Freddie The Errand Boy: by Win Bourne

bike 001

Kindly illustrated by Jeanette Davies of St Mary Bourne


Although thirteen year old Freddie (Frederick John Randall) didn’t spend a lot of time with his older brothers, he was very proud to boast that Alfred, the eldest, had already enlisted in the Territorials and was in training to go to war, and that Albert and Ernest, who were a couple of years younger, were keen to sign up too.

Freddie knew that his Mum and Dad were worrying about Alfred joining the army and even more so if his younger brothers did too. They sincerely hoped that this war would not last long and that the boys would come home safely so that they could get back to their normal lives.

The farm labourers – including his Dad – were working extra hours in Alfred’s absence, for though the harvest might be finished, there was always plenty of work to be done on the farm. Each day more young men left the village to answer the call, so the workload for all those remaining became heavier.

Freddie – along with most boys of his age – had not attended school during the harvest. Because this was one of the busiest times in the farming calendar, everybody – women and able-bodied children – were expected to help.

Now back at school, he still had his chores to do. He worked as an errand boy at the grocer’s shop, in place of Ernest, who now worked on the farm with Dad and his brothers. Freddie delivered provisions all through the valley on the grocer’s bicycle with the huge basket at the front – to the big houses, to the vicarage, and to those customers who were unable to carry bulky items. Having been in St Mary Bourne all of his young life, he knew everybody – where they lived and now – what they ate.

Some of his school friends must have been envious of him with his lovely job and of the few coppers he earned.

As he cycled passed Mrs Medhurst’s bakery, he would take a long sniff to inhale the lovely smells emanating from the shop.

At this time of the year (early autumn) Freddie and his pals would pull their home-made trolleys up to Wakeswood and into the woods, or Baptist Hill to collect any burnable fallen branches and fir cones found in the hedgerows, to store for the winter for the fires at home.

Sometimes he would sit his sister Florrie on the trolley on the way there, and when they reached the top of the hill by the Spring Hill turning, she would get off and pick blackberries to take home for Mum to make jam, or maybe a pie for Sunday tea along with the apples from the tree in the garden. There were also hazel nuts to be collected before the squirrels found them all.

Coming back down the hill was quite a task, every branch had been carefully loaded and the bundles tied down, however the weight of it and the steepness of the road threatened to hurtle the trolley downhill without him. The boys would take it in turns to help one another to the bottom

With this task completed he and Florrie would return home to their daily jobs. They would collect the eggs from the chicken run, wash them and take them indoors and put them in the larder. Sometimes if there were plenty, Mum would put the eggs in a basket outside the back door for sale.

Freddie would chop up kindling wood, fill the log basket with dry logs and take it into the kitchen ready for the next day, while Florrie helped Mum in the kitchen.

Often as he returned to the shop, having completed his deliveries, there would be a huddle of wives and mothers outside discussing the latest news of the village – which son, brother or husband had enlisted – and wondering how the families would manage without them, not just the labour but the money they earned too.



Although we have no independent corroboration of Frederick doing his brother’s grocery run, it seems highly likely that this is in fact what happened. Their father worked on a farm according to the 1911 census and the harvest meant extra money for all who could help. With so many having left for the front, extra hands would have welcome, and (relatively) well paid. But Ernest would have been older and stronger than Frederick, hence their all moving up a step. Ed.


At Her Wits’ End

CaptureCapture2Emily Collins Davis had had enough.

She knew you were supposed to count your blessings, but just for once, she was going to count all the things that were wrong with her life. In no particular order then:

New Housekeeper’s Duties

As if it weren’t enough being at war, the government had now apparently decided it needed us to write everything down in triplicate as well. Rations. Fuel orders. Shopping queues. The only thing that she wasn’t bothered about from this list was winter milk, as she assumed the village would manage that as it normally did.

Eldest Son Gone to War

This of course was uppermost in her mind that morning, but somehow all the other little worries made it even worse.

Capture DavisHis real name was Charles George, but of course as her husband’s name was Charles he was always called George. He had been got at by that Colonel Cooper and signed up for the reservists in the Army Service Corps like lots of his friends – with the result that of course he was among the first to be called up.

CaptureShe relied on George – the census form said he helped on the farm, but the truth is that he was the man of the house now that her husband was really getting too old to manage the farm and everything else.

George had told her that being a driver was one of the safer occupations as they were not directly  involved in the fighting. That sounded logical, but she didn’t really know whether to believe him, she knew he would have said anything to stop her worrying.

She did miss him already, not only as a shoulder to lean on but as a real companion.

A MOther’s Loss

CaptureThe census was so bald, so black and white, it reduced the whole of her life to statistics. ‘Married to the same man for 35 years, by whom she had borne 14 children, only 8 of whom had survived to adulthood’. Almost as many had died as had lived, there was nothing else to say and she had no tears left to weep.

The Forge and the Cottage

the forge

The Forge, courtesy of Basingstoke and Deane’s Conservation Appraisal

Emily and Charles had lived in the cottage next to the forge ever since their marriage – Charles had taken over from her father, William Collins, in about 1860 (making her subsequent marriage to Charles a foregone conclusion as far as her father was concerned). And William Collins had inherited the forge from his mother,  Sarah, who had subsequently married William Day, the owner shown on the Tithe Award in 1840. Charles had worked as everything from blacksmith and farrier, building contractor, farmer and agricultural equipment agent. But she had always been in charge of the paperwork, and quite a responsibility it was too, keeping track of that little lot.

Counting her blessings

Emily did feel better after that little rant, and supposed that she should now count her blessings. First, she was grateful that they had no real money worries thanks to her father’s and husband’s hard work over the years.

She did love all her surviving children. She knew she must devote most of her attention to those that were still with her, rather than the absent. She would think about George every day he was at the front, but it would not be fair to the others to mourn him in advance.

Also, although arthritis was a daily challenge, she remembered her neighbour’s comment: Do not regret growing older; it is a privilege denied to many.

Fears of the Ladies’ Committee are Realised

DH 16 Sep 1914DH 16 SepFrances Selfe had her worst fears confirmed by this morning’s newspapers.

It was proving a national disgrace – fathers and sons were being sent off to the war with no proper provision for the children, wives and mothers (sometimes widowed) who depended on them for their daily crust of bread.

No farmer ever admitted he was rich, but several of the families whose members had gone to war were not, she presumed suffering financially. Of the list that had been put up in the church porch, surely the Neales and the Pennys were not in any want.

But those who were employed to work on the land in the Bourne Valley had for many years been amongst the poorest of England’s agricultural workers. That firebrand, William Cobbett, had devoted a whole issue of ‘The Register’ * to the plight of the poor in the neighbouring village of Hurstbourne Tarrant and now, nearly ninety years later, it must be admitted that their situation had not greatly improved.

Something must be done. But what?

She and her committee could – and would – go through the list to see who was likely to be in want. But it was no easy matter simply to hand out coins or food: the people here were as proud as anywhere else and would hate to think that their circumstances were being discussed. Perhaps it would be possible to pair each family with one of her committee who already knew them well and could tactfully ascertain the position without giving offence.


*’Part of the Whole of the Expenditure on the Poor’: William Cobbett’s ‘The Register’ of 1826. Extract from first page of article:


William John Benham: The First Recruit to the Army Service Corps?


The Army Service Corps courtesy

On 1st September 1914 William John Benham presented himself to the recruitment office in Andover and signed up to the Army Service Corps.

MIUK1914A_119410-00100(1)While working for Gilbert Culley, William John Benham had been living as one of the family 1. As they explained to the reporter from the Andover Advertiser, it was a blow to the Culleys to lose him so soon to the war effort:

St Mary Bourne

War Notes

War correspondents now-a-days have obscurity of diction enforced upon them with the avowed object of keeping the enemy in a fog, but this arbitrary restriction only succeeds in mystifying the British public. Some things, however, the enemy are bound to know and feel before very long, for some of our young men have the knack of making their presence felt in the fighting line in a remarkably short time. It may therefore not be regarded as disloyal to state that Messrs.Culley Brothers have lost several of their men—all total abstainers and lads that can be depended on in any emergency. Messrs.Culley Brothers recognise the voluntary system of the country; and have not therefore placed any pressure on their men to go; but when their men expressed the decision to go Messrs.Culley paid them their Michaelmas money in advance, and assured them that their places would be kept open for them. The names are Frank Cummins, William Benham, and Wedge, the two former having been three and seven years respectively in Messrs.Culley’s service. Mr.Ewart Culley is with the Territorials. Notwithstanding the loss of their men, Messrs.Culley were able to finish their harvest on Tuesday. The determination to keep the men’s places open for them entails a good deal of hard work and self-sacrifice upon Mrs.Culley, her son Mr.Gilbert Culley, and all at home. Mrs.Culley lost her husband six years ago, and is particularly hard hit by the outbreak of war.


Andover Advertiser,  Friday, 18 September 1914

1 See 1911 census

Frank Cummins and the Wedges will be the subject of separate posts.

The Dog Days Of August


Aztec effigy of a dog made available under Creative Commons Licence

It had been the strangest August any of them could remember.

William Penny looked reflectively out of the window that morning at Egbury Castle Farm, which he had put his back into since marrying Harriet Mundy and coming here in the late 1860s. He was now seventy-five years old, and had passed most of the farming work on to his two surviving sons, Reginald and Ernest. But you could be sure he kept a pretty close eye on what they were up to, and there was little that escaped his gaze.

Egbury ‘Castle’ was so called after the prehistoric camp (Castrum) which had been discovered nearby, where Roman coins had been found. It pleased William to ponder that this land had been farmed, probably continuously, for thousands of years.

The month had begun unusually enough with the declaration of war, no one was quite sure why. Well, yes, someone had to stick up for the Belgians and the French weren’t much good at defending themselves against the Germans, so it was inevitable really. But since then, nothing. Well, almost nothing. It was always a quiet time of year when time seemed to stand still, the ‘Dog Days‘ from 16th July to 24th August. Some mammals hibernated, but personally he was all for aestivating.

The newspapers were still delivered, and he was well aware that the war was indeed up and running – the British Expeditionary Force had been defeated at Mons and had had to retreat. Not a glorious start. But so far the effect on the day to day life of the village was nil, it seemed to him.

Five of the village lads had set off to re-join their regiment but, until last week, they had been marching up to the top of a Winchester hill and down again to a Harrow plain, so far as he could make out. They had finally arrived at the front in time for the fighting at Le Cateau, so from now on it would begin to have real resonance for St Mary Bourne.

Mind you, they had got some City clerks in to help with the harvest, that was a significant result of the war – pasty-faced and puny to a man, it took about three of them to do what a Hampshire man could do in a trice, and they kept complaining they were tired and needed a rest. If Britain ended up having to rely on physical specimens like that, heaven help us all!

Egbury Castle Farm2William Penny did not know it, but there was to be a similar atmosphere twenty five years later, in 1939, when this period was described as ‘the phoney war‘.

Mobilising a whole country, not just the armed services, for war is rather like asking a tanker to do a 180° turn – it takes a while to put into effect.

Although, as we shall see, St Mary Bourne was indeed insulated from some of the effects of the war, it would come to seem very real as time went on.




Harvesting Experiment

Clerks as harvestersClerks as harvesters - CopyGoodness knows how The Daily Mirror had got hold of the story, but John Notley hoped that the first batch of Londoners he was getting on Friday evening would indeed have ‘all the enthusiasm of amateurs’. He certainly had plenty of work left for them to do, and plenty of acres for them to do it in.

John and his son Charles had run Egbury Farm as the bailiff for Mr Rouyer when he owned Dunley Manor. And they had continued with Mr Francis Holman when he bought the Dunley estate in 1902.

© Copyright Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence via

© Copyright Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence via

They were a Dorset family originally, but like several others from the county had moved up to Hampshire in the 1890s when the economic difficulties in farming hit home and several farms became available at very reasonable prices. In Hurstbourne Tarrant, there was George Miles and in Ibthorpe John Bound, both also originally Dorset families.


A note on sources

The information about the Dunley estate and the Notleys is taken from 59A03/7 in the Hampshire Record Office. They also appear in the various trade directories.

Daily Mirror

The Daily Mirror was a popular daily newspaper and claimed that it had a “Certified circulation larger than that of any other Daily Picture Paper”. It was a tabloid rather than a broadsheet. It had a long standing relationship with the labour and trades union movement and was aimed at the middle and working class households.

It was one of the first dailies to introduce photographs to its pages and a quarter of the paper concentrated on photographs of the war and those associated with it. It cornered the market for the bizarre and aimed to amuse as well as to inform. It minimised its news content to a double page, leaving space for adverts on female interests, such as ‘Infant feeding’ and ‘Grey Hair’. Its Human Interest articles covered stories such as “ ‘Spiritualistic’ Quacks in War-time”, which told of Mediums, Crystal Gazers and Palmists being bombarded with female believers, worried about relatives at war.

It featured a political cartoon; adverts for clothing outlets, tobacco and food; short stories “Like all other Men” by Mark Allerton being one of many; ‘This Mornings Gossip’; a sport and entertainment page; ‘A thought for today’ and ‘In my Garden’ also featured regularly. It often featured Winston Churchill as he wrote a column in the ‘Sunday Pictorial’ for the Paper.

Elizabeth Day Purver

Google view Bourne Valley

Google view

Elizabeth Day Purver felt a sense of dread. She had just come home from a late summer’s walk on the hills above the village, and had enjoyed the glorious view. But the talk everywhere for the past several weeks had been of war.

Elizabeth had married a soldier: Joseph Purver had signed up in 1891 and served for twelve years in the Scots Guards. They had married at the Whitchurch register office on his return from the Boer War, in 1902.  Joseph resigned from the army in 1903, saying he was tired of battle – he called her ‘the warrior’s rest‘ – and, though the money wasn’t as good, he took real pleasure in returning to village life and working as a woodman.

h_boer1He was a good and kind man and had welcomed her ‘little mistake’, Frederick Day, born in 1900. In fact he treated him like his own son, and Frederick adored him. Not that it took much to set Joseph off – on winter evenings around the fire, he would launch into his reminiscences of the beauties of the South African veld, the comradeship of the men and the brotherhood of the regiment. Joseph had a real gift for story-telling and Frederick was entranced, as were the two children they had had together, Edwin (born in 1903) and Violet (born in 1909). If it should come to another war, Elizabeth hoped that her husband (born in 1870) would now be too old, and her son too young, to be drawn in.

Upper Wyke Farm (now Manor) SP11 6EA

courtesy Google View

Elizabeth’s great uncle, William Day, had been born in Itchen Abbas, but had come to live in St Mary Bourne when he married Sarah Piper, from an old Bourne Valley family. He had farmed at Upper Wyke (according to the 1881 census on 572 acres employing 13 men and 5 boys). His nephew, James (Elizabeth’s father) moved into a cottage on the farm and worked as a shepherd. He had never achieved his uncle’s prosperity, having been born after the collapse in farming income. Elizabeth kept house for her father and brother until becoming Mrs Purver.

Elizabeth felt very much part of the village, but her husband could trace his family tree on his father’s side back to the 1600s in these parts. His mother had been Elizabeth Fifield, the daughter of Joseph Fifield who ran The George Inn on behalf of Mrs Neale.

But the Purvers had originally been ‘purveyors‘ based in Andover, well-established merchants. And in 1702, Joseph’s great great great great grandfather, Anthony Purver, had been born in St Mary Bourne. Although born illegitimate, and beginning his life as a shepherd as had Joseph, Anthony had taught himself Hebrew, Greek, Syriac and Aramaic and gone on to re-translate the bible from scratch. And in 1764 it had been published, and became known worldwide as ‘The Quaker Bible‘. When the Purvers set themselves a task, there was no holding them!

Elizabeth was not a great bible-reader herself, and they had chosen to get married in a registry office rather than have to put up with sermonising by the vicar about her own love-child. But she was crossing her fingers and asking whatever divinity existed, if it did, to spare her family from having to fight in another war.



A Tale of Inheritance: The Neales

George Neale

courtesy Caitlin family tree on ancestry

James John Neale looked up at the portrait of his father, that epitome of the Victorian Age, continuing to dominate all that he surveyed from his position hanging over the fireplace. George Neale II had been a hard taskmaster, but they got on much better now that James was able to monopolise the conversation – indeed it was rare these days to get any response at all. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Not that the exchanges were completely one-sided. Sometimes, late at night, as James smoked a post-prandial cigar in his study and swirled his brandy round in a snifter, he had the distinct and uncomfortable feeling that his father was watching him and, on one memorable occasion, a sidelong glance at the portrait caught his father raising an eyebrow at him in a most disdainful manner. That was the night James had decided to cut down on the brandy.

It was his grandfather, George Neale I, who had moved to St Mary Bourne from Dorset in the early nineteenth century, and set up shop as a carpenter and wheelwright.1 Either he had been able to bring a capital sum with him from Dorset, or his business prospered mightily, as he was able to buy the George Inn in the centre of the village (which had been going for at least 100 years, plot 54), which he put in his wife’s name. George and his wife lived, and had their carpenter’s shop, near the church in the Egbury Road (plot number 20 in the Tithe Map below, and they rented part of plot 23 behind as an orchard).

Church close up - Copy

Detail of Tithe Map held at Hampshire Record Office 1840

James never met his grandfather and had no recollection of his grandmother, who had died when he was only one year old. After George I’s death, Harriet Neale had continued the carpentry and wheelwright business right up until her own death twenty one years later, at the age of seventy-seven, with her unmarried daughter Ellen living with her and working as a dressmaker.

By 1861, her eldest son, George II, (the one in the portrait) had moved into his own house, set up as a grocer employing one man, and married the unfortunately named Olive Green (more amusing for her parents than for her, no doubt). James had been born at the end of 1860, the sixth and last child of his parents: he had an elder brother (inevitably called George) and four sisters.

By 1871, George II had branched out into farming and described himself as a ‘shopkeeper, wheelwright and occupier of 77 acres of land, employing two labourers and one boy’. He had also taken on the post office, as well as owning a grocer’s and a draper’s (the two were probably not in the same shop – it is hard to imagine buying cotton reels and cabbage together). And George III is described as a baker.

By 1878, George III has taken on Jamaica Farm, to the east of the village.

Jamaica 001

Ordnance Survey Map 1875










So far, so good. But then two things happened. George II died in September 1879 and the agricultural depression took firm hold. The History Blog explains it thus:

External as much as internal forces increasingly influenced the Victorian countryside.[2]  The poor harvests and deep depression especially in the arable sector in the 1820s and 1830s[3] was followed by recovery as rising home markets took agriculture into a so-called ‘Golden Age’ from the late 1840s to the early 1870s.[4]  The dominance of wheat production ended as grain prices collapsed under the flood of cheap imports from the New World after 1875.  Free trade meant that British farmers could not respond.  Markets for stock and dairy products and perishable cash and fruit crops benefited from rising real wages and growing demand, but they too experienced foreign competition with the development of refrigeration and canning after 1870.  The agricultural depression of the late 1880s and 1890s was widespread and crippling. [5]  It reflected the decline of agriculture’s share of national income from one-fifth in 1850 to one-twelfth by the 1980s.[6]


In settling George III into Jamaica Farm, it had no doubt been George II’s intention to settle his eldest son into a lucrative business, which would allow him to live in relative comfort and continue to build the Neale family fortunes. The habit of primogeniture dies hard in the British male bosom.

By allocating the shop(s) and the post office to the younger of his two sons, James John, George II had presumably intended to leave him adequately provided for, but not to the same standard (or with the same social prestige) as George III. But fate and international markets had, as it turned out, decreed otherwise.

George Neale juniorPoor George III. He had not done too badly in the end, he moved to Charlton Manor Farm and spent the next forty years or so in some comfort, married Agnes Withers and had nine children. When he died in 1938, he was to leave George Neale probate 1938a respectable but not huge sum of £5,000.

And what of James John? Well, in 1911 he is listed as ‘Neale and Son, grocers, drapers, and sub-postmasters’. By 1920, he was to cross through the green baize door and be listed among the ‘Private Residents’ in Kelly’s Directory as the owner of Hilliers Lodge in Stoke.

No wonder George II raised a quizzical eyebrow at him from time to time.

1 George Neale the first died at the age of 45 and was buried in the churchyard of St Peter’s Church, St Mary Bourne, on 13 October 1840. A copy of his will (1841B/42) is held in the Hampshire Record Office; it gives his occupation as carpenter and wheelwright.

Emily Bacon Kent and ‘The Hurdler’s Arms’, Binley

Hurdler's Arms, Binley via Alamy

‘The Hurdler’s Arms has been used by farmers for over 300 years’ (photographer)

Emily Kent née Bacon was, on the whole, pleased with the way her life had turned out so far.

BinleyHer family had been settled in Binley, on the north-eastern fringes of the parish of St Mary Bourne, since her great-grandfather, John Bacon, had come here over a hundred years ago. The men in the family worked as woodmen. They also sold beer as a side-line, with the womenfolk doing most of the brewing and serving the customers. But what exactly was the drink on offer at the Hurdler’s Arms? Zythophile, a modern blogger on beer writes:

Here is an extract from The Engineer’s and Mechanic’s Encyclopædia by Luke Hebert, published in 1836:

“In England two distinct sorts of beer are known, called ale, and porter, or beer, and of each sort there arc numerous varieties. Although the difference in the flavour of ale and of porter is sufficiently marked, it is difficult to say in what way it is produced: that it is not altogether owing to pale malt being used for brewing ale, as some assert, is clear from the fact that in many parts of the country, ale is brewed from brown malt: neither is it owing to a larger quantity of hops being used in making porter, for the pale ale which is exported in large quantities from this country to India contains a larger proportion of hops than the porter exported to the same place; neither will a difference in the proportions of the malt to the water account for it, since some ales are stronger and others weaker than porter.”

The development of a well-hopped light-coloured malt liquor that went by the name pale ale was an important step in the merging of meaning for ale and beer.

Born in 1856,  Emily had been sent like her older sister to an adjoining county (in her case Berkshire) to go into service. Her parents’ intention was not for this to be a lifelong career choice, rather that she would absorb some polish from exposure to the gentry at such close quarters. But it had been a little hard to be sent away from home before she was fourteen years old. However, Alexander Davis and his wife had been kind to her. He lived at Highwood Villa, near the auction house in Donnington which had been founded by Thomas Davis in 1759 and which he now owned.

By 1881, she had returned home and was charmingly described (by her father or the census enumerator unprovoked?) as a domestic servant in the family household. Her father died in 1887, but his widow Mary was ‘a licensed victualler’ by the 1891 census, with her daughter living with her. Emily’s eldest brother, John Blanchard Bacon, had moved to live next door with his wife and two children, but his oldest son (Emily’s nephew John Sidney Bacon) was living with Emily and her widowed mother.

Emily at this point decided to take stock of her life. The man of the house, her father, was gone. Her mother was by now in her mid-seventies. Her nephew would not be around for ever, and it would be unreasonable for her to turn to her brother for every little thing. What was to become of her?

The answer was obvious: she must find a husband, and without much delay. She still hoped to have children of her own, after all, although she had been thirty-one years old at the time of her father’s death. She knew that men did not find her alluring, and that waiting for one to fall in love with her might be wishful thinking. She would treat it as a business project, in a matter of fact sort of way. She would look for a good man, but someone who was probably her social inferior. After all, she was to inherit the Hurdler’s Arms and it should not be too difficult to find someone to take her on, together with her property.

Emily did not know it, but as she was thinking these thoughts a man called Harold Brighouse was writing a play called Hobson’s Choice about a man such as she was looking for: Will Mossop was a bit of a chump but he was a malleable chump. Though the setting of the play was an industrial northern town in the 1880s, her situation was very similar to Maggie Hobson’s.

She looked around for a suitable candidate and found one in Henry Kent, who worked on the same Binley farm where his father was a carter. He was six years younger than her, no bad thing, and she decided he would do very well. They were married at St Peter’s Church, St Mary Bourne on 22nd October 1892. She was thirty-five years old and he was thirty-two. He was described in the register as a labourer.

They had three children in quick succession, George Andrew, Edward and Norah. By the 1901 census,  Henry Kent was being described as a ‘farmer on his own account’ (ie self-employed), and by 1911 he was down as the licensed victualler as well. However, in the Kelly’s Directory for 1895, 1899, 1911 and 1920 the listing is firmly for ‘Kent, Emily (Mrs), beer ret. Binley’, and there is no mention of Henry at all.

She was also pleased that they had been able to settle her nephew so well. Married to a nice girl, John Sidney Bacon had obtained employment with Colonel Arthur Buck Kitchener and his wife Edith. The Kitcheners had been well-liked in the village when they arrived in 1901 (and it didn’t hurt that he was the brother of Lord Kitchener, the hero of Khartoum). Even so, it had taken a bit of getting used to when he renamed his house Waihemo after his sheep farm in New Zealand. But the sad thing was that he had died in 1907, and his wife not long after. He had been buried in the graveyard at St Peter’s, may he rest in peace. Her nephew had stayed on at the house as gardener, with his wife as caretaker.

She wondered what the future would hold, and hoped that The Hurdler’s Arms would be taken over in the fullness of time by one of the two boys. Or perhaps history would repeat itself, and Norah would be the next proprietress?


See comments – here is the photograph of the brass plaque to commemorate the opening of the reading room:


Distant Thunder in Sarajevo: Sunday 28 June 1914

‘Causes of WW1’ by Harris Morgan: Wikimedia

When beggars die there are no comets seen:
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
Julius Caesar, Act II Scene ii.

On Sunday 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo, a Serbian nationalist called Gavrilo Princip shot dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The clearest account is by Dan Snow here:


In the Brazilian rainforest, a butterfly stretched its wings and flew to its next perch.


Harvest in Hampshire, by Henry H Parker

In a remote part of north-west Hampshire, the sun had barely set on one of the shortest nights of the year. The church clock had chimed the hours through the night as usual, but Bourne Farm‘s resident rooster ensured that no one at the north end of the village either was able to sleep in that morning, even though it was a Sunday. Eli Goodyear, fifty-seven years old, recalled with some satisfaction that his two sons and daughter now had the duty of  feeding the animals and it was no longer his responsibility to get up at dawn to milk the cows. The first task of his day would be to lead the family on their weekly walk to the service of Mattins at St Peter’s, led by the Revd William Tovani. Eli was the sixth generation of his family to work in farming in St Mary Bourne: he could trace back his lineage to William Goodyear who had been born in the village in 1690. And he hoped that his eldest son, George, would continue after him in his turn. It had been a busy week, with the first cut of hay to feed the animals over the winter. All nine of his surviving children had been called in to help, in addition to his usual farm hands, but there was still much to do. He would ask the vicar to pray for continuing fine weather next week to help him and his fellow farmers. But before that he needed to write to his older brother William who had moved into Andover some years earlier – he would just have time to catch the 10.45 Sunday postal collection.

IWM podcast: The Shot That Led To War


Austria-Hungary was to blame the Serbian government for the attack in the hope of using the incident as justification for settling the question of Slav nationalism once and for all. As Russia supported Serbia, Franz Josef would delay declaring war on Serbia until Austria-Hungary received assurances from Kaiser Wilhelm that Germany would support their cause should the Russians intervene, with the probable involvement of  Russia’s ally, France, and possibly Britain as well. On July 28, Austria-Hungary would declare war on Serbia, precipitating the collapse of  the tenuous peace amongst the great European powers. Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia were to line up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and the war to end all wars, the first truly global war, would begin.

If this post feels like a series of unconnected events, that is probably how it felt to those living at the time as well. One of the effects of this global series of earth tremors is that it became increasingly difficult to live in a solipsistic bubble of one’s own immediate surroundings.

Although, with the benefit of hindsight, would-be international mediators and theorists have a tendency to feel that the war could have been averted, this is not the practical conclusion reached by those who have ever played the game ‘Diplomacy’ in which, no matter who the participants are or how they play, war usually ensues.

Further Discussion:

Beginning with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Dr Annika Mombauer explores the opposing debates about the origins of World War One. Is it possible for historians to arrive at a consensus?

The hundred-year debate

How could the death of one man, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was assassinated on 28 June 1914, lead to the deaths of millions in a war of unprecedented scale and ferocity? This is the question at the heart of the debate on the origins of the First World War. How did Europe get from the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife to the situation at the beginning of August when Germany and Austria-Hungary were at war with Serbia, Russia, France, Belgium, and Britain? Finding the answer to this question has exercised historians for 100 years, and arriving at a convincing consensus has proved impossible.

Satirical drawing by R. Ferro [Cupidity – Greed]


Copyright: © Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico

‘Cupidity’, a satirical drawing showing the hands of men from countries involved in World War One, arguing for control of the world.

The need to fight a defensive war…

(read the rest of this article here)

A note on sources:

The 1911 census and Kelly’s Post Office Directory provide the inhabitants of Bourne Farm (Eli Goodyear was still there in the 1920 directory), as well as details of the Goodyear family. You can see Bourne Farm marked on the 1875 Ordnance Survey map. The St Mary Bourne history group maintain a Bourne Valley ‘family’ tree on, which chronicles the relationships in these villages, including Eli’s ancestors.

The mundane details of Eli’s reconstructed morning are of course fictional, but based on reality, that is these Goodyears were ‘church’, not ‘chapel’, the three eldest children give their occupation as working on the farm in the 1911 census, Eli’s elder brother had indeed moved into central Andover and there was a 10.45 postal collection on a Sunday.






Entry in Crockford’s Clerical Directory