Wootton Bridge and Whippingham on the Isle of Wight

The wind of change passing through as seen and commented on by VICTORIA M SNOW. (1911 - 1998)

Chapter 1

I suppose there would only be two or three places in Wootton that one could say looked mostly the same, as it did at the turn of the century. One would be Old Lodge near Woodside, Brocks' Copse and Pack's Field, down by the railway lines.

Old Lodge (or Park Lodge) as it was known, was inhabited by my grandfather and grandmother years ago about 1860. They were my mother's parents. She was born there along with her sisters and brothers making a family of nine. One son had died at the age of one year or there would have been ten. Grandfather worked on the Osborne Estate as a gamekeeper, Old Lodge was in a field on its own. There was a copse with a little path just below Old Lodge. Through the field to the copse and through that to the shore. Sometimes, as a child my Dad would take me that way when he went shrimping, or fishing, and on Bank Holidays all of us went for the day with friends.

Nowadays the copse has a lot of little huts and chalets in its midst with roving lanes all along it and the path has been widened so cars can go through the field to a café at the edge of the copse. Several bungalows too are built there. But Old Lodge in the field up the road is still alone and very quiet these past few years, as a recluse lives there.

I have thought many times how different it must have been when my Mother lived there. It had a large fireplace, you could cook meals in a large pot or cauldron hung on a chain from the chimney. The kettle too could be hung on this chain. Gran would put on meat and vegetables and some of the vegetables would be cooked in little net bags, puddings, rolys etc., would be laid on the top.

The girls were fond of dressing up and making their own costumes. They had lovely times there.

A large apple tree leaned over the hedge in to the field and my aunt told me she would climb into the fork of this tree and recite or sing as she wished.

Far from anywhere, mum would run home from Whippingham School. (There was no school at Wootton in those days.) She would go into a field where a donkey was kept and get on his back and ride home. She was a bit of a tomboy.

The children went along the fields to King's Quay and they met up with the children of the gamekeeper, who lived there. They then went up the green drive, (this was kept green for the Queen's pleasure) and onto the Barton Manor Estate, through Shop Copse Road and onto a field path leading to Whippingham Post Office corner, then across the road to the school, in all weathers this was a tedious journey for them.

There was a little bridge from Woodside shore to King's Quay in those days. I only ever went over it once, fifty-two years ago. How different this shore is now, so wild and derelict. Of course during the war, landing craft and tanks were used there and also along the Barton beach. They tore up the trees and banks and made a horrible mess of things. Apart from the beach being spoilt by the war effort, Woodside is noisy these days, the hovercraft and navy boats humming along, also so many planes and helicopters are buzzing about too. Then there is the wireless which some people have on and while some music is nice, other sorts are not. So the peace of Woodside is gone!

Old Lodge lately has been inhabited by a recluse so different than in my mother's day. I suppose going (as mymother's family did) to Whippingham School, it was only to be expected that they joined in with all the things going on there. Great-granny lived at Whippingham and in later years lived by the church in the Queen's Alms-Houses. She was a Queen's nurse too. On Sunday the children walked again to Whippingham to Sunday school and then joined in with the choir in the gallery at the back of the church. The school mistress was the organist. Some of the boys got up to tricks and she would say, "You had better go out James," or who ever it was.

After church of course the obvious thing to do was to go to granny's for some refreshment before making their way back to Old Lodge. Sometimes the Queen on her rides around would go to Granny's for a rest, as there was what was called, 'the Queen's room' in her house (or bungalow as the Alms-Houses really were). The first one in a row of seven by the road opposite the church.

The Queen held prayer meetings there too I am told, and so any children there at that time had to be quiet, a thing enforced in those days, but sadly lacking in these recent ones. One of my aunts told me she was made to sit on a stool in a large cupboard once while the Queen was there.

The Queen also went to the school at Christmas to hear the children in their annual concert and prize award ceremony. She gave a fairy-doll each year for the Christmas-tree, it was made of wax and alabaster. The girls in the school had a vote as to the best girl in the school and my aunt had a doll one year, which she gave to me. Her father had it put in a domed glass covering. My mother would never have got one as she was always playing tricks and didn't behave as she should.

The people on the estate always went to Osborne to a Christmas party given in the house or 'Palace' as it was called, and the Queen would sit on her throne in the Durbar Room and present them with a gift. Then they would have to walk backwards to one of the Princes, in my aunt's case it was Prince Henry or Louis of Battenburg, and then they would take you to the Christmas-tree where another gift was given. After which the Prince took them back to the door where my great grandma was waiting and said, "Here she (or he) is nurse."

When visiting my aunt she has told me this story many times and once, when I took her to Osborne she told the people who stood there with us at the throne in the Durban Room about this episode. My mother died early on so I didn't hear so much from her. I have got a jewel, come manicure-box, and a glove-box which was given to aunty, she did not have any children of her own like the others did. The grown-ups on the estate were given suitings of blankets etc., I still have a pair of blankets which were given to my mother-in-law. Her husband was a foreman on the estate.

Well with all this going on in Whippingham, it was no wonder that Wootton had to take a back-seat so to speak, but a lot of well known people did reside, as I have said before, at Woodside and Wootton Hard, no doubt as the Queen was living on the Island. This drew a lot of her friends there too.

There was the wedding of Princess Beatrice at Whippingham Church in 1885, when people from many miles away walked there to see it. A cousin of my mother's walked from Newport and said how her little legs ached, she was very young at this time.

The funeral of Prince Henry of Battenburg also took place at Whippingham Church some years later, Prince Henry was the husband of Princess Beatrice. His tomb is on the left side of the chancel in the church, when the Princess died she was buried with him.

My mother, who was only seven or eight years, was there to see all these happenings and had a very good view from Great Granny's Alms-House and probably stood by the gate. Nobility from many countries were there to be seen and one had a good `look-out' spot as the hedge round the Alms-House was very low.

There were flower-shows at the rectory too and the Queen went to these.

When Queen Victoria lived at Osborne, she used to ride round the roads in her little pony carriage. The roads then were rolled and the verges kept trimmed and everywhere immaculate. She visited the people on her estate, and when new babies were born she took puddings and gave money for the baby, she also read to the mother, a portion from the bible, so I was told.

Old Lodge had an excellent view over the Solent and it was a good place from which to watch the naval reviews and also in later years one could see the fire-works at Cowes. Many large ships too could be seen passing through but there are not so many nowadays. A field gate was there to lean upon and a cart-track led down to the house in the field.

We children always went there to see these things, but by this time grandparents and the sons and daughters had moved away. So we never saw the inside of the house. We used to go blackberrying in the fields and lanes there, also gathered autumn leaves and berries for the autumn show.

After passing the path to the shore, the road wound on further to the crossroads. One had to turn right and back, parallel with the Old Lodge Road. This took you to Wootton Farm and also right again to Top Road as we called it. Then if you wanted to go to Wootton Bridge the road next to the road to Wootton Farm would take you that way. The road straight ahead from Old Lodge Road led to Wootton Hard. Here along this lane were big houses about six in all with one facing the beach, this is now a sailing-school. My father kept his boat in a shed there.

The first large house on the right, down this road is Lisle Court. When I was young, from the late 1890s to 1925, the lady who lived there was Countess Cowley. She had one of the first cars on the Island, it was an open topped one, with a canvas hood. The kind of car you would see at Beaulieu or on the London to Brighton run. Mr Cooper, the chauffeur was a sandy haired, bearded man and he wore a peaked cap, Countess Cowley also had a large steam pinnace and was driven by him as well.

There were other folk in the houses on that side, but we never knew them. One of my school friend's father was the coachman there and I went to tea there once. The water I remember was rain-water which had to be boiled to drink, and of course also for the tea. On the left side there lived Commander Hutton and his family. Mrs Hutton was a tall very elegant lady, she was very kind to my father and mother when they were ill, her mother Mrs Sid Botham lived there with them. She too was very nice, I don't know who lived in the other two houses.

Some time before I was born, there were two Admirals of the Fleet living there, one was Admiral Denison who must have lived down that road. He had three daughters and they got up all sorts of concerts and tableaux in my mother's day, she told me, how they got other people, and her sisters, and brothers to do things in them.

My mother sang in the concerts too. I have a paper cutting about it, one daughter was the Honourable Mrs Mitchison who lived in Top Road. I used to sing in the Choral Society when she was conductor and we sang at the Ryde Festival several times, as well as at all the other entertainments the Denison girls put on Wootton had carnivals and in my day we were considered as the 'origin' of them. On one occasion my mother rode at the head of the carnival on a white horse and dressed as Britannia, as her sister was a photographer she had a nice photo taken but not on the horse, that would have been about 1900.

I lost a lot of pictures during the last war that had been taken, they had dressed their bicycles and also the farmer let them have a cart and the girls dressed up as snow-maidens and other items.

There was also a Glee club and mum who could have been another Janet Brown, would mimic them all and keep us in fits of laughter.

The other Admiral was Admiral Baird. He lived at Woodside House, which was on the left at the end of Old Lodge Road, it had a large gate the width of the road which went down a steep hill and then turned left again to go along the drive to the house. The gate was always open to people to go down the road. At the bottom there was a stile and one got over this and went down across the field which was filled with humps and pot-holes, blackberry bushes and other shrubs. Also where the cows were turned out at times there were lots of cowpads, so one had to be very careful when walking.

We children would be very excited on our holiday when going to Woodside, we rushed down the hill there and literally fell over the stile in our haste to reach the beach. The sea always looked so lovely when we turned the corner, we just couldn't get to it fast enough!

There was a little pier leading from a boat-house at the end of the house grounds. When the tide was in, we ran along the pier and dangled our legs over the side getting as far as we could into the water, but trying to keep our clothes dry. Some of the older boys and girls had swimming-suits but we never did. We would watch them enviously swimming, wishing we could do the same. At the house I had a school and work pal and went there on several occasions, as her father was the chauffeur. They had come from Ireland, my friend was a very beautiful girl with green eyes, golden hair and lovely complexion, they were happy days.

This house in later years had become notorious for its use as a nudist-camp, yes, Woodside so quiet and peaceful, and not on the map in any startling way, had done just that. After some years, Warner's Holiday Camp took over and so all those little chalets were built in the copse.

My mother often told me of the severe winters they had in the 1880-1895 period, when there was so much snow and frost that the baker and his cart and horse rode over the hedges to take bread to the folk in the vicinity.

After Queen Victoria had gone the roads began to deteriorate, there was a bar of wood across the road from Brocks' corner to the Top Road stile, as the people at Woodside owned the roads. They were gravelled of course and so became full of pot-holes. Nowadays the roads where the houses are, they have been tarmacked. So they are better but the one along the creek and down to Old Lodge is still very rough.

Of course the private people's carriages continued to use the roads and a farmer's cart or two, but nothing too great. Bicycles of course and baby prams. I remember when we went to Woodside, we would pull open the bar-gate and swing on it. There were only the two farm cottages along Top Road on the corner which led to the church of St Edmond's, a Norman church built in the tenth century.

Apart from the two farm cottages in Top Road there were only two large houses, just past Brocks' Copse Corner. One was 'Beach-Croft' standing in large grounds near the corner, and a lodge a little way down Brocks' Copse, this was built by a Mr Kitchener in the 1890s who lived there.

The other house, about a hundred yards away, was named 'Wootton Rise' and this also had a lodge cottage, Captain and Mrs Guy Mitchison lived there. Some years later, after a relative died, she became the Honourable Mrs Mitchison.

Beach-Croft now has a new estate in its grounds and the road on which it was situated is now full of houses and bungalows.

We used to go there to sing carols when I was young. It was taken over by Mr L. Way, and he married farmer Brown's daughter I remember. I went to see the wedding, it was at St Edmond's Church and as the farmhouse was beside the church they did not have far to go for the reception. My mother and father too were married at St Edmond's. Mum lived at that time in New Road at the edge of the copse that ran along the creek on the way to Woodside. She was working as a cook at the large house just a few yards away from Wootton Hard Road, the only one on that road until you passed the copse. My father was a sailor, a Petty-Officer and in those days a carriage and white horses were the known thing to ride in for your wedding as there were no cars. It was in May, and a nice day by all accounts, dad had been on a commission in China for five years and brought back a lot of Chinese silk, which a cousin of mum's made into a wedding dress for her, with silk blouses worn with cream serge skirts for the four bridesmaids.

They had worn large hats wreathed in silk, and pink rose sprays and carried bouquets of narcissus (jonquils). The two younger ones carried baskets of the same but with royal blue ribbons on them, so very pretty. They wore large white or cream sailor hats.

The copse by the creek now has large houses in it and on the creek side there are lots of moored house-boats. Where the big house called 'Woodlands' was situated, is a holiday-camp called Little Canada. There are also houses opposite at the end of the shore side of the copse.

The road at this part was very rough, as was also the road through the copse which was so delightful when I was young. There were trees on the creek side with the water sparkling through them, a green grass verge which one could walk on and a hard gravel road which ran along the creek and was much better than it is today. Such a lovely walkand quite a steep hill at the end of the copse. When going to Woodside, as we sometimes did go this way, and when we reached the summit, we could see the sea and our excitement would gather strength and we ran all the way to the stile and down the field to the shore.

I must just say that Colonel G. Brannon was one of the first people to have a new house called Tenth House in the copse by Wootton Creek. He was the editor of the County Press for some years. I remember one Whit Monday an aunt of mine and my cousins who lived at the bottom of Wootton High Street went with me to Woodside. She took a Christmas pudding to have for our lunch and other goodies of course. One of the boys and a friend camped out in the copse and we youngsters went along to see them. There was a nice lot of wild flowers and grasses along the beach and a mountain ash tree with its white snowball-like bract and red berries in the autumn. The leaves such a nice green with white backings. These had always intrigued me but the branches were just out of my reach so I never managed to get any, much to my regret.

Tamarisk bushes grew by the boat-house and here the tide came up to the fence so we could only sit there when it was low tide, but it was so nice. Sometimes we came to Woodside through Church Road and on to a path by the church and then through Wootton Farmyard and across the field which had a long pond under a bank of trees and another at the end of the field by the gate on the right.

The pond under these trees had a lot of moor-hens and coots and other wild fowl on it and so we used to linger there for some time watching them. The other pond had a large patch of yellow wild irises (or flags) as we called them. I would have dearly liked some of these but there again, they were just out of my reach.

One evening on our way home, we stopped at the farm barn where a bull was tied up and shot. We watched through a chink in the door and it fell down in a pool of blood. Needless to say, I did not sleep much that night for thinking of the poor thing, and I never stopped to watch that any more. Sometimes we would watch the sheep being cut up through a window at the slaughter house in the farm drive-way. We used to go to the farm for skimmed milk sometimes, and a lovely peacock would put all his feathers up as he came towards us, we had heard that they pecked you sometimes so we were a little afraid of it. What lovely creatures they were.

We found a hen sitting on the wall around the churchyard once, and took fifteen eggs into the farmer in my hat. Looking round the churchyard was one of the things we did very often. There were many old tombs going back to the 15th and 16th century, some had rails around them and in some of these one would see the little blue harebells and with these, the little blue butterflies which are now very rare, it was a source of delight to see. There was a big old oak tree which was there, owls could be heard sometimes. At the top end where the path went through by a high hedge, we would stand beside Admiral Baird's grave, a huge stone plinth with a large anchor in front on a chain of stones about an inch thick and the words, "I hope to see my pilots face to face when I have crossed the Bar".

Next to him was Admiral Denison's grave but it just had a large head stone with curt message. Daffodils grew there in the spring. It is very rare, I should think, to see two Admirals buried side by side. I joined the choir there when I was 10 until the age of 18, when we moved from Wootton. One of Admiral Denison's daughters became the Honourable Mrs Mitchison who lived at Wootton Rise in Top Road. I was born at Wootton in a house situated between Wootton Lodge and Harwoods' Garage. It was a group of houses built by Bradings' and when my father and mother got married they went there to live. My grandmother came from New Road to live with them.

Dad was a sailor so was away at times. He was alright until after about five years of marriage, then he contracted TB and was invalided out of the navy. He spent a whole year at Ventnor Hospital, it must have been a hard job for them to keep going as there were no social security then, and no unemployment benefit. However, for the last two years of his life he did get a pension from the navy. I was eleven at this time.

When he came home he got a job at J.S. White's at East Cowes. I think that kept them going fairly well. He had to leave at 5.30 a.m in the morning to cycle to East Cowes.I remember he used to come home and strip off and wash in cold water at the sink and clean his teeth with soot fron the chimney. He had a marvellous set of teeth.

After a few years he left and went to Westwood House as a gardener. He worked very hard in his own garden too and also the allotment adjoining our houses. He had pigs, fowls, rabbits and grew flowers to sell and also cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and onions.

I have seen him go off to work with bunches of flower for the men at White's, and people would come to buy flowers for the church and other things. He grew white gypsophila which I have tried to grow many times but not succeeded, and asters, lovely white ones as well as coloured phlox and dahlias of all kinds, he took prizes in the shows for them. He also grew pansies, violas and tea-roses as wel as rambler roses, sweet peas of course and carnations and violets.

We children would have a button-hole on Sundays whey we went to church, this custom has since died away. What a pity this is. A little apricot tea-rose bud sometimes, or blue viola. I was fond of a little pink rambler rose always with a bit of fern or gypsophila for my button-hole.

We wore white sailor-suits in the summer, dad would stitch on the blue parts. I remember that mother would make my skirt and blouse and he the boys trousers. We wore white canvas shoes and white stockings or socks and large cream straw sailor hats which I did not like very much. In the winter we wore navy cloth sailor caps with our winter coats.

Dad also used to take his fowls and rabbits to shows at Newport and Cowes. He had lots of prizes for these. He would bathe the hens and cockerels and they were taken in large wicker baskets to the station. It was quite a long way to walk too. I expect he did get a friend to take them in a horse and cart sometimes. He was a very resourceful man.

Mum had a tea-shop and kept minerals, people came in for teas so she was kept very busy.

I remember the Saunders Roe firm's boss and his wife used to come in their black shiny car and they would have tea taken out to them to have in their car. Also they bought eggs and chickens too from dad. Once they had just got to the car with a crate of hens when one escaped and went down the drain by the gate and we had to get sticks to make it come out.

Wootton High Road then was very rural. Apart from our six houses and a pair just above us, the otherside was all fields and at the place of Harwoods' garage was the gravel-pit. Along Gravel-Pit Road parallel with Top Road, it was very holey and in wet weather the holes were filled with water. If we went walking, as we did on Sundays in our best shoes, white canvas or otherwise, we had to be careful to dodge the puddles and of course the boys everytime did get in the water on purpose.

There were no houses at this time, steam rollers would be kept in the corner of the field, where there is now a shop. Of course there were no houses down Lushington Hill either in those days. At the end of the first field was a large copse and we would collect firewood from there and pick primroses, bluebells, anemones and catkins in the spring and play games there too, hide-and-seek etc. In the fields opposite our home we would also pick flowers and then autumn leaves and blackberries as well.

There was a bank running through the field dividing it into two and leaving about eight feet each end so that the hay-carts could go round. We had many happy times while they were making hay, running behind the rakes and hiding behind the hillocks of hay. Also there again, was an abundance of primroses, bluebells, violets and buttercups and celandines and the little pink-white milkmaids as we called them and the blue-bottle flower, bugloss, one of my favourites, I suppose the flowers did resemble the colours seen on the blue-bottle fly when the sun shone on its shiny skin, blue, purple and mauve all mixed up and the stem and leaves furry too. Also the little white stitch-wort in masses on the bank. I would pinch the seeds to make them pop, as they were like little round balls when ripe. What a happy time it was for me as I loved all the wild flowers.

There were campions, wild roses and ferns. I suppose when one is young everything seems so beautiful and the fragrance is so lovely. When one is older it is not quite the same. There were also three large old oak trees on the bank at the lower end and I used to take my schoolgirl's weekly book, sit in a hollow made by the roots trailing down, and read all about Eldorado Jo, she was ventriloquist at a girls' school and could throw her voice anywhere. I did so wish I could do so myself, but never could. I spent hours there reading in the summer. The acorns too of course came off the trees in the autumn and these were such lovely shiny things. I used to make little men out of them just sticking a few pins in for arms and legs and of course we children collected them for the pigs and also the leaves for their beds. Dad made us a trolley on wheels to do this, so our time was taken up. When dad killed a pig, we would get up early and trundle off to Lushington copse for wood and when we came back mum would have filled the pig's bladder with lard and we had scraps and chitterlings for our breakfast, nostalgic days!

In the summer a fair would come to the fields opposite our house and of course there was great excitement, it would be there several days, sometimes even a week. Of course, we did not have much money in those days, but still we had some fun, watching all the merry-go-rounds and swinging-boats etc., being erected, the caravans with the people living in them, and the large engines that worked everything. We were a little afraid of the men as we had heard stories of gypsy people taking children away, so we never got too close to them.

Sometimes we got a penny or two-pence from our parents so we could have a go on the hoopla, and the coconut-shies. Sometimes we got on the swinging-boats but not very often. You could put a penny in the slot and find out who you were going to marry and tell you your fortune, and of course, the music was lovely. There was not so much of it about in those days, so it was grand to hear it though.

Our parents had a job to get us to bed at night as it went on until eleven o'clock. We would hang out of the front bedroom window to hear and see all we could, it was all very lovely. These fields are all built upon now, the top field was a corn-field but this has all gone too.

Church Road is all built up now, the copse by our fields where we used to play is all gone bar one tree. Houses and a club-room are there and the second field has a school in it and a recreation ground, also a path that goes across the next field which, when we were young, had a foot-path, with a stile at each end, from Church Road to Top Road near Palmer's Farm Corner — a short-cut to Wootton via -Brocks' Copse. We travelled this path many times after Sunday School, it was a corn-field then, and picked ears of corn and thought of the parables of Jesus. We should not have really picked them, but we did!

It was another place with lots of wild flowers and on nice days the lark could be heard singing. This path of ours has now gone and has been made into a wide road with houses and bungalows on each side.

The next field too which ends at the church has also been filled with roads, rows of houses and bungalows. The farmer grew swedes there when I was young and would throw us over a couple or give us some greens. Wild hops grew on the bank and the hedge was filled with bird's nests and furry caterpillars which we collected in glass jam-jars to take to school. Wild purple mallow grew along the hedges, as it did along the Woodside Road, as well.

Wootton Lodge on Church Road corner was mostly unoccupied when I was young. Before that the White Pophams' or Popham-Whites' I don't remember which way it went, lived there.

Once while at school several of us managed to get through the fence and hedge and had a look at the house otherwise it was a complete mystery. Then two doctors came to live there so it became alive once more, but in the little lodge along Church Road on the right, a school-friend of mine lived for several years and in the stables close by, another school-friend lived also for several years.

There was a walnut tree in the grounds just there and we would climb up on a branch of this and jump down. I was not very keen on this but did the same as the rest. One evening in the autumn we went to play there after school, as there was a moon we played (ghosts) and of course when we got home dad sent us to bed without any tea, we had worried them as they did not know where we were. I remember the moon shone on the wall in our bedroom and with our pencils we drew pictures on the wall. Mum brought us up some tea after an hour or so, we never did that again it stands to reason.

This cottage, the rectory and its two little cottages and the Sunday School Room, built in 1880, were the only buildings along this road but now today it is houses from end to end. The field where the Sunday School stands has roads and houses too. When I was young, the path from Foot Ways carried on down by the two rectory cottages with a stile and also a field-gate on the otherside of the Sunday School, which had a special gate to go through to Wootton, a short cut to the church from Wootton.

You could go down this bumpy downy field and meet up with the other path at a stile again and from there into a field next to the school lane, this was where the water ran and of course, either one field or the other, was very muddy except in very dry weather. The wide ditch by the hedge with running water had water-cress in it and lots of wild flowers again.

In the upper field there was a pond and it was green and slimy. It was in a sloping part of the field and children ran down the slope and into the pond, I had black button boots on and with the rest I ran into the slimy water, green slime ugh! We were very naughty weren't we? Undoubtedly I got into trouble and I didn't do that any more.

These paths are now all built on with roads instead of the paths, it used to be such a lovely view walking across the fields looking towards Fishbourne and Ryde, the seascape was very picturesque. Now only a few of the people in a house or two can see the view as it is blotted out by all the other roads going down across to Wootton High Street. We have since driven across it and as I have said, no one would ever know they were in Wootton.

These houses go right down to New Road, when the lane ends and what is left of it in the lower field it goes by the school, several houses are there on the right, and a turning into Red Road, which has not altered much. There is a pair of houses on the corner, one of which was lived in by my mother's aunt, it was my great aunt and at the gate, grew Seven Sisters' roses, these roses have a delicate fragrance that is different to other roses and I would always take a sniff at them before going into school.

I have some in my garden now which takes me back when I smell them, to those far off days.

Now from Red Road corner the school and playground extended to New Road. There was a wide muddy road by the school where the cows came along as the farm was on the left of this road as well as the farm hedge, there was also a path with another hedge and a path between the two for people to walk through. The one where the cows came through was full of holes, the cows hooves had made, and cowpads.

The children liked jumping off the high wall which surrounded the school, those that were more adventurous that is, and they got into trouble. Sometimes during a hot summer this was dry, but not very often. The farm has since gone and now is a guest house, the road has been tarred.

New Road from the school to Wootton High Street has not changed much but in the field between the farm and the copse to Woodside, an estate of new houses and bungalows from Church Road reaching to New Road have been erected so it is quite a built-up area to view these days.

The pair of houses are still at the edge of the copse where my mother lived and in the one next to the copse a lady kept a donkey. The donkey very often got out and roamed about the copse, the lady would call out to him and as she spoke with a nasal twang mum and the others would mimic her.

When the lady asked them where her Jinny was, mum would say the Silly Ass has gone in the copse somewhere.