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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The Businesses

Orginally published Aug 2021
Last updated Aug 2021

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Andrew Partridge

Mr A E Partridge 9Westem Way Winsham Nr. Chard Somerset TA20 4JH

My name is Andrew Partridge I live at 9 Western Way, Winsham,. I am married to Brenda, we have two boys Gary aged 16 & Shane 15.

I have been cutting the grass in the village for the Parish Council since 1996. The contract is for 2 years at a time, with the second year allowing for inflation, the contract is for 12 cuts per year at fortnightly intervals.
The first 3 years I cut the grass & left it on the ground, the Parish Council then decided that it would be tidier if the grass was collected.

The grass which I cut is the children's recreation area beside the war memorial, the churchyard, the strip of grass adjacent to the school field leading to the cemetery, & the cemetery's both old & new, this also includes strimming around all the head stones which is very time consuming. I also cut the hedge on the North & East sides of the cemetery.

My main helper is my father Ernest who will come out with me on most occasions & give me a hand, but his main asset is when the machinery breaks down I just send it up to him to repair, which saves me a lot of time. I also get some help from the boys when they are on holiday from School, it has also been known for Brenda to give me a helping hand. The problem with the boys is their help does not come cheap, they demand high wages.
In November 1996 after the purchase of a piece of land by the Parish Council to extend the cemetery, my Father and I cut down the hedge dividing the existing cemetery & the new piece of land & removed the iron railings. The railings were then taken away to be painted. In September 1998 we erected the railings along the South & West sides of the new cemetery & my father planted a hedge along the North side of the cemetery.

Yours Sincerely

Andrew M. Bullivant - Hey Farm


Vat reg. no 185 5437 30 Tel: 01460 30287 (home) Tel/Fax: 01460 30446 (office)

I bought Hey Farm and Bere Chapel Farm in May 1966 at auction for what seemed then the huge sum of £63,000. For this sum I had 302 acres, two farm houses, cottages and some farm buildings. At that time Winsham had two pubs, one hotel, a butcher, a baker / general stores and a post office/general stores.

The village had its own district nurse and a resident policeman. There were two garages, both of which still exist today, although neither sell petrol. The mail and newspapers were delivered by bicycle.

I started off with 30 cows and grew 150 acres of corn and employed a dairyman and one tractor driver, both living on the farm. The weekly wages bill was £21..10..6d. In 1974 two extra farm cottages were built at Hey Farm.
In 1980 a very modem milking parlour and other ancillary buildings were installed; this had the capacity for 1 man to milk just under 100 cows an hour. In the early eighties, milk quotas were introduced through out the dairy industry. This had a severely adverse effect but did eventually make the industry very much more efficient and more profitable. In 1984 I bought adjoining Ashcombe Farm having sold Bere Chapel Farmhouse. This increased the farm to 450 acres.
Over the years the cow numbers increased and the corn acreage decreased until eventually in 1989 the herd had built up to almost 300 dairy cows plus 100 head of followers. I employed a dairyman, 2 tractor drivers and a maintenance man/relief milker. The weekly wages bill had increased to approx £1000.

At the end of 1989 because of a car accident, the dairy herd and followers were sold. The milking parlour has been mothballed and will probably be used again in the future. Since then and at present, the farm remains all grass and our income is derived from leasing milk quota which has proved to be an enormous bonus, looking after other people's animals and selling silage during the winter. We have one part time employee. Farming fortunes have suffered very badly during the last three years affecting every aspect of the farming industry. Hopefully rock bottom has now been reached and things will improve.

Fortunately our son, now aged 31, has no wish to be involved in the farming industry; I would never advise a young person to go farming at the moment. I think most of the enjoyment has gone out of farming and the whole industry is completely overwhelmed with record keeping, paperwork and appalling red tape. Ministry officials now have the power to insist on inspecting records with no notice and if they discover perfectly genuine mistakes there can be swingeing financial penalties. I refer to them as "the Spanish Inquisition"!
August 2000

Bean Dowell

'Bean' Dowell.

Living in Fore Street, Winsham is a man whose real name is Lindsay Dowell but who is known to us all as "Bean". He is not sure when he acquired the nickname but it has stuck and that is how most people know him.

He had always been someone who could turn his hand to anything. Two years ago he was made redundant from Keytec and soon found that he could get work as a gardener and handyman. Also there were many people in Winsham who needed help with their gardens.

He is now fully employed both in the village and beyond. He will tackle anything from a patio to tidying a flower bed in the churchyard. Some of the gardens at Leigh House have been landscaped by him.

The Bell

Mine Hosts - Terri and Tony.
We arrived in Winsham as new owners of The Bell on 17th September 1999 not knowing what to expect.
There was obviously some trepidation on our part, this being our first pub, but the impression we got when viewing of a friendly, warm helpful village was soon apparent. We were welcomed by everyone. This helped us settle into village life very quickly, so quickly in fact that it seems like we have always been here.  The Christmas period was very eventful, our first Christmas Draw was a success and for Christmas Day Lunch it seemed as though the whole village came out. Millennium at the Bell saw a fancy dress party, anyone arriving without fancy dress was asked for a donation of £5.00, with £75.00 being raised for local Charities. January saw a start to a much needed refurbishment. Having already replaced the windows in November, we proceeded to strip the walls and remove the bench seating. The ceiling was lowered by 3 inches with sound and fireproofing inserted. Wood panelling was put around the bottom of the walls and a heavy embossed paper above. A few eyebrows were raised when we painted it pink but once we had stained all the wood and replaced the carpet throughout, added new tables, chairs and wall lights everyone appreciated the "New Look".

We are very proud to say that while all this work was going on The Bell never closed, although it was very hard work for both of us since we did most of it ourselves. It was very rewarding and we had it finished before Easter. Sometimes it seemed as though we were living on a building site, but we could not have completed it without the co-operation of out customers who lived through the refurbishment with us without a single complaint.

Our first Street Fair was very eventful, very hard work, but it was all everyone said it would be, a lot of fun.
We have also raised in our first year £685.00 through the Lottery Game. This will be shared between about ten different causes within the village, e.g. Playgroup, Winsham F.C., Davies Close and many more. Added to that we took part in a national Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan Nurses which raised a further £106.00. All in all we think the villagers of Winsham are a very generous lot and we thank everybody who helped.

Finally, we would like to thank everyone who has helped us through our first year, with a special mention for Ann and Alan, part of the fixtures and fittings when we bought The Bell. They have certainly made our lives a lot easier. We feel they are more friends than anything else.

Having looked at forty pubs before choosing The Bell, Winsham we know that we have made the right choice.

Terri and Tony

Broadenham Farm

Robert and Jean Smith came to Broadenham Farm in 1961. There were then 100 acres. The 170 acres of Paull's Ash Farm were added in 1969.

Four men were employed to run the farm where there was a herd of Ayrshire cattle.  These were being bred up to be a Friesian herd. When a new milking parlour was installed the labour then employed was a contract milker, Alfie Evans, and Sarah and Clive Goode, tractor driver. A scheme was developed nationally to allow farmers to go out of milk production. A decision was made and the dairy herd was sold. The farm cottages were let to private tenants. The farm was then run by Robert and his son, John, who went to agricultural college. The farm supported a flock of 100 ewes, Dorset Horns crossed with a Texel ram. All produce from them was sold to North Devon Meat Co. Beef animals were reared and 70 acres produced wheat, barley and oats. Wessex Grain Co. cleaned, dried and sold the grain while some was used for milling and mixing and fed to the beef animals on the farm.

Robert became ill and Wayne Sparks helped out on a contract basis. Sadly, in 1993, Robert died and John took charge of the farm Changes had to be made. Wayne stayed on. The sheep were sold to Mike Mouland but stayed on the farm on rented land. 100 - 120 acres of grass and maize provided winter feed and 152 acres grew wheat, barley, field beans and oats.

The system is the same today. John share farms 133 acres of arable land in Thorncombe and to supplement his income has a Heavy Goods Vehicle Licence. He transports cattle, corn and straw for a local contractor.

This year the weather has had a disastrous effect. The normal spring processes of spraying could not be carried out on time because the contractor could not come. The Autumn rain prevented the sowing of the winter wheat. It has been impossible to drive on to the fields at the right time. Harvesting the maize crop is usually completed in 6 hours; this year it has taken 3 days. To add to the problems the heavy rain has moved the surface soil and blocked the field drains on lower land.

When the paperwork involved in farming today requires many hours of work it adds considerably to the stresses of the everyday life of the farmer.

The Classic Spindle & Joinery Co.

Philip Hayes, the owner, has been self employed and running a stairparts and joinery business for over 12 years with his wife Jayne and has many contacts all over the country. We have been living in Winsham now for over six years and find it a very central location for most of our customers (down to Cornwall and up to London).

Our company specialises in bespoke balustrading, stairs and purpose made joinery products to the trade and retail customers e.g. hand turned Barley Twist Newel Posts and Spindles in various timbers, such as Oak, Ash, Cherry, Beech, Sapele, Pine etc. We are also able to add personal touches to individualise each package if required, by adding hand carvings for each newel.

We have just recently moved into the electronic age! by developing a web site which has already resulted in a number of enquiries. This shows not only the quality of our product, but also the many designs available. We feel this is the way business will progress in the future.

Colin & Kate Langridge

Devonsedge, 9 Church Street

A nine to five job? Unlikely! It's dawn until dusk one day, 2 hours the next: up to London one week, stuck in Winsham the next. So what does he do? Well to get where he is today he's fallen off ladders, lost the end of his thumb and banged his head countless times (hair loss comes with the occupation).

Not a very good picture? Well, after studying at St Martins School of Art and Maidstone College of Art he completed a degree in Fine Art and Design which led him to the art of carpentry and joinery. His work is best know for cabinets, specialising in kitchens, bathrooms and library units. His work involves both indoor and outdoor projects. Small building projects involving restoration, and stonework such as courtyards and patios. Credits to his name
are carpentry in Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and the House of Commons.

Despite what they say about living with one of them. Our house is still standing, just. And looking at the photographs of 1984, he hasn't done a bad job really.

Devonsedge, 9 Church Street

Kate met Colin whilst studying Graphic Design at Maidstone, which she received a Bachelor of Arts. She then became an Art and Needlework teacher of Sixth Form at a school in London. She now works from home in Soft Furnishings.

Cricket St. Thomas Estate

18th October 2000

Mrs A Rose
Winsham Parish Council
Glebe Cottage
Pooles Lane
Som TA20 4JB

Dear Anne,
Sorry not to have met your deadline - I hope it is not too late.

Management of Cricket St Thomas land which falls into Winsham Parish Cricket Estate, although enveloping various different activities, has until recently been run as a whole. The sale off in 1998 of Cricket House and the Wildlife Park to Rank has made little difference to the farming operation.

The Wildlife Park continues to operate, but at lower visitor levels with more concentration o animals and is now less of a "Theme Park". The wildlife paddocks across the lakes continue to be used in the same way but the building of the hotel in the Walled Garden has meant that Puthill Wood now has more concentration of wildlife activity, with free-roaming lemurs. Enclosures have also been built for Leopards and Otters.

The dairy herd at Puthill Farm was sold in 1997 and since then the grassland around the farm has been used for summer grazing of beef cattle. These cattle have been housed and fed during the winter months in the cubicles and Atcost barns. Blackmoor, Cooks Hill and Columns fields have been sheep-fenced and a two-year Farm Business Tenancy granted to a shepherd living at Keepers Cottage, Puthill. The remaining fields are used for conservation for the beef cattle and dairy herd.

The woodlands continue to be managed and some areas are due to be thinned. They also accommodate large numbers of pheasants and there is a very active pheasant shoot. Much of the Estate is let to a shooting tenant, who also owns Lue Farm and Midnell Farm. The shooting tenant lets some 200 acres and the farm buildings at Lue to Cricket St Thomas Estate. The farm buildings house the Estate tractors and machinery and the lower and steeper fields are used for the grazing of sheep. The remaining fields are used for conservation for winter feed for the dairy herd. There are a number of "cover crops" strategically placed for the shoot.

I hope this is sufficient for your information.

Yours sincerely


Cattle at Puthill Farm

Earls Dairy Herd

Back in 1980 my wife and I visited a Clinical Ecologist who after carrying out several test on us for allergies, suggested that we should refrain from drinking cows milk or eating any dairy produce made from it, as well as a few other suspect foods.

We followed his advice and located a source of good goats milk, that we were able to buy on a regular basis, and soon found that we were both becoming much healthier for doing so.

I was working for British Telecom at the time, and was given the opportunity to transfer from Swindon in Wiltshire to Somerset, both my wife and myself saw this as a chance to realise our dream to purchase a property with some land, and to have our own goat's. This was the start of the Earls herd of goats. We found a property at Wilmington in Devon with just over four acres and once settled in purchased our first couple of British Toggenburg goats who we became very attached to, they supplied all our dairy produce needs including cheese, butter and yoghurt, we had been studying books on goat keeping for some time and decided our next step would be to join The Wessex Goat Club to learn more about the animals in our care.

As time progressed we decided to increase our herd with some different breeds of goat and after obtaining our first Anglo Nubians, found that these were the breed we really wanted, with their wonderful characters and high butterfat and protein output, ideal for making hard cheese, yoghurt, and butter.

Our first shows were just local club shows, which we really enjoyed, from there we progressed onto the larger shows and the agricultural shows.

Our move to Ammerham in 1987 was when we really started to get into more selective breeding and showing, we always make a point of attending the Anglo Nubian Breed Show which is now held at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire yearly knowing that only the best animals will be there, and that if you wish to improve your stock, then you need to compete against the best, it is also a good opportunity to check on the confirmation of any male or dams of the males we might wish to use.

The Anglo Nubian Breed Society Produce a yearly stud list, which gives all the necessary facts of the dam required by anyone wishing to use the male with reference to her milk yields etc, most good goats are milk recorded and the Earls herd have the distinction of having bred two of the highest milk recorded Anglo Nubian goats in the United Kingdom, Earls Jasmin Q* Br Ch, recording 2506.14 kgs in 365 days and her daughter Earls Moonrose Q*l, 2417.83 kgs of milk in 361 days respectively, we also at present hold the record for the highest amount of milk and points of all time for Anglo Nubians at the shows.

We have exported goats to Belgium, Germany, Saudia Arabia, Guernsey, and many other places, and have a regular demand for good male kids in the United Kingdom, for use as stud males to the many commercial herds now running here.

Rosemary and Bill Earl.

Greencombe Farm

Greencoombe Farm is a 270 acre dairy farm situated in the north of the Winsham parish. The farm is owned by the A H Warren Trust, Coombe Farm, Crewkeme, a well known local farming, and food producing business.

Greencombe has 250 dairy cows plus youngstock, that are moved to another location at weaning. The cows produce about 2 million litres of milk per anum. and the milk is used to make farmhouse cheese at the Coombe Farm factory mentioned above. The cheese is retailed at many well known supermarket chains and specialised outlets throughout the country. The price the farm receives for its milk has fallen dramatically over the last few years, it now stands at about 19 pence per litre compared to 25 pence per litre of 5 years ago.

The farm employs 2 people to be responsible for the cows. One man is a person from Winsham. All other farm work is carried out by staff of A H Warren Trust.

Crops grown on the farm, are grass to ensile for winter feed for the cattle, a total of 2000 tons are stored in clamps. Also grass grown for summer grazing. Maize is also grown and i1 is hoped to yield a further 500 tons to add to the winter feed stocks. This quantity of food is consumed by the herd during the winter months.

As mentioned before. the farm rears all its own dairy replacements bred from the best yielding cows, and high genetic Holstein bulls. All cows are artificially inseminated by the herdsman, and the female progeny are the calves that join the herd as milking cows 2 years down the line.

Heron House & Bridge Farm

September 2000

Heron House is the farmhouse for Bridge Farm, the actual Bridge Farm House being let to non-farming tenants. At this date the farm is purely livestock (sheep and beef) and measures 50 acres (Bridge Farm) and 17 acres (Heron House) the two parts being divided by the Waterloo to Exeter railway line built in the 1860s. 27 acres of Forde Abbey Estate land - Ammerham Meadows - formerly part of Ammerham Farm is tenanted and summer keep is leased from Forde Abbey (29 acres this year). Bridge Farm was formerly a tenanted dairy farm belonging to the Leigh Estate and was sold out of the estate in 1919. Livestock consists of 350 North Country Mule ewes and some 550 lambs and a mixed herd of some 25 suckler beef cows and their calves. Land is permanent pasture or grass ley with occasional forays into whole crop silage, stubble turnips and kale between leys.

Heron House was formerly The Knap Inn, an angler's inn for fishermen seeking sport on the River Axe and as such is mentioned in Pulman 's Book of the Axe. At the time of this early "Good Food Guide" plaudit, the landlord was William Bonfield of the well- known local family. In the 1890s William Bonfield transferred the license to the newly built Victoria Hotel in Chard and The Knap Inn became simply The Knap. In the early part of the 20th Century The Knap belonged to Cornish Henley of Leigh House who used it as a retreat and would retire there with his butler presumably to escape the business pressures involved in running the Leigh Estate. It remained as The Knap until changed to Heron House by Captain and Mrs Warren in the 1940s. Major and Mrs Loveluck bought the house in 1954 and the house is currently occupied and the land farmed by their daughter and son-in-law. Heron Cottage (adjacent), formerly a gardener's cottage is now a private house and has recently been enlarged.

Jackie Duncan

Jacky Duncan, Closewood Farm, Winsham.

I am a potter and smallholder, each activity, hopefully, balancing the other.

My pottery is a small "one man" business, making use of the old stone and cobble farm buildings. I make plant pots of all shapes and sizes, specialising in large terrace pots. The clay is dug locally and mixed in an old bakers' dough mixer; the pots are then fired in a wood burning kiln, utilising waste wood from a local sawmill. I also make traditional mugs, jugs and bowls, slip decorated with designs based on the animals and poultry around the holding.

I have a small pedigree herd of South Devon beef cattle, which I graze on my own land and local grass lets. I cannot compete with beef production on a large farm scale, but by selling animals for breeding, and naturally produced beef to individual customers, I make the most of a small scale operation.

Pressure of work with both activities is seasonal, the pottery being busier during the Spring and Summer months when the animals are at grass, the cattle demanding more attention while housed in Winter, when the pottery is quieter. 

Both activities are very satisfying, whether making pots from locally sourced materials, or breeding and feeding the cattle on home grown rations. In an age of globalization this may seem old-fashioned, but it still works.

James Crowden

I moved into the village in April 1986. Forge House was bought at a sealed bid auction for £47,500 which seemed a lot then but it was before things went up. It is a large house and is really two cottages in one, which means that it is suited for letting out one end, which we did for many years providing lodgings for local people. It was for many years lived in by the Churchill family who worked as blacksmiths in what is now Woodlands Garage. The forge and bellows only disappeared about four years ago. 

My own work at the time was as a casual agricultural labourer, being involved seasonally as a shepherd, sheep shearer, with work as a night shepherd on large flocks mainly around Montacute, Marlborough and Dorchester. Also I was employed as a part time cider maker, woodsman. The cider making was at Burrow Hill, Kingsbury Episcopi and involved building cheeses and pressing the apples from Oct through to Dec each year. Forestry work filled in the gaps and I worked on and off near Dinnington for a number of years. The sheep shearing took me far and wide from Shaftesbury down to Honiton and from the South coast up to the Mendips. I never employed anyone directly except on a casual basis, but often worked alongside others.

As agriculture took a nose dive. I decided to start writing and diversifying into small scale publishing, performing and did some radio and television work. This has taken off and I have now formed a small publishing company with two others from the Powerstock region. This has received a grant from South West Arts. Sadly I could not afford to live in my house, or do it up, and so I have had borrow money to upgrade it for full time letting which in the summer months brings visitors to the village, for better or worse... In the winter I always try and get a long winter lets for local people. In the meantime I stay at my father's in Lullingstone, Fore Street, or in Somerton. Being able to use the house over the last fourteen years as a base for writing has been marvelous and very productive.

Julian Webb

The year 2000 has been an interesting year for me creatively. Garden sculptures commissioned include giant toadstools, Tibetan looking pinnacles, no less than four owls on posts and a large welded steel sculpture simply titled 'Orb'. I have recently completed a life- size female torso in Brown Oak.

I now work mainly to commission and this year have exhibited and sold my work at the 'Mythic Garden' , an outdoor sculpture exhibition on Dartmoor, as well as exhibiting for Somerset arts Week and attending various craft fayres.I first started woodcarving in 1984 at the age of twenty-one , when I served an apprenticeship with a Rocking Horse maker in South Devon, during which time I acquired my first carving tools and began to develop my own style in my spare time. I became fascinated with Celtic design and much of my early work includes mirror frames, furniture and pierced ornamental screens carved with Celtic knotwork mixed with organic forms and Pagan Symbolism.

From 1987 to 1974 I was living "on the road" in a bus with a mobile workshop, travelling around the country selling my wares at festivals, fayres and roadsides. During this time I soon discovered the potential of my chainsaw as a carving tool. Since settling in Winsham in 1994 and being able to set up a better equipped workshop, I have continued to make ornate carved mirrors and wall hangings and have even made a few Rocking Horses (for old times sake!). Over the years my work has found homes in Europe, Australia and the USA.

More recently my interest has turned to creating larger sculptural pieces, and I have developed this side of my work to the present day. I like the dynamic nature of the chainsaw and other powered tools, at least for the roughing out stages of my sculptures. Despite the noise and dust created, progress is made quickly and I can shape the wood in a more fluent and gestural way than the old way of bashing away with gouge and mallet. Nevertheless, you can't beat the finish created by razor sharp traditional hand tools, so nearly all my work is finished in this way.

All my pieces are Original one-offs and my style (so it has been said) is organic, quirky and often with a touch of humour. I am greatly inspired by the simple organic forms found in nature and love to create something with a certain presence to enrich and compliment a beautiful garden setting.

I remain available for commissions and am always happy to discuss any ideas people have.

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K D J Slade & Sons

Founded in 1946 by the late Mr.Kenneth Slade, who ran the company until 1990. After which the current partnership was formed and is now run by Mr.Colin Slade  and his wife Margaret, also Mr.Robert Slade and his wife Christina. Colin and Robert being Ken Slade's sons.

The workforce grew over the years from the original one man band to it's present size of 30 employees and subcontractors. It has always been company policy to employ local labour when at all possible. Encouraging local youths to learn a trade in the Building Industry, by offering apprenticeships and college training. Many of our apprentices have received awards for skill and achievements.

The work carried out through the years has largely been centred around Winsham and the surrounding areas. In the early days, as now, the smallest of jobs were undertaken. As the experience and size expanded some specialised works began to emerge. Works over the years have included the following:-

Both Lee and Matthew Slade are at present employed by the company - who knows if there will be another generation of K.D.J. Slade & Sons!

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Plots 7 & 8 Court Farm Close

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Court Farm Close Sales Board

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Plots 5 & 6 Court Farm Close

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Plot 5 Court Farm Close

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Plot 6 Court Farm Close

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View into Dorset from Court Farm Close

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3 Bedroom Bungalow, Forton Road, Chard

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Development at Manor Farm, Winsham

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New 4 Bedroom Houses at Tatworth

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Cheese Production Buildings for A.H. Warren Truss

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New House at Pooles Lane, Winsham

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New Farm Buildings at Hill Dairy, Crewkerne

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Development at Manor Farm, Winsham

Ken Cox

KEN COX and his son, NICK, run a few sheep on the smaller fields in the village. This year they had 40 ewes (Dorset Horns or Dorset Horn X).

It was a good lambing season, being fairly cold and dry; they averaged 1×5 lambs per ewe.

Ken and Nick also keep some laying hens for their own use and they always have a working dog: most people know the black Labrador, Bracken, and the Collies, Sky and Star.

Ewe with lambs, Chapel Field

Kingsfield Conservation Nursery

Kingsfield Conservation Nursery is owned by YSJ Seeds but was created by Jean and Geoff Peacock as Kingsfield Tree Nursery with the first purchase of land in 1978.Currently the holding stretches southwards from Plum Tree Cottage in Fore Street over the River Axe into Dorset to the railway at Winsham Bridge. With additional rented land to the east,  from Broadenham Farm,  including an accommodation bridge,  crops are grown beyond the railway,  though still on the Somerset side of the river. The  barn and bungalow at Springbank,  the centre of the Nursery,  were built during  the period 1980-82 and the private track from Broadenham Lane to the  accommodation bridge in 1985/6 with two lakes being added in August 1984.

Orchids among the meadow flowers

All land acquired was, at that time, permanent pasture complete with a few compulsory rabbits. Since then extensive landscaping has taken place using  native plants grown by the nursery.   Roe deer have replaced rabbits requiring some expensive fencing.

Flowers and trees in the Nursery

Much of the ‘non-cropped’ area is managed as a Nature Reserve but doubles up to provide seed sources for the business. During the 1980’s native plant species were sourced from all over Britain. Many have escaped to wild areas. Within the boundaries there are now more British plant species than on any comparable area in the UK. To use a modern term,  it is very Bio-Diverse and supports an abundance of wildlife that repay us by eating the crops. 

The Nursery produces all British plant species from Native Trees to Wildflowers and their seed. The major headache is growing hundreds of different crops to meet demand. 

Kingsfield Conservation Nursery is unique. The activities of its employees,  past and present, will have a visual and landscape impact for years to come, if only for the many trees. 

Historically,  who were the villagers who owned the land? In order, the Courtney sisters at Church Farm, Roy Wheaton - Court farm, Roy Tubbs - Maudlin Farm (now Magdalen), Mrs Domett - Oakgates, Robert Smith -  Broadenham Farm, Mr & Mrs Markham - Kentsleigh (Land swap). 

Yvonne Saunders
Y.S.J Seeds.

Lower Purtington Farm

The year 2000 started with Edward and Di Forward milking a herd of sixty pedigree Holsteins. The followers were reared on the farm. They were kept as pure Holsteins and not crossed with Friesians.The state of agriculture in the country was not good. The weather was against farming as well. The continuous rain made life very difficult and there was a general feeling of very hard work and long hours for very little return or in some cases no return. There seemed to be no future in the Dairy Industry. A decision to sell the herd was made. After the sale things were better and the outlook seemed to be brighter. There had always been horses on the farm, sometimes working horses, mostly riding horses, but Edward's recent interest and passion was his Appiano stallion which he proudly took to shows. Chard Horse Show was held on the farm. A large number of people and horses came from a wide area to take part in what had developed into a very good show.In October, in an accident with a piece of farm machinery, sadly, Edward died. The neighbourhood was shock and saddened. More than three hundred people attended his funeral and there were many tributes to Edward's character, helpfulness and kindness.

Di carries on with the farm helped by members of the family.

Edward with his Appiano stallion
The Farm sale

Peter Pye

I was employed by the Department of the Environment (DoE), Building Research Establishment, near Watford for 41 years.

Most of that time was spent dealing with various aspects concerned with floors and flooring. During the early years this involved carrying out strategic research on a wide range of flooring problems such as abrasion resistance, durability, moisture measurement, development of resin floorings and many more.

Peter Pye

Latter years were spent in the Advisory Service providing advice to Buildings Regulations Division on safety issues such as slipperiness of flooring and radon in buildings and representing the DoE on numerous British Standards Committees concerned with flooring. In addition, about 50% of ones time was spent providing a fee earning consultancy service to industry. My service provided advice on new construction at the design stage but more time was spent on trouble shooting floors after they had shown defects and problems in use. Numerous commissions were undertaken in hospitals, factories, shopping malls, airports and railway stations.

I retired from my post as Principal Consultant in the Advisory Service in September 1997. Retirement lasted one weekend and one day before industry found me and had me crawling over the floors of a large hangar at an RAF station. Since then the phone has not stopped ringing. Commissions undertaken in the last 12 months have included trouble shooting floors at the new Canary Wharf Underground Station, shopping malls in Dublin and Glasgow, concourses at Heathrow and Shannon Airports, a large hospital in Manchester and factories in Birmingham, Gloucester and Leeds and a school in Jersey. Unfortunately many disputes are now settled by litigation. This has entailed attendance at court to give expert evidence at Birmingham, Brighton and Edinburgh. On a more personal note, Mary and I bought Badger Cottage in 1985 and used it as a weekend retreat. In the early 1990's, the attached cottage was bought. Many weekends were spent knocking the two cottages into one with the help of K D J Slade and Sons to do all the heavy work. Always intending to retire to the area, we finally arrived permanently in early 1998. Mary types all my reports and attends to all the book-keeping. She accompanies me to sites when an extra pair of hands are needed. She looks quite elegant in her hard hat.

Mary Pye

Badger Cottage, High Street

The Polysealer

Behind Closed Doors
Everybody at some time or other must have wondered what really goes on behind certain closed doors -No.10 say, or Room Five Hundred and Four- but there is no reason for anyone to assume any out-of-the-ordinary activity within, as they pass the door of the lane-side cottage. Higher Chalkway, on the outskirts of Winsham...or is there?

Quietly and unobtrusively in the womb of a miniscule shelf-and-tool lined back bedroom, hundreds of small industrial machines have, in each of the last twelve or so years, been brought into the world to join their brother and sister machines already in use and providing employment for well over 5,000 Operators both in this country and abroad.
The Polysealer -for that is its name- was invented by Humphrey Daniels in 1956, and up to his retirement to the village here in 1986 he was a Director of a B.P.Chemicals subsidiary, when the Polysealer was manufactured under licence. Immediately after his arrival, however, he took over production himself as a retirement interest and so, from this time on, all machines were exclusively 'home grown'.

Yes, but what is it? What does it do? About the size of a small portable typewriter, it is an electrically powered hand operated single action Heat Sealing Machine for closing (by heat welding) filled polythene bags.

Initially, and for many years, the Polysealer had a very broad user base. The London County Council, for example, bought several to seal thousands of polythene bags containing archive material and deeds of historic buildings to prevent serious damage should the Thames overflow, as was (then) a real possibility. Hospitals, laboratories and factories took them as well as schools and universities. And publishers too,indeed our own Roy and Janet Smart had purchased one, long before Humphrey had ever heard of Winsham! Its virtues were also discovered by the British Sheep Dairying Association who recommended it widely to farmers -many of whom were in the West Country- for polythene bag packaging their sheep milk as deep frozen slabs prior to cheese making.

But there was one Industry above all others where the Polysealer found a special niche. It was adopted almost universally by Britain's Direct Mailing Companies, many of whom had banks of forty or more machines working flat out eight hours a day. With each one capable of sealing up to 900 packs an hour, every factory could post off well over one and a half million units a week.

Although The Polysealer Company had aimed to close with the Century's end some customers have insisted on further supplies and so another 50 have just been made - this time for a chain of Jewellery shops. It is so difficult to say 'no', but 43 years is long enough! Over this time the machine has received countless plaudits and has proved an indispensable tool in the day-to-day functioning of hundreds of Organisations both private and public. Although to compare its overall contribution to society against say the Computer or the Mobile 'phone might be just a bit over the top, it is fair to say that at some time or other every household in the land will have received, and possibly been influenced by, a catalogue or magazine or special promotion, packaged exclusively by the Polysealer, - the little machine that's.... 'Made in Winsham'.

Ray Gowers

Ray Gowers, Builder & Decorator
I was born in Hewish and went to school in Clapton and then Maiden Beech School, Crewkeme. Before leaving school I trained at Sign Writing and was offered a job with signwriter Alan Rudkin, then based in Winsham. My father, however, had been in the building business all his life, originally with his father before him in Reading, Berkshire. I left school at 15 to start work with my father and learnt the trades of building, decorating and carpentry. 17 years ago I took over the business when my father retired at 65 and this means that I have been in the trade 35 years. Most of my work comes from recommendation, and I really enjoy giving personal service to my customers. I hope it is not tempting fate to say this but I have never up to date had a bad debt.

Ray Gowers at work

Rhino Trikes

Nick Boyland opened his doors for business from the garage behind Victory Garage in 1992. The garage had been empty for some time and was known only as "Rear of Victory Garage".

Nick worked hard to establish the garage as a business in its own right, first concentrating on car repairs and restorations under the banner of Cherished Vehicles Coachworks. A few years later, the appeal of classic cars seemed to wane, so Nick re-launched the garage as Church Street Garage. The garage is now established under this name.

The latter part of the nineties saw the rise in popularity of the three-wheeled motorcycle, or trike, as an alternative form of transport and fun. Nick soon found himself in demand as a builder of trikes and RHINO TRIKES was born.

Nick is now one of the most well known and established trike builders in the UK with all of the manufacturing and assembly still carried out at the rear of Victory Garage. Rhino Trikes have recently entered into an agreement with Uralmoto (UK) Ltd whereby they exclusively receive the Voyage motorcycle from the Ural factory in Russia, for the purpose of converting to a trike. This makes them one of the first trike manufacturers to receive full factory backing and warranty.

Steve Weller

S.J. Weller - Interior/Exterior Decorator,
TEL: WINSHAM (01460) 30089

In 1991 moved to Somerset with my wife and family from south London. I have been in the decorating trade all my working life. Initially, as part of a company where I became a foreman in charge at numerous prestigious addresses, such as 10 Downing St, Buckingham Palace, St. James and Clarence House, to name but a few and had the pleasure of meeting members of the royal family as well as several Prime Ministers.

In 1979 I became self-employed. I work mainly in private houses, but have undertaken larger projects (such as the village hall). I do not employ any staff, other than my loyal wife, who is my bookkeeper/ secretary. My trademark is a superior, quality finish and prompt professional service, which has kept me more than fully employed for the last 20 years.

Street Farm

The old Roman Fosse Way runs across Street Farm for about a mile, which gives it it's name. One of the fields it goes across is called Stoneyfield, we have added the "e", because Stony, like Street, means a stone-made Roman way. The soil is medium loam and classed Grade 3.

With a capping of flint machinery costs are high and so the saying "a plough share an acre".
The Hebditch family have farmed Street Farm since 1951 and have seen enormous changes in agriculture in the Parish, as well as nationwide.

It is a mixed farm of about 350 acres, plus 35 acres of woodland. A closed herd of 140 Friesan and Ayrshire cows are milked. Dairy replacements and 50-60 store cattle are reared annually. 80 to 100 acres of wheat and barley are grown for sale and 35 acres of forage maize grown for silage. 

There were two full time employees, but my grandson left recently because of the uncertain future in the industry. Nearly all the farming operations are carried out with our own machinery and labour. Contracting is used when specialist equipment is needed.

There is an abundance of wild-life on the farm as well as small areas left for nature to take it's course. Three small, independent herd of deer are resident, as well as badgers, foxes and birds of all descriptions. Buzzards are so plentiful they are tending to be in small flocks rather than in pairs. The environment is well cared for.

There are just a handfull of farmers and farmworkers in the Parish to-day. Farm cottages and village houses now increasingly belong to the urban influx. Fewer and fewer people really understand how the countryside works. Farmers are threatened by pressure groups and rural terrorists. Cofidence is at an all time low.

Farming is in it's biggest recession for seventy years with all sectors severely affected. Profitablity is negligible and investment underfunded. The fall in farm gate prices and the demise of agriculture as we have known it, is mainly due to the power the Supermarkets wield in the market place.

Agricultural controls, quotas on farm production etc., are controlled from Brussels. Britain, unlike it's Continental Partners, rigidly enforce all regulations. With a politically unsympathetic Government to farming because of the very few M.Ps. who have any knowledge of the countryside, we are severely disadvantaged in comparison to other members of the Community.

Victory Garage

Our association with Victory Garage started in December 1985. The single large building had been unoccupied for a period of time. It was then sub-divided to house two separate businesses. We rent the front half of the building, which is still called Victory Garage.

Our main business is the servicing and repair of motor vehicles. As an agent of Handy Gas we sell cylinders of gas. There is also a small number of car sales plus helpful repairs to spluttering lawnmowers and creaking wheelbarrows! Petrol sales of leaded fuel were discontinued in 1988.

Roger runs the garage single-handed, if he goes on holiday then the garage closes. Opening hours are approximately 8.15 am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday, although they are extended when necessary. The majority of our customers live in the village with a few coming from further afield. Parts are delivered on a daily basis, this means that most cars come in and go out on the same day.

Wayne Sparks

Wayne is unique in Winsham. As far as is known he is the only self-employed farm worker. He grew up in Winsham and lived at Midnell when his father, Terry, was employed by Jim Warry. He now lives in Western Way, is in his thirties and spends his time at Hey Farm with Andrew Bullivant, at Broadenham with John Smith and sometimes at Higher Bere Chapel with Graham Cox.

Wayne started working at Hey when Barry Retter, tractor driver was injured. That was about 10 years ago and Wayne is still helping in the Winter doing the tractor work needed to feed and clean out the beef animals. In the Summer he is needed to make up the silage team.

When Robert Smith became ill in 1992 Wayne started working with John. He is involved in all the processes of cultivation of wheat, barley, beans and oats.

Graham Cox has a dairy herd and arable crops. Some of the home grown grain is fed to the cows in Winter. The straw is made into big square bales and is used for bedding.

Wayne says that he is always needed and charges hourly for the work he does.

Wayne Sparks

In Memory - Sadly, Wayne died in the summer of 2004,after a long illness, which he bore with great fortitude. He was a very popular member of our community, and is greatly missed. 

Windwhistle Farm

Windwhistle Farm, Purtington.

The farm is a dairy farm consisting of 120 acres mainly pasture land with about 2 acres of woodland. The farm is worked by Derek and Jean Churchill and Dean, their son, milking 80 cows plus young stock. The farm was purchased in 1983 from Mr and Mrs P Smith who now live in the village of Winsham.

Winsham Post Office & Stores

There has been a shop at 2 Church Street, Winsham for over 100 years. It is a typical English village shop retaining the essential friendly service and cheerful atmosphere which attracts villagers in to meet one another and to use the shop.
The shop was refurbished a few years age by the present owners Pearl and Graham Winter to provide a bright and convenient layout in a traditional setting.

The store opens 7 days a week and sells a wide variety of goods. The grocery side caters for all the essentials including fresh vegetables and fruit, fresh bread and cakes, milk, free range eggs and frozen food. Cheese and ham is cut to order and there is a selection of delicatessen items in the chilled cabinet. Soft drinks, snacks, confectionery; including sweets sold from jars; plus cigarettes and tobacco are always in demand. Newspapers, magazines and comics are available and can be reserved.

There is a wide choice of cards, wrapping paper and a selection of stationery items. There are a few shelves for children - small toys, tennis balls, paints, skipping ropes and the like. Household items include such things as measuring jugs, mugs, sandwich boxes, jelly cases, cake candles, plastic cutlery and paper plates and serviettes.

There are drawers with haberdashery items such as buttons, cottons, Velcro, hem it, needles, bias binding, elastic and hooks and eyes. There are also ladies stockings, tights, socks and shoelaces. A small DIY section includes items such as white spirit, Polyfiller, wallpaper paste, brushes, sandpaper, Swarfega, plugs, fuses, WD40 and puncture outfits.
Coal, firewood, and Calor Gas is also supplied together with barbeque fuel and sacks of compost.
There is also a SWEB key re-charging machine for electricity meters.

The Post Office is located at the back of the shop and is open from 9 am to 5.30pm with half day on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The services available include pension and allowance payments, bill payments, mail and parcel services,banking services for Girobank, Barclays and Lloyds TSB; National Savings investment business, TV Licences, and foreign currency. At the end of August the office received the Horizon computer system providing a fully automated processing system.

The business employs five part-time staff working either in the shop or the Post Office.
Prices charged for a selection of goods is as follows:-Sugar 1 Kg 82p; Tea bags 40 from 65p; Milk 2 pt 78p ;Biscuits from 38p; Bread large uncut 92p; Bacon 220g £2.19; Eggs 6 free range 90p; Coffee 100g from £1.27
A selection of specially priced offer lines is available each month.

Graham & Pearl Winter - Proprietors

Wolfgang Publishing & Windwhistle Stud


WINGS, Court St., is the home of two quite separate enterprises run by Paul and Monica Smith. Paul (retired farmer, private air pilot , artist, writer and broadcaster ) after graduating with the Open University (natural sciences and modern art) at age 73 has concentrated on Desk Top publishing books.

'Whither Winsham' has sold out and is shortly getting an updated edition. His illustrated "Wars are wot you make 'em!" (his seven years as a soldier in the RA(Survey) and REME (Radar). Two local books of Short Stories and Poems for other writers. Now, 'Landing Gently'- his early years , 1919 to 1939 , on a Winsham farm is out in October. This time with 120 coloured sketches. His ambition is to use his electric bicycle to do a detailed book on local country lanes again with his coloured drawings.

His printers are Rapid Print of Chard and sales agents, Comerow Publications of Winchcombe , Glos. are expanding to cover all English counties. Paul has also done a monthly column (with cartoon) for the last twelve years for the Joint Parish Magazine. He has recently produced laminated Winsham maps (scenic, footpaths and views) on sale to benefit our older Winsham residents in Davies Close.

Windwhistle Stud.
Monica -after school in France, Egypt and study at the Cannington Farm Institute was working in Paris (being bi-lingual) before she joined Paul (as his wife) in 1950. She did tractoring , milking ,stock management and clerical work ( babies permitting !) . As a hobby she has been breeding pedigree show rabbits for the last twenty five years ... now as Windwhistle Stud , in conjunction with her daughter Jenny Kearl. She was Secretary of the Somerset & Dorset Rabbit Fanciers Club for eight years.

Windwhistle rabbits have been prize winners at most of the West Country agricultural shows and a large number of specialist rabbit shows. There is a case of cups and other trophies at Wings as well as rosettes. Breeding stock have been sold as far as Scotland , Wales and over England. Windwhistle rabbits have long been a feature of Winsham festivities such as the Street Fairs and School Fetes.

Woodland's Auto's

Woodland's Auto's is a Garage situated in Fore Street. Purchased in 1997 it is run by father and son, Dave & Richard Woodland. The Garage caters for all aspects of the car, Servicing, Body Repairs, Car Building, Race Preparation and it is an M.O.T station. The business has built up since take over and a considerable amount of work has been carried out to the buildings and houses, Rose Cottage & Woodland's View. Servicing many of the villagers and surrounding villages Woodland's Auto's is a friendly and competent Garage.