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34-62 Willersey Road

Formerly:-

1 to 14 Stockey Piece Cottages Bully Brook Road;
1 to 14 Cotswold View Bully Brook Road/Willersey Road
and 24 to 50 Cotswold View Willersey Road

The history of the field called Stockey to 1900 can be found here.

Over time parts of the Stockey had been sold off to various persons and interest groups, by the trustees of John Pickup (Captain) Lords estates. For example a Schedule of June 1894 shows that they had sold a piece of The Stockey, containing 2 roods 34 perches to the Badsey School Board for the sum of £90.00. This was for the new school which was opened on the twenty first day of June 1895, and a further part, known as the Rickyard, and consisting of some 440 square yards was sold to the School Board to allow for the provision of a school house for the master. [see Maureen Spinks “Heads And Tales A History of Badsey School”]

The story of the fourteen houses, and the Smithy, built on The Stockey and known today as 34 to 62 Willersey Road, takes the history of this part of ‘The Stockey’ from that time [c1900] to the year 2011 :-

There is a persistent story that the fourteen houses, now numbered 34 to 60 Willersey Road, which were variously known as 1 to 14 Stockey Piece, Bully Brook Road, and later 1 to 14 Cotswold View, Bully Brook Road [and later still 24 to 50 Willersey Road] were worked on by three different Building firms, with two of them going bust, and the third company, who finally completed them, adding two extra houses, and, the argument goes, the evidence for this is shown in the different coloured bricks used in the construction of number 58 and 60, and the differing roof levels of the last four houses, being numbers 54; 56; 58 and 60 Willersey Road.

To date I have not found any evidence to back this up. On the contrary the evidence strongly suggests that it was a single company who bought the land, arranged the money by debentures, built the houses and the Smithy, arranged the sewage system, errected boundary fences, let the houses out to rent for some time, before they were at last sold off by local auction. The Company that did all of this was John Idiens and Sons of Evesham. However, they did go bankrupt at some time, and there may be some truth in two extra houses having been added

John Idiens was born in the winter of 1852, his birth being registered at Aston Birmingham, the son of John and Sophia. He had many siblings. By 1871 his mother and father had moved to St Lawrence parish Evesham, taking nine of their children with them [including 18 year old John junior]. John Idiens senior was the Evesham Railway Station Master, and the family were living in the Master’s House associated with the Railway Station.

John Idiens junior married Alice South from Tettenhall, Staffordshire in 1879 and they had at least four sons and three daughters, all born at Evesham: Harold John (1880-1953), Albert (c 1884), Alice M (c 1885), Edith Mary (c 1886-1981), Walter (c 1888), Doris Ruth (1889) and Stanley South (1891).

At the time of the 1881 census, John and Alice Idiens were living in High Street, Evesham, with their baby son, Harold; John’s mother, Sophia, was staying with them, and they had a servant and a nursemaid. John was described as a coal merchant. In 1891 they were still living on the High street Evesham, his widowed mother in law Mary South was living with them, they also had a governess for the younger children and two domestic servants, and he was a merchant. In about 1900, they moved to Wickhamford Manor, and in the 1901 census he is noted as a coal merchant. All the children were there except Alice and Edith who were staying with their aunt, Mary South, in Wolverhampton.

John Idiens is said to have dabbled in many different businesses and lost money. The story is told that he bought a lot of land off Christ Church and never paid for it. He lived at Wickhamford Manor until about 1904, and he was also a manager at Badsey School from 1902-1904. By 1911 he and some of his family had moved to Poole in Dorset, where he was living at the Kia Ora on the Promanade.

It was on Monday the twenty ninth of May 1899 that John Idiens and Sons was incorporated as a company, being number 62.324. There were three main objectives of the company:-

  1. to purchase, take on lease, or in exchange, hire or otherwise acquire any real or personal property, ... ... ... and in particular Land, buildings easements etc.
  2. To raise or borrow or secure the payment of money etc, etc.
  3. To sell, improve manage develop exchange, enfranchise, lease ... ... ... deal with any part of the property of the company.

Site map.As I wrote in my first article on The Stockey, Alice Kate Bell purchased a piece of The Stockey in the year 1900, when she paid £200 for 3200 square yards of the field [2 roods 26 perches], fronted by, what was then, Bully Brook road, then in the occupation of Thomas Sadler [shown plain in colour on the plan].

Another piece was sold, shown by an Indenture of the seventh of August 1903 between Sir Henry Foley Lambert and Charles Edward Leigh, the Executors of John Pickup Lord’s estate, being a small “piece or parcel of pasture land called Stockey then in the occupation of Thomas Sadler”, being 1040 square yards [nearly 35 perches], (plain coloured on the map, and close to Bully Brook) to Annie Crisp, a thirty year old, born at Malvern, the widow of William Wheatley Crisp, a Butcher from Badsey [the indenture says he was a Builder]. William Crisp was the son of Peter and Ann Crisp, and had been baptised on the first of July 1866 here in Badsey, but he had died and was buried on the seventeenth of October 1902. Annie Crisp paid £50 for her piece of The Stockey. A month before the completion of the sale she had married at Broadway Parish Church to Arthur Edward Bell by licence.

On the twenty seventh of May 1904, John Idiens paid £134 to the executors of the Lords Estate for “all that piece or parcel of land containing about 2680 square yards [2 roods 9 perches] forming a piece of land called “The Stockey” situated in Badsey then in the occupation of Thomas Sadler” (shown coloured pink on the plan) This sale was subjected to a covenant whereby John Idiens agreed to pay for, erect and maintain ‘forever after’ a good and substantial fence on the western side of the piece bought, to form a boundary to the two separate pieces of the field.

John Idiens then set about finding out who owned the piece of the field next door to the one that he had just bought, and having found her, agreed a price with her of £52 for the plot. On March the twenty fifth 1905, Annie Bell, now a widow again, signed over her piece of land, bought two years earlier, to John Idiens of Evesham.

Five days after he bought the piece of land off Annie Bell, John Idiens lodged both of these indentures with the “United Counties Bank Limited” [the Companies Bankers] and were to be the security for the funds raised to enable the planning and building work on the cottages to proceed on the now combined site of 3720 square yards or so. These two pieces of land were the same depth as the piece of land which Alice Kate Bell had bought in the year 1900, about 40 yards deep

Another Indenture [from John Pickup Lords Executors] dated the twenty second day of February 1915 gives a list of the sales [not all of them by any means] which had taken place since September 1900. One item is of particular interest because it involved the sale of the remainder of the field called The Stockey. “A piece of Land being the remainder of the piece called Stockey containing 5 acres 4 perch and a small copse adjoining containing 2 roods 3 perches situated at Badsey sold to Dean & Chapter of Christ Church Oxford” This sale must have taken place after John Idiens agreed to build a substantial fence in May 1904. It is probable that it remained in the tenancy of Arthur Sadler until his death in 1938.

Work obviously went on apace in the building of the terrace, and at a meeting of the Directors of John Idiens and Sons Limited in August 1906, John Idiens reported that properties valued at £59,140 had been acquired, with the “Fourteen cottages and a Smithy at Badsey” being valued at £1250. A rear entry had been formed to the cottages to aid movement of coal etc. to each house.

An indenture between John Idiens and Alice Kate Bell the wife of George Bell, who owned Stanhope House, was signed on the twenty fourth of August 1907, where it was recited that John Idiens had two pieces of land in Badsey “whereon were erected 14 cottages and a smithy” Alice Kate had agreed to sell to John Idiens the right to lay down and construct a drain or sewer over her piece of land, for the purposes of connecting the cottages and the smithy to the main sewer of Badsey. Alice Kate was paid £10 10 shillings for allowing this to happen and was to be paid five shillings a year by the owner(s) of the cottages, payable on the twenty ninth of September annually.

In October 1906 The board of Agriculture and Fisheries, using their powers under the Land Drainage and Improvement Company’s Act of 1849, [this legislation established the principal that Landowners could borrow to finance agricultural improvements, including farmhouses and farm labourers cottages] decreed that a charge had to be paid for the “improvement, by the erection of cottages, of the lands mentioned in the schedule” [The amount cannot be apportioned as it includes another property of John Idiens of some 102 acres at Bowers Hill ] This was a repayment on a Mortgage loaned to Idiens and Sons by the Ministry, who were empowered to act as Mortgagees by the above mentioned act.

It may well be that work had started on the 12 houses before the purchase of the second piece of land, and that on making the purchase of this piece, the company decided to build an extra two or four houses, plus the Smithy. [it is probable that a Smith by the name of Bishop may have been instrumental in helping the company to decide to build a blacksmiths shop]. This may, as people say, account for the different coloured bricks in numbers 54; 56; 58 and 60.

But the different roof heights of the last four houses compared to the other ten may be accounted for by the drainage system employed. When a terrace is built on a slope, the usual construction method is to follow the slope as far as one is able, then to step down, and build more until you step down again, and so on, with a deep trench dug to facilitate the drains. In the case of numbers 54 and 56, this pair steps up, and numbers 58 and 60 make another step up, quite contrary to usual construction methods.

But if we consider the drain or sewer that was laid to the properties, it was laid to a falling gradient with the high point at the last house at the bottom of the hill, and falling away ‘uphill’ to the connection to the sewer further up Willersey Road. Now if there were twelve houses originally, and the last two, numbers 54 and 56 were stepped down, then the drainage system for those two houses may not have worked, so the land was built up and these two houses were built on top of this raised land thereby giving the first step up, but thus getting a fall for the drains.

On this basis if another two houses were added to the original twelve, and the drains had already been laid, then, at the head of the drain, they may have been out of the ground at number 60, and these extra houses would not have been able to be connected. Thus the extra pair of houses would have to have been constructed on made up ground, resulting in the second step up, and ending up with the header tank and drain, now safely below the made up, or raised up, ground level, outside the back door of number 60. This header tank at the head of the drain had to be periodically filled by the owner, or tenant, of the house by a hose pipe, and the water flushed down the drain to help in the ‘self’ cleansing process of the entire length, through to the main village sewer.

Number 58 and 60 Willersey Road do have hollow floors in the front rooms [not accessible], which suggests that this is what happened. This may account for the last four houses being ‘stepped up’ to allow the drain to collect their waste products, and gives a nod to the folk tale that extra houses were added. On the other hand they may have been built that way to protect them from flooding from Bully Brook.

John Idiens and Alice his wife in the garden of Wickhamford Manor before 1911
John Idiens and Alice his wife in the garden of Wickhamford Manor before 1911

The other part of the folk tale that three companies went bust can also be shown to have an element of truth, as it seems that the firm that built the houses, John Idiens and Sons, did in fact go Bankrupt. But this was some years after completion of the work to the cottages, and in fact they had been drawing rents for them, the Bank acting as their agent, for some years. In 1911 Idiens entered a contract with the General Land Drainage Company to provide water to the new houses, but defaulted on the payment and was declared bankrupt. But the Bank,

after the declared bankruptcy, assuming that they were the Beneficial Owners, decided that they would sell them at auction, and pocket the proceeds. Alfred Sparrow a prospective purchaser, through his solicitors, questioned the Bank’s right as Beneficial Owners, and counsel was sought. The decision was that John Idiens and Sons, were still in legal if not in practical existence, and the result was found for them, they remained the beneficial owners.

John Idiens was still living in England at this time, but he was not living in the Evesham area. At the time of the 1911 census taken on Sunday the second of April John Idiens and Alice his wife, along with four of their children [Albert; Edith Mary; Walter and Stanley South] were living at a residence named ‘Kia Ora’ on the Promanade at Poole in Dorset, his occupation was described as ‘Private Means’ He was still living at Poole in March 1912, but he and some of his family did emigrate to Canada, and I cannot find anything else which gives a later time scale for his sojurn in England. But with his daughter Edith Mary marrying her Major Albert John Orchard, of the Indian Army at Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, British Columbia, on 4 July 1914 it seems that they must have migrated soon after this date of March 1912, for the two of them to have met and formed a relationship leading to marriage. [unless they knew each other in England].

The Sale of the houses in Cotswold View was held on Tuesday the thirty first of October 1911, and was held at The Bell Inn Badsey, with Messrs. Young and Gillings the Auctioneers. Fifteen lots were to be decided, being numbers 1 to 14 Stockey Piece Cottages and a piece of land .... “with the cement erection of a Smithy standing thereon”. That day Alfred Douglas Sparrow of Badsey bought numbers 1 and 2 Stockey Piece Cottages, [34 &36 Willersey Rd.] for a total of £200.
Number 5 Stockey Piece Cottages [42 Willersey Rd,] was bought by Harold John Cave of Badsey.
Number 6 Stockey Piece Cottages [44 Willersey Rd.] was bought by Louisa Ann Whitfield of Hampton.
The other cottages did not sell and remained with the builders, John Idiens & Sons Ltd.
Two other cottages were sold soon after:-
John Howels, late of Wales, then of Badsey bought number 13 Stockey Piece Cottages [58 Willersey Rd.]
Number 14 Stockey Piece Cottages [ 60 Willersey Rd.] and the piece of land with the smithy on it, was bought by Walter John Cull, a local Baker, at a cost of £110.

Fourteen houses had been built, and those with the odd numbers i.e. 1; 3; 5 and so on were built as three bedrooms, the even numbers were built as two bedroom houses. The houses were state of the art, they were built with running water piped to each house, and a chain pulled flushing toilet system which discharged directly into a drain, they had a cooking range which heated their water and was used for cooking their food. Each of the bedrooms had an open fireplace and chimney. The kitchen was enhanced by a metal lean to construction, open at the front, to afford protection and storage. The houses were designed on the traditional view of terraced houses, with the staircase rising off the small hallway behind the front door, but the arrangement of chimneys was different, instead of a stack breaking through the ridge of the roof with eight pots on it [four for each house] Cotswold View’s chimneys exited the roof in two stacks per house, one on the front roof the other on the rear roof, each carrying two pots. The ones on the roof on the road side are intact, but about half of those at the rear have been demolished.

The particulars of the sale held in October 1911 had a list of the rents that were being paid by the existing tenants, those in the three bedroom houses paid 4 shillings and 3 pence a week. The even numbers, or two bedroom houses paid 4 shillings a week. The person living at what was 14 Stockey Piece Cottages, [now 60 Willersey Road], in 1912 had a reduction in his rent of 6d [6 pennies] in lieu of paying him to fill and flush out the drainage system on a regular basis. These rents, being over £10 per year, entitled the occupier to vote.

The five parties to the sale of a particular house, now being sold at auction were ‘The United Counties Bank Limited’ (known as The Bank); Sir James Smith and Gilbert Henry Claughton (Trustees); John Idiens and Sons Limited (The Company) and lastly John Idiens (Merchant), the person of the fifth part (The Purchaser) was the person buying the house and paying over his cash to John Idiens and Sons Limited, who were the beneficial owners.

The new owner(s) bought a property that was sold with a right of water course in and through a drain or sewer to carry off the water and sewage of each and every one of the fourteen cottages and Smithy into the main sewer of the village of Badsey. This was subject to an annual payment of five shillings to Mrs Alice Kate Bell, or her assigns, as acknowledgement for such rights. Each owner was to pay a fair proportion of such annual payment, and also of the expense of keeping such drain or sewer in repair and properly cleansed.

John Idiens, involved with the building of the houses, had agreed a covenant whereby he or his assigns would at his or their expense erect and forever maintain a good and substantial fence on the Western side of the properties, so as to divide it from the adjoining property, [the remainder of the Stockey] The fence had been erected in compliance with the covenant, and each purchaser bought the house subject to fulfilling this covenant so far as it affected the western boundary of the lot.

There was, an existing right of way from Willersey Road [Bully Brook Road] along the south and west sides of the fourteen cottages and where the smithy stood, for the owners and occupiers of the cottages to access their backs. From the earliest times this took the form of nothing but a footpath, close up against the fence erected by John Idiens, just wide enough for the coal man to get his pony and cart up. Some tenants or owners kept this track clear, others did not, and I am told that parts of it resembled a path, somewhat over grown, and other parts looked more like a track. Produce, grown by the householders in the garden, was grown right up to this path, as in fact, the path cut through what was the gardens. But over time the various owners have widened it to form a track of about 12 feet width, to allow vehicular access, to enable cars to be parked off the street [many owners now have garages at the back], but maintaining a right of way for all.

In the very early days, 1906 onwards, the address of the fourteen properties was given as 1 to 14 Stockey Piece Cottages, Bully Brook Road, Badsey. This was the address used in 1912 when the properties were sold off. But this seems to have been changed very soon after to number 1 to 14 Cotswold View, Bully Brook Road Badsey, but it is likely that either of the addresses were in use at the same time.

By 1959 the address was of the form ‘number’ Cotswold View Willersey Road Badsey. But the numbers changed from number 1 to 14, and took the numbers 24 to 50 Cotswold View Willersey Road. This was obviously part of a greater number changing scheme, and was to take account of the ‘gap’ between number Stanhope house, and the first cottage number 24.

By 1968 the houses in the road were renumbered yet again, with gaps in the numbering to allowing for infill building, this was obviously part of a greater number changing scheme, and was to take account of the ‘gap’ between Stanhope house, and the first cottage number 24, thus Cotswold View was numbered from 34 to 60 [plus number 62 the new stone house called Lisbon House].

One interesting point arose over this revision. The piece of land between number 24 and 34 very soon had two Bungalows built on two of the parcels of land and given the number 30 & 32. When Mrs. Dyke, who was formally living at number 32 Cotswold View Willersey Road Badsey, bought her brand new bungalow higher up the hill, the bungalow was given the same number 32 Willersey Road [the house she vacated now numbered 42], she therefore found it easy to remember her address and did not need to tell the post office to deliver elsewhere. A pair of semi detached houses were subsequently built and give the number 26 and 28 Willersey Road.

To make it easier in reading the following piece, I intend using the present day system of numbering.

Cotswold View
A close look at the photograph shows that the ‘hill’ does not seem as steep as the present day hill. It would seem that the road makers of the 1920’s formed a steeper hill, perhaps to help protect the houses when, and if Bully Brook flooded. It is recollected that about 1926, the children, on leaving school would go and watch the road men working at laying ‘tar’ on the road, then throwing Chippings on to the road by shovel and steam rollers rolling over the road pressing the Chippings into the ‘tar’. The steam roller was kept on the Stockey for the duration of the job. Certainly there doesn’t seem enough height to have tiers of steps to numbers 11 to 14 as there are today. And beyond the bridge, the road to Willersey seems somewhat narrower than it does today. At the bottom right can be seen the ‘Smithy’.

The man driving his father David’s pony and cart up the hill was Tom Harris who lived at number 58 Willersey Road. It was summer time too, we can see many windows opened up, and Tom driving the cart, is in his shirtsleeves.

Note too, the little girl peering over the hedge of what I think was number 8 Cotswold View [forty eight Willersey Road], assuming the photograph was taken at a similar time as the other snaps of the village [about 1915] it may have been Lillian Margaret Woodward, the daughter of William and Lizzie Woodward, who were living there before October 1916. Another interesting feature is the decorative stone coloured brick design at first floor level throughout the Terrace, an idea that may have been copied from the school and school house [Stanhope House built in 1900 also had this design]. Note the last four houses with their roofs stepped ‘up’ instead of the more usual ‘down’ when on a hill.

Of the fourteen houses that entered the war of 1914/18, two of the bread winners, and a son of a household lost their lives in that awful conflict. Out of a total of twenty seven Badsey men who lost their lives in the war, three of them were men living in this terrace known as Cotswold View, that's one in nine.

RIP

Corporal Cecil Henry Byrd of the Machine Gun Corp. 3 Cotswold View Bully Brook Road.
Private Richard F Cole of the Worcestershire Regiment, 12 Cotswold View Bully Brook Road
Private Albert Ernest Yeates of the Worcestershire Regiment, 7 Cotswold View Bully Brook Road.

A Stone Plaque is erected in the church to the memory of the 27 brave boys and men of the parish, who gave their lives in the great war.

There were also some five young men, who lived in the terrace: Raymond Charles Ballard; John Thomas Harris; Richard Hartwell; Cecil Jefferies and William Malin, who came out of the war with varying degrees of incapacity due to their wounds.

There is a story that on the completion of the sale of one of the houses for what was a lot of money, Victor Cockerton, a noted Market Gardener, who by now owned part of the remaining Stockey [and was the tenant of the remainder] remarked that in or about 1906 he could have bought the fourteen houses for £46 each, a total of £644. A caveat to that is, so the story goes, that his wife would not agree to him taking on a mortgage to buy them, but she would let him buy more garden land.

Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War the occupants of the houses built on ‘The Stockey’ which included Stanhope house, had new neighbours. Not only did evacuees arrive in the village, but the army also came, and the barns and outbuildings were used to house the troops. As Ted Wheatley notes “just after Dunkirk a convoy of lorries full of tired dirty soldiers arrived in the village. The officer in charge was soon all round the houses looking for help with baths and hot water and for farmers with barns and clean straw for the soldiers to sleep on”. The Nissen Hut on The Stockey was one such building pressed into use and used as a Billet by the men [in the lee of the shed in Stanhope House gardens]. Its hard to imagine it now. The government, not knowing how many houses there were in the land, had a survey carried out during the war years. Two men were deputed to walk around the village and count up the number of houses. The two men so deputed were those local stalwarts Frank and Dick Caswell, and their tally came to 365. This is remembered by many people as it coincided with the number of days in the year.

On New Years Eve in the year 1989, there was an event that affected all fourteen households in the terrace [and the detached house known as Lisbon House], with it impacting more on some than on others. In the Autumn of 1989 there was talk of a National Ambulance Drivers strike, which duly came to pass, and, at the time of the incident the strike was in place and the job of ambulance men had been, once more, given to our hard stretched soldiers and airmen.

In the early afternoon of that New Years Eve between two and three o’clock, a car was being driven up the hill [with Cotswold View Terrace on the left], control was lost..... and the peace of the winters afternoon was shattered by the squeal of brakes, the sound of rending metal and smashing of glass. The car crashed into and demolished the wooden fence at number 50 Willersey Road, careered into the electricity pole and the wall next door at number 48, sending the bricks of the wall flying everywhere, demolishing the pole and causing a blackout to the houses and plunging the place into semi gloom if not darkness. It continued its destructive path and smashed into the front wall of number 46, again sending bricks flying everywhere, heavy objects hitting the doors, thudding into walls, sound of smashing glass.......the car came to a halt..... then silence.... chaos .....panic .... what was happening?

The frightened householders poured out to find what was going on .... the road and house fronts were full of smashed glass, splintered wood and broken bricks lying everywhere. Someone phoned for the emergency services, some one else dashed up to my house to ask my wife to attend, to assist as the lady driver seemed in a bad way. She went down to the scene of the accident and quickly realised that she could do nothing other than comfort the driver, who had at least broken a leg. The Soldier boys arrived in their Green Goddess and attended to the driver, extricating her from her car, as it was explained to me, “as if she was a squaddie” and drove her off in the Green Goddess to the hospital. The car driver was in plaster for months.

The electricity pole as it was demolished caused a local blackout to all fourteen houses in the terrace and Lisbon House lost power. My house higher up the hill was not affected, in fact the mince pies my wife had been making continued in the oven at the time she was out of the house. The electricity board’s emergency team arrived in due course having been summoned to the scene, and promptly closed off the road with barriers and erected floodlights and directed them onto the terrace to enable work to be carried out. The board workers were, I am told, marvellous, working all night, looking after the comforts of those who had suffered, providing hot water, to those who did not have gas. The supply was apparently restored sometime during the course of the night. Of course the electric cables were taken underground from that time on, and there is no longer a pole in the front of number 48.

But can you imagine shaving by the light of a candle, a bit of a hit and miss affair, the tying of a tie, the finding of the correct pair of socks, plus of course trying to comb your hair, getting dressed in strange garb, then trying to sneak out of the house in your fancy dress, only to be bathed in the glow of 1000 watt lamps and receive the hoots of amusement of the repair men, half of whom knew you.

Note

The Various Electoral reform acts, leading on from the great reform of 1832, had, by the turn of the nineteenth century, given the vote to every male adult householder who paid an annual rental of £10 or all those holding land valued at £10. Male lodgers paying £10 for unfurnished rooms were also granted the vote. However, nearly 40 per cent of adult males in the United Kingdom were still excluded. i.e.. those who had not paid rates, those on poor relief, sons living at home, servants living in the homes of their employers, and those whose work involved the frequent changes of address that made registration difficult, were not eligible to vote. And of course women were still denied it.

The Representation of the People Act 1918 ensured universal adult male suffrage in the UK, based, for the first time, on a simple six month residency qualification, and votes were given to women over thirty on the old occupancy basis, if they or their husbands were householders. Provision was made for the first time, for absent voters.

In 1928 the process of democracy was completed with the lowering of the voting age for women to 21, with the same six month residency qualification as for men.

In effect if a man filled in the form by October the tenth, then he was in the electoral register from February the following year till February twelve months on. He would then have to fill in his form in the October as before. This applied to everyone from 1928.

But one can see from the above that from 1905 to 1907, when people were moving into the terrace, that there should be an entry for every house, as they all had to pay 4 shillings or more per week rent. But many choose not to fill in the form, for whatever reason, others may not have been able to fill it in, at other times a house may not have had people living in it, and at yet other times, people may not have been living in the house for the required six months, thus we have many gaps in the record. But after WW1 things improved and the record is less patchy. And the history of the house occupancy is easier to trace.

No electoral registers were produced for 1916 and 1917 and 1940 to 1944 due to the two World Wars.
 

The Finance (1909-1910) Act (10 Edw. VII, c.8) provided for the levy and collection of a duty on the increment value of all land in the United Kingdom. The main object of the Act was to tax that part of the capital appreciation of real property which was attributable to the site itself, i.e. excluding that arising from crops, buildings and improvements paid for by the owners. In this way, private owners were required to surrender to the State part of the increase in the site value of their land which resulted from the expenditure of public money on communal developments such as roads or public services.

Increment value duty, as this levy was called, was based on the difference between the amount of two valuations. Section 26(1) of the Act required the Board of Inland Revenue to ascertain the site value of all land in the United Kingdom as on 30 April 1909. This value constituted the "datum line" for the purposes of increment value duty. Any subsequent sale or grant of a lease, or transfer of an interest in a piece of land, or the subsequent death of a land-owner, provided the occasion for a potential payment of increment value duty; the site value at that date had then to be determined.

The final record, compiled after the survey was completed, was written up in small bound volumes called Field Books. These are now in The National Archives and form the series Valuation Office: Field Books (IR58). The amount of information entered in the Field Books varies considerably, but usually includes the names of owner and occupier; the owner's interest (freehold, copyhold, etc.); details of tenancy (term and rent); and the area covered by the property. Other details recorded may include the date of erection of buildings, number of rooms, state of repair, liability for rates, insurance and repairs, date(s) of previous sale(s) and, sometimes, a sketch-plan of the property. Figures entered for the purpose of valuation normally include the market value of fee simple of the whole property and the market value of the site divested of structures, timber and plants.

And of course Badsey, including Cotswold View [Willersey Road] was included; the fourteen houses of Cotswold View were assessed on Wednesday the sixteenth of May 1912. Thirteen of the houses had an area of 200 square yards within its curtailage, with number 14 having five times that at 1000 square yards. The fourteen houses all had a gross market value of Seven pounds and a rateable value of 5 pounds 12 shilling, the three bed roomed households were charged 11 pounds 1 shilling per annum and the two bed roomed houses were charged 10 pound 8 shilling, number 14 with its 1000 square yards, though rated the same as the others had a rental of 13 pounds. All had weekly tenancy terms.

34 Willersey Road [1 Cotswold View]

The first owner of number 32 [and 34] Willersey Road was Alfred Sparrow. An Indenture of February the twenty seventh 1912 shows that he completed the purchase of the two houses on that date from the United Counties Bank, who were acting for the beneficial owners, John Idiens & Sons. Alfred Sparrow, was a market gardener of Badsey, in 1901 he was living at Summerfield Cottage in Badsey fields Lane, with Lucy his wife, and Louis Henry and Rose, two of his children. He was born in the last quarter of 1848 at Church Lench, his wife Lucy was from Steyning, in Sussex, and was born about 1855. The tenant of 32 Willersey road at that time was Owen Teal.

This is all confirmed by the land valuation tax of 1912, whch shows that Alfred Sparrow was the owner and that Owen Teal was his tenant. The description of the propery for the tax was as follows ‘Brick & Tile Cottage in good repair - 3 Bedrooms (one over WC & coal house of next house). - Living Room. Brick Kitchen & Pantry Coal House and Water Closet – 6 years old.’

An indenture of the fourteenth of February 1934 between the same Alfred Sparrow (vendor) of the one part, and Horace Frederick Wheatley of the second part, (purchaser) whereby Alf Sparrow, for a consideration of £245, sold both number 32 and 34 Willersey road to Horace Frederick Wheatley, a Butcher from Badsey. Horace Wheatley was an Evesham man, he was born in 1876 son of Arthur Josiah and Fanny Elisabeth Wheatley in High street Evesham. In the autumn of 1898 he had married Lucy Kate Hunt at Alcester. In April 1901 he was living in Bewdley street Evesham, where his butchers shop was located, with Lucy Kate and his small son Alfred. But soon after he bought number 1 Old Post Office Lane here in Badsey, part of which he converted into a Butchers shop. He employed a man to run the Evesham shop while he himself managed the Badsey shop. His growing family lived in the house associated with the shop. He was advertising this new butchery business here in Badsey from January 1902 to at least 1919 in the parish magazine.

Some three months after buying the cottages Horace Wheatley died. He had gone to Andoverford Market with his son Enoch and had suffered a stroke, he was taken back home but died soon after on the thirteenth of May 1934. By his will his wife, Lucy Kate was vested as tenant for life and was to “have the use and enjoyment or be in receipt of the net income arising from the properties during her life” number 32 and 34 Willersey road, now belonged to Lucy Kate Wheatley.

Owen Teal was most certainly the first tenant, paying his rent to the United bank. Owen was the son of William and Rachel Whitfield Teal and he was christened on the twenty fifth day of August 1872. By Christmas 1895 he had married Elisabeth Best at Kings Norton. Elizabeth Best was a sister of Sarah Best from Honeybourne, who was the wife of Thomas Sadler [late of the Stone House (Badsey Hall) and then of Bully Brook, the house on the left after the brook]. And in 1901 they, and their young daughter Mary, were living at Badsey Hall with her sister Sarah and her family. But Owen and Elizabeth appears in the 1907 electoral roll for this address, which means that he was living at number 34 Willersey road in October 1906. This is doubly confirmed, firstly by the 1911 census which shows the small family living there and in 1912 when Alf Sparrow bought the house, which shows that Owen and his family were safely settled in, and secondly by the Land valuation act of 1912.

Owen appears regularly in the Electoral register and is joined by his wife Elisabeth’s name in 1920. They only had the one child, Mary, who was baptised on the sixteenth of 1896 As an adult Mary spent a long period in what is now Avonside Hospital, and every Sunday that she was there, without fail Owen Teal would walk into Evesham down the ‘Back Badsey Lane’ to the Hospital, spend the allotted hour with his daughter and walk all the way back again. Mary died in 1935 aged thirty eight.

Elisabeth herself did not long survive her daughter, she died aged seventy, and was buried, in the same grave as her daughter in September 1940. Owen had a cross and a headstone placed on the grave.

Known as ‘Uncle’ because of his long white beard, he was widely respected in the village. It is remembered that he used to visit his daughter Mary’s grave in the churchyard, and after 1940, his wife's too. He used to tie his corduroy trousers up with leather thongs, put a bag on his back full of his 'victuals', and stride out, always in the middle of the road, towards Willersey where he used to work. Like many people in the village, he was an ‘evening’ market gardener, working on his piece of land at Hurst’s Way after his day’s work was done. It is also said that he never altered his watch to take account of British Summertime, not even during the war years when it was double summer time.

Owen Teal was still living at number 34 in October 1950, but died in May 1951 at number 5 Avonside. He was brought back to Badsey to be buried, on the sixteenth of May 1951, he was aged 78, and when he died the parish magazine reported that “we shall not readily forget his unfailing old world courtesy”. A headstone is erected to his memory.

According to neighbours, a widow Wheatley was the next to live at number thirty four, along with her son Arthur Sears. This was, in fact, Norah Wheatley, who had been married to Bill Sears, but had divorced, and had taken to using her maiden name. She was the sister of Ted Wheatley, of the Poplars Garage [sadly missed], the daughter of Lucy Kate and the late Horace Wheatley, and was born in 1911.

There are no entries in the Electoral Register for 1951 to 1955 for this house, so it is difficult to be precise about the dates and people living there. But Norah did marry again, to a chap called Leonard Spencer, they both appear in the 1956 electoral register, Norah and Leonard Spencer, so they were married before October 1955. They were the tenants to Norah’s mother, and remained there till sometime after October 1956, when they moved away to Astwood Bank. Norah Spencer died and was brought back to Badsey, where she was buried on the twenty-second of March 1978, aged 67. Leonard, her second husband, joined her on the ninth of June 1997.

The year 1957 saw Clifford and Nina Lippitt living there, they were there before the autumn of that year, their son Steve was born there in December 1957 [it was still number 1 Cotswold View at that date], and their daughter Victoria. They lost their four month old infant daughter, in December of 1961. Nina’s maiden name was Wheatley before she married in 1952, and the couple moved into her Grannie's house, [it was her aunt who had lived there earlier and who married Leonard Spencer]] By October 1963 they had moved into Sands Lane. Nina’s grandmother had died on the eighteenth of March 1962, and her executors were applying some pressure for Nina to vacate number 34, as more could be made with vacant possession. So Nina and Clifford looking around and seeing a house in Sands lane that they liked asked her father about it. The house in Sands Lane belonged to James Gus Dore, a market gardener, whose wife was expecting work to be carried out to ‘their house’ to enable them to move in. But Nina’s father, and one other grower, had bid each other up, to buy the house off Jim Dore, and Nina’s dad bid the highest for it, for his daughter to move into. So one disappointed lady and one happy couple.

With the house now empty, the Lippit family having moved out, the trustees of the late Horace Wheatley’s will, put number 34 Willersey road up for auction, and the sale was completed in January 1964. The new owners bought the yard of land off the Dore brothers in 1967, which they formed into a side and rear entry to their house. They moved out before October 1968 having sold the house.

A new family moved in, but they did not stay long, in the summer of 1970 the house was on the market again.

The formalities were completed and the contract signed on the twenty eighth of August 1970, and a new family moved in. They didn’t stay long either, having sold the house in 1973.

The McClement family were the new owners. The deeds were signed on the fourth of July 1973, and the family moved in that month. Bob and Jane MCClement had returned from Kenya in February of that year, and had been staying with family in Dorsington whilst seeking somewhere to live. They had a son Duncan and a daughter Isabell, who used to call Mrs. Dyke, who lived next door in the bungalow ‘Nana.’ Bob MCClement worked at the Chipping Campden Food research unit.

The following year in May Mr MCClement received planning permission to replace the widows of the house, and to form a porch over the front door. The work was duly carried out, and a small canopied porch now protects the visitor from the rain. Over time the couple decided that the house was now to small for their growing family, and in 1978 decided to put it up for sale. On completion of which they removed to Morton in Marsh.

Hugh Blundstone, a work colleague of Bob MCClement agreed to buy the house and the documents were duly signed on the twelfth of May 1978, and Mr Blundstone still lives there. Hugh was born in Yorkshire, but left the county when he was two. On leaving school he worked at H P Bulmers at Hereford. Later he took up a research post at Camden Food Research Unit after gaining his BSc at London University. He has lived in Malvern, and was lodging in Horsebridge here in Badsey in 1961 some years before he finally settled here, and at one spell lived at Hatton.

Since buying number 34 Willersey Road Hugh has rebuilt the garage and enclosed the lean to outside of the kitchen, to provide a utility room. A keen plantsman, he pursues this hobby which keeps him very busy, but not too busy to keep him away from his other interests, he is also a keen fisherman, and train enthusiast.

36 Willersey Road [2 Cotswold View]

There is a story that Number 34 and 36 Willersey road [1 and 2 Cotswold View] had been bought by the grandfather of Philip Sparrow, and that they were offered for sale to Walter Charles Sadler (but always known as Jerry), for the sum of £100, but, Jerry didn't have a hundred pennies they were so poor. That was a shame, as it was a very good offer, as in 1912 the going rate was £100 a house.

It seems possible that the story was true, as the first owner of number 2 [and number 1] Stockey Piece Cottages was indeed Alfred Sparrow (after the builder of the houses). An Indenture of February the twenty seventh 1912 shows that he completed the purchase of the two houses on that date from the United Counties Bank, who were acting for the beneficial owners, John Idiens & Sons. At the time of the purchase by Alfred Sparrow, the document states that at the time of the sale a man by the name of Martin was the tenant, but that must have been a mistake, the tenants name was Malin.

The Valuation taken in May 1912 shows us that Mr Sparrow was the owner and a Mr Malin was his tenant, the house was described as being a ‘Brick & Tile Cottage in good repair. 2 Bedrooms - Living Room. Kitchen & Pantry - Water Closet & Coal House.’

Alfred Sparrow owned the two houses till 1934, and an indenture of the fourteenth of February that year confirms that the above offer to Jerry Sadler could have been made. On that day Alfred Sparrow, a market gardener of Badsey, sold the two houses, along with the right of passage from Willersey road [Bully Brook road] to the rear of the houses and the right to use and maintain the drains subject only to them paying a ‘fair proportion of the sum of five shillings to Alice Kate Bell or her assigns, and also subject to the covenant made in 1904 between the executors of the Lords Estates and John Idiens. Horace Frederick Wheatley was the buyer, a butcher from Badsey, he paid the sum of £245 for the two houses. Jerry Sadler could have made, for those times a tidy sum if he had bought them for £100 from Alf Sparrow.

Horace Wheatley died on the thirteenth of May 1934, and by his will his wife, Lucy Kate was vested as tenant for life and was to “have the use and enjoyment or be in receipt of the net income arising from the properties during her life” . Amongst other properties left to her by her husband, were these two under discussion and another two [vis. 4 in total] in this terrace of houses:-

Number 1 and 2 Stockey Piece Bully Brook Road [34 and 36 Willersey Road]
and number 9 and 10 Stockey Piece Bully Brook Road [50 and 52 Willersey Road]

The Malin family had a number of homes in their early marriage, in Honeybourne and Wickhamford, but they were at number 36 Willersey Road according to the census of the second of April 1911, which shows that 39 year old John Malin, a Market Gardener labourer, was at home in number 2 Cotswold View along with his wife Louisa, and children William who was born at Honeybourne, Walter born at Wickhamford; Thomas; Helen; Charles and Jack, aged 3 months, these last five children were all apparently born in Badsey. They were still there in 1916 when their son Charles enrolled in the Mixed Department of Badsey School. There tenancey is also confirmed by the entry in October 1917 of the electoral register form. This was the first entry in the electoral register for number 36. John had been born Walter Frederick Malin in Badsey in 1869, the illegitimate son of Dinah Malin. John married Louisa sometime in the later 1890s. They had five sons and two daughters: William (1897), William Malin is another boy who fought in the war, but despite many wounds and being gassed he did survive it. William was followed by Walter (1899), Thomas (1903), Nellie (1904), Charles (1909), Jack (1911) and Evelyn (1919). In 1905 and 1906 when Walter and Thomas started school, they were living in Wickhamford, but by April 1908, when Nellie started school, they were back in Badsey, but no address is given. The first time I have an address is at the census of 1911, and it is also confirmed in 1916 when Charles was enrolled at Badsey School. They were still there in 1920, John; Louisa; Walter Frederick; William John, but had moved out before October of that year, probably when they moved into a new council house at 3 Synehurst. Walter Frederick ‘John’ Malin died and was buried, in May 1927, followed two years later by his wife Louisa, who died and was buried in June 1929 aged 53.

Charles ‘Jerry’ Sadler, 1946, 36 Willersey Road
Charles ‘Jerry’ Sadler, 1946, 36 Willersey Road

Charles Walter [known as Jerry] and Amy Sadler were the next tenants. They were living there in October 1920. Walter was the son of Thomas and Sarah Sadler. Walter and Amy had a daughter Lucy. In 1933, the 13 year old Lucy was one of the school children who wrote about her life within a market gardening community. She later married a William Moran and had children. From the thirtieth of October 1937 to the ‘Girls Friendly Society’ the subscription being accepted and Lucy’s members guide book being initialled by Miss Ethel Narcisse Sladden in receipt. Lucy had been a member since joining on the first of September 1933. It was a society of friendship and recreation in which all girls might share, bound together in a fellowship of Christian Love and service. [see Girls Friendly Society article]

‘The Stone house’ wherein lived Walter's parents and his siblings was let as a tenant to Thomas Sadler by the Lords Estates, and in the first decade of 1900 it was coveted by Arthur Jones, a wealthy Antiquarian, and to obtain vacant possession the Lords estates built a house on six acres of land, the house known as Bully Brook House is on the east side of Willersey Road up the bank after the brook itself, for Thomas Sadler and his family. Thomas and his family moved in May 1909. The house plus the land cost £900.

On the death of Sarah Sadler in 1920, Thomas and his adult sons were looked after by Jerry’s (Charles Walter’s) wife Amy, who used to trudge up to Bully Brook every day to carry out her tasks. Old Thomas Sadler the patriarch died, aged 88, in 1938, and about three years after Thomas’s death Walter Charles and Amy Sadler moved into the house with his brothers. Amy continued to keep house for them, and one by one the men died, as did Charles Walter himself, and Amy Sadler became the new owner of Bully Brook House. She lived there untill she died in 1969. Lucy Moran, their married daughter became the new owner of the house, she and Bill had children. William Moran died in 1984 and Lucy remained there until her death on the twentyfirst day of December 2005, the burial service was held on Tuesday the third day of January 2006, followed by interment in Badsey churchyard.

It would appear that a family called Butler were next to live at number 2 Cotswold terrace [36 Willersey Road] as tenants, Percy, a widower, and his daughter Irene, were living there in October 1944, but more likely earlier than that, probably from when the Sadlers moved out. Percy was the son of Alfred and Julia Butler of Aldington, he was baptised on the thirtieth day of December 1877 at St James’ church. In April 1881 his mother, Julia, took him and his brother, Wilson Henry, to stay in Aston Birmingham, they were staying as visitors at 15 Dawson Street, in the house of Charles and Ann Norwood. [I have not made a familial connection, although Julia may have come from Sutton Coldfield]

Neighbours say that ‘Old’ Mr Butler lived there along with daughter Rene, and Emma one of the children of John and Florence Collett [she was Florence Davis before her marriage, and was a Welsh girl, John was a Badsey man ] of 1 Belmont Terrace [12a Willersey Road].

Emma Florence Collett was born about 1925. She was aged thirteen or so when she started work at Brewers Bakery, at the corner of Chapel street and what is now Brewers Lane [named after James Brewer who owned the Bakery there] she used to deliver the bread in a two wheeled bread cart. Percy Butler had a son. Percy Alfred Raymond Butler was born in December 1905, he worked for the MEB. He was married to Dora Keen, who was the daughter of Alice [nee Lampitt] and Bill Keen. They owned and she ran the grocery shop on the Bretforton road, and sold ice cream etc. to the local children. Emma Collet went to work for Ray and Dora Butler in the shop, and was also living in the family home there above the shop. But later Emma was installed with Ray’s father in number 36 Willersey Road during the war years. Ray and Dora Butler moved into Evesham to Lichfield Avenue.

In October 1948 Percy and Irene Butler and Emma Collett are noted in the Electoral Register. But Irene is missing from it in 1952 which suggests that Renee Butler having married had moved away. The 79 year old Percy died on the eighth of October 1958 leaving Emma Collett living alone in the house after his death. Percy Butler was buried with his wife, Lilian Rosa, and a cross and kerbs are around their grave.

The photograph shows Emma Collet playing cricket, with Percy Butler as the wicket keeper, in the back of number 36 Willersey Road on the twenty eighth of June 1958, some three & a half months before Percy Butler died
The photograph shows Emma Collet playing cricket, with Percy Butler as the wicket keeper, in the back of number 36 Willersey Road on the twenty eighth of June 1958, some three & a half months before Percy Butler died.

Two years later the trustees of the Will of Horace Wheatley sold number 2 Stocky Piece to Emma Florence Collett, this occurred on the seventeenth of October 1960 for the sum of £800. Lucy Kate Wheatley, widow of Horace, died in March 1962, and was buried with her husband and three of their children, Their grave is surrounded by kerbs and at the head is a headstone.

People say that Emma Collett and Ray Butler may have been having an affair, that had been going on for many years, Ray did spend much of his time at number 36, so much so that visitors to the house on arriving would always look at the clock and the two figures at the side of it. Not to see the time but to check on ‘how friendly’ or otherwise Ray and Emma were to each other at that time. If the two figures were facing each other, then Emma and Ray were talking and in friendly mood towards each other, if the couple were feeling frosty to each other then the figures were turned away with their backs to each other.

Dora Butler, Ray’s wife, died about 1980, and Ray sold up and moved back to Badsey. He bought a bungalow in the Poplars, and Emma was in the process of selling number 36, and moving into Ray’s bungalow.

Emma Collett had often spoken of her desire for the daughter of one of the neighbours in the Poplars, to buy her house and this was articulated to the couple concerned, over the garden fence, and in the event she had her wish.

Emma died on the twenty eighth of January 1983. She died at Ray’s Bungalow in the Poplars, to where she had moved, or soon would be moving. Ray had been out of the house for some time, and on his return he found her in a chair. She died of heart failure, and it seems that some of her siblings, and her mother Florence, had also died this way, and all in their fifties. In her will dated September 1966 [which was witnessed by Ida Lucy Hartwell, a next door neighbour of Emma’s (Ida Lucy was the mother of Donald Hartwell of 35 Willersey Road)] she had nominated Percy Alfred Raymond Butler as her executor. As such and acting for Emma’s estate he sold number 36 Willersey road to Stephen and Angela Waters who had been living at number 10 The Poplars, on the twenty fifth day of February 1983. Ray Butler executor himself lived at number 12 The Poplars. He did not survive long after Emma’s death, he died and was buried on the fifteenth day of January 1985. A plaque is to be found in the Cricket Club, in memory of his benevolence to the club.

The couple who bought Emma’s house, Angie and Steve Waters are local village people, Steve is the son of Derek and Jennifer Waters and is an Engineer, and Angela is the daughter of Dennis and Emmeline Hughes of The Poplars, and works with the infants at Badsey Nursery School. They bought the house and moved into it in September 1983. About 1991 the couple, who were of course living in one of the two bedroomed type house, decided that they would have the roof space converted into a third bedroom. The staircase leading to this third bedroom took up a small part of the main bedroom, but there was then a room for each of their two children, Philip and David. The family are still living there along with the family pet Lucy.

38 Willersey Road [3 Cotswold View]

The first occupants were most likely Charles and Clara Ballard. Charlie Ballard appeared in the 1907 electoral register, thus he was living there in October 1906. Charles Ballard was christened on the twentieth day of December 1874, the son of Charles and Ellen Ballard of Badsey. Charles had married Clara Griffin, of Broadway, in the early summer of 1898. In 1901 Charles and Clara were living in The Leys with their two year old son Raymond Charles. But by August 1906 when young Raymond enrolled in the Mixed Department of Badsey School, they were living at 38 Willersey Road. He and Clara had the one son and three daughters; Norah (1901), Gertrude Clara (1904) and Winifred Emily (1907) who only lived some six months.

The April census of 1911 shows the Ballard family at number 38 Willersey road, mother and father, who had been married for 13 years, with all three surviving children at home, Raymond; Nora Mary and Gertrude Clare, there was also a lodger living there, a 23 year old Dorsington man George Sandford.

The assessment under the 1912 valuation described the house as follows ‘Brick & Tile Cottage in good repair - 3 Bedrooms (one over WC & coal house of next house). - Living Room. Brick Kitchen & Pantry Coal House and Water Closet – 6 years old.’ And showed us that Mr Ballard was the tenant, the owner was still John Idiens & Sons, the Builders of the houses. The house apparently did not sell at the 1912 auction.

According to the electoral register they were still in the house in October 1913, but they appear to have left some time earlier (the lag between filling in the form and its publication) because William & Bessie Byrd from number 44 Willersey Road had moved in, changing from a 2 to a 3 bed roomed house due to family size. The electoral register of 1924 shows that the Ballards were living in Old Post Office Lane. (Their son, Raymond Charles, at the latter end of the war, having been sick in Hospital, returning to the lines after an illness, almost immediately was wounded in the arm.)

William Henry Byrd, his wife Bessie, and their eight children had moved into Number 38 Willersey Road before October 1913. William Byrd was a Bretforton Byrd, he had married Bessie Shepherd in the winter of 1895, and before moving into number 38 Willersey Road they had been living in a big brick house in the middle of Bretforton at the Cross, close to “The Fleece”, where William’s grandmother, Ann, was described as a Beer House Keeper in 1881. William was a buyer of fruit and vegetables. Their five sons and three daughters were: Cecil (1896-1918), Ida Lucy (1897-1972), Sidney William (1898), Winifred (1900-1912), Cristobel (1901), Cyril (1903), Roy (1904-1915) and Freda Bessie (1905).

Their son Cecil was gassed in the first world war and died aged 22 in August 1918 at Norton Barracks. Roy and his sister Winifred died at a young age. Sidney Byrd married at a ripe old age, he was turned 50 when he married a girl called ?? Warner, her sister was the mother of Alvin Clinton, late of ‘Clintiles’ in Port street. On the death of his wife Bessie in 1932, William Byrd moved to Witney in Oxfordhire, it was there that he died in 1932 and it was there that he was buried.

Bessie Byrd (nee Shepherd) 38 Willersey Road
Bessie Byrd (nee Shepherd), 38 Willersey Road

Ida Lucy, one of the couple’s three daughters, had married Richard Hartwell, who had been wounded in the left arm, right knee and back, in the later stages of the first world war. And at the time of Ida’s father's death, Richard and Ida had been given notice to quit the house where they lived, number 1 Sands Lane, so they approached the owner of 3 Cotswold Terrace, who agreed that they could move in, and they were living there by October of 1932. From about 1949 for two or three years their daughter Marjorie and her husband, Cyril Andrew, lived with them. Richard and Ida were tenants of Mrs [Edith Amelia?] Emms of Badsey Fields Lane, then her estate till 1963 /64, when they moved into their own house, 27 Willersey Road.

Emily Hartwell, a schoolteacher at Badsey school, and sister to Richard, lived at number 11 Belmont Terrace [35 Willersey Road], and dying intestate, the house was vested in her brother Richard. On Emily’s death, Richard & Ida’s son Donald, and his wife Joan, moved back into the house 11 Belmont Terrace, having lived there for some years when they were first married. There was another son, Leslie, to Richard and Ida, and Richard, wishing to leave both sons a near identical property, when the opportunity arose bought number 7 Belmont Terrace [27 Willersey Road] and had removed there himself by October 1963. Ida Lucy died in 1972 and Richard in 1976. The house was left to Les Hartwell their second son, and number 35 Willersey Road to Donald. There is a stone erected to their memory at the head of their grave.

By October 1963 the Hartwell’s old house had a new tenant or owner who lived there until some time after October 1965.

James Arthur Dore, the son of Bill and Eileen Dore of Stanhope House, was the next to live at number 3 Cotswold View with Gillian Mary his wife. Gillian Mary Hudson was a Willersey girl, and they were married on the third of October 1965. They were living at number 38 Willersey Road before October 1966, when they filled in the electoral form. They were still living there in October 1968 but unfortunately the marriage ended in divorce and they had left number 38 sometime in 1969. Jim Dore went back home to mum at Stanhope House. He later remarried, and had three sons, James; Spencer and Stephen. The family emigrated to Canada.

They were followed by Sue and Ian Symmonds who moved in on their marriage in 1969, but needing space for his growing business they sold up and moved to Badsey Fields Lane in 1976. Sue was born in Clacton on Sea, but her parents were originally from Willersey. Her father was alive and well and still living in Binyon Close untill 2010. Ian died young, and after some ten or so years his widow, Sue, married again andwent to live in Evesham. She died recently.

New owners took up residence by October 1976 and probably remained there until sometime before October 1981.

The house changed hands before October 1981.

The house changed hands again by October 1982, when there were new people in number 38.

The house was sold on for the third time in three years, when it was sold in 1983 to Lydia Jane Clement.

Jane is a Bretforton girl but was born in Honeybourne. Her father, Bob Simmonds, was in the RAF and based at Honeybourne during the war, and about 1945 he married Joyce Jelfs. Jane is the youngest of three children. She in turn married and had two children, but unfortunately the marriage foundered and she bought number 38 Willersey road in 1983, complete with bathroom and garage. Though she owned a three bed roomed house, about 1991 she [in tandem with her neighbours at number 34] decided to convert the roof space in the house to provide an extra bedroom. She still lives there with her two children.

40 Willersey Road [4 Cotswold View]

The first known family to occupy number 40 Willersey road were Fitz Collin Jelfs and Amy [nee Fletcher] his wife. The couple were married between July and September 1905, their marriage being registered in Evesham registration district. Fitz’s birth took place early in 1881 at Honeybourne and had been registered at Evesham. The 1881 census shows that his mother was a 22 year old unmarried servant, Catherine Jelfs, who was a boarder in the house of John and Jane Jenkins in Peopleton. Fitz himself was noted as being 3 months old and his relationship to the head of the household is noted as ‘Grand son’. The 1891 census shows that his mother had married a Henry Taylor and Fitz was at home with them and his half siblings in their place at Peopleton. In 1901 he was one of many grooms at Whiston House Allbrighton Shropshire. Amy Florence was the daughter of Thomas and Ann Fletcher of Hartlebury, and the 1901 census shows that she [using her second name of Florence] was a servant to a Physician living at the grange Northfield Worcestershire.

Their two children, Harry Fletcher, born autumn 1906, and George Collin, born late 1909, were both born in Badsey, but were not baptised at St. James’ church. The probability is that the couple moved into number 40 soon after they were married. The 1911 census shows us that 30 year old Fitz was in work as a Gardening Carter, that they had been married for 5 years and had two children during that time, both of whom were still alive. There was also a border living in the house, a 40 year old Bernard Houghton, a market gardeners labourer, who was from Studley.

The Valuation assessor visited in May 1912 and noted that R [R written in error] Jelfs was the tenant of a 2 bedroomed house and that he was a tenant of John Idiens and Sons and described his house as as being a ‘Brick & Tile Cottage in good repair. 2 Bedrooms - Living Room. Kitchen & Pantry - Water Closet & Coal House.’

The Jelfs family vacated the house soon after May the sixteenth 1912, the day of the tax valuation, as Elizabeth Perkins and her son Charles John had moved into number 40 by October 1912, as shown in the Electoral register.

Frederick Perkins married Elisabeth Harris in December 1863, and Charles John was christened on the fifth of August 1877. His father Frederick died in 1890, when Charles was thirteen.

They lived for many years in Baker Lane now known as School Lane [on the site of 12 School Lane] and Elizabeth, with Charles and Tom her sons, were living there in 1901, along with an 11 year old visitor Ellen Perkins, the daughter of James and Hannah Perkins [of Thomas Culls Cottages - now 20 Bretforton road].

He was in Kelly’s Directory of 1912 as a market gardener, and regularly appeared in the electoral registers up to 1930.

His widowed mother was known to the local children as ‘Granny’ Perkins, she lived at number 40, with her bachelor son Charles, he had three surviving siblings, Louise Jane (1865) Thomas (1870) Frederick George William (1872). Louise Jane married George Edwin Jones and they were living in 'Cambia' here in Badsey in 1924. Charles seems to have liked a drink and used to take his black Labrador dog, Jack, for a walk and end up at the pub. The pair of them would wend their way home at 10 o’clock or so, in daylight, and more often than not Charlie would stumble and fall into the ditch opposite numbers 9 to 11 Belmont Terrace. Of course no one could go and help him, the dog would not let people near.

Charles John and his mother Elisabeth were still there in 1929. It was probably his brother Tom who was living at 15 Synehurst with his wife Ellen, and an older brother Frederick George, with his wife Ellen living on the Bretforton road.

‘Granny’ Elisabeth Perkins died and was buried on the third of June 1930, and there are no more entries for this house in the electoral register from October 1930 till October 1932. So it is difficult to say who, if anyone was living in the house from this time. Was John Charles not bothering to fill in the form, was he too busy taking Jack for a walk? Or had he given up the tenancy or sold the house to Fanny Knight, and had she not bothered to fill in the form, in either case, both of them having lost a loved one, may not have been bothered about voting nor filling in the form.

Fanny Knight the widow of Thomas, was next in the house. Fanny and her husband Thomas had once lived at number 54 Willersey road [11 Cotswold View]. But they had moved to Ilmington about 1930 and the bread winner had died in July of that year. The widow moved back to Badsey, to where her extended family still lived and moved into number 40 Willersey road before October of 1932, but may have been there for some time before that. She is shown in the electoral register along with a Daisy Grace Knight, [probably her daughter in law] in February 1933. Before her marriage Fanny was a pupil teacher at Badsey School, and it was her twelve year old daughter Jean, who was one of the children from the school who wrote to Sir John Russell, of Rothamsted Experimental Station, in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. This was a project set up by Mr Frank Amos, the Headmaster, whereby the pupils wrote describing their life in a market gardening district. Young Jean wrote from the woman's perspective as her father had died some three years earlier, she described what her mother did in market gardening terms rather than what a man did. Jean was a great friend of Cicily Hall, the daughter of Walter Hall.

Fanny Knight enjoying the sun in her garden at 40 Willersey Road
Fanny Knight enjoying the sun in her garden at 40 Willersey Road

Fanny’s son, Reginald Knight, joined the Navy when he was 14, he was based at Devonport, and married Daisy Spires. He retired down in Plymouth with the rank of Warrant Officer. His sister Jean, the letter writer, joined the ATS, and married Cyril [Arthur] Rouse from Bretforton who was in the RAF, they were living with her mother for a spell in 1945 to 47, and in June 1945 they had a daughter, Nicholie Jean, who was baptised here at St James. Later they emigrated to Australia or Tasmania. She died of Cancer. Fanny’s other daughter, Gwendoline Vera, married William Martin from Eckington, he had been adopted and took the name of his adoptive parents. They had at least two children Ivor and Roger [recently elected our Parish Councillor] Edna worked in service, at one time with the Lees Milne family of Wickhamford, and later with the Arkwright family, of Lancashire Mills fame, at Willersey.

Widow Knight was still living there in May 1948 and was described as ‘a nice old lady, old fashioned’ She probably remained there till her death in 1956.

A new family was living there by June 1956, and baptised two children from there, but by October 1959 they had moved out of the house.

Brian and Janet Grinnell bought the house and were settled in by the autumn of 1959. Linda their daughter was christened from there in January 1966. The couple remained there till sometime in 1972, and moved into the Poplars here in Badsey, after having sold the house to a clerk of the Estate Agent, [the agent went to look at the house, with the view of putting it on the market, and promptly rang his office to speak to his clerk, who dashed from the office to view the house]

It is not known if this clerk of the estate agent bought the house, but new owners were certainly settled there before October of 1973. They didn’t stay too long though, as they had gone by the Autumn of 1974.

This new couple did stay for a few years and remained there till sometime between October 1978 and October 1979, when it was sold on again.

These people remained at number 40 until sometime before October 1982.

Some time in 1982 Nigel and Nickola Pinkney [nee Cox], after having married early in 1979, bought 40 Willersey Road, their first house together. On viewing the house they found that the house had, sometime earlier, had an extension built on to it where a large kitchen and a dining room had been constructed, plus a bathroom. So, after carrying out some minor decorating they moved in on the second day of October 1982, with them was their first born son Paul. The couple were born and raised in Hampton, and where Paul was born, and there they lived in a flat in their early life together. During their stay they had the roof redone.

Early in January 1983 the couple’s second son, Grant was born. Both boys went to school in Badsey. Like many girls in the village Nicky worked for the growers, tying onions etc., but she was often to be found on ‘The Stockey, with her friend Angela, weeding and feeding the crops etc. The family remained in number 40 for some five years, but seeking a larger home for their growing boys they sold up and moved further up the Willersey Road sometime after October 1987.

Mr and Mrs Pinkney sold the house some time after October 1987 to a couple from Northumberland. They bought the cottage as a second home and they used to spend all of their free time there, They remained the owners for some seventeen or so years, and during that time became familiar figures in the community. They are described as a lovely couple, and once here the car was left in the garage and the local bus was used to ferry them about, the Tuesday market at Morton in Marsh being a favourite place to visit. Not being resident they did not fill in the form to be included in the electoral register.

The house changed hands again in September 2004.

42 Willersey Road [5 Cotswold View]

This house was the first of the fourteen to have a bathroom upstairs. The small bedroom was converted into a bathroom sometime before 1948.

It is probable that the first tenants were William and Kate Sparrow paying their 4/6 a week rent. In 1901 they were living at ‘The Leys’ Badsey [present day 20 Bretforton road] with their only child, Rose Annie. They were certainly living at 42 Willersey road by October 1907 and may even have been there by April 1905 when their daughter, Annie, enrolled in the Mixed Department of Badsey School, but it is possible that the terrace was not fully built at that time, and that the address could refer to the ‘other’ Cotswold View, now known as 13 to 19 Sands Lane. William Sparrow (1878-1956) was born at Church Lench but had moved with his parents to Badsey in the 1880s. He married Kate Collett in 1897 and they had one daughter, Annie, before the 1901 census.

In 1904 they had a son whom they named William Douglas after his father, sadly the little boy William Douglas died in a diphtheria epidemic in February 1909. William Sparrow was one of the Choristers who went to Portsmouth on a Day trip on the twentieth of August 1910 and was an escort to the Ladies of the party who travelled to Littleton station some distance behind the main body of marching men.

The 1911 census shows that the couple had been married for thirteen years and confirms that their son had died, but that 12 year old Rose was at home that Sunday evening with her parents. He was a 32 year old market gardener working on his own account.

The land tax of 1912 shows them living in a 3 bed roomed house paying his £11 1shilling a year rent, but with only 200 square yards associated with the house, he must have had some land within the village for his work. His home had the usual 3 bed roomed house description ‘Brick & Tile Cottage in good repair - 3 Bedrooms (one over WC & coal house of next house) - Living Room. Brick Kitchen & Pantry - Coal House and Water Closet. 6 years old.’

William Sparrow filled in his electoral form in October of 1912, but he and Kate had moved out of the house over the next twelve months, certainly they had vacated the house by October 1913. The couple’s daughter Lillian May was born in 1914 and when she was enrolled at school in 1918 they were living at Linwood Villa. William Sparrow obviously enrolled with the army in 1914, and in April 1915 the news came through that he, Louis Sparrow and John Edwin Knight had been promoted to Lance Corporal. In 1924 the couple were living at number 4 Synehurst.

Harold John Cave and his wife Ethel had moved into the property some five years after they were married, their marriage having taken place in the winter of 1908. A sale on the twenty seventh of February 1912 shows that Harold had bought the house and garden, along with the usual Covenants on that date, from the usual parties, the United Counties Bank etc. He must have bought the property with the Sparrows as the tenants, but within eighteen months he and his family had moved in. He is shown in the electoral register of 1914 as an ‘Ownership Elector’ and his property qualification was ownership of 42 Willersey Road [5 Stocky Piece Cottages]. It would seem that before his marriage he had been living with his in-laws to be, James and Celia Reeves, in their Aldington house, in a furnished first floor bedroom, and that on marriage to Ethel, the couple had formed a second household within the house. Harold must have been paying, at least nominally, £10 a year rent for this room, as he was on the electoral register of that and subsequent years.

Ethel Frances Reeves was born about 1890 to James and Celia Reeves, originally from Blockley, but by 1901 living at Avonvale Terrace Evesham. He was a Railway Bus Driver, and Celia his wife was a Grocer shopkeeper, working on her own account. They had moved to Badsey Fields Lane by 1907. There is an advert in the parish magazine for the year 1907, inserted by a Miss Reeves, a dressmaker of Badsey Fields, it was probably placed there by the seventeen years old Ethel Reeves.

Her husband Harold John Cave (circa 1888-1943) was born at Holdenby, Northamptonshire, the son of John and Julia Cave. This was John Cave’s second marriage and the 1891 census shows that his 25 year old son Richard was also at home, it also shows that he was working as an agricultural labour. But Harold’s mother, Julia Rogers, was from Wickhamford, and she and John Cave were married at Badsey on October 1886, and promptly moved to his home township of Holdenby. Julia Cave returned to live in Badsey after her husband died in the summer of 1898, when Harold John was a boy of ten.

They went to live with Julia’s mother, Eliza Knight, [who had married a second time to John Knight in 1876.] who was then living in Sandford Villa on Badsey Fields Lane. This is confirmed by the 1901 census, which shows Julia was living there with her mother, as was the 13 year old Harold, and a lodger William Sandford. On her mothers death, it seems that she inherited the house, and she was living there in 1924, along with a Lodger, and it is said that he had been living there many years. The Lodger was Charles Binyon.

Harold and Ethel Frances Louise Reeves were married in the first quarter of 1908, and had four daughters: Annie Julia (1908-1908), Frances Jane (1909-1909), Kathleen (1910) and Gladys Evelyn (1915). This is probably one of the four houses which were owned by the Harris family from Bretforton.

Harold and Ethel Cave lived at number 42 Willersey road till at least October 1925, they certainly moved out before October the following year, and went to live with Harold's Mother at Sandford Villa. Charles Binyon was still a lodger there and remained so for many years. This is confirmed by Gladys Evelyn, the youngest child who says that they went to live with her grandmother at Sandford Villa when she was about ten. Harold Cave was the Trainer of Badsey Rangers Football team in the 1920’s.

Julia Cave died on May the eleventh 1934, and kerbs were put around the grave. Harold in his turn appears to have inherited the house from his mother. He also had a piece of land in Badsey Fields Lane, which he worked as a market gardener. Harold Cave died in January 1943 and was buried in the churchyard. Kerbs were erected around the grave.

Herbert George and Lillian Kate Field were the next people to live at number 42; they appear there sometime before October 1926. They lived there for about two or three years moving out after October 1928.

Gertrude and Harry Floyd were the next to live there, moving in as the Fields moved out. They had moved in by October 1929, and remained there for some nine years or so, they had moved out before October 1938. It is probable that their daughter Greta was born whilst they were living there. Gerti Floyd was a Bennett and was born in 1906, her mother and father, Elsie and William Bennett were living in 10 Belmont Terrace [31 Willersey Road] in which house Geri was born. Her grandparents were living at Glebe Farm. Harry her husband was a Hairdresser, [with his shop in Evesham, down the entry next to Hodgetts bike shop] Doreen Hall was a young village girl who was trained by Harry. The Floyds went to Harvington for a short spell after leaving Cotswold View. They were back in Badsey by 1938 when they moved into 37 Willersey Road [Kymba House]

By October 1938 the house had been bought by James and Hilda Bishop. He is listed in Smith’s Almanac for 1939 and 1940. His son, Keith enrolled at Badsey School in December 1941. Hilda Bishop was a hairdresser and Jim worked on the railway as a lorry driver. He was involved in carting construction material from Honeybourne station to the nearby airfield to be used in the construction the runways and hangers etc. The Bishops were regarded as a lovely couple and a nice family. The School Register records that Keith left school in May 1946, they left Badsey and moved to Malvern, before October 1946. Their son Keith, a great friend of Dennis Knight’s, soon after moving to Malvern was riding his push bike and was involved in a fatal accident, in which he died.

New owners were living in the house by October 1946 but by May 1948 they had moved out and sold the house. It is probable that this couple were the ones to have the small bedroom converted into a bathroom.

Mrs Dyke at the front of her home 42 Willersey Road
Mrs Dyke at the front of her home, 42 Willersey Road

The next owner occupiers were Mr and Mrs Alexander Dyke, they had a farm at Aston Summerville, when Mr Dyke developed health problems and was advised to cease farming. Alexander (c1876-1951) was probably born at Brailes in Warwickshire, the son of Robert Dyke, a farm bailiff; he was still in Brailes in 1901 when he was described as a farmer’s son. Searching around for a suitable property they alighted on number 42 Willersey Road, and contracts exchanged, they moved in with their two daughters Jean and Patricia in May 1948.

Mr Dyke died between January and March 1951, his death was registered at Evesham.

In 1957 Mrs Dyke’s  daughter Patricia was entered on the electoral register, obviously having reached her age of majority. In October 1960, now married, Patrica and her husband Brian Chilvers, were living with her widowed mother at number 42, but it seems that within twelve months they had moved into their own home.

In the year 1967, a member of the Brazier Building company knocked on the door of number 42 and offered Mrs Dyke a parcel of land on which they had the option. The piece of land was higher up the Willersey Road, and had been a part of The Stockey. By a covenant dated the third day of April 1967 Mrs Dyke purchased the plot of land off the vendors, the Dore brothers. Braziers duly built her bungalow and the one next door, given the numbers 30 and 32 Willersey Road. Mrs Dyke and her daughter Jean moved into the bungalow in May 1968.

Number 42 was then bought by Colin and Jean Smith, he was a carpenter, they moved in after Mrs Dyke and her daughter moved out and remained there till 1972.

The next owners bought it from the Smiths in 1972, but had left by October 1975.

The new owners were in the house by October 1975, they remained there for just about two years, and had moved out by October 1977.

The next people to live at number 42 Willersey Road must have been settled there by October 1977. The house was sold and the family moved out by December 1982.

It was sold in December 1982 to the newly widowed Valerie Hopcraft, whose husband

Norman, had worked for British rail and had served as a Gunner in the war, and who had died in February of that year. Mrs Hopcraft took the death of her husband very badly, such that her health was threatened. And she remembers with gratitude and affection the assistance given to her on her moving into her new neighbourhood, by her neighbours the Pinkneys at number 40 and the Tustins at number 44 Willersey road, and the Reverend Peter Mitchell. She was born at Morton In Marsh the daughter of Thomas Richard Hopes, who had been working for the Refuge Assurance company from 1909 to 1919 when he took up farming at Morton In Marsh. He was a compatriot and associate of Arthur Sadler who had been living at number 60 Willersey road, and also knew John Idiens [the same John Idiens who built the fourteen houses under discussion] It was because she felt at home in Badsey that she moved here on the death of her husband. Sometime after the accident on New Years Eve 1989, having wanted a porch over her door for some time, Valerie Hopcraft and her next door neighbours at number 44, combined to have a brick built porch over their front doors, which is the structure that we see today. The family next door [the Tustins] once had a lean too porch which had been demolished by the flying bricks caused by the accident. Mrs Hopcraft is still living there, and does what she can for the charity MIND. Val in the recent snows [December 2010] was found wandering about the village, her niece was contacted and she is currently in care.

In the snows of December 2010 Val was discovered wandering around, disorientated and out of it, Beryl was involved along with Julie from 33 Willersey Road, on one occasion and took her home, it was then that her niece was informed. [the paper girl found her and came and told Beryl who went down to her, soon followed by Julie] The niece seems to have taken Val into her home, and her house in Cotswold view was empty. Valerie Hopcraft died, suddenly on the ninth of April 2011, aged 93.

44 Willersey Road [6 Cotswold View]

The first tenant of this house built and owned by Idiens & Sons seems to have been William and Bessie Byrd and six of their seven children, all baptised at Bretforton. The electoral register was not filled in during Williams time there so we do not know when he moved in, but his youngest child, Freda Bessie aged 5 had been born, as I said, at Bretforton, so he could have moved soon after this event. The 1911 census shows us 8 people living in a 2 bedroomed house, William & Bessie having been married for 16 years had seven children. He was a Dealer in Market Garden produce and worked on his own account.

An indenture dated the thirtieth of March 1912 between The United Counties Bank Ltd of Birmingham and others [including John Idiens late of Wickhamford now of Storte? Poole Dorset] and Louisa Ann Whitfield of Hampton near Evesham whereby Miss Whitfield purchased the property “situate and numbered 6 Stocky Piece Bully Brook Road Badsey” [44 Willersey Road] and became the new owner. At the time of the sale to Miss Whitfield, a William Byrd was the tenant of the house and may have remained so for another year.

Later that same year in May the land tax assor arrived and confirmed that he was the tenant and that he paid £10 8 shillings a year for his tenancy. His house was described as ‘Brick & Tile Cottage in good repair - 2 Bedrooms - Living Room. Kitchen & Pantry. Water Closet & Coal House.

William Byrd was a Bretforton Byrd, he had married Bessie Shepherd in the winter of 1895, and before moving into number 44 Willersey Road they had been living in a big brick house in the middle of Bretforton at the Cross, close to “The Fleece”, where William’s grandmother, Ann, was described as a Beer House Keeper in 1881. William was a buyer of fruit and vegetables. Their five sons and three daughters were: Cecil (1896-1918), Ida Lucy (1897-1972), Sidney William (1898), Winifred (1900-1912), Cristobel (1901), Cyril (1903), Roy (1904-1915) and Freda Bessie (1905). William Philip Byrd, was the son of Henry & Emily, who had been born in 1877 that was living there?

The Byrds vacated the house before October 1913 and moved into number 38 Willersey Road, when Frank Herbert filled the electoral register for this house.

Miss Whitfield was married to Jesse Dowdeswell Knight on the twenty ninth of April 1913, at Evesham All Saints Church. Louisa Ann Whitfield was a Lancashire lass, having been born in 1868 in Gaston parish, now subsumed within Liverpool. She was the daughter Of Samuel and Rachel Whitfield, he was a gardener, her mother was a Gloucestershire girl who came from Dumbleton. Miss Whitfield had been a dressmaker and was 45 years of age when she married. Jane her older sister was a witness at the wedding. Her mother, aged 81 had died in the summer of 1903, and that may have been the spur for the sisters to travel to their mothers part of the world. Jesse her husband had been born in Offenham to Joseph and Hannah Knight [Joseph Knight is described as a gardener on the marriage certificate, a different type of gardener no doubt to Louisa Whitfield’s father] He was one of the Aldington Knights. In 1901 they were living in Ivy House [25 Chapel Street]

By an Indenture of first day of February 1919, Mrs Knight sold number 6 Stocky Piece to Thomas Henry Harris of Bretforton, a Builder, for £110, together with the right of roadway and passage way along the road leading from Bully Brook to the property in common with others, the owners or occupiers of the adjoining properties, and a right in common to use and maintain the drain or sewer laid from the property into the main Badsey sewer of, paying their fair proportion of five shillings to Mrs Alice Kate Bell or her assigns. At this change of ownership, the house was in the occupation of Frank Herbert, his wife Jesse, and ‘daughter’ Vera.

Thomas Harris seems to have bought four of the houses in the terraces, this one, number 44 in 1919, and numbers 46 and 48 Willersey road, the fourth was probably number 42 over a longer time. Certainly it is remembered that rent was being paid for number 48 to the Harris family, and in his will of 1926 he mentions four houses in the terrace, but does not identify them.

A John Lawley had married Jessie Clarke at Cleobury, [which spans the Herefordshire Shropshire and Worcestershire border] in the winter of 1896. It is not known what brought them to Badsey, but they were living at Cotswold View [now Sands Lane, not to be confused with Cotswold View Willersey Road] in 1901, and John Lawley is down as a Market gardener and was an employer of men, his age was given as 61 and Jessie, his wife was aged 28. Both of them had been born in Shropshire. There were no children to the couple from the time of their marriage in 1896 and the census, a span of nearly five years.

Also living in this particular terrace named Cotswold View in 1901, were James and Elizabeth Herbert and their 21 year old son Frank, who was a market gardener and who worked for others. It is quite possible that he worked for John Lawley, his near neighbour. Just over two years later in July 1903 John Lawley, now aged 63, and Jessie his wife, now aged 30, had a daughter that they christened Vera Winifred. John Lawley died in the early months of 1906.

Something like 18 months after her husband’s death, Jesse Lawley married her very near neighbour Frank Herbert, they were married in the last quarter of 1907, followed in the summer of 1908 by the birth of a daughter whom they named Joan. Joan died in November 1915. Frank and Jesse Herbert were living at number 44 Willersey Road by October 1913, and were probably there from their marriage. [there is no entry in the electoral register until 1913]. Joan, his dead daughter was a half sister to Jessie’s daughter Vera from her first marriage.

The Herbert family left number 44 Willersey Road sometime in 1924 and moved into a house called ‘Sandfields’ on the east side of Willersey Road [on the left at the top of the bank after the brook]. In 1815, when the Badsey Enclosure Commissioners made their awards, this parcel of land was allotted to Edward Savage as his only allotment, which he subsequently exchanged with the Reverend Thomas Williams, and in due course the Trustees of Captain Lord, in 1918, sold the north-western part of the land in four strips, one of which was bought by Frank Herbert, being 1a 2r 30p in area, It was on this land that Frank Herbert had the house built which he named Sandfields.

Frank also had a piece of land, Jacketts Headland, on which he grew market garden produce. It was at Sandfields that Jesse Herbert died in October 1926 aged fifty four. Frank’s step daughter, never married, and that after the death of her mother, she looked after Frank and generally acted as a housekeeper. Frank himself died in May 1966, aged 88, and his obituary of May 1966 says “Our sincere sympathy with Miss Vera Lawley, whose loving care and devoted nursing kept her step-father comfortable during the long year of illness. Frank was himself a delightful person to know, with an old countryman’s wisdom about the ways of man and beast. He took his trials philosophically and patiently”

Vera Lawley, continued to live at Sandfields until her death. She died sometime in 1970’s. She had suffered badly from Asthma all of her life. She was well liked by the children, and would stand and chat to them when they went to and fro to school. My two children remember well the old lady at the top of the hill.

The next tenants in number 44 Willersey road were Thomas and Maud Emilia James, they had moved in by October 1924, shown by their appearance in the 1925 electoral register. They had a son George Thomas who was christened on the third of February 1923, whilst they were living at ‘Old Road’ Tom James was employed at the gas works until his death aged 26 on the twenty ninth of July 1926. Maud Emilia was the daughter of George and Julia Moisey of Cotswold Terrace in Sands Lane, she was admitted to the school on the first of April 1903, and in March 1905, whilst in class 11 she was presented with a prize by the Vicar, after the usual children’s service. In the summer of 1919 she had married Tom James, the son of Nathan and Ellen James of Evesham, a boot maker. The marriage only lasted some seven years, when he died and was buried in Badsey churchyard in August 1926. There are kerbs around his grave, which bear the legend ‘Tom James DCM who died July 29th 1926 aged 29 years’ He had obviously been a brave soldier in the Great War, and was decorated accordingly. The Distinguished Conduct Medal was for NCOs and other ranks, and was second only to the Victoria Cross. There is an entry in the Worcestershire Regiments web site for a T James, a Private in the 1st Battalion of the Regiment, regimental number 9717, who on the twenty second of September 1916 earned the DCM at Contamaison, on the Somme. His widow Maud had left the house by October 1932, and may have moved into Sands Lane. She was in Sands Lane, at number 1, in April 1933 when her son George wrote a piece for a Badsey Council School project, where the children described their life in a market gardening community. She later lived in Breedon View, Willersey road, and was living in Belmont Terrace when she died in December 1982 aged 84 years, reunited with her Tom at last.

The new tenant was Hilote Mary Redgwell [known by many as Dinah] , who had, in previous years, been living at number 56 Willersey road [12 Cotswold View], with her second husband George and children. But the family had left that house by October 1930, and whilst living away, her 38 year old husband George had died in March 1931. She and her children returned to Badsey and were living in this house, 44 Willersey Road, by the October of 1932, including her eldest son William John, who is shown as living there the following year having reached 21 years of age, he could now vote, thus was on the electoral register of that year.

Whilst Hilote was a tenant, the owner of the house Thomas Henry Harris died on the twenty fifth of February 1936. This would have had no bearing on Hilote Mary’s decision to move house, but by October 1937 she had left the house, and moved over the road to number 39 Willersey Road, a new built house which she named ‘Hill Dene’ She died on the sixth of February 1945 aged 57, she is buried here in the churchyard, her children having had kerbs placed around her grave.

By October 1937 the new tenants, Ronald Percy Rouse, a Littleton man, and Constance Lilian his wife were living there. Connie Rouse, born in June 1912, before her marriage, was a Perkin. Her father, Thomas, was the slaughter man at Horace Wheatley’s Butchers in the Poplars. He wore riding type britches and long gaiter boots. Connie and Ronnie remained there for a long time, something like 32 years, until 1969. He was involved with Badsey Rangers and acted as trainer, dashing on with his bucket of water and magic sponge. Connie is described as a nice lady and a good organiser. She was the chief cheer leader for Badsey Rangers football team, when there was a local Derby with Bretforton she would be exhorting her team to do their best, whilst Annie Stanley, the Bretforton cheerleader would be bellowing out “breathe on ‘em Bret”. Ron Rouse bought a piece of land on the Bretforton Road, with the intention of building a house on it. Planning permission was granted, but trying to save the money to build the house the period allowed for a start to be made came and went, and no start was made. I believe the piece of land still belongs to a family member. They had a son David Ronald, who became a policeman and may have moved to Bromsgrove. Ron and Connie Rouse left the house in Willersey road and moved to Evesham.

In his will dated the fifteenth of February 1928 Thomas Henry Harris, who had bought number 44 Willersey road in 1919, left his estate in trust for his wife Ann in her lifetime, then his daughter Clara Elisabeth Harris. He died in 1936, and Ann his wife must also have died as the house was vested in his daughter Clara. Taking advantage of the empty house, she, now married to Edmund Jelfs of Bretforton, decided to sell it. The conveyance in which she sold the house says that she had inherited five properties “four of which are not part of this conveyance”, but does not identify them. Neither does his will [his personal estate was valued at £1912. 15 shillings and 6 pence - £82, 355 73 pence in the year 2002 money]. But I am told that Harris, (the builder and inventor) owned four of the fourteen cottages in the terrace, but unfortunately my informant did not know which ones. I did not find Harris’s name in the other deeds I was privileged to see. (Harris was involved in the early days of radio, and corresponded with Marconi, and other pioneers of that medium, advising them of his findings and his on - going work and experiments)

Clara Elisabeth Jelfs, sold 44 Willersey Road in August 1969, with its covenants and vacant possession, to a Builder. By now the address was in the modern form, being 44 Willersey Road, Badsey.

The Builder obviously bought the house to carry out renovations, and to move it on at completion, for we find that on the fifteenth of January 1970, five months after having bought the house it was sold again. The new owner appears to have bought it as an investment, or even to house a retainer, this tenant stayed there till at least October 1977. They may have stayed closer to the day that her landlord sold the house on the fourteenth of June 1978,

The couple bought the property sought planning permission for a detached Garage and an extension to the Kitchen, which was granted, they did in fact extended their kitchen in April 1979, but did not build the garage. This family remained there for just two and a half years, for in September 1981, they sold it.

The couple who bought the house at this time were Michael Tustin of the Evesham grower’s family, and his wife Pat, a Dumbleton girl. At the time of the sale this house had a lean to porch over the front door, it is probable that it was built in the last months of 1969 by the Builder who was renovating the house.

In the car crash of New Years Eve 1989, number 44 Willersey road had the whole side of the porch smashed beyond repair. The flying bricks had splintered and fractured the wooden frame to pieces, the glass was broken, the debris everywhere. The porch was beyond repair, except for the brick wall to the north of the door, which sat on the boundary with number 42.

Some time after the accident, their neighbour at number 42, Mrs Hopcraft, who had been desirable of a porch for some time, combined with Mr and Mrs Tustin to jointly build a new brick porch, utilising the sound wall as a party wall, with a pitched roof over their front doors. It is the structure that we see today.

Mr and Mrs Tustin, who are still living at number 44, and have some land at the top of the village.

46 Willersey Road [7 Cotswold View]

The first occupants must have been George and Letitia Hartwell. George appears in the electoral register of 1907, so must have been living there in October of 1906. George Hartwell (1866-1926) was born in Badsey, the youngest son of William and Charlotte Hartwell. He married Letitia Crump at Droitwich. They had three sons and three daughters: Lily May (1893), George William (1894), Rose Ellen (1897), Violet Annie (1899), Reginald Howard (1907) and Harold (1911). In 1901, they were living in the family home in Bakers Lane [now School Lane] made vacant after his parent’s deaths, next door to George’s brother Daniel and family. In August 1906 Violet Annie entered the Mixed Department of Badsey Council School, when George and his family were living at 7 Cotswold View [46 Willersey Road]. . Followed in January 1908, by Violet's sister Rose, who re-entered Badsey School and her address was also given as 7 Cotswold View [46 Willersey Road].

The census of the second of April 1911 shows the 47 year old George and 40 year old Eliza safely settled at number 7 Cotswold view, along with their four surviving children. They had been married for eighteen years and had five children during that time. They had lost Reginald Howard in 1909. George was a market gardener working on his own account, and his 16 year old son William, a market gardeners labourer may well have been working with his father. It certainly was his 13 year old daughter Rose Ellen that filled in the census form and put her signature to the document.

In May 1912 the family were still there [paying their annual rent of £11 1 shilling, or 4 and 6 a week] to the Idiens family, for their 3 bedroomed brick & tile cottage (now called a house) complete with a living room, a brick built pantry, coal house and water closet.

Letitia Hartwell died in March 1915, leaving George with a four-year-old son and four grown-up children. By September 1918, when Harold enrolled in the Mixed Department of Badsey School, they were living at Sylvan Villas.

The next tenants seem to have been a family headed by Albert Ernest Yeates. He was the son of Charles and Annie Matilda Yeates and had been born at Bishops Frome Herefordshire in 1888. His father was a Master Tailor and in the 1901 census of Bishops Frome he was shown as employing a man in his business. The family at home that Sunday night were Albert’s mother and father, plus his siblings Charles William born 1886; Florence Eva 1890; Olive Matilda 1896 and William Henry born 1898, and of course Albert himself. In the early summer of 1905 the 45 year old Charles Yeates died, the death being registered at Bromyard. It was very soon after the death of the head of the household that the family moved to Badsey, where they were living at Fair View, a terrace of four houses built on the north side of what is now known as Brewers Lane, the Yeates family lived in the third house (current No 41 Brewers Lane). I did not find when the family actually moved into the village, but they were here by the twenty second of November 1906 when Miss D Yeates received a post card at her home in Fair View Terrace. Albert's two sisters Florence and Olive are so obviously the Flossie and Dossie mentioned in the article ‘Postcards sent to Badsey a hundred years ago’ to be found on the web site.

I have not found a marriage for Albert Ernest, nor, because of the lack of electoral registers during the great war, have I found when he moved into his home 46 Willersey Road [7 Cotswold View], but there is an entry of his in the 1918 electoral register, but to be in the published version of the register, one had to fill in the relevant document in October in the preceding year. Thus Albert Ernest must have been on leave in October 1917, or his wife may have filled it in on his behalf, after all, it was the first time that he had a right to vote, an opportunity not to be missed. He was another of the brave lads who went to war on our behalf, he ‘joined the colours’ in January 1917, and after training he went to France the following April. He was severely wounded in November 1917 and, after being in hospital at Oxford and Banbury, rejoined his regiment in April 1918, returning to France in August. The parish magazine of the twelve of October reported “Pte E Yeates was wounded on September 26, but remained on duty” another report of December 1918 said that “Mrs E Yeates received the sad news that her husband, who had been missing since September 29, was reported "killed in action or died of wounds" on or near that date” The following year there was no entry in the register, but then in 1920 an entry reads Lily Yeates. His wife had her own right to vote. Mrs Yeates seemed to have terminated her tenancy and vacated the house some time before October 1921. Albert’s younger brother also joined the colours, but he was luckier than Albert. Despite being wounded on at least four different occasions the first occasion being reported in the parish magazine in December 1917, and the last and final wounding that he received was reported in the September 1918 issue, he did come home. He can be seen at the Badsey show in the article ‘Postcards sent to Badsey a hundred years ago’ on the website

Cecil Jeffries was the next to live at number 46, he was living there by the Autumn of 1921. Born at Offenham, he was the son of John and Sarah Ann and was christened on the eighteenth of June 1898 here in Badsey. In April 1901 he was at his maternal grandparents, William and Eliza Knight, who lived at 2 Belmont Terrace [15 Willersey Road]. He was another who fought in the great war, and must have told a fib about his age to enrol and collect the Kings Shilling. In 1915 he was wounded in three places, but on writing home he says "Just a line to let you know I am wounded in the neck, shoulder and arm – only flesh wounds” He was also badly wounded in May 1918 at the beginning of the Big Push, and in July he was home on leave, “crippled but looking well and cheerful”

He is listed in Smith’s Almanac as a Market Gardener in Badsey from 1922 to 1930, which was the first year that his wife Dorothy appeared in the electoral register. Strange that she appeared in the register the same year that they left the house, vacating sometime before October 1930. They had no children. There is a story that, his father had disappeared before the First World War (men would sometimes just do that); and on at least one occasion, his wife [Cecil’s mother] went out to South Africa to try and find him. History nearly repeated itself. Soon after Cecil and Dorothy were married, he said, “I’m off to find my father,” and he, too, went off to South Africa, but he did return after two years. By October 1930, Mrs Jeffries, at that time on her own, had swapped houses with the couple next door, and moved into number 46 Willersey Road [8 Cotswold View] one of the two bed roomed houses.

When Cecil died in 1983, he was living at Aldington, his wife Dorothy died in 1991 here in Badsey.

It seems that by October 1930, William and Lizzie Woodward, who had been living next door at number 8 [48 Willersey Road] along with their family, a 12 year old boy William, named after his father, and 16 year old daughter Lillian Margaret, known as Betty, had moved into number 46, having done a swop with Dorothy Jeffries. And it may have been at that time that he bought the house off the Harris family of Bretforton. He was certainly the beneficial owner by 1942.

But their happiness was short-lived. Lizzie Woodward died in hospital on November the fourth 1930, after having been hospitalised for some four months. She was only 43 years old. Betty remembers that her brother William was playing football at the recreation ground on that day and she had to go and tell him that their mother had died. Mrs Woodward was buried in the churchyard on November the eighth. The 16 year old Betty, a clever girl, gave up her place at the grammar school, as she says “to look after my father and my brother” to act as a housekeeper, and the 1937 electoral registers shows that Lillian Margaret [Betty] had reached her majority, as her name appears alongside that of her father. Some few months later, in the summer of 1938, Lillian Margaret married Cyril Freeman, and had formed a second household within number 46, but she continued to act as housekeeper to the household.

Miss Lillian Byrd, School teacher, before her marriage
Miss Lillian Byrd, School teacher, before her marriage

William the Blacksmith, who worked at Goodhalls garage in Evesham, manufacturing trucks and the like, remarried within the last quarter of 1941, the marriage taking place at Birmingham. He had met and married a school teacher, Lillian Bird, who taught at the school here in Badsey [he had probably known her from the days when his children commenced school there]. She used to lodge with Philip Sparrow’s mother in Brewers lane. She turned out to be the kind of step mother who inhabited fairy tales, as she insisted  that her new husband sell his house and move in with her into a Bungalow in Blackminster, and use the proceeds of his house sale to pay off the mortgage on her place. This meant throwing his daughter and son in law out on the street. In the event her step daughter Betty, and her new husband Cyril, offered to buy her dad’s house, and as she said “I didn’t get a bargain, it wasn’t cheap”. Her brother William, originally a carpenter, but later a Draughtsman at Esply the Builders, had also married and was living at Littleton.

There are others who think that Miss Bird [or Mrs Woodward] as a teacher was too strict and lacking in basic compassion. Some of her ex pupils describe her as a hard woman whose methods of discipline were downright cruel [they say much more] Maureen Spinks in her book “Heads and Tales” relates how ‘Miss Bird’ [later Mrs. Woodward] resorted to throwing chalk at the children as a means of punishment. This was confirmed to me in the following story, amongst other subjects she taught sewing at the school, and on one occasion she threw a sowing tool at a child, who just had the good fortune to dodge it. On hearing of the tale William Woodward remarked “its a good job she didn’t throw them at a child of mine” and went on to explain just what he would have done to her. In the event he married her.

William Woodward, died on the seventeenth day of September 1958 aged 71, and to her credit his widow had him buried with his first wife Lizzie. He was buried on the twentieth of September, he was for some years a sidesman at St James’ Church and a member of the PCC. He was a very active worker for the church and presented several gifts of his own craftsmanship. A headstone and set of kerbs was erected around the grave as their memorial. After his death, his widow went to live in Evesham.

Settled in the house before the Summer of 1943, when their son Clive was born, Cyril and Lillian Freeman [William Woodward’s daughter] had a Dorothy Daniel living there, [she was a member of the extended family] . In his younger days Cyril was a tree feller, like his father, and worked away for most of the week, only returning home at weekends, but later he worked at Esply’s, an Evesham Building Company. He did any job that was required of him, including collecting the Director's [new] car and ‘running’ it in for a few months. He also had a car of his own, a black Morris 8, registration number JE 2185. Their son Clive had started school in May 1948, and appeared in the electoral register in 1964. The Freemans remained in the house for many years, but eventually they sold 46 Willersey Road and vacated the house on the eighteenth of December, probably 1967, they were certainly gone by October 1968.

Mr and Mrs Freeman moved into one of the new Bungalows in Binyon Close. On a sad note, I understand that Cyril, ever helpful, took an old man to the hospital at Worcester, dropped him off near the door, and told him to sit on a seat while he parked the car. On returning to the old man on the seat, Cyril sat down with him, and died. What a shock to every one concerned.

The couple to whom Mr and Mrs Freeman sold the house moved in the day after the Freemans moved out, [1947] and remained there for some three or four years, moving out before October 1971.

A new family were living in the house by October 1971. Five years was the length of their stay, they had left the house by October 1976.

The purchasers of 1976 moved in before October 1976 and remained there for some three years,

And by October 1979, soon after getting married, Timothy and Barbara Green bought the house, and have lived there ever since with their two sons, Ben and Ian. When they moved into the house, there was a tiny kitchen with an iron lean to on the outside, with a sky-light in the roof to give light. The lean-to was removed and the kitchen extended, and the toilet and bathroom were refurbished all to modern standards. Soon after moving in having discovered a damp problem they had the experts in and the walls to the downstairs area had their plaster hacked off to a height of about 3 feet and had a damp prove system installed. That wasn’t their only problem with damp. Sometime after the boys were the couple noticed ‘bumps’ in the floor of the living room, again getting the experts in necessitated great upheaval as the floor had to be excavated to a depth of 2 feet and the whole area ‘tanked’ with a damp proof membrane. They had to leave home for three days whilst the work was carried out and the floor cured. Barbara was the Beaver Scout leader for many years, from 1989 to retiring the position in 1998, due to family commitments. She was ably assisted in that roll by Tim her husband. The family had a lovely black and white Border Collie dog named Jess, they now have an Old English Sheep dog named Bramble. This is the only house in the terrace where the owners still use an open fire.

In the crash of New Years Eve 1989, flying bricks thudded into the walls window and front door of number 46 Willersey Road, but fortunately did not smash the glass in the windows, but badly damaged the frame itself. The garden wall was demolished hurling its bricks into number 44’s porch. Moments before the accident, Ian and Ben, the youngsters of the house, aged three and two, had been playing a game under the window, but had just been called away, when this calamity occurred. The damage to the window frames necessitated new windows and advantage was taken at that time to install large panes in double glazed UPVC units.

48 Willersey Road [8 Cotswold View]

There are no entries in the electoral register for this house until October 1909, when Richard Wiggins filled in the form, but the Wiggins family were living there earlier than that. They were there when their son, Kenneth William [who had been born on the twenty fourth day of September 1899], enrolled at Badsey School on the twenty seventh day of April 1908, having commenced his schooling in Measham, Leicestershire. Richard Wiggins was born at Farmcote, Gloucestershire, about 1872 but, at the time of the 1901 census, he was living in Coalville, Leicestershire, where he worked as a Railway Engine Stoker. His wife Elisabeth was a Fladbury girl, the daughter of Walter and Emma Jackson of Throckmorton, born about 1868. The family did not stay long at number 48, having moved to Bretforton Road sometime in 1911. Young Kenneth left school in 1913.

The above mentioned move is confirmed by the 1911 census when we find that 71 year old Decimus and 77 year old Mary Agg were living at 48 Willersey Road. They had been married for 46 years and had 5 children, one of whom had died. Their son Joseph was living 3 doors away at number 11 Cotswold View.

Twelve months later when the assor for the land tax visited, it was Mrs Agg that was noted down as being the tenant to the Idiens family. Being just the two old people a 2 bedroomed house was just what they wanted, plus of course the all mod cons of a water closet and coal house.

It appears that the Aggs moved out before October 1918, there were no more entries in the electoral registers for the house until October 1914, and of course there were no registers produced for 1916 and 1917. But it is likely that William and Lizzie Woodward and their family were living there during some of this time, and they do appear in the register for 1918, having filled in their form in October 1917. From the time of their marriage in the Summer of 1914 until moving into Cotswold View, they had been living at number 33 Willersey Road with Mrs Woodward’s brother Arthur [or Shaddy] Sadler, and in fact their first child, a daughter named Lilian Margaret was born there. William Woodward was a blacksmith and was born about 1887. He was not born in the immediate area and was an incomer, there is no familial connection with William Woodward, the Bailiff to the Reverend Thomas Williams [see The Stockey].

He was the eldest son of Frederick, a foreman at a sewage works, and Bertha Woodward, who were living in Avon street Evesham in 1901. William had been born at Bidford. The family seemed to have moved to Evesham about 1894. His wife Lizzie’s maiden name was Sadler, she was the only daughter of Thomas and Elisabeth Sadler, of the Stone House [Badsey Hall] and was baptised on Christmas day 1887. She had six brothers, one of whom Walter Charles [but known as Jerry] lived at number 36 Willersey Road [2 Cotswold View] from 1921, and Arthur [known as Shaddy] lived at number 11 Belmont Terrace, just across the road, but who had lived earlier at number 60 Willersey Road [14 Stockey Piece Cottages]. William Woodward used to keep chickens and pigs in a paddock on the other side of the brook, [beyond the house called Deelish, which had been built by Clint Sears]. The paddock was most likely rented off the owners of the Manor at Wickhamford, but back then all of the ‘parkland’ that we see today was market garden land. [The house called Deelish was so named because Clint Sears had won some £3000 on a horse called Deelish, at Stratford Racecourse, and built the house out of the proceeds. The story further goes that he was at the races with Richard Caswell, the Blacksmith, and that to protect the money should one of them be attacked by footpads, each carried half of the money home.]

Lillian Margaret [known as Betty]
Lillian Margaret [known as Betty]

Number 48 Willersey Road [or its equivalent] was the address given when their children Lillian Margaret [known as Betty] and William, he was born in 1918, enrolled at Badsey School. There was of course no bathroom in the house and it is remembered that every Friday night the old tin bath was brought out and each had their turn in the bath. This house was one of the four houses which had belonged to Thomas Harris, the builder, from Bretforton, and at his death in 1928 it had been vested in his wife and daughter. By October 1930, William and Lizzie Woodward had left this two bed roomed house, and moved to a three bed roomed house  next door, swapping number 48 for number 46 Willersey Road. It seems to have been a straight swop with Dorothy Jefferies, but probably with the permission of the landlords [the Harris family of Bretfoton]. Was she happy to move into a smaller house because her husband had done his runner? and the Woodwards must have been happy, wanting three bedrooms, because their children were getting older and needed a room each!

So Dorothy Jefferies swopped houses with the Woodwards, but she only stayed in number 48 for about twelve months, for by October the year after she had moved in, she had vacated the place. It is rumoured that she went off to look for her husband.

The new tenants were Frederick George Salter and Hilda Rose his wife, they had moved in, along with a Mary Eva Tomkins. The Salters had been living at Glebe Farm for a year or so. Frederick Salter, born in May 1906 the son of Earnest Frederick and Annie, and Hilda his wife had four sons and four daughters: Leslie (1929), Audrey (1931), Maurice (1933), Eric (1936), Jennifer (1939), Ronald (1940), Marion (1943) and Barbara (1946). They only lived at number 48 Willersey Road [8 Cotswold View] for a short time, by October 1932 they had moved away. In 1936 we find them living at Synehurst Avenue. Frederick George Salter died in 1971, and Hilda Rose his widow, died recently whilst living at Yates Court in Evesham, just short of her ninety sixth birthday.

Rouben John (known as Jack) and Elisa Bennett and their dog,  in the garden at 48 Willersey Road
Rouben John (known as Jack) and Elisa Bennett and their dog, in the garden at 48 Willersey Road

October 1932 saw new people living at number 48, these were Reuben John and Elsie Bennett, paying their rent to the Harris family of Bretforton. Reuben John, always known as ‘Jack’, was the son of William and Elsie May Bennett of Belmont Terrace [31 Willersey road] and brother of Gertrude (married name Floyd) and William Bennett. Their daughter Gillian was born in 1936, and in 1941 she was  enrolled at Badsey School. In 1955 she left home and became a policewoman, and is remembered directing traffic in Evesham. In 1961 she married a fellow policeman, David Blagg ‘a lovely
man’ and they had two children Alison and Rosalind. Unfortunately the marriage failed and the couple divorced.

Jack Bennett helped his father on the 5 or 6 acres of land of which he was the tenant, and in the 1950’s Jack bought it off Christ Church. Later, in the late 1950s  Jack and Elsie Bennett had a bungalow built [number 64 Willersey, given the name ‘Mesamere’ by Jack Bennett, on the basis that Mesa meant Elevated and Mere meant Boundary, and the bungalow is on high ground and on the boundary of Wickhamford and Badsey] on completion of which, they moved lock stock and barrel to their new home. He had a large truck which he used to collect produce from the market gardeners, who would leave the crates at the edge of the field close to the road, Jack would collect it and transport it to Market. Elsie was always working on the ground, a true market gardener. Jack Bennett and Tom Bennett, at number 60 Willersey road [14 Cotswold Terrace] were cousins, their respective fathers, William and Thomas were sons of William Bennett of Glebe Farm. For a short time, Jack Bennett and his sister Gerti Floyd were not on good terms, and didn’t speak to, nor socialise with, each other. It was something to do with their father Bill Bennett buying his house at what is now 31 Willersey road. In 1957 Mr and Mrs Bennett had left their rented house and  moved into their own new bungalow.

It would appears that the owner of 48 Willersey road, Clara Jelfs of Bretforton, would not sell the house to Jack Bennett, and that is why he had the bungalow built, and when Mr and Mrs Bennett moved out the house it was let again to Norman and Irene Carter. and they were installed in the house by the fifteenth of September 1957 when their daughter was born. She was followed by two brothers. Over time it appears that the owner Clara Jelfs, or her agent, sold the house to Mr and Mrs Carter, because the family remained there till they sold it in a private sale in June 1963. They now live at Wickhamford.

The Carter’s sold the house privately in 1963, and the new owners remained there until at least October 1986, when they left the district.

A young couple bought the house and were living there at number 48 Willersey Road by October 1986. They were still there at the time of the car crash on New Years Eve 1989. There was a wooden pole, which carried the Electric Cable in their front garden, behind a low garden wall, but after the accident it was no more. It was demolished by the car along with the brick wall which fronted the small garden. The flying bricks from the wall crashed into the door, walls and windows of number 46 Willersey road, and damaged both the door and frames, but fortunately not smashing the glass in the frames.

However sometime after October 1993, the house was vacated. It remained empty for some time and was then put up for public auction. At the auction the winning bid was submitted by a young couple, who, it is said had to spend much time and money getting it back into shape. They had left the house by October 1999.

David Field and Margaret Homer were the new owners and the next people to live at number 48 Willersey Road, and they were living there by October of 1999. They remain there to this day with Margaret’s son Robin and the family pet.

50 Willersey Road [9 Cotswold View]

A schedule of properties within the will of Horace K Wheatley, dated the fourteenth of February 1934, includes number 50 Willersey Road [or Number 9 Stockey Piece, or 9 Cotswold View, Bully Brook Road] On his death the property was vested in his wife Lucy Kate Wheatley and she owned it until her death in 1962, when it was looked after by her executors.

It is probable that the first occupants were Daniel and Elizabeth Hartwell. Daniel filled in his election form which was published in October 1907. Daniel Hartwell was born in Badsey and baptised on the eleventh of November 1855, the son of William and Charlotte. He married Elizabeth Clarke on the fourth day of November 1880 here in Badsey. They had five sons and two daughters over the next twenty years: James Henry in 1881; William in 1884; Kate in 1887; followed by Charlotte Elizabeth in 1890; Frederick Thomas 1893; Cecil Daniel in 1896 and George Baden Powell in 1900. For the first 25 years or so of their married life they had lived in a cottage in Bakers Lane [now School Lane] next door to Daniel’s parents, but then they moved to Cotswold View. They were living at number 50 Willersey Road in August 1907 when their youngest son, George Baden Powell Hartwell, enrolled in the Mixed Department of Badsey School.

The 1911 census shows, and confirms, that 55 year old Daniel and 53 year old Elizabeth Hartwell were living at number 50 Willersey Road, that they had been married for thirty years and had 7 children, one of whom had died. Three of those children were at home that census night, Frederick; Cecil and George. Daniel was a market gardener and was ‘a worker’ meaning he worked for someone else, tow of his sons were working, Frederick was a labourer in the market garden industry and Cecil was a farm labourer. The eldest son Frederick filled in the census form.

Daniel Hartwell died in December 1911, some seven months after the census. The following obituary appeared in the Parish Magazine of January 1912: “News of the death of Mr D J Hartwell, of Badsey, which took place on December 7th, came to many as a painful surprise. Although he had been in indifferent health for some months, he had nevertheless been able to do a little work up to within a week of his death which resulted rather suddenly from a seizure. He was one of the most civil and genial men in the parish.”

When the assessor for the valuation survey visited on Thursday the sixteenth of May 1912 he saw Mrs Hartwell, who no doubt showed him over her 3 bed roomed ‘cottage’ and watched as he noted the information down, not that it differed much from the other 3 bed roomed houses in the terrace. She was paying the same rent, had the same description, indeed the assessor wrote down ‘same as 387 (387 being the first house in the terrace to be described in his book)

Elizabeth Hartwell continued to live at number 50. She was there in October 1917, and her son Cecil Daniel was in the register in 1920. George Baden Powel was shown in the 1922 register, and by 1923 her son Cecil Daniel had moved back to School road.

In 1924, she was joined by her son William and his family. William was a stoker in the Royal Navy and had been living in Devonport, Devon, but now returned to Badsey to take up market gardening. He had married Edith Hilda Crimp, at Devonport in the last quarter of 1907, and they had two daughters: Hilda Kate (1909) and Gertrude May (1910). Because of his association with Devonport and the Navy, William was given the nickname ‘Sailor Bill’ At the time of the 1924 electoral register, Elizabeth’s youngest son, George Baden Powell, was also still at home.

Elizabeth died in November 1935, leaving Charlotte, or Lottie as she was known, and her brother William and his two daughters in the house. And after her death, Lottie and Bill, her brother, lived together at number 50. Lottie had brought up his daughter Gertrude May after his wife died, she is also recorded as looking after a Gordon Johnson for a few days when he attended Badsey School in April 1939. William remained living there with his sister, but he died aged 81 in 1965. In the parish magazine of September 1965 the Padre wrote “Mr Hartwell, affectionately known by his friends as “Sailor Bill” had during the past years suffered increasing bad health and has been devotedly nursed by his sister. A professional sailor and later a market gardener, he was one of the founder members of our branch of the British Legion. He will be remembered for his fortitude, cheerfulness, and friendliness”

‘Sailor’ Bill was a regular at the men’s ‘drop in’ at the smithy in Chapel street, stopping off for a chat, before leaving at 9.30 or 10 o’clock, to walk the few yards to the Bell Inn. Mrs Warmington was the licensee, and ‘Sailor’ used to help out with the cellar work, moving barrels of beer, bottling etc. In those days there was a stream running through the cellar under the pub and Sailor Bill regularly pumped water out of the cellar back in to the stream.

Charlotte Elizabeth, known as Lottie, never married, though she was courting a man for close on 50 years. Her boy friend, Harry Smith, visited every Sunday, and at other times, and for a while, it is said, seems to have been living there. Lottie worked for Vic Cockerton on the ground called Stockey, at the rear of her house. Up and cutting Cauliflowers at six in the morning, ready for them to be packed and later picked up by Jack Bennet, or even Mrs Cull from Bowers Hill, and taken to the merchants of Evesham or to the station for transportation further afield. Lottie also carried out the function of an undertaker. She would lay out the local population when they died. Working so close to the church she would hear when the bell tolled, and she would clamber onto her bike with the little wooden box on the back, go and find out who had died, and cycle over to the house and offer her services in laying out the body and making it ready for burial.

Gertrude May, her niece, married a ‘Topsey’ Johnson from Evesham, who was the proud owner of an Aerial motor bike, which had a red petrol tank. Her brother George Baden Powel Hartwell married Hilda May, and had at least two children, Donald and Mavis, Mavis in her turn married George Tucker and lived in Badsey Fields Lane. There is no entry in the electoral register in October 1983, and a search shows that Lottie died within the first 3 months of 1983, her death being registered at Evesham.

The house was obviously empty for six months or more before it was sold with vacant possession in August 1983. Neil Churchill and his fiancé bought the house off the executors [a Mr Sears was the executor] of Lucy Kate Wheatley, a private sale, negotiated on site between them. The next nine months were spent redesigning and rebuilding the property and decorating, as Lottie had lived downstairs for many years, and nothing had been done to the upstairs. Neil, a local man, the son of David and Barbara Churchill, and who had attended Badsey school, married a local girl Dawn Hartwell, the daughter of Lesie Hartwell in May 1984. The couple had three children, but unfortunately the marriage did not work out.

In the accident on New Years Eve 1989 the wooden palisade type fence was demolished and splintered to pieces, and some of the plants were torn up.

Nonetheless, despite living on a fast and somewhat dangerous road, it did not put Neil and his family off, as they are still living there.

52 Willersey Road [10 Cotswold View]

The electoral register did not have an entry for this house until John Knight filled it in, his information was published in October 1913, but of course this does not mean there was no one living there.

The 1911 census tells the story that a William and Amy Davis were living there, they had been married for just four years and had 2 children, 4 year old son Leslie and Vera a one year old. He was a market gardener working on his own account. William Edward had married Amy Perkins, between October and December 1906, the marriage was registered at Evesham. We do not know how long they had lived there.

William E, born 1887, was the son of John and Fanny of Church street Evesham, John was a gardener on his own account and it seems that William was an assistant to his father in 1901. Amy, born 1890, was the daughter of Israel and Ann Perkins, a labourer of Bridge Street Bretforton.

However, the Davis family must have moved out of the house sometime after the census (April 1911) and before the valuation survey (May 1912) as the assessor of the tax return noted that the tenant, at that time, was a Mrs Jelfs, she was the one paying the rent for number 52 Willersey road. We do not know when Mrs Jelfs moved out

John and Kate Knight were the next tenants they were living in the village at the time of the 1891 census. In 1907 their daughter, Myra, enrolled at Badsey School. In 1913 she re-enrolled, having had some schooling at Moreton Church School between times. John Knight (1846-1929) the son of Thomas and Mary Knight was born at Stanton, Gloucestershire. He had married Mary Ann Howes and had two daughters, Emma (c 1880) and Ellen (1884). His wife died in the summer of 1885 leaving John with two small children. His sister in law, Kate Howes, stepped in to look after the children, to enable John to earn a living to keep the small family together. Mary Ann and Kate Howes were daughters of Abraham and Jane Howes, with Mary Ann being born at Stratford and Kate at Birmingham, in 1871 the family were living at Morton in Marsh.

The inevitable happened and John and his sister-in-law Kate fell in love and they planned to marry. I understand that the banns were actually called at Stanton Church but the couple did not marry there. There was the law of Leviticus to consider. Amongst other things the law decreed that a man could not marry his dead wife’s sister. Stupid, but there it was, in the Bible for all to see. Admittedly the church had relaxed its stance somewhat, and some parsons would indeed carry out the ceremony whilst others refused. And it seems to me that on finding out the relationship, during the three week period of the reading of the banns, the vicar at Stanton had said ‘no can do’. [The law was rescinded in 1907] But as you can guess it did not stop there. In the case of John Knight and Kate Howes, they just lived as man and wife, but after two or three years left Stanton and were settled in Badsey by April 1891. The Badsey census of that year clearly shows that John Knight was the head, with Emma and Ellen, his daughters from his marriage to Kate. Mary Ann Howes, his unmarried sister in law, and a Mary [Hilote] Howes and a John Howes, both born at Laverton, aged 3 and 1 respectively were living together with John Knight, under the same roof. It is confirmed in the following census, 1901, when John Knight was the head, and all other family members are now down as Knight instead of Howe, including Hilote Mary; Edith Annie; John Thomas; Albert Herbert; Annie Elisabeth; Myra May and Lily Blanche. They may indeed have married by this time, having found a vicar who would carry out the function, but a marriage has not been found. There was a Frederick George christened on the twenty fourth of April 1910.

It is clear from the school records of Myra that the children seemed continually to be on the move, between relations in Moreton and in Derby (where John’s two daughters by his first wife had settled) and the two youngest boys were never educated at Badsey.

John Knight died in 1929; it is not known for certain when Kate Knight died [it is probably her death shown in the register on the first of March 1943], but she was still living there at the outbreak of war in 1939 along with Alf Cornelius Ballard; Elsie Bennett; Frederick Knight and John Knight jnr. The children in the area all knew her as ‘Granny’ Knight. Fred Knight her son, like many others liked a drink and it is said that drink killed him. I don’t know if that was true, but he was found dead, in the toilet, in early January 1941, aged 30.

It may well have been at the death of John Knight that the house was sold on; it may even have been earlier. A schedule of properties within the will of Horace K Wheatley, dated the fourteenth of February 1934, includes this house. The property was vested in his wife Lucy Kate Wheatley at his death, and it is probable that she owned the house until her death in 1962, when her executors took over.

John Knight jnr. (known as Jack) never married. He lived in the family home at Cotswold View and worked for Arthur Sadler. Like Charles Perkins, he also liked a drink, but there are no reports of him falling into the ditch, he died in 1943. [There were no lists made for electoral purposes during the war years, so it is difficult to say who lived in a particular house during those dark days, they commenced again in October 1944]

In October 1944 the Basil Hall family were safely ensconced in number 52 Willersey Road [10 Cotswold View]. Kathleen Peterson was living there the following year, was she a lodger? She remained living with them until at least October 1949.

Basil Morris Hall was born in Badsey on June the eighteenth 1916 and married Ellen May, who was from Stratford, they had six children: Eunice, Morris, Iris, Hazel, Margaret born 1949 and Melvin in 1952. In September 1945 their eldest daughter, Eunice, was enrolled at Badsey School. The family had left Willersey Road by July 1952, which is when Melvin their son was baptised and had removed to Synehurst Avenue. Basil Hall worked at Ted Wheatley’s Garage [sorely missed] and died on the first of July 1982, Ellen Mary died fourteen years later aged 84.

The house changed hands in 1952, and the family who bought it then remained there for sixteen years.

The next owners were living there by October 1968, and remained there for some ten years.

The house last changed hands in 1978.

54 Willersey Road [11 Cotswold View]

There are no entries in the electoral registers for number 54 Willersey Road before the 1911 census. On that census night in April 1911 Joseph Foster Agg and his family were living at number 11 Cotswold View, having moved into the 3 bed roomed house some short time before. [Having previousley been living next door at number 56 Willersey Road] Joseph Foster Agg was born in the last quarter of 1871 at Wickhamford, the son of Decimus and Mary Agg. The Aggs moved to Badsey in the late 1880s. Joseph married Emma Wilkes in 1898 and they had three sons and two daughters: Dorothy (1899), Norman Joseph (1901-1901), Gwendolen May (1902), Laurence Decimus (1904) and Ronald William (1906). They were living at 13 Willersey road [1 Belmont Terrace] in 1901, where Joseph kept a shop as well as being a Market Gardener, but they moved over the road to number 12 Cotswold View in 1906. Joseph was Parish Clerk for a period and choirmaster for many years.

This is confirmed both by the census, and by the fact that they were living at 56 Willersey Road in August 1906 when their daughter Dorothy, enrolled at Badsey School. The first time that Joseph Agg filled in his electoral register form for number 56 was in October 1910.

We find Joseph Foster Agg settling down that Sunday evening in 1911 to fill in his census form as requested, nay demanded, by the state, he noted that he was a 39 year old market gardener working on his ‘own account’, his wife Emma was a 33 year old who had been born at Stretton on Fosse. They had been married for 12 years and had five children over that time, but one of them died. Their daughter Dorothy Mary was 11; Gwendolyn May 8; Lawrence Decimus 7 and Ronald William was 5.

Joseph Agg had an entry in Kellys Directory in 1912, broadcasting his Market Garden Business to the wider population

The electoral register was filled in October 1912, but they had left 54 Willersey Road sometime after that date, as a new occupier was there by October 1913. The Agg family immigrated to Canada during 1913. But he was in contact with the parish during and or some while after the end of the war. The parish Magazine of July 1913 displays a letter from Mr J F Agg, late of 54 Willersey Road about his early days in Canada.

The ‘Badsey War News’ reported

Vol 19, No 10, October 1916
Mr. J F Agg, formerly clerk and organist of Badsey, is serving with a Canadian regiment.

Vol 22, No 6, June 1917
We are glad to learn that Private J F Agg and Private W Agg have arrived in England and we hope soon to welcome them to Badsey.

Vol 22, No 7, July 1917
The Vicar has received a long and interesting letter from Sergeant J F Agg, the following personal details from which will be of interest to his many friends: "There were about 20 in the Battalion when I joined up, but within three months of the start we had sent out two drafts to the front. I was asked to join the Band and held the rank of Senior Corporal, part of the time being Band Sergeant in the absence of the regular Sergeant. Our Band became a good one and we were in great demand for Recruiting Meetings, Garden Parties, etc. We made four tours and had a very fine time, sometimes marching and sometimes being conveyed in Band-wagons. Our Band consisted of 40 at its strongest, but on being ordered overseas the band was broken up and we all returned to the ranks. We had a most interesting trip to our embarkation port, being the first Canadian troops to travel through USA …. I was appointed to the police on the ship, and since I arrived in England I have been promoted Sergeant and am in charge of all the police in the area of the camp."

Vol 22, No 8, August 1917
Sergt J F Agg and Pte W Agg, of the Canadians, who paid a flying visit to Badsey a few weeks ago, were both looking remarkably fit.

Vol 22, No 8, August 1917
Sergt J F Agg and Pte W Agg, of the Canadians, who paid a flying visit to Badsey a few weeks ago, were both looking remarkably fit.

Vol 23, No 5, May 1918
Pte C Jefferies, who was wounded at the beginning of the Big Push, is in the Canadian Hospital at Taplow (where Pte J F Agg is employed) and going on well.

Vol 24, No 2, February 1919
Our old organist, Mr. J F Agg, played at Evensong at Badsey on Sunday January 19th. He is official organist at the chapel of the Canadian Hospital, Taplow, and is, for the present, being retained in England solely on account of his services in that capacity, which are much appreciated by both staff and patients.

It appears that the next family that were living in the house was that of William John Brooks, his wife Elisa, [christened Eliza] and their two daughters, Alice Elizabeth [named Alice after her grandmother] and Hilda Annie. William John Brooks came from the Small Heath area of Birmingham, and visits made on the train, by a small boy in the 1930’s and 40’s, to number 108 Anderton Road Small Heath are well remembered.

In 1881 a John and Mary E Brooks were living in White Road, Aston, Birmingham, with their young family, the eldest of which, William J K Brooks, aged three had, like his father before him, been born in Badsey. There were two siblings, Annie and Charles who were born in Birmingham. It seems likely that this family were the family which included ‘our’ William John Brooks. The same family [but now spelt Brookes] were living at While? Road Aston in Birmingham in 1891, but William John now had another brother, Albert, and a sister, Elizabeth, to have fun with [Annie and Charles were not there]. 1901 saw the unmarried William then living with his parents [again spelt Brookes] and his two siblings [again Annie and Charles were not there perhaps they had died] at 372 Bolton Road Aston, Birmingham [incidentally Mary E Brooks seems to have been using her second forename of Elizabeth in the two later censuses]. John, father of William J K, was the son of Joseph and Ann Brooks and born in Badsey in 1854, and appears in the 1861 census of Badsey, along with his father Joseph, brother Charles Purswell Brooks, were lodging with William Wheatley on Old Post Office Lane at that time.

Eliza, the wife of John William Brooks, was a Sears, she was the daughter of Thomas and Alice Sears of Aldington, and had been christened at Badsey on Monday the eleventh day of January 1875. William John Brooks and Eliza were married at Aston, Birmingham, in the third quarter of 1903. It seems that Alice Elisabeth was born on March the tenth 1905 and baptised at St James on Easter day that year. Hilda was born in February 1908 three years later. It would seem too that they had left Aston, and if they were not living at number 56 Willersey Road at the time of the girls’ births, they were certainly living somewhere in Badsey. However, they were living at number 54 Willersey road on the eleventh of April 1913 when William John dictated his will. In the will he left 50 pounds to each of his daughters, to be banked and divided between them when the eldest [Alice] reached twenty one, and instructions to his executor, William Henry Churchill, to sell his piece of rented land for the “best set” that he could get (Evesham custom) and invest the proceeds in a house for ‘my beloved wife Elisabeth and my daughters’. It would appear that his wish had had been granted, and that enough funds were raised to allow Eliza to buy house

Under the Evesham Custom the owner or landlord would allow his tenant a long lease, subject to the rents being paid and the land being managed properly. It was also part of the custom that a tenant wishing to give up his tenancy had the right to bring in a new tenant of his choice onto the land, with the amount of compensation being agreed between them, without involving the owner of the land. This compensation took into account the potential value of the crops under cultivation, value of manures’ which had been applied, as well as anything that the tenant had added by way of an improvement. [See TC Sparrow’s ‘A brief History of Badsey and Aldington’].

William John died of TB on the sixteenth of April 1913, aged just 36. At the time the girls were only nippers, and there were lots of growing up to do. Having bought number 54 Willersey Road, Eliza and the girls probably lived on there after William John’s death for three or four years.

Some weeks short of four years after William John Brooks death, his widow Eliza married Thomas Bennett. This occurred within the first three months of 1917, and Thomas Bennett’s father William had bought number 60 Willersey road [14 Cotswold View], the largest site in the row of terraces for his son [although William retained ownership until he died]. This was to be the home for Eliza and the girls from that time on, and Eliza Bennett arranged for tenants to live at number 54 Willersey Road [11 Cotswold View] their old home.

Thomas & Fanny Knight. Vera & Reg Knight at 11 Cotswold View
Thomas & Fanny Knight. Vera & Reg Knight at 11 Cotswold View

Thomas and Fanny Knight were probably the first tenants under Elisa Bennett, they were living at number 54 in October 1917 when their children enrolled at Badsey School, having previously been at school at Cradley, near Malvern. It is possible that they were living there some months earlier than that. Thomas Knight, born about 1878, was the son of Edwin and Sarah Knight and had been born at Barchestone, Warwickshire, but his family for several generations previously had all been born in Badsey or Aldington.  In 1891 the family were back in Badsey living on ‘The Green’ the thirteen year old Thomas, along with his siblings John; George and Joseph.

Thomas had married Fanny Elizabeth Bennett in the last   quarter of 1904, the daughter of William and Mary Bennett from Glebe Farm [Fanny was a school mistress at Badsey School]. Her brother Thomas lived at 60 Willersey road [14 Cotswold View], his brother William lived across the road at 31 Willersey Road [10 Belmont Terrace].  They had one son and three daughters:  Reginald Edward (1906), Vera Gwendolin (1908), Phyllis Edna (1915) and Jean Muriel (1920).

Ernie and Alice Knight [nee Bennett] in their marriage finery in 1931 in the rear garden of the house where they spent their married lifes.
Ernie and Alice Knight [nee Bennett] in their marriage finery in 1931 in the rear garden of the house where they spent their married lifes.

The Knights moved to Ilmington in May 1930 and Thomas died there in July of that year. His body was returned to Badsey and he was buried here on the twenty ninth of July 1930. Fanny and the children also returned to Badsey, and had moved into number 40 Willersey Road [4 Cotswold View] before October 1932.

The next ‘tenants’ at number 54 Willersey Road were Ernie and Alice Knight. Alice was the daughter of the owner, Eliza Bennett. Alice Elisabeth Brooks, having met the man she wanted to marry took the plunge. She and Ernest George Knight, one of the Littleton Knights, were married on Easter Monday, the fifth of April 1931, and spent their honeymoon afternoon at the Cinema. No we don’t know what was being shown at that time.

The photograph shows the happy couple in the back of number 54, with Alice still wearing her wedding finery. She was only a slight petit figure, but worked long hard hours on the land.

They were living at number 54 Willersey Road in October 1932 when they filled in their electoral forms. Dennis, their only son, was born on Wednesday the nineteenth day of September 1934. He was at Badsey school in 1939, and in fact recollects the houses in School Lane being built at that time, not then realising that he would be living in one some day.

As a small boy, Dennis Knight was playing by Bully Brook which was in full flood, and lost his footing. He was swept along by the torrent, and must have been under water for some while, as the water was above the height of the arch holding up the bridge, and he was swept along underneath it. It seems that help was at hand for Bill Bennett, probably having seen what had happened, pulled the young Dennis out of the cold raging water. As Dennis’s mum was at work on the land, Bill took him along and handed him over to Mrs Bishop at number 42 Willersey Road, who promptly plonked him in the bath [the old tin bath]. It seems that anyone falling into Bully Brook was christened the ‘Mayor of Badsey’ and Dennis had to stand this title for some time.

Ernie Knight was a member of the fire fighting team during the war, which for a time was in the charge of Dick Caswell, the blacksmith. There is a story that in the early days they were short of uniforms and guns etc., but eventually uniforms were provided. Taking his brand new uniform home, his wife, Alice sent him to try it on. He came downstairs resplendent in uniform, three cornered hat, leather belts and webbing, pouches and bottles. Alice seeing him like that said “Ernie, you look like you’re in a harness, don’t let you’re **** hang out, or they’ll think your a horse”

The Knight family and the Bennett family at number 60 Willersey road [Alice Knight and Tom Bennett were step brother and sister] each had a pig, that was kept in their yards. The sty at number 60 was where the garage block is today. Every six months one of these pigs would be slaughtered by George Roberts a butcher from Wickhamford, and the joints etc. were then split between the two families. And a new pig purchased to be fattened up to be slaughtered twelve months on. Six months later the same would happen to the other pig. On one occasion after a pig was slaughtered Alice Knight took her side of a the pig, which she hung on a hook in the wall of kitchen, the flesh protected from flies by muslin. And being a hardworking household, to save time in the mornings the table was always laid for breakfast. On this occasion it seems that the hook pulled out of the wall, the side of pig fell onto the table, smashing the crockery and rousing the household, and probably the whole road, from their slumbers. A page from Victor Cockerton’s account book for 1911, shows that it cost him £3 2 shillings and 7½p to buy a pig and feed it from the time of buying it on July the sixth to the time of slaughter on the eleventh of December. The Christmas Pig weighed in at 8 score and 2 lbs. So the pig cost just over three old pennies a pound, nearly 100 hundred years ago.

On Saturday the eighth of September 1957 Dennis Knight was married to Mary Cresswell, an Offenham girl, they settled in School Lane. They had two sons Timothy and Russell, both of whom are now married.

Alice had her mother Elisabeth living with her for a spell, but then she had to go into hospital and her mother went to live with her sister Hilda. Her mother died in 1957, and by her will number 56. Willersey road was to be held jointly by her three children, that was Alice; Hilda and Thomas Bennett, the girls’ younger step brother. Alice and Ernie therefore, thinking to be prudent, bought out the third share of her sister and step brother, and by a conveyance of the eighteenth of April she paid nearly £217 to the solicitor acting for the siblings to buy their two thirds of the house she lived in.

As she got older Alice was given assistance by her daughter in law Mary, who would help with the household chores etc.

Alice Elizabeth Knight died and was buried the on thirtieth day of July 1988 and Ernest George, her husband died and was buried on the twenty seventh of May 1994. The house, in which Alice and Ernie Knight lived for so long, number 54 Willersey Road passed to their son, who retains it to this day and lets it out to rent

There have been a number of tenants over the years, and the present one has been there for many years.

Hilda Annie Brooks, Alice Knight’s younger sister meanwhile, had married a Maurice Jennings from Evesham in 1928, and they were living in Brewers Lane, when their son Brian was born in 1933. In 1938, having purchased a piece of land off Thomas Warmington, the landlord of the Bell Inn [who owned the field from the old Bell Inn right up to Chapel Street] the couple had a bungalow built in Chapel Street near the corner with School lane and next to the Police house, and gave it the name 'Lyngarth' The house had iron railings in front but these were taken by the government during the war. Brian Jennings remembers being told that the cost to build the Bungalow was 300 pounds. [equates to £11,708.67 in 2002 according to the retail price index]

By 1952 they had moved into Auburn Villa on Willersey Road [number 7]. Maurice Jennings was the station master at Littleton and Badsey station, building up the business of moving the locally grown produce with the growers, despite the growth of road transport. He died when he was 52 in November 1957, and Hilda bought number 29 Willersey Road [8 Belmont Terrace] as an investment and rented it out. Hilda Annie Jennings died and was buried with her husband Maurice in Badsey churchyard in September 1984.

56 Willersey Road [12 Cotswold View]

The Agg family were living at number 1 Belmont Terrace in 1901 and remained there till 1906, where Joseph kept a shop as well as being a Market Gardener, but when the terrace known as Cotswold View was built Joseph and Emma Agg took their growing family from number 1 Belmont terrace [13 Willersey road] sometime in 1906 to live at number 12 Cotswold View [56 Willersey road]. They were certainly living here at number 56 Willersey road in August 1906 when their daughter, Dorothy, enrolled at Badsey School. Joseph Foster Agg (1872-?) was born at Wickhamford, the son of Decimus and Mary Agg. Joseph failed to fill the electoral roll for the first few years, but in 1910 and 1911 he did fill it in. The Aggs moved to Badsey in the late 1880s. Joseph married Emma Wilkes in 1898 and they had three sons and two daughters: Dorothy (1899), Norman Joseph (1901-1901), Gwendolen May (1902), Laurence Decimus (1904) and Ronald William (1906) Joseph was Parish Clerk for a period and choirmaster for many years. A ten-year-old boy, Wallace Levi Field, son of Frederick Field, also seemed to be living there in 1908 when he moved from Kings Norton and enrolled at Badsey School. The school register describes him as “deficient” but he remained at the school until 1912.

Before April 1911 Joseph and his family had left the 2 bed roomed house and moved into the 3 bed roomed house next door at number 11 Cotswold view. His place was taken by Richard and Hilote Mary Cole. Richard Frederick Cole married Hilote Mary Knight in the September quarter of 1909; the marriage was registered at Evesham. Richard was the son of William and Louisa Cole and in 1901 the 13 year old Richard was living at number 10 Avon Street Evesham, along with his mother and father and five siblings. Hilote Mary, his wife, was the daughter of John and Kate Knight who were living at number 52 Willersey Road [10 Cotswold Terrace]. Their first child, a daughter Kathleen was born on the second of November 1910 and christened Kathleen Hilda on Sunday the eleventh of December at St James’ here in Badsey.

The first evidence of the Cole family living at number 56 Willersey road was on the evening of Sunday the second of April 1911, when Richard and Hilote Cole and their 5 month old daughter where to be found at home that night. Richard filled in his census form and duly signed it, having written that he was a twenty two year old married Market Gardener who was in work and had been born in Evesham. He wrote that his wife Hilote Mary was 23 years old that she had been born in Badsey, but she was in fact born at Laverton in Gloucestershire. He noted, as requested by the instructions written on the census form, that they had been married for 2 years and that they had one child, who was still alive. He ended by filling in the details of Kathleen Hilda, their baby.

Richard and Hilote were visited by the tax assessor on the sixteenth of May 1912 when his 2 bed roomed house was described in exactly the same way as all of the other 2 b2ed roomed houses in the Terrace.

Richard filled in the electoral register form for the first time for the house which was published in the October of 1912. That same year Richard Cole appears in Kelly’s Directory as an Insurance Agent. The couple’s second child, William John, was baptised at St. James’ on May the eighteenth 1913.

Richard Frederick Cole married Hilote Mary Knight in the winter of 1909 Richard Cole was an Insurance agent. Hilote Mary was the daughter of John and Kate Knight who were living at number 52 Willersey Road [10 Cotswold Terrace]. Richard and Hilote Mary Cole lived at number 56 from at least October 1912 when he filled in the electoral form. The couple had two children, Kathleen Hilda born on November the second 1910 and William John baptised on May the eighteenth 1913.

The following year the ‘War to End all Wars’ broke out and Richard Cole joined the Army to do his duty and as early as October 1916 he was fighting abroad. The ‘Parish War News’ reported in Vol 19, No 10, October 1916, that PRIVATE RICHARD F COLE ‘Received a parcel sent abroad from Badsey Soldiers’ Fund (money raised in February 1915 by a Whist Drive and half the proceeds of the Children’s Entertainment in March).’ The ‘War News’ Vol 22, No 7, of July 1917 reported that “On June 7th, Private Richard F Cole, of the Worcesters, who had seen many months service at the front, was killed in action in France. A Memorial Service was held at Badsey on June 27.”

Richard was one of many who died during this war. He died during the defence of the Ypres Salient. His body was never found and his name is commemorated on the Menin Gate. He is also commemorated on the Stone Plaque in the Church. His son William started school for the first time on eighteenth June 1917, eleven days after his father died. Along with the other 27 men of the village who paid the ultimate sacrifice Richard Cole’s’ name is on the Stone Plague in our Parish Church commemorating their valor and sacrifice.

His son William started school for the first time on eighteenth June 1917, the day after his father died.

In July 1918, Florence Haines born about 1889 is recorded as living at number 56 Willersey Road, when her daughter, Doris, enrolled in the Mixed Department of Badsey School. Florence was the daughter of David and Martha Harris who lived across the road at 31 Willersey Road [11 Belmont Terrace] This seems to have been only a temporary stay, as her normal home was at Wickhamford where her husband, Norris, was the chauffeur to the Lees-Milne family at Wickhamford Manor. She had previously lived next door to Hilote Cole at number 58 Willersey Road, and it is probable that she and Hilote were friends and that she had gone to stay to keep the young widow company.

Hillote & George Redgewell, 56 Willersey Road [pre 1931]
Hillote & George Redgewell 56 Willersey Road [pre 1931]

Hillote Mary continued to live at number 56, but   between April and June 1925 she  married again. The widow Cole had married George Redgewell, a Market Gardener, who in October 1923 was living at 6, Claybrook Villas. George was a London man, [the son of Mr and Mrs D Redgewell of Bow Common, London] who had been visiting members of his family, the Hubbards, on Bretforton Road when he and Hilote Mary met. Described as having a quiet and reserved disposition, George none the less had signed up in the Navy in 1910 and saw service on the Black Sea, a good boxer he won the middle weight division of the Grand Fleet, he also took part in boxing displays on behalf of Badsey British Legion. He worked on the land in Badsey as a Market Gardener. The couple had two sons:  Bernard Leslie who was born on November the twenty-first 1925, [and who died in 2003] and Norman who was baptised on Sunday the sixteenth of September 1928 and only lived 11 weeks. 

Having been called up for his annual navy training, and two days after having reported for duty, George Redgewell was suddenly taken ill and taken to the Naval Hospital at Portsmouth. He was in hospital for some time, then he was taken home to Badsey, succumbing to his illness just two days after arriving here. He died of an intestinal obstruction and Peritonitis. He died in 1931 and was buried on the third of March that year, The Pall bearers were provided by the Badsey British Legion, and the coffin covered by the Union Jack. He was buried in the same plot as Hilote’s father, John Knight.

When the young Bernard Redgewell enrolled at Badsey School in 1930, the address is given as 54 Willersey Road [11 Cotswold View], but this must have been a mistake. Though the family may have moved from number 56 by the time he started school, they never lived at number 54 Willersey Road [11 Cotswold View], he and his family were living at number 56 till some time in 1930, but they may have vacated the house by October that year, [or not filled in the electoral form] as they seem to have ‘disappeared’ from the record for some time.

A new couple were living in the house by October 1930, but only remained for some two years, having moved on by October 1932. They were Harold Reuben Wheatley and Barbara Wheatley [nee Dore]. He was the son of Horace and Lucy Kate Wheatley and had been christened in 1902, he had been enrolled at Badsey school in August 1909. According to Ted Wheatley, Harold was a Jockey, and was a very good one ‘over the sticks’ and on retiring from horse racing he took to farming at North Littleton.

Following them were George and Catherine Marshall who are shown to be have been living there at least from October 1932. George Marshall was born in Badsey in January 1892, the eldest son of Thomas and Fanny Marshall, mine host at the Bell Inn. He had suffered from birth with a club foot. He married Catherine and they lived at Glebe Farm from about 1918 to 1924, before moving to Hinton Villa on Chapel Street and then to 56 Willersey Road [12 Cotswold View] about 1932. They had a son and a daughter: Kathleen Mary (1917) and Thomas William (1922-1968).

George Marshall’s wife Catherine’s [Cathy’s] maiden name may have been Enstone and she came from Aldington. She was a music teacher and also played the Organ at St James Church, she taught many of the village children the delights, or otherwise, of music at school, then played the organ at their weddings. George was a Carter and transported garden produce to the station, which occupation was not hampered by his foot, but when he came to ride his bike he was in trouble because of his one leg being shorter than the other. Non the less he managed to run a few cattle at a place called ‘The Packs’ on the road to Blackminster near the stream where he also kept his horse. George Marshal helped at both the North Cotswold and Vale of Evesham Hunts, for whom he would block up the fox holes. Brian Jennings recollects that before dawn on many a winters morning he would be off with George Marshall to help block some of the holes.

Tommy Marshal, George and Catherine’s son, apparently went to the school here in the village, then went on to the Grammar school. On getting married he went to live at Lenchwick. He died in 1968. The couples only daughter Mary had married and had a little girl. There is a sad little story, that one day standing on the steps of the house holding the child in her arms watching the hunt as it streamed past, the little girl became ‘over’ excited and soon after she died in her mother’s arms.

Cathy Marshall, now a widow, was still riding her cycle around the village in the 1950s, and was still living at number 56 Willersey Road till at least October of 1974, may be some little while later, but she does not appear again in the electoral register in October 1976, there is nothing in the register for that time, and I understand that in the spring or early summer of 1976 the house was empty.

It therefore seems that Mrs Marshall had either died or moved elsewhere. Now empty the two bedroomed house had been bought by a Builder, who carried out major works to it, including a downstairs bathroom and toilet, the building of a large extension to the kitchen and provision of a modern kitchen. The extension had broken through the rear external wall leaving a large column of original wall [suitably plastered] to carry the wall above and the bedroom floors etc. He seems also to have built a fireplace, in the living room, of ‘Cotswold Stone’ which covered the entire chimney breast

He sold it before October 1976 as new people had moved in by that date, they only stayed for some two years and had left the house by October 1978.

The new owners were Mr and Mrs Slade. Reg Slade married Elizabeth Laight in March 1978 and they bought the house and were living there before October 1978. Reg was a Bretforton boy and his wife Elizabeth hailed from Church Lench. In September the following year their first son, Mark, was born. He was followed by Adam who was born in March 1982. With number 56 Willersey road being a two bed roomed house and the couple expecting another child, the house was put on the market, and by the time that Luke was christened at St James’ church in March 1987 the family were living in Seward road here in Badsey. Reg who worked at Knights the outfitters in Evesham, had double glazed windows fitted and installed a new flight of steps to the front door.

They new owners had moved into the house before October 1986, but had left the house by October the following year [1987].

By October 1987 a new owner had moved in and remained there until at least October 1992, but it could have been anytime over the next twelve months that she moved out.

Mrs Betty J Dennis purchased number 56 Willersey Road in 1993 and filled in her electoral form in October of that year. Betty J Ames was born in 1921, some 18 months after her brother, in Kenilworth in Hertfordshire. During the second world war, in the early summer of 1942, she married Douglas Frank Dennis [the marriage being registered in Northants] and over time the couple had six children, three boys and three girls. Her husband died in September 1979 some few months after retiring from work, whilst they were living at Wells in Somerset. She remained living in that place and her children dispersed throughout the country, and it was in 1993 that she moved from Wells to Badsey to be close to her son Douglas and Kate his wife, and of course her grandchildren.

Amongst the work that the Builder carried out in 1975/76 was the building of a large extension to the kitchen, where he had left a column of the original wall to carry to carry the wall above and the bedroom floors etc. He also built a large cotswold stone fireplace in the living room, whch covered the entire chimney breast wall. Mrs Dennis had the column removed and a RSJ [Rolled Steel Joist] installed spanning the opening to fulfil the structural integrity needed to carry the floor. She had the dominant stone clad fireplace plastered over to provide a smooth surface, the whole was then redecorated.

Her son Andrew moved in and out of the house over the years that she was there [he eventually married his mother’s next door neighbour and now lives elsewhere in Badsey] Betty is remembered walking her two dogs, Poppy and Meg. throughout the village, especially the exercise in the dark late evening, walking the fields using her flashlight to light her way. Betty remained living there till sometime in the year 2000, when she moved to Offenham, and later to Wickhamford, finally moving back to Badsey to live in a cottage on the High street in July of 2006.

The present owners bought the house off Mrs Dennis in the year 2000.

58 Willersey Road [13 Cotswold View]

There are no entries in the electoral register, for this house, before the 1911 census, but it seems probable that Noriss and Florence Haines were safely settled there in the summer of 1910. The 1911 census tells us that Norris and Florence Jane Haines and their 5 month old daughter Hilda Norris were living there. Norris was a 21 year old Chauffeur, driving for the Lees Milne family of Wickhamford Manor, and had been born at Aldington, the Hamlet in Badsey parish. His wife Florence was a 22 year old Badsey girl she was the daughter of David and Martha Harris who lived across the road at 31 Willersey road [11 Belmont Terrace], and the sister of Tom Harris who later lived in the house. The couple were married between April and June 1910 and had the one child who was born on the fifth of November 1910 and baptised at St. James on the eighteenth of December. It was Norris who filled in the census form and signed it on completion. Norris seems to have been born in his mother’s home parish of Saintbury, but brought back home to be christened on the 20 of October 1889, the son of William and Harriet Haines [nee Hicks] of Aldington. He was admitted to Badsey school on the 13 of September 1892. The Haines were still living there in May 1912 when their 2 bed roomed house was assessed under the Valuation Act 1910

Norris’ and Florenc’s second daughter, Margaret Helen, was born on December twelve 1912 and baptised on Sunday the nineteenth of January following.

There are no entries in the electoral register, for this house, before the 1914-18 war, and it is not known when the Norris family left number 58 Willersey road. But in July 1918, Florence Haines is recorded as living at number 56 Willersey Road, when her daughter, Doris, enrolled in the Mixed Department of Badsey School.

Norris joined the war effort, and the Parish War News Volume 19, No 10, October 1916, tells us that “NORRIS HAINES (born 9 July 1889, baptised at Badsey) - Received a parcel sent abroad from Badsey Soldiers’ Fund (money raised in February 1915 by a Whist Drive and half the proceeds of the Children’s Entertainment in March)”.

[ Florence and Norris Haines also had a son Jack, when they lived in Wickhamford, he was a good footballer and played for West Bromwich Albion after the second world war and he won an England cap in 1949 [?]

It is not known when the Haines moved out [due to lack of entries in the electoral register and the fact that none were filed all during the war, until 1917] But some 18 months after the Valuation assessments in the village an Indenture of the twenty fifth day of November 1913 shows that the United Counties Bank Ltd of Birmingham on behalf of the beneficial owners sold number 13 Stockey Piece Bully Brook Road [58 Willersey road] to John Howells. The man making the purchase, John Howels, was originally from Montgomeryshire, and is shown as living in Aldington in 1901 with his wife Sarah and children Mary born 1883; Kate, born in 1884 [died 1909]; John born in 1891 and Samuel born in 1893. John Howels senior died in March 1919, aged 61, and the house was vested in his widow Sarah.

Sarah Howels and Samuel was certainly living there in October 1919, when the electoral register application form was filled in. Mary Louisa Greatrix was also living there for a few months in 1922 when her daughter, Lillian, enrolled at Badsey School in July, having previously been at Honeybourne; they left the district in November 1922. Mary Greatrix was the married daughter of John and Sarah Howells.

Sarah herself died in April 1925 at Littleton, having left number 58 Willersey Road by October 1923, a Kerb and a Headstone were built around her, and her husband John’s grave. Sarah Howells ‘personal representative’ sold the house in January 1926 to Mr and Mrs D J Harris.

This was David John and Martha Harris, David John was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (nee Bowld), and had been born in Hampton, though his father was Badsey born and bred. David had married Martha Lampitt in the early months of 1889, and had children Florence, born May 1898 and John Thomas baptised on 21 August 1898. John Thomas had been a Gunner in the first world war, and had suffered from a kicking by a horse that he was attending to and he had also suffered from Trench mouth. Their daughter Florence Jane Haines had lived in the house before the first world war.

David and Martha bought the house for their son John Thomas, and his wife Celia, and at the time of the sale John Thomas and Celia were already living in the house, presumably paying rent to Sarah Howells estate, and were installed there before October 1923. Tom Harris is shown driving the pony and trap in the photograph, which belonged to his father. The pony’s name was Kit, and it is said that it was led through the house to feed off the grass at the rear of the house. At other times he was tethered at the roadside, eating the grass at the front.

On the death of David John Harris in May 1952, probate was granted on the twentieth day of August 1952, and 58 Willersey road was vested with Martha Harris, and her son John Thomas’s family continued to live there. Martha herself died in April 1954, probate was granted in December of that year, and by her will the house passed into the ownership of her son John Thomas Harris.

John Thomas and Celia had at least two children, Barbara and David Malcolm. Barbara was born in 1924, and David was privately christened on the day he was born, the third of February 1927. Barbara Harris married a man named Joseph Keith Beasley from Evesham. They were living at number 18 Horsebridge in 1951 when they baptised their son Nigel Paul. They had lived with her parents for some time before moving to Horsebridge.

David was an invalid, some problem with his legs, and had to use a wheelchair. It was the kind of invalid carriage that had a set of levers at hand level, and David would travel about the village pushing and pulling away on these levers with his hands, wrapped up against the cold by a black cover.

David spent much of his time with William Jones, known as Cunger, the village street cleaner, who used to patrol the village on his bike with a little trailor on the back that Dick Caswell made for him. It is remembered that the cleanest parts of the village were those surrounding the Wheatsheaf; the Royal Oak and the Bell. It is remembered too, that David Harris spent much time looking on the world from his living room window. Using mirrors to look up and down the road. It must have been very difficult with the number of steps to the house, but I understand that his carriage was manhandled down the steps by his parents, and he would sit there, the chair on the path, facing the road, or go off on one of his jaunts with Cunger. One would have thought it would be easier to go out of the back of the house, but, as one climbs the six or so steps to the front door, and travels through the living room, there is a step down into the dining room, and a further step down into the kitchen. So it was no easier that way. He was often taken to Oswestry for treatment of his condition, which was such that he was unable to work. It is remembered that he went to Badsey school. He died in 1958, and the parish magazine reported he was “a cripple all his life, was cheerful and courageous, and is mourned by many friends. We miss seeing him about the village in his wheelchair. But we rejoice in his release from his infirmities”

It was only when ill-health compelled him that John Thomas gave up his ground, but he and Celia his wife remained living at number 58 Willersey road until at least 1973, when they went to live in one of the new bungalows opposite the Silk Mill, and it was during this time that Tom underwent a number of serious operations. It was also about this time that he had to give up riding his bike. He died in 1978.

It was at the time of moving to their bungalow, in April 1973, that Tom Harris sold the house. The couple buying it had moved into number 58 Willersey road by October of 1973 and remained there till Easter or so 1976.

By a conveyance dated the twenty third of March 1976 the house was sold to Mr Lewis Douglas and Mrs Kristina Mary Littlewood, who remain there to this day. Mrs Littlewood is a Broadway girl, and Douglas is a Badsey boy, the son of Lewis Charles and Dora Victoria Littlewood, of Synehurst Avenue, born in 1949. They still live there.

60 & 62 Willersey Road [14 Cotswold View]

This particular house, number 60, had much larger grounds than the other thirteen houses, comprising the bulk of the smaller piece of Land purchased by John Idiens, it also had a concrete or stone block building associated with it, which was known as a Blacksmiths shop or Smithy. Later in the 1960s, the owner had a large detached house built on some of his land, given the number 62. The valuation of May 1912 says that there 1000 square yards associated with the property.

The existing village Smithy in Chapel Street, now ruled over by David Caswell, once belonged to a blacksmith by the name of Bishop, I understand that he was a Bretforton man. It seems that he thought that he could do better if he had a different vantage point. Thus he moved his tools of trade to a newly built building associated with this part of the old Stockey. The Smithy was part of the plans of John Idiens, so the probability is that Mr Bishop rented it from him, or at least, the Company. But it seems that he had little or no better success down by the brook, and closed down. It is probable that Mr Bishop was a farrier, rather than a true blacksmith, and that he could not make a living from shoeing horses. On the fourteenth of February 1909, David Caswell’s grandfather, Frank, rented Bishops derelict old smithy in Chapel street, and started operations there, branching out from shoeing horses to making market garden implements and other iron objects, etc. In 1924 Frank Caswell bought the smithy for £400, and it remains in the family to this day. But the smithy down by the brook was abandoned and used for storage etc. The children of the time were wont to play in the ‘old’ building.

The drain or sewer to the 14 properties, mentioned in the indenture, was laid to a falling gradient with the high point being at the rear of number 60, and falling away ‘uphill’ to the connection to the sewer further up Willersey Road, for which the owners paid their fair portion of five shillings to Alice Kate Bell. At the rear of the house, the drain was very close to the surface of the ground, and had a tank built onto the head of the drain. This tank had to be periodically filled by the owner, or tenant, of the house by a hose pipe, and the water flushed down the drain to help in the ‘self’ cleansing process of the entire length, through to the main village sewer.

When construction of the house was finished the earliest known occupants were Arthur and Annie Sadler. Arthur Franklin Sadler (1884-1957) was the sixth son of Thomas Sadler, who had been a tenant farmer living at the Stone House. “Montpellier House” (current-day Badsey Hall). The Hartwell family were also living there William Hartwell’s wife was Maria Sadler, a daughter of the house.

Arthur [known as Shaddy] had married Annie Grove between April and June 1909 the marriage being registered at Evesham, and settled into number 60 Willersey Road. The couple had three children. Their first child was Leslie, he had been born in 1909, and was born at number 60 Willersey Road, but about a year after the birth, Arthur and Annie had moved their small family across the road into number 33 Willersey Road [11 Belmont Terrace] The reason given for the move was that Arthur didn’t want his son to fall down the large flight of steps of the house at 60 Cotswold View. When Saddy Sadler was living at number 60 Willersey Road, the rent paid was 4 shillings and six pence per week, but it was reduced by sixpence to 4 shillings, as compensation or payment to him for carrying out the flushing of the drains The family had vacated before April 1911, as a new family were there when the census took place.

The new family was that of Alfred and Jessie Davis.

Alfred Davies (the name sometimes appears as Davis, but Alfred was definitely signing as Davies in 1911) was born at Rock, Worcestershire, in about 1875, one of eight children of George Edward Davies who had married Henrietta Elizabeth Warren in 1860. George was from Orleton in Herefordshire and Henrietta was from Great Whelnetham in Suffolk. In 1871, the family was living at Hockley, Pensax, Worcestershire, were George was a farmer of 155 acres, employing 3 men and 1 boy. In 1881, the family was living at Lower Sneyd, Rock, where George was a farmer of 282 acres, employing 4 men and 2 boys.

In 1901, Alfred was working as a butcher on Church Street, Tibberton. He employed a housekeeper, Annie Browning, and a butcher’s assistant. Also visiting on census night was the housekeeper’s sister, 20-year-old Jessie Browning, whom Alfred married just a short time after the census was taken. Alfred and Jessie had at least five children

They were living in Badsey in May 1908 when Aubrey enrolled at Badsey Council School, having previously been at school in Great Comberton. The address given in the school register was Bowers Hill, but that was the one and only time it was mentioned. Their fifth son Henry was born here in Badsey about May 1910. There is no evidence of when they did move into 60 Willersey road, but they were living there in April 1911 when the census was taken. I have not found a marriage for the couple, but according to the 1911 census they had been married for ten years, and in that period Jessie bore five children. A nomadic family, four of the children had been born in a different parish. The first child, Aubrey aged 9 had been born at Cadley (sic) Herefordshire on the eighth of February 1902, Gertrude aged 7 had been born at Tibberton Worcestershire and Edward age 5 had been born at Great Comberton. Their fourth child, John, was also born at Great Comberton in 1908. and Henry had been born about May 1910 in Badsey. On the census form Alfred had written that he was a market gardener, that he was in work, and that he had been born at Rock Worcestershire and Jessie was from Powick.

I have found no evidence to say when the Davis family left number 60 Willersey road but it must have been before the second of April 1912 when Walter Cull was living there. Walter and his family were there when the house was valued by the Valuation Survey assessor. This particular house had 1000 square yards [instead of the usual 200] but had the same gross and ratable value as the other thirteen houses. Walter did pay more in rent though, he paid £13 per year, it also had a higher value in Gross terms being £160 [instead of the more usual for a 3 bedroom house in the terrace of £110] The description of the property was also different, it was a brick and tile Cottage, but the state of the house was not stated and it did have 3 bed rooms. The kitchen is not described as being built of brick and it does have a side entrance to the property.

Walter John Cull, a Baker like his father, was the son of John Ernest and Ruth Cull, he was baptised on the tenth day of February 1884. His father, a Bengeworth man, had married Ruth Sylvester of West Bromwich at Dudley in the second quarter of 1881. The 1901 census shows a large family living at 18 High Street Badsey, with the seventeen year old Walter John being the eldest child. John Ernest Cull was advertising his business in the parish magazine from 1908 onwards, maybe before.

I have failed to find a marriage for Walter John Cull, but a daughter of his was born at Badsey on the eighth of October 1908, and baptised a little later at St. James and given the name Gwendolyn Mary Cull. The census of 1911 show him and his family were living in Badsey in a 6 roomed house in Chapel Street. He was a 27 year old Baker and his wife was Mary May was a 26 year old who came from Norfolk. The census tells us that they had been married 5 years and had two children, Doris Beatrice had been born at Tysull Staffordshire, but Gwenderlyn Mary had died in Birmingham early in 1909. There was a 22 year old American Boarding with them, who is described as a market gardener.

Interestingly it seems that on the thirty first of April 1912 when, as a sitting tenant, he arranged a mortgage of £110 to buy the house and lands [yet the valuation dated the sixteenth of May that year clearly states that the owner was still John Idiens & Sons.] His rate of repayment was some 4½ percent, not far away from the present day. He bought number 60 Willersey Road [14 Stocky Piece Bully brook Road], and all that piece of land forming another portion of the said Stockey piece together with the “cement erection of a Smithy thereon” adjoining the house on the south side. The contract as usual being made with the four parties and the purchaser subject always to the right of way from Bully Brook road to the rear of the property and the payment of a fair share of the five shillings payable to Alice Kate Bell or her assigns for the drainage system, plus the covenant to maintain the fence etc. on the west side of the property. He filled in his electoral form, which entitled him to vote in October 1912 for number 60 Willersey road.

Four years later, Walter Cull sold his house, both parts being identified on the mortgage including the Smithy, on the twenty eighth day of October 1916 to William Bennett, a Market gardener of Glebe Farm Badsey, and probably removed to Bowers Hill, where he was living in 1922 when his son John was born. Walter John died on October the fifteenth 1931, his wife Mary died in 1966.

Thomas Henry & Eliza. Bennett [nee Sears formerly Brooks] in their marriage finery in 1917.
Thomas Henry & Eliza. Bennett [nee Sears formerly Brooks] in their marriage finery in 1917.

William Bennett was living at Glebe Farm in 1901 and was at that time employing, amongst others, his eldest son Thomas Henry. It would seem that he had bought the house, 60 Willersey Road, for this son Thomas Henry, whose younger brother William was already living just across the road at number 10 Belmont Terrace, his sister Fanny Knight was living just three doors away from where he was going to live, at number 54 Willersey road.

Thomas Henry Bennett living just up the hill from the Cotswold View Cottages  must have known all of the people living there, including the attractive young widow at number 56 Willersey Road. And some four years after she became a widow Thomas Henry married Elisabeth [known as Elisa] Brooks within the first three months of 1917. She was the widow of William John Brooks, [formerly named Sears] and had two children, Alice and Hilda, and they had been living at number 54 Willersey Road [11 Stockey Piece]. But on her marriage to Thomas Henry, Elisa and her daughters moved into Thomas’s  house, number 60, and it was there that their son Thomas was born on the twenty eighth day of October 1917. Thomas was a step brother to the two girls and was a cousin of Gertrude [Gerti] Floyd, formerly Bennett and latterly Cowley. The family was complete. The studio photograph shows Thomas Henry Bennett and his bride Eliza Brooks, on their wedding day.

William Bennett, Thomas Henry’s father died the year of his sons marriage and his grandsons birth, on May the fifth 1917, and letters of administration were granted on May the twenty fifth to his son Thomas Henry. The house was vested in Thomas Henry.

In 1929 Permission [a wayleave] was given by Thomas Henry for the Electricity Board to have access to his land to erect an Electricity pole, and to be used in the event that they needed to carry out work to their services etc. The previous year an electricity supply had entered the village from Wickhamford, and this pole was required to distribute the supply to other parts of the village. I understand that Thomas Henry Bennett‘s house was the second in the village to have electricity connected, the electric cables were fixed to the front of the row of houses, and the owner, occupier or tenant would pay to have his house wired up, and connection made. Thomas Henry Bennett, as I say was the second to have it installed and Tom Bennett junior remembers his mother showing her neighbours how it worked and what it did. [The first house to be connected to the new electric supply was that of Arthur Sears, the young Tom Bennett’s uncle in Badsey Fields Lane] Jack Wheatley, son of Horace and Lucy, may have helped with the installation as he had commenced his apprenticeship as an electrician in 1929, and had a workshop up the ‘Alley’ in the High Street. The year later, in February 1930, the 52 years old Thomas Henry died at home, and by his will his wife Elisabeth was catered for, and the house eventually was to go to his young son Thomas.

At the time of his father’s death Thomas Bennett was 12 or 13 years old, being so young, and having gone to school [he was enrolled at Badsey school in 1921] young Thomas was very much a novice at the growing of produce. Mr Victor Cockerton, a noted Market Gardener, and a grandson of Henry and Elisabeth Stewart of Badsey, who worked the remaining part of the Stockey [some as owner and the other part as tenant, which part he bought in 1951] used to help and advise the young Thomas on how to obtain the best results in the growing of the produce. It would seem that he was a willing pupil and that Mr Cockerton was a very good teacher.

Many village lads throughout the country married girls, who, working away from home due to the war effort, and who belonged to the Women's Land Army, these young women were working the land, as the young men were at war. Two such young women were Ann Hammond and Mary Stead, lifelong school friends, from Newcastle, Northumberland, who were working at Wickhamford Manor. And so it was with Tom Bennett, he ‘took up’ with Ann Hammond and in November 1946 they were married. At the time of their marriage, Tom Bennett’s mother Elisabeth was still living at number 60, and remained so for some years, but later she moved up the hill to number 54 Willersey Road, where her daughter Alice Knight lived. Alice then had to go into hospital for some time and Elisa went to live with her younger daughter Hilda. Elisabeth, or Eliza Bennett died and was buried on the twentieth day of February 1957.

In November 1947 Ann Bennett was delivered of a son, whom they christened Leslie, he was born in the same room that his dad Tom had been born in, forty years earlier. He was enrolled at Badsey School in December 1952 by his mother Ann. He did not enter the family business but continued with his studies and went into Industry.

It was also in 1947 that a bathroom was installed in the house. In common with the other thirteen houses, number 60 had been blessed with running water and an indoors toilet at the time of the building of the houses, but the old iron lean to, that had been provided with the kitchen was done away with and a purpose built bathroom was constructed on the ground floor.

In 1961 Tom and Anne Bennett decided that they would build a detached house at the side and at an angle to number 60 Willersey Road. In December 1961 outline consent was granted. In August 1962 searches were made to formalise the land boundaries. Work to the new Cotswold stone built house, constructed by Taylors of Willersey, was finished some time before October 1963, and the owners had moved in by that date. The old ‘Smithy’ had to be demolished, and the stone blocks were reused in the building of the garage block. Part of the copse mentioned in the sale of Stocky back in 1915 is still evident today in the garden of number 62 Willersey Road. The house was given the name of Lisbon House, as a tribute to the humble onion from which Mr Bennett made such a living. The house is not connected to the village drainage system, it is served by a septic tank. Tomas And Ann Bennett moved into this house.

When the move had been completed Number 60 Willersey Road [or 14 Cotswold View] was put up for sale, but the sale fell through, and this coincided with Thomas’s Bennett’s half sister Hilda taking in a lodger, for which she was paid £7 per week for bed and breakfast. So Tom decided that he would, like his sister, make his house available to let.

Over the years there have been many tenants in the house, too many to list, but the present day tenant has been living there since August 1998.

Thomas Bennet died in April 2008 and was buried on the twenty third of the month. He was a grand old man of 91 years.

References

  1. House Deeds, for numbers 28; 34; 36; 44; 58 and 60 & 62 Willersey Road
  2. Inclosure Map of Badsey dated 1812 (Badsey.net)
  3. The Badsey Parish Registers (Badsey.net)
  4. 1841 to 1901 census of Badsey (Badsey.net)
  5. Civil Indexes (images.freebmd.org.uk)
  6. Census 1881; 1891 and 1901 (Ancestor.com)
  7. St James Church Badsey Transcribed Burial Registers 1538 to 2004, courtesy of P Stewart Esq. (the Burial register was not maintained for some years)
  8. St James Church Badsey Baptism Register 1903 to 2004 Courtesy of P Sewart Esq. (the Baptism register was not maintained from 1935 to 1945)
  9. TC Sparrow “A Brief History of Badsey and Aldington” second edition
  10. M Spinks “Heads and Tales A History of Badsey School”
  11. Electoral Registers:- Evesham Division & South Worcestershire Parliamentary Constituency, Ref. 247.7, Worcester Record Office
  12. Reminiscences of Edward [Ted] Wheatley
  13. 1911 Census of Badsey (Findmypast.com)
  14. 1910 Valuation Survey Books IR58, The National Archives

Acknowledgements

My grateful thanks go to all who have spent many hours being quizzed by me, and for their keen interest in the topic.

To all of the families who have assisted me in my searches, for the anecdotal evidence so freely given, the documented evidence, [deeds-family archives etc] without which the article would be much the poorer.

For the contemporary photographs and ready permission to use them, and to all those who have generally offered me help, advice and encouragement.

To the Worcester Record Office Staff for putting up with continual requests for so many (heavy) Electoral Registers.

To my wife Beryl for her support, tact and toleration.
 

TW Hockenhull

February 2007 [with modifications being carried out over the following years which ended with the modification of February 2011-1911 census and 1910 Valuation Act]