These notes are from Tina Jaray and were told to her father in 1969
A FEW NOTES ON WHAT MR. BILL ADAMS OF BRINGSTY COMMON TOLD ME WHEN HE CALLED ON ME IN AUGUST 1969
Mr. Adams moved into what is now “Peak Cottage” in 1888, at the age of 15 months and lived there until 1911 when he got married and moved to Bringsty Common. One of his brothers went on living in the cottage for another 2 or 3 years. In 1888 there were six in the family; the elder children had already moved. He had 6 brothers and 5 sisters; 3 of the brothers went to America and Canada. The Cibas of New Jersey are the offspring of one of those brothers. The present coal shed used to be the cider room. Eddie Taylor, the transport contractor’s father, was coachman to Col. Curry of Laugherne House. Col. Curry left him the blacksmith shop where Eddie Taylor still lives (in 1969). Martley Court belonged to the Dudley Estate but was then swopped and became part of the Nash Estate.
When Mr. Adam’s brother left in 1914, a Mr. Rowley moved into Peak Cottage. After him came Mr. Darley from whom I bought the cottage. It was, incidentally, in Mr. Adam’s day, not their property but it was rented from the Dudley estate (details of the exchange of properties between the Dudley and Nash estates are in my deeds). The man who lived in “Peak Cottage” before the Adams’ was called Shepherd; he was a cartwright, thence the saw pit and saw shed in what is now my bottom lawn in front of the cider mill. The Adams’ had, instead of the saw pit and saw shed, a pigsty, the drain of which went into the little damson orchard below the house. There was also a duck pond. What is now my workshop, was a stable in which they had normally 2 cows, a calf and a pony.
Harry William Adams, the painter, moved into his house in about 1900 – 1901. Before him there was a Mr. Griffin who was gardener to Col. Curry.
In the much younger cottage where Dr. King lives, there lived a Mr. Broughton who had a cream-coloured pony and four-wheeled gig. The cottage was then made into a double dwelling. In one half lived a Mr. Wilcox and in the other half lived Benny Preece – a famous poacher, whisky distiller, etc, etc. The house where Mr. Milner lives belonged to Ruby Dowdings who was famous for the Banbury cakes she made and sold all over the district. In Acton Cottage lived John Burmaster who worked for Nash. At the lane which leaves King’s and Milner’s land southwards to the river there were 2 cottages; the upper one belonged to Mr. Hopcut and the last one, where the right of way makes a hairpin bend, to a Mr Norman, but this cottage tended to slip into the river.
In a direct line from the road junction below my house (Acton Cottage, the just mentioned lane and Chimney Lane) there was another lane leading down to the river which arrived at the river where the 2 poplars were (stumps still there). In the two cottages there lived Mr. Rowley who was a cooper and made small cider casks for farmworkers to take into the fields, and Taffy Lloyd, who was a semi-professional boxer and general fighter. Harry Adams, the painter, told me that Taffy Lloyd died just short of his 100th birthday and that he (Harry Adams) knew him very well. Taffy Lloyd could remember not only a gibbet on the top of my hill, near where the lane reaches its highest point, but he could even remember somebody being hung there for the theft of a sheep–no date supplied! Harry Adams also told me of Taffy Lloyd that he was repeatedly locked up for fighting and that his and his neighbour’s houses were held on a peppercorn rent. One day when he was “inside”, Rowley died; the people from the Dudley estate came and, by mistake, didn’t knock down Rowley’s but Taffy Lloyd’s cottage. When Taffy Lloyd came out of gaol and found that his house had been knocked down, he moved into Rowley’s house and lived there for the rest of his life.
Chimney Lane he called Noak Green Lane. Some 200 or 300 yards on the left when leaving Kingswood Lane there was a place on the left called Grubb’s Patch. At approximately the same place but to the right and high up was a double dwelling in which lived Bullock and Sammy Martin. They had a cider mill. I dismantled the last remainders of this house, which was next to the existing spring (now only a mud patch on the slope) and I moved the cider mill into the hedge towards Kendalls, where it still is. Some 200 or 300 yards further on lived Mr. Teane who was a teacher. At the dip of the lane is or was a track leading down towards the weir. At the bottom of it lived Mr. Joiner and I can still remember the last beams and stones of his cottage.
The mill was on the right-hand, western side of the river; on our side was only a cider mill ,the stone of which was broken up by the Kendalls some 2 years ago. The Leggs now live at Butterly Court beyond Bromyard. The miller’s son is alive and is about 80. Nancy Legg rode on her pony twice a week across the river via Kingswood and Martley for bread. Harry Adams, the painter, fetched a pint of milk from her every day. Mr. Harry Adam’s (the painter) sister was called Morris and lived at Martley Hillside, not far from the Tanhouse. What is now my damson orchard was a field and they called it The Seeds. The upper part, i.e. the apple orchard behind the garage, was called the Top Bank and the meadow at The Peak was called the Top Meadow.
He did not know the name of Monk’s Bank or Owl’s Barn. On the other side of the lane there was a big midden which they transported once a year to a garden patch which they had at Martley. Mr. Adam’s father farmed apparently quite successfully. For instance, they took twice a week, 2 pairs of ducks and chickens to the Shakespeare Hotel in Worcester.
Mr. Adams could not remember the gibbet, he could not remember the bridge but states that there was a recognised ford below the weir, which meant probably that it was a public right of way and used as a short-cut and regular means of communication between the Clifton and the Martley side.