Personal reminiscences of Winsham

My grandparents lived in Winsham and my grandfather's ancestors. Their home Column House was the house I visited mainly in the 1960-1970's. He had a donkey called Ned which he kept in the grounds together with a single sheep. (Never forget the day the donkey escaped into the village and myself and my siblings having to go after it). 

Suzanne Butler (nee Paull)-19th August 2002

My parents retired to Winsham over 10 years ago. Sadly my mother died in hospital in Taunton. I live in north London and have the greatest affection for the villagers of Winsham. At the time of my mother's death, Father Brian was a tower of strength, I will never forget him. I've brought many friends to see this piece of England that sets an example of how people should live together. I said when my parents first told me of Winsham "how on earth did they find this place" I am happy for them that they did. Best wishes for the jubilee and lots of love to my wonderful father who lives in Colham Lane.

Patricia Marchbank -27th May 2002

I was born at Whatley Cross in the farm cottages, my grandmother was Ethel Beer and my mother was Gwen Beer who married Cherry Wood from Chard. My family moved to Chard soon after my birth but I spent as much time as I was allowed with my Gran and Aunty Norah and Uncle Cliff. the Beer family moved back into Winsham village while I was still a child.

I would live for the weekends when I could get out to Winsham and go into the cupboard under the stairs and just sit and read the comics that were kept there for us. In the long summer days when we would go out walking with Gran, we would go on picnics down to Forde Abbey, pick our own fresh watercress to go with our food, or walk way up over Whatley and into Chard, picking blackberries and sloes, crab apples, and in the early morning, mushrooms.

If Gran was busy, my cousins and I would go down to the river bridge and put one foot in Somerset and one in Dorset, and then tll Gran we had been to Dorset.  At the age of 18, I had my first cigarette on that bridge...not any more though! Gran would tell us not to go into the water, but of course we would strip off to our knickers and jump in, swimming for hours.

The Village shop-what an Aladdin's cave; the bakers and people outside on the pavements gossiping away and generally being neighbourly.

My Great Granny Alice was the unofficial midwife and brought many a Winsham baby into this world. We would go up and play in the rec. and go over to her for fresh lemonade. She was a forbidding looking lady but full of heart and kindness.

My Aunt Norah last lived in Fore Street with my cousin Tim. She now lives in Swindon but I try to pick her up once a year and make the pilgrimage to Winsham to catch up with all her old friends.

Winsham is the most wonderful village in the U.K so peaceful and unspoilt. Please keep it that way. Terrific site by the way. Lovely pictures and many of the Beer family are featured there It was great to look at all these and Norah will be excited to see the photos when I next see her. 

Jean Cox   1947-1960

July 22,2003

I have lived in Winsham since1969,and remember when Winsham used to have a Carnival. My Mum was Carnival Queen one year, but I can't remember which year. Can anyone else?

We used to have a baker Baker Bill); Peter Broom delivered the milk and papers on a Sunday. We also had a butchers run by the Holloway family. The headmaster of the school was John Payne, and the infant teacher was Diana Kershaw.

Mary Payne taught us all how to swim.

Davies Close was just a field when I was growing up-I can remember the first families moving in.

Belinda Harris (nee Symonds)

July 26,2003

My mother and father (Joan & Bill Dearle) ran a village grocery shop in Winsham between summer 1969 and spring 1971. My memories are sketchy as I was only 3 and a half years old when we relocated back to North Devon but a couple of things I do recall. One of the two winters we were there was bitterly cold, with thick snow covering the ground. My mum and dad took our old sledge out with provisions on to deliver to local houses and businesses. The sledge made heavier to pull with me sitting on it also! It was hard work for them but a wondrous adventure for me.
I also remember that my late Father would spend parts of the week loading our van with groceries to deliver around the area. I would travel with him in the front of the van, tied in with a scarf (imagine the Health & Safety implications of that now). When he had to brake suddenly his arm would shoot across in front of me to protect me. I also remember that my favourite days were when we had to deliver to Cricket St Thomas as we got to see the animals, which was very exciting for a 3 year old lad.
I am also told (rather embarrassingly) by my mother that I had a great admiration for two of the local characters at the time and there were days when I would ignore anyone who spoke to me, unless they addressed me as Ray Ashford or Mrs Doherty!!
Another memory is of a lady walking into our shop and approaching the counter, before she had chance to make her request, my 12 year old brother appeared from behind the counter and exclaimed "Try Rolos madam, soft creamy toffee in a milk chocolate cup". Luckily, she saw the funny side.

The shop was located at what is now Number 7 Church Street (it was, bizarrely, one of three Number 1's in Church Street at the time) but ceased to be a shop a couple of years after we moved on.

I returned recently for the first time in nearly 40 years. It is still a beautiful, little village,

Chris Dearle (Winsham resident 1969-71)

We all loved Winsham; we had a lovely walks, and we used to play down at the River Axe.I also remember playing with other children in Farmer Dommit’s field. He had a hayrick and we had so much fun. We were throwing hay about when all of a sudden we saw the farmer coming. It was too late! He told us all to get down-he let the girls go-but gave us boys a smack on the backside. Then he asked me when I was going home. I said that I was due to go home the next day. He said “We’ll see about that”! I was so worried. (Picture of event by Paul Smith)
I also remember going to the Jubilee Hall to watch a film. The film broke, and all the children started to stamp their feet on the floorboards. It was so funny.
Another time, some boys and me were outside Daisy Boaits. There were cobwebs on the windows, and we dared each other to go in. The bell rang above the door, and Daisy Boait came out. She looked very wild. I gave her my sixpence for some sweets that were at the bottom of the jar. There was nothing else for sale-we all rushed out as fast as we could!
 David Corbin-January 2005

My name is Di Lee and I started school at Winsham Primary in 1947 then known as Diana Williams. My brother Victor Williams followed me in 1950 and my sister Hazel now Bound in 1951.

Dad, Sidney Williams, worked on the Cricket St Thomas estate as a groom/gardener and was married to Ida Williams. We lived in the cottage by the stables all now demolished. A taxi picked us up each school day to take us to and from school.

I have such happy memories of Miss Harding and my time at Winsham.

Di Lee ( Williams)-April 2014


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