Of the Green Family from Harpole, Northamptonshire their Ancestors and Relatives

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Wednesday, 19 September 2018 05:43 AM BST

My Memoirs by Kenneth Major Spackman

Compiled by E. C. Staniforth and published here with his permission.

These Memoirs mainly cover Ken's early life at Pigeon House Farm, Eastbury, Berkshire.

I haven't got good copies of some of the photographs, these will be added as and when I can find good copies.

A few words about the author
I have known Kenneth and 'Von Spackman since 1957, when they arrived in Sydney I met them together with my future wife Mary the elder daughter of Bunt and and her mother Dulcie. I will point out that Bunt (Derek) Spackman was killed in the second world war his troop ship was torpedoed off North Africa in 1943. Uncle Ken as I have always known him, 'gave' Mary away when we married in 1958 his daughter Annmarie was flower girl. No sooner had Uncle arrived in the country then he was out looking for work on a farm. He settled for poultry farming and proved a diligent employee and soon was manager of a section. He has since retired and living at Macquarie Fields, not to let the grass grow under his feet he is planning to sell up and move up to Harvey Bay in Queensland to a retirement village and I wish them all the best.
The Spackmans are well known as farmers right back through the ages in Wiltshire, Berkshire and Hampshire. The name Spackman is said to be derived from "Speakeman" - the nickname for a politician, advocate or spokesman. It can be seen from the abbreviated family tree in the center of this book have been traced back to a Roger & Susannah Spackman late.1500s.to 1600 The family branch out from England to Australia, South America, Canada and the U.S.A.
The following is an annotation in his notes.
I wrote this in my 1994 diary, it would apply today Zippy and I go for our thirty minute walk after breakfast up to the Macquarie Fields news agent to get the morning newspaper. We talk to each other, I'm sure he understands all I say to him. Sometimes we are happy we whistle and sing, sometimes we are sad and have a little weep. As we get near home I look out for mum's smiling face as she waves to us from the lounge window. To do the walk in 30 minutes' one has to keep up a brisk walk I do 120 steps to the minute all the way.
Pigeon House Farm
My Memoir From about 1916
My memories as a young lad of three years of age to about twelve, things I remember of sayings and doings at home and of the old folk of the village of Eastbury Berkshire .
I, Kenneth Major Spackman, the fifth child of eight children born to William and Ilma of Pigeon House Farm. My father was from a farming family who farmed in Berkshire and Wiltshire for many years. His mother was a Liddiard born at Eastbury Manor and years after married a Spackman and lived again at the Manor where my father was born.
Pigeon House Farm House is a fine old building part of it is dated 1620. The fire places in the dining and drawing rooms had been open but had been closed in for log fires, this had left a space in the chimneys which had to be cleaned out at 'Spring Cleaning'. Mother got the chimney sweep from Hungerford who used to get up and sweep out these spaces.
Mother used to tell we children the tale that once he got up to sweep them out and couldn't get back, had to take his clothes off to squeeze back. We children lined to get out on the lawn and shout when we saw the brush come out of the top of the chimney. There were four big long chimneys to sweep, the sweep used to come on a bicycle with all his brushes and gear strapped on it.
Pigeon House farm house 1914 Mother,Dad,Greeta, Billo, Phyllis, Bob & my self the baby.
 

Another man that used to come to 'Pigeon House' on a bicycle was the piano tuner once or twice a year, he was a big man always wore a bowler hat.
Mother had a live in House Maid and a Nanny, Helen, until she died, then a daily nurse maid. I don't remember much about Helen very well, all I can remember is she wore long thick clothes and we children used to crawl under and hide. She used to take we children for a drive in the donkey trap.
 Mother with the nannies and Greta, Billo, Phyllis, Bob and myself the baby.
I must say this about my mother and father, they were a good happy husband and wife, good parents never hit any of we children our punishment was always 'go to your bedroom'. They sent the three eldest girls, Greta, Billo, and Phylis to Margate Boarding School, we three boys to Newbury Grammar School and the two youngest Joan and Bubble to the village school.
My Mother was an Osmand who's mother was the 'Land Lady' of the Bear Hotel in Hungerford. Her father was a Doctor Major of Hungerford and an ancestor to Dr. Major was surgeon on Nelsons hospital ship 'The Swift Sure' at the battle of the Nile 1708.
The Pigeon House (Dove Cote)
The pigeon house (dove cote) an octagonal brick and flint building, pyramid tiled roof - there are 999 pigeon holes round the inside where the birds hatched their young when they were nearly big enough to fly, the Druids killed and ate them which at the time was considered a delicacy.
The Pigeon House (Dove Cote)
To get to the holes, a big pole up the center on a swivel top and bottom with a ladder attached was pushed around. There were always a hundred or more, they would come and go, often you could see racing birds with rings on their legs but most were ordinary homing pigeons.
A Cross sectional view of the pigeon house
About a mile north of the village between the Station and Wantage roads on the farm property was a chalk pit 'Jonathan's Pit' which was said or thought the slabs of chalk slabs and cubes were cut to form the pigeon house and form the "Pigeon Holes", and line the inside of the building.
The Pigeon Traps.
I remember the pigeon 'trap' shoots that dad used to hold, he would invite sevcral of his friends to a lunch then about six boxes, each with a pigeon in. A man with a string and the shooter would stand ready, and try and shoot the bird down   It was good fun and the birds had a good chance to get away.
Clay Pigeon Shoots, a saucer like object was loaded onto a pre-tensioned arm, when the release string was pulled it would sling the "pigeon" into the air. Not knowing which way it would go the shooter had to be very smart on the trigger.
Mother had all her babies at home, bar the first   had a 'live in' registered nurse for a week or so. I was nearly born in the lambing pens. Dad decided to take my mother to see the shepherds who were busy lambing, but had to drive home in the pony trap pretty quickly as I was on the way.
Granny Spack, Dad's mother lived at Montague House opposite the Manor with two of her three daughters, Dorothy always drove a pony and trap and used to ride to "the hounds".
Dad loved his church, was the vicar's warden for over forty years served under five vicars on the Lambourn parish council for forty years representing Eastbury ward. He was school manager and a Titleman which he seceded from his father and he from his father. He was treasurer of the village soccer and cricket club, and in the Royal Berks. Yeomanry Cavalry. He was a good and clever farmer but everything went against him right up to the end when he had to leave Pigeon house.
More about Dads family,
Frank lived in middle farm was wounded in the First World War and was taken prisoner, he married a Baylis lived on his pension and did a bit on the farm. Daisy was a nurse in France, nursing the wounded soldiers she was a miserable old girl, Bunt and I went to school by train, to get to the station we had to pass the back of Granny's and Aunt Daisy's back yard. One morning she was feeding her turkeys as we went by, so we gave her a wave, she came rushing out, called us back and said did we class her as a lady! we said yes, she replied "touch your cap in future". All Grammar School boys were always told, if we saw a fellow, student with a parent, to touch our cap which was always worn with school uniform.
Saturday midday most farm workers knocked off work for the weekend, all dad's workers lined up at the back door. Dad sat at a table in the back kitchen and called each man in for his pay. The shepherds, carter's and cowmen had to come in at the weekend to attend their animal's needs.
Mother holding me, Dad and Bunt, Greta, Billo,Phyllis, and Bob.

 

In Summer we often used to go to the woods for a picnic in the donkey cart, pick some blackberries for jam which mother made, sometimes pick sloes to make wine, dad used to make sloe gin and primroses were picked for the church. When I was young I liked Sunday's especially winter days, mother used to have the fire going in the drawing room, morning church service with dad and mother. Sometimes dad would stay at home and cook dinner he was a good cook, after dinner dad would light up a cigar, mother would say "I love the smell of dads cigar" After dinner we children went to the children's service and then for a walk 'till tea time, after tea get our night clothes on and go down to the drawing room, mother would play the piano dad would sing, they both would sing - what happy days
There's nothing like the sound of church bells on a Sunday
The Lambourn bells seemed to say "why don't you leave my wife alone". "She's so drunk she can't get home".   The East Garston bells said- "Hammers and tongs whipcord and thongs who will have us ".   Eastbury struck up with  " We two we two" and the Woodlands- said "dong dong. " The oldies of the village used to say if the Woodlands bell sounded loud it would sure to rain.
The road that ran through the village was the Lambourn, Newbury road and the brook that flooded in the winter and dried up in the summer   the bridges in the village over the brook were Bottom arch Pig's bridge , Chapel bridge, Church bridge and Top Arch.
Folk in the village of Eastbury I knew and remember of some of their sayings when I was a boy, and in my teens in the 1920's.
Godwin
A retired farmer lived down Wines Hall past Pigeon House, he had no roof to his mouth and used to talk funny, we children used to make fun of him. His wife used to do a lot dress making for mother.
Dr. Patterson
He brought most of we children into the world, he used to huff and puff, drive an old Ford car (1913) open all around so that he could breath better. He would shout and swear at any children that were in the road, in his way, he sometimes rode a motor cycle & side car. He used to come in and talk to mother and dad. He knew the Majors. I remember him coming in and shouting "Eric has twins, that was Peter and Tony. When he went on holiday he had a deaf doctor do his job, he used a horn which he held in his ear and one had to shout in.
The Rev. Jones
A very nice man a friend of the family, he got very "High Church" after recovering from an illness his housekeeper companion, was always at his side. He my brothers Bob, Bunt and myself to serve in the church with incense and all that sort of thing. Mum and dad liked we children to go to church once or twice on a Sunday.
Miss Flowers
Head Mistress of the village school was respected by all students and parents. She had a brother who kept the Post Office at the next village, he used to deliver parcels and wires (telegrams) One day he had something for an old lady in Eastbury (Mrs. Ruddle) he knocked on her door, she shouted 'who's there' he said 'Flowers from Eastgarston' she said 'O, how lovely, who could have sent me flowers' He also had a small farm, milk a cow or two and sold the milk around the villages. He sometimes used to harness two of his cows to a plough.
Parker.
 He was the Post Master of Eastbury Post Office.
Brown.
Owned the bakery opposite the Post Office, he had faggots of wood delivered once or twice a week to heat up the ovens to bake the bread.
Qulington
Carpenter and Undertaker, his wife and two daughters kept the adjoining shop where we children spent our pennies on sweets from jars of all kinds along the shelves.
Mr. George Bayliss.
Landlord of the Manor Eastbury.
Eastbury Manor
Alf Little.
Village blacksmith who shod all the farm horses in his shop or he would go to the farm stables, he would also repair all farm implements.
Barnard
The village police constable, always ready to help with any problems one had. His daughter Edie was our nursemaid after Mother's old nanny Helen died.
Wlllis
Landlord of the Queen's Arms at the bottom of the village.
Denton
Landlord of the 'Plough Inn' at the top end of the village he was also the village pig killer. Dad used to fatten two or three pigs a year and have them killed, and cured the bacon. I remember the bacon the sides of bacon and hams hanging up In the kitchen of Pigeon house. Some farm workers would have a pig in a sty and have it killed at Christmas time.
Mrs. Spanswick
Land Lady of the 'Plume and Feathers', the pub in the middle of the village, her husband worked a small holding belonging to the pub, he had a horse and cart and milked a cow or two.
Another lady I remember lived at Sheep Drive between Lambourn and Eastbury, she used to come to the village to shop. She had a bicycle but never rode it, just pushed it with one hand on the saddle the other on the handlebars.
Then there was a Mrs. Foshy she lived at Eastbury Grange about two miles from the village up the Wantage Road with her husband a retired army officer. She used to show cats, one day we children were playing on the lawn when we heard someone calling. I went outside and she was in her pony trap holding a kitten in her hand and .aid this is for you, her name is "Dolly Eastbury."
Somerton
He lived at top end of back street, had a small farm and milked cows and sold the milk around the village.
George Paty
Road man in the main road through the village, he pushed a three wheel barrow and cleaned up horse manure and any hay, straw or manure dropped from carts. He used to frighten we children when out walking with our nurse maid. He would hold out his arms and say "now which be I to ave".
Tom King
Roadman up the Wantage Road from the village to the Downs, he used to fill in the pot holes and wheel ruts. One day when he had filled in some bad patches, a farm worker came along with a horse roller, Tom said he would give him a penny if he would roll over his work, he had to anyway the roller was as wide as the road! Tom had a wooden leg, his wife used to work for mother scrubbing the brick floors in Pigeon House once a week. What a job, on hands and knees two kitchens a scullery and a passage.
Arthur Vockings
A wood man, very clever with wood cut from the "woods" made hurdles and all kinds of sheep feeders also sticking wood for peas, beans in the garden and faggots for fire kindling. He was also a good thatcher of buildings .
Helping with the harvest
Tony Patterson, Harry Greenway, Mrs. Hunleby, Mrs. Greenway, Arthur Vokins, Henry Fisher, Hundleby, & Peter Patterson.
 
Jim Sheppard
He was also a wood man, worked in the woods cutting wood for faggots, sticking wood and used to thatch dad’s corn and hay ricks.
Bill Pizzy
Farm worker, one of the oldies we boys used to work with Bill in the corn field like shocking up the corn sheaves. He didn't like working with us, we used to play up a bit and rush to get to the end of a row of sheaves then have a rest and a smoke. Bill once said 'you boys do caddle "rush" I've got two paces this un and stop'.
Jack Alexander.
Shepherd, one of the last for dad, his wife, we used to call Mrs. Jack worked for mother in the house used to wait at the table when mum and dad had parties, especially shooting parties.
Happy Day
An old man with a beard always wore a battered bowler hat, used to sleep in one of dads barns, would do all the odd jobs on the farm summer time, winter he would go to the 'work house' at Hungerford.
Freddy Quaterman
Another old man used to sleep in the barn, he stuttered badly used to do odd jobs on the farm would come to the back door at Pigeon House and mother would send him out some bread and cheese or some' leftovers' and tea in a jam jar he would trap rabbits and sell around the village.
Ephriam Dean.
Dad’s foreman at Pigeon House, if dad wasn't out in the morning to give orders Eph. as we called him would come to the front door, he wouldn't knock or ring but just rattle the door, he did the garden and brought in any veggies mother wanted. On a wet day he would saw fire wood in the 'wood shed', sometimes Eph would sit in the wheelbarrow take off his boots and fix his 'toe rags'. Old farm workers didn't wear socks but wrapped up their feet in rags they used to wear heavy hob nailed boots and heavy corduroy trousers which they 'yorked up' tied a strap or string around the leg below the knees to keep the weight off the shoulders.
Harry Greenway.
Horse carter worked with two or three men under him with about 12 horses at Pigeon House.
 
Frank Beckett
Was an army blacksmith used to do some work for dad like repairing farm equipment.
Bert Becket
Frank's son was a' farm fogger' used to milk two or three cows, brought the milk in for mother to put in pans and skim off the cream next day. When she had enough she would churn it into butter once a week. Bert used to do odd jobs for mother such as clean the knives, boots and shoes every morning. One morning when Bert came in Mother said "good morning Bertram", later he said to Bunt and me, your mother didn't 'alf call me a funny name.
Charlie Sherman
Lived down the lane past Pigeon House we called 'Wine's Hall' he was a sports reporter, used to watch the horses on the gallops on the Down and report back to his paper.
Bob Posford
He used to be a coachman, when he was young, for a Lady Salsbury at "Lands Down Park" Upper Lambourn, he lived down 'Wine's Hall' too and worked for dad at busy times of the year. He was a real character, the Patterson boys used to come in the harvest field with we boys, they always brought their meals with them. One day they had some cold rabbit for lunch and didn't eat all, so asked Bob if he would like some Bob said "Na and I wouldn 't give it to my bloody dog". One time his wife was ill and mother sent the usual milk pudding to her. Bob said to my brother's and me very slowly "your mother is the best woman that ever broke apiece of bread". Mother always sent a hot milk pudding to anyone in the village who was ill she used to sit with the dying and help a new mother with her baby.
More about the old folks in the village.
Colonel and Mrs. Collis
Lived in Eastbury House, she and mother were friendly she used to be always bringing mother flowers and plants for the garden.
Henry Fisher
Lived at "New Town" by the Queens Arms, He was a hay trusser .He used to cut hayricks into trusses press them with a hand trusser and tie ready loaded onto a wagon. Dad sold his best hay, rye grass and clover to an agent for a London Council horse stables and sent it up by rail.
Day
Lived in the last house at the top of the village. He was a retired butler, his daughter was a teacher at Lambourn School.
Jack Wilder
He worked on a farm, in his younger days he worked on the railway, laying the track from Lambourn to Newbury. We boys used to go on it to Newbury Grammar School. Jack was a bit of a poacher too, trapped rabbits and pheasants 'on the quiet' his son Bert used to come to the back door and mother used to give him little jobs to do before school.
Mr. Carter
He lived at middle farm before Uncle Frank. Mr. Carter always wore a top hat and tails on Sunday.
Elija Benson
A retired shepherd was a good gardener had his own garden and an allotment. His son Bill worked on the roads for the council, always took his fox terrier with him to work. Asked one day if the dog was any good, Bill replied "If there's a rabbit or rat in the hedge that's is'n"
Tubby Mason
Worked for Granny Spack' and for dad at hay making and harvest he milked two cows for granny to make butter every week and help aunt' Daisy rearing turkeys for the Christmas market. Tubby used to chew tobacco and smoke a clay pipe with a short stem.
The Rook Starver
At Upper Lambourn there was a large Rookery where several hundred rooks roosted and nested at the top of high trees. The rooks would leave the rookery each morning and fly miles to get food and return in the evening. Rooks did a lot of damage to farm crops, especially when the winter wheat crop, when the seed was just shooting. The birds would see it and peck it down to the seed and eat it- starlings were a pest too, doing the same thing .You could walk over the field and see the holes in the soil they had pecked.
Dad used to employ a young school leaver to walk around the field hitting two sticks together and shouting to keep them off, he was called 'Rook Starver'.
There was no wireless in those days and we didn't have a gramophone, the tunes and songs we used to sing and whistle we got from mum and dad at the piano and the village concerts. They were held in the school room during the winter months, all the local talent. Mother played and sang Jerusalem, Winney Barnard the policeman's daughter played the piano. We all thought she was wonderful because in one piece she played she had to cross her hands. The school mistress and her brother used to do sketches one or two used to recite. Tom Shepherd was a favorite with the 'One Eyed Dragon' The vicar and the policeman participated, Mrs. Patterson played the church organ. Then there were the funny songs like dad's " I love my O 'Sarah er works on the farm and the more I love Sarah it does I no 'arm" Charlie Frank dads cowman "Ive got a motto always merry and tight . Fred Godwin All the nice girls love a sailor" and Bob Rose did conjuring tricks. The Landlord of the Plough Inn and the game keeper also did something.
Another thing that sticks in my mind is the time Mother sent the nursemaid with a baby in the pram I think it was Joan, to a Lambourn barber to get our hair cut. Bunt one side of the pram and me the other and mother saying "don't let him use the razor".
Mr. Cook
Another old chap always cheerful called me Tommy and Bunt, he would say Bunty pulls the string.
Bill Wilder
Brother of jack, was an excellent thatcher of buildings especially cottages, his wife died young leaving Bill with two little girls, he tried to manage but they were taken away from him and put in a home.
Martin
He was the local builder, his son Stan was our age and used to play with us. One day mother said would you like to ask Stan to stay for tea?. It was quite an ordinary tea, bread, butter, jam and cake. Stan reached out for the jam, put some on his plate, then put the spoon in his mouth, mother grabbed the spoon and got another.
In Full Cry
The fox and hounds would meet once or twice a week during the winter Saturdays and Wednesday in one village or another, when they met in our village our nurse maid would take we children, Bunt, Joan and myself and bubble would be in the pram. After the huntsmen and the Whips had discussed how they would 'draw' the copse to find the fox they would take off with lots of followers on foot and horseback. It was good fun especially if they got a fox up and it would take off over the fields. The huntsman blowing his horn and the other two huntsman shouting to the hounds and all the followers behind, it was a lovely sight this is called 'In Full Cry'. They rarely made a kill but when they did the huntsman would cut up the fox and feed it to the hounds. The first gentleman follower was entitled to the head and the first lady to the 'brush'.
In Full Cry
Pyke Alexander & Mason
Dads shepherds, they and their helpers worked very hard in those days. Sheep were kept in hurdled pens and a new pen was made about every day. While the sheep were grazing on the downs. This was hard work as the hurdles were carried 3 at a time on the shepherds back on a stake. The pens were on clover or root crop. At lambing time, small pens were made, sheltered from the cold winter. When a shepherd saw a ewe was near lambing he would put her in one until the lamb was strong enough to feed from mother. Other big jobs of the shepherds was dipping, this was done in our own pool which was filled by shutting hatches. Shearing was done by hand shears. More shearers were brought in to help. At breeding time so many rams were put into a flock of ewes, each ram had red powder on his front so that when he served a ewe the red powder showed on the back. At the end any ewe that hadn't any powder on her back was sold as barren, the age of a sheep was told by their teeth, 2 tooth, 4 tooth and full mouth.
When the lambs were weaned from the ewes they were tailed, the shepherds did this with a knife and a hot iron, the biggest tails were kept for eating, but hard to prepare. Dad always got the shepherds wives to do this, the wool had to be plucked off, mother used to cut them into short pieces and put them in egg and bread crumbs and fry them a usual breakfast feast. Another one, Lamb Tail Pie eaten cold with all the jelly on them. The reason for tailing the lambs is the fly strike, they would get under the tail and eggs would hatch maggots - leaving just a stump the lamb could keep them off A shepherd was once asked what they did for a doctor right away on the downs, the answer was 'we don't need no doctor, we allas dies a natural  death.
One thing that sticks in my mind is the sound of a flock of sheep going into a fresh pen.
Another thing that sticks in my mind is the way the horse carters used to line up the stables to go to work. Say they were three plough teams, two three horse double furrows and a two horse one furrow. The head man would bring the three horse team out two abreast and one tied to the near side horses tail. The other carter would do the same with his team, and the two horse team ready to go - this only took a minute or two, they would have to go quite a way to the field they were ploughing, each man would mount his near side horse side saddle, all work horses were rode side saddle to work and coming home after the days work. The rest of the horses left in the stables were used by the odd job men to do jobs about the farm like carting feed and water to the sheep pens, water to the young cattle, hay from the stacks in the field, for the horse stable and the cow shed.
The other hard work for horses was drawing the binder, the binder was pulled with three horses abreast. The carter sitting high up on the machine to be able to see if all was going well. The binders work was to cut the ripe grain - a seven foot cut and to tie into sheaves and throw out onto the ground - round and round the field 'till they got to the middle and all was cut. It was hard work for horses and they were changed about every four hours for a rest and a drink and another team took over. The sheaves were then "shocked up" into 6 or 8 sheaves to dry for ricking.
Fire Brigade
Then there was the local Fire Brigade, a horse drawn pump operated manually by three or four men each side. It was only any good if water was near, as the unit only held one tank of water. The fire chief was Bert Bracey, a farmer of Lambourn where the pump was stationed, sometimes when the bell went Bert was in the field He would unhitch his horses, hitch up the pump and gallop off to the fire with some local men running behind. If it was a big fire and took time to put out the names of the men on the pump were taken every half hour so they got paid for their time.
Thrashing
Thrashing was done by hand until machinery came in called "sheening" was one of the big operations on the farm after harvest
This is how it was done, the "thrashing tackle' was hired by the day, the steam engine big iron wheels towed the drum, elevator and baler with three men. Engine driver, drum operator - feeder - and baler man. The tackle was positioned, the drum at the side of the rick the engine was stationary now and a belt from the fly wheel drove the drum and a belt from the drum to the baler or elevator. The elevator used to rick the straw, for thatching the oat and barley straws were baled to be used for fodder and bedding. When all was ready each man at his job, two men on the rick with pitchforks putting sheaves on the drum, the bond cutter cuts the bonds, if he was a good man he would cut the bonds at the knot and save them for sack ties. Hand the loose sleeve to the man - feeder to shake out into the drum, a man puts sacks on the spouts to catch the grain and remove them when them when full. The Baler man threads the wire to the bales and take off and stack. The carter with his horses keeps the engine supplied with coal and water and takes the sacks of grain back to the home barn.
If the rick that is being thrashed has been there a long time there would always be lots of rats and mice. After school you would hear "come ed you Spackmans be sheening up the Wantage Road. The grain has to be weighed in bags before sold". The weight of different kinds of grain - Wheat 2 1/4 cwt. per sack, Barley 2 cwt. per sack, Oats 1 1/2 cwt. per sack.
The Steam Ploughs.
Baylis's had a set and the Oxford Steam Plough 60". hired them, it was a very-expensive operation. Two big powerful steam engines big iron wheels the hind ones would be six to eight feet in diameter. A reel under the middle of each , engine with a steel cable . I remember seeing them and hearing them rattling through the village on the way to a job, one towing the eight furrow plough and a water cart, the other and a sleeping van for the men sometimes working miles away from home to sleep on the job.
They would set to work an engine each side of the field to be ploughed, the man on the plough would steer it into position the engine at the other side would pull the plough across the field. The engine driver always had to be alert because if the plough got bunged up or something the man on the plough would put up his hand and the engine driver would whistle once and the one that was pulling would stop until the ploughman was ready then the engine would give two whistles for the other engine to go ahead. When the plough had been pulled to the other end the plough would be turned over ready for the other engine to pull it back.
This was hard work for horses keeping the engines supplied with water and coal, a full time job. The idea was to plough the wheat stubble to get the winter oat crop in or rip up some rough pasture to seed down again.
Some of the things we used to do in the winter evenings
We three boys each had a fret saw kit and we used to spend evenings making little things, I remember I made a pipe rack. Then there was 'sparrow dabbing' Bob used to take Bunt and me out in the dark evenings Sparrow Dabbing. We had a jam jar with half a candle in and we would go around the thatch buildings shining the light up under the eaves to get the birds roosting. I don't remember ever catching any, mostly the sparrow would fly down into the jam jar and put out the light leaving us in the dark until we could relight the candle again.
Magic Lantern
A kind of a box with an oil lamp in it, a window on one side with a magnifying glass which shone the light on the wall, there were grooves around the light where one could push the slides through and show the pictures. We used a pillow case to make the picture clearer and brighter.
Ferreting
Saturday mornings we used to go ferreting rabbits, we kept three or four ferrets in a hutch. We would go off into the woods with our gear, two *censored* ferrets the workers and a dog ferret, lines in a bag, nets, spade and our lunch. We would find a burrow about eight holes, put our nets over each hole then put a ferret in. Within a few minutes we would hear a rumble and out would bolt a rabbit into the net, one of us would grab it and pull it's neck then wait for more. Then silence, the ferret had made a kill so we put a collar and line on the liner ferret to see where they were. If they were only a few yards in, we would dig following the line get the rabbit and worker ferret then go to more burrows. After a fairly good day we would go home and flog the rabbits around the village for a shilling each, our pocket money.
The Berkshire Wagon
A big heavy vehicle two large wheels at the back and two smaller ones on a swivel axle in front, wooden wheels with iron bands. It was just about all one horse could draw empty, usually two horses abreast in shafts and if a heavy load a trace horse was used in front to help the horses in the shafts. To keep it steady downhill a drag shoe is used on the near side wheel. The wagon can be seen in the photo' I have named 'Hay Making.' These wagons were mostly seen in Berkshire, my dad had two on the farm, I think they were the only ones in the village.
Haymaking
The Berkshire Wagon with a horse driven elevator completing a hay stack mother and bob in the center
 
 

 

Dad at Pigeon House
 
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My Memoirs by Kenneth Major Spackman | 0 comments | Create New Account
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