Winsham cartoon village map showing the church, primary school, jubilee hall and community shop with fields, cows and sheep. Created by Bethany Fowler as the header banner for the Winsham Web Museum.
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Coronation Band

Orginally published Jul 2021
Last updated Aug 2021

Winsham Coronation Band was founded in 1902, its founding members having been members of the Winsham Drum & Fife Band, which had existed for many years. References to this earlier group can be found in the Winsham School Log as early as the 1860s.

Winsham Dum & Fife Band c. 1857

Over the next hundred years or so, the Winsham Coronation Band was always present at major village events, and old photographs indicate that during much of that time it had between twenty & thirty members. Its standards of performance were high, and from the mid-1930s frequently entered Brass Band competitions held in the South West, when it’s playing won recognition from time to time, and always earned the respect of judges and the other competitors. The Band also gave, over many years, concerts that invariably delighted its village audience.

Sadly the Winsham Band ended its activities in 2010, due to its failure to attract younger members. Although the Band tradition is continued in Chard and Lyme Regis, younger members drifted away either to join other bands or because other commitments in a changing world made demands on their spare time.

The Early Years

The Band’s first concert was given in June 1902, quickly followed by another on the 9th August 1902 to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward VII. It was to be this event that was to give the newly formed band its name. The celebration started with a march through the streets of Winsham, and the performance continued throughout the rest of the day, as part of the wider celebrations. In 1910, when the King died, the Band played outside St. Stephen’s before and after the memorial service, to a background of muffled bells.

The Winsham Friendly Society was an important village organisation, and for many years, its Annual Club Day was started with the Coronation Band leading its annual parade, which set out from Whatley. It would also play while the members enjoyed the repast that was an important part of the day out. Today, in the early twenty-first century, plagued by obesity and soft living, one wonders how the band members were able to march up the steep hill that separates Whatley from Winsham while playing their instruments!

The Coronation Band is much in evidence at this annual gathering of the Winsham Friendly Society, often referred to as the Winsham 'Club'
Photo taken at Whatley Farm

Encouraging the children

From the earliest days the band encouraged children, boys in the early years to learn an instrument to a level of proficiency that would earn them a place in the band. It was not until after the Second World War those women began to make an appearance in the Band. Membership was often a family affair. Bert Spurdle, who joined the Band in 1918 was joined in the 1930s by his son, Gilbert, and his son-in-law. Later his grand-children, Ian Monckton, Gillian Grabham and Carole Marshall became members. The Frecknall family were also represented in strength-Roy Frecknall and his brother Clifford joined in the mid 1930s, followed by their sons, Peter and David respectively.

This picture was taken around 1937, showing two youngsters playing their part
1. F. Down, 2. M. Dore, 3. R. Frecknall, 4. B. Lewis, 5. F. Chick, 6. C. Phelps, 7. J. Hill, 8. C. Churchill, 9. R. Dore, 10. B. Lacey, 11. L. Churchill, 12. F. Phleps, 13. R. Singleton, 14. E. Broomfield, 15. F. Butler, 16. B. Spurdle, 17. E. Forsey

Winsham Coronation Band 1939
Taken in George Peadon's Orchard, Back Street
1. Stan Lacey, 2. Charlie Churchill, 3. W. Lewis, 4. A. Lewis, 5. E. Larcombe, 6. C. Culverwell, 7. P. Trott, 8. A. Manning, 9. F. Meech, 10. C. Lines, 11. R. Frecknall, 12. G. Lewis, 13. A. Loaring, 14. B. Lacey, 15. A. Phelps, 16. C. Sawyer, 17. E. Broomfield, 18. E. Forsey, 19. L. Staples, 20. F. Phleps, 21. L. Chaffney, 22. Neddy Churchill, 23. J. Heal, 24. J. Rowsell, 25. E. Lambert, 26. F. Down, 27. W. White, 28. F. Butler, 29. Bert Spurdle (Band Master)

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c. 1949

In the 1950s there was a promising crop of youngsters!
1. David Griffin, 2. Godfrey House, 3. Alan Ackhurst, 4. Robert Warren, 5. David Evans?, 6. Michael Evans, 7. Peter Evans, 8. Pat Loaring?, 9. Victor Chubb, 10. Mervyn Turner, 11. Burt Spurdle

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Another generation in 1968
Back: Bert Spurdle, Susan Loaring, Anne Sear, Margaret Griffin, Andrew Bishop, Kevin Sear, Marilyn Bone, Ian Monckton
Front: Elaine Apsey, Timothy Down, Janice Apsey, David Grabham, Christopher Apsey, Colin Bishop

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Bert Spurdle was especially keen on encouraging children, and formed a 'Boy Band' in the 1950s, an example that has been followed in modern 'pop culture'!
Above they are seen performing at the Jubilee Hall

Winsham Band 1950
Over the years the Loarings have also been strongly represented. Starting with James and Charles, they were followed by Charles' sons Arthur, John and Percy in the 1950s. The grandchildren then followed - Malcolm, Jane, Martin, Susan, Margaret and David.

1. Tom Bond, 2. Harold Spurdle (Chairman), 3. John Loaring, 4. Clifford Frecknall, 5. Charles Churchill, 6. Charles Hawker, 7. Roy Frecknall, 8. Wilf Byron, 9. Charles Holcombe Phelps, 10. Monty Dore, 11. Percy Trott,
12. Jack Loaring, 13. Reg Singleton, 14. Arthur Loaring, 15. Ron Fursey, 16. Alfie Phelps, 17. Ernest Partridge, 18. George Grabham, 19. Gilbert Spurdle, 20. Frank Lacey, 21. Fred Butler, 22. Bert Spurdle, 23. Thomas Loaring, 24. Percy Loaring, 25. Bill Lewis
26. Charles Loaring, 27. Les Staples, 28. Ern Forsey, 29. Tommy Ackland, 30. Frank Good, 31. Charles Phelps, 32. Stan Carter, 33. Bill Courtney, 34. Frank Down, 35. Edward Lacey, 36. Neddy Churchill, 37. Frank Chick, 38. Stan Lacey
39. Doug Paull, 40. John Miles, 41. John Contreras, 42. Hector Briant, 43. Alan Long, 44. Winston Sawyer, 45. Cyril Sawyer, 46. Charles Phelps (Junior)

Winsham Band 1964

1. George Grabham, 2. Ernest Partridge, 3. John Loaring, 4. Monty Dore, 5. Michael Evans, 6. Alan Spurdle, 7. Myra Evans, 8. Malcolm Loaring, 9. David Griffin, 10. Clifford Frecknall, 11. Arthur Loaring, 12. Peter Frecknall, 13. Ian Monkton, 14. Kevin Sear, 15. Shirley Bone, 16. Averil Rowe, 17. Roger Newton, 18. Ronald Evans, 19. Susanna Hebditch

Fifty years of achievement

To celebrate the Band’s Golden Jubilee, a Fete was held in the summer of 1952 on the Recreation Ground. After a group photograph which included many past members, the Band paraded through West Street (now Western Way), Back Street, Fore Street, Court Hill and then to the end of Church Street, where the children of the village were assembling in all manner of Fancy Dress. The whole lot then combined, including the past members of the Band then processed to the Recreation Ground.

The Fete was then officially opened by Mrs Warren of Knapp House, one of the longest serving Vice Presidents of the Band. After that the fete got under way, with the judging of the Fancy Dress and many other activities to make it a very memorable day, which included an exhibition of the many photographs of the Band from earlier years, and a display of Prize Cards and other memorabilia. The Band played throughout the event.

Centennial Celebration

In 2002 the Coronation Band celebrated its 100th Anniversary. The year, coincidentally that also marked the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

The celebration event was held in the Jubilee Hall, and spread over the greater part of the day. In the afternoon an exhibition was staged filling the hall with many people from the parish.

It included displays of memorabilia, including instruments going back over the hundred years of the Bands existence. It included one hundred and seventy photographs. One interesting element that emerged from the photographs was the manner in which the style of uniform had changed over the years. In the early days they were distinctly military in style, but as the century progressed a more relaxed style became the fashion.

In the evening the partying began, with some eighty people joining the revels, including past band members, a few of which having travelled considerable distances to attend.

The conversation was of times past. The Band had lived through two World Wars, and although depleted during those times it still managed to perform at concerts and events during those difficult times. After enjoying a wonderful buffet and many convivial glasses of wine, it was time for just a few formalities.

Roy Frecknall and Colin Slade

First to speak was Roy Frecknall, the Senior Member of the Band, with sixty eight years of service. After giving a warm welcome to everyone, he went on to talk about the spirit of Banding and how the members of the band, and the community had gained from this. He also talked about how important had been the support of non-playing members over the years.

James Goddard

James Goddard then spoke, supporting the points made by Roy Frecknall, expressing the hope that the exhibition held in the afternoon and seen by many of the younger members of the village might ignite a flame of interest in them that would lead to the regeneration of the Band and its spirit.

Chairman of the Parish Council, Colin Slade then underlined the importance of the Band to the Winsham community over the previous hundred years, and how proud the village was of its band and the manner in which it had supported and made more enjoyable many village events over the years.

The end of this more formal part of the evening was marked by Cliff Frecknall, on behalf of the present Band, making a presentation to Margaret & Roger Tett as a mark of the Band’s appreciation for the tremendous effort they had made in organising the day’s events.

Years of Change

Despite a rapidly changing world, the Coronation Band remained vigorous for most of the second half of the twentieth century. It completed the building of its own Band Hut in 1952, and was playing regularly at Village events until the 1990s.

Group photo of the band in their uniform

Winsham Coronation Band at the South West Band Association 28th Annual Championships at Paignton in 1974
1. Percy. Loaring; 2. Arthur Loaring; 3. B. Pavey; 4. B. Filby; 5. D. Griffen; 6. A. Bishop; 7. R.Newton
8. Ann Bevis; 9. C. Bishop; 10. A. Spurdle; 11. Janet Ebdon; 12. J. Loaring; 13. Mike Ebdon; 14. Bridget Larcombe; 15. Margaret Tett; 16. Sue Loaring; 17. Ernest Partridge; 18. G.Grabham;
19. Cliff Frecknall; 20. Roy Frecknall; 21. Peter Frecknall; 22. J.Woods; 23. H. Newberry; 24. Bert Spurdle; 25. M. Evans; 26. Jane Loaring

Black and white photo of the band walking down Church Street in Winsham followed by an old car
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The Band marching down Church Street c.1950

Black and white photo of the band walking down Fore Street in Winsham with a crowd watching
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The Band attracting quite a following c.1950

Band members all coats and hats playing outside
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Into the 21st Century the band went carolling

Band stood outside the George playing
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In demand to play when the Christmas Tree lights-up

Black and white photo of band walking up Church Street
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The Band marching at the opening of a Village Fete c.1970s

Sadly, as the old Millennium came to a close, it was becoming increasingly difficult to attract young people into the Band. The Band played at the Street Fair in 2002, but for this it was necessary to borrow musicians from other bands in the area to make up the necessary numbers. Since then it has played at a few smaller events, and has played at the of the Winsham Christmas Tree lighting–up ceremony each year, but with the death of John Loaring in 2009, the numbers are now down to five, making recovery unlikely.

List of Band Masters

Supporting Bandleaders

Acknowledgements: Especial thanks are due to Roger and Margaret Tett, and Cliff Frecknall, whose research and knowledge of the Bands history made this record possible. There is also available from Roger Tett an excellent Photo Story on DVD, containing a good deal of information not included on this Web site.