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Staplehay c 1918

Staplehay c 1918 Taunton Somerset

This, to me, is the most remarkable image I have ever found. I was rifling through a stock at a London postcard fair when it came up. I will tell you why.

Featured are my grandfather Albert Heny Yarde b.1887. My grandmother with the dog Mabel nee Mutter b 1888,. My uncle on the wall Charles b. 1912. My great grandmother with the pinney Sara Mutter b c 1860. Next to her is ‘Aunt Jane’ Parsons who with no children of her own who took on some of the large Yarde brood. The cottage they lived in is Rose Cottage owned or rented by my great grandfather William Mutter baptised 1853 at Yarcombe. In the background is the Crown Inn now housing. Grandfather was a bombadier during World War One but survived though sadly dying in 1934. I never knew either of my grandfathers.

It’s remarkable how great events in history effect our own fate and existance. I can truly say that if Hitler had not invaded Poland I would not be here. Mother was a young village girl who met a dashing army physical training instructor at a dance at Sherford Camp. Father joined the army aged 18 and was posted to Bovington in the tank corps. At the onset of war he had the sense to join the physical training corps and was posted to Taunton.

As you get older you ponder the great changes in your own lifetime. Like many at that time mother and father lived with grandmother as she was the original tenant at Church Road , Trull. Both mother and father worked at the Co-op and grandmother brought me up. Father never owned a car. Eventually father bought our house for £250.

I went to school at Trull when at that time you completed your education there and left at 15 to work. I just missed that transition to take the dreaded ‘11 Plus’ exam which none of us village lads wanted to pass as we did not want to to to grammar school. I duly failed and went to Askwith Secondary Modern. My earliest memory is getting my Coronation mug at Trull village hall in 1953.

Our home was basic in the 1950’s. We had a privy at the bottom of the garden ( bucket and chucket ). At least ours was stone whilst next doors was wood. No cold trips at night so a potty under each bed. We had a tin bath used once a week. Water heated on the gas stove father one end me the other. Normally it was a ‘strip wash’ sat on the draining board with feet in the sink. A single fire heated the whole house so we lived in one room. The ‘Front Room’ was always tidy and closed up for special guests. On the wall in Church Lane you will see N 62 in the cement. I    left my mark in 1962. I used to walk down Church Road running my hand along the top of the church wall thinking that one day I will be able to reach the end. I can now. I had to go to Sunday School and help on our allotment. Sundays were rarely my own. Trull was a lovely community. You never locked the front door. The biggest bang Trull ever heard was when I blew up father’s iron saluting cannon one bonfire night. Took some tiles off our next door neighbour’s house.

We wicked village boys attacked Queens College every bonfire night firing rockets at the windows. Even today echos of old Somerset rebound. A modern sign near the old mill in Mill Lane refers to ‘The Refuge Amenity Act’. Our old word for ‘refuse’. I got two    ‘O Levels’ at Ask with but never lost a fight. It was more about character building back in my day. I guess I have not done too badly.

By Nick Chipchase

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