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(CG) Mrs Greenslade was born at Cannington House in 1895. Her father, George Henry Selley had married Emily May Selley. Mrs Greenslades full brothers and sisters were Emily May, Steven, Sidney and Vera. Her half brothers and sisters were Bert, Francis, Fred and Stanley. She lived with her parents at Cannington House until 1920 when they moved across the road to Fern Cottage. Her father died in 1940 and her mother in 1942. She married Gordon Greenslade in 1951.

April Fair: Discussion began with two postcards in Mrs Greenslade's possession, one showing the blacksmith's forge at the back of Fern Cottage, where the surgery is today, and the other showing the Fair, with horses and cattle in The Square and along the broad cobbled pavement past the Mitre (now Aston House). Mrs Greenslade (referred to in the notes as C.G for brevity) is certain that the photograph was taken before 1914, as, by the end of the war, the Fair had lost its importance and a "wonderful market over at Thelbridge had started up, that sort of knocked Witheridge out somehow." C.G believes it was more convenient for Crediton and Sandford people. The photograph bears the name "J Churchill" who was a saddler and lived at the Pound House, The Square. The Spring Fair took place in April and always included a stallion parade, closely followed by the Crediton Fair, to which some dealers would take their purchases hoping to make a pound or two more. The Witheridge Spring Fair was special as farmers came in and paid their bills, many of these settled up annually as contra-account. The children in the picture indicate not that the Fair took place on a Saturday but that children were let off school for the Fair, as, although school holidays were shorter (a month in the summer, a week at Easter and a fortnight at Christmas), many odd holidays were given. The photograph shows a tent pitched in the middle of the Square and C.G recalls that this was one of the "Fairings Stalls" where a sweet merchant from Chumleigh sold his produce. (White's Directory for 1878 dates the Fair as 'the last Wednesday but one in April'.)

Forge: The postcard of the blacksmith's forge was clearly made before (CG)'s father bought Fern Cottage and turned the shed into a stable. He got Billy Gold (wheelwright and carpenter) with premises on the north end of the Black Dog Inn) to come up and put a manger in. "Billy Gold was a newcomer who had married a Witheridge girl."

1914-1918: "As the time went on, more and more had to go, Steven, he was taken with the clean cut lot, the eighteen in 1918. The day he went, my father, well, I put the shutters up; he said he should not open again. The people were all up in arms, what are they going to do about meat, so father said 'I don't give a damn'. You see, he put down "farmer and butcher" being honest; if he had put down just farmer, Steven would not have gone. There were very few left in Witheridge." Two of (CG)'s brothers were in the Yeomanry and she recalls her brother (whose calling up papers she still has) Sidney leaving on horseback for Thorverton, where the Yeomanry had to report with their horses. They all thought it would be over in three months. (CG) does not recall troops stationed here. She remembers that her brother Francis was at Gallipoli, then at Alexandria and then back to France and that he used to say that when they came back from the Dardanelles they could not stand up straight, as they were so weak from living on bully beef and biscuits.

(CG) recalls rationing of a kind, although it, not surprisingly, made little impact on her family. One day the Police Sergeant informed her father that he and his family must not eat cream. When her father expressed surprise, the sergeant said, "That's the law." "Well" father said "is it? I don't care what the law is, I produce it and if I'm eating cream, I'm not eating anything else." He did not care tuppence. Labour was very scarce and by the end of the war at Cannington, they were left with a "young fourteen year old who wasn't very big. When there was any hay wanted in I know I had to go up and help him." He is recalled as being the brother of Mrs Bristow.

The answer to the question "what kind of things did you do to amuse yourselves?" was work. However, (CG) also made it clear that, certainly before the war, the Witheridge Band used to play round the village on Saturday nights. Wherever they stopped, people would "give them a quart of beer or cider and they'd go on somewhere else." The children used to say "Oh, the band's coming out tonight," and when they came, they'd run round behind. Most of the members of the band are recalled as being the Hill family of Tracey Green. Concerts were put on in the Angel Room or the schoolroom consisting of songs and sketches and were very popular. There was no electric then and the streets were lit by oil lamp. Mr Bennett had the task of going round with his ladder and putting them out and lighting them up.

"The first car I remember seeing was when some wounded from Knightshayes (convalescent home?) were invited down to Combe for tea and they came in a couple of cars and everyone said "ooh, look, there's a car" and everyone ran out to see the cars, you can't hardly believe it." The Carriers were Tidball's and Thomas's (later to become the Motor Company) and Witheridge Transport Company). "Tidball's used to go to Exeter on Tuesday and return on Friday (confirmed by White's Directory for 1878). "My mother used to say the very old Mr Tidball (perhaps Mr John Tidball of 1878 in White's) couldn't read or write and used to take all the hampers and parcels and never made a mistake. Old granfer Tidball lived like Mr and Mrs Perry do." (i.e. at Trafalgar Square, or "High Cross" as it was called.) "We used to go to South Molton on a Saturday morning about 8 o'clock and get there at a quarter to eleven, "picking up parcels and passengers en route. Inside were benches to sit on. The roads down Combe Ball and Mill Hill were particularly bad.

'The Fire'- C.G vividly recalls a fire in the buildings on the present site of Messrs Stoneman's yard. "Twas in the springtime and they were killing lambs, so they were up about five o'clock, the slaughterman and one or two of my brothers. All of a sudden somebody came and I was sleeping in the front bedroom above the stairs (at Cannington) and somebody came shouting down and I wasn't a very good sleeper and they said "fire, fire" and I got out you see and began to look out and this boy was shouting "fire" and it was one of the schoolmaster's sons and the boys were here and they were rushing out, dropped their tools, forgot all about their killing and they were gone. Of course the whole place was ablaze; by the time they got the fire engine out from Tiverton - that was horse drawn-most of it was burnt down. What they concentrated on was where the second hand shop is now (next to the Lawn) putting water on it to stop it, that was all thatch. Everybody took buckets and that and I got dressed quickly. I thought I was going up and mother said 'here are you going?' and I said 'up to see the fire.' 'Oh, indeed you're not - you'll wait until I'm ready to go' and so I had to wait. The water came from pumps, wells, anywhere, and there there was no fire brigade here of any description. I used to have a photo of Francis, he was very quick you know, going up the ladder with a bucket. Twas a builder's place, Rogers they were called; I can see it now plain as anything, those two women (Mrs Rogers and Mrs Davey) coming down carrying those two boys and taking them into her place for safety. The whole blooming place was gutted, when you've got thatch and the sparks start flying."

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Water: C.G does not remember the pump in the Square. Many people had wells; The Mitre and the Police Station had "lovely water." C.G does not remember when the village was first provided with its own supply and reservoir.

There were always a Sergeant and a Constable and they patrolled on bicycles. (CG) had always wanted a bicycle and pestered her father for one. One day Mr Baker at the Angel told her that her father had ordered one and that it would cost five guineas. When it had come she was very proud of it and cleaned it every time it was used. She once rode to Exeter on it to go to a special concert, but "I didn't ride it very much coming home, thank goodness there were some boyfriend's and I rode up in the trap and they rode it home." There were no outings in the first war, but before the war, they used Tidball's brakes. Once a party of young people hired Tidball's brake, drove to Crediton and took the train to Exeter to see a play. They had to leave before the end of the play to catch the train back, and got back to Witheridge by midnight. The Sunday School used to go to Exmouth or Instow; for Instow they would take the horse-brake to South Molton station.

Fetes and Festivals: There was no church fete, but a tea on Shrove Tuesday. There used to be "sixpenny hops" which included tea, a singsong and a dance. When (CG)'s father was churchwarden (1903-1915) he used to pay for the poorer families to come in. There was a Harvest Festival and the choir had a choir supper at Christmas. There was a Whist Club that played in the school room. They did not play in Lent, "Mr Benson wouldn't have it."

Places: Slew Park was "Gordon House" next to The Firs. Ford's Folly was by the entrance to the workshop today of Mr. L. Bourne. Miss Ellen Churchill (sister to Mr Churchill who took the photograph of the April Fair) was in business as a dressmaker there. Robert Hooper, the piano tuner and basket maker, who was blind, lived next to the Angel in what is now called 'Paradise.'

Schools: There were once 140 children down at the Church (National) School. There was much rivalry between the children of the two schools. Some "went ragged to school," children walking in from, for example, Bradford, in the rain got soaked and had to stand by the stove. Some people however brought their children in with their milk to the butter factory (later to be Hamlin's Mill and now cleared to make the entrance to Chapple Lane.) Mr Benson gave religious instruction twice a week. Many children left school before they were fourteen, and many stayed away at harvest time. "Mr Carter up at the top school used to use the stick a lot, but Mr Andrews down here (National School) had a different manner."

Religion: "There was more rivalry in those days. The church people kept to themselves and the chapel people kept to themselves." All the church people came to my father (for meat), and the chapel people went to Maunder.

Very few went shopping in Tiverton or South Molton. "We always drove to Lapford to go to Exeter or London."

(CG) remembers no bombs or air raids here, although the siren is remembered and the gasmasks. "When they bombed Exeter so badly you could see the flames in the sky from here. There was no fire engine here then." C.G remembers sleeping in the back bedroom at Fern Cottage one night when a plane came down in Bradford Pond and blew up so hard that "the bed shook." She remembers that the blackout was very strict and the Police Sergeant used to go up to the top of the church tower to see if there were any lights showing. He came to them one night and complained, so they took the bulb out.

Men of the Manchester's were billeted in the chapel schoolroom and the officers were billeted about the village. One officer was billeted in Fern Cottage. One night he went out without his key and had to climb up and in his bedroom window. "Mother said 'what's the good of sending troops here, the isn't enough water for the rest of us." C.G says that water for the troops was bought in by lorry. "They would commandeer anything, fields, what they wanted." "Once there was an alarm in the middle of the night and all the troops turned out and stayed there for hours waiting, but it was a false alarm." "The soldiers used to stand outside the chapel looking, people were sorry for them." (CG) says that the W.I split in two, one half did coffee for the troops and the other half didn't." "The Americans at Deer Park Cross didn't come to Witheridge."

Evacuees: "When they came from Woolwich we all went up the Higher School to receive them, they were all frightened, and had things around their necks. "There's two boys for you and one for you." They are said to have settled in well. Some couldn't use a knife and fork, "there was a big girl from Bristol who didn't stay long"

Italian Prisoners: There were some on the farms.

Land Girls: There were some on the farms.

Rationing: "Food got scarce - we used to barter a lot." "In Essex, Leonard used to carry about a piece of something or other broken in his car in case he was stopped." (Petrol rationing) "In Essex, the Policeman used to come for eggs and put them up in his hat" "I went up Essex and the bombs started falling so I came home, it was safer here than anywhere else."

Scrap: (CG) remembers that all the railings went for scrap except hers and those along the churchyard.

War Work: (CG) was directed to do something of good. My sister-in-law in North Tawton had a young child and was expecting another so I went and looked after the child. I let my house. I was sent for to interview me to know what I was doing, so I went and said I was doing poultry and looking after the child. I told them nothing about the farm although they asked me, I was as good as they were.

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