The Down to Maisie Gay's


Between 1906 and 1914 there were only around 70 cottages, other than Kingsdown House on Kingsdown.

  A farmhouse and buildings were built in 1910 to 1912. Called Closes Farm on the comer of the Down near to Longsplatt. First people to live and farm there were a Mr. Wallace Ford and his wife with three children, May, Ethel and Victor. Closes Farm was built by the family of Fullers of Neston Park.

The next farmhouse and buildings were The Gridiron Farm, and was a very old building perhaps 200 years old. It was farmed by Mr. William Ford who had 4 sons, Frank, Oliver, Harry and Arthur. There was one daughter who married and became a Mrs. Summers and her and her husband had a farm in Somerset.

There was a very large cottage near to Gridiron House Farm, and I remember a Mr. Tommy Hancock with his wife and two sons living in this farm cottage. The Hancocks sons' names were Ted and Herb. Their father was a carter for Mr. Ford and ploughed the fields with farm horses.

Next cottage down the road towards Bath on the left hand side and built on a high bank was called Hundred Acre Cottage owing to the Down's being one hundred acres. In this cottage from late 1906 lived Mr. Harry Painter and his wife. Mr. Painter was from 1906 the golf link green keeper of the nine-hole golf course on Kingsdown. Before the Painters moved into Hundred Acre Cottage it was the home of Mr. Fletcher and his wife who had lived there many years and brought up their family. One son, Jim Fletcher, lived down the lower road of Kingsdown and was a quarry worker. The Painters had seven children, 2 were born at Hundred Acre Cottage after 1906. Names of the seven were Harry, Fred, Mary, Doris, Victor, Ivy, Lot.

Next on the right hand side was the Swan Inn. The landlord was Mr. Fred Pullen and his wife. They had one son, Jimmy Pullen.  


Many thanks for the photos of the Swan Inn of just how it was when I was a young boy with the stoned in walled garden and the only toilet for those living at the Swan Inn was an earth closet that was situated in the lower part of the garden and in the photo was being shown a few sheets of tin that was for a gentlemanís stand up. The tree growing up inside of the garden gate was a laburnum golden chain. Behind the Inn was a grass field of almost an acre with many apple trees and a water well at the lower side with pump to pump water to the Inn. The water was pumped up to the tank that was inside of the corrugated tin hut that the photo shows on the left of the building. The water tank was on a stone platform so a bucket would go under the tanks water tap. The tank was of about one thousand gallons. There was a doorway into the shed from the kitchen and a doorway from the shed to get outside of course. And now of the 5 people facing camera, the 2 gentlemen wearing caps and the gentleman with the trilby hat sorry but they were strangers to me, not Kingsdown chaps. The gentleman and lady were so well known to me and me to them and they were the Swan Inn landlord and landlady Mr and Mrs Watts in 1922. Mr Watts name was Nathan Watts but was called Natty by the customers of the pub and they really kept a very happy pub the Swan till 1934. Mrs Watts did look after the Swan on her own quite a lot of the days, Mr Watts had been a farmer in early days and was a wonderful ploughman with 2 horses. Mr Sulley of Shaylorís Farm used to get Mr Watts to do most of the ploughing on his large farm. That is near to Ashley house that can be seen quite clearly from the back windows of the Swan Inn. In the time of the photo being taken of the 5 people in front of the Inn there had been no change of the building inside up to that date and the bar was a long narrow room to the right of the Inn door with the pumps that pulled the beer up through lead pipes from the cellar. The prices through the 1914 to 1918 war stayed the same which was 4d and 5d and best 6d, the tap room was behind the bar and a small opening for orders to be taken. In the tap room there must have always been a large open fire place, but a smaller fire grate had been fitted some years before and the photo shows a small chimney being built up outside, and I can remember that small chimney that is now been removed. It was in early days before any changes, a passage that went from the front door straight to the cellar door to the very many steps that went down to the beer barrows when they needed changing. The room to the left of the front door was towards the kitchen and was called the Smoke Room. People using this better furnished room with nice chairs and tables paid one penny more on all of their drinks. Now crossing over the other side of the road to where the entrance of the Stone Quarry used to be in the days that I remember of horses and carts bringing out cart loads of stone of no good and it was tipped in a hole on the down. Now the Swan Inn Landlords of Kingsdown in my young days of living on Kingsdown. Mr George Betteridge that I understand had been the Swan Inn Landlord for many years made a move in 1909 to the Longs Arms Inn at South Wraxall and it was a Mr Fred Pullen that took over until 1916 and then a Mr Ted Fawkes took over until 1922. Then Mr Nathan Watts took over until about 1934. When for a time Mr and Mrs Watts lived in 2 the Firs which was next to the village shop and post office and bake house that belonged to Mr John Brookes. I believe there were a few changes in Landlords from that time on.

Now of the motorbike trials up the top road past the Swan Inn. The starting point was by Victory cottage and one half of a mile was to Gridiron Farm. The first trial was carried out in the summer time 1921. it was mostly young men that had served in the 1914 to 1918 war and the top rider was a Victor Anstie of Bath that had set up a motorbike garage. The trials was carried on for about 4 years running and crowds of people came to watch and Mr and Mrs Watts did any amount of bacon sandwiches and sold soft drinks outside the pub on tables to make extra cash. One young Kinsdown lad rode his own motorbike up in the trial and got good marks, he was the son of the baker and village shop owner and post master, for Brookes was their name. One boy Stan Ford had the toe cap taken off his boot standing too close at the corner below the Swan and that very corner below the Swan Inn was always called White Wall.

Next cottage down the road on the left hand side was the home of Mr. Simion Butt. Mrs. Butt, his wife, had died early in life, leaving Mr. Simion and three children, Nellie, Frank and Fred Butt.

  Across the road on the right hand side lived Mr. Fred Butt, a brother of Simion. Mr. Fred and his wife Lydia had two children, Girty and Arthur Butt.

The next cottage built on the very corner of top road and lower road was called Victory Cottage, but in the early days it was a small bungalow with two bedrooms. A lovely lady lived there. Her husband had died, and this lady, Mrs. Brown her name, had seven children, Bert, Charlie, Jimmy, Lilly, Elsie, Nellie and a Victor that had died very young. And I Victor Painter was named after Victor Brown. Mrs. Brown used to look after me when I was three years old. My mother went to work each day at Shockerwick House Stables, looking after about 16 grooms that had quarters at the stables to live in. Sir Charles Morley and his family lived in Shockerwick House. In the front of Mrs. Brown's bungalow was a water well with chain and bucket to get the water from the well. In 1912 Mrs. Brown and her family moved to South Wales except Gilly Brown, who went to work at Gridiron Farm for the Farmer Fords after the Browns moved out. The Mr. Eagles that was the owner of the bungalow had a nice cottage built and very smart it was. Almost as soon as the cottage was ready the 1914 war broke out with Germany. The war was soon flaring up in France and Belgium, Holland etc, and a well to do family of Belgians came to live in Victory Cottage. The mother and her four daughters, till the war ended 1918 about when the family returned home to Belgium. The girls' names were Pauline, Emily, Anna and Dawie. They all went to a Belgian School in Bath, only Pauline that spoke English, and us boys were always tapping their window that was near to the road at the back. We only asked what the time was, and the sisters ran to fetch Pauline from some other part of the cottage.

Mr. T.W. Eyles had the lovely house that was called Ashley Wood built in the year of 1909 to 1910, and Mr. and Mrs. Eyles lived there with their daughter Phyllis until about 1920. When, unknown to everyone except themselves they moved out of Ashley Wood land into Victory Cottage. Later Mr. Eyles had a wing and garage built onto the cottage. Ashley Wood was rented from Mr. Eyles by a Reverend Bridgewater and his wife that had retired from a church near Filton, Winford near Bristol.


The stables Ashley Wood

Now the next cottage to Victory Cottage on the bottom road was a small cottage with 2 bedrooms and the first people I remember living there were Mr. and Mrs. Gray and many girls, about 6. But they must have moved away in 1910, and a Mr. George Perry lived there, followed later by a family from Bathford, Mr. and Mrs. Harding with 4 children, a girl called Primrose and next to her was a boy Jimmy, and then Mark Harding, who became my playmate and friend, a girl younger than Mark was called Nesta. And somewhere around 1920 Hardings moved back down to Bathford. And some friends of Mr. Eyles that lived in London had fallen in love with this little cottage and took it over to be their summerhouse. A Mrs. Noble who was the mother of the Miss Maisie Gay, the film star, had bought the cottage from Mr. Eyles and many alterations were done to the cottage. Miss Maisie Gay was married to a Mr. Drew Harris, who later came to live at Mrs. Noble's cottage, later the whole cottage was rebuilt to a very fine big house and the gardens were all laid out by experts with rockery etc. And the house was named The Whirligig, an early film that Miss Maisie had starred in many years before. Later Mr. Drew Harris and Miss Maisie took over the Northey Arms Inn, Ashley Box.

Growing up in Kingsdown.

The Fletcher's to Granny Hawkins'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