Godfrey Jellyman (born 1923)
Father had a farm down over by Brownshill House and this property came up for sale so we bought the two dwellings at the sale, and Mr. Aldridge next door bought one of them from father. There was a paddock where Pollys is, Mr. Aldridge wanted the one with the paddock. It was all arranged beforehand. Father was a farmer, kept cattle, pigs, chickens. There were three milkmen including father. One at bottom went round the village, another came round with horse and cart. Father sold them milk.
Government did bring in milk for school children and father got the contract for that and that went on very well. That was Bussage school because he used to deliver round Bussage. Supplied for quite a while and then went all modern, they wanted it in bottles, so we didn’t bother with that. Third of a pint was odd, we had quarter of a pint and a gill, half and quarts. Father delivered milk with horse and cart and might have sold a few eggs. Chickens laid in the spring but we was short in the winter. Mother would pickle the eggs.
I used to help my farmer with haymaking and things like that when I wasn’t at school. In them days there was a private school in Bussage run by two ladies, and we used to go along and get what I call swill, all odds and ends, from the girls, what they didn’t eat, once a week and had it for the pigs. If the cart was about that was easier. They didn’t know what to do with the swill in those days.
There was bran and wheat for the cattle. George Workman at France Lynch was a baker he also dealt in bran. So we would go over with horse and cart to get bran and corn food for the animals.
After the war I came back here and father was still farming, but things was getting much harder. Father was still doing a bit but they wanted bottles and all sorts. We also rented the station banks, where we used to bring the young calves on. Father was given notice to get out so the farm was more or less chopped in half. Things were getting worse, we sold up.
We had an allotment for years because when we got married we lived round the corner. We had a small garden so that was ideal. That was for half a crown, I only had half. There weren’t as many trees about then. You weren’t allowed a shed so when a thunderstorm came, you had to get home quick.
My mother was born and brought up here. She carried on the poultry farm after her parents left. My father was in the army but he retired and joined my mother and they carried on running the smallholding. We kept pigs, chicken and cattle. That was more or less their life. They used to do poultry for the table and people in the village and beyond used to buy them, for roasting.
Harry Watkins was my dad and Walter was his bother. Walter lived in Field Cottage. Harry lived in Hillside Farm on the way to Avenis Geen. It was a mixed farm, virtually everything. I helped on the farm when I could. They had chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, cows, not sheep, horses to work the farm. They had their first tractor towards the middle to the end of the war. Previous to that it was the horses that did all the work. Birt Rolls worked for them on the farm. The Rolls family lived locally. He was the only full time help but at harvest time nearly the whole village used to help because it was all manual. No bailers or anything like that.
The pigs went to market. A lorry used to collect the eggs in big boxes. Lots of people used to keep their own chickens in the village. Pigs as well. In those days, the pigs were twice the size of what they are now when they went to market. I suppose in modern times people didn’t want fat. They were bred to be long and slim. Sometimes they slaughtered them at the farm. A butcher from Bisley would come and butcher it and we kept it. It was laid out in the dairy at the back of the house on a kind of platform and when we came home from school, our job was to rub in the rock salt for half an hour, for several months I suppose. My dad and his mother, who lived there too, used to go and slice it and put it in the pan and it fried itself in its own fat. Never put any fat with it.
I used to do the milk round every day. My father milked the cows by hand. He used to start between 4 and 4.30 in the morning, and again at night. They had between 20 and 30 cows. Then it all went through a cooler and into churns and loaded onto that milk float and we did the milk round. People would leave the jug on the doorstep with a saucer over the top. All the milk was sold in France Lynch and Chalford Hill. He had quite a big round really, including Dark Lane, Coppice Hill, not right down the bottom.
I started to help about 7.15 in the morning until school time. When I went to Marling, I still did it before running down Marle Hill to catch the bus to school.
He grew wheat, barley – a lot went to the war effort. Put in ricks and stooks and then a guy from Stevens from Bisley had a threshing machine and he went round different farms. You used to have to queue up and wait for him to come.
Half a mile from Hillside Farm there was Pontins Farm, where Norman Crew was. They pulled it down and built it the other way round.
Mr. West’s farm isn’t there anymore.
Mr. Rands was at Ridings Farm
Mr. Gubbin was at Daisy Court Farm
Mr. Brimfield was Dolcis’ father.
Mr. First was at Solomon’s Court.
Mr. Bill Young was at Bourne’s Green, the first one you come to. His sons were Duncan and Rupert. Mike and Martin have taken it all over now.
Charlie Bond was also at Bourne’s Green, at Lillyhorn, facing back down the hill on the right hand side of the big house, where Carl Smith used to be gardener.
I only ever went to Saturday morning pictures twice or three times because of doing the milking on Saturdays and Sundays! I can’t remember being told ‘you’ve got to do that’ it was just accepted you did it.
End of the summer we used to collect rosehips for the troops and blackberries, for jam, jelly or vinegar for when you had colds, with hot water and hazelnuts and filbert nuts. Lots of people had orchards in them days. There was a lot of cider trees. They used to take all these apples to this place at Cainscross to make the cider and they’d bring back 60 gallon wooden barrels that were old whisky barrels.
We had cooking apples and eating apples in the orchards too and plum trees, pear trees. We had all sorts of fruit in the orchard, red, black, green gooseberries, black, red and white currants, damsons, loganberries, greengages, all types of apples. The excess of fruit used to go to Mills’ Shop at the top of Marle Hill for sale. My grandmother kept hens and we used to preserve the eggs in icinglass(?) in crocks, in their shells. We used to preserve runner beans like that, layer of salt, layer of beans, layer of salt. Now you freeze them!
(During the war) my dad got fuel as an essential service. Tractors started up on petrol and turned them over to diesel, paraffin then. The prisoners of war didn’t help on the farm. They dug the sewers or the water pipes.
I left school at 16 and I worked on a farm at Througham for about two and a half years and then I went to National Service; and the guy who ran the farm was an ex-army major and he said ‘Can’t you stop here instead of going in the forces, I’ll get you deferred for hay making and harvesting’ So instead of going in June, my birthday, I went in the middle of December. 18 was call up age. Two years of National Service and then I worked on a farm out at Oakridge for another five years, not my dad’s. The milk round went to Norman Crew then to Harry Cadd’s (Cadwallader) father in law and Harry took it on. My dad had heart trouble when I was in the forces, and he had wanted to keep the milk round for me but it was too much work.
Rationing didn’t really affect us, probably did our parents. Most people in the village had big gardens and allotments so we were self-contained. We would grow all our own food. We had a meat ration but we didn’t go hungry because we had the rabbits and chickens.
In the summer/autumn women with their families would walk through the fields collecting blackberries, some of which were made into blackberry vinegar. Diluted with hot water and some sugar, this was a remedy for coughs and colds. Hazel and fibre nuts would also be picked and stored for Christmas fare. School children were encouraged to pick hips which were taken to school, sent off somewhere to be made into Rose Hip Syrup.
George Gleed (born 1930)
(During the war) old people or youngsters who had just left school worked the fields. The women had to do more. I used to help with hay making and whatever was going on.
Rationing was quite stiff. There was a bit of black marketing going on, ‘ I’ll give you some eggs and you help me out with some potatoes’.
Cynthia Gleed (born 1933)
In the summer, when the girls were older, we had to go and help pick up spuds on the farm for the village farmers, for so many days. We had a card that they marked. That was an excuse to get out of school.
Grace Banyard (born 1930)
I grew up in 1 Field Cottages, France Lynch.
When dad had to go in the army in 1914, mother and grandma had to run the farm.
On the farm we had 3 horses, one was called Prince, quite a few cows, we had two cow sheds. I can remember when I was about three when we had a pig killed and I helped my mum clean the chickens when I was 3, in the cowshed because that was the only place we had running water.
We had a milk round all round Chalford Hill and down to the top of Dark Lane and back up. We had a horse called Diner.
When I worked in Chalford Hill shop, when it was haymaking and harvest I had to go and work in the fields at 6, when I left the shop. It was light until 11 at night.
My husband, Alan, and his other brother worked for Stephenson’s at Rectory Farm. (During the war) he had to stop on the farm. Because he was on the farm, we were allocated one of the new council four bedroom houses going up the Stroud Road. Alan did a lot of contract work and was the only one who could drive the big vehicle. He used to take the combine all around the Cotswolds and Cheltenham. Then he would drive the threshing machine, around the 1950s.
We had pigs and chickens so we never went on holiday. My husband said it was one long holiday!
Margaret Mills (born 1934)
(In the war) the women used to carry on the farms and do what the men did. Some of the older children perhaps used to work on the farm. I couldn’t remember doing it.
Beryl (born 1941) & Derek (born 1938) Freebury
We always ate well as the family had a big vegetable garden and fruit bushes. We had gooseberries, red and black currants and we collected blackberries from the hedgerows and lovely rhubarb, also apples and plum trees. I used to help my father on the garden as he had no sons. Fruit trees, vegetables, flowers.
Audrey Bishop (born 1932)
My grandfather, he did the garden. This was all, apart from the little bit of green out here, all the rest was garden. Because there were seven children here, you know, and so nine to feed. Whether he had an allotment further back up I can’t remember, but not in my time.
Nancy Gardiner (born 1924)
(My husband) Stan’s father died when he was 13 which was a big blow for him. They had a small farm. Stan’s father had bought Woodlands when he was going to get married. He really started with a lorry, fetching and carrying wood and things like that, then got some cows. But there were a lot of restrictions during the war. They had pigs and you were allowed to kill one for yourself and sell the others for meat in the war. When Stan’s father died, his mother tried to carry it on. Stan didn’t want to take it on at the time. So his mother had a manager, from Cashes Green, who robbed her right left and centre.
(Later) I had to come to live in Woodlands in 1960 to look after Stan’s Mum. She kept having strokes. The holding wasn’t really anything by then. Stan and I didn’t ever farm the fields at Woodlands. We had ponies but otherwise we let the fields out to some farmer who had cows there. We had poultry in the cowshed and sold eggs. The kids had guinea pigs and rabbits. Stan wasn’t interested in the farm.