Reminiscences of Old Hurst by Sam Bullock

Reproduced by king permission of Mr John Phillips, grandson of Sam Bullock, and the Twyford and Ruscombe Local History Society


Hurst - A Brief Picture
The Bullock Family
Rabbit Coursing
George Nicholls' Swing Boat
Some Other Hurst Characters
The Prize-fight
The Church
Transportation and Romance
The Road to Twyford
Dr Taylor
The Postman's Day
The Willow Rod Industry
Tape Lane
Blacksmiths (1)
The Almshouses
Blacksmiths (2)
The "Castle Inn" - Allotments
School Road
Broadwater Lane (The High St) (1)
Hinton Road, Poplar Lane and Hogmoor Lane.
Broadwater Lane (2).
Whistley Green
Lodge Road - Hurst Grove
Davis Street - Reading Road
Davis Street - Dunt Lane
Four Big Houses
Recreations; The Choir
Mr Broome
Farming Practices
Alfred White's Story
Parliamentary Elections
W Walters (Postman); the Spike Gates
"Old Pope"
Penerley Lodge - the Dames' School
Fun in the Pub
Twyford Characters: Waltham
"At the Church House, Hurst"  "St Cecilia's Day", 1833.


Samuel Henry Bullock (never called anything but "Sam") lived in Hurst all his life. He was born in Whistley Green, where his father kept the "Halfway House", in 1876 and was one of the village bakers from 1908 to 1950. The story of his life was featured in the Society's Journal for Spring, 1985.

Sam's two great loves were cricket and Hurst and he left his daughter a huge collection of press cuttings, reminiscences, historical notes and photographs including dozens of simple but graphic poems about important events, mostly written when they occurred. His chef d'oeuvre was a carefully handwritten account of the village and the people he knew during his early years. He always hoped that this would one day be published and we are very grateful to his grandson, John Phillips, for permission to realise this ambition.

Although he was disparaging about his scholarship he wrote in a clear, lively and amusing style. We have made very few changes, chiefly downgrading capital initials in the middle of sentences. Like Yeatman and Sellars in "1066 and All That" he used this device to underscore the importance of particular items. Inverted commas have been put in where they help to clarify the text -e.g. to distinguish the names of public houses; and we have added a few footnotes with points from our own researches.

The final draft was written in 1938 and it is therefore that period to which Sam was referring when he wrote "now" or "at present".

The first ten pages deal with his family and home, a short description of Hurst as it was in his youth and some important events in his earliest years. Thereafter he takes us on a tour of the village, pointing out the interesting houses and people he remembers.

Having lived for more than a third of a century in "Alma Cottage", where Sam started his career as a village baker (see front cover), and having known him for about ten years, we have always felt a special affinity for him and "Aunty Sam". I have greatly enjoyed identifying nearly all the houses and locations he mentions (126 in all), with the help of numerous old and new friends in the village; and I shall continue to work on Sam's fascinating collection of English social history. We hope you will enjoy this first dip into his bequest.

I would like to renew my thanks to Mr John Phillips for letting me have continued access to his Grandfather's papers and photographs. ...

Frank Lacey
July 1986

Samuel Henry ('Sam') in his Boar War uniform

Sam Bullocks' Story


There have been several excellent books written on the Parish of Hurst, Berkshire; one some years ago by the Rev. Archibald A. Cameron of Hurst House, vicar here from 1833 to 1880, the second by the Rev. J.C.F.Wimberley, vicar here from 1919 to 1936.  Everyone with any love for the old village is most grateful to them both for it must have taken them hours and hours to compile, looking up old records in different books, dates etc., and it has given us knowledge of our old home which otherwise we never should have known.

For many years I have remarked what a pity nothing has been written about the actual village life of the lesser men and women, for I find little about them in either book, with the exception of names in the Births and Deaths Register. Otherwise these accounts are mostly of kings, celebrated people and where they dwelt.

I am a fairly old resident of Hurst, born on February 28th 1876 and living here all my life (with the exception of serving in the Boer War from 1899 to 1902). I am not a scholar (as you will soon find out) but I would like to try to record some of the things that have taken place, having no particular dates or records to go by, but giving only that which I honestly believe to be true, and trying to be careful not to cause any offence or pain to anyone that should happen to read it.

Hurst - A Brief Picture.

To those who don't know, Hurst is situated between Twyford, we will say to the north, Reading west, Wokingham south and Waltham St Lawrence east, and was originally a part of Windsor Forest before the Enclosure Act of 1812. I have been told that after getting over the River Loddon at Loddon Bridge you could walk to Windsor with nothing to stop you but watercourse ditches. Well, when I can first remember, we had roads but not as good as even the very small lanes are today. No motor cars or bicycles with pneumatic tyres. A few bikes had a very high front wheel and a very small back wheel (which I could never ride). Aeroplanes had not been thought of. Farms in those days had very little meadow land, they were largely arable. Most farmers had a flock of sheep and a shepherd. I knew five shepherds -"Sheps" Laney, Blackall, Wilson, Breadmore and Goodson. Imagine, on a Sunday evening, shadows falling, all still. hardly a horse or cart on the road when all around you could hear the sheep bells tinkle-tinkle, perhaps a dozen different tones. That always sticks in my memory. Of course there were trains on the GWR and the Southern but they were the only loud noises we had.

The Bullock Family.

My home was the "Halfway House" public house', my father, George Bullock. being landlord for 50 years (the longest in the Berkshire records) and village baker for much of that time. In my early days, and some years before, the times were none too good for the labouring men. One. J Green, who had thirteen children, told me his wages were only 8/- a week (he helped to build the Southern Railway) and many a time his food for the day had been a swede out of the heap in a field. But he was a strong man and so were his children - one, over 70 years of age, is living today in the Almshouses. My father's brother used to tease me by saying that the first time he came to Burst he had never seen so many ragged people in his life. Well poor, ragged or not. they used to have a very good time in their own way.

Now, if I may, I would like to go back to the "Halfway House". There were eight children, myself being the youngest. (Five girls and three boys - Ted, Fred and Sam). My mother dying when I was four years old. my eldest sister. Eliza, about eighteen, was housekeeper. My father was a big man six feet tall and always weighing seventeen to eighteen stone and, as it says in the Bible, "a Man of Great Strength". A very lovable disposition, if you behaved yourself but also very strict - if you misbehaved you had to keep out of his reach. When we sat at meals, as I was the youngest he wouldn't allow me to speak. He would say, "I can do all the talking, you keep thee mouth shut". Only told me once - if I again transgressed he would take off his big leather slipper and, being a wonderful good cricketer, his aim was pretty accurate. If I didn't speak I could sit in the taproom with the men on a  little stool. If I chimed in, he would call out "Liza put this chap to bed!" My sister used to say that once, when I was very small, I wouldn't have my breakfast until I had had some beer, which worried her, also my father. He would say, "Let him have some beer by all means, that won't hurt him, but not too much" .Then he suggested giving me some out of the tap-tubs, which were halves of small wooden barrels to catch the drippings. These were always covered with a lot of white scum. So she did. I swallowed it, but wouldn't touch beer again until I had left school. He was a baker - publican and always had several meadows, two horses, a cow and a dozen pigs, chickens, geese etc. He would kill pigs on his baker's round for anyone, ringing pigs or anything else connected with them. For years he would bake his bread very early in the morning then walk to Twyford and kill ten or twelve pigs for Mr Stone, the baker - grocer in the High Street of Twyford, then back to deliver his bread. In those days we only used to bake three times a week and none of the loaves weighed less than 4lb (some 8Ib). But I can remember also when we only used to make three 2lb loaves a day. I must say, and lots of people that knew him have asked me to say, that he was one of the best liked and known men for miles around. The gentry all called him "Old Bullock" and to most of his intimates it was "neighbour" or "Master". Hardly ever called George. He played cricket for the South of England v the North at Calcot Park. He also took five wickets with five balls -you can find that in Wisden's Cricket Book, and his old bedroom had cricket bats hung all round the walls which he had had presented to him. He was a very fine shot at skittles. He could beat all comers, and anyone ordinary he could beat them by throwing the ball (which was like a cheese) out of a shovel or off a four-prong graip [three pronged fork].

Rabbit Coursing.

Round about 1883-4 we used to have rabbit coursing in the park belonging to Lea Farm opposite the nurseries. The rabbits used to arrive by train in crates overnight and were kept in the "Halfway" shed. Then the next day the coursing was held with terrier dogs that I can remember weighing no mare than 161b. H Gater, a young man then, {whose father was foreman for Mr Robert Piggott at Whistley Court Farm) was the "slipper". Myself and a boy of my age, W Ming, (whose father was in the stables at Haineshill) had to run about the pack to pick up the rabbits after the dogs had caught them. Hundreds of people used to come from Reading and other places round about. H Gater afterwards became a good cricketer through my  father's coaching. He had one season at Lords then a year or so in Staffordshire. From there he went to the Staff College, Camberley and for years was the runner for the Drag Hunt and was a very popular man with the officers. In those days the Cotterell brothers from Ruscombe Mr Melloy ("King's Arms" , Twyford); L Davis, miller, Twyford; C Barnett, miller, Medmenham; V Dyke, schoolmaster, Littlewick; Dr Watson, Wargrave; Fred Stallworthy, later bailiff to Mr John Hargres, Maiden Erleigh; Samuel Nicholls; Jim Chapman (Alfred Chapman's father and also Mrs Frasker's) used to play cricket for Hurst and they would often meet and stop the evening with "Old Bullock".

George Nicholls' Swing Boat.

Please forgive me if I have said too much about the Bullocks. There were others here as well, One, George Nicholls, (no relation to Samuel Nicholls, brewer, who I will refer to later) was quite a character. He used to have a pony and cart and was very useful with ironwork or carpentry. When he was a bit rattled he always had his square bowler hat cocked a bit on one side, but that is not all. On Whit Mondays The Royal Order of Foresters' Benevolent Club used to hold their meeting at the "Castle Inn" (commonly called the "Church House"), when the members used to parade round the Village with a brass band (usually from Henley), the members wearing elaborate sashes which we thought were wonderful, then go back to the "Castle Inn" to lunch when all and everybody used to assemble and dance on the green until, well, I  don't know what time some got home. But what us boys were looking forward to was George Nicholls' Swing Boat. As near as I can describe it was like half a barge which held the best part of twenty children at 1d a ride. He used to fix it up somehow -"Castle Inn" I should think he was the only man in the world that could have done it. Then at each side there would be a rope. I have an idea that they were bell ropes, for they had that woolly stuff where they used to "hold, with one man each side. One's name was Alfy Cane, nicknamed "Badger", wonderful nice chap. Used to love a game of dominoes and used to walk to Caversham and back in a day, when at work, with old Jimmy Wilson, nicknaed "Whiskers" (more anon), and trench all day for 2/6. The other chap that helped to do the pulling was the strongest fellow he could get hold of.

Some Other Hurst Characters.

Then there was another man, Isaac Nicholls, brother to George, with only one leg; didn't live here, came periodically, he was another one we used to watch out for as he sold penny tops and scarves of whipcord. Then there was "Old Warwick" in his donkey cart, with a sack of hazel nuts - a glass horn measureful for a penny. Mr Blea was landlord at the "Castle Inn" in those days for 38 years, another old link with the past. His sons, Bill and Tom, were, as boys, in the Church Choir with me, Tom being one of my particular pals. Down at my house for tea with me on one of my birthdays, we were playing "Hunting". I was fox, he and the others hounds. I went chasing through our big garden (the day before, the w.c. had been emptied into a big hole).

Well, Tom Blea had to go and jump into that. We got him out and I remember my poor sister, Nancy had to wash him and rig him up in some of my clothes (he didn't die). He has recently finished his career on the GWR as Stationmaster and retired. His brother Bill is a retired schoolmaster. Oh, by the way, I am very tired. I have been writing this without a break for four hours and have got into trouble with my wife for tipping the inkpot over onto her best tablecloth. And now I'm getting the cart before the horse. If I don't be careful I shall be telling how many games of darts I won last evening - or the number of the hymns for Sunday.

The Prize-fight.

I should say about twenty years before I was born there pulled into Twyford Station a train full of men from London to stage a prize-fight between Bob Travers and Joe Dillon in the meadow close to the Round House (where old Mrs Horn's father, Shep Wilson lived) now pulled down. They made their ring between the brook and where the road now goes to Twyford, on the left on the top of the hill. Someone ran to tell my father. He got on his old horse and galloped to it up the meadow that is called the Moor (as the road to Twyford had not been made then). He often told me that one of the gang, who was called "The Mouse", rather small, snatched the watch out of the pocket of the shepherd who worked for the late Mr L Cotterell's father. Then Shepherd Goodson done no more but gave him I suppose a straight left in the region of his chest and out from under this Mouse's coat fell a quantity of small cakes he had previously stolen from the "Red House" in Twyford. The shepherd retrieved his watch and his master told him to get back to his work before he lost it again. The fight lasted for 1 hours. The police then arrived and stopped it. They fought with bare fists, stripped to the waist. My mother used to say she could hear the blows three quarters of a mile away.

The Church.

In those days Mr Cameron was Vicar and was a very kind man, though very strict. Lots of boys and girls used to be given a new pair of shoes, trousers etc. (girls dresses). The galleries were in the church in those days and I have been told different stories how boys used to drop marbles on the heads of those below. A man, Dick Fry, (I think they used to call him the "Whipper-in"), dressed in a chocolate suit with red piping, was always on the look-out, so they had to be careful. John Priest told me that himself, H Gater and Alf Durnford (who have all passed away) sat one Sunday behind two young ladies who had their hair in long plaits, with hair ribbons, and these three boys, while the sermon was being preached (which I believe in those days took quite a long while) tied the ribbons to the pews and when the girls went to St Nicholas Church stand up they couldn't. up so well, the result was they had to choose between two things Go to Wokingham and be "summonsed" or let Mr Calleron birch them. They decided to have the hiding.

Transportation and Romance.

Some years previous to this a Hurst man was transported to Australia for stealing an old copper, at least they said he did. On the boat going out he met a young woman, like himself, being transported for stealing some clothes off a line. They became friendly and eventually got married and lived to a good old age, proprietors of a very big hotel in Australia. We ought to be thankful the laws are altered.

The Road to Twyford.

There was not a road from Broadwater to Twyford before 1876 but a footpath and several stiles, with the exception of a mud road up the Moor, the meadow on the left. So to drive to Twyford you had to go round by the "Green Man" via Hinton Corner and Stanlake.

Dr Taylor.

Our doctor lived at Wargrave - Dr Taylor, who used to tell people, "You come to me for advice and go to Old Bullock at the "Halfway" for your Medicines".

The Postman's Day.

One postman in those days, the first I have heard talk of, was a man by the name of Kirk who lived in part of the house opposite the "Castle Inn", and that was where everyone had to post their letters. The old chap would take them to Twyford in the evening, to Mr Brooker, in the London Road, delivering again in the morning. His wages were 15/- a week -Sundays as well, find his own clothes and shoes, but he very seldom bought much food as he was welcome to meals most everywhere.


Well, Twyford, it seems, took charge of the letters, but it was Hurst that had to have the bad men or women, for the police cell was at Hurst - also the Sergeant of the police lived here. The first I have heard spoken of was Sergeant Drewitt, who some years later was shot by a poacher down Kintbury way.

The Willow Rod Industry.

Willow rods were quite an industry then. Most of the low-lying meadows by the Loddon were called Rod Akers' where  men would be working hoeing, or cutting the rubbish between the rows, and occasionally all were dug up, trenched and planted again. Then there was tying them into bolts to be carted home. These bolts, or bundles, would be stood in water until Spring, when dozens of the village women and children would draw each rod through an iron brake' which would drag off the bark, or rind, as it was generally called. A lot or this work used to be done for several weeks at Ward's Cross Farm, also in the end or the "Paddock" Meadow (opposite the Old Lodge entrance). There was also a big shed there which, with the ponds that are there was always stacked full of rods every year. So was the pond opposite the Chapel and one that joined the "Cricketers" garden (filled in when the bypass was made)

A Walk Round Hurst

Tape Lane.

The "Cricketers" was not previously a public house, but private cottages. .In the old house in Tape Lane was one of the oldest schools that I have heard of. From Tape Lane there was a path , leading practically straight through the " Posting House property to the cottage in the meadow in front or the "Green Man" where used to live a baker by the name of Francis Soundy. I understand that where the path went was originally common land and the villagers used it going to the "Green Man" or to the bakers for bread, also to take their Sunday joint to be baked.


There were four bakers in Hurst in those days. Mr F Soundy was also connected with the Poor Law and a great churchman. So was his son, Henry Soundy; and his grandson, William Soundy, was a very fine tenor in the Church choir. Mr Billy Gale was baker at what is now named the "White House". He used to drive an old white pony. He was always very late with his delivery and would sometimes tell his customers, "Sorry, but I got none, Ma'am". Then off we go to Davis Street where lived Mr Billy Why, baker, who was very old when I first remember him. He owned quite a lot of property near there.

Blacksmiths (1)

Now something about the blacksmiths. The Holloways were the smiths in those days at the forge by the "Jolly Farmer" pub. First, Adam Senior, then Adam Junior; very old Hurst family. There followed a Mr Collis, who later went to Twyford to live. In later years it was Mr Alfred White'.

The Almshouses.

Now come along up Church Hill. On the right those wonderful Almshouses where I have collected quite a lot of my information. We must stop here for a bit. I can remember old Billy Eley who used to tell me about "beating the bounds" which meant that one certain day of the year a crowd of Hurst people walked the boundary and some boy or other would be pushed in the ditch so that he should never forget where the boundary was.

Old Mrs Kileham, over 90 years of age, (always wanted a very hard black loaf), would tell me of the happenings at Stratfield Saye when the Duke of Wellington came there, or came home; her father was one of the gardeners there. A Mrs Hawkins, whose husband had been a shipwright in one of the early naval battles, gave me a draught board and counters made from some of his ship's timber. There were also Jos Booth, a noted Haineshill man and Mr Clark, father of W Clark whose sons and grandsons are Hurst residents. Then there was Teddy Marshall who I think was born at Darvell's Farm, whose mother told him she used to go for dripping to Whistley Court Mansion that has been pulled down I've been told over 120 years.

Blacksmiths (2).

Then we will go into the old churchyard and look at the iron tombstone of Thomas Brett, another very clever old Hurst blacksmith who made this himself within six yards of where I am writing this (this property was originally Thomas Brett's "Arbor Vitae"). Alfred Clark, who owned it before me, told me that he used to hold a candle for him in the dark evenings for him to see to make this very noted piece of work. After Mr Brett the Collises were at Arbor Vitae, blacksmiths and wheelwrights. Later George Robinson, who was a famous bass singer in the choir, then Mr Clark were the blacksmiths.

The "Castle Inn" - Allotments

Mr T Blea was living at the "Castle Inn" (more anon) and before him a Mr and Mrs Messenger for 50 years.. Now we must look to the left where Mr Isaac Lewis' lived for years - builder, carpenter, undertaker etc., sexton at the Church and, with Mr Soundy and others, played violin etc. in the Church before there was an organ. The Vicarage is not so very old - we will come to that later. On down the hill - no boys' school and no Working Men's Club (Village Hall). On the left where the allotments are today, stood what was called the Scotch Church. The story went that when the church (St Nicholas) was altered and the galleries were taken away some of the Church people didn't agree over something and built this one. Mr Garth I understand was one, for I never remember seeing him at Hurst Church in my time. He used to go to Waltham St Lawrence, but that's neither here nor there. But the late Mr West, (later head keeper for Mr Garth) told me the church in the allotments had one bell and, as a boy marching from school to St Nicholas Church, with other Sunday school boys, he would generally carry a stone in his pocket to have a shy at the bell and often hit it.

Imagine you can see a quiet old man coming through the lodge gates from Hurst House. That is old Sam Smith, who has worked in the garden for over fifty years - first for Mr Cameron and then Mr Mackey, doing this journey perhaps two or three times a day (his wages about 13/- a week) - now on his way home to his dinner with his old milk-can in his hand, where he will possibly find Mrs Smith at Vine Cottage if she hasn't been called out, for she was in great demand when the arrival of another Hurst Hero was expected. Off would come her bonnet and shawl, she would roll up her sleeves and put on a spotless white apron.

On we go to the brewery on the left (where Dorndon cottages, coach-house etc. now stand) which was kept by Mr Samuel Nicholls, a very prominent man in those days - brewer, farmer, rod merchant, churchwarden, Trustee to Charities etc., a very fine looking man, standing well over six feet; he was born at Hinton House - his father was Dr Nicholls at Hinton Farm. He called at a house for the rent one day. The daughter of the house called up the stairs, "Mother, here's the man for the rent. "Man indeed!", says Mr Nicholls, "Don't you know a gentleman when you see one?". In the brewery we ought to find Mr Fatten the brewer with G Lailey (who afterwards took his job) and Daniel Smith, either washing barrels or putting the old horse in the cart. There he is, talking to Peter Scates, father of the late Simon Scates, who had the pony cart and sold most everything - a pie, was always very prominent. Ellis Scates, now in America, is another son. When Mr Peter Finch lived at Hurst Grove he called, canvassing for the election - walked into the brewery yard and asked for "Old Scates". He was told he was just round the corner. When eventually he found him he says,
"Good morning, Mr Scates". Mr Scates replied, "Here's Old Scates you were looking for". He had heard him.

School Road.

Now we come to the "John Barleycorn" Inn. Old Charlie White was the proprietor. I have been told by old people that before the Townsend Pond was dug for gravel for the roads, that was where Hurst played cricket, being the Village Green. Pond Cottage was two cottages, seventy years or so ago and a kind of little school, but in my time Peter Radburn (keeper) lived in one and G Lailey (brewer) in the other.

Broadwater Lane (The High St) (1).

The little cottage on the corner was where old Mrs Varney lived when I first knew her, then where the Stores are, a Mr Bance and family was the first I heard of, they went from Hurst to Kintbury in 1887. That was also my first recollection of the Post Office'. Then the only house on the right (until you got to the Posting House) was Arbor Vitae where Thomas Brett lived. Of course there were numerous sheds, a paint shop, a wheelwright's yard, forge etc. , and possibly old C Clare (the present C Clare's granddad) was in that carpenter's shop.

Hinton Road, Poplar Lane and Hogmoor Lane.

Now back to Hinton Road. The first house that was along this road is now called Little Grange, where used to live the Rev Jimmy Beauchamp with Miss Fanny, a tiny man who was very keen on the Hurst Cricket Club though he did not play. Then the next where Mr Tegg lives was originally two cottages. Old Mrs Rider lived in one. They were built from the church in the allotments when that was demolished. Mr Soundy's (the baker's) cottages, now in the meadow, were all there was on that side.

Now we have the ancient "Green Man", .one of the oldest public houses in Hurst. It was said that years and years ago when the Kings hunted the deer in the forest (for this was part of Windsor Great Forest), the keeper lunched at the "Green Man" and the noted people used to lunch at Bill Hill House. About fifty years ago a man by the name of Bosher, who worked in the gardens at Bill Hill, was returfing the lawn close to the house when he dug up two Elizabethan tea spoons. One, which he took to the house, Mrs Hodgson, daughter of Mr Leveson-Gower, still has. The other he threw back in the ground as he thought it was no good as it was broken in half. Tommy Binfield, as he was usually called, lived at Hinton Farm at this time. Back through Poplar Lane (or Hogmoor Lane) you came to where Jack Priest lived, father of Frank and Fred etc. who worked for Mr Binfield. Winters were very cold in those days and firing short. This old Mr Priest got up at four o'clock one morning, climbed one of the big elm trees in the field and was sawing away when a voice from below said, "Good morning, Jack, nice morning, I am going to fetch your brother Ted to help load the sheep". It was Mr Binfield. That was all that was said about it. A little farther on is where lived Joseph Garraway (the Haineshill bricklayer for years). Then in the house where the present Joe Garraway lives, years before was a very notorious man. He was called Johnny Broome. He would walk into a public house, drink anyone's beer, and if they said a word he would clout them. The tale goes that when he was in the "John Barleycorn" late one night he declared that if the "Green Man" was closed when he got there he would go home and cut his throat. He kept his word and was found dead in the morning. Next is where old Ted Priest and "Rabbits" lived, Ted Priest was a pig butcher (also worked for Mr Binfield). He used to say he was the only man that had killed a pig without getting any blood on the knife. Master "Rabbits" used to sing a song with 50 verses. This lane is one of the old lanes of the earliest times, formerly cattle tracks, and in my memory more or less an avenue with big elms and oaks on each side. Now on our left were two cottages. Old Mr Mayer lived in one, a tall quiet old man, very fond of his Chapel, often tidying up the little grass front. C King, rough rider for Mr Garth, lived in the other.

On the left, in what is now the Posting House used to live a very fine old man whose name was Jones, a butcher. Had his share of beer but never known to be tight. He had been a good bare-fist man earlier. He would say that a rather ragged man called at his house one day. He told him to clear off or he would put him off, but the man didn't offer to go. So, he said, they fought for an hour before he could manage it. His excuse was that he hadn't noticed what good legs the man had.

On the right is Wards Cross Farm (named after the famous Sir Richard Ward who lived at Hurst House in Archbishop Laud's time) (see Mr Wimberley's book). Now in this old house lived the Clisbys and later W Brown. farmer and rod merchant.

Broadwater Lane (2).

Sharp right or you're in that pond that is not there now but glance back up the road, there is old Bill Clark. the blacksmith. talking to George Robinson and Bert Beaton with old Short Lailey just getting onto the box of his old cab to go to Twyford. If it is 1881 I can remember them saying that he got snowed up on Twyford Hill in deep snow that year. Now off to Benning's Hill' (as old Simon Scates used to call it when he wanted a push up with his old trike some years later). That's Joe Roberts by the gate. Jack Murrell in the next garden. Two men that worked for Mr Garth for many years. then we come to the Beaton's home. I didn't know Mr Beaton. but I did the sons. A well known Hurst family (I think four were soldiers). The Bower, as it is now called, was the home of the Walter family. Charles Walter, senior. was the father of the present Johnny Walter. whose name will never die out. I think he has thirteen children. all sports. Charles Walter, senior. was what some people would call a "Card". He would argue with anyone for the fun of the thing even though he knew he was wrong. and when they wanted to fight. say, "No. we haven't had half an argument yet" .He was a skilled workman. Carpentry was easy to him. He could make you a stock for your gun or mend cricket bats. I still have a dough bin he made for my father before I was born. He and my father would spend hours down by the Loddon at night waiting to shoot ducks. One night they were stood quite still and saw a man who had a big family creep up to the bank of the river with his gun and shoot a swan. He got it out. put it in a sack and off he went with it. but they didn't give him away. Another of C Walter's yarns was that he was shooting round a wheat rick at a crowd of sparrows. Just as he pulled the trigger he gave the gun a bit of a swish and the shots went round the rick and he shot himself in the behind. Next on the left is Buttercups. that's fairly ancient. A Mr Green is the first person I can trace having lived there, father of Mrs Adey. now living in the Almshouses. Then next is the Baptist Chapel which, when I first remember. used to have big congregations- standing room only at times. Now on the right the White House (where now lives Mr Arnold White, the chimney sweep) was in my early days the house of his old grandmother and grandfather (mother and father of Mr Alfred White, also a blacksmith, who has since retired as the Sexton of the Church having served 50 years).

When I was a boy in the choir I used to have a penny given to me on Fridays - practice nights, and a penny Sundays. I spent 95 per cent of my money in Mrs White's little shop on huge black peppermints with almonds in. They had four sharp corners, I could hardly get them in my mouth.

In this same house 50 years or so previously a noted man by the name of Thomas Dance lived who had seven sons. We will call them medium-sized giants, when I knew them. The father gave them all a gun each and the neighbouring keepers in the vicinity used to have a busy time for they were all good shots. But that wasn't all they could do. I have seen them all in a field with their scythes; they would mow without a stop until they reached the far side, one just a little behind the other, and they could enjoy a drop of beer, and if there was any fighting then they were, there in their glory. One gentleman remarked one day, "Never saw anything like them. Work like slaves, drink like fish, fight like tigers". But on the whole Hurst was very proud of them. Where the "Swan Inn" is, that was two cottages and the Whites used to live there. In the three thatched cottages on the left an old Mrs Green lived in the first, Charley Knott in the middle and poor old Jim Giles and family in the last. He used to work for Mr Garth. Charley Knott was a very handy man, could do a bit of decorating, gardening or most things. In his spare time he would go down by the river, collect the flag grass that grew there and make workmen's baskets. He also told a good tale (his wife would verify it). He went home one night in the dark ("one over the eight"), as Lizzie, his wife, as he used to call her, had gone to bed, so he crept up the stairs the best he could without a light, got into bed but as he was fidgeting about and not offering to lay down Lizzie breaks out, "What are you doing, you old fool?" He wouldn't speak so she lit the candle. There was Charley sitting up in bed with the umbrella up. "What you got that thing for?" she shouts. "Well", he says, "I boarded.' a storm my dear". I have heard him say when leaving the "Halfway", "Good night all, I must get home and cut Lizzie a bit of supper off". On the left across the meadow lived old Mr Spindloe who originally was baker, before my father, at the "Halfway House". At the next, where Mr W Dunn now lives, lived Admiral Bing, brother-in-law to Mr Garth.

Whistley Green.

Then back to opposite the "Swan" public house where Whistley Stores are today, then three cottages. In where the shop now is lived Billy Wiggen - for years worked for Mr Geo. Ford with the threshing tackle, was known to walk as far as Ascot and be there in time to start work. In the middle cottage lived old Sally Southgate, in the end one "Short" Lailey, a tiny little man who was bricklayer for Mr Geen and later Robinson who used to drive the Hurst four-wheel cab in his spare time. On our left on the three-cornered piece of ground there were no houses whatever. We had it for years as a meadow and kept pigs, ponies, cows etc. Hundreds of buckets of pig food have I carried there from the "Halfway House", and the entrance and shed was where Mr Brook s house now is, and that is where Hurst had the first public football to kick about. Across the meadow lived some more Whites (previously a farm house). I have an idea that the Whites came here with the monks for it was practically all White, and White-owned, property round the corner to the "Elephant" and possibly the other places. Where Oakley Cottage now is was a thatched house - burnt down. Old Mr and Mrs Blackall and Master and Mrs Saul lived in the old bungalow, which was three houses.

On the end of the piece of ground (where the bungalow called "Pound Site" now is) close to the bypass (made in 1931) was the pound, a square piece of ground fenced in with stout oak posts and rails. Going to school I have often seen some stray horse or cow shut in there. You had to pay to get them out. Then from there right round the Oakley Cottage corner was an open ditch past the "Elephant" on round to the "Halfway" corner.

The Whites lived at the "Elephant" also in the next bungalow. Later George Hawkins (Crimean War) lived there. He had quite a big family - used to work on the GWR. In the next lived Joe Jewel. When working on the building of Bear Wood Mansion he walked there day and night for years. The joke about him was that he was asked to look after a portable engine. When the whistle went for dinner Joe didn't know how to stop it, and they said he kept shouting "Whoa!" Then there was poor old Mrs Eaton, and Nellie her daughter, who kept the shop (Alma Cottage). Both were very stout and old. Nellie used to shout, "Muvver here's Bill's boy wants lb of 'lice' " .Mr Tom Brooks was here for a good many years later. My father used to say he was the best man he ever had to help him kill a pig. He'd say, "You hold the pig, I'll do all the work" .Next "Halfway House" .Now to the right, where now stands Laburnum Cottages, was along white bungalow where old Pope and Mrs Pope lived. As a two-year-old I used to sleep with these two old people. I can see them now with white nightcaps on. The old lady used to go to Haineshill serving, and often brought me home a little bit of special cake or pudding. I was always there, waiting in hope. Now down through the lovely avenue of elms, as it was then (Mr Leveson Gower I have heard say that this was one of the prettiest drives he knew). At the end of this lovely lane (as a boy I was frightened to go down it in the dark) was where George Nicholls and J Chapman lived. Oh, here comes Mrs Chapman, one of the biggest women we had in Hurst, in her pony cart. You see the little girl with her with the white bow in her hair? - well, that was Jemima, and the other, the little boy with one of those big sweets in his mouth -you know what I told you about - well, little Jemima is that wonderful old lady (fast on 90) that lives at the "Barleycorn" (Mrs Frasker) and that small boy is now Mr Alfred Chapman, "Chappy" of bowling fame, who has got by the eighty mark so it is plain proof that we look after them in Hurst. Now be careful over that footbridge - no bridge or road to Twyford yet! So up the Moor to the Round House, now gone, to see old Wilson (shepherd to Mr Hicks at Binfield) and Mrs Wilson, little Tilley and Jimmy. Today Tilley is Mrs Horn, a widow and 84. Her husband used to work for Sam Nicholls. She could remember when the trains at Twyford ran to Reading and back only once a day. Her brother Jimmy ("Whiskers") has passed away, a very popular man and very funny. He would bring the Sunday papers and was a great Conservative. At the time of Mr Joe Chamberlain's Tariff Reform, one man, George Sarney, put a board on his fence and chalked up "No Tariff Reformers call here!" Well, "Whiskers" came with the papers but never again would he sell Sarney one. Now we must come back to the "Halfway" corner and down to the Loddon - no bridge, footbridge, house or bungalow (until 1878); go through the ford (and one Tom North had his horse drowned going through the floods) and on down to Whistley Mill. Now I would dearly love to know what has happened down there. I have been told by one authority that it was there a thousand years ago, or something about the age of the church; that the rent which had to be paid to the monks at Abingdon was 500 eels a year; and that early on it had been a silk mill, also a paper mill. In my earliest days a Mr John Wingfield lived there with his old uncle. One day, my father, carrying the basket of bread down there, saw a child floating in the river, so he ran and leaned over close to the mill and pulled it out. That child is the same John Wingfield who now lives in Winnersh. His mother and father presented my father with a huge Bible, which my eldest brother has to this day.

We will walk back with this old gentleman (John White) (one time foreman on the farm for Mr Garth) going home from working on the rods at 90 years of age. On his back he has a bundle of grass weighing just on 2 cwt for my father's ponies which, when he arrives at the "Halfway" he has carried the best part of a mile and I think the reward would be two pints of beer - 4d. He told me that
he was in the Hurst Drum and Fife Band in his early days. He would play for me sometimes on the flute I had, the "Sailor's Hornpipe", "The Girl I Left Behind Me" etc. He used to say his old fingers were getting too stiff and his breath too short. He was always good company, for he would make up words to any tune to suit the occasion. One little ditty was:

"Come along my laddie, the reason I do tell There's not another shanty like the "Halfway House" Hotel"

We used to have very hard winters then. Perhaps we couldn't do much work for weeks, but he generally could go down to the river and catch a wild duck or a pike. I helped him weigh one on the scales we had for corn and it went 27 lb, the largest that I've ever seen. There seem to have been more big fish in those days. There were lots of fish bred at Stratfield Saye (The Duke of Wellington's estate) and no doubt the floods washed them out and kept the river supplied. There were also more otters then. for I have seen lots of skeletons of big fish on the banks. On the right. on this side of the river is the bathing place (used by kind permission of the owners for generations).

Good-bye to John White for the present. We have just got to Whistley Court Farm which I take was the home farm attached to Whistley Court, as all the foundations of the old Court. gardens etc. now go with the farm. This year (1938) there was found on this farm by Mr G Harris (the present tenant) one of the old flint axe heads of prehistoric times. a wonderful collection of which at one time could be seen at Mr Treacher's in Twyford and some of those were found at Lea Farm. the one adjoining this. Mr Piggott was the first farmer I can remember here. but Mrs Horn told me she remembers an old lady (before that) who used to milk the cows and carry away the milk on her head.

Lodge Road - Hurst Grove.

Now I can describe the entrance to the old Whistley Court or Manor. It is on the right going towards Davis Street. by the first bungalow. When we went to school. the big iron gates that are now at Bill Hill were here. You can see the brickwork in the bank of the ditch to this day. From the iron gates looking towards the Loddon was an avenue of large horse chestnut trees. six clumps each side. twelve trees in each clump and fifty strides between each. The drive was more than a quarter of a mile long. It must have been a very nice house. When I first knew it we used to get walnuts, pears and apples from the orchard that was still partly left. Violets, primroses, daffodils, anemones etc. still grow in abundance. There was then a cut from the Loddon to a thatched boat-house not far from the mansion. There were rooks in the trees, kingfishers, reed-chats, herons, swans and moorhens on the river. The copse was called  .... underground tunnel.

A man who had been down there poaching one night declared that the copse' was haunted. He went through a gate, which opened as he went through and shut behind him. He said, "I come home Master ...."

Then we come to Lea Farm which old Mr George Ford (father of the Chairman of the Council) had, as well as Hatch Gate. Mr Ford I would meet most Sundays coming to Hurst Chapel often with Mr William Mitchell of Sandford Mill. Once or twice a week Mr Ford would walk down the Lodge Road as far as the "Halfway" with a rake and rake out all the rubbish in the ditch to let the water get away. A Mr Knight was one of the men who used to live at Lea Farm and work for Mr Ford. At Hatch Gate was where Mr Ford lived in the old farm house. He had a portable engine which Billy Grey, an old man, used to drive. Then old Mr Bartlets used to work there, he lived at Rose Cottage.

At Hurst Grove lived Mr and Mrs Peter Finch for a good many years; they are still talked about for the great help they gave to the village. There were three daughters and five sons. Every year there was the Annual Cricket Match - Married v Single, Choir v Village, all day. Matches started at 11 o'clock, lunch and tea, with refreshments, lasting to after suppertime. They were a great church family. Three of the sons used to sing in the choir, also Mr F E Chapman who afterwards married Miss Bertha Finch. Their son was the famous England Cricket Captain. They were always doing something for the village, not only giving subscriptions, but also getting up concerts and having different locals to the Grove to practise their parts with them. It was the Misses Finch who introduced teas at the Hurst cricket matches. They also did a great deal towards the erection of the pavilion.

Davis Street - Reading Road.

How we will see who we can meet up towards Davis Street. Here's Master Cullum, Jim Green with Jim Glass, old Bill Fry, Joe Fry, Master Benham and his son Leeward. Davis with his son, bellringers; I didn't know her but one Auntie Pittock was a very popular old soul, so they told me, who kept the "'Wheelwright's". Mr Douglas lived at the farm which bears his name. Here we shall meet the Millards, Whites, Allums, Dances, Bennets and old John Knapp, decorator in the end house by the peacock trees. Col Morshead, who lived at High Chimneys was a big man who had two men working for him to whom in turn he gave his left-off clothes. He used to enquire how they fitted. Both would tell him "BeautiIul!"  Yet one was small the other large. Mr Jabez Medcalf lived at Mungells. At Merryhill Farm was Mr Bowyer, father of J H and C L who are now farmers in different parts. From here to the Halt, Kelburne Lodge on the right was also Arbor Dairy. Old Mr Hull lived here, father of Harry Hull of Haineshill who had 16 children; and one of the hardest working women I ever knew was his wife. From the Halt  to Loddon, on the right Blakes at the farm; two double cottages: four on the other side; and the "Pheasant". Cottage Master Kersley. Tommy May's bungalow.

Davis Street - Dunt Lane.

Now towards Dunt Lane pass the "Wheelwright's Arms". Meet Mr Billy Riches. On the right there used to be a house. Young Harry Allum, lived in it. Up to Little Hill. On the left two houses stood back from the road and four' stood close to it a little further on. Down the hill lived old Mr Mileham, his daughter lives at Broadwater (old Mrs Green). Harry Walden and family lived at Darvells Farm for a good many years. In the building line. he would walk to Henley and pass the "Halfway" before five o'clock in the morning. He also kept cows, pigs etc. Round this part lived "Scatty" Simpson, an old Hurst family. At the present time he is the oldest soldier we have living. The "Old Crown", now closed, was a noted meeting place for old people. One story goes that eleven men were there one evening and decided to have a round of drinks, which was quarts of beer at a time. They had got through nine rounds when ten o'clock came - "turning out time" - so four of them didn't have to pay. There are several very old houses about this part to this day. They must have been some of the smallholdings that Berkshire was noted to have had in early times. At Dunt Lane Farm there lived before my time another man by the name of Bullock, a farmer, nothing to do with our family, who was termed a "six-horse-power" - a very strong man. The first farmer I knew was a Mr Thomas Pither, who had a very big family. I can remember them all coming to Church filling up one pew. From Hurst they went to Woodley. I was told that years before this, one farmer who lived there, would go to the "Church House" on Monday morning and stay there the whole week. Then his wife would send a man to fetch him home on Saturday evening. On Sunday she would see that he was washed and put on clean clothes to go to Church; then off to the "Church House" again on Monday. Now across Lines Common towards "Happy Land", to see Mr Oliver and Mr Gilbert King. Their father was Oliver, who in his own day was quite a noted man. I have some verses that were sent to me about a dinner that took place at the "Castle Inn" (on Saint Cecilia's Day) Nov 23 1836.. The verses were written by whoever sang them. Mr Cameron was named in them as wanting the farmers to pay to come to Church and the song went on to say that Farmer King would see to that. It also referred to Farmers Ferguson. Allright etc. and one man was referred to as Mr Peaple', who was the Chairman, but I have not been able to get any information where he dwelt. Friend Messenger was mentioned as "mine host". The three Miss Kings, daughters of Oliver, Junior, were devout Church people and taught the Sunday School classes for years and years. One told my class one Sunday that it wasn't worth wasting her breath on us. The Kings had very big fruit orchards, with huge branches of mistletoe growing in the trees and they also had land and cottages between the Loddon and the GWR line, as well as a team of three cream horses, one behind the other. Jack Miles, I think was the carter for them for years - great granddad to the young rascal that is in the Church choir now. Next we come to another Thomas Dance, no relation to the giant family referred to, but he was no weakling. He could carry cwt of topping from the "Halfway House" one and a half miles after closing time - 10 o'clock. His father also won a wager, by carrying a sack of flour (280 lb) from Abbey Mill in Reading to Sindlesham Mill without a stop.

Four Big Houses.

The Leveson-Gowers, who lived at Bill Hill for over 200 years, were a great help to the working class in those days. Mr Samuel Nicholls had Reynolds Farm also a Mr Manners, then a Mr Hodgekin who later had Broadcommon Farm (Jim Blake was a sawyer at Haineshill). A Mr Castle who lived at Hurst Grange, used to have a piebald horse. The groom's name was Dr Upton, his father was H Upton who was one of the roadmen. Lady Wiggens lived at Hurst Lodge, later General Beauchamp, later Mr Featherstonhaugh and Mr P Martineau. Now Mr Palmer Tomkinson. We have always been allowed to play cricket on the Hurst Lodge ground free, with the exception of two seasons between forty and fifty years ago when General Beauchamp was here. He wanted rather a lot of petty rules, and one of the members being rather outspoken, the notice was burnt. So we played at Haineshill, close to the farm, for two seasons.

By then General Beauchamp forgave us and asked us to come back. At Hurst House lived Mr Cameron. Later, Mrs Cameron and her sister' for years; then Mr Archibald Mackey for a great number of years (Hurst House had been rebuilt by Mr Cameron). It must always have been a very important place. The old people of Hurst have always said that there was originally a moat round it. There is a part of it left yet and you can trace where it used to go, by the ground being quite low. The old stables and loft that still remain are seven strides across by about forty long. It would have been quite easy for one hundred men to sleep in the loft. It has recently been put in thorough repair by the present owner, Mr Harrison. At Hurst Cottage lived Mr Joseph Beauchamp, later, for many years, Capt and Mrs Roupell.

Recreations; The Choir.

When I can first remember Hurst it was very different from what it has become. The life or fun of the village was practically home-made. Ho buses, pictures, wireless etc. I used to be taken to Reading or Wokingham about once a year, and the weather was colder than we get these days - we could slide to school, up the ditches, for weeks and weeks. Ho football, it was mostly tops, marbles or buttons (which answered as counters). We most of us had a little bag with buttons in. We paid 2d, every Monday morning, to go to school. Some of the poor little beggars would come without any money, so they were sent home. I have seen in the frosty weather wagons from Sonning Holme Park come to Hurst to Townsend Pond for loads of ice which they would break with poles. Also Mr Garth's team would be at the ice cart three weeks at a stretch.

Mr Critchley was schoolmaster while I went to school. He was very strict, didn't mind how hard he hit you. We used to hide his canes in the back of the harmonium until the thing wouldn't play. He took the back off and then found them. But he was a good master, very keen on sport -would play with us. He was also very musical, played the organ at Church. A good baritone singer, he was in the noted Reading Quartet. In those days Hurst had an excellent choir:

Vicar: Rev E Broome.
Adults: G Robinson, A Cox, J White, F Bullock, G Green, P Finch, Baily, A Finch, W Soundy, W Williams.
Boys: W Williams, F Clark, W Blea, T Blea, G Bance, E Bance, Jack White, S Bullock, A Giles, W Giles, W Maskell, W East, V Critchley, E Widdows, H Baigent, A Baigent', G Baigent, W Baigent.

Mr Critchley most every winter taught us a play to perform at Hurst and at Twyford the following week - "Dick Whittington and His Cat", "Babes in the Wood" etc. He also helped us to sing the carols properly, then, just before Christmas all we boys used to go round the Village singing at different houses. I remember going to Haineshill to sing in the hall before Mr Garth.

Mrs W Bowyers at Murrell Green was also very welcoming She always kissed each one going in and coming out. The Misses King's house at Happy Land was a good place to go to - also Hurst Grove, and old Shep Laney's wife used to give us elderberry wine. I can remember once at the finish we had 6/6 each. On Sunday mornings in those days, the Sunday School boys and girls used to march from the Boys' School to the top of the hill two by two. At the corner where the new carpark is Boy's School there were always sties full of pigs. We didn't mind the smell those days. Every Good Friday the choir boys had a mince pie and an orange. Tea at the Vicarage on Easter Sunday - two hard boiled eggs - and a shilling then play leapfrog on the lawn with Mr Broome. We always went on a choir outing to the sea once a year. Wicks and Giles, in the carrier vans, would take us to Wokingham Station starting from Hurst at 5.30 am, and Mr John White, gardener to Mr Broome, always had a rose for each of us as a buttonhole.

Most of the men of the Village in those days wore top hats and black coats to Church. By the allotment gate was where all the big fights used to take place after school. Someone from Davis Street would fight someone from Whistley Green or Ward's Cross. I remember having to fight George Breadmore in the classroom in the dinner hour. Fred Priest, Fred Clark and Noddy Silvey were some of the big boys who made us fight. We hadn't fallen out, but it was Whistley Green v Haineshill (George Breadmore Haineshill, myself Whistley Green). Whistley Green was given winner. But that was only one of many. For we all fought together against Twyford, or Waltham St Lawrence. The Chapel boys used to hold their sports and tea on Good Friday (in Gammon Park). The Church Boys Tea was on Easter Monday, at Cameron's Park as it was always called (Hurst House) and if us church boys played with the Chapel boys on Good Friday and didn't go to Church we couldn't get a disc which was given out for our Church Tea on Easter Monday.

Mr Broome.

The Rev E Broome was Vicar here in those days and a very nice kind gentleman he was. People used to impose on him quite a bit. They would go and tell him they couldn't go to work because they hadn't got a spade, or hook or whatnot, and he would give them the money to buy what they asked for, but lots would stop at the first pub they got to and that's how the money was spent. He would visit anyone, irrespective of what religion they were, to ask if he could help them in any way. One person I knew had a child very ill with rheumatic fever. He offered to have the mother and child at his house, because he thought it was drier and brighter, to be looked after at his expense. There was a great controversy here in 1884 over the Bigg's Charity, which was money in property in London, the income of which was spent on bread to be given away in Hurst. This had been done from 1677 to 1884; then the Charity Commission, or whatever they are called, got it taken away. The will said the bread was to be given away in the Church, which was where it was taken to and the people who were to have it had to go and fetch it. When it was stopped it caused such an uproar here; most people blamed Mr Broome, but no one then seemed to know quite who was really to blame. But the Hurst people didn't like it, for I can remember huge bonfires in two different years, one somewhere where the cemetery now is and the other the other side of the Vicarage where now the rose gardens are. Dozens of men with their guns firing away as the tar barrels, as effigies', lit up. But like most things, it died out after a time. But I'm sure it wasn't poor Mr Broome's wish to do away with it. Well, he lived here a good many years, after being President of the Hurst CC until he went away as well as President of the Working Men's Club. I believe he had a great share in getting it built.


There was always hunting going on here in the winter. The South Berks Hounds often ran through Hurst. Always Mr Garth's Hounds, occasionally the Grenfield Harriers who used to wear green coats, and hunt a small deer. But the sight was the Queen's Stag Hounds, kennels used to be at Ascot. The Hunt servants' names - I can't remember the proper order - were Strickland, Cummings, and Bartlett. If the Liberals were in power the Master was Lord Ribblesdale; if the Conservatives were in power the Earl of Coventry - so we knew which was which. They would often meet at the "Station Hotel", Twyford, and turn the deer out in Whistley Court Park. Mr Gammon was farmer there then. It was a wonderful sight - red coats, gold braid and such a large field of two or three hundred. A bit before 1876 they took the deer in the meadow belonging to the Paddock opposite the old lodge gates. It was then a rod yard. King Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) was there with them that day, but the old women that were working there didn't know him or they would have given him a reception. He went from here to Twyford to the "Station Hotel" for refreshments but the landlady was out so they fetched Mrs Maynard from the "Red House" to come and cook some steak for him which they went and bought at Mr Sawyer's the butcher's. His Highness also purchased a rug for his horse at Walter's the harness makers, Twyford, who, of course, had the Prince of Wales' Feathers put above his shop. Talking about Kings, Mr Garth often had HRH Prince Christian riding with his hounds, also at his game shoots. The Kaiser, Emperor of Germany, was also here at Whistley, shooting with Mr Garth, and he gave his head gamekeeper, W West, a sovereign which he often showed me.


The Haines hill Estate in those days was in full swing - a house full of servants, garden full of men, stable full of horses, farm full of fat cattle, fields of sheep, coverts full of game and keepers.

Mr W Dunn was bailiff in my time, a very nice old gentleman. I can see him now arriving at Chapel on Sunday morning in his pony cart. Mr D West was the head keeper and his son, W West, succeeded him. Mr Primmer was butler, Jim Kay, footman, Mr Swanborough, head gardener, Mr Williams before him, Mr W Johnson estate man, Joseph Garraway bricklayer. Carters: T Silvey, Joe Roberts, John Eel, Jim Blake, Jim Ducket, W Miles.
Names of the horses: Short, Captain, Jolly, Brit ton, Punch, Sharper, Squirrel, Violet, Poppet, Champion, Duke, Damsel, Bamberry, Defence. Stockmen: Jimmy At to, Harvey. Cowmen: Kaskell, Jim Flowers. Blacksmiths: Baigent, Jack Booth. Carpenters: W Johnson, J Webber, G Goddard.
Estate Men: Jerry and Terp Evans, J Cummings, Roberts, Murrell, J Giles, J Bird, J Frayer, Bennings. Shepherds: Breadmore, G Sheppard. Lodge Keepers: Sheppard and H Booth.
Sawyers: Jim Blake and Dan Blake.
Stables: G East (stud groom), T Taylor, Bob George (Squire's man for taking him to meets), three other livery men and ten helpers. Kennels: Mr Brackley (huntsman), H Molyneux, E Taylor, Tom Kayes (second horseman), old Munday and son, John, (kennell men), William Hearne (horse feeder).

Farming Practices.

Dear Readers, I have been trying to lead you round the' old Village. If by chance any of you are still interested I would like to call your attention to what was said about arable land. From Townsend Pond to Wokingham today you will hardly see a field of corn. In my early days you would hardly see a meadow. A little extract from Mr Cameron's book [published in 1882]:- "Where you now see all corn fields round about Bill Hill, no doubt some of our oldest residents can remember when it was all scrub, furze, holly etc." So that bears me out. Quite three parts of the inhabitants worked on the land. In harvest time the labourer, his wife and children would be fagging from daylight to dusk, no self-binders, and it used to take much longer to gather. Quite a contest to see who could start earliest. One old man always seemed to get at it first so another said he would beat him. He arrived one morning before it was light and was saying, "I have beat old George this morning", when a voice close to him speaks up, "No you haven't, I've started and am now setting down to have a bit of baver" (meant for food). Then in the winter some would be in the barn threshing the corn out with a flail, which was two thorn sticks about an inch or so thick about 2 feet long joined together with a swivel so that they held one stick and twisted the other above their heads to thresh the sheaves with. Anyone not used to it would hit their head more than the corn. After the corn was cut and carried, the women and children would go gleaning, as it was called, picking up all the ears of corn that were left on the ground. The short ones, or those with hardly any stalk, would be put in a pocket which was on the front of their aprons. The longer ones were done up in neat little bundles, taken to their own homes, threshed out and ground usually at Sandford Mill. Then they would make their own dough and bring it to the bakers for them to bake it into bread. Other times the women would be in the meadows and parks picking up stones, wood and acorns. Acorns they would give to their pigs, if they had any (most labourers had a pig or two in their sties). If not the farmer would buy them at 9d or 1/- a bushel.

When having a very hard winter - once it was for thirteen weeks -the farmers would send four-horse teams in wagons to the pits at Wargrave for chalk. I have known a dozen or twenty coach teams all stop in the road by the "Halfway House", on their way back, to have their lunch and a nice pint or two of beer. I remember the Superintendent of Police, Mr Atkins, shouting to my father as he was passing in his trap, "Bullock, you must not stop the traffic!" Amongst others there were teams from Bearwood (Mr John Walter), Henry Lane (Wokingham), W Bowyer, Jabez Medcalf, W Medcalf, G Ford, Leveson-Gowers, W Webb (Church Farm), Blakes from Loddon Bridge Farm and others for they all used to go for it to put it on the land. Also tons and tons were taken to Scotch.. Farm (Mr Walter's) to make new yards for his special herd of cows.

Most of their horses had a harness on their collars with lots of bells on, also all the brasses the carters polished, and when they shook their heads it was all of a jingle. One old chap, named Busby, used to tell me when he was carter boy at Murrell Green Farm they had to take some wheat into Reading. They were working very late in the evening to shine up the brasses and bells, and up ready to start off at four next morning. Away they went with their team of four, so proud with the bells all a-jingling. When they got to Loddon Bridge Hill (two miles away) the old carter, Roberts, said to him, "Go back and sprag the wheel, boy" . The boy went back to do it but in their excitement they hadn't hitched the horses to the wagon, that was still at Murrell Green Farm.

Another industry every winter was the farmers carting gravel out of the pits, with two horses and cart which they would distribute about different roads in the village. Empty it in small heaps using a dung drag and tip-stick and Harry Girls' School Upton or old Pope would spread it and level it. Any big stones they would smash with a hammer. No steam roller, the carts on the road would have to roll it in - it made it very bad walking for some weeks. The meadow between Tape Lane and the "Barleycorn Inn" had one pit. Behind the girls' school another, between the "Jolly Farmer" and the Grove and also by Darvell's Farm, Dunt Lane. It used to be said that when the Enclosure Act came into force in 1812 there were four acres of land specially selected for that purpose.

Alfred White's Story.

I have been talking to Alfred White this evening, the retired blacksmith and Churchwarden, in his 84th year. He has told me that a Hr Castell, an architect, built Hurst Grange' (and lived there himself) over the brook. The water runs under the kitchen. Before this there was a cottage just inside the wall at the corner. A Mr Palm, a Chapel Minister, lived in it, and while it was being pulled down the two men that were doing it sold most of the material to anyone that would give them anything for it, and these two were transported. He also told me that he himself ran away from home as a boy to a job in Reading Biscuit Factory, and earned enough money to apprentice himself to the old (Dr) Adam Holloway that kept the blacksmith's forge, at what is now called Byways. Byways was where they lived and the forge was where the cottage is next door. He told me that all the blacksmiths in those days were called Doctors. He then asked me if I had ever heard about the ghosts at Whistley Manor. It was said that you could hear them jump in the river Loddon. "Well", he says, "I will just tell you about that. Years before I was born two of my ancestors were fish poachers, and," he said, "you know where the fishing bucks were?", I said, "I used to know where a number of old posts were in the Loddon about 150 yards from the bathing place". "That's it", he says, "well, in my young days that was in fairly good repair and used to be used for years and years before to catch fish for the big house. Well, when I am speaking of, the house then had been burnt down and never put up again. Well these two old men, that I suppose were young men then, would put their nets across the river at the bucks as he called them, then walk halfway to Sandford Mill on the bank. Then they would get into the river, one on each side, and beat the water with two long poles and walk in the river back towards their nets driving the frightened fish before them. This was done about twelve and one o'clock at night, and someone heard them one night and that was how the ghost story got about". He remembered seeing their nets hanging in the shed. He also told me that old Harry White was one of the foremen when the new road was made from Broadwater to Twyford in 1876.

Parliamentary Elections.

Before 1885 the elections of Members of Parliament were considerably different from today, a certain amount of bribery was rife. At this time Mr White was promised if he would vote for a certain man he would be guaranteed plenty of work, which he did, for he had the job of dredging the River Loddon. Possibly that was about the time when the Bray Cut was made from Brick Bridge to Bray. Until then all the water from Ascot, Winkfield, Warfield and Binfield had to come through Stanlake (which was then quite a big lake) and Broadwater Whistley into the Loddon.. I have heard my father say that the first cottage he bought after he got to Hurst was the bungalow by the "Elephant and Castle". It was hardly settled as he thought but the MP must have known for he came and gave my father a £5 note to vote for him. My brother says he had a fiver from two of them.

Hurst electors had to go to Wokingham to vote in those days, which I understood was more or less a free fight. I remember my father telling a tale, that a farmer from Hurst, by the name of Shrimpton, who lived at Dunt Lane Farm, hit one of the MP's top hat with his stick and knocked it down over his eyes. They had to pull it with all their might to get it off, then had to fight to get Shrimpton out of the opposing forces' hands, but that was considered a game then.

W Walters (Postman); the Spike Gates.

W WaIters the second Postman that we had at Hurst was like his cousin Charles, up to all sorts of games. He would deliver the letters in the morning, and stop most part of the day at the "Halfway House". One particular day Mr Garth was having a big shoot at Twinlake [between Broadwater and Stanlake], close to Broadwater. They were driving the birds towards Broadwater footbridge. William WaIters was on the bridge looking on and when they had got nearly to the bridge a considerable amount of firing was done, shots flying everywhere. Well William had a small pimple on his forehead which he scratched off, then went to Mr Garth and said that he had been shot. "Oh, poor man, oh, poor man!" said Mr Garth, "Here is something for you," and gave him a sovereign. Back to the "Halfway House" strolled William and it was said quite a lot of "Good Healths" were drunk that day. There were also two spiked gates" at Broadwater, one halfway to Stanlake and the other over the brook by the Round House. They are gone now but I remember them quite well. They were made of iron like an archway, with horrible spikes sticking all ways. It was impossible to cross the brook that way without the key which the keepers carried in their pockets.

"Old Pope".

Of all my heros that I have heard of, the one that should have the bouquet was old Pope. I never heard that he hurt anyone but for mischief, witty nonsense or dare-devilry he stands out to me the master. In the first place, if, as a small boy, I made him cross, he would say, "Drat thee eyes, I'll hang thee and drown thee clothes!" The drowning of my clothes I couldn't understand. He would fatten a couple of pigs, take them to Wokingham Market and sell them and stay there until, as my father used to say, he had "got them down". Once when he was away at Wokingham entertaining his friends, he was on the Wokingham cricket field, lying on the grass (tight). Wokingham was playing Guildford and my father was .playing for Wokingham and getting a big .score. Every time my
father got a run Pope kept shouting, "Well played, Hurst, well played Hurst!" and I think it was Mr Murdoch who asked my father what he was saying. My father replied, "I don't  know, sir". He knew but he wasn't going to say. The match was over in the day, but Pope's holiday wasn't ... he stayed till all his money was spent.

The day after the cricket match there was a shooting match with Pope's sons and my father. Pope had some tame rabbits and a few old hens. After the shooting match the rabbits and hens were prepared and stuffed and cooked in the bakehouse oven and the colleagues, as I think they are called now, held quite a banquet. I know Pope went for the policeman when he arrived home and found out, but I think he only laughed. My father said possession was nine points of the law. Pope was foreman of a mowing gang one hay making time; they had gallons of beer every day. Saturday night, when they were paid, Pope would balance up. Each man had to pay his share of beer. One very nice old man, one of the gang, was a teetotaller and said, "Master Pope, I never had any beer." "Well," said Pope, "you had plenty of chance," so he had to pay. Pope weighed about 16 stone -not so very tall, round as a barrel, only one eye, the other very much bloodshot, and always wore a cord suit which was nearly white, his poor wife used to have a clean suit for him each week. One Sunday afternoon the footman at Stanlake Park (in Col F G Barker's grandfather's time) was taking the little dogs for a walk when they barked at something in the wood. So the young man went in to see if he could see what it
was. He found a poor old man crawling about on his hands and knees. He asked him what he was doing. It was Pope, who replied, "Hunting for underground ivy for my poor eyes". So the young man helped him and wished him good day. Some half hour afterwards the footman heard David West, Mr Garth's keeper calling to him. So he waited to see what he wanted. West said, "Have you seen anyone about in the wood over there?" "Yes," replied the footman, "a poor old man hunting for underground ivy for his poor eyes". "Eyes be damned," said West, "I wish I had caught him, he was one of the biggest poachers in the County." When not in work Pope would do odd jobs for my father, amongst which he would see to the cow or harness the horse or feed the pigs. One particular day he was feeding the pigs and the well, about ten feet deep, where we got the water to mix with the food, was quite close. Well, Pope had got some water out and had left the lid off. One of the old sows popped out of her sty and fell in the well. Pope ran to the house and told my father who said, "Thee'll have to fetch her out then." He made Pope get in the well and put a cord round under the old sow's fore legs. First the old sow was on top beating Pope under the water with her front legs then Pope's old bald head would appear. That happened several times. Eventually they got her out but what seemed so funny to me was that Pope couldn't see anything to grumble about, but kept repeating, "Ain't the Master strong? I gave 'im the end of the cord, he fetch the old sow out, put the cord down again, told me to catch hold and out he fetched me." Pope was the only man that hit the bully Johnny Broome. He was coming home from Twyford with him one night when it was footpaths and stiles. Pope said, "I let him get one leg over a stile then hit him a hot 'un or two, then bolted." But Johnny Broome got him later on one night when he couldn't get out and squared matters up.

Penerley Lodge - the Dames' School.

My two elder brothers, when they first started school, went to what is now called Penerley Lodge. Now two Miss Corbys were the schoolmistresses. It was a private school, and a Capt Dalleson a retired sea captain used to live with them. He weighed 22 stone and was always with the cricket team and would stop with the rest of them at the "Halfway House" afterwards and he was far from being a teetotaller. One night my father took him home in his big bread cart. When they got to Townsend Pond, (no rails there at that time) one wheel of the cart went over the side and tipped the pair into the water. Can't you imagine the splash, 22 stone and 18 stone? My father kept saying, "You get on home, Sir, you get on home, Sir, and get your wet things off." "Mr Bullock," he replied, "I stand here until you and that horse is out" - and so he did. I never heard that there were any after-effects, only that rails were erected there. One of the Miss Corbys married Samuel Nicholls, Junior, who lived at the brewery.

Fun in the Pub.

At all the pubs in Hurst in those days there was a considerable amount of fun. At the "Halfway" I will try to describe some which I actually witnessed. We will start about six o'clock on an autumn evening. Jimmy Wilson arrives, just walked back from Caversham, where he has been trenching all day for 2/6. He says, "Pint" - no "please". He would stand just inside the door, his flag basket on his back holding the little strap over his shoulder. Pair of dark cord trousers, four or five waistcoats on, only the top button of each done up. Just above his. trousers would be seen a triangular piece of shirt which was always exposed. Smoking a short clay pipe and generally an ancient straw sailor hat on. His pint of beer would arrive in due course and Jimmy would stand with the handle of the mug in his hand until 10 0'c.lock. "Sit down, why don't you sit down, Jimmy?" someone would say. No, he was just going. That happened lots of times. If he was short of money he would put his pint up to his mouth to drink but just as it got there he would snatch it away and look into it and perhaps not have another drink at it for half an hour. Well Jimmy had arrived. Now comes George Nicholls, "Good evening, Master," he would say, "Pint of nice half and half." "Right, neighbour," my father would say. Perhaps asked how the floods were down the Twyford road. Then would come old Master Willesden and his son, Bill, who worked down at Whistley Mill Farm for Mr Lawrence Davis. Then old Rackley with his "old woman" as he called her - an old seafaring man. Joe Jewel, Harry Smith, Charlie Knott, Jim Giles, Jim Blake from Broadcommon, old Sarney and his son, George. Pope, of course he was there. H Layell, coachman for Mr Robert Cobham of the Grange, one of the smartest coachmen and the tidiest stable yard I have ever seen. He would come in with William Johnson, estate foreman for Mr Garth. These two would come to play my father and John Priest at dominoes - a weekly contest -and the chat and fun was worth hearing. They would have their beer, or bitter as the case may be, in a quart jug with a spout to it and pour it into stand glasses like large wine glasses. Teddy Price has just arrived. .'Good evening Mr Price," the company would say. Mr Price:- "Good evening, gentlemen all." Just the man we was waiting for to pour out the beer." Now this gentlemanly old man had but a very little to live on and he resided in the bungalow in Tape Lane. Us boys called him "Teddy Two Thumbs" for he had two thumbs on each hand. We never saw them but they said he had two big toes on each foot. Mrs Wilson, mother of Jimmy, would come in occasionally. She was very proud to say that my father said she was the best singer in Hurst. Her songs were "The Black-eyed Sailor" and "The Gypsy's Warning" - she really had quite a nice voice. Ah, Joe Piggott has just arrived (who worked for Mr W Brown of Ward's Cross Farm who was the only contented farmer that had been heard of up to now). If it was raining when his hay was ready to carry he would say, "Well, it will do the roots good." You would know him as he always had his hands in his jacket pockets. When haymaking in the meadow where the Council houses are on the left of Twyford Road, he told his men, Joe Piggott included, that they were to carryon. He himself was going to Henley Regatta. "No," said Joe (who was reckoned one button short), "if you ain't going to do any more, no more shan't I". On another occasion, they had rather a wet cluttery week, and when Joe went for his money, Saturday night, Mr Brown gave him his 12/- for the week. Joe said, "I shan't have all this, Master. I haven't earned it," and made Mr Brown have 2I- back. Now here comes George Sheppard, one of the shepherds from Haineshill who had been to the Harvest Home which was held in one of the big barns at Haineshill Farm. All the employees, wives and children would be invited each year. "Well, George, how did you get on, plenty of beer?" "Yes, Master," he said, "plenty of beer - but not quite to my palate." Then George was asked to give a song. "Well," says he, "I'll give you a good seafaring song, 'Woodpecker, Spare the Tree' ." Jimmy Wilson would sing "The Mistletoe Bough", Harry Smith "All Honour to the Twentyfourth of Glory and Renown, England Avenge your Countrymen and Strike the Savage Foeman Down", his eyes turned up, watching the ceiling, all the while. Bill Willesden would sing "Barbara Allen" with a very strong bass voice. Then someone would say, "You going to give us one, neighbour?" to my father who would say he never reckoned to sing after tea, and another time he said he didn't feel like singing. He had been round Poplar Lane to kill old Jimmy Appleton's pig for him and when he got there the old rascal was too drunk to help him. So he said, "Come on, mother you'll have to help me." Mrs Appleton he meant, a very stout old lady. "Well, " says he, "we got the pig out and on to the stool, but two legs of the stool were on the garden path the two the other side on the garden which was very soft as there had been lots of rain." "Well," he says, "me and the old gal got the pig on the stool jolly well and I had stuck him but the two legs of the stool that was on the garden had been sinking all the while and eventually sank right in the soft ground and over went the pig, myself and the old man in the blood and mud, knocked the lantern over, put it out and there we were all mixed up in the dark. Mercy, oh," he said, "twas a job, but we managed it alright," which brought roars of laughter. Now Mr David West, headkeeper for Mr Garth, has come in. He only came occasionally but he used to talk to my father because he generally heard a little news which he (West) wanted to know, for the poachers were very busy then and my father wouldn't have him annoyed. But between the songs Pope would get one in on Mr West. He would say to Mr West, "My old woman took a nice basket of pheasants' eggs in to Reading this morning, fetched a good price too." "That will do Pope," my father would say, "thee keep thee mouth shut." Well he would, while they had another song perhaps, but he couldn't resist having another jibe at West, when all at once he would say, "Them old hares of yours up Ruscombe Turn are terrible poor this time." My father couldn't stand any more of that, would take about two steps and give old Pope such a slap on each side of his face and say, "Now will thee shut up?" "Alright Master, alright Master," Pope would say and behave himself for the rest of the evening; I have seen the tears run down his old fat cheeks but he didn't go. Seemed to think no more of it. A little man by the name of Tony Smart was one of the favourites who would sing. He would say he would be like a mouse in a cheese - if you didn't see him you wouldn't hear him -then sing with the voice of a lion.

Master Sarney and his son were already there. The son started to sing a song but the old man interrupted, and said, "Stop George, let your father have a go." All were pleased for George, Junior, was keen but minus a lot of tone. Then the old man Sarney gave us "The Skipper and his Boy" .The old chap had a very clear tenor voice, and always had a very attentive hearing. Another of his songs was "Pour out the Rhine Wine, Let it Flow" .Teddy Taylor, the huntsman, if he happened to drop in, would sing "John Peel" or "Drink Puppy Drink". Occasionally my father would back old Sarney against any of them, a pint for the winner, himself would be the judge. As a rule, when they had each sung a song, he would say, "Both of you sang well, not anything to choose between you, you must sing again,'. which they would, then he would decide that it was a draw and give them each a pint of beer.

But in the middle of all this singing my father's supper was brought to him, which would consist of a half a top of a cottage loaf, very burnt, a slice of fat boiled bacon, a lump of cheese, best part of a dozen pickled onions on another plate with the mustard pot and just a knife. The slice of bacon was thickly spread with mustard, then the mustard spoon, with more mustard, was popped in his mouth. Then for about five minutes things began to move. His pint of 'half and half' , which accompanied his supper, was no more. Then he would say, "Thank God for that, it's as good a supper as Mr Garth's, you chaps." I have heard one man say, "Master, that have done me good to see you eat."

About once a year a small pig would be killed around the 20th' which was called a sucking pig. It would be prepared, stuffed with sage and onions. The skin would be scored, as it was called, right round the back - it would be cut with a very sharp knife in lines about a quarter of an inch apart - and baked in the bakehouse oven. Then the old bakehouse would be squared up, along table put down the centre, with forms to sit on, and a very happy evening spent. I can remember one old boy, his mouth as full as it could hold. elbows on the table with knife and fork pointing Heavenwards with a baked potato on the tip of each so as to save time. They didn't require Ovaltine to make them sleep that night!

Twyford Characters: Waltham.

There were quite a lot of people from Twyford that we knew well. Old Mike Wadhams, who was umpire for the Hurst Cricket Team for years, also his son Phil. Old Mr Hewlett the Twyford schoolmaster, Mr Brooker at the Post Office, his son Alfred, who daily drove by in his very smart little pony trap. He was the Veterinary Surgeon. Mr Lawrence Davis, miller, who was also captain of the Twyford Fire Brigade used to drive three very fast horses unicorn style. Mr John Kyle, proprietor of the "Station Hotel". Mr Maynard at the "Red House", old George Tull at the "Bull". Goosey Allen, I think, was at the "Rose and Crown". Old Bill Cotterell from Ruscombe who would stand at the "King's Arms" corner, greeting most everybody as they passed with a friendly "How do?" Mr Giles the rod merchant and son William - a beautiful singer - also Charlie Sheppard, draper, another fine singer. Old Mr Giles was Sexton at St Mary's Church, Twyford. I can remember seeing him chiming the three bells himself which was all there were there before the new tower was built. Three old horse cabmen Pibworth, Brown, later Meads, Jefferies and Joby Harlen, postman. Dan Sherard for years and years would bring coal to Hurst. Old Mr Franklin and his two hard working sons, Harry and George. Mr Widdows, relieving officer, formerly of Broadcommon, Hurst, Mr Hamilton, sanitary inspector also building inspector, John Cook, overseer's clerk to Hurst all lived at Twyford.

Mr Webb, Senior, baker and grocer. Those two fine old gentlemen the blacksmiths Burton, known allover the County for making mill bills to chip the millstones for grinding the corn. Joe Wigmore, who broke his arm coming to Hurst to school. William Bolton, tailor, who was the first organist at Hurst that I can remember. Mr Cross, coachman to Mr Verey, used to play cricket occasionally for Hurst. Mr Haydon of the "Golden Cross". Poor old Benny Excell, rod merchant, Ruscombe. Old Tom Clark, hurdle maker, also of Ruscombe. "Slinger" Taylor, George Dean. The two Burtons of the GWR, old Mr Varndell, who never missed a cricket match. Louden Cotterell, noted farmer, racehorse owner, Waterloo Cup winner, brickmaker, also his brother Richard who played with Louden regularly for Hurst at cricket fifty years ago. The Sawyer brothers, butchers, who would pass by the "Halfway" daily with fast trotting ponies. I have heard it said that a cart load of meat went twice weekly to Mr John Walters of Bearwood. Stone, the baker, grocer and pig butcher, the Goodchilds, carpenters, wheelwrights, undertakers etc. Later Bryant, baker and as one of the old chaps used to sing. "Oh give me those good old days of fifty years ago!"

At Waltham there was Mr Hewitt's brewery, where now is "Great Martins". As a schoolboy I had to walk there for barm to make the bread with when we were short, perhaps after school. First time I went they gave me a pint of beer to drink but I didn't want it. I should like to know the boy now that would do it, perhaps in the snow four miles each way. Old Jim Priest would tell that in his young days he would run to Waltham St Lawrence after he had done his day's work. to fight a man. You can understand now how we got our Empire!


"At the Church House, Hurst"  "St Cecilia's Day", 1833.

For to please you, my friends, I just feel now inclin'd,
To try and amuse you with what I can find;
By way of a rhyme, to begin with, the first,
Is our worthy Chairman, friend "Peaple" of Hurst.


Cecilia the day the cause of our mirth,
We are always ready, ready, ready,
Always to join in the theme of friendship and mirth.

Years have passed by since our worthy sat first,
On this St Cecilia's day, at the Church House Inn, at Hurst;
Who assemble on this day in numbers very strong,
Now excuse me if I notice those around me in my song.

I'm call'd on to sing, but don't wish to make a dash,
Will notice first, with pleasure, kind friend farmer "Nash,"
Who will please you by singing, when call'd on, I am sure,
His song about "a Scolding Wife the Doctors could not cure."

I hope you will excuse me if in this song I should fail;
I cannot help just noticing our worthy farmer "Gale,"
Who many years has met here, and amuse you well he can,
By singing you a famous song about "the Husbandman."

I see a Gent before me, whose name is "Middleton,"
To all will cause such great delight by singing his old song
Of "old Moss was a little man, a little man was he,
Could not catch his old mare, or tell how that could be."

Our worthy Chairman, "Peaple," who now enjoys his glass.
Will amuse you by singing a song about a little lass
Who the birds tri'd to amuse, with their merry little lay,
Of "the Lass who lost her lover", as you'll hear "Peaple" say.

Of "Peaple" we have many here, I am very pleas'd to find,
I'll mention one, "Edmund," who here to-day has din'd:
Whom we have all heard sing. and that with greatest glee,
His famous little song about "a Cottage by the Sea."

I hope I shall not cause offence in what I'm going to say,
The company regrets it much - no song from "Garraway;"
Remarks I cannot make know, (I am sorry on his song,)
But wish him many happy years and to this feast belong.

Excuse me, my friends, to your goodness I must yield,
I must then notice now present, "Mr.J.Winkfield;"
A song he can amuse you with, I really beg his pardon
Not doing so before, for I hear he is Churchwarden.

I'm pleas'd to see, on looking round this table, such a sight,
What would not many of Us give to be as friend "Allright;"
Many times that lucky word has come across our ears,
That name, like our worthy's, has neither doubts or fears.

I understand a Meeting has been held here this day,
Of the Householders of Hurst, who do object to pay
To the collections made on Sunday, everyone to a man,
For some cause or other, to the "Reverend Cameran."

But they say in this parish there's no fear of such a thing,
Having at their head a "King" by name, and he a jolly king;
And, clever as he is, will set you right when wrong,
Can recite a good story, or amuse you with a song.

I now just see near me, neighbour "Ferguson,"
Who no doubt can sing a song when he is called upon;
But believe me if I tell you in this now my rhyme,
That we can't lodge here to-night, so let's be off in time.

I will but say a word or two, his character no slur,
Of the fare we've had display'd by our host "Messenger;"
Much praise is due, for this his feast, unto our worthy host,
And many a day may he feast us before he quits this post.

I am intruding on your time, but I will here now mention,
To please you all, by this your call, it has been my intention;
But, if I've fail'd, will try again, and on your kindness trust,
Should we, on Cecilia day, all meet at the Church House Inn, in Hurst!