KINGSDOWN MEMORIES.

PART THREE

The Fletcher's to Granny Hawkins's

The next two cottages on the left hand side on that lower road were built by Mr. Simion Butt towards the end of 1800. The first people to live in the first cottage were Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher. They had one son, Edgar, who was born about 1903, but Mr. Fletcher had been married many years before to another lady and there were much older half sisters of Edgar's. Mr. Fletchers parents had lived at Hundred Acre Cottage to the latter part of 1906. When the Painters moved in, the old Mr. Fletcher who outlived his wife lived with Edgar's Mum and Dad for many, many years and there never failed a week to go by without going back to his old cottage Hundred Acre. Taking no notice of anyone he would walk in, sit down near the fire, have a warm and then get up, not saying a word and walk on home to Edgar's parents.  He wore a very long white beard, but he seemed to be very friendly. Now the adjoining cottage to Edgar Fletcher's home lived a Mr. and Mrs. Jack Betteridge. Now they had three children, a girl called Gwen and a boy with the name of Bert, and another boy called Reg. I played with Reg Betteridge, though he was about 3 years older than me. There was a water well in Fletcher's garden and all the cottages near went there to draw up water with the bucket and chain. Mr. Simion Butt and Mr. Fred Butt also fetched their water from this well.

 

Now the 2 cottages on the right hand side of the road were built by a Mr. William Butt. A brother of Simion and Fred Butt. Now Mr. William and Mrs. Butt had 2 sons and one daughter. Her name was Eva and the sons were William, but always called Billy, and the other son was Wilfred. At that time the family was in the coal trade, and they had horses and carts. These horses were stabled in a building nearby Mr. Fred Butts' house, and like a small field was the yard in which all the carts and wagons were kept, and big heaps of coal that they used to fetch from Radstock with the wagons and horses, leaving home about 2 o'clock in the morning on the days they went to the pits at Radstock. The cottage next door was let to a Mr. Herbert Perry and his wife. Mr. Perry worked down at Ashley House in the gardens of an M.P., a Mr. Robinson, and Mr. Lloyd George, the Liberal leader was often staying with Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, on holidays, and they often played golf on Kingsdown where my dad was the green keeper. Now Mr. and Mrs. Perry had two children, a girl with the name of May and a boy called Ivor.

 

Now across the road again to the left was the cottage called Cherry Cottage. In the days that I played with Reg Betteridge, Mr. and Mrs. Bray lived in Cherry cottage with, I think, 3 children, a boy John Bray, and one girl was Kate, and I think Dollie was the name of the other girl, but I do know that early in 1900 a Mr. and Mrs. Bert Ford lived in Cherry Cottage, for Annie ford was born there and Jack Ford her brother was born on April 6th, 1903. For Jack Ford and myself Vic Painter became great friends in about 1912, and more less grew up together, going everywhere together as the years moved on, and still mates today in this year of 1985, only Jack now lives hear Northampton, and here am I living at Trowbridge, but there is no place like Kingsdown Box to either of us Kingsdown born boys.

 

Now the next cottage of those days was back over on the right again, up on a high bank was a very small sort of a bungalow. It was built in the late 1800s by a Mr. Smith, who worked in the stone quarry by the Swan Inn, Kingsdown. And Mr. Smith they say, carried every stone up that bank and built the cottage himself, no more than a two room building at the beginning, but later he built a kitchen and a wash house, but that was a few yards from the main building, and in the early days they had to cross over to the kitchen in all winds and weathers. I understood Mr. and Mrs. Smith had one son, but he joined the Navy when young, but later back and married, and lived at Box Village, and they had a son with the name of Vernon, and Vernon's mother's name was Miss Stiles before becoming Mrs. Smith.

 

Cross the road again now to the left hand side, 2 cottages, almost on the corner. The first one with some people with the name of Merretts. They had one boy that we called Colonel Merrett. He was always playing soldiers. I think that was why he got the name Colonel. Next door was a very old gentleman living with his wife that was many years younger. Everyone called her granny Hawkins. Mr. Hawkins had a very long white beard and his hands were ever so rough, they say. He was a woodman in his younger days working in forest cutting out timber for pit props and all kinds of things. One thing he could do was to charm worts away. Many people went to him. So Reg Betteridge had two worts and I had one on my thumb, and we asked Granny Hawkins to ask him to cure ours, and he just rubbed his finger on my one and said remember how many you had, and 2 days my wort was gone, and so were Reg Betteridge's 2 worts gone. In the summer time for many years a very pretty girl came to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Granny Hawkins, and this pretty girl was allowed to play with us boys sometimes. Edgar Fletcher Whispered in her ear one day. We didn't know at first what he had asked, but later this pretty girl told us, Edgar asked her if she would be his sweetheart. Edgar was about her age, 7 to 8 years old, and she had said yes. Muriel was her name.

Growing up in Kingsdown.

The Down to Maisie Gay's

The Petty's

The Petty's to the Chapel

The Chapel to the Salmon's

The Salmon's to Totney Corner

Totney Corner to Kingsdown House