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(OV) Mrs Vernon (of a family of five daughters and three sons) was born in 1903 in the cottage next to the blacksmiths in Church street where her father, Mr W. Baker, worked. (The cottage is next to Stonemans.) Mr W. Baker fetched his wife and two young sons from Lapford Station in the snow in March 1900 in a long cart for the furniture and as they drove through the countryside Mrs Baker, who came from London, said "Doesn't anyone live here?" Mr Baker was blacksmith and Agent for Ruston Hornsby engines, Huxtable ploughs and for Chicks, the bicycle dealers in Queen Street, Exeter. On his cards were the words "W. Baker, Church Street, Witheridge." Mrs Baker disliked the cottage and when, in 1907, the tenancy of the Angel was to let, she said to her husband, "We'll go for it." Mr Ford of Starkey, Knight and Ford sent for Mr and Mrs Baker, interviewed them and gave them the lease.

They stayed, keeping the blacksmiths until 1937 when a daughter of Mr and Mrs Baker, Mrs Ruby Buchanan and her husband took over. The lease remained in the same family for 60 years. (OV) was married to Mr W. Vernon (WV) in 1928 and they moved into Bank House in the Square, where Mr Vernon carried on the agency for Lloyds Bank. (OV). has a photograph of Mr and Mr Baker and herself aged 1 year with two brothers and her sister Hattie. The photograph was taken in the field known as Cross Park by a Mr F. Taylor of 39, Cyril Street, Taunton. Mr Taylor used to tour round with a horse drawn caravan. To have their pictures taken, people entered the caravan and posed before a backcloth, always of stately architecture, among potted plants to have their picture taken.

(OV) As children brought up in the Angel, they used to have to cut up sugar with the sugar cutters for "the grog" for which "stirrers" were provided, these had barley sugar twist stems, and a glass knob on top. They also had to trim 14 lamps, clean the reflectors and lamp globes and fill them with oil, all this took place on a bench in the kitchen, covered in newspaper. They also had to clean off the grease on the candlesticks with soda and water. (OV) says they were "never allowed out to play" and recalls one of her sisters saying "Mother never educated us, she only learnt us the scrubbing brush." She also recalls that she and other children used to take an old sack bag down to the marshes at New Bridge for acorns which they then took up to old Amos Maire at Ditchetts, where he kept a dairy and a pig.

Before they moved to the Angel (OV) remembers that her father had the first Edison phonograph in the village, with its big horn and wax cylinders. It was kept in a padded box. "People used to come round and ask to hear it." The first sound was always (This is an Edison Bell record.) In the Angel, they used to have Sunday tea in the sitting room, one of the girls played the piano, and Mr Baker sang. Once, on a choir outing to Ilfracombe some of the kids rode on top among the luggage. When Mrs Baker first went to the Angel, she used to make 30 Christmas puddings at a time "in the furnace where the clothes she boiled the clothes." For ploughing match dinners, "Mr Selley used to bring 40lb rounds of beef" and "the village people used to come round for the dripping". (OV) remembers Sir Ian Amory warming himself at the kitchen fire "with his head nearly touching the mantelpiece" as he used to call in after hunting for bread and jam and then go up to change "leaving mud all up the stairs and on the white valance round the bed." Once, the hounds were put in the coach house, "and killed all the fowls gone to roost" Sir Ian's chauffeur, Stanley Howe, used to wait all day and then drive away in a "big green Daimler" and "the kids all jumping on the running board." Mr Baker used to follow the hunt on foot, and, when Sir Ian had his hunting accident out at Venhay, laid his coat on the gate, which they used as a stretcher for him. "The Welford family, a travelling theatrical company, used to stay at the Angel and put on a show each night. "Sometimes it was a play, sometimes a series of turns such as "tunes on glasses" or "tunes on canes hanging down from a frame." Many used to start the day by calling at the Angel for a drink at breakfast time and some heavy drinking took place. Sometimes the children came home from school and found the beds not made, or the dinner cleared because of the many drunks at the bar. Mr Baker loved his own children and did his best to get fathers to go home to their families once he thought they had had enough and before they got drunk. "Father used to jump the counter for people" also on occasions. Some of the women round The Drang used to drink heavily at times, "they used to break out and drink, and the pins would come out of their hair, and it would draggle down." At times, some of them would cross The Square from The Drang in their flannelette nightdresses to buy drink to take home to drink in bed. Before 1914, Starkey, Knight and Fords brewer's drays used to deliver pulled by Shire horses. Hogsheads of cider used to come in from Bradford Barton.

People - Mainly in the Directory for 1914

(OV) William Tucker's (shoemaker of West Street) son, Jack, was apprenticed to George Pullen's in drapery and went to London where he worked for Venables, a big East End store.

(OV) Mrs Bessie Tucker (Rosemont) taught (OV) music and was an excellent teacher

(OV) Henry Way's builders yard was in Fore Street where Stoneman's now is. Jim Way (also a builder) lived at 18, The Square; he had to do the rubbish cart on Saturdays and take the rubbish down to the Mill to be dumped.

(OV) Bob Palfreyman (father of Mrs E. Williams) was lamplighter and went round with his ladder to light up, leaning it against the two cross pieces at the top. He went round again about 10 p.m. to blow them out.

(OV) Dick Middleton was a rabbit trapper, when he was in the army in the 1914-18 war, his wife addressed a letter to him as "Dick Middleton, Rabbit Catcher, Somewhere in France."

(OV) Dick Breyley, saddler of Fore Street, never gave anything to collections and always said "tidn't very nice of 'ee." "The gentry" did most of the giving.

(OV) Miss E. Benson of the Lawn would haul the kids back into church if they tried to slip out from their place under the tower. (they called her "Old Jezebel.")

(OV) Mr Charlton used to drive in from Colleton Hall in a cart pulled by two donkeys, which the kids used to try to frighten.

(OV) Mr Folland of Burn House was "always fishing, did no work, and shot himself in his kitchen at 8 o'clock one morning and they heard it from the Angel."

(OV) It was George Henry Pullen, Senior, of Rosemont Villa, who built Pullens Row. Pullens ground their own coffee and blended their own tea. Young people went there to learn their trade. They employed three adults and Sam Hill to drive the box trap for deliveries.

(OV) recalls going up to Roger's fire (See memories of Mrs Greenslade) and that the horse drawn fire engine came out from Tiverton.

(OV) Robert Bucknell was a dog breeder and trainer at Penford before moving to Lakelands and bred cocker spaniels. "You couldn't pass down New Bridge Hill for the stink of dead sheep." The kennels were all along the road and the whole place was infested with rats. One night Jim Way met "such an army of rats in the road that he jumped into the hedge to avoid them." Bucknell was known as "Pa Bucknell," rode a pony and "smoked a little stubby pipe." The kids used to try to frighten the pony and he would cry "Ye buggers."

(OV) Miss Ellen Churchill of Fords Folly was a "wonderful dressmaker" and took three girls at a time to teach them.

(OV) Fox, Fowler and Co. (Barclay's, MJ Mansfield was Manager) was known to the farmers as "Voxy Vowler."

(OV) Robert Hooper, the piano tuner of Church Street, was church organist for many years. He was blind and was taught by the Vicar the Rev. J.P. Benson.

(OV) Fred Tidball and Charlie Maire were in partnership in the traction engine which stood in the open where the bungalow "Engine Park" now stands in Rackenford Road. Mr Winter was the driver.

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(OV) Joe Churchill: Joe was the son of Herbert Churchill, the baker of Trafalgar Square, and nephew of Miss Ellen Churchill and grandson of "Old Joe" Churchill. Joe is seen in the Directory of 1930 as "saddler," and lived and worked in the Pound House in the Square. He also cut hair and did a post round. OV. recalls him as a "lovely character and so good tempered and he was fond of his drink." She also recalls how he used to lather a customer's face, shave one side, and then nip across to the Angel for a few drinks before returning to shave the other side. Once in the 1920's Joe took a red "Vote Labour" meeting poster from the Angel, where someone had stuck it, and stuck it in Vernon's window. In the night, OV. and WV took it down and wrote "Chair to be taken by his Worship the Mayor, Joe Churchill," on it and stuck it on Joe's door. OV and WV. watched the next morning as Joe opened his door, looked out, reached back in down behind and bench for his bottle and had a good swig, put the bottle back, shut the door and went off, never seeing the notice until he came home, when he refused to take it down saying "the bugger can stay there." Eventually OV. and WV. scraped it off. Once in the 1920's "they" went over to Meshaw to sing at a concert in the schoolroom, in a butchers van, with a crate of beer. Joe was to sing a solo but as he had trouble learning his words, he asked WV. to type out the words. So WV. and OV. set to and wrote down nonsense words that they had made up and didn't hand him the paper with the words until the last minute. Some of the words were:

"Oh I do like a dumpling in me stoodle-oodle-oo
Some people make an awful fuss about their food
And over it they brood
Some prefer to squeeze
And some get up in trees, And others like a steak and kidney pie.
But I do like a dumpling in me stoodle-oodle-oo."

Joe sang it all the way through, left the stage and finished the beer. The audience was puzzled "what a silly kind of song" they said. Joe got his own back, as there was no beer left for the others. Joe used to take home a bottle of cider every night. One night he got some fish and chips and took a bottle over to the Angel for vinegar. It was filled up for him and as he same away the police stopped him as they thought he had been drinking for hours and didn't believe it was vinegar, so Joe unstopped the bottle and held the cork under their noses. OV has a photograph of Joe in the 1930's standing by his Hillman car in his plus fours, known to many as his "apple picking burches", which were very baggy indeed.

There was recruiting in the Square. Those who volunteered were brought a drink in the Angel, sang, and went off in Tidball's long brake to Lapford Station. Some were not to return. Later a Mr Cruwys came buying heavy horses for the artillery and the farmers brought them to the Square for his inspection. He bought some and engaged men to take them to Lapford Station. (OV)'s brothers, Leslie and William, took three each, riding the middle one.

1939-1945: From 1939, Mrs Buchanan ran The Angel, helped by Mrs Baker (while Mr Buchanan served in the R.A.F.) and Joe Churchill put up the barrels. The Manchester's were billeted around the village, the men's cookhouse was at the back of the Angel and they ate upstairs in the big room. The Officer's mess was in the kitchen. The men drilled in the Square. There were concerts and dances. Once a fire practice was held in an old hut full of smouldering, damp grass for smoke practice and old "Cock Price", short for Cockney, got choked and had to be carried out, laid down and "pumped" for artificial respiration. At each "pump" he farted. "Oh" he said, "its those bloody taters the Missus gave me for supper." (WV) was in charge of evacuees and "arranged them all, and paid their allowances." (OV) and (WV) had "a girl from London, covered in impetigo and took her to Tiverton and rigged her out at their own expense." A German plane came down near Gidley Cross, one pilot walked to a nearby farm where they gave him breakfast, the other was dead and lay in the field."

The village used to be "Fowls everywhere." The Angel fowls used to come up the street to Granny Crook's cottage (now garages opposite the Mitre) and scratch in her wooden boxes of flowers by her door and she used to throw her stick at them. From the back of 11, the Square, fowls used to be let out of their roost in the morning and go across to the churchyard for the day.

An engineer called Montague Pearson came from Redruth, Cornwall, (date in the 20s unknown) and stayed for 12 months at the Angel while he oversaw the erection of the overhead ropeway from Coombe Quarry to the Depot. Mr Baker made all the ironwork for him and, in the evenings, he and Mr Pearson got together over the plans. He had a sitting room to himself and he gave Mrs Baker a silver vase when he left, in appreciation.

Bob Southcott was Bandmaster in Witheridge before 1914; he played the euphonium. On summer Saturday evenings, they stood in a ring in The Square playing, and Mr Baker used to run out with a jug of beer and glasses, which he put on the ground by the players. They numbered about 15. They paraded up around "Whitfield's Corner" (Trafalgar Square) and back again. The band did not play after 1914. In the early 1900's, The Witheridge Volunteers used to drill in the church room. "Old Mrs Ford's mother" used to pay one penny a week to go to the school that used to be held in what was later to become the church room.

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