Memories from the Past

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Pinsley Brook – From Gordon Roberts

The Leominster Grammar School song which we sang with great gusto on Speech Day at the Clifton Cinema and on other special occasions starts with the following lines.

Where beauty now and peace abide
By Arrow, Lugg and Teme,
Where browse our famous kine beside
Each grayling haunted stream.

Pinsley Brook from Brook Bridge
      © Roger Davies

I have always thought that the composer Mr. John Lodge should have said “By Arrow, Lugg and Pinsley” because the River Teme is not exactly a local river.   I suppose however, he found it difficult to find a rhyming word for Pinsley.   All the same, the Pinsley Brook which has never had the status of a river, has contributed so much to the beauty and charm of Kingsland as it flows the short distance from its source in the Shobdon marshes.   Its water has always been crystal clear and in fact water from the Pinsley was sold to the residents of the wealthier areas of Leominster whose wells were often contaminated through the lack of proper sewage treatment and disposal in the town.   Those citizens who took their water straight from the Pinsley faired better during the serious outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and scarlet fever in the nineteenth century.

The water level in the Pinsley always seemed more or less the same throughout the year which is probably because it is not fed from the rain of the Welsh hills like the Lugg and the Arrow, so it does not flood on its way through the Parish.   However, it was a contributor to severe flooding problems in the Bridge Street and Mill Street area of Leominster, until the flood relief scheme of the 1960’s was put into place.   For most of its journey, the Pinsley follows the route of the old Leominster to Kington railway and it also forms the boundary of the Parish to the South.   There are road bridges at The Brook, on the main road near the former railway station and at Waterloo Mill where it dives under the mill.   These bridges provided hours of pleasure looking for fish and watching the river go by.

The Pinsley also flowed close to the hopyard at Street Farm.   Whilst hop picking in September, it would be my task to go down to the Brook with our blackened kettle and fill it up with water which would then be boiled on our bonfire to make tea.   Before returning, I would cup my hands and scoop up enough water to quench my thirst.  The Pinsley also flowed along some of the fields where my Father would be working and if I was with him, I would have another opportunity to enjoy the river.   Skimming flat stones on the water and counting the number of bounces, was great fun.


Memories of a Land Girl in Kingsland

This memoir was kindly passed to us by Jackie Markham. Mitzi was a Land Girl in Kingsland during WW2 and her memoir, written by her son, are wonderful.  You can read it by clicking the link here. You can also  read more from Mitzi on the BBC Land Girls archive by clicking here. 


A drowning in the River Lugg and Village Cricket – from Gordon Robert

River Lugg and Aymstrey bridge

The website, Herefordshire History provides a wealth of information including reprints of old newspapers such as the Leominster News.   The issue dated August 15th 1919 is particularly interesting for the writer because it reports the death by drowning in the River Lugg near Mortimers Cross, of his Uncle James George Roberts aged just seventeen and his friend Seymour Edwin Owen aged twenty.   It’s difficult to imagine how anyone could have drowned in the River Lugg which today flows gently through Aymestry and Kingsland and in which the Kingsland boys traditionally learned to swim.   But many years ago it had its fair share of whirlpools and eddies and fast flowing water.

The two young men, were well known in the area and worked as waggoners at local farms.   There was a joint funeral service in Aymestry Church and the wreaths numbered over eighty.   They were both members of the St. Michaels Lodge of the Oddfellows and the funeral service of the Oddfellows was read by Brother F Reynolds.   On the following Sunday, there was a Memorial Service to the two young men also at Aymestry Parish Church.   Long before the appointed hour for the service to start, the Church was already crowded and many people were unable to find seats.   Attending were the writer’s Grandparents and Father aged fifteen who witnessed the tragedy.   The Vicar, Rev. W.L. Johnson conducted the service.

W G Grace

By contrast and on a much happier note, the same issue of the Leominster News reports a cricket match between Kingsland Cricket Club and the ladies of the parish played on the Recreation Ground.   The men had to bat left handed and there was a penalty of two runs for each breach of this rule.   The result was a win for the men (surprise, surprise) who scored one hundred and eighty-two runs and the ladies just fifty-eight.   The last person to bat for the ladies scored twenty-seven of their runs which seems a bit difficult to understand.   Perhaps this was the a ploy to make the ladies score look better.   Maybe the twelfth man had something to do with it.   The last match of this kind had taken place eight years before, so the ladies the report continues, were somewhat out of practice and possibly on the next occasion, the result might be reversed.


Football in Kingsland – from Gordon Roberts

– Jim Finney 1962 Cup Final

To the best of my knowledge, Kingsland has not had a football team for some time, but immediately after the war, the club was reformed and they played in the North Herefordshire League with teams from several of the other villages in the area.   The games were played on the field where the fire station is located.   Sometimes the referee was none other than a very young Jim Finney who later became an international referee and was in charge of the 1962 Cup Final at Wembley between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur and was one of the referees for the 1966 World Cup.   Also present sometimes would be Ted Woodward who reported on the game for the Leominster News and later joined the Hereford Times where he was the doyen of sports writers in a wide area for many, many years.   There was usually a bit of “needle” in most the games, but a team of bandy-legged quarrymen from Dolyhir “took the biscuit” and were always a thorn in the flesh of the Kingsland team and they usually won by fair means or foul.

A report in the Leominster News of the 3rd of November 1922 describes a game between Leominster and Kingsland played on the Worcester Road ground where there are factories now, which was marred so the report states, by the failure of the referee to turn up.   The teams waited for three quarters of an hour and as there was no other registered referee available at the ground, Mr. P. S. Edge was prevailed upon to take the whistle.    The game which finished in doubtful light, resulted in a win for Leominster by three goals to two.   This was Kingsland’s first defeat of the season and in view of the absence of the referee, the result naturally gave rise to dissatisfaction

Kingsland boys – bad losers – never.


Some memories from Alfred Traylor who’d love to hear from anyone who knew him or his family….

An introduction by Alfred Traylor’s daughter, Gill….

My father Alfred Traylor was born in and grew up in Fir Tree Cottage, Shirlheath with his mother Agnes, father Fred and siblings Douglas, Ronald and Sheila. He went to Kingsland school and recognises some of his classmates in the pictures on this page. He moved to Ludlow at the age of 10 and has lived in Birmingham since 1957 but often speaks fondly of Kingsland. Indeed his father and uncles worked on the railway in Kingsland.

Alfred is now 82 and if anyone remembers him or members of his family he would love to hear from you. As he is hard of hearing it is best to contact him on his email address awptraylor@mac.com

Meanwhile here are some of my father’s memories…….

My father Fred Traylor was a sub ganger on the permanent way length, and also my two uncles Will and Geoff Traylor were engine drivers, one living in Kington and the other in Leominster. Both worked on the New Radnor line.  I had been on the footplate with Uncle Will shunting in Kingsland goods yard.

With the formation of the LDV my father Fred was the senior NCO and Bill Bengera was the Corporal; and with the name change to the Home Guard my father remained until he died in August 1941. Four of the Home Guard were pall bearers, one being Mr Gunthorp.

I remember Mrs Kelly had a sweet shop opposite the school and sold ice creams in the summer.

Mrs Taylor delivered milk, she had a cycle with a side trailer to carry milk churns.

My mother worked at the Women’s Land Army hostel and was also the caretaker of the Baptist Chapel. She was also caretaker at the school for a while.

The mothers of some of the land girls would visit and some would stay at our house for a few nights.

Every Christmas there was a choir supper at the vicarage, any new choir boy after dinner was taken into a side room and asked by one of the older choir boys to stick his tongue out, and a small spoon of mustard was placed on his tongue!  This was the initiation into the choir.

In about 1942, just prior to my family moving to Ludlow, a company of Royal Artillery were stationed in Shirlheath.  The search light battery was at Lawton crossroads.


Potholes! – from Gordon Roberts

Driving around Kingsland last week, I was appalled at the state of the road surfaces.   Pot holes are nothing new as the following extract from a report in the Leominster News dated December 5th 1919 of a meeting between Weobley and Leominster District Councils with the County Surveyor, Mr Jack explains.

“The Chairman of the meeting said that horses were falling over owing to the state of the roads especially pot holes and not onto their knees as many people would expect, but on to their sides which made it very difficult to get them up again especially when it was wet or icy.   The Surveyor protested that there weren’t many pot holes around except on the Pyon Road but the Chairman said there were some bad ones around Moorhampton.   Mr Jack said that if he put some stone into small holes, the fast traffic would just throw it out.   In the Leominster area, they had a small tar mixer which they took around and filled the holes with tarmac, but this was a slow and expensive game but it did remedy the problem.

The Chairman, said what was wanted was some stone along the ruts, but the surveyor said he had done this but there was constant criticism.”

Perhaps there is worse to come for the Kingsland people……


Summer Holidays and the Harvest – from Gordon Roberts

Of all the school holidays, the summer break was the most enjoyable. Vivid memories recall days which were always long and warm and the evenings quiet, soft and balmy. Farm activity was at its height and the harvest in full swing. How different it was seventy summers ago before the combine harvester which wasn’t readily available until a few years later. The binder was the machine which cut the corn in those days. It was introduced before the First World War and became universally available in the 1920’s. It was a combined reaper and binder but it did not thresh the corn, but for the first time, cut the corn and gathered it and bound it into sheaves. The binder was usually drawn by a tractor, but some farms still used shire horses of immense strength, but because the machine was driven by a ground wheel, it was very heavy to pull and three horses were sometimes required. Although the corn no longer had to be cut by hand, a tremendous amount of manual work was still required to bring in the harvest.

The bound sheaves had to be stooked in sixes or eight forming the shape of a small pyramid known as a stack which were left in the field for a week or two to dry out before being picked up with a pitch fork on to a trailer and taken to the farmyard where they would later be threshed by the local contractor. On a large farm with several adjoining fields, the sheaves might be formed into ricks and threshed there. After threshing, the straw would be baled and and stored for winter fodder. The stooks were made by taking two sheaves, one under each arm which were then slid down the arm and the butts placed firmly on the ground so that the ears of corn for each sheave were resting against the others. This was so that they would remain standing up and if it rained, the water would be thrown off the grain. Stooking had to be done by a pair of labourers working together in tandem. It could be a painful business because the sheaves might contain weeds and thistles which would scratch the flesh of the arms and make them sore. Fortunately the combine harvester came along by the early 1950’s and the binder and stooking became redundant.

The days of the harvest before tractors came into general use, were long and they tested the strength of the farm labourer and the horses. During the war, double summertime was introduced as a war time measure, so that there was an extra hour in the working day. Typically, a farm labourer, at harvest time, might start work at 7.00am, stop for his bait around 9.30am, go home for lunch at 12.30pm if he lived close enough to the farm, and stop for tea at 5.00pm which would be provided by the farmer’s wife.  Copious amounts of bread, cheese and cold meats made up the typical meal. Drink would often be tea which had gone cold in a glass pop bottle, although some farmers would provide cider made on the farm but this was a practice about which not all farmers felt comfortable. The day would not be over yet by a long way. Plenty of daylight remained before nightfall.

Finally, a halt was called. Men and horses were tired. The men might admit their tiredness but the horses could not and the way those gentle giants, Boxer, Captain and Norman eagerly and quietly went to the water trough and then to their stalls for water and hay to gain their strength for another hard day, said it all. Who said animals can’t speak?


 A wonderful memoir of Kingsland by Mollie Bosworth-Dade kindly contributed, with the introduction to Mollie by Andrew Rowland-Jones.

You can read her memoir here

Mollie Bosworth-Dade, nee Crump, wrote this account sometime in the early 1980s after she returned to live in Kingsland for her retirement in 1978. She was one of the first people to live in newly built Highfield Close.

Though born in South Wales on 23rd January 1918, Mollie grew up at Bank Farm and attended Kingsland School from where she won a scholarship to the Grammar School in Leominster (Lucton scholarships were not open to girls in these days!). She then went to University in London to study domestic science. Her working life as a teacher of domestic science was spent first in Bromley, Kent and later in Bracknell.

During her retirement in Kingsland she helped in the making and embroidering of several church alter fronts which are still in use today and was a regular member of the church choir.

She died on 20th October 1990.


NO TELEVISION NO COMPUTERS AND NO SOCIAL MEDIA – from Gordon Roberts

How did a young boy spend the long winter nights without a television, a computer or a mobile phone?  The answer is very simple, he listened to the radio. One day before the war was over, my Mother returned from shopping in Leominster as she always did on a Friday morning, with a brand new radio, probably a Ferguson or Bush provided at a very reasonable cost by the Ministry of (dis)Information. The reception was good enough to listen to the three bands, short, medium and long. Before I was allowed to switch the radio on, tea had to be served and then at least two hours of homework completed by 6.45pm when the radio came alive to the thrills of Dick Barton Special Agent and his side-kicks, Snowy and Jock.

There wasn’t a great deal else to do. There were no after school activities because as soon as school ended, it was a dash to get the Yeoman’s bus home to Kingsland. There were no clubs in the village until a Youth Club opened in the hut at the school a few years later. The Coronation Hall hadn’t been built and The Bungalow had burned down so there were no facilities where clubs could be held except for the village school. An attempt was made to start a Boys Scout Troop but there were not enough boys in the village of the right age to make it viable. The answer was to make your own amusement. Even so, Kingsland was a wonderful place to grow up but its boundaries seemed to be getting shorter and closing in as the years rolled by and the world outside became more curious and interesting and needed to be explored.

The radio heightened this curiosity and aroused dreams of exploration in later years. Europe, The Americas, The Middle East, Africa, Asia and even Australia.  Sunday School outings to seaside locations where I was allowed by my parents to wander off and explore as long as I returned from time to time for food and drink, were a start. Part of the summer holidays spent with relations in London wetted my appetite to live and work in London when the time came. On the short band of the radio, I could pick up stations from around the world. Many of them were in French which I couldn’t understand very well with my schoolboy French. One station however which filled me with imagination and this was the American Armed Forces Network broadcasting from Germany.

I listened to this station whenever the reception was good enough for me to hear.  In particular, there was a fifteen minute programme every evening which gave the football (American style) and baseball results from the United States. The Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Princetown University, Georgia and Stanford, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Where were these teams actually located and would I be able to go there one day?.

The Medium Wave, provided me with opportunities galore to listen to music, news bulletins and variety programmes such as Much Binding in the Marsh with Richard Murdoch and Kenneth Horne.  Take It From Here with “Professor” Jimmy Edwards and ITMA with Tommy Handley. Family Favourites and Two-way Family Favourites with Jean Metcalfe and Cliff Michelmore were not to be missed. Most exciting of all was Radio Luxembourg which broadcast a wide mix of programmes of a light hearted nature which had a great impact on young people at the time.

Finally, the Long Wave was the band for sport in this country.  Much of it was live and commentaries on football matches, cricket and boxing were immensely popular. At 5.00pm every Saturday, just like today, the football and rugby results were read out. Tranmere, Hartlepool, Accrington Stanley, Rosslyn Park, Blackheath, Fylde, East Fife, Cowdenbeath, and Stenhousemuir. Where were these places?  I would consult my A.A. gazetteer to see where they were, or a railway timetable with its map which I was sometimes able to get from W.H.Smith in Leominster, although my search for the place wasn’t always successful.

The years rolled by, until Her Majesty called for me to be in her service, and my wanderlust was at last being seriously attended to. Later, my business career working for an international organisation fulfilled many of my dreams to go to the places where the radio pointed me.


Radio Luxembourg – from Gordon Roberts

In the days before television, the radio played a vital role as a source of information and entertainment. The BBC had a monopoly of radio broadcasting in the UK and all forms of advertising on the radio were prohibited.    It also had a very restrictive agreement with the musicians’ union that all music should either be played live or specifically recorded for the programme.    In other words, records were banned.  Quite naturally, ways to get around this restriction were developed and Radio Luxembourg fitted the bill.    The radio station’s English language service began in 1933. It was one of the earliest commercial radio stations broadcasting to this country and was in many ways the forerunner of what was called pirate radio such as Radio Caroline which broadcast from a ship offshore in the North Sea.

In the years from 1933 to 1939, Radio Luxembourg gained a large audience of radio listeners who preferred its’ light music and variety programmes to that available on the BBC.    Many British companies advertised on Radio Luxembourg despite opposition from the BBC and the British Government and this exposed the people in this country to commercial radio which in turn led to the creation of commercial ITV during the 1950’s.

Radio Luxembourg closed down on 21st September 1939 for the duration of the war to protect the neutrality of the state of Luxembourg but it was soon taken over by the invading German forces and was used to broadcast propaganda in the English language by William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw-Haw, who later paid for his treachery with his life.

After the war, Radio Luxembourg restarted transmissions to the United Kingdom as a full time commercial radio station using the long wave band but from the start of the 1950s, it moved to the medium wave band of 208 metres and its popularity with the younger audience of the UK increased enormously.  Programmes of music and variety started daily at 6.00pm under the slogan of “208 – your station of the stars”.

The number 208 became synonymous with the name Radio Luxembourg. Reception on my radio at home was not always very good but it was at its best after dark when it was able to strike the atmosphere and bounce the airwaves back to the United Kingdom. Even so, I was a frequent and devoted listener to the station which helped considerably to fill the long evenings during the winter before we had our first television set.

Among the resident announcers at various times were people who later became well known on the BBC such as Pete Murray, Noel Edmonds, Kenny Everett, Johnny Walker and others. Some of the regular programmes were “The Ovaltineys, “Leslie Welch the Memory Man”, “Top Twenty” “Movie Magazine” and “At Two O’ Eight” and dance music with Pete Murray. These programmes might seem very mundane today but were far more appealing than the music and entertainment the BBC had to offer.

The programmes were listed in the 208 magazine which was eagerly awaited each week and could be bought from W H Smith in Leominster, just as The Radio Times can be bought today. In the 40’s and the early 50’s, there was no television, no computers, no mobiles and no social media. The radio was the link to the outside world. It was very well used and treasured. Radio Luxembourg finally closed down after several changes in format in the year 2010.


Hop Picking – from Gordon Roberts

For several years, we went hop picking at Street Court Farm.   As children, we did very little picking, but had a great time playing with other children, racing around the hop yard, finding wood for the bonfire and exploring the meadow which led down to the Pinsley Brook where we would paddle and scoop up the water from the brook with our hands to quench our thirst.

The hop bines were cut down from the overhead wires, although we often tugged them down ourselves when we couldn’t wait for the farm worker to come.   The hops were stripped off by hand into the crib which was made of hessian and fixed to a wooden frame which could be folded when it was time to carry it to a new section.   Twice a day, Mr Percy Pudge would come to measure up how much we had picked using a basket which when full, was a bushel.   He would drag the hops with his arm into the basket and the tally-man would record the number of bushels picked into his book and also the book of the picker.

Most of the pickers came as a family, some larger than others who would be the quickest to finish their section and moved on to the next area where they would set up again. The Miles family set the pace for everyone else and usually had two cribs on the go.   A fast picker could pick up to twenty-five bushels a day in fine weather and a very useful amount of money would be earned to supplement the family’s normal income.   After bushelling up, the hops were taken in large sacks to the hop kiln at the farm where they were dried by hot air from a wood or charcoal fired kiln and later used for making beer.

Before riding our bicycles to the farm, Mother would have to make lots of sandwiches and flasks of tea.   During the day, another member of the family might come to give a hand, and bring more food.   When we ran out of tea, from the flasks, it would be my job to go down to the Pinsley and bring back a kettle full of water which would be boiled on a bonfire to make fresh tea which was always so much more delicious than from the vacuum flasks.

Nowadays, hops are picked by machinery and the hop drying process is now usually done at a facility which serves several different growers but of course growing hops is now almost a thing of the past in this country and it is remarkable that the hop yard at Street Court has had such a long life.   When the hop yard had been picked out, there would be a delicious tea at the farm and best of all, it would be pay day.


Two Happy Farmers – from Gordon Roberts

Happy Farmers 1 smallIn 1979, The Logaston Press published a book entitled “The Happy Farmers”. This was the autobiography of Sheila Wenham and her companion and partner Mary Elliott. Sheila Wenham started farming in 1934 and moved to Herefordshire and bought Brook Farm with its 25 acres around 1944 for £5,000. Mary Elliott joined her just a few years later and formed a 50 – 50 business partnership.

The book is the story of two women who proved that they could be successful farmers in what was essentially a man’s world. My Father knew them quite well and they often complimented him on his artisan’s skills at Ledicot farm. As time went by, they bought more land and properties at the Brook including Brook Bridge Farm and became top breeders of Kerry Hill sheep, Hereford cattle, Welsh Mountain ponies and sheep dogs. Poultry and pig farming also featured largely.

Finishing Touches at the Kerry Show and Sale 1955
Finishing Touches at the Kerry Show and Sale 1955

Sheila Wenham became one of the most respected show judges of Kerry Hill sheep in the country and later the Chairman of the Kerry Hill Flock Book Society. This breed of sheep once very popular in the Welsh Borders around Newtown and Bishops Castle was until recently listed as a “rare breed” but is now making a comeback and is very popular with smallholders. The two ladies were well known at agricultural shows around the country where they won many medals.

Work was a full time occupation, leaving them little time to socialise around the village but their farming activities and existence at Brook Farm was talked about in the village as was their co-habitation which was accepted but not discussed. Diversity didn’t have such a broad meaning then as it does now.

In their book, they bravely describe how in later life, they attended a study group sponsored by the Diocese of Hereford where they discussed in forthright terms, education, race, religion, morality and sex. They were heartened to hear a young vicar say that there is so much male and female in us, that the balance is very fine and homosexuality is a fact of life.

In 1970, they moved to Hill Farm near Lucton which Sheila Wenhan had bought in 1945 fo £1,250. They later bought nearby Hill Croft where so many acquaintances came to stay and it was at Hill Farm that they retired. Their lives were not ordinary and didn’t fit the pattern of a conventional village like Kingsland, but were an example of true commitment, devotion and harmony to work and to each other.

As Ann Roberts mentions in her article below, the two women paid for the chairs in the Coronation Hall when it was first opened.


A lovely contribution from Gynor Brindley – and more on Captain Hamlen Williams coming soon!

LADY DAY AT ANGEL HOUSE

In England, Lady Day (the first of the four traditional quarter days) is March 25th. It was New Years Day until 1752 when January 1st became the official start of the year.  However it remained as the day on which year-long contracts between landowners and tenants would begin and end. The term Lady Day being derived from ‘The Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary.’

When I was a child my uncle, Captain Hamlin Williams and his wife Dolly and my cousins Diana and Bill lived at Angel House. On March 25th each year all his tenants would arrive up the steps into the hall where they would be given a drink, possibly sherry or beer, they were mostly men and it was very jolly!

One by one they would speak to the Captain, who was seated behind a large desk,  and pay their rents, in advance, for lands and farms and some houses and cottages. Contracts would be reviewed and renewed. A good start for all to their new year!

Gynor Brindley.

Incidentally I was born on Lady Day 1923


A Visit to the Doctor – from Gordon Roberts

For the prosperity and success of villages such as Kingsland, it was essential to have people who provided vital services such as the wonderful C T Jones (Headmaster), Rev, Jobling (Church), Mr. Edwards (Village Bobby), Mrs Taylor (milk delivery), Percy Edwards (newspapers), Sidney Williams (Postmaster), Maurice Markham (garage, school bus and outings)and others such as farmers, The Saw Mills, The County Council and The Railway who provided employment. At the top of the list however, is Douglas Vaughan the Village Doctor.

Old medicine bottlesHe was a rather aloof and stern man as most professional practitioners were in those days and was a one man practice holding surgeries morning and evening.  Appointments weren’t required.  He was not only the doctor, but also the dispensing chemist and sometimes mid wife’s assistant and dentist. My Father had an extraction of a double tooth without a pain killer and felt quite proud of himself but at least the extreme tooth ache had gone. After hearing your problem, he would usually tell you to come back later and he would have a prescription ready which as he always said, would “put you right”

The prescription would be a bottle of medicine left on the window ledge of the waiting room. There were few tablets or pills available in those days.  Later in the day you returned and just helped yourself to your bottle and went home to start taking it, but not before you had looked at the other bottles waiting to be collected and read the labels to see who else was feeling unwell. They came in four different colours, white, yellow, green and red. Each tasted differently, sweet, or sour and the green one was so horrible to taste that you felt sorry for the person who had to take it.


Spot the bus driver! A photo from Gordon Roberts

Bus Trip May 16 cropped

This photograph was taken at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Goodman near Berrrington in the early 1950’s. and the outing was arranged by the Kingsland  Baptist Chapel   There is just one man shown so it would appear and that is Mr Goodman in the front row, but look carefully and you will see to the right and back of the picture, the face of Mr Maurice Markham who had driven the ladies there in his bus.   Had he anything to do with the happy and laughing faces of everyone else?.


The Solitary Grave at the Methodist Chapel – Samuel and Ellen Small

A little while ago Gordon Roberts wrote about his memories of this grave (further down this page). We are delighted that we have been sent more information on Samuel and Ellen Small which tells you more about them and their relationship with Kingsland and the Methodist Chapel. Many thanks to our contributor! Webmaster

Samuel Small was born in Caynham, Ludlow, Shropshire in 1835, the son of Richard and Elizabeth Small. He married Ellen in Caynham parish church on 11 May 1861. Ellen was his first cousin, the daughter of Edward Small and Mary (nee Hince). Richard and Edward Small were brothers, and both farmers.

Photo Samuel & Ellen Small croppedSamuel and Ellen had 7 children – Emily born 1862 (died aged 15 and is buried in Caynham Chapel churchyard), Herbert 1864 (emigrated to Indiana, USA), Ellen Kezia 1866, Selina 1867 (travelled to Australia, New Zealand and the USA,and became Mrs Graham, died in California, USA), Baxter 1869 (also emigrated to Indiana, USA), Edith Rebekah 1870 (became Mrs Williams), and Hester Olive 1872 (became Mrs Lewis), all born in Caynham. The 1871 Census shows the family living at Caynham, where Samuel was a farmer. In 1881 the family were living in Hope Bagot, Shropshire.

By the time of the 1891 Census they were living at Shrublands, Kingsland, and Samuel was a farmer and Wesleyan Methodist local preacher. They were still living in Kingsland in the 1901 and 1911 Censuses.

In 1929 Samuel was presented with a certifcate of congratulations for being a Methodist local preacher for 70 years.

Ellen died on 7 May 1921 at Stone House, Kinglsand, and was buried in Kingsland chapel yard. In 1921 Samuel’s effects at The Stone House, Kingsland were sold, and he went to live with his daughter Ellen Kezia and family in Hereford. This is where he was living when he died in 1933, and was buried with his wife in Kingsland.

Ellen Kezia Small married James Pryce Griffiths in 1895 in the Wesleyan Chapel in the district of Leominster. James Pryce Griffiths was living at Prospect Cottages, West Town, Kingsland with his parents James and Anne Griffiths and siblings in the 1891 Census. He was variously a teacher of music, a farm bailiff, and a smallholder. Ellen Kezia and James Pryce Griffiths were my great-grandparents.

I hope the readers of your website find this information of some interest.


The Post Office – courtesy of Gordon Roberts

Post-Office-picThe Kingsland Post Office has always been a focal point of the village and its survival is so important. Step inside and see how it has changed from seventy years ago. The Postmaster at the time was Mr. Sidney Williams who was very efficient but hardly soft-hearted towards children.   He was the son of the village midwife who lived at the Croase House.  Heaven forbid, Post Offices did not operate shops in those days, but in any event there was a perfectly adequate shop at Edgefield next to the school, which was run by the Gibson family.

Not only did Mr. Williams manage the Post office but he also ran the telephone exchange, such as it was in those days when very few villagers had a telephone. The telephone service was owned by the Post Office before it was privatised and BT came into existence. If you were lucky enough to have a telephone, it was impossible to dial another number, so you had to pick up the receiver and wait for Mr Williams to say the magic words, “number please” and then wait for him to connect you.

If you didn’t have a telephone, but wanted to make a rare call, it was best to go to the Post Office and use the Public Call Box outside and Mr Williams could see through a window who was making the call. The first time I wanted to make a call was to arrange a cinema date with a girlfriend in Hereford when I was home on leave from the Army around Christmas time, and even now, I wonder whether he listened in to my conversation.

GR PO Savings Book 3 cropped GR PO Savings Book crtoppedIn addition to selling stamps, the Post Office sold Postal Orders which was the main method of paying bills, since few people had bank accounts. They were treated much like cheques are today. Giros and Direct Debits were unheard of. Another important function was to operate the Post Office Savings Bank (POSB). An account with POSB was usually opened soon after a child was born to save small amounts of money received as presents and gifts. In this way the saving ethic was implanted in the child at a very early stage of their life. Some years ago, POSB became part of National Savings and Investment (NSI).

The Post Office provided other essential services such as issuing a licence to have a dog (yes, you had to have a dog licence) but farmers were exempt. Also fishing licences and radio licences and later TV licences. It was also possible to buy savings stamps which were stuck on a card and cashed perhaps at Christmas.


Facts of Life – the recollections of Gordon Roberts

It was not unusual for farm animals to be driven along the roads. Such a thing would be impossible and very dangerous with today’s amount of traffic. Farmers would move a complete flock of sheep from one pasture to another along a main road herded by a couple of sheep dogs. Cars would have to stop and patiently wait for the animals to squeeze past. Working farm horses would be seen on the roads as regularly as tractors are today.

As mentioned in a previous recollection, the Karlsson cows walked twice daily from the Greens to the farm through the centre of the village.  Mr Edwin Jenkins of the Old Hall exercised his beautiful Hereford bulls up and down the North Road in order to get them used to traffic noise, before they went to a show or an auction.

The writer remembers helping his uncle Mr Amos Price, move his small flock of sheep from Shirlheath to our orchard in Kingsland twice a year so that they could eat, enjoy and get into good condition, on the lush grass. He did not have a sheep dog so it was my duty as a young boy to help him drive the sheep the two miles or so along the A4110 road. We must have made a silent prayer that the level crossing at the railway station would not be closed for a train to pass.

It was my job to make sure the sheep did not turn up a farm track or private drive so I would ride my bicycle as fast as possible to stay one step ahead of them and make sure they headed in the right direction. However, my job was made quite easy by a wizened old ewe of indeterminable years and many lambs. She set a steady pace and never stopped looking straight ahead. She had done the journey before and knew exactly where she was going. The others followed without question.

On another occasion, I was in effect told by my Father, that I was to help the two Miss Williams who farmed a few acres and lived in a dilapidated house at the Arbour corner to take their heifer to a bull in residence at a farm on Hereford Lane and help to bring it back again. The cow wasn’t being led with a halter and apart from giving the poor cow some words of encouragement and the occasional prod with a stick, there wasn’t much for me to do. Some years later I realised it was the country way of learning the “Facts of Life”.


The River Lugg from Gordon Roberts

The river Lugg rises at Llangynllo in Powys and flows 45 miles until it joins the Wye at Mordiford, collecting the waters of the Pinsley Brook and the Arrow on the way. It is now much less turbulent following extensive dredging and flood control measures over the years. An uncle of mine, was drowned in the river near Mortimers Cross which indicates how dangerous it could be to swim in the river at the time

The river was our summer playground when I was a boy. We swam at the weir where the millstream runs to the mill at Lugg Green but later we swam below the bridge in an ideal spot where deep water gradually became shallow. It was there that I learned to swim

We jumped or dived into the river from the bank of the meadow owned by Mr Cecil Price of St.Mary’s farm. He was only too pleased for us to swim there. He was a much respected “gentleman farmer” and a keen environmentalist. Today, the land is an arable field.

The river was full of fish. Birds were abundant such as warblers, fly catchers, finches, wagtails, buntings, dippers and yellow hammers. There were otters too which were hunted by packs of hounds followed on foot by huntsmen and their followers which fortunately is not allowed now.


The Home Guard  in Kingsland – from Gordon Roberts

The Second World War affected the lives of everyone in the country. Food was rationed and at one time, there was a very real threat of invasion by the German forces. Industrial areas and ports were heavily bombed and we had to observe the “black out” of all lights after dark.

 

But it did give rise to the formation of the Home Guard which, because of the famous BBC television programme is now affectionately known as Dad’s Army. There was a company in Kingsland under the command of Major Thomas, a teacher at Lucton School who lived in a house opposite The Showers and the senior NCO was Jack Preece, a first class wheelwright and the local undertaker, whose joinery and forge still stand on the North Road.

 

Each Sunday, the men of the Kingsland company, would be taken by Markhams bus to Eaton Hill near Leominster for shooting practice and at other times, they would meet during the week for drill and to discuss plans for the defence of the village should the German invasion happen. When this became a real possibility early in the war, a sentry was posted outside the Post Office and it is not a myth, that the sentry’s only weapon was a pitchfork. Fortunately, the the German fallschirmiager and panzers didn’t try their luck!

 

Four sided slit trenches were built in various places around the village, one of them being opposite the Wardens on North Road in an orchard belonging to the Old Hall. They provided great opportunity as a play area for children, but not for young lambs who could not get out again once they had fallen in.

 

By 1944, the war had changed from defence to attack and the Home Guard was disbanded.

 


Wartime Rationing – from Gordon Roberts

Kingsland History_Memories_Rationing July 15There was severe food rationing during the war and many other essentials such as clothing, petrol and household goods were also rationed or impossible to obtain.   One of the main reasons was the shortage of shipping caused by the German blockade of the Atlantic and the resultant problem of food reaching the country with any regularity.   Every family was issued with a ration book which consisted of coupons to be given to the grocer or shopkeeper when buying anything.

It was necessary to register with a specific grocer which for Kingsland people would have been almost certainly in Leominster at such shops as Home and Colonial, International Stores, Maypole, Bache’s or Saxby’s but some villagers would have used the village shop and bakery which is now called Edgefield next to the school.   It was run for some time by the Gibson family who came to the village for this purpose.  My family’s choice was Saxby’s because of a family connection.   Their shop was on the Iron Cross where the restaurant of the Talbot Hotel is now.   Our weekly order was delivered on Monday’s without fail by Mr. Jim Beard.   There were no supermarkets then.

Kingsland History_Memories_ Sample_UK_Childs_Ration_Book_WW2Some examples of the weekly food ration per person were as follows.

Bacon and Ham     4 ounces
Butter                      2 ounces
Margarine               4 ounces
Cheese                    2 ounces
Sugar                       8 ounces
Lard                         2 ounces
Tea                           2 ounces
Milk                          3 pints
Sweets                     3 ounces
Eggs                         one every week.

As a farming village, the residents of Kingsland were much better off for food than those living in the towns and cities.   Dairy products were in plentiful supply from the farms and small holdings.   Farm labourers received extra rations and gardens provided ample vegetables.   Some households kept chickens for eggs and the Sunday roast occasionally and in some cases including my own family, a pig for slaughter which  provided bacon for the whole year.

Petrol rationing ceased in 1950, bread in 1948, sweets chocolate and sugar in 1953 and everything else on 4th July 1954.


The Stained Glass Window in Kingsland Church – from Gordon Roberts

Kingsland church has the most beautiful stained glass in its east window which dates from the 14th century.   It bears the arms of Dame Matilda Mortimer who presented the first known rector of Kingsland, Geoffrey de Balecote in 1285.   The four main panels of the window represent the four great archangels, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Oriel.   Christ is shown holding a cross and shield on a rainbow.

That the window has survived for over seven centuries is quite remarkable given the wars, conflicts and rebellions which this country has suffered, not least the Second World War with its threat of bombing and invasion.   As a precaution around the time when war broke out in 1939, the window was removed and sent to a secure place elsewhere.

I remember visiting the church during the war with the entire village school and on other occasions and seeing the window boarded up.   Headmaster Jones made a point of reminding us of this but never once gave a hint of where it had gone for safekeeping.   My imagination would become very vivid and I felt sure the window was in some deep coal mine in South Wales or perhaps in a slate quarry in Snowdonia, or even buried deep in a field somewhere in the North of Scotland or in the dungeons of Ludlow Castle.   So imagine my surprise when I recently discovered from the Leominster News of September 9th 1945 that it had gone no further than Eyton Hall.


Some Farming and Herefords history from Gordon Roberts

The farmers of Kingsland on their well watered and fertile land, were renowned for their arable crops of wheat, oats and barley, but also for their animal husbandry. Today, farming mirrors the demands of the food producers, the supermarkets and the preferences of the public. Thanks to companies such as Walkers, McCain and Tyrells, potatoes now grow where cattle and sheep safely grazed before.

Memories hereford BullBeef cattle were predominantly of the Hereford breed, the beautiful white faced, brown coated animals who thrive on lush grass, and are the pride of the county. Although many new breeds have risen in importance, the Hereford is still to be seen grazing in almost every major beef producing country of the world. Some of the well known Hereford herds in the past and present are the de Quincey herd at Pembridge, the Weymouth-Jones family at Bodenham and the Haven herd near Dilwyn and many more.

In Kingsland, Mr E. A (Ted) Jenkins at the Old Hall bred pedigree Hereford bulls for over thirty years and was awarded the herd name of Kingsland by the Hereford Herd Book Society. Two of his earliest bulls were named Kingsland Pilot and Kingsland Comrade.

Prior to showing the bulls at at an agriculture show or selling them at a auction, he would walk these gentle beasts along the North Road as far as the Monument Inn where no doubt in addition to buying a pint of Ansells for himself, he would also buy one for the bull. The bulls would in this way get used to crowds and noise and look and behave their best at the show or auction where they would be sold and go to a new home perhaps overseas and enjoy a life of sublime indolence among a herd of heifers.

The Kingsland herd name is now held at St. Mary’s farm but currently inactive.

Gordon Roberts, March 2015


A response to Ann Roberts’ articles from Gordon Roberts. Thanks Gordon!

I remember going to the Kingsland Foal Show off the Lugg Bridge road probably in the year 1946 or 1947.   There were not many foals there and in fact not even one sale was completed by the auctioneer.   I think that was the last year it was held.   I also remember well, Sheila Wenham and Mary Elliott and they were indeed ” happy farmers” which is the title of their autobiography.   In the near future, I hope to send Kingsland History, a brief account of their lives at Brook Farm.

Gordon Roberts.

March 2015


Some more great memories from Ann Roberts of Working Horses

Kingsland History Ann Roberts mare 10 3 15The mare in the photograph was a bay called Kit. I don’t remember the names of her foals, but they were shown each year at the Kingsland Foal Show held in October on Boarsfield by Russel Baldwin and Bright. The certificates show second place in 1944 and 1946

Victor’s father, George Evans of Westfield where we lived, used to lead the mare through the village to the show ground and when I was old enough I would lead the foal.

The mares mane and docked tail were dressed with ribbons but the foals fluffy manes were left plain.

Most years the foals were sold at the sale and if not they were brought home and would be sold privately later. The day was also the day the foals were weaned.

In time the foal sale was moved to Dishley Street Leominster and continues to this day on the present Brightwells site.

We had a bigger chestnut carthorse called Jolly. I used to be put on her back at the end of her days work when she was making her way back to her field. She used to rush off but never let me fall!

Jolly’s stable was in the barn where Tony and I now live! When I was very young, about five, I was forbidden to climb the steep wooden ladder into the hayloft above where the cat had had her kittens. Not to be defeated I would climb onto the manger, then onto Jolly’s head, and then into the hay rack from where it was an easy hoist into the loft! When asked if I had been up the ladder I could truthfully say ‘no’!

KIngsland History Ann Roberts 10 5 15Eventually Jolly was superseded by Victor’s first tractor purchased from Alexander and Duncan, an orange painted Alice Chalmers.  The day it arrived Victor’s father would not talk about it but when finally pressed during the evening meal he barked that it would only do the work that Jolly did and it would make more noise.

The metal wheels on Alice Chalmers were spiked and so a metal guard had to be fitted before it could go on the road. It is generally thought that his tractor was the first to come to Kingsland.

June 2013

 


Some great memories from Ann Roberts of Kingsland’s own Harrods and dances at the Coronation Hall. Thanks Ann!

Between Yew Tree Cottage and the site of the old blacksmith shop at Cobnash was a black and white cottage belonging to the Goodwins.

Miss Goodwin kept a shop in their front room, which we knew as ‘Harrods’ as you could buy almost anything there. She kept pigs and would sell home killed and cured bacon cut from a carcass hanging from the ceiling and home made lard amongst other things. She kept a large jar of sweets in the window on which stood a candle, if this candle was lit then the shop was ‘open’!

When the Coronation Hall was first opened dances were held regularly on Saturday nights and Victor Evans and I would walk from Westfield Farm to the Hall passing ‘Harrods’ on the way. On our return journey, sometime around midnight, we would see the candle burning and call in for a drink of pop and a chat with Miss Goodwin.

These early dances were very well attended with busses coming from Presteigne, Kington and Knighton. Up to two hundred people would dance to a band called the ‘No Name Trio’. No alcohol was sold, just soft drinks.

By 1956 I had acquired a bicycle and would cycle to the dances. But I had also acquired a black taffeta dress with huge sticking out petticoats, no good for cycling in, so I would change at a friend’s house in Boarsfield and then we would set off to the dance together on foot and similarly attired, popping in to the Corners Inn on the way to put on our make up!

Later still Victor (Evans) bought a car and would drive me to and from the dances (‘Like a bat out of Hell!)

In the early days the Hall consisted only of the main floor, and stage. At various stages during the first few years the committee room, cloakrooms, porch, foyer and two side rooms were added along with the kitchen and annex. The right hand side room (currently the disabled toilet) served as ticket office and tickets for all events were sold through a hatch, now blocked up. The Hall was well supplied with red metal chairs donated by Sheila Wenham and Mary Eliot

Dancing lessons were given by Idris Basham and his wife.

Later a licence was granted and alcohol was sold from a bar at the dances. This gradually led to trouble and in the 1970s the dances were stopped.


Some interesting information on the grave at the Methodist Chapel from Gordon Roberts

Since I was a boy, I have always been intrigued by the solitary grave at the Kingsland Methodist Chapel.    It was always in the way when my Father cut the grass in the front of the Chapel with sweeping strokes of his scythe.  The names on the headstone are Samuel Small and his wife Ellen Small, but who were they?  No-one was able to tell me.    I thought they must have been important people for permission to be given for them to be buried there.

The answer to this question came to me when I started work as a tour guide at the Methodist Central Hall in London.   In 1898 The Wesleyan Methodist Church launched the Million Guinea Fund to celebrate the centenary of the death of John Wesley   Between 1899 and 1904, the members of the Church contributed over one million guineas.   This money was to be used to further the activities and development of the Methodist Church and also to purchase a suitable site in London for a Methodist Central Hall.  Methodist Central Hall was subsequently built on the site of the Royal Aquarium in Parliament Square opposite Westminster Abbey and was opened in the year 1912.

The donors to the fund, each contributing no more than one guinea (one pound and five pence in today’s money), were invited to sign a list of contributors and these lists were later sent to the Central Hall and bound into fifty volumes of the “Historic Roll” .  This Roll has since been available for inspection and can be quite helpful for historians and genealogists.

The list for Kingsland Methodist Church shows the following donors –

Christine Brindley of The Post Office: Mary Anson  Vine Cottage: Ellen Pantall New House: Gwen Evans The Hill: Thomas Hodges The Hill: Priscilla Hodges The Hill: Steven Newing The Hill: Eliza Woodhouse The Hill: Eleanor Davies Upper House: Sarah Small, Ellen Small, Edith Small, Emily Small, Selina Williams, and Sydney Graham all of The Elms.

Although there is no mention above of Sydney Small, he was as Norman Reeves describes him in his book “The Leon Valley”, a grand old man and a comfortable speaker and lay preacher for most of his life.  Ellen Small died aged seventy nine in May 1921 and Samuel died aged ninety seven in February 1933 and was buried alongside his wife in the grounds of the Chapel he had served for so long. Their address given on the tombstone is Stone House to which they must have moved from The Elms.

Gordon Roberts : 13 October 2014


Many thanks to Gordon Roberts for these memories of the build up to D Day in Kingsland

Late spring 1944 saw many convoys of American troops passing through the area on their way from landing at Liverpool to the assembly areas in the south of the country for the invasion of Europe.   We young village children quickly learned to shout “any gum chum” and were often rewarded with chewing gum, Hershey chocolate bars and on one occasion oranges which we had never had before, all thrown from the passing troop carriers.

I remember one convoy pausing on the A4110 for a food break, between the Monument and the Showers.   They tried as best they could to get their vehicles off the road so others could pass and one half tracked vehicle backed up into the short drive of The Plausance whilst others  blocked off Chapel Lane or parked on the grass at the Criftins.   A young Jim Miles on his way home from work at the village shop bakery, pulled a fresh loaf of bread from under his jacket and gave it to one of soldiers who was extremely grateful.    One convoy of half tracks, severely damaged the level crossing at the railway station.

Little did we young children know at the time, what was about to happen across the English Channel but this last weekend has brought back these memories and I keep thinking about those young Americans so far from home and whether they got home again.

Gordon Roberts 09.06.14


This is the last of Kenyon Jones’ school photos, from 1940-41. We’d love to hear from you if you can fill in any gaps or if you know, or have any memories of any of the children in this series of photographs. 

By this time the school population had been increased by an influx of evacuees, I think from Bootle and Harwich, and as they were in the school a relatively short time it is more difficult to remember names, and there are more gaps.

Memories of the past Kingsland School photo 3 KJ

Top row > ??.??. Billy Gunthorpe. Donald Richards.Jeffrey Pratt.Sylvia Miles. Rachel Lewis. Michael Millard. Margaret Barrar. Margaret Williams. David York.
Middle row> Michael Williams. Audrey Mason. ??. George Bull. Bob Taylor. ? Robert Boreton. ??. KJ. ??. Tommy Smith. Eileen Broad. John Gwillam. Audrey Freeman. ??
Front row> Joyce Gwillam. Gordon Roberts. Frances Millard. Cliff Davies. Tommy Craig. Patti Williams. Molly Jones. ??. Mary Taylor. Joan Allen. ??

Sadly, not long after this picture was taken, David York, one of the evacuees, was hit by a car and died after getting off the school bus.


Another excellent Kingsland School photo from Kenyon Jones from 1943 –  names with some help from Cliff Davies – can you fill in any of the missing names?

Memories of the past Kingsland School photo 2 KJ

Teachers – the two Miss Morgans with….

Top Row > ?Ted Bryan. Audrey Freeman. Margaret Barrar. John Adams. Rachel Lewis. Bill Gunthorpe. Jean?Williams. Frances Bowen.
Second row > Graham Edwards. Tommy Williams. Jean Bryan. Bruce Hepburn. George Bull. ?Maureen Morris. Sylvia Miles. Donald Richards. ??. Dennis Jones. KJ. Audrey Mason.
Third row > Norman Mason. ??. Bob Bodenham. Bob Taylor. Patti Williams. Cliff Davies. John Postons. Sheila Wall. Molly Jones. Joyce Gwillam. Eileen Broad. Margaret Williams ??. Frances Millard. Jonny Williams.
Front row > Michael Williams. Gordon Roberts. Tommy Craig. Audrey Mills. Mary Taylor. Joan Allen. Margaret Postons. Tommy Roberts. Michael Millard. ? Jones. Tommy Smith.

My brother Lynne, too young for school, sneaked into the picture, bottom right, and sat there hoping no-one would notice him!


Memories of Kingsland School from Kenyon Jones – who is the ?? in the second row? Let us know if you know!

(Many thanks to Gordon Roberts’ sister, Ethel, for identifying the girl in the second row as Joyce Cook)

Dear Kingsland Life

As you may know, my father CT Jones was headmaster of Kingsland School from the late 20’s until the late 60’s and I was born and brought up in School House which is now Outer Bailey.

This was the senior class in, I think, 1946. I will try and put a name to every face though my memory is creaking a little now.

Memories from the Past Kenyon Jones school photo

Back row L>R : Donald Richards, John Parry, Jimmy Bufton, Frank Mills, Brian Jones, Bert Brown, Bill Gunthorpe, Denis Jones, Kenyon Jones
Second row : Michael Williams, Tommy Roberts, Audrey Mason, Margaret Williams, Mary Taylor, Ruth Morgan, ??  (identified as Joyce Cook), Joan Allen, Mike Millard, Gordon Roberts
Front : Audrey Mills, Eileen Broad, Dorothy Baker, Margaret Barrar, Mary Miles, Betty Watson, Ethel Roberts, Rachel Lewis, Pamela Watkins, Ruth Grant.

The rather salubrious background in the girls toilet block!

Kenyon Jones


Memories of the arrival of television in Kingsland from Gordon Roberts

Television, but only in black and white was available from the Alexandra Palace transmitter from the year 1936 but only for people living in London and parts of the South-East.   It lay dormant throughout the war period and came alive again when the war was over.   In 1956, it was superseded by the opening of the BBC’s new transmitter at the Crystal Palace in South London.

In December 1949, a new transmitter was opened by the BBC at Sutton Coalfield, north of Birmingham .   Kingsland was on the very extreme edge of the transmission range, but nevertheless it didn’t stop people in Kingsland buying television sets.   One by one, the large “H” shaped aerials appeared on the roof tops like a status symbol and making it clear that they had joined the age of television.

I remember watching television for the first time.   I was invited one Saturday afternoon to a house opposite the Showers Farm to watch a rugby game between the Royal Navy and the Army from Twickenham,   Playing for the Navy was Brian Vaughan, eldest son of the the village doctor.   Brian went on to play for England and managed the British Lions tour to South Africa in 1960.

The television set had probably been bought from Mr Beaman’s shop in Broad Street Leominster and had just a nine inch screen, made by Bush and set in a “walnut” bakelite cabinet.   The picture, in black and white was very grainy with constant flickering and loss of vision but a wonderful and  new experience for me.

Over the next ten years, owing a television set became quite normal.   Reception improved, the television screens were much larger and later still, colour television arrived in the 1960’s.


Lovely memories from a wartime evacuee in Kingsland. Does anyone remember Margaret and Mary? Webmaster

Hello. I am writing to let you know how interesting your site is. My mother Margaret Kirk nee Savage and her sister Mary were evacuated  from Liverpool to Kingsland in September 1939 and stayed with a Miss Lewis and her father and lived in a house facing Markhams Garage. Miss Lewis married and my mother then went to live with Mrs Miles and her son Charlie in a house further along the road.

My mother lived there about 1 year and talks fondly about the village and the people who lived there during her time in Kingsland.

My mother along with myself and one of her other sons and daughter in law are visiting Kingsland on Thursday next week and look forward to seeing the places my mother remembers so well.

Robert Kirk


In your railway reminiscences, you make reference to Mrs Knill as keeper of the crossing near Waterloo Mill. I was a near contemporary and friend of her youngest son, Bob, who took pride in the fact that Freddie Fox had previously lived at his home before becoming a jockey who went on to be champion flat race jockey in 1930, rode 2 Derby winners and 4 other classics.

Eric Wall


My Great Uncle was “Ned” Stephens. He actually designed and built Lancaster and York House out on the A4110 towards Mortimers Cross. I remember visiting him as a small child when he lived in York House .

Arnold Stephens was born at The Bell, Kingsland and later farmed Green Park and Bank Farm, Kingsland. He and his  brother George worked as coal merchants. They operated a bark yard near Kingsland Railway Station which became the Kingsland Saw Mills. He was joint founder of Kingsland Football and Rifle Club with Thomas Mitchell of the Corners Inn and Charles Sankey. He was reputed to have made and drunk a fortune at least twice. Joyce Crowl (at age 89) recalls her grandfather never had a bad word for anyone.  If anyone had a bad thought about another person, he would say, I’ve done worse myself.

Andrew Stephens


Happy Memories from Gordon Roberts:

Sitting outside the Angel a few months ago drinking some refreshment and reading the Hereford Times, I was distracted by convoys of green tractors with trailers full of potatoes, dropping mud from their wheels all over the road. I was reminded of the time when the Karlsson dairy herd made its sedate way twice daily through the village from the church drive to the farm and back again, waddling along with udders bursting with milk and depositing on the road  the results from grazing all day on the lush grass of the Greens.

Nobody seemed to object to the mess. The school said nothing, PC Edwards didn’t bring out his notebook (but then he rarely did ) and, after all, cows dropping their excrement wherever they happened to be was completely normal.

Then I read a report in the paper that the police would not hesitate to prosecute farmers and contractors found dropping mud on the road when lugging crops from the fields.

Imagine today’s horror and disapproval if those cows came back !


A Bit of History from a Supporter: Kingsland didn’t have the luxury of mains water and sewerage until the early 1960′s which prompted the building of some new houses particularly along the North Road and until then, the houses had no plumbing with running water and no w/c’s or bathrooms as we know them today. Water would be pumped from a well either by hand or with an electric pump. Electricity was available in the village itself but not in some of the outlying areas of the parish such as Shirlheath until the late 1940′s. There was no television until 1949 and then only a few people could afford to buy a television set and central heating was almost unheard of.

In the areas without electricity, cooking was done on a coal or wood fuelled range or a cooker which was fed from a bottle of paraffin. Lighting was obtained by a mixture of candles, torches, hurricane lamps and table lamps lit with a match put to a wick which was embedded in paraffin in the base of the lamp. Radios or more properly the wireless, as radio sets were known then, received their power from a lead acid accumulator battery, otherwise known as a storage battery . The popular brand was Exide . Householders would take their accumulators to Markham’s garage to be recharged although in fact they made a swap with one already charged so as not to have to wait or call back later for the recharging to be completed.


history-memories-170 years ago in Kingsland: My mother (Nellie Bagley as she then was) was based at Kingsland with the Womens Land Army 70 years ago, and worked on several North-Herefordshire farms. A few days ago we celebrated her 90th birthday. Over the coming months I will be driving her around many of the places she remembers very clearly, including The Angel at Kingsland. Here is a photo of her taken this week. Although not as physically nimble as she was, she still gets around the shops and has an excellent memory. She recalls the names of all the farming families she worked for. After the war she lived in Leominster for a few years and knows the town and surrounding villages well.

Jan Latusek 9th October 2012


Dear Kingslandlife,

I have recently come across kingslandlife.com and will be a regular browser from now on.   I was born in 1935 in the cottage which adjoined and was owned by the Methodist Church. It was my parents’ duty to look after the Chapel and of course we were all very much involved in the religious side as well.   My Father had wider responsibilities for the Methodist Church in the area and also ran a Sunday School for many years after the end of the Second World War which was very well attended by the village children.   I attended the village school under the tutelage of the wonderful headmaster of the time, C. T. Jones who achieved in the year 1947, record success in the 11-plus examinations resulting in eight of us going on to higher education at Leominster Grammar School or Lucton School.   I joined the Army in 1953 to do my National Service, after which I moved to the London area where I have lived since apart from years overseas as part of my job.   I have frequently visited Kingsland  ever since.   The village has changed of course, but not as much as might be expected.   So many of the physical characteristics are just the same, but of course, it’s no longer the self contained, farming village that it was when I was a boy.

Gordon E Roberts (11th Sept 2012)