KINGSDOWN MEMORIES.

PART SIX

FROM THE CHAPEL TO THE SALMON'S

My dear friend, those of you that might have seen a copy of my first attempt on my own memories of early days of Kingsdown would have wondered why it ended at the Chapel.  The last words spoken of were Mr. Seekree's and Mr. Henry Gane's with high garden walls.  Now behind the home of the Ganes was a large space of ground, an acre or more, and on a lovely stone built terrace, stood two very good cottages both of two bedrooms and two rooms down and each cottage had a washhouse built on.  The Owner of these two cottages were a Mr. Lambert of Box who was well known and many people were so happy to rent these two cottages over the years and I saw many changes of the people that came and went on again after a short stay  

Now we move to a row of six cottages and they were called The Firs, Kingsdown.  The first one to be built that became the Bakery, Post Office and Grocery shop was so well built with many rooms, a three storey building and very large rooms for storing, that could have been called the cellars but these store rooms were on the level of the garden so one could walk in.  My self never did get to know who built the house or of what year it was built but no doubt early in 1800.  And in the last half of 1800, it was said that a Mr. Maslen that became owner of this well built house that became the number one, The Firs, had two lovely houses built that was named and numbered 2 and 3 The Firs, Kingsdown, and in front of these newly built houses a road was made and was marked up to be private, Mr. Maslen being owner of the new houses and the private road.  Now the last four years of 1800 Mr. Maslen still in power really did have three more houses built on to those other two so a row of six houses it became and the builder of the last three houses were Mr. Wallace Ford who was Kingsdown born, and who was never married and lived in Laurel Cottage.  

    That was another well-built house and many rooms up and down always named The Laurels and the name carved into the stone. So now in between number One, The Firs, and The Laurels, the very pretty cottage of two bedrooms and two rooms down, was built on low ground and steps from the road down to the front door and iron railings to save anyone from falling over into the front garden.  This cottage was always called Jessamine. 

Many changes of different people coming and going that I could give you a list, but the first people that I remember living there was Mr. and Mrs. Britton Ford in Jessamine and they were parents of Mr. Bert Ford and grandparents of Ted Ford now living at Rudloe, Corsham for we have always been great friends. Mr. and Mrs. Britton Ford moved out of Jessamine Cottage and took over a strong stone cottage called West View with larger rooms than Jessamine Cottage had.  West View became Mr. and Mrs. Britton Ford's home for their lifetime.  In to Jessamine Cottage came an ex-farmer and a daughter about 20 years and a young brother near to seven years of age.

By this time we had moved on to near 1911 and the three cottages that was built for the Mr. Maslen by Mr. Wallace Ford were all being happily lived in and a Mrs. Brown lived in number 6, The Firs that had three bedrooms.  A brother of Mrs. Brown always lived with Mrs. Brown.  He had trouble with his breathing at times but was a nice man to us children.  Number 5, The Firs was a Mr. and Mrs. Goodhind and they had a boy and a girl, George and Lucy Goodhind.  Number 4, The Firs - oh yes, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford no other than Gladys and Cyril ford's parents who spent the rest of their life in number 4 and at that very time number 3, The Firs became empty.  They were rather old people so I was too young really to know just why these people moved away.  But I do know that a Mr. and Mrs. Jack Aust moved in to number 3, The Firs with their two children, Mavis and Fred Aust.  Mr. Aust, he too was a master builder.  By now Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Ford and their three children, Victor, May and Ethel had moved over to Closes Farm and Laurel Cottage was taken over by the people in Jessamine Cottage who was, of course, ex-farmer Joyce and Violet Joyce and her brother John.  In to Jessamine Cottage went a Mr. and Mrs. Fisher and two daughters. Mr. Fisher was a stone quarryman and not much more than a year later they went to Bath to live and into Jessamine Cottage came Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Wilkins who lived there all their lives at Jessamine Cottage.  Mr. Ernie Wilkins was a baker for Mr. Brooke's next-door number 1, The Firs.  A few years later the farmer Joyce and family moved on to London and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Aust and Mavis and Fred moved into Laurel Cottage and lived there for many years.  A Mrs. North that had brought up her sister's boy from a baby, Reg Harding, now moved into number 3, The Firs, but after a year maybe, Mrs. North and Reg did move out of number 3, The Firs and to great joy to many people in came to 3, The Firs was Mr. and Mrs. George Ford and their two sons Raymond and Stan, cousins of Gladys and Cyril, and the two Mr. Fords' were brothers and the two Mrs. Fords were sisters.

Some time in late 1920 whoever the owner was at that time of all the six cottages of the Firs, Kingsdown and I think it was still Mr. Maslen who gave every tenant who was living in their cottage a chance to buy their cottage at a price stated in letters that was sent to each cottage.  Mr. and Mrs. Brookes became the owners of number 1 and a Mr. and Mrs. Wood that lived in number 2 and Mr. and Mrs. George Ford bought number 3 and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford bought number 4 and those in number 5 did move out and Tom and Gladys Croker bought number 5 and moved in next door to Gladys's parents, and Mr. and Mrs. Mizen that came to Kingsdown to live in 1917 was now living in number 6, The Firs and having a three-bed roomed house and large garden.  The price of their house, 6, The Firs, was the very high sum of £250.  It was a lot of money to find when at that time Mr. Mizen's weekly wage as a first class signalman of the G.W.R. in a signal box at Bathampton was £3 and wages for men working on farms throughout the country was only thirty shillings per week, so no workingman got a very high wage in 1920.  

  It is now time to move on along the road.  Next came after passing Laurel Cottage were three cottages in a row and one had to walk down four steps to be on their level.  The first two cottages were very small with two small bedrooms, one fair sized room down with open fire grate for doing the cooking. There was a bit of a back room for doing any washing and the toilet were out in the garden.  The third cottage away from the road was rather nice.  There had been the same people living there since they were first married no doubt.  Their names were Mr. and Mrs. Archer who had two daughters Edith and Millie and also a girl that was in the care of Mr. and Mrs. Roger Archer from a very small girl and her name was Lily Carey. On leaving school Edith and Millie soon found themselves a job at Kingsdown House as servant girls.  Lily Carey went into private service for a lady with a nice house at Ashley, Box, and Lily, of course, slept in but spent her half days off and any holidays back up at Kingsdown with Mrs. Archer that brought her up as a small child.

It was said after the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Roger Archer and their home was being cleared out by the two daughters Edith and Millie and no doubt Lily Carey was there also and in a drawer that had nothing else but all the monthly pay packets of Lily from the very first one till the very last going back over the many years.  Not one pay packet had ever been opened ever.  Now behind the three cottages were another nice tall cottage that had rooms under the roof with windows for light and there were two bedrooms of nice size and only one room downstairs with a pantry to keep the food cool in summer and one large wash house and cool house built on just near to the doorway and such a pretty flower garden and a pathway to the garden gate that was to the road way.  Now the people living there were Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Miles and Mrs. Miles was my mother's sister, our Aunt Sarah and Uncle Charlie.  They had no children and both went out together maybe up The Swan Inn of a Saturday evening and they got the names Tramble and Daisy.  Now near to Uncle Charlieís and Aunt Sarahís garden gate was a very long sloping pathway to three cottages and the first one was a very small house no more than one bedroom but the other two cottages were rather large and nice, and the second cottage and middle one of the three were the home of the well known Jimmy Ford who had worked on the Kingsdown Farm, Gridiron Farm then called, of William Ford who was then the farmer. Jimmy Ford was George and Henry Fordís father and, of course, grandfather to Raymond and Stan and Gladys and Cyril. Mr. and Mrs. George Ford must have taken over Jimmy Fordís home when they married for Raymond and Stan were born in that very same cottage that no doubt George Ford could have been born there also. The third cottage was where Mrs. Salmon lived for many many years and Mrs. Salmon was the mother of Buff Salmon and his sister Ada, who on growing up, Ada married a Bill Ashley and they had two daughters, Ena and Violet and they lived in the very cottage where I was born ó Wormcliffe Lane. 

  

Growing up in Kingsdown.

The Down to Maisie Gay's

The Fletcher's to Granny Hawkins's

The Petty's

The Petty's to the Chapel

The Salmon's to Totney Corner

Totney Corner to Kingsdown House