the mothers and children gathered wood for extra fuel.
The venue for 'wooding' was usually the Alder Bed. It was approached through the Little Meadow, a lovely tranquil place surrounded by trees and full of clover. Under one tree was a small dewpond and large green frogs could often be seen hopping about. The Alder Bed was wet and boggy, full of anemones, primroses and kingcups. In one place there was a spring where ice cold water bubbled out of clear sand and formed a small stream which wound its way down to the river. Part of the Alder Bed was considered too dangerous to set foot on - Delsey Hall (my aunt) remembered her parents telling her that a horse and cart had once disappeared in the bog - but the area was not fenced off.
At that time there was no electricity, and subsequently there were no milking machines. The cows were milked by hand and, when it was dark, hurricane lamps were hung in strategic places. In the dairy the milk was strained, cooled and strained again into the churns. The sterilising of the dairy was women's work, and my grandmother churned the butter.
The milk was delivered to nearby village houses by ancient vehicles - I remember and old De Dion with a dickey seat being used - the milk being served from the churns in half-pint, pint and quart measures into the customers' jugs. My uncle Stan Hall had gained mechanical knowledge whilst serving with the Flying Corps during the First World War, and he kept the vehicles in working order.
Azor, the eldest son, ploughed the land using two of the three carthorses kept on the farm. A horse was also used to pull a horse hoe between the rows of turnips, swedes and mangolds. A colt was hitched to a cart which had seats, and the family would ride to the village or the more distant fields. My mother would take the grain by horse and cart to Headley Mill to be ground. Pigs were kept, and if cash was needed, they were the first animals to be sold off.
My maternal grandfather started a chicken enterprise in a field named 'Three Corners'. This field was only accessible through the 'Dipping Tank', which is an area up Smithfield Lane where at one time hop poles were dipped in hot tar to preserve them.
During the winter months there was always hedge trimming to be done, a laborious, time-consuming job; faggots to be cut and sold to the local baker for his bread oven; and, of course, endless 'ditching'. The water meadows were full of ditches and they had to be kept clean to avoid flooding. There was a weir on the river, but it was never used for flooding the meadows - natural floods were fairly frequent and to see the meadows turned to a huge lake was quite a sight. The houses and farm buildings were never in any danger as they were situated on higher ground.
Haymaking was much more enjoyable. The cut grass was turned, dried and raked into rows with the horse rake, then heaped into 'cocks' and taken by wagon to the rickyard and built into haystacks. The field perimeters were cut with a scythe and the sheaves were tied by hand. All available hands were expected to help stand the sheaves of corn into 'shocks' or 'stooks'. Harvest picnics were enjoyed by all in the hayfields. Later, the hayricks were skilfully thatched with straw by my father. How easy it is today to use a baling machine and cover with plastic sheeting.
In the autumn when the corn was dry, the threshing machine arrived. It was
pulled by a steam engine along with a gypsy caravan - the two men who came with
the machine lived in the caravan while the work was carried out. The grain was
stored in the granary which was raised on staddle stones, supposedly to stop
vermin getting to the grain, but somehow the rodents still managed to get in.
Some years the grain would remain in the granary for months - either there was no market for it at the time or the price was so awful it wasn't worth selling.
The farm was situated two and half miles from each of the three surrounding villages, Headley, Churt and Frensham. When my cousins and I started school, in Churt, our mothers walked with us the two and half miles on our first day, but after that we made our own way there and back. As there were no school meals, some children took sandwiches but I went to my maternal grandmother's house near the school for lunch. My grandmother was an intelligent woman who read the papers and liked to discuss politics. She kept up with the latest news listening to radio broadcasts through earphones on her crystal set.
One summer an epidemic of diphtheria caused the death of several children in the district, so we three Hall children were kept off school and confined to the farm, since if one of us contracted the disease the retail milk round could have been affected.
The farming brothers rarely took a day off - they worked seven days a week, year in, year out. Our only visit to the seaside as children was the annual school outing to Bognor. Silent films were shown in the village hall near the school, and the cost of a ticket was minimal so occasionally we were permitted to go - a lady played music on the piano during the film, the more exciting the film, the faster the music was played. Mainly, we children entertained ourselves, playing on fallen trees or scrumping apples and plums from Grandmother's trees. On the 5th November a large bonfire was lit and neighbours would bring fireworks. The guy was made from old sacks.
Once a year the otter hounds would hunt the length of the river and the family would follow the hounds. There were large numbers of otters which were hunted to preserve the fish in the river. We never saw one caught, but I remember father shooting two one evening with a single cartridge. Such a killing nowadays would be considered a crime, the otter being a protected species.
A time came when the brothers held frequent evening meetings in 'Top End' -
due to a serious cash crisis the retail milk round had to be sold. In future
the milk would be taken in churns direct to the dairy which had purchased the
round. Heavy tithe duties were no doubt due - a considerable sum had to be paid
annually to the local Rector. I remember father telling me that in his grandfather's
day, the Rectors had their own wagons and men to physically collect every tenth
'stook' in the cornfields, and store them in the tithe barns at their rectories.
Farmhands would make sure every tenth 'stook' was a small one - and many a fight
broke out if the Rector's wagons came into the field and went in the opposite
direction to the 'arranged' route!
The farm had to be sold as the mortgage payments could not be met. Since the purchaser did not require the farm for his own use immediately, the brothers became tenant farmers for a while. However, after two years the owner decided to sell up, and in those days tenant farmers were not protected so notice to quit was given.
Our twelve years at the farm had meant hardship and misery to our fathers, and none of them were sorry to leave for 'pastures new', but to us children it was a terrible wrench. We walked the length of the river, and visited all our favourite haunts, taking our last sips of water from the ice cold spring in the Alder Bed, knowing we were going to miss it all. From our point of view, the beauty of the place had outweighed all its disadvantages and inconveniences.
It really started in 1952. I saw two or three farms before I came across Lower House Farm (as Mellow Farm was then called), which I think was in February. I wanted to be a dairy farmer; I had to be a dairy farmer because you got paid for your milk every month and I needed the income. At that time, all the farms around here had dairy herds. They weren't big; about 25 cows each. They all had them.
I came here when snow was on the ground and the house and the valley, which were very isolated or seemed to me to be so, looked perfect. We were welcomed by a Mr Sparey who was, had been, the batman for Brigadier Evans who lived at Wishanger. I suppose it just goes to show how life has changed, because Matthew Sparey had been with Brigadier Evans throughout the First World War in the trenches. They had been through hell together and had a great affection for each other, but although he had put water on for the cows he had not connected this house because he didn't think his erstwhile batman needed mains water; there was just the well and he recommended that if I ever wanted to make tea, the best water for that came from the river.
I bought it at auction at the Bush Hotel - Lower House Farm itself, 125 acres, the farm house and Huntingford Cottage for £11,250. I was signing the contract, and I hadn't actually signed when Brigadier Evans came up to me and said, "I hope you keep your ragwort down" - then someone else said, "£11,250! You'll never make a profit if you pay that much money".
Anyway, I bought it, and I set about the tremendous job of getting it running as an independent farm, separate from the Wishanger estate. There were commercial travellers in those days, who came - I suppose we must have had four or five a week - and, apart from the post and papers which were delivered every day, we had the laundry who came once a week; the Walls' ice cream man who came on Wednesdays at lunch time; a grocer, Kingham's of Farnham, who came on Monday to collect the order which would be delivered on Thursday. We also had a butcher who came, so we were well supplied.
The first thing to do was to get water in the house, which we did quite simply, and then to put in a bath, a loo, a Raeburn and a generator to provide electricity to milk the cows that we hoped eventually to buy. We applied for a grant, and in those days it was under the Alton District Council. The young man came and said, "Yes, you can get a grant to put in a bathroom and a lavatory, but I can't give it to you because this house is mainly made of wood and I have to sign a certificate to say that the house will still be standing in ten years time - and I can't do that; it's too old."
So I didn't get my grant, but I put it all to rights and then I employed a Mr Morgan, his wife and son, who was then about 7, and they lived in the house. Mr Morgan had been a policeman in London before going onto an agricultural school, and he and I first got rid of many of the poachers that were around, and then got round to cleaning up. This farm had been a dairy farm, but many of the cows had had tuberculosis and so everything had to be scrubbed and cleaned and painted and made ready for the herd.
At the same time, of course, we had a problem with Huntingford Cottage. The roof had fallen in and there was bracken growing in the sitting room. There was no water, no electricity of course, no bathroom, no loo and no cooking facilities; there was a ladder which went up from what had been the kitchen to the bedrooms. In those days we were only allowed to spend £250, and for that money I had the whole house re-roofed, bathroom put in, facilities for cooking, the fireplace built so it could be used, many of the walls plastered because the damp had got in, a new back door, the water connected and many other things - and I think I spent £275 to do all that and got into trouble for overspending the allowance.
Then Bill Grover came along wanting a job. I think he was recommended by his brother, another Mr Grover, who was the lengthsman. In 1952 there was a lengthsman who used to look after the road between the New Inn and the Frensham Pond Hotel. His job was the keep the drains beside the road open, and cut back various bits of hedge that might be growing over the road; he was also responsible for dealing with all the nests of wasps which might have bitten horses that were passing, and to cut back weeds beside the road. He would cut the weeds down once they had flowered and set seed so he was a very useful person to have around.
Anyway, Bill Grover came to me and he was about 76 then. He was retired and could only work for two days, otherwise it affected his old-age pension. He and I used to do a lot of work together, including hoeing kale and the sugar beet by hand. We had about 12 acres of that and it took quite a long time for the two of us to do it. I used to work like stink, but I could never keep up with old Bill Grover who used to get about 5 yards ahead, pause, light his pipe and then we'd talk about his life in which he had never been further than about 3 miles from here.
He'd worked on Headley Wood estate for all his life and the only time he ever left it was when they called him up and made him a stoker on a battleship at Scarpa Flow. He went to the Battle of Jutland. I asked him about the battle and he said he didn't know anything about it, apart from that he had to shovel faster! He came back from that and they decided that his place was on the land, so he came home again and I said, "Well Bill, you must have been to London, what did you think of that?" He replied, "I didn't think much of it. When I arrived at the station I took a taxi to Waterloo and came straight back."
He went to Farnham quite a bit because he and his wife used to walk the six miles there to whist drives. They would enjoy the whist drive and then walk back. He also told me, among many other things, how he saw his first motor car at the New Inn - and that the horse with a cart which he had loaded with coal was so terrified that it went into the ditch. He also reminded me of parties that were held after the First World War to welcome everyone home. Headley Park had its party under a cedar tree which stood in front of the house, and all the workers were there, but the people who lived in the house held posher parties down near a spring that used to be close to the river by Bayfields Farm. He also worked on altering the road by Headley Park for which a special Act of Parliament was passed. You can still see where road started to be dug into the bank, but it all came to an end on August 4th, 1914.
Eventually, we got the place cleaned up and I bought a couple of short-horn cows. You don't see short-horns about now, but in those days they were much prized because they give both milk and meat. The first two cows weren't very much; I didn't have a great deal of money and so the first year we had a very mixed farm. We had oats, barley and a few pigs and some potatoes. The potatoes, of course, needed picking. We had a machine that spun them out of the ground and then people bent and picked them up and put them into sacks. To do that, I went to a family who lived on Arford Common and had to be interviewed by the grandmother. She asked me what I was going to pay and when I expected them to turn up and how long they would have for lunch. It was a good, long interview, and at the end she said her family would come. She was immobile herself, but the family came and we dug up all the potatoes and sold them.
The oats and barley were put into stacks and eventually the threshing machine came. There was only one threshing machine in the parish. In fact it went and did many parishes; Lynchmere and the other side of Liphook. It was owned by the Powell family. Since I was on my own I wasn't really expected to provide food for everyone. They all brought sandwiches, but it was quite a party because there was Mr Morgan, myself and about three people with the machine, and a terrier dog to pick up the rats - about seven of us in the end with this great big machine. I either had to sell the corn, or store it - I didn't have enough buildings, but I filled up the dining room with barley and it remained there until I got married some years later!
As for the pigs - well, there was Doris who was a sow and there were some to be fattened up. One became ill, and when I went down to do the milking one day, I found it had been slaughtered, butchered and hidden - ready for, as I since discovered, Mr Morgan to take to London. Well, he agreed that this wasn't quite on, and so he left. We have kept in touch ever since.
To take Mr Morgan's place, I had a herdsman who lived in Huntingford Cottage and I took on two land girls. One was called Angela and the other Marilyn. Marilyn was tremendous; she had been brought up in Burma and walked about in bare feet and very little else. She was quite a stunner and people used to come, really, just to see her. We used to have, on a regular basis, the OCTU from Aldershot, and one would find them in their army vehicles, parked in the yard. If they saw me they just asked the time, but if they saw Marilyn they passed the time!
Angela and Marilyn both got married. Marilyn also helped me with the hens, because to get income, we decided to keep hens both for eggs (layers) and to have capons which we would sell. I used to pluck them, she used to dress them and then I would sell them. One of the nice things about delivering the capons was when I delivered to the butler at the back door of a big house near here in the morning, and returned in the evening in my dinner jacket - in the morning he greeted me as David, but in the evening when he was also dressed up, he would greet me as Mr Hadfield!
Eventually I was made a JP, and shortly after that we had a tremendous fire here. It was arson; someone was seen on a motorbike in the yard before it went up. It was in September and all the harvest and silage had been gathered in. It burnt for 3 weeks and we had fire engines from as far away as Basingstoke, Aldershot, Farnham, Grayshott and maybe one or two other places. They changed over every three hours and used our kitchen as their mess room. It was quite an experience and a very costly one. We were insured, but of course we had to buy fresh in, in the winter, in very small quantities because we had no storage.
Then I got ill and had to go to hospital, but the farm was run very well by those left behind because one of the things I had organised right from the start of farming was that we had, and still have 50 years later, coffee at 10 o'clock where we look at the post and discuss what we need on the farm and the costs and where things come from - so everything went on as before.
It did, however, make me think about the future of small farms and I hatched a plan with three of my neighbours to form a co-operative which became known as Headley Farms. There was Tommy Whittaker, with a specialised pig unit with a lot of very poor land; there was me in the middle with my dairy herd; there was Sefton Myers at Headley Wood, also with light land; and there was Dick Barnsdale with his really good fattening land, next door to me in Dockenfield.
We hatched this plan so that the pig unit would stand alone but use the barley that we grew, and I and Sefton Myers, with our dairy herds, would provide enough animals for Dick Barnsdale to fatten on his really good fattening land and over-winter them on the poor land that Tommy Whittaker had at the Land of Nod. It was an ambitious scheme and it took a lot of legal advice. We even thought what would happen if one of us died because of Inheritance Tax. Anyway, it lasted for about three years and cut our costs very considerably and our output increased, but what we hadn't thought of was what happened if two of us died - and that is exactly what happened, so unfortunately it came to an end.
We built up the herd to 25 cows, but when we got to 25 we discovered that to make any money you had to have 40 - and when we built up to 40 we found we had to have 75 - so we got to 75, and then changed the breed from dairy short-horns to the Friesians which are now all over the country. Eventually, we got to 102 cows and my herdsman of 28 years, Fred, had reached the age of 67 and decided it was about time he retired.
Quotas then came in, and we would have had to get rid of many of our cows which would have made the thing unprofitable. So Fred retired, and I had done 37 years of getting up at 5.15 every morning, seven days a week, so probably I was tired as well - so the cows went. Then we had to think of diversification; what to do with the farm. When I came here I promised myself that I would never take out a hedge; that I would allow myself one building; that I would have electricity; and I would have one wife - and I did not specify to myself the order in which those came in. In fact my wife came before the electricity and we had just paraffin lamps, so she used to come down to the cow shed and beg me to get on with the milking so that she could cook the supper in the evening.
But when I was living alone here with paraffin lamps, I was something unusual. There were not many bachelor farmers living in such chaos, and frequently people would come on the way back from a party to show me off as this unfortunate individual. Frequently I was in bed, and would have to get up - and quite well-known people from abroad and all over the place would be shown this house with its paraffin lamps.
On one occasion I surprised some soldiers behind the barn, who were busy attacking or going to attack Bordon, or had got lost. It was a very cold night; I invited them in, and after a drink we loaded up the car with as many soldiers as we could get in (which was a quite a lot - it was truck actually) and all their weapons, and I took them to The Cricketers and told them that if they followed the electric cable they would find their way to Bordon - the electric cable being in the air, they could of course see it against the sky. What I didn't know was the enemy headquarters was also in The Cricketers and a Brigadier came out and lambasted me for not playing the game; it was against the rules.
We had quite a lot of trouble with poachers. You don't get them in quite the same way now. Poachers in those days were … well they probably needed the money. I can remember being rung up once by the butcher in Headley who said, could I provide him with a brace of pheasants urgently - and as I couldn't, he said he would have to ask this chap who also lived in Headley, who no doubt supplied him promptly. He was rather a nice man, this poacher, and one night he came to the house at about 2 o'clock in the morning and said he happened to be passing and was walking across the field - not poaching, you understand - and he came across one of the cows who was calving and badly needed attention, and so I got up and we both calved down this cow together.
On another occasion we had a lot of people poaching the fish. I let the fishing, and I had been asked to prosecute the next lot of people I found, so I got a policeman and we went into the field where there were four people poaching. The policeman knew the men well, and they were fairly violent - two ran off and he chased them, and I was left with another person, and I put my arm round him and lifted him off his feet slightly so he couldn't attack me, until the policeman came back. Later, much later, after the case had been tried, I met this man who eventually accused me of cracking his ribs - I met him in a queue in the local hardware store, and he was very friendly and said that he had had an awful lot of trouble with poachers himself recently; boys were trying to shoot his fish with an air rifle and he took exception to it.
In the days when we started, there was certainly a two-tier system. Brigadier Evans was always very friendly towards me. When he died his wife, who had been married before (her first husband was killed in the First World War and she had been a Gaiety Girl), invited us to tea at Wishanger. It was rather a polite tea and she said how she missed the olden days, the Edwardian days, because nowadays there was no-one in the locality to meet whereas when she came there were the Coombes who lived at Pierrepont, someone else at Frensham Heights and someone at Edgeborough, which is now a school, and so there were four of them who could meet and go to the races - but nowadays there was nobody. That's completely changed. Also what has changed is the fact that when I came here, to be a farmer was quite an honourable profession and there were many farmers in Headley - and now I can only think of four, and one is certainly at the bottom of the social pile. What the future is, I do not know. We are only allowed four beef animals and we have passports for each of them, and we have to remember their birthdays to alter the passport from one kind to another, and because we've kept the farm really as it was 50 years ago, the water company has taken advantage of that and we now have five bore-holes on the farm pumping out vast quantities of water for the public water supply.
Once I went with the Farnham branch of the NFU (it no longer exits because there aren't enough farmers) to see a Rex Patterson who farmed near Newbury. He was a very go-ahead farmer; he invented the buck rake, amongst other things, and he was telling us that he farmed his quite large farm for three years without paying any rent and without knowing who owned it. Nobody knew who owned it; everyone had forgotten who owned it in the late 1930s and it had just gone back to rabbits and scrub. He got rid of the rabbits and he got rid of the scrub and he set himself up as a dairy owner before the real owner came along and asked what was he doing there.
As I go round the countryside these days, I can see small fields being given up and it won't be long before bigger fields are given up as well, and maybe farming will be concentrated in those counties that have large fields and can take a combine harvester, because the days of mixed farming that I started with have definitely come to an end. One couldn't get the machinery into the fields and one would be producing in too small a quantity. Anyway, it's 50 years that I've been here now, which must be a record for this farm because people died much younger in olden days.
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