On Saturday 25th March 2017 we invited people to share their memories of the church and life growing up in the villages it served. This event was part of the All Saints Roof Repair Project and was made possible through the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. We were delighted to have nine people come and share their memories and an enjoyable afternoon was had by all who attended. Here you can find a record of the memories shared and gain an insight into life in a rural village in the first half of the twentieth century.
Memories of Guy Jefferson. Mr Jefferson lived on Sill’s Lane (then known as Pete’s Lane) and one of the village water pumps was right outside his bedroom window. He found it frustrating to be awoken late at night by somebody fetching water.
Memories of a Halifax Bomber crashing in the village: He saw it coming down too low but the pilot managed to head towards Pond Field, just by Back Lane. The undercarriage hit the bank of the pond and broke off leaving the aircraft to come to a bumpy stop. Tiny Linfoot was working in the field at the time with a horse which bolted when the plane came down. Mr Jefferson remembers seeing one of the airmen climb off the wing of the plane to catch the horse and being amazed that they managed to keep such a cool head.
A Commanding Officer at the Linton on Ouse RAF base was killed after enemy aircraft flew over and dropped several small explosive devices. Not knowing what they were this gentleman had picked one up and was sadly killed. He is buried in the churchyard. Another memory is of Maurice Watson using a traction engine to dig a ditch at the airfield. Maurice was then asked to take the machine to another airfield and Guy Jefferson went with him.
Guy Jefferson was a choir boy at All Saints Church and was also one of those to hand pump the organ. During his time there the incumbents were Reverend Lowrie and Canon Lamin.
Mrs Pipes saved his life when he was born as a ‘blue baby’ and she didn’t give up on him but rubbed life back in to him.
Guy’s Dad came from Tollerton and his Mother from Shipton. Guy’s Father was known informally as the local hairdresser and people would come from surrounding villages for a 6p hair cut from Mr Jefferson.
As a young man Guy ran dances in Newton Parish Hall.
He went to work on Clark’s farm in the village – which is now called Village Farm. He would go with the son George Clark to Skipton Market for sheep and these would be brought back by Matt Fothergill. Guy once bought a lamb for 6p but was disappointed when it died a few short days later. It was at Skipton that he saw women wearing clogs. He thinks this was because they were closer to an industrial area and they would wear them in the factories.
Eddie Robinson Born in Spofforth, Eddie’s Grandad owned the Blacksmith’s Arms in Newton. After Eddie’s father died in 1928 the family moved to Newton. A few years later his Mother married Burt Richardson who lived in Chauffeur’s Cottage.
He remembers when there were four working farms in the village: Poplars (Fothergill family), Beeches (Rookes family), White House and Village Farm (belonging to the Clark family). At that time the vast majority still relied on horses to work the land. Rookes had a 1020 International, Kirby’s in Linton on Ouse had a Case and there was a Fordson up at Beningbrough Hall. It was after the war that tractors superseded horses.
Whilst Eddie wasn’t certain who in the village was the first to own a car he did remember Ernest and Frank Fothergill at Poplar’s Farm owning one, as well as Rookes at Beeches Farm. A Mr Booth would come to give mechanics lessons on an old Austin 7 belonging to Mr and Mrs Alfred Bradbury, the Schoolmaster and his wife. The Bradburys also owned a car in full working order and one day Mrs Bradbury wanted to the car out to go to York. Mr Bradbury delegated the two eldest boys, Eddie Robinson and Bill Whittaker, to push the car out of the garage. Well, Bill decided that he would drive the car instead – Eddie hopped in the car beside him and all was going well until the car fell into a pit near the greenhouse. Mr Bradbury was understandably cross but he told the boys to look sharp and help him lift it out of there and he’d deal with them after that.
The names of the houses in Newton on Ouse were still true to their occupations in those days. The gatekeeper lived in the gatehouse and the groom lived in the Groom’s Cottage on the right hand side. The chauffeur, Eddie’s step-father Burt Richardson, lived in Chaffeur’s Cottage.
Lady Chesterfield was the owner of Beningbrough Hall at that time and she was a keen racehorse owner. The young horses would often be ridden out through the village. Lady Chesterfield herself was a common sight. She came to church every Sunday and would walk down the aisle to her pew at the front. She was known for always arriving a quarter of an hour late for the service.
Queen Mary came to visit the Hall in 1931 and everybody stood outside to wave at her going past.
His Mum and Uncle Fred were both in the choir, as was Eddie himself as a 10 year old. One of the churchwardens, John Kirby, approached him one day to say the Vicar wanted him. He was a little concerned but it turned out he was being asked to pump the organ. He was to be paid 1 and 6 pence in return for pumping the organ at the 8am, 11am and 6:30pm services. A Mr Birkenshaw was the organist in 1936 and then Trevor Smith took over in 1937. He was quite young for an organist but sadly he died in the war.
When Eddie was growing up there was no piped water in the village, it all had to be fetched from the village pumps. There were three pumps, one at the Dawnay Arms, one at the Village Hall and one on Sill’s Lane. It was Eddie’s job to fetch the water for his family so he was relieved when water was laid on in 1937/8. Mr Ellsworth, the retired Head Gardener at Beningbrough Hall, was one of the first in the village to have this luxury, as well as the nearby Chauffeur’s Cottage. Lady Chesterfield agreed to arrange for the water to be laid on but they were informed they would have to dig their own trench.
The water pipeline came from Tollerton and so it took a while for other villages to have water laid on – in Beningbrough this didn’t happen until 1952.
The houses always had plenty of water for washing as this was collected from rainfall and stored in huge tanks in the garden. Electricity came from the Linton Locks power station which first started production in 1937 and ceased in 1962. Among those looking after the power station were Burt Dawson, Mr Rawlinson, Mr Musgrove, Mr Whittaker and Ernie Muir (who was also a piano teacher). During the war the local Home Guard stationed a lookout at the top of the church tower.
Roy Shilleto Roy, his sister Avril and his Mother moved to Newton from Shipton when Roy was 12. This was just after his father had died and it was the only way to keep the family together. His mother was the sister of Dolly Fothergill and so Roy went to live and work with the Fothergills. Despite the move Roy still had to go to the newly opened Canon Lee School in York rather than Newton School.
When a bomb was dropped onto Linton during the war he remembers the blast was so great that it blew a gate up into a tree where it wasn’t spotted until the next day.
Eddie Robinson remembers this as he was stood on the bridge at the time and heard the blast. It was a Sunday evening at about 7pm.
During one air raid three planes came over, aiming for the RAF base, but they all missed and dropped their bombs in Linton village itself. A horse was killed but fortunately there were no human causalities and the bombs missed the houses. They did however manage to knock down all of the toilets, which in those days were all out in the back garden – very inconvenient!
Geoff Fothergill Son of Matt Fothergill, farmer and village coalman. He remembers having to wear tin hats during air raids. Coal for the locals all came by either road or by rail to Beningbrough Station. There was a ferry which went down the River Ouse to Linton Locks. Barges would also bring coal for the power station there and take back loads of sand.
He remembers that Lady Chesterfield couldn’t use reverse gear and so would go all the way around the village until she could get back in the direction she wanted to be.
Guy Jefferson remembers Matt Fothergill delivering coal to Newton, Linton, Tholthorpe and Aldwark. Guy would go with him to collect coal from the mines at Castleford. It was his job to hold the bags open for the coal, this was fine at the start but by the end he would have bruised and bleeding fingers from being hit by the coal. The best coal came from Micklefield.
Frank Stones Mr Stones was born next door to the College Arms in Linton on Ouse. He first attended Linton School but when that closed in 1939 he went to Newton School. They could either walk or catch the bus, although the latter would get them there an hour early for school. It was the same on an afternoon – school finished at 3pm but the bus didn’t arrive until 4pm. Therefore it was quicker to walk even when it was heavy snow.It was a Pullman bus at that time, with hard wooden seats.
Lady Chesterfield came from a family who had made their fortune through a shipping line.
A Duncan MacDougall had a stallion which he would lead around the local farms to service the mares. The horse always got a free pint at the pub in Linton, which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy.
Sandra Sandra first lived with her Auntie in Newton then with her Mother on the corner near Fothergills. She was part of the Bentley family – Eric Bentley helped to build the hangars at RAF Linton.
One year when there was flooding a relative had to climb out of an upstairs window in order to get to her wedding at Newton church.
Others remembered that Bentleys owned cattle wagons which they would park along Back Lane, near the school. They also had a joiner’s shop and Bill Bentley was the bus driver. Frank Stones recalled that June Bentley was bequeathed a sword by her father, Eric.
Keith Watson His parents arrived in the late 1930’s. His Father was the Sexton at the church for several years. Part of this role involved shovelling coal for the boiler to keep the church warm.
Eddie Robinson had the job of stoking the boiler up on a weekend. He would start it up on a Saturday lunch time and then stoke it again on a Saturday night on his way home from the dance at Tollerton. This could be a bit precarious as the ladder down to the boiler room had several missing rungs and the light switch was at the bottom. It took six milk churns of water (fetched from the horse trough) to fill up the system as it would lose a lot of water. The coal would be tipped down from the churchyard into the small area outside the boiler room, below the church. You had to be careful if you were the one at the bottom of the ladder.
George Willie Renninson stoked the boiler before Eddie took over. He was the caretaker at the Parish Hall, alongside his wife, Annie-Mary.
Brian Watson It took two lads to pump the organ but sometimes they were that busy scratching their names into the wood that they weren’t paying attention to when their services were required.
Geoff Robinson Special permission was given for Chris Rockliff’s traction engine to go through the park at Beningbrough Hall – there was quite a queue of traffic built up behind them at the end. They once went in it to Castle Howard and it took 8 hours to get there.