Welcome to

(E T) Markets and Driving: Thelbridge Market "came up" after 1918, always the first Wednesday in the month, and in April, the Crediton fair followed. There used to be dealers from Norfolk and from "other Eastern parts." The market thrived until the Second World War brought "grading and Lorries." If a farmer sold at Thelbridge, "you were lucky if they went in a fortnight." They stayed on the farm, and were then collected up for a drove. Farmers on horseback drove the cattle to Lapford Station, the only trouble they had was keeping them out of the cottage gardens down through Lapford. Apart from this, riders and dogs would drive 100-120 bullocks from Thelbridge to Lapford Station with no trouble - "They were as good as gold." "They used to kill lambs" in one of the arches of Lapford Railway Bridge, and the railwaymen used to come for the livers. (RT)'s father and others used to go in August out to Aller Cross and buy 300 - 400 breeding lambs and put them in a local farmer's field, the sheep from different farms were always kept together. Then two or three would ride over with dogs and a pony and trap for the casualties, to Brushford, and have the sheep back by 12 o'clock. "The dogs knew their way," and as long as the sheep were kept moving, there would be no problems. They would either come "Beaples Moor way or Little Rackenford, Cob Castle and Hill Town Cross." "Fred Davies had an old drover." These were recognised drovers and their dogs and they looked like tramps and they came to market for hire. "There was never any trouble with the sheep, just never let them sit down." The first "coloured bullock (black and white)" was seen here in 1927.

(ET) Reaping and Thrashing: At summer, they cut corn with a reaper that was fitted with a foot pedal that was used to release a bundle of corn for the tiers, after the corn round the edge of the field had been cut with a scythe. There were several tiers, they stood bundle up, pulled out a few stems and made the bind. "Horsemen never made ricks." Notts of Eastway were steam threshers, each set had a team of three men, one to tend the engine, one to feed and one to tend the tier. The men had to be lodged, rain of course meant extra days lodging, they ate heavily, "A chandler's cut of beef" and puddings, both plain and "spotted dick." Threshing men were often dirty and had a peculiar smell of oil and steam.

(ET) Horses: At Summer, they used to run 20-30 cart colts. At Dart Raffe, (ET)'s father used to buy "gunners"- light cart horse/cob type horses for the Royal Artillery on a regular commission. There were one or two in each district that did this like W. Brown. It was said to be "better to rear horses than cattle." In the 1920's, those in a "kind of Yeomanry Artillery" used to take their own and to hire several horses and take them, "between harvests" to Okehampton and "even to Aldershot." (RT)'s step-brother did this, as did Aubrey Hosegood. Once a year, a Stud Shire horse used to stand in the village at the Hare and Hounds and "used to go round" to places like Black Dog and Thelbridge. "You used to get a card with a pedigree." Also, The Light Horse Society came round with their stallions for the "vanners." Once (RT) took a colt over to the Carnarvon Arms (Brushford) and sold it to "a Frenchman who came over for the hunting."

(ET) Bert Matthews: Bert Matthew's father in law was a vet, but Bert was not qualified. In spite of this he practised and drove round in a pony and trap. He had a man trap on his gate. He believed in turpentine and linseed oil and in laudanum. A phrase used was "1% medicine and 99% water."

(ET) Markets: Lambs sometimes were bought privately on farms and taken down to Lapford on a flat bottomed farm wagon with side rails. "Both wheels used to have drag shoes, but they still used to slide." At Lapford, "Ernie Gunn from Morchard and Sid Snell used to kill under the two dead arches of Lapford Bridge and the train drivers used to come for the plucks. Ernie Gunn's brother used to kill up at Copplestone" The carcasses went straight into ventilated wagons and were at Smithfield at 4 a.m. the next morning.

Previous      Go to Top      Home       Text Version      Next Page

Last Edited 03/07/2006    Copyright © 2000-2006 Witheridge

Unless otherwise indicated on the page in question, the photographic images reproduced on this site belong to the Witheridge Archives, and, as such may not be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission. However, you are welcome to use any of the photographs belonging to the archive for personal and/or non-commercial use. Any material shown as not being owned by the archive may not be reproduced in any form without first receiving written permission from the owner of the material in question.