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.
Home Memories, Recollections and Nostalgia Tom Nicolson

Tom Nicolson

Orginally published Jul 2021
Last updated Jul 2021

Recollections of life in Winsham

From Tom Nicholson (also known as Bill).Winsham was like a second home for Tom from 1940 until the death of his foster mother Kathleen Phillipps in 1988

Winsham was my second home from 1940 to 1988 when my foster mother Kathleen Phillipps (Nee Fowler of Whatley Farm)died. My foster father Joe Hodder Phillipps died in 1979. Their cremated remains were scattered behind the farm house in the field known as Long Strip, so I don't know what parish records would be available. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Winsham had its own Web museum last year when I was given a PC to drag me into the 21st century.  

On the map of farming I see no mention of "The Farm", High Street which was located at the top of Back Street, and I see on Google Satellite that most of the buildings are still there, including the tractor garage built by Arthur Loaring from scrap wood in 1941. ( I also used to watch him making coffins in his work shop on Church St.) I may have the wrong Loaring but there's probably quite a few still in the village who will know who made the coffins. The farm now known as Lime Kiln Farm was built on land purchased from the Hodder family who farmed in Winsham for at least three generations at the High Street location. (William, Jane, and Joe Hodder Phillipps.) The field, on which the new farm was built by Mr Warry ( I believe), was called Lime Kiln field, and the location of the original Kiln which has been buried by landfill shows up in the top right corner of the satellite picture as a much lighter colour than the rest of the field.  

Hope I haven't bored you with so much Winsham Trivia, but as Joe Hodder Phillipps and his wife were so active in the church and parish for many years then I feel that there should be a place for them somewhere on your wonderful web site. Hopefully, there are still a few people in the village who may remember the Nicholson boys up at the High Street Farm.

I have a photo that be of interest. It's the actual bomb that landed in a field called 'Gay's Mill which was part of the High Street Farm. The photo was taken to record the beautiful Laburnum tree, but it included the historic bomb. It seems that it was part of the bomb load that was aimed at Chard Junction, but I suppose it got stuck in the bomb bay, and when it landed in the soft sand it didn't explode.

Looking at Google Earth ,I would say that Gay's Mill was about three or four fields west of Winsham on the north side of Western Way. For a case of beer, the disposal squad were quite happy to empty it and leave an interesting souvenir.

Yours, with kind regards and thanks to the people of Winsham,

Thomas Wm. Nicholson, a.k.a .Bill

Editors Note: I saw what seemed to be an identical bomb in a Museum in Ross-on Wye recently. It was a 500lb High Explosive

Some postscripts from Tom:

Hi John,

As I'm sending you more photographs. Winsham was a farming community back in the forties then. I assume that any pictures about farming will be of interest. Neddy Churchill, the blacksmith, is mentioned in a couple of places so you might like to see one of the High Street horses that he changed the shoes every few months. 

Tom Nicholson on 'Rock' 1940

'Rock' was a large horse but he was like a "gentle giant", and could easily pull a fully loaded hay wagon by himself. Some of your young readers may not realize that some of the farms were still using horses instead of tractors for ploughing etc. in 1940/41 era.

Eric Butler and Tom Nicholson

Eric Butler already appears in one of the museum's wedding photos so I don't suppose that he will mind a picture of himself up at the farm with me. It didn't seem to matter how many rabbits we cleared in the autumn, there always seemed to be lots of them running around in the springtime. 

  Yours, TWN 

Hi John,
I thought that you might be interested in the photo's.

Lord Bridport

William Hodder as you probably know was the estate agent for Lord Bridport and he was also known as  "the foreman". (As mentioned in Paul's memoir.) As we own the portrait there is no problem with copy-right. 

Lord Bridport's daughter's wedding circa 1890

The other picture is of his daughter's wedding circa 1890 at the High Street farm, Winsham. As the photo was kept in her bedroom then I assume that it was of Jane Hodder and C. Phillipps, but I wasn't able to find any record of the wedding in the church register to confirm the date.

You probably have more photo's than you know what to do with, but I leave it  to you should you wish to use them for your great web site.

Best wishes, TWN (July 2010)

Hi again, John.

Fowler girls: Gladys, Winifred and Kathleen at Whatley farm

The attached photo is of the Fowler girls: Gladys, Winifred, and Kathleen, (L. to R.) at the Whatley farm. I assume that is their proud father Fred Fowler standing by  the thresher in 1905.

I may have mentioned in a previous mail that we were using the same equipment circa 1941. It was quite an event when the "thrasher came to town" at the High Street Farm.

TWN (August 2010)

Editor: The heart of the Winsham Web Museum lies in the personal contributions that are being made by so many people. Thanks for your efforts so far, and please keep them coming. Dennis Summers added to the above by telling me that:-

' I saw Bill Nicholson astride one of Joe Phillips's Shire horses --"Rock".  During my time working for Joe Phillips,1939 --1944, I used to help my Uncle Phil, who was the carter for Joe, at the time. It was not until Lease Lend from the USA started in 1943 that Ford shipped the first tractors over and Joe was issued with one. This replaced one of the horses.The tractor was an original Fordson. It was  all orange coloured, with iron clad wheels. Metal rims had to be fitted to the wheels before they could be used on the highway.Back to the horses;  they were all special to me because I used to help harness  and drive them. There were three shires on the farm, named  'Rock', 'Granny',  and 'Fireman'.    Joe bought 'Fireman' from the Forde Abbey Estate, from Geoffrey Roper . 'Fireman' used to pull the unique Ford Abbey horse drawn fire appliance. He was sold to Joe when the fire appliance went motorised !