Memories of Life in a Somerset Village

The following articles have been reproduced from a booklet "East Brent - Memories of Life in a Somerset Village" produced by Grace and Connie Hudson and Published in 1997.

The booklet is dedicated to Rosa Chivers (nee Hudson), Chrissie Strong and Nora Emery, who loved this village.

 

God gave all men, all earth to love

But, since our hearts are small,

Ordained for each one spot should prove

Beloved over all.

Rudyard Kipling

1865-1936

Download the booklet here or read the individual articles within this section of the website - see Contents

 

FORWARD TO BOOKLET

It must have been about 1985 when we invited Chrissie Strong (nee Edwards) to have tea with us.  She had been a family friend for many years having helped us in the house when we were children.

She had a wonderfully retentive memory, and after she had been reminiscing about life in the village, we asked her to write down some of her memories.  She was rather difficult about such an undertaking, but sometime afterwards we received a notebook through the post, containing her recollections.

This was the start of the book.  Chrissie's memories are not necessarily in chronological order, as they were random jottings, but we feel this in no way detracts from its interest.  In some cases there is repetition, but it is unavoidable and highlights events which had made the most impact on people.

Others from the village have added their stories, and articles from various publications have been included, making it into a worthwhile whole.

We believe this to be a true picture of life as it was in the earlier part of the twentieth century, and we hope it will be enjoyed by its readers.

Grace and Connie Hudson

 

Acknowledgements from Booklet

Thanks must go to The Weston Mercury and Somersetshire Herald, and Burnham & Highbridge Weekly News for giving their permission to reproduce newspaper articles and pictures.

To all contributors, and to the many people who have loaned photographs and/or given help and encouragement in the development of this project.

Most of all our thanks are due to Andrew and Lorna Gibson, who have spent so much time editing and producing the booklet.

 

Latest Articles

Memories of Life in a Somerset Village - Contents

1 Earlier Days in East Brent by Ivor Punnett link 2 East Brent 60 Years Ago by Grace Hudson link 3 The Knoll Villages by Rosa Chivers link 4 Brent Knoll Station by Rosa Chivers link 5 Last...

Memories of Life in a Somerset Village - Gallery of Photographs

A Selection of Photographs from the booklet "Memories of Life in a Somerset Village"

Memories of Life in a Somerset Village - Gallery of Illustrations

A selection of line drawings depicting life in a rural village from the booklet " Memories of Live in a Somerset Village"

Earlier Days in East Brent

Weekly News, March 20th 1992 Feature by Ivor Punnett   Retired farmer Mr George Hill will be 91 in July and is one of the best known personalities in East Brent. He left school at the age of 12 but faced no handicap in life because he became a very astute businessman. "Like all country lads I would do anything to earn a bit of pocket money and when I was ten I Went off milking for local farmers. I used to milk in the fields before I went to school and when I got back...

East Brent 60 Years Ago

by Grace Hudson   At the centre of the village, and nestling at the foot of Brent Knoll, stands the lovely Parish Church of St. Mary's as it has done for many hundreds of years. The spire, with the golden weather vane, gives an imposing background to the surrounding roads and houses. The entrance gates were given and erected to the memory of Prebendary A.P. Wickham who, with his wife, were well loved and highly respected in the village. The Vicarage was at the centre of village...

The Knoll Villages

by Rosa Chivers (1972)   It takes fifty years to be accepted in a village - so they say. But does it take so long? I do not agree. I have now lived in a village community for 50 years and have felt “one of them” for most of that time. This is a tribute to the parishioners with whom I have lived and worked for many years. In August, 1922, a family consisting of father, mother and three Children moved from a London suburb to one of the villages at the foot of Brent Knoll....

Memories of Life in a Somerset Village - Contents

1 Earlier Days in East Brent by Ivor Punnett link 2 East Brent 60 Years Ago by Grace Hudson link 3 The Knoll Villages by Rosa Chivers link 4 Brent Knoll Station by Rosa Chivers link 5 Last...

Memories of Life in a Somerset Village - Gallery of Photographs

A Selection of Photographs from the booklet "Memories of Life in a Somerset Village"

Memories of Life in a Somerset Village - Gallery of Illustrations

A selection of line drawings depicting life in a rural village from the booklet " Memories of Live in a Somerset Village"

Earlier Days in East Brent

Weekly News, March 20th 1992 Feature by Ivor Punnett   Retired farmer Mr George Hill will be 91 in July and is one of the best known personalities in East Brent. He left school at the age of 12 but faced no handicap in life because he became a very astute businessman. "Like all country lads I would do anything to earn a bit of pocket money and when I was ten I Went off milking for local farmers. I used to milk in the fields before I went to school and when I got back...

East Brent 60 Years Ago

by Grace Hudson   At the centre of the village, and nestling at the foot of Brent Knoll, stands the lovely Parish Church of St. Mary's as it has done for many hundreds of years. The spire, with the golden weather vane, gives an imposing background to the surrounding roads and houses. The entrance gates were given and erected to the memory of Prebendary A.P. Wickham who, with his wife, were well loved and highly respected in the village. The Vicarage was at the centre of village...

The Knoll Villages

by Rosa Chivers (1972)   It takes fifty years to be accepted in a village - so they say. But does it take so long? I do not agree. I have now lived in a village community for 50 years and have felt “one of them” for most of that time. This is a tribute to the parishioners with whom I have lived and worked for many years. In August, 1922, a family consisting of father, mother and three Children moved from a London suburb to one of the villages at the foot of Brent Knoll....

Brent Knoll Station

by Rosa Chivers   When our family first moved to East Brent, we were welcomed by a friendly porter at the railway station. The station had obviously had much Care lavished on it. There were flower beds on either side of the railway line, sweet peas were climbing over lattice, the oil lamps, well polished, were hanging on brackets each side of the platform, and numbers of old-fashioned milk churns were waiting to go to London, and clotted cream in large tins, labelled Cheddar Valley...

Last Thatch at East Brent

Weston Mercury and Somersetshire Herald, May 1977   Clerk to East Brent Parish for more than 30 years until her retirement a short time ago, Mrs. Rosa Chivers, of Brent Knoll, has acquired a painting which shows what she thinks may well be the last thatched roof building in East Brent. She writes: “Recently an oil painting of Nut Tree Farm, East Brent, has come into my possession. It was painted by the late Mr. Ernest Bishop of Burton Row, Brent Knoll. The painting shows...

East Brent in the 1920s and 1930s

by Walter Champion (1996)   Life was very much slower in these early days. Most of the inhabitants were engaged in agriculture. There were some fifteen farms in East Brent then, and most had one or more workmen. Most of the work was done by horses as tractors were very few. It was chiefly dairy Cows with herds of 10-20 or 30. Milk was delivered to a collecting point at the South View Dairy which is the farm by the East Brent roundabout. From there the milk was taken in churns (the...

A Musical Note

by Freda Ham   I would have been about 16 years of age when as a special treat I was allowed to Cycle to St Mary’s Church to play the organ. There was no electricity at that time -therefore we had to rely on our local Sexton, Mr Ted Edwards. He would arrive on his tricycle, and for a fee of sixpence, he would unlock the small door at the back of the organ, and manually work the bellows. He had to continue this arduous task as long as I wished to play. Ted Edward was a stalwart...

A Journey Along Lifes Path

(There were many paths at East Brent) by Chrissie Strong (nee Edwards)   To start with, a few stories told by my father and other older people of East Brent. My grandfather could not do much work, he had been wounded in the Crimean War, and so grandmother earned a living by sewing ladies' dresses, handmade, for a few pence. She reared a family often, and lost two, a boy and a girl.. Grandmother used to sew by firelight, and when she had money to spare she would buy a few candles ...

Childhood Memories of Old East Brent 1906 -1993

by Ruth Rider (nee Hutson)   Chrissie kindly refers to the Hutsons as a jolly family - we were a very happy family. I was the youngest of six sisters. My parents came to live at Chestnut Farm in 1902. When my Grandmother died, my Grandfather Hutson (a dear old man, with a long white beard) lived on there with us until his death. My father kept cows and a few pigs, and two of us helped on the farm. We hand milked the cows, getting to know each one. My sister received a medal for...

East Brent Methodist Church

By Grace Hudson, June 1992   Interesting papers have recently come to light showing that alterations were made to the church in 1898. The entrance porch was originally at the side of the building. This was made into a vestry and the entrance with the porch made to the front of the church.  Photographs shown before and after (P45) The Cost was £150. In the 1930's it was the dream of the then Church Steward, Mr. G.E. Hudson that a hall, which was badly needed,...

Random Collections

by Connie Hudson   I think my strongest recollection of childhood in the village was the wealth of trees, edges and wild flowers along the lanes and in the fields. There were no areas, as local people acknowledged the rights of the farmers who owned the land, and appreciated the need to walk along the pathways and close gates firmly. The dogs, too, accompanying us, were never on a lead, but were free to scamper where they would, with none of today‘s restrictions. A favourite...

Raise the Song of Harvest Home

Weston Mercury & Somersetshire Herald - September 2nd, 1950 by Ronald Bailey   Few of the old­time rural festivities and junketings survived the frigid, straight-laced spirit of the Victorian age. Cromwell’s long-faced puritans destroyed most of the gay customs of "Merrie England" and our own side-whiskered grandfathers and whale-boned grandmothers swept away the remaining handful of festivals that had escaped the kill-joys’ severity of the Commonwealth. The...

The First Harvest Home in East Brent

Weston Mercury and Somersetshire Herald - September 16th 1950 by Ronald Bailey   In ancient Rome a harvest feast was held in honour of Ceres, the goddess of Corn and Virgil gives us a glimpse of the procedure: Before the sickles touch the rip'ning wheat On Ceres call; and let the lab'ring hind. With oaken Wreaths his hollow temples bind; On Ceres let him call and Ceres praise. With uncouth dances and with Country lays. The Ancient Britons and the Saxons also had their...

The Golden Age at East Brent

Weston Mercury & Somersetshire Herald - Date unknown by John Bailey In the story of East Brent's famous Archdeacon George Anthony Denison we have now reached the period in his ministry which his nephew, Prebendary Henry Phipps Denison, called the golden age of the village. As the country's most controversial ecclesiastic the Archdeacon never lacked a congregation. People came from miles around, and some even took houses in the village so that they might be near the church...

Burnham Deanery Magazine (extracts)

Extracts from June 1929 issue ELECTRICITY INSTALLED IN ST. MARY’S CHURCH. On 13th at a late hour in the evening, a demonstration of the newly installed illumination was given to the members of the Church Council and was considered satisfactory. Owing to ‘daylight saving’ the Congregation has had little opportunity of judging the effect, but we are confident that when winter time Comes round again the change will be very greatly appreciated, The goal of the required cost...