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 W. H Paull

W. H Paull

Orginally published May 2009
Last updated Jul 2021

'The Winsham I Remember'

Published by J. H Paull & Co Ltd. November 1971
Reproduced by kind permission of Suzanne Butler (née Paull)

I have often thought I would like to record what life in Winsham was like at the turn of the century, and the ensuing years, and now the opportunity has presented itself I only hope the effort will prove worthwhile.


by J. H Paull

When it occurred to me that my father was one of the few remaining people with a knowledge of what Winsham was like during the period prior to the Great War, 1914/1918, and I was probably the only person from the village in a position, as a printer and publisher, to record that knowledge for posterity, it was my obvious duty, if only as a token of thanks for all the pleasure I have, and still do receive, from just being part of Winsham, to publish it. It can of course never be a commercial success, because of its limited appeal, but if it brings some pleasure to those among us who can share the memories, and it helps the immigrants to appreciate our heritage, it will have all been worthwhile, so in grateful appreciation, to a village that will always be 'Home', and to a father to whom I owe a debt that can never be repaid. 'The Winsham I Remember'.

Editors Note: The Winsham Web Museum is indebted to Suzanne Butler for her permission to reproduce her grandfathers account of his early life in Winsham. It adds greatly to a picture of how much life has changed in just a hundred years. Undoubtedly some of these changes have been for the better. No one can argue that the fall in child mortality, improved housing or the provision of a safe water supply have been enormous steps for the good. But perhaps not all change has been beneficial. Even nostalgia is not what it used to be! J.S.S

The Factory

I will start from the year 1900, the year I was born, but of course for the first few years I shall only be able to write as I have learnt from my parents, relatives and some of the older inhabitants. What I have learnt of these years have proved very interesting to me. 

I would assume that the most important item of interest in the village in the years just prior to 1900 would be the large factory, which by this time had stopped working, although I have been unable to trace an accurate date of when it finally stopped production, but I did in my own time actually meet two people who worked there. At the time it did not occur to me to ask when the factory closed. 

I should think that, judging by the size of the building, it must have employed all the available labour from the village, either directly or indirectly. It was a very large factory with about four floors and I am told it produced West of England Cloth, in fact, quite recently, I have heard of people in the village that actually possess cloth made in the factory. 

Now before we leave the factory, I must relate to you the story of one, Johnny Rowsell, probably one of the last few people alive in my time. (Another was George Good, who was later to become the village barber). Johnny Rowsell fulfilled a very important role in connection with the factory and this is the story he told me himself, and my own mother vouched for it being the truth. It would appear that one of his duties was to collect as much urine as he could from the village, as this was used in one of the processing operations in the course of the manufacture of the cloth.
I have heard my mother say, and I have heard this from others, that Johnny came around the village every morning with a very large hogshead barrel, mounted on wheels, and drawn by a donkey. This unusual contraption was known to one and all as "Johnny Rowsell's Brewery Wagon". (A star attraction at any transport museum, were it available today!). I am also told that if you were a regular saver, you were rewarded every Christmas with a coarse apron, which was an apron made of sacking and worn by women at that time, and indeed for many years later, when ever they were engaged in either heavy or dirty work. Mother was very pleased to tell me she missed hers and how much she appreciated the generous reward. When I first saw Johnny he was living in the last house in Church Street, on the right hand side, and later he moved across the road, to live in the first house on the opposite side, and as I remember, it was from here he was laid to rest.

The Railway

I have heard it said that the factory closed because of the fact that The London and South Western Railway, as it was then called, refused to open a station at Axewater, and being so far away from the station made it uneconomical.

Steam train near Bere Farm, Winsham
Circa 1910

I well remember, many years later, this was still a very controversial subject, this projected railway station to service the village, and even again at a later date a 'Halt' was considered and this idea actually got as far as the siting stage. This time the whole village was convinced that, at least something, was going to materialise, but it never did. It might well be that the first world war may have shattered the dreams of ever having a railway station here. One must always bear in mind things were very much different at that time as regards the railway. Coaches and lorries for the transport of people and goods over long distances were virtually unheard of, the railway then was very much the number one method of transport. As children, it was a sight for us to go down to Axewater to see the trains going by, and there wasn't a lot of time between them. Passenger trains, Goods trains, (with up to seventy trucks, and it was out of interest to count them) Ballast trains and special excursions. In those days a Sunday League excursion trip from Waterloo to Chard Junction was seven shillings, and a single ordinary fare from Chard Junction to Waterloo was eleven shillings and seven pence halfpenny.

Early Village Life

Well, that about sums up the factory and the railway, now a little about early village life.

I was brought into the world late on Christmas night, (so Mother tells me and she should know, as she was there) and so was Aunt Selena, this was Selena Singleton, my Mother's Aunt, who was the recognised, though not certified, midwife for the village, and at that time she was very much in demand, as while she was delivering me someone came to ask her to hurry up as Bill Long was on the way.

Aunt Selena then had to rush off to deliver Bill and come back to see to me later, and when she did, she is reported to have said that she had never delivered a baby with such a head of hair as it was Bill's fortune, or misfortune, to possess. It has been said in later years that the Barber was in attendance four days after he was born, and if he hadn't been born when he was, he would undoubtedly have tickled his mother to death. Now I shall dwell a little on Bill, as he is one of the Characters of the village, and affectionately known to us locals as "Gammel". I have no idea at all from where this nom-de-plume originated but he has been known by this name for a very long time. Being born at almost the same hour, Bill and I, have grown up to be very close and we usually exchange greetings on Boxing Day, which was the day our births were registered. Although we were born at the same time, we turned out to be of entirely differing characters. Bill stayed at home, and became very much local, while in later years I travelled away from the village. In stature, we were extremes, and whereas Bill generally kept at a very modest seven stones in weight I have topped a record twenty two, yet despite the difference in size and weight, we have both reached our measured span of three score years and ten, and are now enjoying a bonus. To Aunt Selena a big thank you from both of us. Before fading Aunt Selena out of the picture entirely, I might add that we still have a link with her now, as I regularly meet her son, at Chard. He is over ninety years of age and looks but sixty five. He worked until he was past seventy, and Major Cull once told me, that even at this advanced age, he was one of the best workmen he ever had. His mother came from good stock, she was, before marriage, a Butler, sister of my Grandfather, Daniel Butler, whose wife was a really wonderful woman, standing over six feet tall, and who bore seventeen children, who all grew up to be fine men and women thriving on work.

My Grandmother told me wonderful stories of the life of my Grandfather, who died when I was still very young, so I didn't know much about him. Apparently he was a very fit and well made man. Granny would relate the stories of after he had been down to the George Inn, on a Sunday dinnertime, he would challenge all comers to a fight for anything up to half-a-crown, bare knuckles of course. Granny used to say that he often came home with blood all over and the shirt torn off his back. This will tell you the stuff the Butlers were made of. Granny could neither read, nor write, but had a large family Bible with the birthday of each of her children entered. In later years I used to visit her regularly and each time the Bible would have to be brought out and I would read the name and dates entered. 

These were typical of the people living in the village at that time, all as strong as nails and fit as fiddles. A lot of these people worked on the land, Lord Bridport of course gave employment to quite a number, and I have heard it said, that one of the main crops around here at that time was flax. This was probably used in the factory, as were the whole fields of teasels, that were used for brushing the cloth, to bring up the nap. My own Mother told me she did quite a lot of flax pulling.

Now going back to when I was born. My parents were living in the house adjoining Churchills, which in those days were two houses, so I first saw the light of day in Fore Street, next door to the family, who in my opinion have done more for Winsham than any other family I can think of. Churchill's yard was once a part of Manor Farm, and what was the Blacksmiths shop, was previously the cow-stalls, and the part that was the office and stores, was the stables. We did in fact, stable our own pony, Tommy, there for many years.

I shall have more to say about this later, but it is from here that I start my school days at two and a half years, and continue to do so until I am five. It is from here my memory begins to pick up things that I personally remember, as it is at this point I remember, we move to the top of the village, into the house opposite Stuckeys Farm. I have a vivid recollection of this as I go home thinking in my little mind our home is still with the Churchills, but I finally settle in and continue school life as before.

I shall now start to describe village life as I remember it from this point, I would add that the school teacher who taught me in those far back infant days is still with us today, and her mother, who only passed away relatively recently, lived to be over one hundred and two years, and by a very strange coincidence, it was her niece who brought my own son into the world, in London many years later. The village at this time is a very prosperous and lively community with a population of around the one thousand mark. Today I would guess there are less than thirty, so we seem to have gone backwards in some respects, and the following statistics will bear this out, as from the lively young village of before the First World War, we have gradually become a dormitory for old people to end their days. Unfortunately I am in this category myself.

The Pubs

I only wish I could turn the clock back half a century, when we had three thriving Inns, which all provided an excellent living for, the then, tenants. Today we have but one, and that one has to be subsidised to keep going, and it would seem its future is doubtful if the general trend is followed. (Our neighbouring village of Thorncombe recently lost the last of their three pubs). 

The George

The Top Pub, as it was always known, but its rightful name was The George, was run by a very dear old lady named Ann Peadon, and it is of interest to record that she served in that house completely unassisted until she was in her middle nineties.  I once saw in the trade paper that she was the oldest licence holder in the whole of the country, and I well remember the occasion when the brewers made her a special presentation after she had held the licence for a certain number of years. 

I also remember when the Great War started, a recruiting meeting was held in the Jubilee Hall, and volunteers were called for, to serve in the Somerset Light Infantry. Men and boys came readily forward, the youngest being my own cousin who was barely sixteen, but gave his age as eighteen, and served all through the whole of the war. The reason for recalling this incident is the fact that the very next morning, all those who had registered, paraded at the village cross, outside of the George, where after the roll call, the transport arrived, but before they left, the old lady presented each and every one with a pint of beer, and a silver sixpence, which of course had a much greater value in those days when a pint of beer cost two pence and a packet of woodbines a penny. The George Inn was mostly patronised by the older men, and cider drinkers, but all three pubs had their regulars, who rarely moved from their own house of choice.

The Kings Arms

Now the middle pub, known for generations simply as "Tommy's", was in fact "The Kings Arms", run by Tommy Ackland, this pub was by far the liveliest of the three, and was patronised by all the younger people and was for many years the headquarters of both the Football Club and the Village Brass Band.  Every night there would be several card schools in play, not to mention such pleasant pastimes as Darts, Table Skittles and a ring Board. I am not sure why "Tommy's" should be so popular, but the fact that Tommy had a wide selection of very attractive daughters might well have had some bearing on it in later years.

To get into Tommy's at all, on the evenings when there was a social or dance in the Jubilee Hall opposite, was something of an achievement, as the place would be absolutely packed. Everyone called in to be regaled for the occasion and when we finally crossed the road to go to the dance we were well lit up, and what a night it would be, everybody enjoying life to the full, you might meet people you hadn't seen for some time, who had arrived from neighbouring villages and outlying farms, mostly on foot, and many had walked many miles to be there. It was always well worth the effort, the place was always packed to capacity, very little room left to dance, but that mattered little, you were in the spirit of it, and the company mattered most. Everyone knew one another and it was just one giant party that was talked of every day for the next week.

The Kings Arms had been in the Ackland family for over two hundred years. Tommy took it over from his mother, Mary Swaffield, who ran the place until she was just short of being one hundred years and Tom ran it until he was in his eighties. He had been a very popular Mine Host for many years and was a very valued member of the Band for many years. He was interested in any sporting activity that was taking place, and when the place finally closed it was like sounding the death knell to us old people that held such wonderful memories of the fun there in bygone days, and now, with the closing of the doors, even the memories are to be taken away from us, but for those of us left that still recall those very happy days we shall always thank God for those pleasures.

The Bell

The Bell, the bottom pub of the three, was always a bit classier, where the commercial travellers of those days stopped for lunch. It was kept by a very stately lady called Mrs Forsey, who was a widow. She was assisted by a very much younger person called Lena Linsmayer. I have no recollection as to whether they were in any way related. The Bell was patronised more by the farmers, and the money people, and few of the working class ventured into The Bell where the company was rather select. Today we have no choice as it is The Bell or nothing.

Social Life

That about sums up the pubs and now I will deal with the many social activities that went on for the lads of the village. We had a scout troop, the older lads had a Boys Brigade, both fully dressed with uniforms and the Boys Brigade had a Drum and Bugle Band which paraded on Sundays when there was a Church parade. We also had a very active youth club which always used to meet on one of the floors of the old factory. We took part in all kinds of sports with boxing very much to the forefront. On the ground floor of the same building was a very keen Rifle Club, where they had a rifle range, and quite a few Marksmen took a keen interest in it. 

I well remember Tommy Hellier the butcher, and Fred Churchill the blacksmith in Fore Street. We also had a very strong football team that could match the best in this area, and they used to compete with teams from as far away as Bridport and Lyme Regis. On the long journeys they used to always travel in a four horse brake that used to come from Chard. It was owned by William Love and the drivers name was Jack Pidgeon. The whole village took a keen interest in the football team and when they played away from home, nobody went to bed until they finally returned, which was generally after the pubs had turned out, and if they were singing by the time they reached Axewater Bridge it was a sure sign that they had won. More often than not it was the horses that brought them home, rather than the driver, as after two or three stops he was usually past knowing anything about driving. We never did have a Cricket team, but we always supplied a fair percentage of the team that played at Cricket St Tomas. 

There were very few activities for the female side of the village, but in those days families were larger, and there was much more to occupy the women in the home. The one big exception to this was of course the Dancing Academy, run by the Courtney family, in the old factory. Not only did they teach almost the whole village to dance, but many outsiders for miles around attended at the regular sessions.

The Courtney's were great entertainers, and a wholly musical family. The father was a great accordionist, his son, Fred, a very gifted drummer, (he also played the kettle drum in the Brass Band) and the girls, of which there were three or four, could play a selection of instruments, and were all excellent dancers. The Mother, although a very large woman, was also a wonderful dancer, and light as a feather when on the floor. If you went to Courtney's School of Dancing you simply had to dance, Courtney and the girls saw to that. There were no wallflowers. "Everybody on the floor" Courtney would say, and then after a "One, Two", off we went. It was surprising how quickly you fell into the way of things. No one in those days found fault with either the Band or the floor and we also did all the set dances like the Lancers, Quadrilles and the Waltz Cotillion. All sorts and all ages took part, young and old, and it was fun for all, and served us all in later life when we attended the dances in the halls of the other villages around about the district. Courtney's band would normally supply the music for the Saturday night dances in our own Jubilee Hall. This extravaganza would cost a shilling, and was known to the customers at Tommy's as the "Bob-hop" and to the customers at The Bell as the "Hobnail Ball". There was also a Tennis club at Broadenham.

Religious Life

I will now pass on to the religious aspect of the village. This, like the pubs, has taken a gradual decline, and the places of worship seem to be just about hanging on, and bear no resemblance to the place it held in the community all those years ago. 


The lively Church we knew prior to the First World War, could call in enough for its two Sunday services to three parts fill it. On festival occasions it was always filled to overflowing, forms had to be brought in, and placed in the aisles to help accommodate all those who could not find space in the pews.

The Church boasted a good choir of men and boys, and an excellent team of Bell ringers. Not only did they ring the big bells, but at Christmas time, they would tour the village and outlying farms and ring Christmas carols on the hand bells.

This custom died a natural death many years ago, and it has now become difficult to muster a team to give us a peal every other Sunday. As recently as last Sunday (June, 1971) out of a congregation of about thirty, I was the only one that was born in the village. The remainder were people who know not our village as we few locals that are left know it. Today it has very little character, it has lost most of that, and is now a residential community, in a rural area. The only trace of yesteryear is the countryside itself, and that changes very little. When the Church was alive, and active, we also had a thriving Sunday School, that gathered twice a day on Sundays, with enough children attending to warrant five teachers, some of whom are still with us today.

The Vicar at this time was the very highly respected Reverend Daniel Spencer, who was a little man of small physique, and indeed, affectionately endeared to the whole of the village as "The Little Man". I have heard, hard, rough men, that never went to any place of worship, boast of the fact, that out of respect, they always raised their hat to the little man. To complete the Church roll, we also had a very popular Curate, known as Joe (Joseph Oliver Evans). He was a young man who was very much to the forefront in the organisation of all the activities affecting the younger folk of the parish. He also had a Sexton, an office, which few of the younger folk would be aware existed in the village, or what his duties were. On top of this, foreign students came to the Vicarage to be trained in the laws of divinity. This, I am sure, will show how active the Church was in those days.


The congregational Chapel in Fore Street, was also very well supported.

Here they had a resident pastor, living in the Manse. Two services were held on Sundays. People were married here and burial services conducted.  A very strong Sunday school was again in evidence twice a day on Sundays.
The Sunday School Summer outing, was in those days, a real treat, and something that was looked forward to for many months. The destination was Seaton, all the children were taken, accompanied by some of the parents. It was a real occasion. It left very early in the morning and two large farm wagons would turn up, all specially washed the day before, and all looking spic and span. If my memory serves me right, one was supplied by Tom Robbins and the other by Farmer Dommett, of Hey Farm, driven by Jim Grabham. Across the wagon were placed three or four planks of wood to service as seats, and, after a roll call, off we went. Everybody would be very excited and many children would be seeing the sea for the very first time. Others, that had been before, would be looking forward to putting their feet in the water. I cannot recall anyone ever being daring enough to actually have a dip, but never the less it was a great day. Chard Junction, where it is a case of all change to the puffing billy, that took care of the last leg of the journey, passing through two stations at Colyford and Colyton, before reaching Seaton. At last we arrive and there is great excitement. The day is spent here, before the homeward journey is made in like fashion. I well remember Mrs Churchill used to come with us, and always brought back a bucket of sea-water, for Fred, her husband, in which he would bathe his feet.

I strongly suspect this was the nearest he ever got to the sea, as he was always too busy, but I shall have more to say about him later.

Gospel Hall

Not so big in numbers as the other two perhaps, but the Gospel Hall had its supporters. Two services were held on Sundays, similar to the opposition, and a very strong Sunday school which always increased its strength in the months prior to Christmas, as at the Christmas party all the girls were presented with a petticoat, and all the boys with a shirt.  The man in charge there at the time, was called Matthew Cross, but who was known to one and all as "Mattie". He was indeed a devout Christian and the little hall and the children were his life. I have been there at the Christmas party, when it was a feature of the evening for all the children, large and small, to either recite a poem or sing a chorus from Sanky Hymnal. Even the tiniest of them would perform, and Mattie would spend the evening with tears streaming down his face.


There was always a division between the Church and Chapel people, which in some respects is in evidence today. It was the custom of Chapel people to vote Liberal, and the Church people Conservative. I well remember at one time the Liberal Committee rooms were at the Manse, and right next door, where the yard entrance was situated, stood a large hoarding with large posters asking for your vote. Electioneering times in the village were lively, with quite a hectic period leading up till the day the actual voting took place. Meetings were held in both the Jubilee Hall and the Schoolroom, questions were asked, there were both hecklers and barrackers, as well as fierce arguments, and on voting day people came into the village that never came on any other occasion, but they all seemed to turn out to vote. I remember that, if you worked on the Cricket St Thomas estate, you were bought in to vote if they were reasonably satisfied that you would vote in the right direction. I also remember that my own father, who worked on the estate, was never afforded that privilege. This was a sure sign that they were doubtful as to his political views, although I can never remember him making his views public. 

I do recall one night, the Honourable Aubrey Herbert was coming to Winsham to address a meeting, and on such occasions the village would be alive with expectations and the streets would be thronged with grown ups and children alike, and on this particular occasion a crowd of his supporters had gone down to Axewater to meet him. The idea was to take a huge length of rope, tie it to the front of his car, and haul it manually, triumphantly, up through the village to the Jubilee Hall, where he was to address a packed meeting. On this occasion, regretfully, things didn't work out exactly as planned. One of the opposition had infiltrated the ranks, and cut the rope, and to the tune of "Vote, Vote, Vote, for Aubrey Herbert" the car went into reverse, causing a great deal of consternation and delay. However, with little material damage, the parade finally arrived at the Jubilee Hall to the strains of "See the Conquering Hero Comes" and the meeting duly takes place as arranged.

Village Life

You must bear in mind that the night life of the village at this time was very hectic. The shops didn't close until seven o'clock in the evening on weekdays and ten o'clock on Saturdays. Street lights were lit at seven o'clock and put out at ten o'clock every evening. Saturday night was always quite an evening with the youngsters racing the streets until the lights were put out, shops were all alight, people were busy doing their shopping, the pubs full up, the Jubilee Hall preparing for the Bob-hop with the band turning up, and the floor being prepared, and the arrival of the outsiders, mostly on foot. Saturday night in Winsham at this time, was some night, and it was not unusual for a fight to be thrown in, as an extra, but there were never any lives lost, or enemies made, nothing that a couple of beers wouldn't put right.

We had our own Policeman to maintain law and order, which he did. He had his own self contained Police Station, had set beats, points to meet, and he ruled the youngsters with an iron hand. We all respected the law. Mr Redwood was his name, and he was stationed here for many years, and brought up a large and popular family. As well as the Police Station there was a lock-up, although it was never used in my time. It was situated about one hundred yards up Colham Lane, on the left hand side, and the entrance is still there to this day. 

We had everything in the village in those days. We had a properly self-contained Post Office, which dealt with nothing but general Post Office work. Mr Sylvester was the Post Master and he carried out his duties very efficiently and with the strictest of secrecy. He took his job very seriously, and it was a very busy place. The amount of telegrams was such that it took a full time uniformed boy to deal with them, due of course to the fact that this was the main source of immediate communication, as telephones were unheard of. Mr Sylvester would always advise the senders how to word them, as the price was based on the number of words, and to save a few coppers meant a great deal to everyone. I also remember his wife, and she gave him able assistance. She was a very short woman, but a most gracious old lady. There were two uniformed postmen, besides one or two sub-postmen, giving us two deliveries a day, including one in the evening. The Post Office was situated in Church Street, between what is now the General Store and The Bell Inn, the Barbers shop was in Back Street, on the corner at the junction of Colham Lane, and was run by a man named Bert Gill. There was also a shop in Western Way, run by the Courtney's. The Harness Makers was next door to the Bell, adjoining the pub yard. 

There were seven shops of one kind or another. Three grocers shops, a general store, a newsagents-cum-drapery and the barbers (haircut and shave, complete, three halfpence). There were five boot makers, who would measure your feet and make a pair of boots complete, three bakers that all made daily deliveries, and two milkmen, who also delivered to the door, and measured out the milk in front of you. We also had the services of a chimney sweep, and a resident district nurse. She acted as nurse and doctor to us all. 

I can remember a Dutch woman being here for many years, living opposite the church in the "Blue House" as it has always been known. Her name was Nurse Van Vyven, she was a wonderful woman and won the respect of us all. In those days you paid into a scheme known as "The Nurses Association" which entitled you to the services, without further payment, on the occasion of need. 

In Boait's, the middle shop, one of their specialities was salt fish, and they did a fair business with this every Saturday night, as it was a very popular Sunday morning breakfast. You had to soak it all night as it was as hard as board, and by the morning it would be just right for cooking, the salt having preserved all the true flavour of the fresh caught cod, straight from the sea. People of our day and age, grew up with salt, and this was the chief ingredient for preserving anything, and still today, us old people still like to taste a bit of salt. 

The shop of David Andrews was a bit of a mystery. I was quite young when I first entered the shop, and I recall the occasion as a friend of the family was staying with us from Wales. He had earlier moved away from the village and at different times he would come and stay with us for a holiday. On this particular day, he and I were taking a walk around the village, when he took me into the shop, I know the very day, it was June 6th, 1909, and I was nine years of age. The reason I remember is that he purchased a marked testament, and presented me with it, and I still have it. I have never seen another copy in all the years since that time and it is a very treasured possession. I also keep the Bible presented to me by the Church Sunday School for regular attendance.

Also in the village at that time was a harness makers' shop where you could order, and have made on the premises, a full set of harness, or he could equally as skilfully cut you out a stout pair of leather braces. Jack Masters was the man who owned the shop and was a renowned harness maker. He was kept very busy making and repairing harness, as well as repairing horses collars, for the farmers for miles around. We had our own butchers shop and there was a choice of three bake houses, where on Sundays, for a penny, you could have your dinner cooked, or a cake or tart baked for a half penny. 

We had a basket maker called George Brown, who in his younger days was the village milkman. George cut his own withies, dried them, and made clothes baskets, bushel baskets, and shopping baskets. You just told George exactly what you wanted, and it was made to your personal choice. 

While we are discussing the one man business concerns it would not be right to pass on without adding a few words about the Undertaker. He was a very competent man, and always referred to the deceased as his brother, or sister. The man I am referring to is George Peadon, a great character if ever there was one. He had many quaint sayings, and his great friend, and equally as great a character as George, was Herb Wheaton. He was a man with a great heart who loved the underdog. If ever there were a real life Mutt and Jeff, it was these two. George owned a cider press, and cider house, it was one of two in the village, although many of the outlying farms made their own. The other one was owned by Willie Raisen, and was located at Stuckeys farm, at the top of the village. Now going back to George, and his profession as undertaker, he was talking to Herb one day when he happened to remark that he wouldn't ever mind dying, but he would very much like to know where it was going to happen. Herb replied "What does it matter where you die?" and George said "If I knew exactly where I was going to die I wouldn't go near, nor nigh, the place". This tickled Herb, and it was sayings like this that were recalled by him many years later. They would usually stay in the top pub, that was run by George's mother, until closing time, and then adjourn to George's cellar. On arrival, George would draw off horns of cider, (they always drank cider from horns in those days) and he would say to Herb "Here you are Herb, drink hearty, good times like these can't last for ever". How right he was. 

Now Herb farmed at the bottom of the village, where his son still farms to this day, and in those days when things were not so good, we ate a lot of swedes, and so we earned ourselves the name of Swede bashers, and whenever Herb was going down through the village, he knew all the houses that would appreciate a swede, and a couple were left in the doorways as the old horse slowly moved down the main street. The Wheaton family are one of the real old Winsham families, Herb's father, Sydney Wheaton, was a well known cattle dealer, a smart dapper little man who often had a red rose in his buttonhole. It now comes to mind that when Sydney died, my dear old mother was sent for, to lay him out. This was a service she rendered to many of the people who passed away in the village, and on this occasion Fred Harris, the chap who used to drive him around, called at our house to say that it was Sydney's last wish that mother should be sent for to perform this last duty. Although this was always a labour of love, on this occasion she was rewarded with a golden sovereign which Sydney had left for the purpose. 

One other notable character of the time and who deserves a mention, was "Scuffler". he was known by this name as you knew him by his walk, even if he passed by in the dead of night. He was, in fact, Tom Spurdle the Veterinary Surgeon, not by any qualification but by self study and a lifetime of practice. I know his services were much sought after from farms for miles around. He had a very old pony and trap, but more often than not they would come and fetch him, and bring him home, after he had rendered his services. He would be called out at all hours of the day, or night, and would often travel long distances, such was his reputation. He was also as much a doctor as a vet, and many old people went to him with aches and pains, and he in turn gave them oils or ointment to rub in. Many people had more faith in him than they did the doctor, and those who used the doctor, often used Tom for a second opinion. White Oils, or horse oils, was one of the sought after remedies, and many people kept a bottle in the house that had been supplied by Tom. One of the few remaining places in the village to retain any of the character of yesteryear is Churchill's yard.

Although it has passed from the family it will always be known, and remembered, as Churchill's yard. It has always been a public place, where people met to pass the time of day, and to meet old friends, and talk about the past. Children of our times were brought up in the yard. In those days it was a thriving blacksmiths shop, and forge, and employed five men, who worked, from eight o'clock in the morning until eight o'clock at night.

As years have passed, and times have changed, it has progressed into a garage cum blacksmiths. It is there to give service, and it still does, as the lad that owns it was brought up under the Churchill guidance, and it is expected of him to carry on the tradition. I recall a newcomer to the village saying on one occasion "This isn't a garage, it's an institution". How right he was.

In the old days you were only expected to pay what you could afford, and if you had no money at all, the work was done just the same. The Churchill family derived their entire happiness from life, just by being able to help other people, and this tradition was passed on from father to son. This was not the only shoeing smith in the village, because Charlie Spurdle carried on a similar business further down the street, but this was a much more modest concern, and was neither as large, or as busy, as Churchills. 

We later moved to The Manor House, next to the Kings Arms, and this house had in bygone days been associated with the Manor Farm. It was also the place where the tithes were collected, and the pulleys which were used to lower the goods into the cellars, through the large cellar flaps, are still in evidence today. It is probably the only house in the village with cellars.

The other points of interest left in the village of particular significance are the market cross and the lamp-post at the bottom of the village. The market cross, some people say, has some religious background, but be that what it may, there is very little to be gleaned about its history, although I did once read in a London library that the base was very much older than the cross, but that was about all the information that was available. As a market cross, even in my time, I have seen it put to that use. As a boy I can recall Cheap-Jacks, (For the benefit of readers who may not be familiar with the term Cheap-Jack, I will explain that he is the direct opposite of an auctioneer, who starts the bidding at the lowest price, and finally accepts the last, and highest bid, whereas the Cheap-Jack will start at the highest price, and accept the first bid that is offered) setting up their stands around the cross to sell their wares.

The most popular commodities were china and glass, which were not so readily available in the village. The sale would normally start at about eight o'clock in the evening and all the goods would be laid out all over the road, completely blocking Back Street. In those days, when baths were unknown, wash hand sets were a very popular wedding present, as were sets of jugs, and these were always prominent. I remember on one occasion, one of the Cheap-Jacks was trying to sell chamber pots, but was finding the going rather difficult, when he suddenly realised that the people might be shy of taking this commodity away with them, so from that point onwards he carefully wrapped each one up in newspaper, and this greatly improved the situation. I have since wondered if the people claimed a right to sell their wares by the market cross in much the same way as is done in nearby Crewkerne, at the time of their annual fair. On this occasion the whole of the centre of the town is completely blocked, including the main trunk road, and I am told it would take an Act of Parliament to stop these people holding their fair. 

Now the lamp-post at the bottom of the village, which is still standing, and in good condition, was added to the street lighting and sited there by Colonel Henley to light the way for Mary Paull to come to Church on Sunday evenings. She lived in Court Street, although her house no longer exists, but she was of a great age, and a very devoted Church goer. 

The Pound, which vanished many years ago, was in Western Way, on the left hand side, where the first bungalow was erected, and the cottage beside it, which is now used as a garage, was occupied by a widow woman named Mrs Webber. One other point of interest I must mention are the cottages in Fore Street, known as "The Barracks", and occupied by the Loaring family, one of the oldest families in the village, and the very first entry in the Church Register.

Why these cottages are called The Barracks are, I believe, to have their origins dated back to the time of the Monmouth rebellion when Monmouth landed at Lyme Regis, on what is now called Monmouth Beach with his army, who marched all the way to Sedgemoor where they were well beaten. During the march from Lyme Regis, Monmouth was recruiting all the time, and I understand that Major Pinney, who was occupying Racedown House at the time, and who was a great Royalist supporter, supplied many hands from his estate for the cause. The army marched through Marshwood and Racedown to Coles Cross and then down through Laymore, to Axewater, where they would have gone up around Wynyard Lane to enter the village through Court Street, as the main road up into the village from Axewater was made at a much later date. (It was in fact built, together, with the road from Winsham to Whatley Bottom, in the late eighteen hundreds). I have heard my Grandmother say as to how my Grandfather worked on the project. The army would, of course, take the main road out of the village, prior to that time, which was up Colham Lane, and on to Windwhistle, where they made their headquarters, prior to the battle of Sedgemoor. It was at this time the army had some connection with the cottages, they were in all probability commandeered, and the name "The Barracks" dates from this time. 

At this time there was only one other road out of the village to Chard, and this was Leigh Lane. The real name of the main road, built to connect the village with Whatley Bottom, and so on to Chard, through the Cutting, is in fact "New Road", although it had for years been known simply as "Cutting". While we are dealing with this part of the village, it might be an appropriate time to mention Whatley Mill, which was situated in Whatley Bottom, and was one of two flour mills still in regular operation in living memory. It was owned and operated for a long time by a man named Harvey. The Old Mill site still exists today, and there is a very picturesque little lane leading out to it. The Mill stream is still in evidence. This Mill was a very flourishing business in my time, and grain of all kinds were crushed, and ground, and cattle food served to all the local farms. Of course all the power was derived from the water wheel, and the stones revolved from early morning, until late evening. This valley has always been a romantic spot, and for years the song of the nightingale drew people from the village, just to listen. The shrill cry of a barking fox was also very common in this area, where there was plenty of natural cover. It was a place to go to find peace. Further along, perhaps a mile or so, was another mill, known as Ammerham Mill. This place was owned by Willie Welch, and his brother, and was much about the same as Whatley Mill, and was also very busy, always working to capacity. (The only mill of its kind still in operation is the nearby Clapton Mill).

I can recall two instances of a circus, with the big top, coming to Winsham. In one instance the site was at the top of High Street, in the field known as Walnut Field, at the junction of Ebdon Lane. On this occasion there was an added attraction of a giant rat being on show. Supposedly the largest in the world, and caught in the docks of Liverpool. The charge to view amounted to an extra penny. The other occasion a circus visited the village, the site was in Colham Lane, and again by a strange coincidence in a field known as Walnut Field. Walnut trees grew in both these fields at the time.

The Cricket St. Thomas Estate

If we look back on the historical association of the village, we should not forget the man who, at one time, owned the whole of the village, along with the parish of Cricket St Thomas, Lord Bridport, and who has left us a great deal to remind us of him. I suppose it would be the natural thing, in those days, for the Rear Admiral of the Fleet to be living in the vicinity, and adopting the title of Lord Bridport, as in early days when Bridport was known as Port Bredy, it was a very notable place on the coast. It is recorded, that at the time of the Spanish Armada, Port Bredy supplied more sailors for the cause than any other port on the south coast. Lord Bridport was, of course, the Uncle of the great Lord Nelson. In those days the estate at Cricket St Thomas gave employment to the whole of the village. In the house itself there were over thirty servants kept. My own father worked for Lord Bridport, and often discussed him with me. He was described as a very hard man, but this was probably a reflection on his position in life. He does however appear to have been a very generous man, and the village hall we have today was given to us by his Lordship on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Jubilee, hence the name.

The Jubilee Hall
It was built entirely by local labour drawn from the workmen employed by the estate, and the timber yard known in later years as "Sawmills", driven by water power. When the hall was presented to the village One Hundred shares in the Royal Horticultural Hall, at Islington, in London, went with it, and the intention was for the interest to keep the hall in repair. Regrettably they showed no profit until relatively recently when they were bought by a building society. Another reminder of his Lordship can be found in the Church, where the pews were renewed, and replaced, by his generosity, under the supervision of the estate carpenter, Edwin Forsey, who at that time lived in Wynyard. Many gates around the district bore the letter "B" near the top hinge to signify they were made at Cricket.

After Lord Bridport sold up the estate, and split up the farms, the place then became the residence of the Fry family, the cocoa people, and these were the Lords of the Manor in my time. They were a much respected family, noted Quakers, and very good, and most generous, to the whole of the village. They took a personal interest in everyone who worked on the estate or had any connections with them. They were very much a part of the village, as the war memorial will verify, when among the names you will find Harold Fry, who fought, and died, with the rest of the lads.

Harold's brother, Geoffrey, became a politician, and was at one time private secretary to Bonar Law. There were several daughters, and they took a very personal interest in the village school. I well remember the youngest daughter, Miss Connie, also Miss Norah, who was later to become Mrs Cooke Hurle, and took a prominent part in local politics. During this period, the Cricket St Thomas estate was like a public park, where you could wander at will, without fear of being stopped, or questioned, and if you happened to meet any of the family they would be delighted to meet you, and ask after your parents, particularly if they worked on the estate, and perhaps enquire as to what the future held for you, but always with kindly interest. My father worked on the estate all his life, and helped carry both Lord Bridport, and Mr F J Fry, to their last resting place. For this service, Mr Fry left my father the sum of Ten Pounds, such was his benevolence. When the Fry family moved away from Cricket, it was a particularly sad day for the village.

Winsham Club

I suppose the most important affair associated with the village during my lifetime was the organisation known to us as "Winsham Club". It was known as a friendly society, which ended with the advent of the National Health Insurance, as the main aim of the club was to help members who were unemployed. There was no other assistance in those days, beyond what was known as "Parish Pay", which amounted to half a crown a week, but if you sunk so low as to have to accept it, it would be known for miles around, and you would not be allowed to forget it for the rest of your life. Having once accepted Parish Pay, registered you as a beggar, or pauper, so the club was the alternative to avoid this ever happening. 

I have no idea at what time in history it was formed, but it was already a going concern when I arrived. It "Broke", as they called it, every seven years, and if at that time, there were any surplus funds, they were shared out. 

There was also a very active social side to the club, and once a year a Grand Fete took place. This was always held in a field up New Road, and this was known as "Club Field". This was an occasion that was looked forward to by every one in the village, from one year, until the next. Children who had married and left home always came back for a great reunion. It was an occasion when you met people you hadn't seen for years, while others made a ritual of coming home on this specific day, and all the children saved up for it all the year round, but everyone looked forward to the great day. The night before the event, the Round-a-bouts, Swing Boats and all the fun of the fair arrived, together with a very large marquee. By this time spirits would be running high, by both young and old. It was a case of the coming events casting a shadow before them. When dawn broke on the great day, everyone would be up and about, preparing themselves for the occasion. 

Winsham Club 1912

"At ten o'clock in the morning, everyone who could, assembled outside of the school, where a roll call took place. All members were required to call "Present", as their names were called by Foreman Hodder, (who was Lord Bridport's agent) and all club members carried a stave with an ornamental headpiece, known as a club stick, which was further decorated with very fine ribbons. With the roll call over, everyone would form up, men, women and children, all in their respective places, the club men at the forefront headed by the Winsham Brass Band. The standard bearers were Dick Loaring and Tom Robbins and they carried huge Union Jacks. The procession starts off, as a mark of respect make the first call at the Vicarage, then off up through Church Street, with the Band playing and everyone in their Sunday best, on out through Western Way they went their way, through Amerham, then on up through Bridge, to finally make the first stop at Leigh House."

Here we are most graciously received and served with drinks and refreshments, even us children are given (rare treat) bottles of ginger beer. I can recall the corks in those days were wired on and it was great fun when the cork finally "popped". After this hospitality the Band played several tunes before moving on. We were all put back into line and at the given order, the band struck up a martial air, and we were on our way to the next stop which was Whatley farm, where we are again regaled by Mr Fred Fowler. We don't stay so long on this occasion, as there is a long way to go, but before leaving Whatley we pay a short visit to Farmer Pym, further down the road. We are however, soon back on the road, heading for Whatley Bottom, and then on through Cutting, and down into the village, we progress up Fore Street, and head for Broadenham. 

At Broadenham Farm we are the guests of Mr and Mrs Budge, where we are again refreshed, and we take the opportunity of a well earned rest. The Budge family were another family very much associated with village life. (One of their daughters married the Vicar's only son, Ernest). Time passes, and we amass for the last lap, but by this time we have all covered quite a few miles. The final route takes us back through Ebdon Lane, High Street, down Back Street, to end up in the club field where we are ceremoniously dismissed. 

Now, in the marquee I spoke of earlier, was always served a most magnificent spread of Roast Ribs of Beef, with Yorkshire pudding in abundance, together with locally grown vegetables. There is also a fully licensed bar. Mrs Forsey, from the Bell Inn, was always in charge of the preparation and cooking of the joint, and the Spurdle family, that is brothers William and Charlie, are responsible for carving and serving. The meal was free to all paid up members and their wives, but everyone outside of the club was invited to sit down with us at a cost of one shilling. The Fete was soon in full swing, all the kiddies are soon up in the Swing Boats, trying to out-do each other, and the Round-a-bouts, or Hurdy-Gurdys as they were called in those days, are also very popular, in fact there was all the fun of the fair. In the evening, there was dancing on the green to the music of the Brass Band and by the light given off by paraffin flares, and this went on until past midnight. Before leaving, everyone would have bought Rocks, Dumps and Gingerbread from the stalls that used to serve this kind of confectionery, which was special to fair grounds. (Dumps were the common term for large lumps of Humbug). And so the day came to a close, and it would be another day in our lives to remember.

Final Thoughts

George Clark, and a man called "Ox" were the recognised drovers in the village. "Ox" lived in Fore Street, in a house long since displaced by the council houses, and often brought back herds of sheep from as far away as Dorchester market, a trip that would take up to three days, with two overnight stops. Bulls were always led on a staff, with the rings in their noses.

I suppose two of the most respected people ever to be associated with the village would be Walter and Mrs Northcombe, the schoolmaster, and mistress, who lived here almost all of their lives, and taught two generations, and in whose memory, the very beautiful Lych gate, at the entrance to the Church, was erected.

It was contributed for by scholars, old and new, that had at some time passed through their hands. I am proud of the fact that my own brother, Bill, helped in the building of this memorial, built under the supervision of Sir George Davis of Leigh House. Sir George, was another man who took a very active interest in the village, and his love of the place ensured that the Lych Gate would be built in keeping with the church itself. The tiles, of Ham Stone, over the Gate, were very difficult to come by, and the farms and other buildings for miles around were searched to find exactly the type required. They had to be of the right type, size, and weathered to the correct degree, and to find a single tile was enough to cause a mild celebration in "Tommy's", but eventually enough were found to complete the job and there it stands today, to remind us of two of the most popular people ever to have lived here. 

Winsham is indeed a strange place today, compared with the times of which I have written. In those days it would be the right thing to do, to walk straight into someone's house, and announce your arrival. In fact, if you knocked on the door it would have been taken as an affront, and they would have wondered what was wrong. Everyone in the village knew everyone else, we all depended on each other, and grew up to rely on each other. 

Today we pass each other in the street without a nod of the head. In those days not only did you know everyone, but you knew everyone's horse and their dogs. I well remember many animals that were characters in their own right, and possibly the best known was Carlo, the Vicar's dog, closely followed by Boait's Nigger, Churchill's Ben, and Robbin's Pincher. The horses were equally well known. Everyone for miles around knew Tom Spindle's Brownie, normally to be seen tied up outside one of the pubs, then there was Teddy Bear, the baker's pony, and Courtney's Anchor-Right, and so on.

We shared each others cares and each others joys, we laughed, and we cried, together, but if we returned in a thousand years we would still say "Those were the days".


By James Henry Paull

Winsham between the wars, surprisingly, changed very little. Men had to go further afield for work, into the factories at Chard, or at the Saw Mills and Creamery at Yonder Hill. (I can well remember men walking to work on tops of the hedges at Watery Lane when the river Axe was in flood).

The big estate at Cricket St Thomas had contracted as it passed down from Lord Bridport to Mr Fry and onto Mr Hall, (my grandfather worked for them all) and many of the farms passed to private hands. The game was still jealously guarded by the game keepers. Mr White, Mr Hart and Mr Bagge come readily to mind, and they were feared almost as much as the village Bobby. For one period he was 'Tiny' Weaver, a giant of a man of 6' 7". 'The George' was kept by Reg Grabham and woe betide any of the village youths caught on the pub forecourt, or sitting on the village cross, outside of opening hours. 'The Kings Arms' which Tommy Ackland still kept, was probably still the liveliest of the three pubs and 'The Bell' was run by Mr Hart, who supplemented his income by running a taxi service, and later by Bill Partridge, who has just retired to be our neighbour in Colham Lane. To supplement his income in 'The Bell', fish and chips were served on a Saturday night from a tin hut situated in the pub yard. For all that, 'The Bell' was still very much a farm, and Bill was more a farmer than a publican. It is ironic that this is now the sole remaining pub in the village.

The school was still very much the same although the seniors now went to Chard. Winsham must be a wonderful environment for school teachers as following the twenty-five years as a head master by Mr Northcombe, Jimmy Lomax had a lengthy spell to be followed in 1935 by Miss Harding, who only recently retired. 

Church, Chapel and Gospel Hall, still carried on in much the same way. The renowned Gospel Hall shirts were replaced by a length of flannelette, and this was still the reward for good Sunday School attendance, right up until the early days of the last war when the cloth became unobtainable. The Church was still very active, and a unique occasion was the service held on the tower on the morning of Ascension day. The Congregational Chapel, at least for one period, under the guidance of the minister, Mr Kemmish, had both a scout troop and a cub pack, which met in the Hall, at the back of the Chapel, at the top of a flight of wooden steps. Sunday School Summer outings had progressed, and Weymouth was the recognised destination for them all. 

Electricity and mains water arrived, although water was still more generally obtained from a number of giant iron taps that had been installed to replace the old wells, and to supplement the Cross pump. The recreation ground, which contained three apple trees and a number of flower beds, was always immaculately kept, by Captain Beer, who always locked the swings on Sundays. His wife, 'Granny' Beer, was a real character, and was known by everyone, and was to be seen most days, out and about in the village, until she was in her nineties. The Oak that stands in the recreation ground today was ceremoniously planted by Sir George Davis. 

Jack Boait ran a regular taxi service from the house next door to the bake-house opposite the Church. Herb Wheaton still left a head of cabbage, or a swede, in the doorways of those he thought were most in need, when he passed down through the village with his 'Horse and Put', from his fields in Western Way. He could often be seen riding around the village, together with his wife, in their splendid horse and trap, which was their mode of travel. 

The main shop was run by Charlie Appleby, who had inherited the Post Office form Mr Sylvester, who had a Ford van that would be eligible for the London to Brighton veteran car run if it were here today. I also recall he prided himself on his own blend of tea, specially purchased, and blended on the premises. The Baker shop at the lower end of the village was owned by Mr Wilson and subsequently by Mr Denning, who employed Sergeant Lawrence, ('Siddy') as his assistant. This eventually changed over to a butchers shop leaving the baking in the hands of Mr Milden, and George Forsey, who baked for Daisy Boait, and was always known as 'The Midnight Baker' because of his late deliveries. His horse and trap were a regular feature, as he came back through the village, lanterns blazing, in the evening, after making his daily round to the outlying farms. They still competed for the privilege of cooking Sunday dinners and cakes. 

Churchill's Yard was always busy shoeing most of the local horses and New Churchill also charged all the accumulators for everyone who was lucky enough to own a wireless, with the help of an ancient oil engine, that supplied electricity long before the mains came to the village. Arthur Manning's garage was a Mecca for anyone in the village, who wanted anything, at anytime. Whatever it might be, Arthur always had it, the trouble always seemed to be in the location of it, and the simplest order normally resulted in a prolonged search by the customer, by Arthur, and by anyone who happened to be passing at the time. If, in the end, the purchase was located, Arthur was then faced with the even more difficult situation of finding out how much it should cost. This was normally left for a much later date. He was also the proud owner of a telephone, and he made most of the calls for everyone in the village. Even after the arrival of the public call box on the corner not twenty yards from Arthur's, a great many people still relied on him to make their calls. It would be difficult to say whether he was more reliable, or it was popular by the fact that if you couldn't afford to pay, you didn't have to. 

The Courtney's still provided the music for the Bob-hops, although they were later replaced by the Phelps family, all of whom were musical, and one of the daughters, Olive, gave piano lessons to a great many children at the fixed rate of sixpence.

Many of the women in the village supplemented their incomes by repairing lace at home, which was collected and delivered to Lace Room in Back Street. A large wooden hut which also served as the practice room for the village band, which was, and still is going strong. Harvesting, for which the arrival of the steam engine and the threshing machine, was an occasion to delight all the small boys, and haymaking, were will the major parts of the year, and a great number of people from the village helped out on the farms at these times for no more reward than the hope of a rabbit at harvesting, and some cider at haymaking. (The word quickly spread as to who had the best cider, and that farm never wanted for help).

George Clark, all his life a drover, and his wife, Paishy, were two more characters that come to mind. George, as a legacy of his droving days, still walked miles, and was always to be seen walking in the lanes and byways until he was a very great age.

Jim Loaring was the carpenter, Church organist, and the last of the village undertakers. He operated from a house almost opposite the vicarage, with the timber yard alongside.

Daniel Butler, the last of the old boot makers, lived a few doors further up, and he still made the occasional pair of boots, as well as the more usual shoe repairs. He combined this with the job of village postman, his daily walk went to the farms at Broadenham, Hay, Puthill, Midnell, Loe, Chalkway and Holywells, but I remember my Grandmother, his sister, saying that Daniel would read the mail to see if the importance warranted the walk. Another village postman was Mr Hart, whose wife, in later years, kept a sweet shop in Fore Street.

Tanky Good, Alfie Phelps and Bert Lacey were all regular barbers and the usual charge for those who could afford to pay was three pence. Bert was also the Sergeant in charge of the Winsham section of 'Dad's Army' or the local Defence Volunteers, later to be called The Home Guard, during the last war. I recall the ammunition store being on the site of the old Lock-up, in Colham Lane, and in the event of there being an invasion, the banks of the cutting, and the Axewater Road, were ready to be blown up, to block the main road.

The football club still flourished, and was always a force to be reckoned with in the area. I recall an annual fixture played against 'Alma', visiting club from London. There was still never a properly formed Cricket Club, although friendly fixtures were played from the village, but I suspect only as a stopgap until the next football season came round. Any keen cricketers in the village went to Cricket St Thomas, where the cricket club on the estate still flourished, or to nearby Perry Street. The Tennis club at Broadenham was still in existence up until the early nineteen forties. I also recall on one occasion PC Burton, the village policeman at the time, tried to introduce Rugby, but it never progressed to the stage of using an oval ball and extended goal posts. PC Burton was also well known as an amateur boxer, and I recall seeing him box in the arena known as Dennings Hanger in Chard on the same bill as Freddie Mills, later to become a world champion.

The old factory at the bottom of the village was ceremoniously demolished by Herb Wheaton's youngest son Pat, and most of the village turned out for the occasion. There never was a speed limit through Winsham and the polite notices to 'Please drive slowly' have always sufficed to ensure that the village isn't unduly disturbed. Who would want to speed through Winsham anyway?