Oral History as described by the Oral History Society is ‘the recording of people’s memories, experiences and opinions. It is a living history of everyone’s unique life experiences. An opportunity for those people who have been ‘hidden from history’ to have their voice heard and collects people’s memories as they recall them’.
This is a collection of recordings of residents of Kingsland parish talking about their memories of living in Kingsland from before WW2 and onwards and will be added to as more conversations are completed. Eventually the recordings will also be available at the Herefordshire Archive and Record Centre.
For each person there is a link to the recording of the conversations on our You Tube channel ‘The Kingsland Oral History project’ plus a time coded summary of the conversation. You can subscribe to the You Tube channel so that you will be alerted when new conversations are added. You can access our channel directly by clicking here. We have also added any photos and documents lent to us under the person’s name below.
If you wish to share links, photos, documents or recordings from the project please ensure you follow the creative commons copyright license and attribute each to the specified lender and ‘The Kingsland Oral History Project’. Please note that none can be used for commercial purposes.
If you have memories of living in Kingsland you’d like to share please contact Jackie Markham (01568 708281) or Sally Deakin (01568 708839) who’d love to come and talk to you! If you’d like to be involved in the project by talking to residents and/or helping write up time coded summaries please call Sally Deakin. We hope you enjoy the recordings we’ve gathered so far.
– just click on the person’s name to go straight to their section
Cliff was born in 1936 and moved to the village at 6 weeks old with his family and his 2 older brothers. He later had another sister and brother. He went to Kingsland School then Lucton School. He joined the church choir aged 8 and has been singing with the choir for 75 years as of May 2019. He worked for the Council, based at Showers Farm then Shirlheath for 26 years before working at Kington quarries until he retired. The conversation includes many early memories of the village, Kingsland school, WW2, evacuees and joining the church choir just before his eighth birthday. Descriptions of the pubs and activities there, the village shop (now Edgefield), Post Office and telephone exchange, bakehouse, cycle shop and leather shop, Dr Vaughan, Lucton School, hop picking, Kingsland Station and the railway, the church and choir, football, cricket and Luctonians. He also has memories of Rector Jobling and Mr Hamlyn Williams
Photos – Cliff has lent us a series of excellent photos of Kingsland school children, cricket and football teams, the village, carnival, the fire brigade and Kingsland School 150th anniversary. He has also named many of the people. You can see them by clicking here
Documents – Various documents and articles lent by Cliff can be be seen by clicking the name below
Marge was born on 5th January 1931 and first lived in Lugg Green Road. Since the age of three she has lived in Ryecroft, a house built on land belonging to The Corners Inn. Her mother, Bertha Mitchell with her husband owned The Corners Inn and ran the pub, slaughterhouse and butchers shop from the premises. Marge’s father, Harry Williams came from the direction of New Radnor and worked at Kingsland Station. Mr and Mrs Mitchell’s other children were Tom, who took over the butcher’s shop, moving to Park House to live and run the business; Charlie who took over the pub but in time sold it to his sister Minnie and her husband Reg Lewis; and Gladys, Rose, Alice and Marjorie.
Marge’s mother died at quite a young age and Marge then ran the home for her father as well as for her husband Werner Schatke, who was a German prisoner of war held at Presteigne. She married in 1953 and had two children, Helen and Robert. Marge left Kingsland School aged 13 and after helping with the school dinners went to work in the office at Kingsland Sawmills. Later she worked at Croftmead for Mrs. Nicholson and then for George and Margaret Nicholson and their daughter Holly.
The conversation includes memories of the Corners Inn, the butcher, buying groceries, Kingsland school, her house and carrying water from The Corners Inn, playing by the River Lugg, leaving school at 13 and later working at Kingsland Sawmills, the Kingsland Sawmills business, marriage to Werner and driving to East Germany to see his family and the cars they owned, laying a sewerage system in the village, fetes on the Glebe land, hop picking at Street Farm and the big fire at Croftmead.
Photos – Marge has lent us some photos including her wedding, herself and her older sister outside Ryecroft, herself aged 7 and 11, the workforce at Kingsland Sawmills and the Grocery Order Book used to order the weekly shop from Kingsland Stores. You can see them by clicking here
Mary Archer came to Kingsland with her husband in 1964 to live in 2 Jubilee Cottages which were owned by her father who had been left them by her grandfather. She talks about the Lewis family history and her great grandfather who started and owned the Jubilee Wagon Works at Jubilee House (now The Garth) which was then left to and then run by his youngest son Will/Bill, her great uncle. She has memories of visits there when a young girl. Her great grandmother also ran a laundry from the building which is now Markham’s garage. She did all the washing for Lucton School and others and the profits paid for the building of Jubilee Cottages. The interview also covers her memories of what Kingsland and her house were like when she moved here in the 1960s and memories of putting in mains water, sewerage and pavements up Lugg Green Road. She also recalls shops, pubs, doctors, the church and describes where her children played. She also talks about Kingsland Sawmills where she worked for 23 years and also doing paid blackcurrant picking at a farm in Shirlheath with her children.
Ali was born in 1928 at The Brook, Kingsland. He moved to Cobnash and then The Angel Inn as a child then when married lived at the Post Office before building ‘The Orchard’ on land belonging to The Angel, now known as St Michael’s Avenue. He married Hazel Harris and they had two children, Richard and Sally. He and Hazel later moved to Kington where they ran Kington Post Office and on retiring they came back to Kingsland after a few years in Eardisland.
Ali was for a considerable time, the National President of Sub-Postmasters. At this time Herefordshire had at least 148 Sub Post Offices and approximately 6 main Post offices in larger towns and Hereford city.
His grandfather, father, Ali and some other family members were all blacksmiths, his father building the blacksmiths at Cobnash. In the conversation he describes his father’s experiences in the Dardanelles, his friend Geoffrey Bright, The Angel Inn, the Post Office, the telephone exchange, the start of the Old Luctonian’s Rugby Club, shoeing horses, his schooling at Kingsland and Lucton School, Kingsland grocery shop and bakery, the second world war, management of sewage in the village, Freddie Fox the jockey and the Aga Khan, delivering post and telegrams to Croft Castle and Gatley Park and making a set of ornamental doors for Leominster Priory.
Ali also kindly lent us the memories he dictated to his son which contains a lot more memories of and information about his life. You can read it by clicking here
Below are copies of two interesting photos and descriptions lent by Ali – The Kingsland Church Bellringers from the early 1900s which includes his grandfather, plus the Kingsland Bier from 1907. Also a picture taken by © Chris Chapman at the blacksmith’s in the 1970s showing George Mills with Jackie Markham’s horse called Josephine.
Chris Burleigh owns The Horse Boutique in Kingsland and came to Kingsland in 1962 when he married Mona. The interview covers his life here including pig and poultry farming and the beginning of Sun Valley, starting the primary school PTA and being a Church Warden twice. The interview also includes memories of Kingsland and its residents in the 60s and 70s including the Bread and Coal charity; raising money for the church organ; The Monument and digging for gold there; The Angel; the Corners Inn and bowling alley; the village stores; the butchers; cattle being driven through the village and the village as it was then.
Mary was born in Kingsland and live at The Poor House with her mother and six siblings. Her father worked away mining in South Wales. She later lived at Drybridge then No 2 Park Terrace followed by No 3 Park Terrace. She describes her early memories including carnivals, the school, working as a maid to the Barnets at Highfield, then as a nanny for Mrs Harvey in Hereford Road, POWs working in the hop fields, airmen’s families from Shobdon, the Post Office, pubs, Dr ‘Bob’ Williams at the Croase, the Fire Brigade, Kingsland station, Sunday School, sweet shops, the Baptist Chapel, Land Army girls, bakeries, undertakers, butcher, general stores, Golf House, cricket, football, the building of the Coronation Hall, buses, Goldings in Leominster and milking cows at Kaarlsons. She also describes her husband Arthur Sankey’s job on the railway and his grandfather’s work as a saddler.
Alec is the only child of George and Eileen Lowe and lived in Kingsland with his parents and maternal grandparents, first at Sunnyside and then at Glendour (now called Martindale and the Horse Boutique). He spent time with his aunt and uncle and older cousins, the Markham family, at Markham’s garage and when older with Tom Davies of Shirlheath, Arthur Morgan of The Showers farm and Bill Bengry. He went to Kingsland School then Leominster Grammar school before emigrating with his parents to Australia in 1964, returning to work in Kingsland for one year when he was first married. His father ran a business installing water pumps and Alec was interested in wildlife and all things mechanical.
The conversation includes memories of The Corners and Serge Preece’s bicycle shop, the shop and bakery, the early days of Markham’s garage and Maurice Markham, Kingsland school, singing in Kingsland church choir, farming activities and machinery at Showers farm, the family’s chicken business at Glendour, his father water divining, hunting and fishing activities in the village, Captain Hamlyn Williams, as a child buying and racing old vehicles with his friends and hitching a rides to Hereford sitting on the top of the cider apples being taken to Bulmer’s.
Doreen was born in Birmingham, her father was just coming out of the Army and the family moved to Broomy Hill. They then moved to Moss Rose Cottage where her brother Glyn was born, renting it from Eddie Davies of Stone House, Cobnash. Later they swapped houses with her father’s parents who were running The Lion (now Lion House by Shrublands). Her brother Stephen was born there.
Doreen talks about her living at The Lion, her father’s work, her brothers, the many families and children who lived at that end of the village and the lack of facilities in all houses. She describes how Moss Rose Cottage was linked to the cottage next door and the policeman Mr Jane and his son Terry living there until their move to the new Police House (now called Mercia House), followed by policeman Mr Taylor and family. Doreen went to school in Kingsland and remembers the two Miss Morgans, Mrs Davies, Mr Jones and Mr Welson. She describes leaving school at 15 to work in Leominster. Other memories include playing with children in the village street, her blue tricycle, swimming in the Lugg down Mousenatch Lane. She also recalls spending time with Jean Davies (Scott) at the Angel Inn cooking and describes Fred and Walter Davies and their shop and Hot Cross Buns as well as the cobblers, other shops and services, a lack of holidays, livestock, making hay with Eve Taylor and borrowing Oz Langford’s carthorse.
Lewis is the eldest of six children and has lived at Montrose, Shirlheath, Kingsland all his life. His father, Alfred Earnest Davies, came when a child to The Green, Shirlheath with his parents who had been farming at Lye on a farm owned by Shobdon Court.
Alfred was the youngest son and stayed to work at The Green. He built Montrose adjacent to The Green, when he married Mary Morgan who came from Crown Farm, Eardisland. (The Green was eventually demolished and a new house, also called The Green, built in its place).
He talks of his father’s work as a butcher, delivering orders, Mother’s involvement, rationing, chickens, walking to Kingsland School, the Moravian and Baptist chapels, Kingsland Station, The Sawmills, Maurice Markham, picking apples, sugar-beet, taking over the herd of milking cows and his decision to let them go, sheep, pumping water by hand, the arrival of electricity, Bengrys at Longmoor and at Shirlheath, Kingsland Car Auctions.
Val was born in Kingsland at Rose Cottage (now know as Angel Cottage) in 1948. She later lived in Yew Trees, and the in The Bungalow at Bank Farm (now called Meadow View) She went to Kingsland School and shares many memories of her teachers at that time and of lessons, activities, sports and playtimes hiding in the dingle. She then attended the Grammar School at Leominster before attending the Technical College in Hereford. She grew up at Bank Farm, initially helping with the pigs and cows, then fruit picking and haymaking.
The conversation includes early village memories of the bakehouse, Dr. Ovenden, the pubs, hairdressing salon, cycle shop, nursing home, saw mills and coal merchants. Favourite memories include the May fairs, summer fetes with country dancing, tennis tournaments, Fireman fun days, her Confirmation at Kingsland Church and Sunday School outings. Val has been involved in the Brownies since her daughter was 7 years of age and has just completed 30 years service! When first married Val and her husband Cliff lived in No.2, Pear Tree Cottages, Mousenatch Lane, then after a brief spell in Leominster moved to Nukalofa in December 1977
Some photos lent by Val:
Robin was born in Brick House in Kingsland in 1940. His Grandparents lived in Longford Cottage opposite Brick House. He went to Kingsland School until the age of 11, before gaining a scholarship to attend Lucton School.
He shares memories of his passion for all sports and spending his time at Kingsland Train Station and swimming in the River Lugg. He talks of his love of rugby and his long involvement in the Luctonian Rugby Club. His family have lived in Longford, Brick House and The Rosary in Kingsland village. He remembers Kingsland Carnival and the May Fairs. Although he moved out to Leominster many years ago, he is still very involved in the village through the rugby club and takes a keen interest in the development of the village.
Lily Summers was born in 1920 and was brought up in Kings Pyon on Brook House farm and came to Kingsland when she married Roly Summers. She started her married life at Jubilee Cottages and since 1950 has lived on the edge of the parish near Eardisland. The interview covers memories and descriptions of the whole of her life from her childhood and life as the daughter of an estate worker, leaving at 14 to go into service, the start of the Second World War and her return home then working for five years at the Rotherwas Munitions factory. Her memories then cover her life since the war through working in service in Middlesex, her marriage to Roly and his work as the Saw Doctor at Kingsland Sawmills, lodging with her in laws at Jubilee Cottages in Kingsland when first married in 1949, the move to her current home after a year, her working life and her memories of Kingsland and its shops and people.
The photo shows Lily receiving her 100th birthday card from the Queen in May 2020.
Part of the interview covers life at Brook House farm and click here to see the pictures and map discussed.
As an interesting addition here is a link to a video by Kate Adie for the BBC for the campaign to honour the Canary Girls who worked at Munitions factories like Rotherwas in WW2 which includes Lily talking to Kate Adie. Click here to see it