Hammond Family - memories of early-20thC Angmering


In 2003, I produced the booklet "Angmering - Reminiscences of bygone days" for The Angmering Society. In it, I included a few extracts from a series of letters that Mrs Grace (Edna) O'Neill (née Hammond) sent to her sister-in-law, Mrs Celia Hammond, in Angmering between 1986 and 1988 in which she recalled her memories of growing up in Angmering in the early part of the 20th century. Grace emigrated to Canada in 1929 and I do not think she returned again to England after 1933.

It would have been impossible to include all the memories in the "Reminiscences" booklet and some would not have been entirely appropriate as they were rather family specific. However, on reviewing the letters, I believe they do provide interesting reading for those seeking to find out how Angmering has developed in the last 90-100 years and they also illustrate social attitudes of the time. It seems rather indulgent to file these wonderful memories away in a folder rather than share them with those who may enjoy them and find them enlightening.

The letters are produced exactly as they were written and I have not attempted to change spelling, grammar, etc. However, I have included my own remarks in italics [......] where I think the reader may need some clarification.

Neil Rogers-Davis
February 2012

Letter late-1986

Bill Hammond was grandfather’s twin brother, he must have been fairly young when he died, at least not 50.  Grandfather married Caroline Aldridge and Bill married Sarah Aldridge, whether the sisters were twins I never knew but I don’t think so, Bill and Sarah had 12 children.

The old houses pulled down where you now live [the terrace immediately west of Thorpe Cottage in the High Street] was once the “Rose & Crown” (Archives should have some record of it), a posting inn for coaches travelling to coast.  According to what I was told the Barrack Yard [where The Drills are now] was stables with sleeping quarters above for the “ostlers” in the centre at the back was the “wash house”, so called even in my youth.  All the land at the back was open space made into gardens later for cottagers.  At the top of this land was a cottage, Tom Green, who was married to Grandfather’s older sister Martha (Aunt Pat) lived there.  It had a large garden reaching to the top of Honey Lane and there was always bees kept there when I was a kid.  Tom was Martha’s second husband, the first was named Roberts, so I expect he inherited the bees, so your author was right when he thought that might have given the lane its name.

According to what I was told “in school” Water Lane ditch was built and the large culvert under the square also, to drain the “mere” which was there to make the road when Napoleon was expected to invade the South Coast.  It certainly was there when Dad was a boy.  He told me how one of the Peskett boys fell in one end and how they ran and pulled him out at the other (he was still living when I was a kid)

In that picture card of the Square, the house next to “The Lamb” was owned by people named Terry.  Then came the “right of way” [the twitten] and then the slaughter house [now Red Admirals], where they butchered the pigs.  When the old building (Rose & Crown) was being razed, the heavy cross beams were removed, they must have been of 18” or more thick.  George and I went over and nosed though the place.  It had certainly been all one building one time, with connecting doors bricked over.  There was one small area we had never known existed, the enormous chimney which was romantically thought might have been a priests “hidey hole”.  That chimney still held “spikes” or whatever they were, where the boy chimney sweeps climbed to clean down the soot.  One heavy beam went thought it, on which large pots could be hung.  It was a very wide chimney and as that was the end in which we lived, we certainly knew it on windy days.  The floors were all large flag stones, very worn and uneven.  The house walls were built of stone and plaster of some sort and were very uneven and very thick.  There was of course flowers and shrubs in front of the building, the beams ran from front to back, large bedroom had 5 “uprights” to support the roof, we had 3 beds in it.  Did I tell you there was a cellar under the end of the building, father nailed it up.  The old building would have been pulled down before it was, but it was “life hold” property and the last person in that lease was still living and he lived to be well over 90.  I forget his name, but I had a picture of him in my scrap book.

When they pulled down the old houses on High Street they certainly destroyed a lot of history.  Was anything ever done to Ivy Cottage, Alf Holloway’s property at the bottom of Honey Lane [this was a small property adjoined to Ivy Cottage on the corner of Honey Lane and the High Street - demolished after WW2].  I think they owned the cottages in the lane, at least his mother did, those cottages were not old.

I see the name of Gratwicke mentioned, maybe it is the same Squire Gratwicke who endowed the school after a horse he had won the large sum of money in a race.  I don’t know which one (told this in school) should be true.

We had no Doctor in the village until a Dr.Chaplin came, so the Doctors came from Littlehampton and the picture reminded me of seeing Dr. Richardson drive in such a carriage, cars were not in vogue then.  He came to see Mother and he did the operation from which she nearly died, she was 6 weeks in hospital.  Also the mail came from Littlehampton, whether the postmen went there for it or picked it up at the station I do not know.  We had 3 postmen living in the village, John Graysmark, Ted Heasman Senior, and Bill Edmunds.  Another, Jack Mack sometimes delivered in the village, we all liked him but I never knew where he lived.  The other 3 were all around us on High Street.  Delivery was all done on bicycles, rain or shine.  The mails were more efficient than they are today and cheaper, a 1d. for a letter, 1/2d for a P.C.  Stamps were bought at a booth in the Grocery store and the letters left there (as I performed the same duty until 1972 I knew about the nuisance).  We had 2 grocery stores, 2 butchers, the one that sold pork didn’t sell beef or visa versa.  1 Baker, all freshly baked bread and cake every day.  Big ovens in which faggots were burnt until they were red coals, then they were drawn forward and the bread put in back of the coals until it cooked.  We never got burnt bread so there must have been some art in knowing how to do it and such a lovely smell when bread was being drawn.  I smelt the same smells in some of the places we visited in the continent.

I forgot to say that the baker put the bread in the oven and took it out on long paddles, something like boat paddles, only flatter and maybe longer.  I used to go to the bake shop, we were just opposite it in early days.

The village was well equipped with stores.  There was a good dressmaker who lived on Weavers Hill.  I cannot remember her name.  Then a fish and chip shop later, it was in the Square in an old house, the man came in from Littlehampton with fresh fish each day and fried it while you waited.

Letter March 1987

In my youth grand-father once told me “if everyone knew the rights we were related to half Angmering”.  This was in answer to my asking him why he had spoken to a certain lady, she’s a relative he said, him being so deaf he was hard to talk to.  Sometime I’ll write you those I know, before the 1914 War the people were more or less static, a stranger was a novelty.

The families were more or less clannish, all the Hammonds lived on Honey Lane, Edmonds in Barrack Yard, Pelhams on Water Lane and so it went and strangely you didn’t mix.  It wasn’t until the Cottrell Cottages were built [1912] that families had a chance to move around a bit that one saw any change at all.  That’s how we came to live in the old Rose and Crown.  More on that later.

There is one place I do not see mentioned in the book.  That is “The Hog trows” ["Hog Troughs" was located by the road where the Country Fayre/ASDA site is situated today].  I remember a family named Trimmer lived there, the father worked for Pyle.  It may be just a name given to a house, or maybe it was a Pig Farm, villagers gave odd names to places and people.

Angmering Church was before the Reformation a Catholic Church as was the school and in my young days the reading desk and pulpit were of marble, so was the font, what real reason for their removal was I don’t know [font went to Rye]But I do know they were taken out and the wooden ones (which I suppose are still there [removed 2008]) were given by Lady Fletcher in memory of her husband (Sir Henry Fletcher).  Whether there was any genuine need for this I don’t know, but to me it was a shame, preserving history was unthought of then.  Is the Madonna and Child still in the niche on the school?  The section of the school we called the Infants room was not built at the same time as the main school.  The building opposite the school was called the “Refectory”.  Maybe it still is. [now the Vestry Hall]

The “Flint Pit” from which much of the flint stone came from to build the houses, was on the left-hand side of “Water Lane” (going south) [Cumberland Road area].  The gypsies always camped in the Flint Pit when they were in Angmering.  They used to peddle clothes pegs (hand made).  Gypsies also picked stone on the ploughed fields, they were paid by the square yard, they had wooden square frames.  I have seen piles of stones on the road side and a chain gang from some prison breaking them with sledge hammers (for road building).  They were chained at the ankles and a guard with a gun standing guard.  This was on Roundstone Lane, we, of course, stood to watch and were told to get a move on (we did).

For my part I think the old stone and thatch houses are the real old parts of the village, if you notice they are more or less alone and at one time had open land around them.  The stores were then all on High Street, one of the places pulled down was a “sweet shop” when I was a kid.  The house that I think they call “Thorpes Cottage” [Thorpe Cottage] now had a counter inside the front door, so it must have been some sort of store.  Then the corner of Honey Lane, I once heard say, was a butchers.  The Bake Shop was in Bakers Row [Church Road], down some steps, on the left hand side going towards the Church, but a dwelling house in my days.

Letter May 1987

Regarding the Red Lion [now Woodies News], I was at home before I left in 1929 and it was still there but when I was home in 1933 the folks had moved to Worthing and on such visits as I made to the village I would have noticed if there was any change.  Jesse Horton’s shoe making shop [The Bunnes] was gone, it was opposite the Red Lion but he was elderly even then, of course the shortages during the war may have had something to do with the closing.  Get your School Master [Leslie Baker] to look at land sales, it may have been privately owned against company owned.  “Nan Booker” either owned or operated it.

Phil could easily have sung at the unveiling of the Memorial, he had a very good voice and Miss Orme (organist and choir teacher) often called for him, even when he was no longer a choir boy.  I think he was also in the Choral Society later.

I see from the booklet you sent, you are going to have a boy scout unit.  Back in 1914-1915 Theodore Pardoe (you I expect met Mrs P) started a boy scout troop.  Phil and George were both in it, the enclosed snap may be of interest in one of your booklets it was the first troop as far as I know in the village.  I fix the date by the boys, Phil would have been 10 and George 7 in 1914 these boys look in that age range.  I’ll mark the back.  The other snap was taken on Church Parade Sunday, a yearly event in those days (all of us were in the Equitable Society) the parade, with band, marched to the different “Pubs” even as far out as the “Woodmans Arms” and collected money for sports event day for the kids.  On August Bank Holiday there would be lots of banners from different societies in Worthing and Littlehampton.  Another event was “Corpus Christi” the Catholic priest was a Father Von Orsback.  He and two nuns were resident in the village before 1914 and lived in the houses by the church.  The nuns were the teachers.  Weather permitting (and often did) an alter was set up at one end of the field (at the back of the church) and a parade (religious) and if you have ever seen a picture of a catholic church parade you can imagine how impressive this was on our non-catholic minds.  Father Von disappeared from the village when war broke out in 1914 [actually he died in mid-1913 and was buried in the RC cemetery off Arundel Road] and there was not a resident priest after that, one come in each week from Arundel.  (There was of course a service said after the above parade from the church to the altar.  I don’t remember if we stayed for that, in those days the services were all in latin, so maybe not.

I cannot give you much idea about when the war memorial was built, but I should think 1919-1920.  English towns and villages were going all out erecting them.  I made a collection of them (on PCs [postcards] ) but only have the Arundel one yet, that is where my scrap book would have come in handy now.  Mother used to send me pictures and pieces from the local paper and I had one of the unveiling with Rev. Orme and Mr Bird, who was a minister of some church in Worthing.

You see I was working in Brighton in 1918 and in Worthing for 2 years after and then I went London way, married in 1925 and left England in 1929, so all my memories of Angmering are early ones.  The 1914-18 War changed the village a lot and the last one [WW2] completed it.

The plantation on the Butlers was planted by Tommy Holden who was married to Mother’s Aunt Helen who lived in Slindon, we kids called it Uncle Tom’s plantation, those trees were soft wood and were maybe 30 years old when I saw them.

Letter June 1987

In the [Parish] magazine the only names I have seen that are “old timers” are Peskett & Sons, but I knew there were boys there, but I didn’t know George Chalk had any sons, so maybe it is just the business name still used.  I know the girls, Lucy was my age and in the same class at school.

In the book of place names, I remember being told that “Pooks Cottage” [facing The Square] was named for a fairy tale, and when one gets thinking on this idea, I have an idea that there was a character in “The Mid-Summer Nights Dream” called Pook, I could be wrong.  I don’t know how I came to be told unless I had remarked that it was a silly name.  I know where I was when it was told to me and I was fairly young because I was not very tall at the time.

 I can remember the town criers who came around, the old man with a horse and cart who rang a hand-bell and cried, “Rags, bottle and bones with rabbit skins”.  Then there was the onion sellers who had long strings of onions platted together in some way.  Also the lavender sellers who sang “Who’ll buy my lavender, sweet Mitchem lavender, 3 bunches a penny”.  I still remember the tune.

Is the Baptist Church up on the hill-side on Station Road still there? There was a “non-conformist church “very small” there when I was a kid.  The Minister was named “Robin”, and you may be sure got called “cock robin”.  A crabby little man who used to chase the boys down the hill if they went up there.  The houses on Honey Lane were all occupied by the Hammond family.  I was born in the house on the corner, then Granny, Aunt Sally, Aunt Fanny and Aunt Pat.  The Barrack Yard was all Edmonds.

Another thing I have just thought of, there was a Methodist Church at the top of Weavers Hill on the right hand side from High Street (we called it the Tin Chapel) is it still there ? [now the site of the Cornerways dentists]

I see no reference to “Patching” in the place names, thought it may have been a name we used, but there was a road we called “Patching Pond Road”, there were swans on the pond and I have a painting I did from a picture of it.

Letter July 1987

While I think about it, I don’t think I told you (it was said) Elizabeth 1st stayed at the old “Rose & Crown”, nor did I mention “The thirsty three”.  At one time Dad said there were 8, a band of German musicians who travelled around playing outside of pubs usually, and after each number played going inside where they expected to be paid “in pints.  When I was old enough to take any interest at all, there was only 3 left, all elderly grey haired men, they to disappeared when the War came.

The Pardoes were an odd pair, we had a few odd balls in the village, “Old Cock Robin” whose wife I’m sure never saw the outside of the house.  Leonard Box was another, I never remember seeing Mrs Box [lived at Saddlers, High Street].  Alf Holloway was another, but we at least saw Mrs Holloway, when we lived next door in Honey Lane, he kept 2 vicious dogs (the reason we moved).  Alf came there after his mother died, I don’t think Mrs Holloway ever left the house.  She developed religious mania and plastered her windows with writing from the bible, I doubt if anyone read them as the wall along the house front made them too far away.

The trees in the village green must have been planted after I left the village and can’t have been there more than a year or two before the memorial was built. [they were actually planted in 1904].

Boy how Angmering has grown – I think if I remember rightly there was around 900 odd people in my day, from 125-135 kids going to school.

So Water Lane ditch is no more [culverted in 1931], it was 4 – 5 feet wide, the sides and bottom quite square.  About half-way along there was a wooden bridge leading to the “garden allotments” and the flint pits.  This land reached up to the back of the houses on High Street.  I don’t really know who owned it.

I have made a list of the stores we had [see below], you will be able to see if any of the names are still in the village, some I know are not.  I remember the Bagnels, there were newcomers in my days, the father worked for Lovey when he was at Ecclesden and they lived in Miles Lane .  Annie was in my class “7A” the year they came.

The “Hog trows” was somewhere around Miles Lane [now called Ecclesden Lane] or the one of the other lanes near there.  That twas the way the kids came to school, they carried there lunch and only a few kids did that, so it was off the beaten track and I never knew the parents.  I only know the father worked for “Pyle”  - another farm leasee.  There is this tale told of “Tom Trimmer”.  Tom was a little “dumb”, one day Mr Pyle who was somewhere where Tom was working (maybe the stable) asked “Where’s your prong Tom”.  Tom replied “In the cart”, again Pyle said “where’s your prong Tom”  Tom replied again “In the cart”.  Pyle said “where’s your manners Tom”, Tom replied “In the cart”, poor Tom was far from smart, he was in my class at school.


Notes regarding people in the village.

There were four postmen,
Bill Edmonds
John Graysmark
Jack Mack
Ted Heasman, he did the village, the other 3 the outlying places (on push bikes rain or shine).
2 Grocery stores  -    Denchs  and Langman
1  Ironmonger   -    Pesketts
2 Butchers   Charlie Todman (Pork only)  Bradley (beef and maybe a rabbit or game)
Reeves kept the glass houses and you bought tomatoes from the
1 Bakery   -  Waplings – Card and finally Ted Smith
1 Boot maker     Jesse Horton
Stubbs sold drapery, cloths etc
We had a fish and chip store, a man rode in from (Littlehampton I think) every evening and Saturday all day.  He made the best fish and chips, fish freshly caught.
1 Saddler     L Box
1 Coal merchant     George Chalk
3 Pubs    The Red Lion           -  Booker
               The Lamb                -      ?
               The Spotted Cow     -   Artlet
1 Miller    -   Lucks
1 Sweet Shop     -     Heasmans
A family named Reene moved to the village – several grown up boys and girls. 
A Roberts married a Reene
Mary Green    married a Reene
Tom Hammond    married   a Reene
Alice Green married   a Pelham
Pat Roberts   married    Cosh  (George’s one time partner)
Tom Hammond was Dad’s cousin, an orphan  -  Gran reared him


Drawing of Barrack Yard [not produced here]
This is the best I can do to give your friend the idea of the Barrack Yard [on site of The Drills in the High Street].  The yard was all cobble stones, the folk living there had removed some along the house fronts and had narrow flower borders about 12-18 inches deep.  I can remember nothing else.  The wash house had a wash boiler in it and if I remember right the well was in there also.  Wells were very deep and water hauled up on a windlass, it was a heavy job.  I only did once or twice, Dad usually drew enough to last the day.  The cobbled yard makes me think the first use of the place was for horses, it could have been changed for military use later, but I think a parade yard would have been earth, not those uneven cobbles, roof thatch, walls stone like most old houses.

Letter August 1987

I’d like you to thank Leslie Baker for giving me so much pleasure in reading all he has written about Angmering [in Parish magazine], he is doing something I always wished I could do.  It was sad to me to see so much of the old village gone on my first visit after 40 years absence.  I only hope the letter you photo-copied didn’t contain too many mistakes.  If I can manage to make a decent drawing of the old “Rose and Crown” I’ll forward it to you, but it will only be from memory, so don’t expect a master piece.

Enclosed a snap of Phil [Hammond] taken at the top of Honey Lane – I wonder if the high wall still exists.  There was a “right of way” from Honey Lane to Roundstone Road [now it weaves through Bramley Green].  The jottings of the many relatives we had locally may interest you.  Though all of them I knew will of course be dead.  You would have known Annie Hill I expect, the Wyn Hammond you mentioned in one of your letters.  Do you happen to know if she is one of the Hammond boys’ wife and which one, Reg (chum), Arthur or Jim?

Yes, Ted Heasman loved to torment Phil.  You see Phil was not very robust in his early years.  He nearly died from bronchitis when he was 3 months old and every winter for years it returned.  In fact when he was around 9/10 the doctor told Mother if had it again they wouldn’t save him and to keep him outdoors as much as possible regardless of the weather, she did and he didn’t have it that winter so he was easily upset and was a bit of a cry-baby until he had outgrown the illness.

Letter September 1987

Thank you so much for all the pictures of Angmering, so much change and it is hard to recognise the back of the house with so many fences.  In my days it was all open, with just paths between the gardens.  I expect there will be another house where the barns and coal yard was, Chalk and Wapling [where the flats are now - opposite The drills in the High Street] used to stable their horses and carts there.

I had forgotten the Water Lane Hammonds, they and the Bastables (always called Bassies) were R.C. so we didn’t get to know them, as they went to the R.C. school, is there an R.C. school there now?  Do you know if that land and cottages opposite still belongs to the Duke of Norfolk, about half of the village did once.

The house we lived in at the corner of Honey Lane must have been pulled down [yes - after WW2], because the front door was two steps up on the road side and had a side entrance on Honey Lane, but I expect Alf Holloway was long dead before you came to Angmering.  The Cottage called Ivy Cottage must have been Holloways because Graysmark was next door to the Rose and Crown and next the Holloways.  I think Irene Graysmark married a man called Thorpe (she was killed in an auto accident).  I had it all in my scrap book, long since destroyed.

The picture of Old Angmering in your last letter must have been taken later than some others.  The cottage [single storey since demolished] beside the Rose & Crown looks very dilapidated, the thatch looks rotten.  I never knew Leonard Box had his work shop there, it must have been before I could remember.  When we lived there Banaker Roberts lived in it and his first child was born there but he must have moved out soon after because I do not recall ever seeing the child except as a baby.

I can tell you how your house got its name.  When the cottages were first built the Council built them and they were Council Cottages, 1,2,3 and 4.  the people who were living there at that time said nothing doing.  I remember only one other name “Avoca” (No 1) another Roberts was living in it, (No 2) Mary Reene (Green) and Nobby Pelham who married Alice Green No 4,  See how the family was altogether.

I also remember Wapling’s lardy cakes and also his rock buns and living so close to him and his wife I also smelt his cooking.  Waplings moved to Dorking and John Card took over the bakery [at Somerset House, High Street], I spent a month in Dorking with them after they moved away.

Did I tell you Flo Cheeseman’s Aunt used to look after the post office section in the Grocery (at one time it was in Stubbs Store) [on "Stubbs Hill", High Street] she was also book-keeper in both places.  She was Miss, funny but I don’t think any of the Chessman girls married either.

Letter October 1987

I remember when we used to pick wild mushrooms, they were really good, in a meadow near the Furze Fields [approx where St Margaret's Primary School is today], I expect the field “grows houses” now.  Angmering was a great place for “nicknames”.  I never knew Nobby Pelham’s real name.  His Dad was called “Trudge” (he was, by the way, the village chimney sweep).  Harry Terry was always called “Brusher”.  I knew his name because he was in my class at school, but “Bunker” Edmonds name I did not know.  He lived in the Barrack Yard, in fact, all the Edmond family did, I could name others too.

I do remember the Pelham you mentioned, he married a Bassy (Bastable) girl – what a set-to that was.  She was R.C. him C of E and a dispensation had to be got before they could marry, but they finally got married.  Their first baby (a girl) was born with a “hare lip” poor kid, I knew her and Georgina, but don’t know if there were any more children.

Maybe you would be a bit interested in my school days, the school master was a Mr Shephardson.  I think at one time he must have been a military man, for we got a lot of military drill.  Weather permitting we lined up according to class and had about 10 minutes of drill – spacing out, form fours, quick march.  We marched into school to the tune of one of  “Sousa” marches, we marked time until all were in and “Shun” given, no fooling allowed.  I think we had better postures than many of today’s kids.  There where 3 women teachers, a Miss McDonald, she left to go to India, a Mr Stone replaced her, a Miss Foster, she left to emigrate to Canada, can’t remember who replaced her, and Miss Wareham.  She was still there when I left school, she later married Teddy Peskett and  she is the Elsie Peskett you mentioned.  She was my favourite teacher.  The infant school was run by “Dame Holt”, she was a martinet believe me.  She also taught knitting and sewing and dressmaking and stitches had to be neat and no mistakes in knitting.  A Milly Parsons helped her in the infants room, infants were from age 3 to 6 years and they had to be able to read, write and do simple sums to get into the big room.  The girls were taught to knit and the boys to draw.  I was 3 years old when I started school.  Oh yes, we also had to sing, I sang in my first concert at 6 years old and still remember the song.  There was a piano in the infants room, and a harmonium, an upright piano and a grand piano in the big room.  Elsie Wareham played the grand piano for special things, otherwise we were taught music with a tuning fork and had to learn all tunes by note first.  We went to school to learn and learn we did.  I’m afraid today’s education disgusts me, kids go to school here until 18 years and leave unable to read, write or do simple arithmetic and then expect to get employment.

There were Penfolds in the village, one of the Edmond girls married a “Penfold” he died and she remarried an “Ayling”.

I was christened Edna Grace – Mother didn’t like Edna, but I have always used it since I married, for I said I was no Grace, too heavy and short for one thing.

Letter November 1987

There is an item I forgot to tell you.  Something brought it to mind – it was the “Lamp Lighter”.  I remember watching him clean the lamp in front of the Barrack Yard.  He had a two wheeled hand-cart and a ladder which hooked onto an arm up near the light.  Later he had to go around lighting the lamps and I believe, but can’t be positive, that it was Simeon Pocock who had that job, but by War time [WW1] when there was the “black out”, I don’t think it was ever used again.  The lamps burned coal oil (paraffin) and after the war I believe “gas” came to the village, but here again I can’t be sure.  But I am sure of watching the lamp being filled and the glass shade being polished.

Letter March 1988

I don’t really remember the old cottage being called anything, most mail in Pre-War days was just addressed High Street or Honey Lane as the name might be.  Everybody knew everybody and I’m inclined to think many of today’s fancy names came about when it was necessary to distinguish the newer names and people.

I am sure I could name everyone that lived on High Street when I was a kid.  I certainly don’t think the houses were named – it’s 70 years since I lived there.

The tree across the road from us I guess long gone, was a Hazelnut.  The one at the Rectory [the old rectory was, until 1922, where Angmering Manor Hotel is now], which hung over the road, was a Lindon and at the bottom of Stubbs Hill [High Street] in garden of a house that stood there was an “Acacia thorn”. It would be a mass of white flowers every spring, it must have been 40 – 50 feet high

Letter July 1988

Thank you very much for the book [conclude “Old Angmering” by Leslie Baker], I shall always cherish it, that is the Angmering I knew and will always remember, the last picture in the book is in error, the man in the overcoat next to Reverand Orme, is Mr Bird, a Minister of the Church (Methodist I think) which stood on or near Penfold Road, Broadwater and I cannot place the thick set moustacheod man as Mr Pearson, he was a young man with a swinging stride and as he misconducted himself (by getting the maid pregnant) he was not too long in Angmering.  He had two children the oldest 6-7 when this happened and it was a case of (here today gone tomorrow) nor do I think a C of E clergyman would go to an official ceremony except in his clerical garb, at least not in that era, today it may be different.  I’m almost sure Fr Von and the two nuns (who taught school) were gone around the time war broke out in 1914 (they were all German) [Father von Orsback actually died in 1913], but to this I cannot really swear too nor can I really say whether Mr Pearson was away before or after, he was also a tall man 6’ at least.  Rev. Orme was low church, Mr Pearson high.  I’m writing this whilst it is fresh in my mind.  Later -  since writing the above, I am now sure Mr Pearson was in Angmering in 1920 [he left 1922/3].  Phil would have been about 16 then and as he and the girl mentioned were friends when her condition became noticeable, he got the blame for it, until the truth was known.  Mother you may be sure was really very “put out” by it all.  The young man in clerical garb could be Mr Pearson but apart from recalling that he was young and tall I remember nothing else.

Letter December 1988

In the book “Old Angmering” someone wrote of “rough music”, this was called “a Shivaree” and was usually used on the wedding night of the newlyweds [and of people of whom villagers disapproved for various reasons!], I remember Dad coming in one night and saying there was to be a Shiravee that night.  I can’t remember who the couple were now, but it finally went out of style, or just died out.  I expect the first world war had a lot to do with killing old customs.  But that sort of “Horse Play” was pretty common in country places, not only in England, it was done in one form or another, anything to tease or annoy newlyweds.


Page first uploaded:10 February 2012